Welcome to my site!

Welcome to my site!
I'm Cindy, and I love to cook! And, I love to eat... hence the size of my rear end! I come from a long line of cooks. My great great Grandmother was a cook in the original Harvey Houses. My grandmother Julia was an awesome cook, and my mom was incredible. I owe my skills to these great women. Especially my Mom who said this to me about making gravy... "Cindy Lynn, wallpaper paste is wallpaper paste & gravy is gravy. Never the two shall meet!" Shall we say my first experience at making gravy left a little bit to be desired! Thank the high heavens my cooking skills have improved since then! Enjoy!

Friday, September 30, 2011

Brussel Sprouts

I must confess I’ve never liked Brussel Sprouts. I’ve always turned up my nose, because every time I’ve tried them – they’ve been bitter and unpalatable to me. But, everyone always says… you’ve just never had them prepared properly. Uh huh… sure! Well, earlier this year I ate at Ford’s Filling Station in Downtown Culver City, and my friend David and I order the brussel sprouts. I admit they were extremely tasty and I did enjoy them. They were delicious without a drop of bitterness.  So, they’ve been on mind and I’ve wanted to try making them myself. I looked at a few recipes and this is what I came up with. I hope you enjoy them as much as we did. They were divine.


1 ½ lbs. brussel sprouts
4 slices bacon
1 shallot, minced
1/2 cup chicken broth
Salt & Pepper


Wash the brussel sprouts, trim about ¼ inch off the bottom. Remove some of the outer leaves, leaving the core, and cut the sprout in half lengthwise. This helps the sprouts to cook quicker.

Cook the bacon in a skillet. When finished drain the bacon on paper towels, pour all but about 2 tablespoons of the grease out of the pan. Return the pan to the heat.

Add shallot to hot grease, and sauté for about 3 – 4 minutes. Be careful not to let them burn. Add the brussel sprouts to the pan. Sauté for a few minutes and then add the chicken broth. Bring to a simmer, reduce heat and cover with a lid. Let steam for about 8 minutes. Remove lid and test for doneness. You want them to be tender, but not mushy.

With lid off, increase heat and cook until liquid evaporates and coats the brussel sprouts. Remove from heat, crumble bacon over the brussel sprouts; salt and pepper to taste.

Thursday, September 22, 2011

Vegetable Samosas with Mint Raita

Samosa’s are an Indian pastry that is filled with an assortment of meats and vegetables. This recipe is vegetarian. They are usually prepared with dough, but I’ve adapted this recipe from Cooking Light, in which we substitute phyllo dough. Makes them lighter and flakier. If you prefer – you could use a pre-made pie pastry like I did for my empanadas. You can find that recipe HERE. And, if you’re in search of gluten free foods, you could make or purchase a gluten free pie dough and use that in which to stuff the samosa filling. I served these with Chicken Burger Patties with an Indian Flair.  Click HERE for the recipe.


2 medium baking potatoes; peeled and chopped into small chunks. Maybe about ½ to ¾ inch.
2 carrots, peeled and chopped into small chunks
2 tablespoons olive oil
1 teaspoon cumin seeds
1 medium white onion, finely chopped
2 ½ tablespoons minced peeled ginger (I used the kind from a jar for simplicity)
1 ½ tablespoons minced garlic (again, for simplicity – this time I used it from a jar)
¾ teaspoons red pepper flakes
1 tablespoon ground cumin
2 teaspoons ground coriander
1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1 teaspoon salt
½ teaspoon ground black pepper
¼ teaspoon turmeric
1 ½ cups peas, use frozen and just thaw them first
½ cup chopped fresh cilantro
1 tablespoon fresh lemon juice
16 sheets of phyllo dough, thawed (18 x 14 inch sheets)
Cooking spray

Raita Ingredients:

1 cup plain low-fat yogurt (I like to use the Greek yogurt because it is thicker)
1/3 cup fresh mint, chopped
Juice of one lime
½ of a cucumber, grated
Salt & Pepper to taste


Cook the potato and carrot in boiling water for about 8 minutes, or until fork tender. Drain.

Heat olive oil in a large non-stick pan. Add cumin seeds. Stir for a few seconds and add the onion. Sauté until the onion is translucent. Add ginger, garlic and red pepper; sauté for about 2 minutes. Add the cumin and next 5 ingredients. Cook for 30 seconds, stirring constantly. Add the potato, carrots, peas, cilantro and lemon juice. Stir until well combined and turn heat off. Let cool slightly.

Depending upon the size of your food processor, place ¼ to ½ of the mixture into it and pulse until coarsely chopped. Put the chopped mixture into a bowl and repeat with the remaining mixture until all has been processed and coarsely chopped.

Preheat oven to 350.

Place 1 sheet of the phyllo dough on a large cutting board. (cover the rest of the phyllo with a clean dish towel so it doesn’t dry out.) Spray the sheet with cooking spray. Fold in half so you have an 18 x 7 sheet. Fold the bottom corner over to form a triangle to mark where to place the filling. Unfold. Place about 3 tablespoons, or 3 heaping teaspoons of the filling by the line you’ve made. Fold over the bottom corner to make a triangle. Fold back and forth over itself to make a triangle until you get to the last fold. Tuck edges under; lightly spray both sides with cooking spray, place seam side down on a baking sheet coated with cooking spray. Or, if you have a silpat – you can use that.
Repeat process above until all of the filling has been used. Should make about 14 – 16 samosas. This will use 2 baking sheets.

Place one baking sheet on the bottom rack and the other on the second from the top. Bake for 13 minutes. Switch positions of the sheets in your oven and bake for an additional 12 minutes, or until they are lightly browned.

To prepare the Raita, combine all the ingredients and mix well.

Serve the samosa’s with the raita.

I won’t fib, this recipe is a bit labor intensive… but it’s not difficult to make. Just time consuming. But, I think the labor involved is SO worth it. The fragrant flavor of these will make you forget the time it took you to make them.

Monday, September 19, 2011

Chicken Burger Patties with Indian Spices

First, this recipe makes four patties... but my kiddo doesn't think he should have to wait until Mom is finished with her photography. So, he got served first!  Ha!

These were really yummy. I chose to serve them with Samosa’s (an Indian pastry stuffed with meat and/or vegetables) rather than making an actual burger out of them. But, they would make an excellent burger. This is another great recipe from Cooking Light, which I altered slightly. They are full of flavor and fragrant from the garam masala (an Indian spice mixture). Whether you serve them as patties – or a full fledged burger – I think you’re going to like them!


1 – 2 green onions, depending upon your taste, finely chopped
1 tablespoon lime juice
2 heaping teaspoons garam masala
1 teaspoon ground ginger
¼ teaspoon salt
Ground black pepper
¼ teaspoon cayenne pepper
1 lb. ground chicken
Cooking spray

½ cup low-fat greek yogurt
Handful of chopped fresh mint
¼ teaspoon salt
¼ to ½ cup mango chutney (I had a small jar from Trader Joes – I used half of the jar)
4 hamburger buns
1 cup fresh spinach leaves or lettuce


Combine the spices, lime juice, green onions and chicken in a bowl. Mix thoroughly and form into four patties. The chicken mixture is really sticky. You can use plastic food-prep gloves OR if you wet your hands first, before forming each patty, it helps to cut down on the sticking.

Heat a large non-stick pan over medium heat, coat with cooking spray or a small amount of olive oil. Add patties to the pan and cook for 7 minutes on each side.

Combine yogurt, mint, salt and chutney. Spread on the top and bottom half of each bun, add the patty and the spinach or lettuce leaves. Add more of the yogurt mixture if desired. If you choose to serve without the bun, serve the sauce on the side of the patty for dipping.

Sunday, September 18, 2011

Now on Facebook

Gumbo Ya Ya is now on Facebook!  Here's the link: http://www.facebook.com/#!/gumboyayarecipes

Please come visit the page and click LIKE.  When I publish a recipe on Gumbo Ya Ya, I will announce it on Facebook - along with other fun facts and revisiting some of my favorite older posts.  So stop by and say HI!

Saturday, September 17, 2011

Indian Spiced Nuts

I posted a spiced nut recipe from Giada De Laurentis last summer. It’s really good! Click HERE to compare it to this recipe. They are both excellent – but I think today’s recipe is slightly more sweet and the other more savory.


1 tablespoon honey
1 tablespoon brown sugar
1 tablespoon canola or vegetable oil
1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
½ teaspoon kosher salt
¼ teaspoon ground cardamom (heaping)
1/8 teaspoon ground cloves
Dash of freshly ground black pepper
½ cup almonds
½ cup hazelnuts
½ cup cashews


Preheat oven to 350.

Combine first 8 ingredients in a microwave safe bowl and microwave for 30 seconds. Stir until blended. Add nuts; toss to coat.

Spread nuts evenly on a baking sheet lined with parchment paper – or if you have a silpat, you can use that.

Bake at 350 for 15 minutes, or until golden brown.

Let cool completely (that’s the hardest part!) before serving.

Thursday, September 15, 2011

Lime-Cilantro Pork Tacos

Made these the other night from one of the Cooking Light cookbooks. SO, yummy – and pretty much a healthy meal. The recipe calls for only 2 teaspoons of olive oil. I think when I drizzle the olive oil I probably use about that much – but if you want to be sure, you should measure it. The recipe also calls for using flour tortillas. I substituted corn. If you do use the flour tortillas and only 2 teaspoons oil, the calories per serving is 416. Enjoy! These are really savory and delicious!


1 pork tenderloin, trimmed and cut into thin strips
¼ tsp. salt
1/8 tsp. black pepper
1 ½ cup thinly sliced white onion
1 jalapeno, seeded and chopped
½ cup chicken broth
½ cup chopped tomato
Cilantro, chopped – 1 handful
Juice of 2 limes
Olive Oil
8 corn tortillas


Heat a large skillet over medium heat. Sprinkle pork with salt and pepper. Drizzle olive oil in pan. Add the pork and sauté about 5 minutes, until browned. Remove pork from pan, place in a bowl.

Add the onion and jalapeno to the pan, sauté 5 minutes until tender. Drizzle a little more olive oil if needed. Add broth, reduce heat, and simmer 1 minute – scraping pan to loosen browned bits. Stir in tomato and; simmer 2 minutes.

Return pork and juices to pan. Stir in cilantro & lime juice. Cook 1 minute; until pork is done.

Heat tortillas, split meat mixture up between them.

Yields 4 servings – 2 tacos per serving.
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