Friday, August 11, 2017

Gumbo Love Cookbook Review

Lucy Buffett's newest cookbook, Gumbo Love, is a love letter to the northern coast of the Gulf of Mexico, containing mouthwatering recipes, heartwarming stories, personal adventures and stunning Gulf Coast photography. If you love our Gulf Coast, you need this cookbook!
Ooooo y'all... have I got a good one for you! If you live along the central Gulf Coast, or frequently vacation in Gulf Shores, AL or Destin, FL, you've probably visited LuLu's Restaurant. It's owned by southern businesswoman, author, restaurateur, and sister of the famous singer and songwriter, Jimmy, Lucy Buffett - aka Crazy Sista... for being a lifetime rule breaker of the best kind and her livin' out loud personality.

If you've never been, Lucy Buffett's LuLu's is a place that graduated from a humble beginning as a local watering hole to today's family-friendly restaurant and entertainment complex, serving more than a million customers each year at two locations. It's a place where music is central, and live every night, featuring local talent. You know as soon as you come upon this place that you are gonna have fun! LuLu's now has those two locations, with a third coming soon to the South Carolina coast.

You may also know Lucy from her previously published cookbook LuLu's Kitchen, an updated version of her original Crazy Sista Cooking, and now she has gathered up her food experiences from all across the Gulf Coast in her brand new, Gumbo Love: Recipes for Gulf Coast Cooking, Entertaining, and Savoring the Good Life, available now.

A notable "love letter to the northern coast of the Gulf of Mexico," Gumbo Love shares a visual diary of mouthwatering recipes, heartwarming stories, personal adventures and stunning Gulf Coast photography that truly captures the essence of everything natives love about our beautiful Gulf Coast. If you're new to our area, you'll learn very quickly, why we love our Gulf Coast so much.

From her grandmothers' homes in south Mississippi, to growing up in L.A. (that's Lower Alabama y'all), down to Key West, over to New Orleans, and back to Gulf Shores, these recipes are a reflection of Lucy Buffett's Sunday dinner family traditions and her Gulf Coast food experiences. They will walk you through southern classics with our Gulf Coast personality, over to Cuban and Old Florida tastes, from Cajun to Creole to Mexican.

The book begins with short foreward by author, Thomas McGuane, followed by a Letter from LuLu, that literally made my eyes well up, because being a Biloxi girl, I totally get it. The Introduction gives you a bit of history about how LuLu's came to be, and leaves you with words of wisdom she entitles Ten Grateful Ingredients for a Bright Life and a Happy Kitchen, and the kitchen essentials you'll need to know how to do and have in order to cook our Gulf Coast.

Featuring 11 chapters of drool-worthy recipes, each chapter begins with a short introduction, heartwarming stories filled with memories, and often offering up a bit of boot-strap southern wisdom. Each individual recipe leads with a little ditty of howit came to be. I just know as a fan of this site, you will love this book as much as I do!

As usual with my cookbook reviews, here's a little peek into the book - enjoy!


Classic Southern Pound Cake with Strawberries, p. 3
Living by her mother's philosophy that "life is short - eat dessert first," recipes begin with Desserts, where we start with Classic Southern Pound Cake (pictured above), Southern Tres Leches, Fresh Strawberry and Chocolate Angel Food Trifle, Chocolate Angel Food Cake with Strawberries and Cream, Peets Buffett's Lazy V Chocolate Fudge Cake, Buttermilk Orange Chess Pie, Lucy B. Goode's Blueberry Almond Bread Pudding, Chocolate Brownie Flan, Floating Islands, Salted Butterscotch Blondies, Strawberry Cobbler, Lemon Buttermilk Sorbet, Lucy's Favorite Salted Caramel and Easy-Peasy Chocolate Sauces.

Starters and Snacks

Classic Shrimp Remoulade p. 37

"What better way to start a dinner party than with a happy mouth?" 
-Lucy Buffett

Starters and Snacks are next, with lots of shrimp, from Spicy Shrimp Ceviche, to Poached Shrimp, Easy Boiled Shrimp and Classic Shrimp Remoulade (pictured above). Oysters are covered too, with a tale that starts with a visit in the aftermath of Hurricane Katrina to Ralph Brennan's Red Fish Grill in New Orleans, and how a humble platter of oysters set the pace for rebuilding... another story that made my eyes well up.

You'll find Icy-Cold Gulf Oysters on the Half Shell with Classic Cocktail and Mignonette Sauces, Pan-Broiled Gulf Oysters with Lemon-Garlic Butter, Gulf Oysters Brochette, drizzled with honey and blue cheese, and she'll even teach you how to shuck them! Other recipes include Rosemary Roasted Pecans, Stone Crabs with Key Lime Mustard Sauce, Bad Girl Buffalo Wings, Fresh Herb and Garlic Cheese Spread, Tailgate Shrimp and Crab Dip, Honey Ale Pimento Cheese, Five-Olive Salad with Fresh Herbs, Black Bean and Corn Salad Dip, Holy Guacamole, and Watermelon, Green Tomato, Cherry Tomato and Pineapple-Cucumber Salsas.

Gumbo Love and Other Heartwarming Soups

Lucy's Signature Summer Seafood Gumbo, p.79
Next is the namesake of the book, Gumbo Love and Other Heartwarming Soups, gumbo being the foundational piece of Lucy Buffett's heart's work with LuLu's, including pretty much any kind of gumbo recipe your heart could desire and including the stages from preparation (mise-en-place y'all) to gratitude, with the necessary skills to work through them all.

Lucy's Signature Summer Seafood Gumbo (pictured above), Lucy's Winter Gumbo, a True Acadian (Cajun) Gumbo, Chicken and Sausage File Gumbo, and Gumbo Z'Herbes - Green Gumbo. You'll also find a variety of soups from Coastal Crab and Corn Bisque, Daddy's Navy Bean Soup, Easy Chicken Tortilla Soup, Never-Fail, Old-Fashioned Vegetable Beef Soup,  French Onion Soup with Fresh Rosemary, Cuban Black Bean Soup and Sausage, Squash and Turnip Green Soup.

Main Dishes

Camarones a la Criolla - Cuban-Style Shrimp Creole, p. 131

Next up is the mealtime star of the show - the Main Dishes, where you'll find Honey-Glazed Sticky Ribs, Pork Roast with Apples and Onions, Spicy Coffee-Rubbed Beef Tenderloin, Beer-Braised Beef Brisket with Cumin and Garlic, Chimilulu Hanger Steak, Classic Coastal Crab-Stuffed Shrimp with Honey-Sriracha Glaze, Gumbo Quesadillas with Shrimp and Andouille, Shrimp Scampi, Easy-Breezy Island Shrimp Curry, and a Camarones a la Criolla, a Cuban-Style Shrimp Creole (pictured above).

There are plenty of fish recipes from Grouper with Balsamic Butter Glaze, Red Snapper Veracruz, Bronzed Yellowtail Snapper with Citrus Beurre Blanc Sauce, Gulf Classic Scamp and Trout Amandine are included, along with Classic Coastal Crabmeat au Gratin.

Chicken checks in with Daddy's Fried Chicken and Ms. Margaret's Not Cumin Roasted Chicken Thighs and Chicken Bonne Femme - Garlicky "Good-Woman" Chicken. Casseroles,

One-Pot meals and pastas are represented here too, where you'll find Heavenly (or Divine) Casserole, Picadillo, Monday Makin' Red Beans and Rice, Creole Shrimp and Eggplant Casserole, White Bean Turkey Chili, Rustic Chicken Potpie, Famous-for-Fifteen-Minutes Mac and Cheese, Louisiana-Style Crawfish Cream Sauce with bowties and Crawfish Cornbread.

Vegetables and Sides

Fresh Butter Beans, p. 175

"The homegrown tomato is the crown jewel of the south." -
Lucy Buffett 

Amen to that!

The next chapter on Vegetables and Sides include recipes for Roasted Tomatoes with Garlic, Basil, Balsamic and Black Olives, Whole Roasted Okra with Parmesan Crunch, Southern Fried Creamed Corn, Fresh Butter Beans (pictured above), Braised Collards with Turkey Bacon, Pecans and Balsamic, Creamed Spinach, Mexican Rice and Black Bean Casserole, Cuban Yellow Rice, Brown Rice Mushroom Risotto, Rosemary Roasted Garlic Potatoes, Thyme-Scented Scalloped Potatoes with Caramelized Onions, Andouille Baked Grits and Greens and Grits.

Deep Fried Favorites - A Southern Must

Fried Green Tomatoes, p. 199
"In the coastal South, learning to fry is a rite of passage." -Lucy Buffett

There's even an entire chapter dedicated to all that southern fried goodness we treasure in Deep Fried Favorites. Here you'll find favorites like Fried Shrimp,  Fried Green Tomatoes, Fried Gulf Oysters and Fried Fish. Heavenly Fried Crab Claws, Crab and Corn Fritters and Shrimp Fritters, Deep-Fried Okra and Hushpuppies too! Look to Fry Mama Lulu's Tips for Easy Frying for some guidance on how to do it right, including step by step directions and fry mixes for both flour and cornmeal.


Muffuletta Salad, p. 225

 are up next featuring Old-Fashioned Shrimp Salad, West Indies Salad, Lucia Anna's Casa Crab Salad with Toasted Garlic French Bread Rounds, Florida Lobster Salad with Grapefruit and Avocado, Mango, Avocado and Arugula Salad with Sour Orange Vinaigrette, Muffuletta Salad (pictured above), Grilled Veggie Salad with Creole Mustard Vinaigrette, Watermelon and Feta Cheese Salad, Silver Queen Corn Salad and Lucy's Favorite Raw Broccoli Salad.


Key West Tuna Burger, p. 241
You can't feature Sandwiches in the Deep South without letting po'boys pass through your lips, so we start with Day-After Brisket Po'Boys and Half Shrimp and Half Oyster Loaf Po'boys. Key West Tuna Burger (pictured above), Mini Muffulettas, Pimento Burgers with Fried Green Tomatoes (and bacon!), Garlic-Herb Cheese Burger with Caramelized Onions and Lucy B. Goode Cuban Sandwiches round it out.

Vacation Libations and Mocktails

White and Red Sangria, p. 269
Vacation Libations and Mocktails celebrates our Gulf Coast cocktail culture, beginning with the Bama Breeze, named after the song of the same name by brother Jimmy. The Highbrow Margarita, Hurricane, Cucumber Margarita, Boca Beach Cocktail, Mango Margarita, Moscow Mule, The War Eagle and Roll Tide cocktails follow, with White and Red Sangrias (pictured above), and several other adult drinks, along with a nice selection of mocktails.

Sauces and Dressings

LuLu's Famous Wow Sauce, p. 279
Closing the recipes in Chapter 10, are some homemade Sauces and Dressings, to wrap it all up, and includes LuLu's Famous Wow Sauce, White Horseradish Sauce, Classic Cocktail Sauce, Homemade Tartar Sauce, Key Lime-Mustard Sauce, Chimilulu Sauce and others.

In the final chapter, there are four menus provided for you from starters to drinks, with every recipe referenced by page number to the book. These include a Key West Dinner Party menuOld West Coast Florida Party Menu, a Sweet Home Alabama Buffett family buffet menu, and a No Place Like NOLA menu.

If you love the Gulf Coast like I do, you will absolutely love everything there is about this book. I think that it's the first time I've seen a cookbook that truly captures all of the cuisines along our beautiful Gulf Coast, in one place. Visit LuLu's in Gulf Shores, Destin and soon in South Carolina for the full experience, but in the meantime pick up some Gumbo Love at your favorite retail outlets, or online at places like Amazon.

Here's a few recipes courtesy of Lucy Buffett's Gumbo Love, to hold you over in the meantime.

Highbrow Margarita, p. 259, high-quality ingredients, without a lot of juice or extra flavors - in other words, it gets to the heart of the matter.
Highbrow Margarita
Recipe ©Lucy Buffett's Gumbo Love
Reprinted with Permission
  • Kosher salt, for rimming the glass (optional)
  • 1 orange, cut into thick wedges
  • 1 lime, cut into wedges
  • 2 ounces Patrón Añejo tequila
  • ½ ounce Patrón Citrónge lime liqueur
  • 5 to 6 ounces soda water
1. Salt the rim of the glass, if desired.

2. Put 4 orange wedges and 2 lime wedges into a metal cocktail shaker. Add the tequila and lime liqueur.

3. Muddle gently, avoiding the rinds, which can add a bitter taste.

4. Add a small scoop of ice and the soda water to the shaker. Pour back and forth between the shaker and a large mixing glass a few times.

5. Pour the margarita into the salted (if using) serving glass. Garnish with a lime wedge.

Serves 1. Reprinted with permission.

Coastal Crab and Corn Bisque, p. 95, featuring two of our Deep South delicacies, Silver Queen corn and blue crab, in a silky soup.

Coastal Crab and Corn Bisque
Recipe ©Lucy Buffett's Gumbo Love
Reprinted with Permission
  • 5 tablespoons unsalted butter
  • 1-tablespoon extra-virgin olive oil
  • 2 cups finely chopped onion
  • 2 tablespoons finely chopped garlic
  • 1 cup finely chopped celery
  • 3 tablespoons all-purpose flour
  • 2 cups seafood stock or chicken broth
  • 2 cups heavy cream
  • 2 cups milk
  • 2 bay leaves
  • ¼ teaspoon Lulu’s Crazy Creola Seasoning or other Creole seasoning
  • 1 teaspoon sea salt
  • ¼ teaspoon white pepper
  • ¼ teaspoon freshly ground pepper
  • 1-teaspoon liquid crab boil
  • 2 cups fresh corn kernels (or frozen, if necessary)
  • ½ cup chopped green onions
  • 1 teaspoon Worcestershire sauce
  • 2 tablespoons sweet white wine, such as sake
  • 1 pound cooked fresh lump blue crabmeat, picked through for shells, handled carefully
  • to keep the meat in big chunks
  • ½ teaspoon seasoned salt
  • Pinch of ground nutmeg

1. In a medium stockpot, melt 3 tablespoons of the butter with the olive oil over low heat.

2. Add the onion, garlic, and celery. Cover and cook over medium heat, stirring occasionally for 3 minutes, or until the vegetables have softened.

3. Add the remaining 2 tablespoons butter and cook, stirring, until the butter has melted.

4. Add the flour and cook, stirring, as the vegetables begin to brown.

5. Add 1 ½ cups of the stock, the cream, and the milk and stir well.

6. Add the bay leaves, Creole seasoning, sea salt, white pepper, black pepper, and liquid crab boil

7. Cover and simmer over low heat, being careful to not let it boil.

8. Add the corn, ¼ cup of the green onion, the Worcestershire, and the wine. Simmer for about 5 minutes.

9. Add the crabmeat and seasoned salt. Cover and simmer for about 20 minutes.

Serves 6 - Reprinted with permission.


Newly released, you can pick up a copy of Gumbo Love online at places like Amazon, or at your favorite book retailer. We're giving away a copy too - to enter, read on!


UPDATE! Congratulations to Libby Leatherwood who said... 
Coming from a girl raised on the gulf coast, I would love to win this!
Please contact me with your mailing address within the next 48 hours to claim your book! Thanks so much for entering y'all and remember Gumbo Love would make an excellent Christmas gift! Grab your copy here right now!!

The publisher has generously offered to give away one free copy of Gumbo Love, to one lucky Deep South Dish reader.

To enter, scroll to the bottom of this post below and leave a comment. Please note: It may take a moment for your comment to post, so please comment only once! That just saves me some work.

Use your Google account, or select "Anonymous" or "URL/Name" to enter your comment, but if you do post anonymous, please leave a first name and last initial to identify yourself, in case you win.

This giveaway closed on Friday, August 18, 2017, at noon CST. One winner will be selected at random from the comments and will be announced within 1 to 3 days on the site at this same post. Winner will have 48 hours to check back and respond to claim the book. Giveaway open to U.S. residents only please.Thanks for reading and good luck!

Disclosure: I received a free copy of Gumbo Love: Recipes for Gulf Coast Cooking, Entertaining, and Savoring the Good Life, and the offer of another copy, one to review and one to offer as a giveaway.

Don't want to wait? Hop over to Amazon, and purchase your copy today - you will absolutely love it!