Conclusion, my latest book, comes out in October. As in my previous novels, I include fictional places and experiences inspired by my own.
I write about a city that closely resembles both Evanston and Chicago, places where I’ve lived. The final section of the book is set in the Boundary Waters in Minnesota, where I have gone on camping and canoeing trips a number of times.
I’ve also taken this opportunity to branch out, to take my narrative in a bold new direction: not just in theme, but with the addition of characters who cook.
At one point in the story my main character, Colin, takes to the kitchen to rustle something up. While I can’t cook, I do have friends who can. For the meal Colin prepares, I turned to a specialty of my good friend, Don Thomas. I thank him for letting me share it.
Beans and Rice, Sausage and Shrimp
Shrimp and Sausage, Rice and Beans
- ½ lb. raw shrimp in shells
- 1 lb. Andouille Sausage
- 1 medium onion, chopped
- 1+ cup chopped green pepper (poblano also works well)
- 1 cup chopped celery
- garlic to taste, minced not too fine
- 1/3 cup chopped parsley
- 1 16 oz. can red beans, drained and washed
- ¾ cup (or more) converted rice
- 3 tbs olive oil
- Cajun spices*
- Tabasco to taste
Shell shrimp and sprinkle some spices. Marinate for an hour or so. Also throw the shells into 2+ cups of water and simmer to make a broth.
Have veggies ready
- Heat oil in a sauce pan.
- Disk the sausage 1/8 to ¼ inch.
- Brown sausage in pan, medium heat, for 3 or 4 minutes, remove and set aside
- Drop heat to low and sauté the onion about 3 minutes.
- When the onion starts to wilt, add the pepper and garlic, continue over low heat about 2 minutes. Add Cajun spices.
- Add the rice and mix with veggies for about 30 seconds. Add the broth, it should be hot. Your broth to rice ratio should be slightly more than 1 broth to ½ rice.
- Mix everything then add the celery and ½ of the parsley. If you didn’t make the broth you can use water but, again, that’s your fault.
- Set timer to 22, 23 minutes and cover. Still low heat.
- At about 11 or 12 minutes remaining, return the set-aside sausage and mix in. Cover.
- At about 8 minutes, add the beans and mix in. Cover.
- At 5 minutes, add the shrimp and remaining parsley. Mix and cover.
- Make sure the water is not cooking off. If needed, add water or any remaining broth.
Serve with crusty bread.
* No Cajun spices? Try using 1 tbs paprika, ¼ tsp salt, some oregano, some thyme, and some cayenne.