Happy Mardi Gras!
We are down to the last few days of the Mardi Gras season for 2013. It started on the epiphany, 10 days after Christmas, and will culminate on Fat Tuesday, two days from now. We used to live in New Orleans, so Mardi Gras is a major holiday at our house! Last night, we had our annual Mardi Gras party, with a small group of friends here to celebrate with us. Mardi Gras is about more than beads, beer, and revelry...it's also about food!
Each year for our Mardi Gras party, I make some of our favorite New Orleans dishes, with help from our friends - the food is definitely a highlight of the evening! Some of my New Orleans recipes were published in the February 2012 issue of Family Fun magazine, so I will link to those below.
Earlier this week, I made a quadruple batch of my Red Beans & Rice. My husband, son, and I had a bit for dinner that night, then I froze the rest (just the beans, not the rice). I defrosted it and reheated it before the party, a friend brought rice, and yummm....it was a big hit!
Yesterday morning, I made a big batch of Jambalaya for the party. This is another crowd-pleaser, made with chicken and Andouille sausage. My kids often argue over which dish is their favorite!
For simplicity sake, we also got some steamed and seasoned shrimp from a local seafood shop, bought King Cakes from a local bakery, and some good friends who also used to live in New Orleans with us brought a double-batch of New Orleans bread pudding with whiskey sauce, another classic NOLA dish.
Additionally, the Family Fun article also included my recipe for Shrimp Etoufee, another favorite at our house for weeknight dinners. They also published a recipe for homemade King Cake, if you want to take a crack at it yourself.
|Bread pudding and King Cake|
Other ways to celebrate Mardi Gras this week:
- Go to Nola.com to check out the Parade Cam and other video cams set up around the city. Scroll down the page a bit to see the parade schedule - Bacchus at 5:15 CST today is a great one! You won't be able to catch any of the beads, but you can enjoy the floats, costumes, and bands.
- Order Zapp's Potato Chips, hand-made in the tiny town of Gramercy, Louisiana. You probably can't get them delivered before Tuesday, but they are good any time of year! These are the most amazing, most unique potato chips you have ever tasted - seriously. Our favorite flavors are Cajun Crawtator and Cajun Dill. I ate piles of them last night!
- Drink some Abita beer, made in Abita Springs, Louisiana - a local and really delicious beer. It used to be hard to find outside of Louisiana, but it is now carried in our local stores here in Delaware. Abita Amber is an old favorite, but they have lots of varieties now.
- Call local bakeries in your area and ask if they have King Cakes. There are usually at least a few that make them this time of year, no matter where you live.
- If you can't manage any cooking for Mardi Gras this week, bring home some Popeye's take-out! People are often surprised to hear that Popeye's really is authentic New Orleans food. The chain was started in New Orleans by a well-known local restaurateur, and the food is actually pretty good. If you want authentic, go for the spicy chicken and the red beans and rice or dirty rice. That's what we will be eating on Tuesday - our annual tradition with our New Orleans friends here in Delaware!