It’s Madri Gras time! If you are heading down to Nawlins steer clear of Bourbon Street and enjoy the festivities all over the city and in the parishes. “A time for Local Mardi Gras krewes who bring you the "Greatest Free Show on Earth" do not even parade through the Quarter. That is why you have never seen a parade filmed from a balcony in the Quarter -- you just see the crowds after the parades.”
Last year on the Friday before Ash Wednesday a cold winter wind was blowing through the Carolina’s. Not this year, Mother Nature has bestowed upon us a mild winter in the US and although this year Ash Wednesday falls early there is a feeling of spring in the air in my part of the world.
It can be a little confusing trying to figure out when Ash Wednesday falls, so just to clarifyJ according to www.mardigrasneworleans.com “Ash Wednesday is always 46 days before Easter and Fat Tuesday is always the day before Ash Wednesday. Easter can fall on any Sunday from March 23 to April 25 with the exact date to coincide with the first Sunday after the full moon following a Spring Equinox! There you have it! Voila! If you're still confused look at a calendar!"
My husband Doug and I love New Orleans, the delicious food, lively music, eclectic and friendly people. I don’t need a reason to cook up some great Cajun or Creole foods, but with Mardi Gras season upon us I usually find myself in the kitchen whipping up our favorite New Orleans cuisine and preparing to host a Mardi Gras party, usually the Saturday prior to Fat Tuesday.
This Saturday we have tickets to a concert so I will not be hosting a party but will prepare a pot of Gumbo to enjoy on Fat Tuesday. For those of you preparing a Mardi Gras celebration or a New Orleans themed dinner here is my go to menu that is always a crowd pleaser.
Mardi Gras Menu
Appetizers- Fresh vegetable platter with dip, smoked salmon spread with crackers
My friend Janet introduced me to the Mardi Gras salad, which is a festive salad incorporating the colors of Mardi Gras; purple (red) onion, slices of mandarin oranges and green spinach. The Mardi Gras Salad is a colorful salad that is one of my favorites which I prepare all year long, always pleasing to the palate.
The traditional colors of Mardi Gras were selected in 1872 and in 1892 the symbolism of the colors were decided: purple represents justice, green faith and gold power.
The bacon provides a great flavor but you can make the salad without the bacon.
Cool Cucumber Salad
Whether you are entertaining a large crowd or preparing an intimate dinner this salad always delivers and is a great pairing with a spicy gumbo.
This weekend I will have a batch of Gumbo simmering on the stove, just the smells from the Gumbo will remind me of a warm sultry night in the French Quarter of New Orleans, eating fresh steamed crawfish, savoring a bowl of Gumbo and listening to New Orleans jazz.
To satisfy the seafood lovers here is my Etouffee recipe for Mardi Gras or make this any time you are in the mood for a little something spicy. Traditionally Cajun Etouffee is tomato based, where as Creole Etouffee is roux based. Enjoy!
The perfect bread to sop up your gumbo and etoffee! I usually purchase a fresh Baguette from my local bakery and one of these days I am going to try my hand at baking my own Baguette!
King Cake is a pastry style cake decorated with frosting in the colors of Mardi Gras; purple, green and gold. In New Orleans traditionally a small baby Jesus or trinket is inserted in the cake and whoever finds the trinket in their slice of King Cake hosts the next Mardi Gras party or brings the
King Cake the next year. I have had the good fortune of finding the baby Jesus two years in a row.
Now that you have your menu for the Mardi Gras party, music is a must so don’t forget to have a great selection of Jazz, Zydeco and any of your party favorites ready to liven up the festivities. And do not forget the Mardi Gras beads, I usually purchase beads at my local party store, toss them in a bowl as gifts for my guests to wear.
Do you have any favorite Madri Gras recipes? Have you been to Mardi Gras in New Orleans, please share!