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Mardi Gras!

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Tasty Kitchen Blog: Mardi Gras!

 
I’m not going to pretend I know all about Mardi Gras, because honestly, if you think you know little about it, I know even less. All I can muster from the top of my head is New Orleans. And beans. Or was that beads?

See? I know nothing.

Okay, maybe I know a little bit. For example, I know New Orleans cuisine features a lot of seafood: shrimp, mussels, crawfish … and boy, do they know how to dish them up.
 

Tasty Kitchen Blog: Mardi Gras! (Seafood)Clockwise from top left: Killer Cajun Mussels from steamykitchen, Cajun Shrimp and Marinated Cucumber Salad from Natalie (Perrys’ Plate), Creole Shrimp from Eat 80/20 Dietitian, Crawfish au Gratin from mommahen, Shrimp and Grits from big2beautiful, and Cajun Shrimp Tortillas from Tickled Red.

 
 
 
If you’re more of a carnivorous kind of reveler, no worries. You can still get that cajun feel with a spectacularly flavorful (trust me, it’s spectacular—I speaketh from often-repeated experience) Cajun Meatloaf from DetzelPretzel, a.k.a. Pastor Ryan. Or plate up some of kiki00star’s Cajun Pork Chops on a bed of rice and beans.
 
Tasty Kitchen Blog: Mardi Gras! (Meat)

 
 
 
You can also opt for something more casual and go with sandwiches. The muffuletta is a New Orleans invention named after the Sicilian bread traditionally used to make the sandwich. It’s bursting with rich flavors: sliced meat, olives, capers, olive oil, vinegar, and all sorts of good things. In fact, it’s so good that you can even make a meatless version and never miss the meat. Or you can go a different way and fry up some catfish and put it in a sandwich with some creole mustard.
 

Tasty Kitchen Blog: Mardi Gras! (Sandwiches)Clockwise from left: Meatless Muffalettas from ThreeManyCooks, flanked by Panini-Style Muffaletta and Fried Creole Catfish Sammich from patiodaddio (man knows his sammiches).

 
 
 
If pasta is your carb of choice, we’ve got some great New Orleans-inspired pasta dishes here, too. You can choose from lobster, crawfish, chicken, or just stick with a great sauce mixed with plain pasta.
 

Tasty Kitchen Blog: Mardi Gras! (Pasta)Clockwise from top left: Cajun Lobster Pasta from mommiecooks, Creamy Crawfish Pasta from jennifer, Creole Pasta from CookBakeandDecorate, and Ree’s Cajun Chicken Pasta.

 
 
 
Of course, you can also go old-school and make jambalaya. Or gumbo. Or étouffée. Or chowder. Classic dishes that are wonderfully hearty, and a great choice for the not-quite-spring-yet temperatures out there.
 

Tasty Kitchen Blog: Mardi Gras! (Classics)Clockwise from top left: Norm Froelich’s Shrimp Gumbo, Slightly Embellished from ThreeManyCooks, Cajun Shrimp Chowda from mommiecooks, Cajun Style Shrimp and Sausage Gumbo from jennifer, and Ex Boyfriend Étouffée from chutzpah.

 
 
 
And finally, no celebration would be complete without King Cake. King Cake is typically a ring of bread and colored purple, green and gold, and there are many different variations out there. This variation, Chocolate Ganache King Cake Rolls from mommahen, had me at chocolate.

Seriously, how delicious does this look?
 
Tasty Kitchen Blog: Mardi Gras! (Chocolate Ganache King Cake Rolls)

 
 
 
Oh my. I don’t know where to start. They all look so good!

So, do you have any special plans for today? Any favorite Mardi Gras dishes or drinks? Or a particular way you like to spice up a dish New Orleans style? I’d ask about any special Mardi Gras memories, but I’m not sure we’re all ready for that. We might need to do an entire “drinks” post first to set the mood.

Then again, maybe some things are better to the imagination.

 
Happy Tuesday, everyone!

 
 

54 Comments

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Mike Anderson on 4.23.2011

Mardi Gras and the southern dishes I grew up enjoying in Alexandria Louisiana are treasured memories. You never know how much you miss something until you do not have it anymore. As I read the comments and the survey the comments posted on you site, I think about the good times I have had every time I returned to Louisiana to take part in a crawfish boil with the people I grew up with or simply enjoying a oyster po-boy. Great work; I like you blog.

mellystx on 3.10.2011

Ahhhhh….just got home from five days in New Orleans. I think my family is stuffed from all of the food they ate! Until next year, time to behave myself nutritionally ;p

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TrialAndErin on 3.10.2011

I posted an excellent weight watcher friendly jambalaya recipe this week for Fat Tuesday here and on my blog http://www.trialanderin.com

It has andouille sausage and shrimp but still not too crazy on the points! :)

Candie on 3.10.2011

Oooohhh, that gives me an idea for a Reuben Panini for St. Patrick’s Day. Thanks

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eq4bits on 3.9.2011

Lundi Gras was Red Beans, Sausage & Rice
Mardi Gras was Fried Catfish topped with Crawfish Etouffe
I married a cajun boy and had to learn to cook cajun real quick
Used to spend ‘Mardi Gras weekend’ (Thursday before through Ash Wednesday) every year at The Pontchartrain Hotel on St. Charles (even though we only lived an hour away).
Drinks: Bloody Mary’s, Jello shots, and my stand-by that I could drink all day long without getting wasted or having to go take a nap: Parrot Bay Coconut Rum & Pineapple Juice

katie b on 3.9.2011

I’ve always wanted to make a jambalaya and now I’m gonna do it!!!! I’m just a few days late :D

AMY SMITH on 3.9.2011

I live in NOLA and we spent the time going to parades and boiling up some crawfish and crabs….. oops and all the fixins to go with it….. YUMMY YUMMY!

becky on 3.9.2011

@ohjalapeno…you are right correct, we don’t eat mussels in NOLA, it isn’t just your family! I doubt you could even find them for sale at a seafood store. I’ve never seen them at any of the ones I’ve frequented over the years!

Jessica A @ Ashes and Wine on 3.9.2011

We celebrated Mardi Gras with my hubby’s shrimp and grits! And I continue to celebrate it today because we made waaay too much.

As for Lent…instead of giving something up I have decided to add something to my life: Excercise. Mostly in the form of walking/running. 1) It is a healthy habit to have. 2) It is a great time to focus on Christ and pray. I don’ t have an iPod so I must do something!

jane meyer on 3.9.2011

we ate crawfish beignets with a lobster dipping sauce and shrimp and grits!!! both wonderful!

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callimakesdo on 3.9.2011

We love Shrimp Po Boys and a jambalaya for dinner…. Oh my. My mouth is watering and it’s only 7 am. Can I pull it off tonight? Oh and don’t forget the Cafe du Monde Eat your Heart out Beignets for dessert (from right here on Tasty Kitchen). YUM!

Happy When Not Hungry on 3.9.2011

Great roundup! Everything looks amazing!

Miss Heidi on 3.9.2011

Did you all know that Lent traditionally meant the end of eggs and butter? That is why pancakes are a traditional Mardi gras food.
Saying goodbye to my lovely eggs and butter now…

Sarah on 3.8.2011

Fat Tuesday is the day to pig out before Lent. I made the traditional pancakes!!

on 3.8.2011

I’m honored to have been mentioned. Thanks!

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Samantha Hunter on 3.8.2011

I made King Cakes last night… we had one for breakfast & DH took the other cake to work. We’ll be having pancakes shortly for dinner. We had etoufee with crawfish tails over the weekend. I’ll probably put a pot of red beans & rice on the later this week. Love the food of NOLA and don’t make it often enough. Thankfully all 4 kids love it too.

Cuddley Duddley on 3.8.2011

While I sit typing this I am sippin a Sazerac and being serenaded by Pops aka Mr Louis Armstrong! Fat Tuesday for me is always my last hedonstic push before my season of scarfice and Lent.

This morning I had wonderful chicory from Cafe Du Monde which i made into Cafe Au Lait. I also made fresh beignets for breakfast with cinnamon sugar and chocolate sugar and even a ganache. I followed this up by making gumbo all day long and at lunch time my husband brought home Mud Bugs for me to boil up! I am a expert at pinching the tail and sucking the juice and fat from their heads lol. Before the last bell strikes at midnight i will end the day with some Nanners Foster.

I MISS NEW ORLEANS

Marian from New Orleans on 3.8.2011

Laissez les bons temps rouler!
Was on the parade route early this morn. Partied to Zulu. Caught a few coconuts!
Tomorrow lent begins, a white lunch is very typical after all the celebrating over the past few weeks.

Take care,
Marian Happy Mardi Gras!!!!

Jennifer Foster on 3.8.2011

I make a King’s Cake every year and my husband makes Gumbo and cheese grits. YUMMO!

Here’s a photo of this year’s King’s Cake:

http://www.flickr.com/photos/[email protected]/5510163207/

Livin' Louisiana! on 3.8.2011

Gugh…where’s ya’ all’s King’s cake?!?!?

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soufflebombay on 3.8.2011

Great roundup!!!! Now I am starving – I better go fix that!!

KB @ Home-Baked Happiness on 3.8.2011

I made paczki for Paczki Day. And then, I keeled over of teh ded, ’cause it took something like 14 hours total to make them. They taste good, though.

tazie on 3.8.2011

Fastnachts put the FAT in Tuesday folks! Happy party Mardi Gras, and may you all find wisdom, love and happiness via Lent.

ohjalapeno on 3.8.2011

Let the good times roll! um about the mussels, it may just be my family but none of my New Orleans family eats them. Ever. But we may be odd!! :D

Maine Mom on 3.8.2011

Oh yum! I went for some beautiful Alfonso olives alongside a golden beet and fennel salad before some spicy chickpeas!:D

Kat on 3.8.2011

Paczkis are my Polish family’s tradition so I’m just waiting for the dough to finish rising before they hit the fry oil, go for a toss in the sugar and then get hit with a bit of strawberry filling. Best day of the year around our house!

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Stephanie on 3.8.2011

I have beans and rice at home in the fridge, I guess that will have to do…

Bonnie from Louisiana on 3.8.2011

Well, I’m originally from Ohio… I didnt know how much Mardi Gras IS this culture. I have been down here in Vermilion Parish for 10 years and still love this time of year. Every little town has its own parade. Everything including the schools closes down for the day and gather for a parade. Gumbo or jambalaya, King cakes, beer and beads! Happy Mardi Gras y’all!! Laissez les bons temps rouler!

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cjansmile on 3.8.2011

I’m fixing crawfish etouffee for supper tonight (my nephew’s favorite) Happy Fat Tuesday!

Tony von Krag on 3.8.2011

A SIMPLE CHICKEN AND SAUSAGE GUMBO

This is the simplest of my gumbos, but a hearty one and a classic Cajun combination. If you can’t find andouille, use a local hot smoked sausage or kielbasa or whatever smoked sausage you like. * 1 cup oil * 1 cup flour * 2 large onions, chopped * 2 bell peppers, chopped * 4 ribs celery, chopped * 4 tps chopped garlic * 4 quarts chicken stock (HOT!) * 2 bay leaves * 2 teaspoons Creole seasoning, or to taste * 1 teaspoon dried thyme leaves crushed * Salt and freshly ground black pepper to taste * 1 large chicken @ 4 1/2# (young hen preferred), cut into pieces * 3 pounds andouille or smoked sausage, cut into 1/2″ pieces * 1 bunch scallions (green onions), tops only, chopped * 2/3 cup fresh chopped parsley * Filé powder to taste

Season the chicken with salt, pepper and Creole seasoning and brown quickly. Brown the sausage, pour off fat and reserve meats. In a large, heavy pot, heat the oil and cook the flour in the oil over medium to high heat (depending on your roux-making skill), stirring constantly, until the roux reaches a dark reddish-brown color, almost the color of coffee or milk chocolate for a Cajun-style roux. If you want to save time, or prefer a more New Orleans-style roux, cook it to a medium, peanut-butter color, over lower heat if you’re nervous about burning it. Add the vegetables and stir quickly. This cooks the vegetables and also stops the roux from cooking further. Continue to cook, stirring constantly, for about 4 minutes Till the veggies are wilted & translucent. Add the stock, seasonings, chicken and sausage. Bring to a boil, then reduce & cook for about one hour, skimming fat off the top as needed. Add the chopped scallion tops and parsley, and heat for 5 minutes. Serve over rice in large shallow bowls. Accompany with a good beer and lots of hot, crispy French bread. YIELD: About 12 entrée sized servings.

Melissa Lewis - Midwest Magnolia on 3.8.2011

Not a seafood girl, but LOVIN’ that Cajan Chicken pasta and of course those King Cake Rolls. Yum Yum!

RandomCreativity on 3.8.2011

I had never heard of mardi gras until I moved to Louisiana – and I still think its crazy how school gets out for a WHOLE WEEK for it. My family is roasting a whole pig, not for mardi gras, but because everyone has the day off. :-)

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EatLiveRun on 3.8.2011

awesome round up! I baked some beignets yesterday and will be brewing some coffee with chicory to celebrate :)

Penny on 3.8.2011

We celebrate it as more of Fat Tuesday, and treat ourselves to State Fair food! There are snowbanks outside, but inside it’s pork chops on a stick, pickles on a stick, frickles, cheese curds, Sweet Martha-like cookies, and all the chocolate milk you can drink! And some Tums to wash it all down. :)

Sarah on 3.8.2011

Mardi Gras also known as Fat Tuesay or Pancake Tuesday. An old tradition is to have pancakes to use up all the forbidden food before Lent. My church is having a pancake supper for Mardi Gras along with this everyone brings all the treats from their houses and put on a community table. The kids go home with a major sugar rush. Lots of fun!!

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briana on 3.8.2011

All of these recipes are making me drool! I would love to be having a beignet and some chicory coffee from Cafe Du Monde in New Orleans right now!

Patti Rabbit on 3.8.2011

It’s a rainy day here today, Fat Tuesday, but it won’t slow down the eating, drinking, parading and all carnival has to offer in New Orleans. I live just an hour away. I did all of it in my younger days, but now I just enjoy the eating!

MissieLee on 3.8.2011

I’m making us a big ol’ pot of Smoked Turkey Sausage gumbo :-)

http://thatsmellsyummy.wordpress.com/2011/03/08/got-beads/

Mary on 3.8.2011

We celebrated over the weekend. Had some very excellent jambalaya, king cake, and beignets. We also had lots of fun with masks and beads.

Roberta on 3.8.2011

We went to NOLA last month and it was great. I hadn’t been to LA in over 25 years since living there with my ex…lol Forgot just how much I loved the food. Justin Wilson use to be my favorite creole/cajun chef on TV. Been cooking up a cajun storm ever since we got back. Make blackened shrimp alfredo which is my f avorite and the drinks do need a separate post ;)
http://con-tain-it.typepad.com/my_weblog/2011/02/foodie-friday-blackened-shrimp-alfredo.html#tp

Jessie on 3.8.2011

Thanks for the great post!! Happy Mardi Gras!

Laissez les bon temps rouler!!

Jessie – Lafayette, LA

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Natalie | Perry's Plate on 3.8.2011

I don’t know anything about Mardi Gras either except that a lot of food is involved. That’s good enough for me! Great round-up Erika and thanks for including one of my recipes!

Renee.S on 3.8.2011

Mardi Gras is one of my favorite holidays. I concocted a King Cake on Sunday; I guess we’ll have to finish it off before Ash Wednesday, but that won’t be too hard. I *think* this is the recipe I used. Absolutely delicious, and just like the ones from a New Orleans bakery.

http://www.emerils.com/recipe/3082/king-cake

Erin Walker on 3.8.2011

Below is the link to a great king cake recipe. The only things I changed were to roll the dough like a like you would a cinnamon roll instead of braiding it, and I also stuffed pecans inside – cream cheese would also be good.

I live in Baton Rouge and baked several of these this year and sent them to friends around the country who miss being in Louisiana for Mardi Gras.

http://www.epicurious.com/recipes/food/views/King-Cake-356833

Urban Wife on 3.8.2011

Ugh, I wish we wouldn’t have started our diet yesterday! I might be having hallucinations at this point after 24 hours of no sugar but these recipes look mouth watering! :)

Cécy on 3.8.2011

I grew up in France where Mardis Gras is only one day: Fat Tuesday. It’s the day of the “Carnaval”, that’s the day we dress up in France (we don’t do halloween). Traditionally we have beignets. Sadly I don’t think I have time to make them tonight.

The whole idea is to do all the things you won’t be able to do during the 40 days of Lent. Hence the rich food, disguise and other ways to dress up. We used to burn “Mr Carnaval” too, a tall figure that would catch on fire at the end of the day.

Ambry on 3.8.2011

I’d give just about anything for a cup of alligator étouffée, followed by a crawfish poboy, all washed down with an authentic sazerac! Oh my mouth is watering just thinking about it. Laissez les bon temps rouler!

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Erika (TK) on 3.8.2011

Beautifulheartache, you’re right! How could I have forgotten about beignets? Thanks for reminding me.

I just remembered another New Orleans original, too: bananas foster.

Now it’s even harder to choose.

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sweethardt88 on 3.8.2011

Pain Per-Du (french toast) for breakfast

https://tastykitchen.com/tasty-kitchen/recipes/main-courses/chicken-and-sausage-jambalaya/ for dinner!

King Cake for dessert!