Central Louisiana Mardi Gras Mambo

Welcome to our Mardi Gras ~ Bienvenue à notre Mardi Gras!  Mardi Gras is all around Louisiana and our sister states, but this invitation is to a Central Louisiana Mardi Gras Mambo Places In The Home style.

Mardi Gras

Festivities to beat the jazz band fill Central Louisiana afternoons, evenings and weekends with something Mardi Gras to do.

mardi-gras-beadsKrewe parades roll uptown, downtown, and all along the Red River replete with throws of colored beads and doubloons, go- cups (we do love a geaux-cup), and trinkets raining down to revelers below satisfying the traditional Carnival call of “Throw me something, Mister!”

geaux-cups

Alexa Pulitzer

What’s a go-cup (that’s geaux cup in Louisiana speak) you may ask?

Not to-go cup.  Go-cup.

go-cup

a cup used to hold any beverage that one may take with them while they are out and about

Louisiana is a festival-celebration-events driven state.   Celebrating is in our DNA.  Humidity is always in the air, ergo the need for liquid refreshment.  When out and about you can guarantee (ga-ron-tee as Justin Wilson said) it is with beverage of choice in hand.

Mardi-Gras-throws

Throw me something, Mister!

Mardi Gras in Central Louisiana emphasizes the spirit of family, friend and neighbor.




dance-band

We eat, drink, decorate, dance, promenade, stroll and second line on Garden District streets of brick during the Carnival season.  This is our taste of Mardi Gras world from the Twelfth Night (feast of Epiphany) to Fat Tuesday- a living it up in Central Louisiana c’est si bon celebration.

brick-streets

Gray skies never rain on our parade.  We know how to adapt and simply take the party indoors.

king-cake-colors

Decorating for Mardi Gras gives me an opportunity to put my French themed decor accessories and accents on Mardi Gras parade.

Mardi-Gras-Centerpiece

The purple, green and gold colors and oval design of a traditional King Cake serves up dining table centerpiece idea.

mardi-gras-buffet2

purple-gold-green-mask

Centerpiece inspiration is everywhere, and the colors and design of the King Cake is as good a muse as any.

Mardi-Gras-Venetian-Masks

Taking inventory of items around the house and those plucked from a fantastic end-of-season clearance sale last year, I spied my Sportsman’s Paradise-Gulf of Mexico-coastal collection of shells, figurines and the like.  Winter is making me blue, so any and all opportunities to inject a bit of spring into my step and/or decor are welcome.  Shells and pelicans equal spring into summer perfect.

candy-Mardi-gras

This gold pelican figurine is 39 years old- a nugget souvenir from our college days at LSU.  The shell is an oldie but a lovely as well.

pelican-figurine

The curated side of my brain and the decorating side of my brain merged to come up with a fabulous pairing.  There’s a baby in a King Cake, and there’s a Louisiana pelican in this shell of a Carnival inspired candy dish.

New-Orleans-Street-Car

Our days of letting the good times roll in New Orleans ceased in favor of the local lagniappe Central Louisiana offers.  These days, home is where the Mardi Gras celebration is.

love your style

 

A Taste of Home: Mardi Gras Food Edition

I am an information junkie.  My travel journal is full of fascinating foodie factoids and regional fare ratings.  One never knows when the need for a conversation starter or trivia answer round the water cooler, dinner table or game board will present itself.  “The United Sweets of America” takes the reader on a culinary state-by-state road trip with a map of official and not-so-official desserts. Louisianians love their Mardi Gras food, and one of our absolute most delicious regional dishes came in as the state favorite. Curious to see what sweet treat sensation is deliciously associated with what state?  Click on the image below and the magic of link love will take you right on over to “The United Sweets of America”, a fun read by Slate associate editor L.V. Anderson.  By the way, the dessert ranked number one in Louisiana is, drum roll please, Bananas Foster.

mardi gras foodSlate

Speaking of which regional sweet treat your state is known for, when the calendar points to Mardi Gras season Mardi Gras food is the topic of Carnival culinary conversation. The Louisiana Loyal are finding themselves with a hankering for a taste of sweet home Louisiana. Phone calls, text messages and email requests for Mardi Gras food recipes come fast and furious during Mardi Gras season. Our Canadian snowbird son. The Missouri snow shoveling nephew.  Floridian flamingos and Don’t Mess with Texas cousins.  East Tennessean hills friends.  Chicago suburbs aunts and uncles.  I guess what they say is true- you can take the boy or the girl out of Louisiana but you can’t take Louisiana out of the boy or the girl.  The proof is in the bread pudding!  Gosh, does that sound good! Wondering what Mardi Gras food recipes inspire the masses to phone home?  Here’s a look at the Mardi Gras food and recipe requests thus far:

Bananas Foster

This legendary Louisiana dessert is the stuff flamboyant flambé tableside preparation and presentation culinary dreams are made of.  Bananas, melted butter and brown sugar dance the dance of caramelization awaiting generous pours of banana liqueur and dark rum.  The grand finale of flame and circumstance showcases the art of tableside exhibition, the lagniappe of New Orleans tradition.  The recipe for my version of Bananas Foster takes the top slot on our Mardi Gras food desserts menu.

Mardi-Gras-bananas-foster

King Cake

A King Cake is a sweet traditional cinnamon filled coffee cake style pastry glazed with topping and sprinkled with sugar in the Royal colors of purple, green, and gold. King Cake parties rule the Carnival season. Tradition dictates Mardi Gras revelers love the tradition of eating this Carnival confection during Mardi Gras season. The custom of the plastic baby baked into the cake is steeped in culinary Carnival tradition, and if you are the lucky reveler who gets the piece of King Cake with the baby you are named “King for a Day”.  With great King Cake power comes great King Cake responsibility.  Tradition dictates the “King for a Day” is obligated to host the next King Cake party.

Mardi-Gras-food

Hoppin’ John Grits

Hoppin’ John Grits,  a Southern with a kick recipe of black eyed peas seasoned with chopped onions, bell peppers and celery (the Cajun trinity) and ham served atop white grits is low country goodness wrapped in Louisiana c’est si bon flavor. This recipe for Hoppin’ John Grits is another Mardi Gras food favorite.

hoppin'-john

Chicken and Sausage Gumbo 

gumbo-bowlClick on the link to view the recipe for Chicken and Sausage Gumbo 

This is the  email I received from the Canadian snowbird that kicked off this post:

Re: Mardi Gras Mambo Gumbo

Mom,

Thanks for the King Cake recipe!

Could you send me your chicken and sausage gumbo and Creole Seasoning recipes by chance?

Creole-seasoning

Creole Seasoning

1/3  cup paprika

3 tablespoons dried oregano

3 tablespoons ground black pepper

2 tablespoons dried basil

2 tablespoons kosher salt

1 tablespoons cayenne pepper

1 tablespoon granulated onion

4 teaspoons dried thyme

4 teaspoons granulated garlic

In a medium bowl combine paprika, dried oregano, ground black pepper, dried basil, kosher salt, cayenne pepper, granulated onion, dried thyme and granulated garlic.  Stir to combine.  Can be stored in an airtight container for up to three months.

Mardi Gras food is the taste of home.

cest-si-bon

Fabric Color, Pattern and Trim: By The Numbers

Old Man Winter has dropped his bags at the front door of 2015 for an extended stay, but a fabric color, pattern and trim pick-me-up provides all the decorative lagniappe necessary to lift a decorative spirit out of the winter doldrums. Mardi Gras and the calls of Throw Me Something, Mister ring thick in the mild Louisiana winter air, taking the sting out of the fact we’ve got a ways to go before spring, sprang and sprung of spring. With the word throw being the star of the Mardi Gras Carnival parades, and bright, bold and anything but boring color draping the entire state in pops of party shades, color me inspired.

casual-living-magazine

Decorative throw pillows remain a great choice of decorative accent for instant and affordable pop of color, pattern and trim. The colors, pattern and fabric durability of outdoor fabrics are making the transition to indoor home decor accents. Recently I came across a very informative feature by Stephanie Nickell in the Fashionable Fabrics for ’15 edition of Casual Living Magazine. Exclusive to Casual Living Magazine, the 2015 Fabrics Survey shows fabric color, pattern and trim choices projected to be the best sellers for 2015 by outdoor retailers and designers who responded to the survey.  Categories include cushions, slings, decorative pillows and trim predictions with percentage comparisons between the 2014 and 2015 results listed.  Let’s take a look at the numbers in the 2015 preferred pillow colors category.

 

fabric color, Pattern and Trim

decorative-pillow-color-favorites-2

decorative-pillow-favorites-3

Interesting predictions. To take a look at the complete 2015 Fabric Survey click here. In what category do you find your preferred fabric color, pattern and trim choice in?

Love your style!

 

 

 

Seasonings: A Mardi Gras Gumbo Good Time History Lesson

The parades are rolling, Carnival colors of purple, green and gold are everywhere, krewes stand dressed and ready heed the calls of “Throw me something, Mister!” and kitchens across the region are turning out bowls of hearty Mardi Gras gumbo by the gumbo pots full.  It’s that time of year again for the Places In The Home seasonings Mardi Gras gumbo good time history lesson and recipe feature.

Amazon

In rural Cajun parishes of Louisiana, costumed participants saddled up and on horseback make the Fat Tuesday run- the annual Courir de Mardi Gras.

Courir_run_2010_05

Courir run

Masked riders will hunt, gather and produce ingredients found at local farms to put in the end of run community gumbo.

courir_run

Courir Run

Gumbo recipes in our area of the world range from chicken and andouille sausage to duck to seafood full of shrimp, crab and oysters.  Bell pepper, onion and celery- the Cajun holy trinity- gets the seasonings mardi gras gumbo ball rolling.

peppers-onions

For a period back in the lat 1970’s, my dad got on a kick of making duck and seafood gumbo on Christmas Eve.  Good times!  He stopped cooking seafood or duck gumbo upon discovering the ultimate taste of Mardi Gras, Prejean’s Seafood Gumbo.

got gumbo

Located in Lafayette, Louisiana, Prejean’s (pronouned pray-shjohn) Restaurant is a family style restaurant serving Cajun and Creole dishes. There is a difference between Cajun and Creole foods, but not nearly enough to matter to most.  I found the recipe on Prejean’s Facebook page and am sharing it.

Prejeans seafood gumbo

One look on their page and you will see what the buzz is all about.  One visit to the restaurant and you’ll know what the buzz is all about.

Prejean’s Seafood Gumbo

Ingredients: (roux)

¾ cup oil

1 cup flour

Ingredients: (stock)

Kitchen bouquet (optional)

8 oz. unsalted butter

1 ½ cups chopped onions

1 cup chopped bell pepper

½ cup chopped celery

1 gallon water

4 ounces chicken bouillon granules

2 bay leaves

seasonings: 1 tsp. Salt*, black pepper, and red pepper

2 teaspoons garlic powder

2 pounds peeled shrimp

1 pound crabmeat

1 pound crawfish

2 cups oysters (optional)

¼ cup green onions

*Salt should not be added until late in the simmering process, after some of the water has evaporated. Salt is already present in the bouillon broth.

Method:

Heat oil in large, heavy pot. Add flour slowly, stirring all the while. Continue to cook over medium heat, stirring constantly, until dark brown in color. (If you are worried about burning the roux, cook to a medium dark color and add Kitchen Bouquet for extra color). All at once, add the chopped onions, bell pepper, and celery. Continue to cook until vegetables are transparent (about 10-15 minutes). Add bay leaves and seasonings and cook on low for 45 minutes. Add 1 gallon of water and the 4 ounces of chicken bouillon to the roux and stir slowly until thoroughly mixed. One minute prior to servings, add shrimp, crabmeat, crawfish, and oysters to the gumbo. Serve in a bowl over rice. Garnish with chopped green onion tops.  Serves 8.

Prejean’s Restaurant

The seasonings and measurements of a mardi gras gumbo recipe can be the best kept secret.  Depending on who the chef is and what region the mardi gras gumbo is cooked in, the gumbo could be served over the traditional favorite, rice, as well as saltine crackers, french bread, a boiled egg and a hearty scoop of potato salad.  Pass the file and a good time, it’s Mardi Gras gumbo season in Louisiana. Take a look at The Ultimate Guide to NOLA Cuisine for a quick course in everything c’est si bon!

The Ultimate Guide to NOLA Cuisine

Sergio Fernandez – Visually

cest-si-bon

Radiant Orchid

Pantone Color of the Year 2014 has been revealed.  Radiant Orchid delivers a stunning up close and Pantone look at the beauty of color.

Pantone Color of the Year 2014

 

radiant orchid

Radiant orchid is no shrinking violet in the grand color scheme of  primary or accent things.  I’m most excited to see color, radiant color, take its rightful place on the stage shared and paired with neutral palettes and the decorative darling duo,  black and white.  A hint, a splash or a pop of color often completes the look of the space, and bravo to that!

orchid wallsvia

Floral motifs in soft redwood and orchid envelope and exude soft shades in textured hues in this one-of-a-kind wool rug from ABC Carpet & Home.

orchid wool rug

Blended shades of orchid complement the crackle finish of the Ty Orchid table lamp by Arteriors Home available from Lamps Plus.  Orchid is always in perfect company, complement and contrast to  pale gray.

Ty orchid table lamp

 

Inspired by the vintage perfume bottles seen in the windows of antique shops in France, Orchid Fragrance by artist Michelle Bennett is a great option for a splash of trend with of pop of 2014 color.

orchid home decor

1, 2, 3

Go for the gold and radiant orchid in geometric sophistication with this Boulevard decorative pillow or set the mood with the Scallop Art Glass Amethyst Candle in radiant orchid purple tones.

via

The announcement of radiant orchid as the Pantone Color of the Year 2014 at the holidays offers new traditional Christmas decorating ideas for the holiday season.  I already have the  fabric in mind for a custom tree skirt in radiant orchid pattern and texture.  Talk about laissez les bons temps rouler festive timing!  Radiant orchid kicks off the season as the king of carnival color.

mardi gras colors

Will radiant orchid find a place in your favorite and festive spaces?

 

A Regional Favorite With A Kick: Hoppin’ John Grits

Mardi Gras is always on a Louisianian’s mind, especially when it comes to regional cuisine. We like a little kick in our Mardi Gras festivities, and a lot of kick in our food. Hoppin’ John is a Southern favorite recipe of black eyed peas, ham and the Cajun trinity- chopped onion, bell pepper and celery. Although traditionally served with rice, another southern favorite adds a culinary twist and turn.  Grits are about as Southern as you can get,and another house favorite of the Places In The Home gang. This recipe for Hoppin’ John Grits resulted in an unanimous chorus of C’est si  bon, cher!

hoppin'-john-grits

Hoppin’ John Grits

Ingredients

1 ½ Tablespoons olive oil

2 cups ham hocks

1 cup dry black eyed peas, soaked overnight or quick boiled

3 cups water

1 can chicken broth

1 onion, peeled and chopped

1 bell pepper, chopped

2 stalks celery, chopped

1 Tablespoon minced garlic

2  teaspoons parsley flakes

1 teaspoon salt

½ teaspoon pepper

2 bay leaves

green onions for garnish, optional

Directions

Quick boil for black eyed peas.

black eyed peas

Bring 3 cups of water and 1 cup black eyed peas to a rolling boil. Boil for 1 minute. Pour off all water.

sliced ham

Heat olive oil in pan. Sear ham on both sides.  Before adding to the water, I prefer to saute the Cajun trinity in ½ Tablespoon olive oil and an additional ¼ teaspoon pepper (the kick).  This step is totally optional.

cajun trinity

Add water, chicken broth, peas, chopped onion, bell pepper and celery.  Stir well, bringing to a boil. Reduce heat to medium low and add remaining ingredients. Cook for 1 ½ -2 hours or until peas or tender.  If liquid cooks down too much add additional water or broth.

Hoppin' John black eyed peas

Grits

Ingredients

4 cups water

1 cup grits

½ teaspoon salt

6 teaspoons butter or margarine

milk or half and half to taste

Directions

Bring water to a brisk boil.  Add grits and salt into boiling water.  Whisk together, reducing heat to medium-low and cook 5 to 7 minutes or until thickened. Whisk occasionally during cooking to avoid lumps.  Add 1 teaspoon butter or margarine per serving and desired amount of milk or half and half , stirring to blend.  Serves 6.  Plate grits and top with Hoppin’ John. Green onions may be added as garnish.  Laissez les bons temps rouler!

enjoy

On A Cresent City Roll: New Orleans King Cake Recipe

If I had a nickel for every New Orleans King Cake party, Laissez les Bons Temps Rouler! and Throw Me Something, Mister attended and yelled throughout the cities and parishes of Louisiana, it would be Hurricanes for all on the patio at Pat O’Brien’s. From its opening in 1933, Pat O’Brien’s has remained a French Quarter landmark- a quintessential New Orleans party in the French Quarter favorite. Patrons have three points of Pat O’Brien’s interest to choose from- the dueling pianos in the Piano Lounge, the Main Bar or the Pat O’s Patio.  My relationship with Pat O’Brien’s dates back to my days at LSU, and here’s proof of one of those fun evenings on the patio (that’s me on the bottom right).  What a fun place for good times and making great memories!

Pat O’Briens

New Orleans King Cake is a Carnival staple- a local delicacy rich in taste, history, and tradition.  King Cake parties go hand in hand with Mardi Gras as perfect opportunities to do what we do well here in Louisiana- pass a good time!  King Cakes traditionally are braided dough oval cakes baked with a small plastic baby inside. The top of the cake is covered with sugar in traditional.  Friends, neighbors, family, and Krewe members partake in the delicacy, and the person who receives the slice of cake with the baby keeps with tradition by hosting the next King Cake party.  New versions of the New Orleans King Cake take the Mardi Gras season by delicious surprise. Case in Carnival point…

Cochon Butcher 

What’s not to hunka hunka burning love about The Elvis King Cake exclusively from a Cochon Butcher.  Braided yeast bread filled with peanut butter & bananas, marshmallow topping, candied bacon, sprinkles, and the cutest little plastic pig is Carnival culinary genius.

Fornasetti-crown-plateBarney’s

All this talk of King Cakes and Carnival has me thinking King Cake party. I’m presently without camera, but not without recipe.  This recipe cuts to the King Cake chase by using refrigerated crescent rolls as well as packing big almond flavor.  King Cakes aren’t necessarily good for the waistline, but they are good for the soul.

Crescent City Crescent Roll King Cake

Ingredients

2  cans refrigerated crescent rolls

¼ cup granulated sugar

¼ cup firmly packed brown sugar

1 teaspoon allspice

1 teaspoon cinnamon

½ cup almond paste (see recipe below)

½ cup finely chopped pecans

1 stick butter,  melted

For Almond Paste

1 ½ cups whole blanched almonds

1  2/3 cups powdered sugar

¼ cup egg white

½ teaspoon almond extract

For Glaze

1 cup powdered sugar

½  teaspoon pure vanilla flavoring

1  teaspoon almond extract

1 Tablespoon milk

For Colored Sugars

1½ cups granulated sugar, divided into 3 equal parts

red, blue, green, and yellow food coloring

Directions

For Almond Paste

Using a food processor grind the almonds into a fine powder (this should take about 2 minutes). Add powdered sugar, blending well. Place mixture in a large mixing bowl. Stir in egg whites and almond extract until smooth. On a flat surface Lightly dusted a flat surface with powdered. Roll out almond paste into a 14″ x 1-2″ log. Wrap in parchment paper and chill for a minimum of 1 hour. When rested, cut the log in two pieces. Wrap in wax paper and chill.

~recipe from Food.com

For King Cake

Preheat oven to 350ºF.  Unroll crescent rolls -do not separate- and place on baking sheet that has been sprayed with non-stick cooking spray. Lightly press crescent rolls at seams to seal. Mix allspice, cinnamon, granulated sugar, and brown sugar together. Brush crescent rolls with melted butter. Spoon prepared sugar mixture over crescent rolls. Drop almond paste by teaspoonfuls over the top of the crescent rolls. Top with chopped pecans.

Begin at the long end of crescents and carefully roll into a log similar to a jelly roll.  Bring ends together, pinching together to form a ring. Bake at 350ºF for  20 to 25 minutes, or until golden brown. Allow to cool to room temperature.

For Glaze

In medium mixing bowl, whisk add all ingredients together until smooth. Drizzle glaze over top of King Cake.

For Colored Sugars

Divide the 1½ cups sugar evenly into three separate cups or small bowls. For the purple color,  add one drop of red and one drop of blue food coloring to ½ cup sugar. Add 2 drops yellow to the second ½ cup of sugar to make the gold sugar, and add 2 drops green to the last ½ cup of sugar to make the green sugar. Gently blend sugar with food coloring(s). Sprinkle top of cake with colored sugars in color block form by alternating colors. Follow with desired decorations.

Cut me a piece of New Orleans King Cake, mister!

cest-si-bon

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Carnival Season, A History Lesson and A King Cake Cupcakes Recipe

Have you heard the news?  New Orleans, Louisiana and the Mississippi Gulf Coast is throwing a Mardi Gras party!  It’s a Louisiana lagniappe-laissez les bons temps rouler-throw me something, mister atmosphere down here, and here’s a bit of background.  Carnival season begins on the 12th night of Christmas, which is also know as Epiphany.  Until Ash Wednesday, ’tis the season to celebrate Mardi Gras.  Revelers gather to pass a good time, attend masked balls, indulge in decadent food and drink offerings, parade party with the Krewes and carry on traditional traditions.

Mardi_Gras_mask,_New_Orleans,_Louisiana_LCCN2011631020.tif

A custom still celebrated is the King’s Cake.  King Cakes are made of a cinnamon filled dough in the shape of a hollow circle, glazed with topping and sprinkled with sugar in the colors of Mardi Gras- purple, green and gold.

King-Cake-Colors

Purple signifies justice.

Green represents faith.

Gold denotes power.

A plastic baby is baked inside the King Cake, and tradition says whoever gets the baby in their piece of cake has to buy the next King and host the next party.

king-cake-baby

King Cakes are a diversified delicacy- baked, filled and decorated in different ways based on bakery, tradition and territory.  Different strokes and tastes for different parishes as it goes.  These Mardi Gras favorites are sold by the thousands during Carnival season.

mardi gras king cake

This recipe for King Cake cupcakes bakes up a little bite of Big Easy flavor in laissez les Bons temps rouler taste so good tradition.

Zatarain’s

King Cake Cupcakes 

Ingredients

Cupcakes:
1 ¼ cups cake flour
1 ½ teaspoons baking powder
1/8 teaspoon salt
½ cup (1 stick) butter, softened
3/4 cup granulated sugar
1 teaspoon McCormick® Pure Vanilla Extract
2 eggs
3/4 cup milk
Creole Cream Cheese and Root Beer Frosting:
8 ounces Creole cream cheese, softened
Substitutions
¼ cup (½ stick) butter, softened
½ cup confectioners’ sugar
¼ teaspoon ZATARAIN’S® Root Beer Concentrate

Directions

Preheat oven to 350°F.  For the Cupcakes, mix flour, baking powder and salt in medium bowl.  Set aside.

Beat butter in large bowl with electric mixer on medium speed 30 seconds or until softened.  Add granulated sugar and vanilla; beat until light and fluffy, scraping down sides of bowl frequently.  Beat in eggs, 1 at a time. Alternately beat in flour mixture and milk on medium-low speed just until mixed.  Spoon batter into 12 lightly greased or paper-lined muffin cups, filling each cup 2/3 full.

Bake 12 to 14 minutes or until toothpick inserted into cupcake comes out clean. Cool in pans on wire rack 10 minutes.  Remove from pans; cool completely.  Makes 12 (1 cupcake) servings.

For the Frosting, beat cream cheese and butter in large bowl with electric mixer on medium speed until smooth.  Add confectioners’ sugar and extract; beat until fluffy.  Set aside.

Make an indentation in the center of each cupcake using the handle of a wooden spoon or a straw, making sure not to break through bottom of cupcake.  Spoon Frosting into resealable plastic bag or piping bag fitted with star tip.  If using plastic bag, cut a small piece off one of the bottom corners of bag.  Pipe a small amount of Frosting into each cupcake.  Pipe remaining Frosting onto each cupcake.  Sprinkle with colored sugar, if desired.

~ recipe via Zatarain’s

enjoy