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:

Mom,

Thanks for the King Cake recipe!

Could you send me your chicken and sausage gumbo and Big Easy potato soup recipes by chance?

Sent from my iPhone

Big-Easy-Potato-Soup

Big Easy Potato Soup

4 large russet potatoes

4 tablespoons butter

generous pour olive oil

1 small yellow onion, peeled and chopped

2 cups chicken broth

3 cups milk

1½ tsp Creole seasoning (or to taste)

Directions

Microwave potatoes on high until tender.  Set aside and allow to cool slightly.  In a Dutch oven or stock pot, melt the butter and olive oil combination over medium heat.  Add chopped onions to melted butter and olive oil combo and sauté until translucent.  Stir in the chicken broth and milk, stirring to incorporate.  Add kosher salt and black pepper.  Reduce heat to medium and continue to cook  for 1o minutes, stirring frequently.

While the liquid stock and seasonings do their thing, let’s prepare the potatoes.

Using a fork, press each potato in center to half and remove skins. Discard skins. Gently mash potatoes with a fork.  Add mashed potatoes to milk and broth mixture, stirring well to combine.  Bring to a boil; reduce heat and simmer until soup is creamy thick, about 15-20 minutes.

If the soup becomes too thick simply add more milk until desired consistency is reached.

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.

cest-si-bon

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