Eat, Drink and Be Mardi Gras Merry: Laissez Les Bons Temps Rouler!

The parades, good times are rolling state, city and parish wide.  The Denver Broncos won Super Bowl 50, and we are proudly celebrating the team and our Peyton Manning on this Lundi Gras.  I can’t think of a better reason or season to laissez les bons temps rouler. Laissez les bons temps rouler (pronounced “Lay-say le bon tom roo-lay”) is the term most associated with Louisiana, Mardi Gras and our basic approach to life. Those celebrating Louisianians in their Carnival glory and their Gulf Coast neighbors know how to laissez les bons temps rouler.  We have a zest for life, a taste for tradition, and a food for every festival and celebration.

shaya red beans riceEmily’s Red Beans and Rice Recipe ~ Southern Living

Our culinary melting pot spans the entire state.  Courir de Mardi Gras, or Fat Tuesday Run, is the traditional way of Mardi Gras in many rural parishes of Louisiana.  A company of merry masked and costumed hunters gather en masse on horseback, foot and flatbed combing parish country roads for essential ingredients for a community gumbo.

Courir de Mardi Grasflickr

 ♫ Jambalaya and a crawfish pie and fillet gumbo ♫

Rooted in tradition dating back to medieval France, the fête de la quémande or feast of begging is part tradition, part necessity and part recipe revelry.  Begging townsfolk and voisins (neighbors) for gotta have it gumbo ingredients is a quaint, odd and beloved Courir de Mardi Gras custom- one where history meets heritage.

Laissez Les Bons Temps Rouler

Beginning with the Feast of the Epiphany and ending with the culmination of the Mardi Gras season , sweet home Louisiana is the place of cakes and Kings.

muffuletta-sammies-SQUAREv2Muffuletta Sammies ~ Central Grocery & Deli New Orleans, Louisiana

You say muff-uh-LOT-uh, and I say moo-foo-LET-ta, but everyone who has tasted a muffuletta says delicious.  Staying true to traditional form, no visit to New Orleans is complete without stopping in at Central Grocery for a muffuletta.  I call the muffuletta the Earl of Sicilian sandwiches.  The origin of the muffuletta dates back to 1906 when Salvatore Lupo, the original owner of Central Grocery, introduced New Orleans to the muffuletta.

573px-Muffaletta_At_Central_Grocery,_New_OrleansMuffuletta At Central Grocery, New Orleans

Other Crescent City eateries take a turn at the muffuletta and with great and tasty success, but we always come back to the original and here’s why: a soft, chewy, unforgettable, divine (yes, divine) sesame seed topped bread housing layers of mortadella, salami, mozzarella, ham and provolone. Hungry yet?  It gets better.

The crowning jewel of flavor, the signature super-secret recipe Central Grocery olive salad, is without a doubt the best olive salad known to the foodie palate.  Grab an ice-cold Barq’s Root Beer and experience a taste of New Orleans the way the locals do.

King-Cake-scones

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.  A taste of Mardi Gras tradition rolls on with a brunch favorite, King Cake scones.  The recipe is from Louisiana Cookin’. Here is the link to the recipe and King Cake goodness. King Cake Scones

682px-Krewe_of_Eve_Mask_FaceKrewe of Eve

I’m hanging out the gone celebrating sign and heading out to eat, drink and be Mardi Gras merry in laissez les bons temps rouler style.

Love your style!

Mardi Gras Historical Rex Musings: King of Carnival

Carnival season is rolling throughout the state of Louisiana and Gulf Coast regions. Dark clouds rolled in this morning, but a positive party attitude prevails victorious at Mardi Gras. The spirit, tradition, customs, pomp and circumstance of Carnival in Louisiana began with the clubs and carnival organizations formed in the greater New Orleans area over one hundred and fifty years ago.  Fat Tuesday is the last day of the Carnival season culminating weeks of celebrated indulgence.  In honor of the history and recorded beginnings, this year’s annual Places In The Home Mardi Gras post takes a look at Mardi Gras historical musings and Rex, King of Carnival.

Proclamation_King_of_Carnival_1936“Proclamation by the King of the Carnival”

Rex, the King of Carnival~

Rex-2015Visit New Orleans

The Krewe of Rex is one of the oldest krewes of Mardi Gras. Established in 1872, Rex continues to reign as the King of Carnival. The origin of inspiration for the official colors of Mardi Gras points to the official green, purple and gold colors of Rex.  Rex established the color palette of Carnival, and it’s the party favor that keeps on giving. Strong, bold and vibrant colors take center court as king in the Mardi Gras krewe of décoration.

beads-on-fence-mardi-grasVisit New Orleans

Leave no stone, house, balcony, courtyard, fence, tree, ladder, person, or architectural element unturned or undecorated in the name of all that is ornate, ostentatious and wildly extravagant.  Show your colors- it’s Carnival and it shows throughout the cities, towns, villages and parishes of Louisiana.

My_favorite_costume_of_the_day_Mardi_Gras_2010via

The more things change the more traditions and symbols stay the same. Parades, beads, throws, masks, costumes, libations, meals fit for kings, queens and royal court jesters, crowns, scepters and Boeuf Gras – the roots of the Krewe of Rex and Mardi Gras run deep through the years of royal good times, traditional splendor and joyous revelry.

826px-Rex2007BoeufGrasStChas Rex’s Iconic Boeuf Gras Float

Rex-King-of-Carnival

mardi-gras-table

A grand bacchanal, Mardi Gras attracts over one million people to the Greater New Orleans area. Rex issues his Official Proclamation of Carnival, inviting his subjects to gather together to celebrate. With a symbolic key to the city in Rex’s hand, the Rex parade rolls on Fat Tuesday to the beat and bellows of throw me something, mister. Contrary to popular belief, Mardi Gras is not just an all or nothing peep show throw down. It’s a celebration of many masked facets, one easily customized to the laissez le bon temps rouler side of the revelers brain.  We’ve rolled with the family flow on St. Charles Avenue and seasoned our celebration with a dash of naughty in the French Quarter. Culinary and historical debauchery is on Krewe control, and family oriented fun is a neighborhood parade route away.

Rex_2012_White_Deer_VerticalKrewe of  Rex Mardi Gras parade on Napoleon Avenue

Let the good times and the Krewe of Rex parade roll.

Love your style!

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!

 

 

 

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