Mardi Gras 2021 begins on February 16th.
While you may not be able to head to a restaurant (much less to New Orleans) to celebrate, you can cook up some celebratory excitement at home.
This year, there’s only virtual Mardi Gras. So why not plan your own celebration of traditional foods; costumes optional.
You can find Mardi Gras music on Amazon, and listen to it on You Tube.
If you want to decorate, Mardi Gras colors are purple, green and gold.
Just check out the recipes below.
Mardi Gras (Fat Tuesday in French) is the day before Ash Wednesday.
The “fat” refers to the practice of eating richer, fatty foods the last night before Ash Wednesday, the first day of the Lenten season, a period of ritual fasting*.
Centuries ago, Catholics in Italy started the tradition of holding a wild costume festival right before the first day of Lent.
The idea expanded, engendering huge Carnival events elsewhere—the most notable including New Orleans and Rio de Janiero.
You don’t have to be Catholic to join the celebration, as all attendees are welcome to the parades, etc.
> More Mardi Gras History
Pick and choose:
Bananas Foster: Bananas Foster is a dessert made from bananas and vanilla ice cream. The bananas are sautéed in butter with brown sugar, banana liqueur and Grand Marnier (orange-infused brandy) or rum. The original recipe was created at Brennan’s Restaurant in New Orleans.
BBQ Shrimp: BBQ Shrimp: Neither barbecued or served with barbecue sauce, these whole shrimp (with the heads and tails on) are grilled in Worcestershire sauce and butter. Typically, French bread is used to sop up the buttery sauce.
Beignets: Beignets are sweet fritters, typically made from pâte à choux, but may also be made from yeast dough.
Crawfish: A bowl of boil-and-peel crawfish is a New Orleans seafood specialty.
Étouffée: Étouffée is a dish of shellfish, simmered in a sauce made from a light or blond roux and served over rice. The most popular version of the dish is made with crawfish, although crab or shrimp are also used.
Gumbo: Gumbo is a hearty, thick soup, the official dish of Louisiana. It consists primarily of a strongly-flavored broth with a thick, almost stew-like consistency. The soup is thickened with a roux (pronounced ROO, French for browned butter). The broth contains meat (chicken, sausage) and/or shellfish (crab, crayfish, fish fillets, oysters, shrimp, e.g.), plus the Cajun/Creole “holy trinity” of bell peppers, celery and onions.
Jambalaya: Jambalaya is a Creole rice dish of West African, French, and Spanish influence, typically consisting of meat and/or seafood and vegetables mixed with rice. Traditionally, the meat always includes andouille or other sausage, along with pork or chicken; and seafood, such as crawfish or shrimp.
King Cake: King Cake is typically a Danish yeast ring (some are elaborately braided); some are made from brioche or cinnamon bread. It is covered with a poured white icing and sprinkled with purple, green and gold colored sugars—the Mardi Gras colors.
Milk Punch: Milk punch is a milk-based cocktail made with brandy or bourbon plus sugar and vanilla extract. It is usually garnished with a sprinkle of nutmeg.
Muffaletta: The muffaletta is a hero-style sandwich made from a type of Sicilian sesame bread of the same. It originated among Italian immigrants in New Orleans. The classic filling is layers of ham, mortadella, provolone, salami and Swiss cheese, topped with a marinated olive salad.
Po’ Boy: Another signature Louisiana sandwich is the po’ boy (poor boy): roast beef or fried seafood (crab, crawfish, fish fillet, oysters or shrimp). The protein is served on New Orleans French bread, a style with a crisp crust and a fluffy center.
Pralines: New Orleans Pralines are hard patties made from sugar, nuts and butter. Not to be confused with chocolate bonbons by the same name, or hazelnut praliné .
Oysters: Oysters from the Gulf of Mexico are served just about everywhere—baked (Oysters Rockefeller were born here), fried, grilled, on the half shell, and everything in between.
Red Beans & Rice: Red Beans & Rice are a tradition on Mondays, dating back to when household chores resumed after Sunday’s day of rest. Traditionally simmered from 4 to 6 hours, practically any meat from ham hock to sausage to pickled pork is placed in the pot with red or kidney beans and spices. Every family and restaurant has a its own spice preferences, but bay leaves, cayenne pepper, sage and thyme are common.
*During Lent, many Christians commit to a certain degree of fasting, including giving up rich foods, in order to replicate the account of the sacrifice of Christ’s journey into the Judaean desert for 40 days and nights following his baptism by John the Baptist. This ritual fasting is known as one’s Lenten sacrifice.
†Creole cuisine blends influences principally from France, Spain and West Africa, plus Amerindian (Native American) and Southern U.S. cuisines.
The post TIP OF THE DAY: Mardi Gras Recipes For A Home Celebration first appeared on THE NIBBLE Blog – Adventures In The World Of Fine Food.