A Mardi Gras Feast Fit for a King

Some believe that Mardi Gras can trace its roots to Roman times. The Romans held a festival in mid-February to honor their god of fertility and agriculture, Lepercus. The Lupercalia Festival of Rome held some definite Mardi Gras-like qualities such as drinking, feasting and indulging in pleasures of the flesh. During the Crusades, the carnival-like Lupercalia Festival was adopted as a Christian “last fling” of indulgence before the Lenten period of penitence and sacrifice.

The colors of Mardi Gras are purple, yellow (or gold) and green. These colors symbolize justice, power and faith. The colors are found throughout a Mardi Gras celebration – everything from many of the foods to the costumes and floats of the parades.

While most of us think of Mardi Gras as Fat Tuesday, a single day of celebrating and merry-making, the actual season of Mardi Gras begins on January 7th (the day following the Epiphany), and ends at on the day before Ash Wednesday (Fat Tuesday). Yeah, that’s what I call a party!

So pick a date somewhere along the line, call your friends together and have a good time!

The Appetizer Course:
Hot Crab Dip with Baguette Slices
Spicy Shrimp Puffs

The Salad Course:
Mardi Gras Salad with Honey Mustard Vinaigrette

03 Mardi Gras Salad

The Seafood Course:
New Orleans Colossal Shrimp Stew

04 New Orleans Barbecue Shrimp

The Main Course:
Smoky Baked Cajun Chicken
New Orleans Dirty Rice with Andouille Sausage
Mardi Gras Squash

The Dessert Course:
King Cake Cream Filled Rolls

07 Mardi Gras King Cake Roll

Hot Crab Dip
1 lb Lump Crab Meat, picked through for shells
8 oz Cream Cheese, softened and cubes
1/2 cup Mayonnaise
1/4 cup Parmesan Cheese, shredded
2 Green Onions, chopped
1 Garlic Clove, minced
2 tablespoons Worcestershire Sauce
1/2 Lemon, juice only
3 teaspoons Louisiana Hot Sauce or to taste
2 cups Pepper Jack Cheese, divided
Italian Parsley, chopped for garnish
Baguette Slices for spreading dip

Heat the oven to 350 degrees.  Mix all ingredients together, reserving half of the Pepper Jack.  Spread the mixture into a pie pan or 8 x 8 pan.  Sprinkle the remaining cheese on top. Bake for about 15 minutes until it’s all melted together and cheese on top is Browned.  Garnish with a little chopped parsley. Serve with baguette rounds for dipping.

Spicy Shrimp Puffs
1 package (24 count) Puff Pastry Cups
12 oz Shrimp, peeled, deveined and roughly chopped
2 tablespoons Butter
Olive Oil as needed
1/2 small Onion, chopped
2 tablespoons Green Bell Pepper, chopped
1/4 cup White Wine
1 Garlic Clove, minced
Louisiana Hot Sauce to taste
Cajun Seasoning to taste
Red Pepper Flakes to taste
1 tablespoon Worcestershire Sauce
1 Green Onion, chopped
1/4 cup Parmesan Cheese, shredded

Bake the puff pastry cups according to directions.  If necessary, poke the centers back down after removing from the oven.

Meanwhile, melt the butter in a large skillet and drizzle in some olive oil.  Cook the onion and bell pepper until tender. Deglaze the pan with the wine.  Add in the shrimp, garlic, hot sauce, Cajun seasoning, red chili flakes, Worcestershire sauce, and green onions. Cook a couple of minutes or until shrimp is done.  Add in the cream and bring to a bubble. Remove from the heat and stir in the Parmesan cheese, adding the additional cheese if the sauce isn’t thick enough. Spoon into the puff pastry cups.

Mardi Gras Salad with Honey Mustard Vinaigrette
The Salad
1 Head Romaine Lettuce, torn into pieces
1 Head Butter Leaf Lettuce, torn into pieces
1 cup Purple Cabbage, finely sliced
1 cup Yellow Bell Pepper, finely sliced

The Vinaigrette
1/2 cup White Vinegar
1 tablespoon Honey
1 tablespoon Dijon Mustard
1/2 teaspoon ground Black Pepper
2 teaspoons Salt
2 teaspoons Garlic, minced
1 cup Vegetable Oil

To Make Mardi Gras Salad
Arrange salad greens on a large platter. Layer cabbage and bell pepper over greens so that all three colors are visible on the platter.

Serve with Honey Mustard Vinaigrette on the side.

To Make Honey Mustard Vinaigrette
In a small bowl, whisk together the vinegar, honey, mustard, pepper, salt, garlic and oil until thoroughly combined. Chill until serving.

New Orleans Colossal Shrimp Stew
1 lb colossal Shrimp, peeled with tails on
1/4 cup Worcestershire Sauce
1 Lemon, juice only
1 tablespoons Cajun Seasoning
6 Garlic Cloves, minced
1 cup Butter
1/4 cup White Wine
2 tablespoons Olive Oil
Louisiana Hot Sauce to taste
3 Green Onions, sliced
1/4 cup Italian Parsley, chopped
1 loaf French Bread, for serving

Melt the butter in a large skillet and add in the olive oil.  Put the garlic in and stir quickly, cooking about 30 seconds.  Add in the wine, Worcestershire sauce, and Cajun seasoning. Cook a couple of minutes to reduce.  Add in the shrimp, parsley, lemon juice, and hot sauce to taste.  Cook the shrimp until pink and completely cooked through, about 3 to 4 minutes for large shrimp.

Remove from heat and sprinkle the green onions over the top.  Serve in bowls with the sauce ladled over the top and warm French bread for getting all that saucy goodness.

Note: The sauce separates as it cools, so it should all be eaten immediately after cooking.

Smoky Baked Cajun Chicken
1 teaspoon Salt
1/4 teaspoon Cayenne Pepper
1/4 teaspoons Red Pepper Flakes, crushed
1 teaspoon Garlic Powder
1 teaspoon Smoked Paprika
1/2 teaspoon White Pepper
1/2 teaspoon Onion Powder
1/2 teaspoon dried Oregano
1/2 teaspoon Thyme
3 large Chicken Breast

Heat oven to 450 degrees. Lightly oil an 8-inch by 8-inch baking dish. Set aside.

Mix together the salt, cayenne pepper, crushed red peppers, garlic powder, paprika, pepper, onion powder, dried oregano, and dried thyme in a small ramekin.

Rub the spice mix onto the chicken breast. Coat well.

Place chicken on the prepared baking dish. Place in the oven and bake for 20 minutes.

Remove chicken from the oven, cover the pan tightly with aluminum foil. Return to the oven and continue to bake another 5 minutes or until cooked through.

Let chicken rest for 10 minutes, covered in the baking pan. Transfer to a cutting board. Slice chicken and fan out onto a serving platter to serve.

New Orleans Dirty Rice with Andouille Sausage
4 cups Chicken Broth
2 cups Long-Grain Rice (white or brown)
12 oz Andouille Sausage, sliced
1 Yellow Onion, diced
3 Celery Ribs, diced
2 Garlic Cloves, minced
2 Green Bell Peppers, diced
1/2 teaspoon Sea Salt
1/2 teaspoon fresh Black Pepper
1/2 teaspoon Chili Powder
1/4 teaspoon Cayenne Pepper
2 tablespoons Italian Parsley, chopped
1 cup Green Onions, sliced

Using a large saucepan with a tight-fitting lid, add the chicken broth and rice. Stir and bring to a boil. Once rice is boiling, reduce the heat to low; cover and simmer until the broth is fully absorbed, about 30 to 45 minutes. Do not stir rice once covered and simmering. Peek at about 30 minutes and adjust cooking time as needed. Once the broth has been absorbed, remove from the heat and let stand; covered; for 10 minutes.

Once the rice is covered, slice the sausage in half lengthwise, then into half-rounds. Set aside.

Dice onion, celery and bell peppers. Set aside. Mince the garlic cloves. Set aside.

After the rice has been simmering about 10 minutes, place a large cast iron skillet over medium-high heat. When the skillet is hot, add the sliced sausage. Cook; stirring occasionally, until nicely browned. Set the sausage aside, leaving the fat renderings behind in the skillet.

Add the onion, celery, bell pepper and garlic. Sauté over medium-high heat until the vegetables have softened, about 10 minutes or so. Season the vegetables with salt, pepper, chili powder and cayenne pepper. Return the sausage to the skillet. Sprinkle with green onions and keep warm until the rice is done.

Once the rice is ready, stir into the skillet with the sausage-vegetable mixture. Garnish with additional chopped green onions and parsley before serving.

Mardi Gras Squash
2 Zucchini Squash, sliced
2 Yellow Squash, sliced
1 Red Onion, sliced
1 tablespoon Olive Oil
Salt to taste
Fresh Black Pepper to taste

Heat oven to 350 degrees.

Cut zucchini squash in half lengthwise. Cut each half into slices. Scatter on a rimmed baking sheet.

Repeat with yellow squash.

Peel and cut red onion in half width-wise. Cut each half into slivers. Scatter on the pan with the squash.

Drizzle with olive oil, toss to coat.

Season with salt and pepper.

Bake in the heated oven for 20 minutes or until crisp-tender.

Transfer to a serving platter and enjoy.

Mardi Gras Cake Rolls
For the Cakes
6 eggs
1 box Super Moist White Cake Mix
1/2 cup water
1/4 cup oil
Red food coloring
Blue food coloring
Green food coloring
Yellow food coloring

For the Filling
1 tub (12 oz) Whipped White Frosting
1 1/4 cups Cool Whip, thawed

Heat oven to 375 degrees.

Spray the bottom of two 10-inch by 15-inch jelly roll pans with cooking spray. Line pans with parchment paper. Lightly spray the paper with cooking spray.

In a large bowl, beat eggs on medium high-speed using an electric mixer for about 6 minutes, until pale yellow and thick. When you lift beater, eggs should fall in a ribbon.

Add cake mix, water, and oil and beat on low-speed for 30 seconds.

Increase speed to medium and beat for 1 minute.

Divide batter equally among 3 bowls.

Into one bowl of batter, add red and blue food coloring a few drops at a time to create a deep purple color. Remember, batter will lighten as it is baked, so make sure the color is bold.

Into a second blow, add green food coloring. Into the third bowl, add yellow.

Pour each of the colored cake batters into individual disposable pasty bags or large zip-lock bags.

Snip the tips off the bags and begin piping very thin layers of colored stripes at an angle across one pan. Begin with a purple strip, then yellow, then green. Continue until the pan is filled with stripes. Repeat with the second pan.

Bake the cakes for about 10 minutes or until cake springs back when touched.

While the cakes are baking, have a second piece of parchment paper ready to roll each cake. Set aside until ready to use.

When the cakes are baked, flip cakes out of their pans, peel off the parchment paper and flip over onto the clean piece of parchment paper. Immediately roll up the cake along with the parchment paper. Tape the ends to secure the roll and let sit at room temperature for 10 minutes, then refrigerate for one hour.

While the cake is chilling, mix together the frosting and cool whip. Set aside until ready to use.

When the cakes are ready, carefully unroll, peeling away the parchment paper. Spread half of the frosting over the top of each cake, then immediately re-roll.

Refrigerate until ready to serve. To serve, slice into rounds and enjoy.

Wish you all a wonderful Mardi Gras, a fulfilling Lenten Season and a blessed Easter.

Author: Rosemarie's Kitchen

I'm a wife, mother, grandmother and avid home cook.I believe in eating healthy whenever possible, while still managing to indulge in life's pleasures.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: