It’s a Carnival Fling – Make it Count!

If today is Fat Tuesday, then tomorrow is Ash Wednesday and the beginning of the Lenten Season for most of the Christian World. While most people think of Mardi Gras and Fat Tuesday as being one and the same, that’s not entirely accurate.

Mardi Gras is actually a part of the whole Carnival Celebration, a time that begins on January 6 with the Feast of the Three Kings and concluded on the eve of Ash Wednesday. Mardi Gras actually means “Fat Tuesday”, signaling the end of a long indulgence and the beginning of penance. It is the high point of the Carnival Celebration, when the pleasures of rich, fatty foods, of wine and merriment reaches a fever pitch in the streets. In American, the biggest Carnival Celebration is held in New Orleans.

On March 2, 1699, French-Canadian explorer Jean Baptiste le Moyne Sieur de Bienville (wow, what a mouthful!) arrived at a plot of ground some 60 miles directly south of New Orleans. He and his men promptly named this spot “Pointe du Mardi Gras” when they realized it was the eve of the festival Holiday known as Fat Tuesday. This was not the beginning of New Orleans Mardi Gras or even the site of the first Mardi Gras parade in the new world. Bienville went on to establish Fort Louis de la Louisiana in 1702 in what is now Mobile, Alabama. The following year, the tiny fort settlement, now called Fort Louise de la Mobile, celebrated America’s very first Mardi Gras. A year later, Mobile established a secret society, Masque de la Mobile, similar to the Mardi Gras krewes of today. Bienville returned to the area near New Orleans, and set up an establishment there in 1718. By the late 1830s, under the cloak of darkness, New Orleans held Street Carnivals with parades in grand fashion and people traveled from all over to partake.

By 1872, a group of prominent businessmen invented the title King of Carnival to preside over the first daytime parade. The honor went to the visiting Russian Grand Duke Alexis Romanoff. The Romanoff family colors of Purple, Green and Gold became the official colors of Mardi Gras.

While not everyone is able to attend the big street carnivals, we can enjoy the flavors of New Orleans.

A Festive Fat Tuesday
Crab Mounds with Cajun Lobster Sauce

Fat Tuesday Appetizer

Shrimp and Sausage Jambalaya Pasta
Warm French Bread with Melted Garlic Butter

Mardi Gras Salad with Honey Mustard Vinaigrette

03 Mardi Gras Salad

Mardi Gras Cake Rolls

07 Mardi Gras King Cake Roll (2)

Crab Mounds with Cajun Lobster Sauce
The Crab Mounds
1 lb. Lump Crab Meat
1/4 cup Red Onion or Shallot
1/4 cup Celery
1/4 cup Red Bell Pepper
1/2 cup Basil
2 Tablespoons Herb Breadcrumbs
Roasted Garlic Powder to taste
1/2 cup mayonnaise
1/2 teaspoon cracked black pepper
Lemon wedges

Line a baking sheet with parchment paper, set aside. Heat the broiler element of the oven. Pick over the crab meat for any remaining shell pieces. Spread the crab out onto the prepared baking sheet, broil for about 3 minutes. Remove the baking sheet from the oven and transfer the crab meat to a large bowl.

Using a mini-processor, mince the red onion and celery, set aside. Chop the red pepper, julienne the basil leaves.

In a saucepan over medium heat, warm about a teaspoon of olive oil, just enough to coat the bottom of the pan. Sauté the chopped red onion, celery and bell pepper about for 5 minutes. Remove the saucepan from the heat and allow the vegetable mixture to cool.

Add the cooled vegetable mixture along with the julienned basil to the crab meat. Gently mix to combine. Fold in the mayonnaise and the cracked black pepper. Set aside.

Heat oven to 350 degrees. Line the baking pan with fresh parchment paper. In a small bowl, season the breadcrumbs with a little roasted garlic powder, whisk to combine and set aside.

Use an large cupcake or ice cream scoop mound the crab mixture onto the prepared baking pan. Sprinkle the tops of the mounds with breadcrumbs.

Bake the crab mounds in the heated oven for 12 minutes, then turn on the broiler and broil the crab cakes for 3 minutes.

While the crab is baking, begin making the Lobster Sauce.

The Cajun Lobster Sauce
1 cup Heavy Cream
1/2 cup Green Onions
2 Tablespoons Butter
2 Tablespoons Cajun seasoning
1 teaspoon Worcestershire Sauce
1/2 teaspoon Sweet Paprika
1 teaspoon Louisiana Hot Sauce
1 teaspoon Lobster Base

In a saucepan over medium heat, simmer and reduce the heavy cream for about 8 to 10 minutes. While the cream simmers, trim the root ends from the green onions, then slice the remaining onion into garnish-size pieces. Set aside. Over low heat, or in a micro-wave safe bowl, melt the butter and set aside.

Add the Cajun seasoning to the reduced cream and whisk together. Whisk in the Worcestershire, paprika and hot sauce. Finish with the lobster base, melted butter and chopped green onions. Allow the sauce to simmer on medium heat for 5 minutes before serving.

To serve; remove the crab mounds from the oven. Spread the sauce onto appetizer plates or small serving platters. Carefully place the mounds on top of the Cajun Lobster Sauce, serve with lemon wedges if desired.

Shrimp and Sausage Jambalaya Pasta
2 lbs medium Raw Shrimp
1 lb Smoked Sausage
1 Red Bell Pepper, sliced
1 Green Bell Pepper, sliced
1 Red Onion
4 1/2 cups Chicken Stock
1 lb Linguine Pasta
2 tablespoons Vegetable Oil
1 1/2 cups Tomato Sauce
10 oz Ro-tel Fire Roasted Tomatoes with Green Chiles
1 tablespoon Cajun Seasoning
1 tablespoon Garlic Powder
1 tablespoon Sweet Paprika
1 tablespoon Onion Powder
Kosher Salt to taste
Fresh Black Pepper to taste

Optional for Color
Sweet Paprika as desired
Parsley Flakes as desired

Peel, devein and remove tails from the shrimp. Keep chilled unit ready to cook. Cut sausage into small pieces, set aside. Core the bell peppers, cut into long slivers, set aside. Peel and slice the onion into slivers about the same size as the peppers.

In a stockpot, bring chicken stock to a boil. Submerge pasta into the stock, and cook until al-dente, about 10 minutes.

While the chicken stock heats and the pasta, cooks, make the Jambalaya. Heat oil over medium heat in a large stockpot or large, deep-walled skillet.  Once hot, sauté the peppers and onion for about 2 or three minutes. Add the sausage, let brown. Add the stock, tomato sauce and fire roasted tomatoes. Season well with Cajun seasoning, garlic powder, paprika, onion powder, salt and pepper. Simmer for 10 minutes over medium heat. Add shrimp, continue to simmer until sauce thickens and shrimp cook through, about 15 minutes longer.

Drain the pasta, retaining the cooking water. Spread the pasta out on a large, rimmed serving bowl. Ladle the Jambalaya over the pasta. If necessary, moisten with some of the pasta cooking liquid. If desired, sprinkle with a little paprika and parsley flakes just before serving.

Warm French Bread with Melted Garlic Butter
1 loaf French Bread
1/2 cup Butter, divided
1 tablespoon Roasted Garlic Powder
1 tablespoon Italian Breadcrumbs
1/2 tablespoons Parsley Flakes

Heat oven to 400 degrees. Line a baking sheet with parchment paper, set aside.

Melt 1/4 cup butter in a small microwave safe bowl. Add garlic powder, breadcrumbs and parsley flakes. Smash remaining 1/4 of soft butter into the mixture to create a nice paste of butter that spreads easily on the soft bread. Taste, if more flavor is desired, add a little more garlic powder.

Split bread lengthwise, leaving about 1/2 inch still connected to create a butterflied loaf. CAREFULLY open bread on the prepared baking sheet. Brush the cut-side of bread with butter mixture. CAREFULLY close bread, turn the loaf on its side so that open side is up, hinged side is down. Slice bread half way through, leave “hinge” in tact.

CAREFULLY open bread, place in oven open to warm. Warm until lightly toasted. Using the parchment paper for support, slide the warm bread onto a clean tea towel. Wrap the towel around the bread, then and place into a French Bread Basket.

To serve, pass wrapped loaf around the table, inviting diners to “break” off a piece of bread.

Mardi Gras Salad with Honey Mustard Vinaigrette
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

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

The Salad
1 head Romaine Lettuce
1 head Butter Leaf Lettuce
1/2 head Purple Cabbage
2 Yellow Bell Peppers
1/2 Cucumber

Tear the salad greens into pieces, scatter over a serving platter. Finely shred the cabbage, set aside. Core and slice the bell peppers into strips, set aside. Cut the cucumber into thin rounds.

Arrange salad greens on a large platter. Tuck the cucumber in among the greens. Layer cabbage and bell pepper slivers over greens so that all the colors are visible on the platter.

Serve with Honey Mustard Vinaigrette on the side, allowing diners to drizzle as they please.

Mardi Gras Cake Rolls
The Cake Roll
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

Note: If purple food coloring is available, use that instead of a mixture of Red and Blue.

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 rolls are chilling, make the filling.

The Cream-Berry Filling
1 tub (12 oz) Whipped White Frosting
1 1/4 cups Cool Whip, thawed
Fresh Blackberries as desired

Mix together the frosting and cool whip. Set aside at room temperature to make the filling easier to spread. Chop up some blackberries, if desired and set aside.

When the cakes are ready, carefully unroll one cake at a time, peeling away the parchment paper. Spread half of the frosting over the top of the cake, sprinkle with berries, then immediately re-roll. Repeat with the second cake. Refrigerate until ready to serve.

The Finish
Whipped Cream
Fresh Blackberries

When ready to serve, decorate the tops of the cake rolls with swirls of whipped cream, either home made in a pasty bag or from a can.

Top as desired with blackberry “crowns”. The slice and serve with additional berries if desired.

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.

3 thoughts on “It’s a Carnival Fling – Make it Count!”

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