It has been said that a Scotchman has not seen the world until he has seen Edinburgh; and I think that I may say that an American has not seen the United States until he has seen Mardi-Gras in New Orleans. ~ Mark Twain
Polling the warehouse and office for everyone’s favorite pre-bead-throwing Mardi Gras foods. No one owns up to liking King Cake, but everyone has their preferred gumbo and jambalaya recipes.
Colleen’s absolute favorite is Rachael Ray’s Chicken Jambalaya. Looking it over, I agree, although jambalaya is very forgiving if you want to get creative.
To add a little kick, the Cajun Grocer has boudin alligator sausage–the Alligator is sauteed with “the Cajun Three” (onions, celery, bell pepper) then seasoned and combined with cooked rice and finally packed in a sausage casing. They also have andouille, but our own Boulder Natural Meats makes their own delicious version, and you can buy great Colorado Sausage andouille around here at Tony’s Market.
On the other hand you might be wondering why cook at all (and have to clean up before the festivities) when you can have the best late lunch at Lucile’s – one of my favorite neighbors at Logan /Alameda. Of course, if you are in Boulder, Fort Collins, Littleton or Longmont, Lucile’s has blessed you with one of its Cajun cafes, as well. This way you will have time to go buy an extra couple of packs of Mardi Gras beads to toss up into the bare winter branches of your trees.
If you have misbehaved on Tuesday night, then it’s to church for Ash Wednesday penence, followed by a small treat before Lent seriously kicks in.
For myself, I get a little bit of chicory and toss it in 2-times the usual amount of ground coffee before drip brewing; and then I turn to my favorite recipe for beignets (this is as close to mine as I have found online, but you can short-cut it and buy the Café du Monde mix.)
Use canola oil – it does not add a particular flavor to the beignets – and keep the stovetop heat at medium. The oil is hot enough to start frying when a pinch of flour sizzles when it hits the surface of the oil. Do NOT crowd the pan. If the beignets get too sizzly, lower the heat a bit.
And then I sit at my table and pretend it is early Tuesday morning in Jackson Square. . . before the crowds, before the noise.
* We love you Zachary Richard