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New Orleans Recipes
A good roux—a slow-cooked mixture of flour and fat that's used to thicken and flavor a soup, stew, or sauce—is the foundation of many Cajun and Creole dishes, including the recipe for crawfish étouffée. Depending on how long you cook it, a roux can be light brown and faintly nutty in taste to dark chocolate brown with an intense, almost chicory-like flavor. We asked the New Orleans chef John Besh, author of My New Orleans (Andrews McMeel, 2009), about the finer points of making a roux. click
Jalapeño Cheese Grits by John Besh: yield: Serves 6–8. These cheesy grits are the perfect base for Veal Grillades or almost anything else. *ingredients: 1 cup stone-ground white corn grits 1 jalapeño pepper 3 tablespoons butter 2 tablespoons mascarpone or cream cheese 1/4 cup grated Edam cheese Salt. *preparation: 1. Heat 4 cups of water in a large heavy-bottomed pot over high heat until it comes to a boil. Slowly pour in the grits while whisking constantly. Reduce the heat to low, cover, and cook, stirring occasionally with a wooden spoon, for about 20 minutes. 2. While the grits are cooking, pan-roast the jalapeño pepper in a small skillet over high heat until the skin is brown and blistered. Cut the pepper in half lengthwise and remove the skin and the seeds from the pepper and discard. Mince the flesh and add it to the pot of grits. 3. Remove the pot from the heat and fold in the butter, mascarpone, and Edam cheese. Season with salt.
Green Onion Sausage and Shrimp Gravy by John Besh My New Orleans: The Cookbook recipe: *In South Louisiana, any sauce is called gravy. This dish would be our equivalent of biscuits and sausage gravy, except we've got all this seafood down here that finds its way into nearly everything. Serve this gravy over biscuits ) with Oeufs au Plat , and you've really got something. As a chef, I make this a bit more complicated than it needs to be: I start with the shrimp in the pan, then remove them so they don't overcook, and then I add them back once it's all come together. *ingredients: 1 tablespoon rendered bacon fat 1 pound green onion pork sausage, removed from casings 1 small onion, diced 1 tablespoon flour 1 pound jumbo shrimp, peeled and deveined Salt Freshly ground black pepper 1/2 green bell pepper, seeded and diced 1 clove garlic, minced 1 teaspoon crushed red pepper flakes 1 pinch allspice 2 dashes Worcestershire 1/3 cup diced canned tomatoes 1 cup Basic Chicken Stock Leaves from 1 sprig fresh thyme 1 green onion, chopped. *preparation: 1. Melt the bacon fat in a large heavy-bottomed pan over high heat, then add the pork sausage and cook, breaking up the meat with the back of a wooden spoon, until it is browned, 12–15 minutes. Add the onions and cook, stirring often with the spoon, until the onions are deep brown, about another 15 minutes. 2. Reduce the heat to moderate, then sprinkle the flour into the pan, stirring to mix it into the sausage and onions. Cook for about 2 minutes to remove the raw flavor from the flour. 3. Season the shrimp with salt and pepper, then add them to the pan, stirring and tossing them with a spatula. Sauté until they turn pink, about 3 minutes. Remove the shrimp from the pan and set aside while you continue making the sauce. 4. Add the bell pepper, garlic, pepper flakes, allspice, Worcestershire, tomatoes, and Chicken Stock to the pan, stirring well. Increase heat and bring the sauce to a boil. Reduce the heat to low and cook for 15 minutes. Add the thyme, green onions, and shrimp and cook for another 5 minutes. Season with salt and pepper.
Oeufs Au Plat by John Besh: *Editor's note: Serve these fried eggs with Chef John Besh's Green Onion Sausage and Shrimp Gravy . A simple dish like fried eggs can be so good, and because it's so simple it's important to start with the best eggs, butter, and salt you can find. Pay attention to the cooking process and you'll have the most memorable eggs ever. *ingredients: 2 teaspoons softened butter 2 eggs 2 pinches salt *preparation: 1. Rub a room-temperature 9-inch skillet with the butter. Place the skillet on the burner without turning it on. Crack the eggs into the skillet on opposite sides of the pan from each other. 2. Turn the heat on to medium-low and cook the eggs until the whites have coagulated and turned opaque. Season the eggs with salt and serve with Green Onion Sausage and Shrimp Gravy, if you like.
Tragedy and Comedy Garland By: Amanda Formaro: Make this easy and decorative tragedy and comedy garland to hang in your classroom or for your Mardi Gras party! *What you'll need: 1 sheet each. *How to make it: Fold each piece of construction paper in half lengthwise. *Print and cut out the two mask patterns. Lay one of the mask patterns on the green paper. Line up the top of the mask above the fold of the paper by about 1/8". (See photo.) You will need to do this so when you cut the paper, your fold remains in tact. Repeat this on the same sheet with the other mask pattern. You will get two masks per sheet. Repeat step 2 for all the other colors. should end up with six masks, one of each color for both kinds. *Cut each mask out; make sure your folds remain in tact. After they are cut out, place the mask pattern over the top of the cut out mask and use a pencil to trace the facial features. By tracing over the pattern, you are creating indents in the construction paper. Remove the pattern and repeat this process for all the masks. (See photo.) Use a black marker to trace the facial feature indents and color in. *Tape one end of the yarn to the table so that when you add the beads they won't fall off the other end. Thread all of the beads onto the yarn, alternating colors as you go (yellow, purple, green, yellow, purple, green, etc). Lay the beaded yarn down on the table in front of you and tape the left end to the table as well. *Move the first three beads to the far left side of the yarn strand. Next you will be alternating masks and beads to create your garland. We suggest this order of masks, but you can choose whatever order you like: yellow tragic (sad), purple comedy (happy), green tragic, yellow comedy, purple tragic, green comedy. *Open the first mask and coat the inside with a glue stick. (See photo.) Position the yarn, first three beads to the left, onto the inside mask crease. Fold the mask back together, gluing it together, trapping the yarn inside. *Slide 9 beads up to the first mask, and then add the next mask after that (purple comedy). *To secure the end beads and make sure they don't fall off, remove the tape from the end of the yarn, run the yarn back through the end bead. Pull it tight to secure. Repeat on the other side. Hang your garland! *Tips: Mardi Gras colors are purple, yellow and green. You can alternate the order of the colors on this project to accommodate what you have on hand. Pony beads are available in small packages and large variety packs from your local discount department store and craft supply stores. For a bigger challenge, have children cut the facial features from black paper instead of using a marker to add them.
Mardi Gras Indians: Tracing their roots back to a time when American Indians helped shield runaway slaves, the Mardi Gras Indians are among the most colorful and mysterious of New Orleans' cultural phenomena. Finding it difficult to participate in Mardi Gras “krewes,” early African Americans developed their own way of celebrating by organizing Mardi Gras Indian tribes as krewes. Today, Mardi Gras Indians shine at every opportunity by showcasing their spectacular hand-made costume, lovely song and contagious spirit. Watch them parade and perform at several events including Jazz Fest, “Super Sunday” the Sunday after St. Joseph’s Day or come during Mardi Gras season when their celebratory spirits shine most – you can’t leave New Orleans without having joined in this truly unique tradition!
History of Mardi Gras By Arthur Hardy: "It took the city of New Orleans to transform the centuries-old celebration of Mardi Gras into America's Greatest Party." The celebration of Mardi Gras came to North America from Paris, where it had been celebrated since the Middle Ages. In 1699, French explorer Iberville and his men explored the Mississippi River from the Gulf of Mexico. On a spot 60 miles south of the present location of New Orleans, they set up camp on the river's West Bank. Knowing that the day, March 3, was being celebrated as a major holiday in France, they christened the site Point du Mardi Gras. But Mardi Gras' roots predate the French. Many see a relationship to the ancient tribal rituals of fertility that welcomed the arrival of Spring. A possible ancestor of the celebration was the Lupercalia, a circus-like orgy held in mid-February in Rome. The early Church fathers, realizing that it was impossible to divorce their new converts from their pagan customs, decided instead to direct them into Christian channels. Thus Carnival was created as a period of merriment that would serve as a prelude to the penitential season of Lent. [click for more history]
United States: While not observed nationally throughout the United States, a number of traditionally ethnic French cities and regions in the country have notable celebrations. Mardi Gras arrived in North America as a French Catholic tradition with the Le Moyne brothers, Pierre Le Moyne d'Iberville and Jean-Baptiste Le Moyne de Bienville, in the late 17th century, when King Louis XIV sent the pair to defend France's claim on the territory of Louisiane, which included what are now the U.S. states of Alabama, Mississippi, and Louisiana. The expedition, led by Iberville, entered the mouth of the Mississippi River on the evening of March 2, 1699, Lundi Gras. They did not yet know it was the river explored and claimed for France by René-Robert Cavelier, Sieur de La Salle in 1683. The party proceeded upstream to a place on the west bank about 60 miles downriver from where New Orleans is today, and made camp. This was on March 3, 1699, Mardi Gras, so in honor of this holiday, Iberville named the spot Point du Mardi Gras (French: "Mardi Gras Point") and called the nearby tributary Bayou Mardi Gras. Bienville went on to found the settlement of Mobile, Alabama in 1702 as the first capital of French Louisiana. In 1703 French settlers in Mobile began the Mardi Gras celebration tradition. By 1720, Biloxi had been made capital of Louisiana. The French customs had already accompanied colonists who settled there. In 1723, the capital of Louisiana was moved to New Orleans, founded in 1718. The tradition has expanded to the point that it became strongly associated with the city in popular perception, and embraced by residents of New Orleans beyond those of French or Catholic heritage. Mardi Gras celebrations are part of the basis of the slogan, Laissez les bons temps rouler, (Let the good times roll) and the nickname "Big Easy". Mobile, Alabama, the former capital of New France, also has a long tradition of celebrating Mardi Gras. Other cities along the Gulf Coast formerly occupied and owned by the French from Pensacola, Florida, and its suburbs to Lafayette, Louisiana, have active Mardi Gras celebrations. In the rural Acadiana area, many Cajuns celebrate with the Courir de Mardi Gras, a tradition that dates to medieval celebrations in France. In the last decade of the 20th century, the rise in producing commercial videotapes catering to voyeurs helped encourage a tradition of women baring breasts in exchange for beads and trinkets. This is practiced only in very small fragments of where Mardi Gras is celebrated, mostly by visitors rather than locals.
Belgium: In the Belgian city of Binche the Mardi Gras festival is the most important day of the year and the summit of the Carnival of Binche. Around 1000 Gilles dance throughout the city from morning until past dusk, whilst traditional carnival songs play. In 2003, the "Carnival of Binche" was proclaimed one of the Masterpieces of the Oral and Intangible Heritage of Humanity by UNESCO.
Mardi Gras: (Also known as Shrove Tuesday or Fat Tuesday) Mardi Gras celebrations in New Orleans, USA. Type Christian, cultural. Significance Celebration prior to fasting season of Lent. 2011 date March 8, 2012 date February 21, Celebrations Parades, parties Related to Carnival, Shrove Monday, Ash Wednesday, Lent, Maslenitsa
Sandra Lee's Mardi Gras King Cake: Ingredients: 1 (13.9-ounce) can bread sticks , (recommended: Pillsbury) 1 (1-inch) heat proof plastic baby, 1 (12-ounce) can whipped cream cheese frosting (recommended: Pillsbury) 1/4 cup heavy cream, Green sanding sugar, Purple sanding sugar, Gold (yellow) sanding sugar. Directions: Preheat oven to 400 degrees F. Line a baking sheet with parchment paper; set aside. Open bread sticks. Press together the ends of 2 of the sticks to make 1 long stick. Repeat with the remaining bread sticks giving you 6 long sticks. Taking 3 at a time, loosely braid together. Repeat with remaining dough. Pinch the braids together end to end. Leaving a 3-inch hole in the middle, loosely coil braids around one another on prepared baking sheet. Press ends together. Bake in preheated oven for 16 to 20 minutes or until completely golden brown. Remove from oven and cool completely. Carefully insert the baby into the cake in between the seams of the braid. In a medium pot combine the cream cheese frosting and heavy cream. Heat over low heat until warm and smooth, stirring constantly. Pour glaze over cake and sprinkle with sanding sugars.
Mardi Gras King Cake Recipe by Jo: "The King Cake is a New Orleans tradition that involves a pastry, a small plastic baby, and a party. The King Cake is baked with a small plastic baby hidden inside, the person who gets the slice with baby in it has to host the next party. Make sure to buy a new small plastic baby so you can get the full effect from this cake! Sprinkle with purple, green and gold sugar, or decorate with whole pecans and candied cherries. Note: Be sure to tell everyone to inspect their piece of cake before they begin eating it. To be extra careful, use a plastic toy baby that is too large to swallow, or hide an orange wedge or 3-4 pecan halves inside the cake (avoid items that may hurt someone's teeth) and then simply place the honorable toy baby outside on the top of the cake for all to see and adore!" Original Recipe Yield 2 cakes. Ingredients: PASTRY: 1 cup milk, 1/4 cup butter, 2 (.25 ounce) packages active dry yeast, 2/3 cup warm water (110 degrees F/45 degrees C) 1/2 cup white sugar, 2 eggs, 1 1/2 teaspoons salt, 1/2 teaspoon freshly grated nutmeg, 5 1/2 cups all-purpose flour. FILLING: 1 cup packed brown sugar, 1 tablespoon ground cinnamon, 2/3 cup chopped pecans, 1/2 cup all-purpose flour, 1/2 cup raisins, 1/2 cup melted butter. FROSTING: 1 cup confectioners' sugar, 1 tablespoon water. Directions: Scald milk, remove from heat and stir in 1/4 cup of butter. Allow mixture to cool to room temperature. In a large bowl, dissolve yeast in the warm water with 1 tablespoon of the white sugar. Let stand until creamy, about 10 minutes. When yeast mixture is bubbling, add the cooled milk mixture. Whisk in the eggs. Stir in the remaining white sugar, salt and nutmeg. Beat the flour into the milk/egg mixture 1 cup at a time. When the dough has pulled together, turn it out onto a lightly floured surface and knead until smooth and elastic, about 8 to 10 minutes. Lightly oil a large bowl, place the dough in the bowl and turn to coat with oil. Cover with a damp cloth or plastic wrap and let rise in a warm place until doubled in volume, about 2 hours. When risen, punch down and divide dough in half. Preheat oven to 375 degrees F (190 degrees C). Grease 2 cookie sheets or line with parchment paper. To Make Filling: Combine the brown sugar, ground cinnamon, chopped pecans, 1/2 cup flour and 1/2 cup raisins. Pour 1/2 cup melted butter over the cinnamon mixture and mix until crumbly. Roll dough halves out into large rectangles (approximately 10x16 inches or so). Sprinkle the filling evenly over the dough and roll up each half tightly like a jelly roll, beginning at the wide side. Bring the ends of each roll together to form 2 oval shaped rings. Place each ring on a prepared cookie sheet. With scissors make cuts 1/3 of the way through the rings at 1 inch intervals. Let rise in a warm spot until doubled in size, about 45 minutes. Bake in preheated oven for 30 minutes. Push the doll into the bottom of the cake. Frost while warm with the confectioners' sugar blended with 1 to 2 tablespoons of water.
Mardi Gras: Exactly 150 years ago, a group of prominent New Orleans businessmen gathered together to form an organization that would welcome the Grand Duke Alex Romanoff Alexandrovitch to the city during the annual Mardi Gras festivities, begun more than a century earlier. That event, and the parade and ball that were established, formed what is now known as the Rex organization and the heartbeat of Mardi Gras. Today, there are hundreds of Mardi Gras clubs (called krewes) that host grand balls and several dozen krewes that conduct elaborate, colorful and, at times, outrageous parades through the streets of the city. In fact, it is hard to imagine this city without the annual spring celebration. Locals and visitors alike get into the spirit and Mardi Gras revelry is legendary. While Mardi Gras Day is the biggest celebration, the season actually begins on Twelfth Night, January 6. However, the two weeks prior to the event are a frenzy of activity and a bow to the many traditions that have remained intact throughout the centuries.
Mardi Gras: Visitors are welcome at any parade. The most family-friendly areas are along the magnificent oak-tree-lined St. Charles Avenue. Here locals and visitors greet the colorful parades with custom designed floats made of sparkling papier-maché. Marching bands from colleges, high schools and military units from throughout the United States provide a rhythm and sound unmatched by any other parade in this country. The streets of the French Quarter are a bit bawdier and more crowded. Strollers are free to walk down the streets with alcoholic beverages in plastic cups, and there is no limit to the imagination of costume design. Let's just say that many people on the streets take a "less is more" attitude. Riders on these lavish floats are local citizens who belong to the sponsoring krewes and toss "throws" to passersby. The most coveted "throws" include doubloons (metal coins embossed with the names of the krewe), beads, plastic cups, stuffed toys, moon pies and even panties. Balls are opulent, formal affairs, each with its own king, queen and royal court. Guests are included by invitation only. A coveted invitation is usually sent to a guest without mention of the name of the member who invited him or her as secrecy is respected as part of the tradition.
"Mardi Gras: It's Carnival Time in Louisiana" is found at the Presbytere in the historic French Quarter. There are two floors of high-tech, interactive exhibitions that trace the history, culture and traditions that surround this annual rite of passage in New Orleans and south Louisiana. Visitors find exquisite costumes (from the beaded gowns of ball queens to the bold headdresses of the Mardi Gras Indians), antique ball invitations, crowns, scepters and jewels worn by royalty. The exhibition bedazzles and educates!
King Cake: One Mardi Gras delicacy is the king cake, a rich pastry that is decorated with a sugary icing in the Mardi Gras colors of purple, green and gold. Each cake contains one small plastic baby, and the person who finds the baby in his or her piece must host the next party. It's just another quirky tradition of the season.