Mardi Gras is a culinarily diverse time of the year! When I thought about what types of food I associated with Mardi Gras-and by extension, New Orleans-I came up with quite a lot. But I can’t share them all with you, so I had to narrow it down, a little. I couldn’t leave out the traditional King Cake, or beignets OR cafe au lait. But I also had to include a few other ideas that I thought might be enjoyed for Mardi Gras…or any time of the year!
Recipes wanted! Submitted recipes will be accepted at [email protected], or you can stop by the Albion office and drop a copy off up front. If you don’t have a recipe to submit right now, but there is a recipe you’re desperately seeking, feel free to email or drop off a note for a “Recipe Request.” I’m still requesting recipes that highlight local agriculture as well as your favorite apple pie recipes!
Cajun Butter Shrimp and Sausage Skewers
1-lb. shrimp, peeled and deveined
4 andouille sausages, sliced into 1/2-in. thick rounds
1/4C melted butter
1 TBSP lemon zest
Juice of 1 lemon (2 TBSP)
1 TBSP freshly chopped thyme
1 tsp smoked paprika
1 tsp garlic powder
1/4 tsp cayenne pepper
Freshly ground black pepper
2 TBSP freshly chopped parsley, for garnish
Soak wooden skewers in water for 15 minutes. When ready to cook, drain and dry skewers. Thread top of shrimp, then sausage, then tail of shrimp onto skewers. Repeat until all shrimp and sausage is used.
In a medium bowl, whisk to combine butter, lemon zest, lemon juice, thyme, and spices. Season with salt and pepper, then brush all over skewers.
Heat grill or grill pan to medium. Add skewers and cook until shrimp is opaque and sausage is warmed through, about 3 minutes per side. Garnish with parsley and serve.
Note: Add about 1/2-lb. cooked chicken, cut into bite-sized pieces, onto your skewers. Serve with Cajun rice or traditional rice and beans to give it that jambalaya-on-a-stick authenticity!
***Recipe courtesy of Lena Abraham, for “Delish” website.***
Mardi Gras King Cake
For the pastry:
2 (1/4-oz) packages active dry yeast
2/3C warm water (110 degrees)
1-1/2 tsp salt
1/2 tsp freshly grated nutmeg
For the filling (see Note)
1C (packed) brown sugar
1 TBSP ground cinnamon
2/3C chopped pecans
1/2C butter, melted
For the Frosting:
1C confectioners' sugar
1 TBSP water
Purple, yellow and green decorators’ sugar
1 small plastic toy baby*
To make pastry: Scald milk, remove from heat and stir in 1/4C of butter. Allow mixture to cool to room temperature.
In a large bowl, dissolve yeast in the warm water with 1 TBSP of the 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 sugar, salt and nutmeg. Beat the flour into the milk/egg mixture one 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 8-10 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. Grease 2 cookie sheets or line with parchment paper.
To make filling: Combine the brown sugar, ground cinnamon, chopped pecans, 1/2C flour and 1/2C raisins. Pour 1/2C melted butter over the cinnamon mixture and mix until crumbly.
Roll dough halves out into large rectangles (approximately 10x16). 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 plastic baby into the bottom of the cake. Frost while warm with the confectioners' sugar blended with 1 to 2 tablespoons of water. Alternating colors, sprinkle generously with decorators’ sugar.
Note: this is just one filling idea. You can use any dessert pastry filling that you like. Raspberry and cream cheese, banana pudding, apple pie filling, chocolate ganache…the world is your…King Cake!
* 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!
***Recipe courtesy of Jo for allrecipes.com.***
1-lb. package Zatarain’s Crawfish, Shrimp & Crab Boil seasoning mix
1 (or more) package all-beef hot dogs
Toppings of choice*
In a large stockpot, mix 8 quarts water and seasoning mix. Bring to a boil over high heat. Add hot dogs to the pot. Cook according to package directions. Serve on a potato hot dog bun.
I like it topped with turkey chili, sharp cheddar cheese and chopped green onions.
Note: For a party, remove hot dogs from the pot and return the liquid at a boil. Cook additional hot dogs, as desired.
* Try topping with Mardi Gras Slaw (see recipe below).
***Recipe courtesy of David Guas, via Food Network Dish.***
Mardi Gras Slaw
2 TBSP cider vinegar
1 tsp mustard seeds
1/2 tsp kosher salt
1/8 tsp ground red pepper
4C very thinly sliced green cabbage
1C very thinly sliced red cabbage
1/2C shredded carrot (1 medium)
3 thinly sliced green onions
Combine the first 5 ingredients in a large bowl, stirring with a whisk. Add remaining ingredients, and toss to coat.
Note: Try adding a pinch or two of dill seeds or celery seeds.
***Recipe courtesy of Cooking Light, via myrecipes.com.***
Cafe du Monde Beignets (Hacked)
3/4C warm water (105-110 degrees)
1-1/4 tsp active dry yeast
1/2C whole milk
1 egg, beaten
3/4 tsp salt
18-oz.(3-1/2C) all-purpose flour
2 TBSP vegetable shortening, melted
Cottonseed oil for frying (for more authenticity!)
Powdered sugar, for dusting (lots!)
Dissolve the yeast and sugar in the warm water in a large mixing bowl, or the bowl of a stand mixer. Let the solution sit for 15 minutes and it will become foamy. Whisk in the milk, egg and salt. Then mix in half of the flour with a large spoon. If using a mixer, use a paddle attachment on low to medium speed. Mix in the shortening.
Add the remaining flour and mix with the spoon until you can use your hands, then turn the dough out onto a floured board and knead just until smooth. Don't over-knead or the dough will get too tough. If using a mixer, swap out the paddle for your dough hook and knead just until the dough is smooth.
Place the dough in an oiled bowl covered with plastic wrap or a towel in a warm spot to rise for 2 hours. The dough will double in size.
Preheat 3-4-in. of cottonseed oil in a pan or deep fryer to exactly 370 degrees.
On a heavily floured surface, roll out the dough until it is 1/4-in. thick. Use a pizza slicer or knife to cut the dough into 2 1/2-in. square pieces and fry 3-4 pieces at a time in the oil. Immediately after dropping the dough into the oil use a large spoon to gently splash hot oil over the top of each piece. after 30-45 seconds, flip all of the beignets over and continue to baste with the oil. After another minute or so, flip the beignets again, and continue to cook until the beignets are a deep golden brown. Continue flipping the beignets over to brown them evenly on both sides. After about 3 minutes, they should be done. Let them drain on a cooling rack or a paper towel-lined plate for a minute, until you can handle them.
Serve three beignets on a plate with a very heavy dusting of powdered sugar on top, perhaps with a nice cup of cafe au lait (see below).
***Recipe courtesy of Todd Wilbur of “The Food Hacker” website.***
New Orleans Style Cafe au Lait
6 TBSP dark roast French Market coffee with chicory, New Orleans style
Bring the water almost to a boil, to a temperature of 204-208 degrees.
Using a drip-style coffeemaker with filter, pour a small amount of the water over the coffee grounds to dampen them, then wait 30 seconds.
Pour more water over the grounds until the upper pot container is full.
Allow to drain, then repeat until all the water is used.
Scald, do NOT boil, the milk. This means to heat it until JUST below the boiling point. Pour coffee into warmed large mugs, then add the milk. Add sugar if desired and serve.
***Recipe courtesy of kitty.rock, for food.com.***