Tuesday, March 8, 2011

Mardi Gras

March is turning out to be a good time to try different things in the kitchen.  This past Sunday, I decided to do a New Orleans themed dinner to celebrate Mardi Gras.  The menu for the Sunday Super Supper Squad was Shrimp and Crayfish Etouffee, Jambalaya, home baked bread, and a King Cake.

I looked for a recipe to make a King Cake from scratch.  I've got several of them now, but I realized the problem I had the last time I tried to make one from scratch was coming up with the correctly colored sugars for decorating.  So I decided to go with Mam Papaul's box mix, which includes all the necessary ingredients and decorations.

Unfortunately, in my haste to get the dough made, I threw in the wrong packet.  It looked brownish, so I thought it was the yeast.  Wrong.  It was the praline mix for the filling.  That dough is still sitting in the refrigerator. 

Len was out, so I called him and asked him to pick up another box mix.  I had seen it on Friday at the World Imports.  They were out.  Instead of calling to tell me, he headed all over the San Fernando Valley until he found one where the King Cake mix was in stock.  It threw my timing off, because I had the main courses to make, but I did manage to pull it off.  I'm glad our friends were happy to wait until I had finished decorating it.  Tonight, I'll make beignets to remind us of the Cafe Du Monde.

While I don't really have any desire to visit New Orleans for Mardi Gras (Halloween there was enough for me), I do enjoy the food in limited quantities.  The eight days we spent there in 1995 were about 5 days too long.  I needed fresh vegetables and no more fried food for a while. 

I was very pleased with my first attempt to make a dark roux for the etouffee,  but it sure is labor intensive to make.  I got the right color, but I think the final result was not quite as thick as traditionally done.  That's o.k.  I liked the effect on rice.

We've got a bit more leftover jambalaya for tonight.  It's even better that way.

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