Kitchen Concoctions: Mardi Gras Traditions and Cajun Cookin’

Monday, February 20, 2012

Mardi Gras Traditions and Cajun Cookin’

So guess what? We have another theme week this week! With Mardi Gras tomorrow I thought it would be fun to celebrate the holiday and honor my family's "Cajun" traditions and have a week's worth of Cajun recipes. Like I mentioned last week, I had planned to have this theme week last week to get you excited about Mardi Gars, but I was not that organized. So here we are with all those recipes this week! Hey better this week than waiting till next year!

First up an article I wrote for meal planning/recipe site Food on the Table all about the Mardi Gars traditions and some popular Cajuin dishes.

Mardi Gras, also known as Fat Tuesday, falls the day before Ash Wednesday, or the first day of Lent. Lent is a period where many Christians traditionally give-up a food or bad habit. Fat Tuesday is the last day to indulge before this period of abstinence. While many countries all over the world celebrate Mardi Gras, sometimes calling it Carnival, New Orleans, Louisiana is most famous for their Mardi Gras celebrations, parade and of course food.

Most popular Cajun dishes are derived from original New Orleans French and Spanish settlers. Below are a few of these traditional Cajun foods and the history behind them.

King Cake, is a sweetened yeast bread baked into the shape of a ring and frosted with gold, green and purple icing, the colors of Mardi Gras. Traditionally the baker of the King Cake hides a treasure inside the cake, usually a small plastic baby doll. When the cake is cut and shared, the person who finds the doll is crowned ‘king’ and said to enjoy good luck during the upcoming year.

Jambalaya is Cajun comfort food and is similar to Spanish paella. Jambalaya originated from Spaniards who first settled the French Quarter and created the dish using local ingredients. This popular one-pot dish usually consists of rice, stock, tomatoes, onions, celery, green bell peppers, and various meats, shellfish and poultry.

Beignets are the New Orleans version of a French fritter. These fried doughnuts, are square pieces of sweeten yeast dough that have risen and then are deep fried and served topped with powdered sugar. Café du Monde, a New Orleans coffee shop and bakery established in 1862, have helped make beignets a world famous New Orleans staple.

Gumbo, is one of the most famous dishes in Cajun cooking. It has sometimes been described as Louisiana’s version of chili, as the ingredients can vary from recipe to recipe. Gumbo usually starts with a roux to create a thick sauce, but may also be thickened with the addition okra or filé powder. Other common gumbo ingredients include sausage, seafood, chicken, onions, celery, green bell peppers, and creole seasonings.

Celebrate Mardi Gras on February 21, by enjoying some of these classic Cajun dishes and sharing in the Mardi Gras traditions!

Cajun Popcorn (Kitchen Concoctions)
King Cake (The Sister's Cafe)
Basic Cornbread (Kitchen Concoctions)
Shrimp Creole (Skinny Taste)
Bananas Foster with Spiced Ice Cream (Kitchen Concoctions)
Chicken and Sausage Jambalaya (Mel's Kitchen Cafe)
French Beignets (Taste and Tell)
Smoked Turkey and Sausage Gumbo (Kitchen Concoctions)
Bourbon Pralines (The Vintage Mixer)
Classic Red Beans and Rice (Kitchen Concoctions)
Southern Oven Baked Catfish (Kitchen Concoctions)
Cajun Chicken Pasta (Kitchen Concoctions)

1 comment:

  1. I don't really do anything for Mardi Gras, but I LOVE beignets, and I've always wanted to make a king cake. Actually, I want to make a lot of different Cajun foods!


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