Duane and I recently joined a neighborhood dinner club and went to the yearly organizational meeting with cocktails and apps. In this meeting all of the interested parties are randomly divided into six dinner groups of twelve people each. The assigned groups members get to meet each other and work out the details and schedule for the year which includes meeting for dinner at someone’s house five times, every other month. Then at end of the year there is another large group wrap up dinner.
Although this dinner club has been going for several years, this will be our first time to take part. Duane and I offered to host the dinner for February and I just realized that it conveniently falls around Mardi Gras so we can do Cajun food. As hostess this month, I get to set the menu and make the main dish and the others will sign up to make the various side dishes.I decided to use this forum to post the menu and recipes that way my new dinner club members will have to go to my blog to sign up for their dish. Am I stooping that low to get new blog readers? Ha.
The Mardi Gras Menu
- La Croix
- Decaf Coffee with Chicory
- Oysters Bienville
- Crabmeat on melba rounds
- French Bread and butter
- Shrimp Remoulade salad
- Stewed Tomatoes and Okra – Judi and Duane
- Crawfish Etouffee and Creole Rice – Judi and Duane
- Bananas Foster
- King Cake
My Mom’s Crabmeat on melba rounds
- 1 lb pound lump crabmeat (pick through it to check for shell)
- 1 tbs finely minced onion
- 1 tbs chopped parsley
- 3 tbs mayonnaise
- 2 tsp fresh lemon juice
- 1 1⁄2 tsp Worcestershire sauce
- 1⁄2 tsp Tabasco
- 1⁄2 tbs Cajun Spice Mix
- Box of Melba Round Crackers
Place all ingredients except the crab meat into a bowl and combine
with a whisk. Next, fold the crabmeat into the mixture, being careful
not to break up lumps of crab. Chill. Right before serving place a dollop of crab mixture on melba rounds set on a platter. Serve.
- 1 Dozen Oysters, shucked and on the halfshell (PHOTO of these Ersters naked) (How to shuck an Oyster – Quicktime Video )
- 6 Tbsp Unsalted Butter
- 1/2 Cup Onion, finely chopped
- 4 Green Onions, finely sliced
- 2 Garlic Cloves, minced
- 6 Tbsp All Purpose Flour
- 2 Cups Raw Shrimp, peeled and deveined, chopped
- 1/2 Cup White Mushrooms, finely chopped
- 1/4 Cup Dry White Wine
- 1/4 Cup Heavy Cream
- Oyster Liquor, reserved
- 2 Tbsp Italian Parsley, minced
- 2 Tbsp Fresh Lemon Juice
- A few dashes Hot Sauce (I use Crystal)
- Kosher Salt, Black Pepper, and Cayenne, to taste
- 4 Egg Yolks, beaten
Garnish (not meant to be eaten):
- 1 1/2 Cups Rock Salt
- 3 Crushed up Bay leaves
- 1 tsp Whole Cloves
- 1 tsp Whole Allspice
Shuck the oysters, drain off the liquor into a small container; reserve. Leave the oysters on the half shell, refrigerated.
Preheat an oven to 400 degrees F.
For the sauce:
Melt the butter in a large skillet over medium heat. Add the onions and garlic, saute until the onions turn slightly golden.
Add the flour, stirring well to incorporate. Cook for a few minutes until it gets just a bit of color.
Stir in the shrimp, mushrooms, and a bit more salt and pepper. Cook for 2-3 minutes, stirring constantly, until the shrimp start to turn pink.
Add the white wine and the cream, cook for 2 minutes.
Add the lemon juice, parsley, and hot sauce. Season to taste with the salt, pepper, and cayenne; remove from the heat.
When the sauce is slightly cooled, stir in the egg yolks, moving quickly to incorporate and keep them from curdling.
For the Oysters:
Mix the Rock Salt with remaining garnish ingredients. Heat in the oven in a seperate pie tin at the same time as the oysters.
Top each Oyster with about 2 Tbsp of the prepared sauce. Place them in a pan that has a thin layer of rock salt in the bottom, this is to keep the oysters steady.
Bake for 10-12 Minutes then turn on the broiler to slightly brown the tops, for 1-2 minutes. The Oysters are finished when the sauce is heated through and the edges of the oysters start to curl.
Place the aromatic rock salt mixture on a large plate or platter. Arrange the Oysters Bienville decoratively around the plate. Serve.
- 3/4 cup chopped onions
- 1 cups oil
- 1/3 cup tarragon vinegar
- 3/4 cup brown mustard
- 2 1/2 teaspoons paprika
- 1 teaspoon cayenne pepper
- 2 1/2 teaspoon salt
- 3 med. Cloves of garlic pressed
- 3/4 cup chopped green onion
- 3 pounds boiled and peeled shrimp ( 60 total)
- 6 cups washed chilled baby arugula
In a blender place onions, oil, vinegar, mustard, paprika, pepper, salt, and garlic.
Blend for 5 or 6 seconds, turn off, stir. blend another 5 or 6 seconds. Add green onions and blend for 2 seconds. (Do not blend longer or you will have puree). Chill sauce overnight, Right before serving arrange beds of arugula on salad plates top with 5 shrimp each and cover with chilled sauce to serve.
Stewed Tomatoes and Okra
- Bunch of peeled Tomatoes
- Bunch of washed and cut up Okra
- 1 can of Original Rotelle Tomatoes and Chili
- Bay leaves
Throw everything in a pot and cook till it is thick but soupy.
Stock for Etouffee
- The Shells and tails from 2 lb. of Shrimp or Crawfish (Make it out of shrimp if using frozen peeled crawfish)
- 1/2 Cup chopped Onion
- 1/4 Cup chopped Celery
- 2 Garlic Cloves
- 1 Lemon sliced
- 2 Fresh Bay Leaves
- 3 Sprigs Fresh Thyme
- 1 tsp. Black Peppercorns
Add all ingredients to a 2 qt. saucepan. Cover this with cold water, it should be about 6-8 Cups Cups. You’ll need 1 1/2 Cups for the Etouffee. Bring almost to a boil, reduce the heat to a low simmer. Simmer for about 45 minutes to an hour. Strain.
Tip: When adding fresh Thyme to a simmered dish like this, I always bundle the Thyme tightly with butchers twine. The leaves will remove themselves while cooking, and you will get all of the flavor from the stems. When ready to serve just remove the bundle of stems along with your bay leaves.
- 2 Tbsp Creole Seasoning
- 4 Tbsp Unsalted Butter
- 1/2 Cup Onion, Finely Chopped
- 1/4 Cup Celery, Finely Chopped
- 1/4 Cup Bell Pepper, Finely Chopped
- 1/4 Cup Flour
- 3/4 Cup fresh Tomatoes, diced
- 1 1/2 Cups Stock ( use Shrimp or Crawfish shells)
- 2 Tbsp Minced Garlic
- I bundle of Fresh Thyme
- 2 tsp Homemade Worcestershire Sauce
- 1 tsp Hot Sauce (I like Crystal or Louisiana Gold)
- 1/2 Cup Green Onions, thinly sliced
- 3 Tbsp minced Italian Parsley
- 3 lb Good Quality Crawfish, Peeled and Deveined, Frozen is fine and use shrimp shells for stock.
- 3 Tbsp Unsalted Butter
- Salt & Freshly Ground Black Pepper to taste
- Season the shrimp with 1 Tbsp of the Creole Seasoning.
Melt the butter in a large cast iron skillet, add the onions, bell pepper, and celery, saute until translucent. Whisk in the flour to make a blonde roux, stirring constantly, about 3-5 minutes. Stir in the remaining Creole Seasoning. Add a small amount of the shrimp stock, stir well to form a paste, add the remaining stock gradually, whisking constantly. Bring to a boil, then reduce to a simmer. You may need a little more stock, but the end result should be the consistency of a gravy, not too thick, not too thin.
Add the tomatoes, garlic, Thyme, Worcestershire, and hot sauce, a little salt, black pepper, and Cayenne. Simmer for 20-30 minutes.
Add the shrimp, green onions, and parsley, simmer for 10 minutes more or until the shrimp are cooked through. Stir in the 3 Tbsp butter, and adjust the seasonings to taste.
Serve over Creole Boiled Rice
3 quart of Boiling water / 3 cup of Rice
The goal here is not to absorb all of the liquid into the rice like most recipes. The goal is to make the rice tender, then drain the rice! Think Pasta. I use Uncle Ben’s Original Rice, you know the one, Converted Long Grain, it’s a great product.
- 3 quart of Boiling Water
- 3 Cup Uncle Ben’s Rice
- 6 Fresh Bay Leaves (If you have to use dried, do so, but damn….. the fresh are so much better!)
- 1 1/2 Tablespoon Kosher Salt
- 3 Tablespoon Unsalted Butter (Optional)
Bring the water to a boil with the Bay leaves. Add the salt. Add the rice, stir to make sure the rice doesn’t stick! Do Not Stir again! If you agitate the rice too much, it gets sticky! So give it a good stir, when it comes back to a boil, partially cover it. Cook for about 11 minutes, but taste it, don’t trust me! It should have some bite, but a crunch is bad, Call it Al Dente, like I said, think Pasta. When it’s tender, drain it, pluck out the bay leaves, and if desired, place it into a 400 degree oven with the butter patted on top for about 15 minutes; this helps dry the rice out.
- 4 bananas
- 4 tbs of butter
- 1⁄2 cup brown sugar
- 1⁄2 cup white sugar
- juice and zest of 1 half orange
- 1 tsp lemon juice
- 1 dash cinnamon
- 1 dash nutmeg
- 1 shot Cointreau orange liqueur
- 1 shot Myer’s dark rum
- 1 shot DeKuyper’s banana liqueur
- 1 pinch salt
Slice bananas lenghtwise and cut them in half. In a sauté pan, melt the
butter, add the sugars, and let them cook until the sugar dissolves. Add
the cinnamon, nutmeg, salt, lemon juice, orange peel and juice, and the
shot of Cointreau and DeKuypers. After about 5 mins., remove the
orange peel, add the banana liqueur, and slide in the banana slices.
Cook until banana starts to soften and the sauce begins to thicken
and caramelize. Add the Dark Rum and allow it to ignite. Serve
immediately over vanilla ice cream. Use real butter, and DO NOT
ruin this dessert by serving it with frozen yogurt, or even other flavors
of ice cream. Simple, rich, vanilla ice cream is the only thing to use.
Brennan’s flambés about 35,000 lbs of bananas a year.
Mardi Gras King Cake Recipe ( Source: The Ultimate Southern Living Cookbook by Southern Living Editors)
This colorful cake is popular for Mardi Gras celebrations. One lucky guest will find a hidden treasure in their slice, granting good luck.
Prep Time: 2 hours,
Cook Time: 15 minutes
- 1/4 cup butter or margarine
- 1 (16 ounce) container sour cream
- 1/3 cup sugar
- 1 teaspoon salt
- 2 (.25 ounce) envelopes active dry yeast
- 1 tablespoon white sugar
- 1/2 cup warm water (100 to 110 degrees F.)
- 2 eggs
- 6-1/2 cups all-purpose flour, divided
- 1/2 cup white sugar
- 1-1/2 teaspoons ground cinnamon
- 1/3 cup butter or margarine, softened
- Colored Frostings (see below)
Colored Sugars (see below)
- Dried pea, bean, or 1-inch tall plastic or ceramic baby (optional, see Note)
- 3 cups powdered sugar
- 3 tablespoons butter, melted
- 3 tablespoons milk
- 1/4 teaspoon vanilla extract
- 2 drops green food color
- 2 drops yellow food coloring
- 2 drops blue food coloring
- 2 drops red food color
- 1-1/2 cups white sugar
Cook butter or margarine, sour cream, sugar, and salt in a saucepan over low heat, stirring often, until butter melts. Cool mixture to 100 degrees to 110 degrees F.
Dissolve yeast and 1 tablespoon sugar in 1/2 cup warm water in a large bowl; let stand 5 minutes. Add butter mixture, eggs, and 2 cups flour; beat at medium speed with an electric mixer 2 minutes or until smooth. Gradually stir in enough remaining flour to make a soft dough.
Turn dough onto a lightly floured surface; knead until smooth and elastic, about 10 minutes. Place in a well-greased bowl, turning to grease top. Cover and let rise in a warm place (85 degrees), free from drafts, 1 hour or until doubled in bulk. Stir together 1/2 cup sugar and cinnamon; set aside.
Punch dough down; divide in half. Turn 1 portion out onto a lightly floured surface; roll to a 28- x 10-inch rectangle. Spread half each of cinnamon mixture and softened butter on dough. Roll dough, jellyroll fashion, starting at long side. Place dough roll, seam side down, on a lightly greased baking sheet. Bring ends together to form an oval ring, moistening and pinching edges together to seal. Repeat with remaining dough, cinnamon mixture, and butter.
Cover and let rise in a warm place, free from drafts, 20 minutes or until doubled in bulk.
Bake at 375 degrees F. for 15 to 20 minutes or until golden. Decorate with bands of Colored Frostings, and sprinkle with Colored Sugars.
Stir together powdered sugar and melted butter. Add milk to reach desired consistency for drizzling; stir in vanilla. Divide frosting into 3 batches, tinting 1 green, 1 yellow, and combining red and blue food coloring for purple frosting.
Place 1/2 cup sugar and drop of green food coloring in a jar or zip-top plastic bag; seal. Shake vigorously to evenly mix color with sugar. Repeat procedure with 1/2 cup sugar and yellow food coloring. For purple, combine 1 drop red and 1 drop blue food coloring before adding to remaining 1/2 cup sugar.
Note: Traditionally, a dried pea or bean or a plastic or ceramic baby figure less than 1 inch tall is inserted in the cake for the Mardi Gras celebration. When the cake is cut, the person finding the token is said to be blessed with good luck throughout the following year. In some families, the lucky person is also designated to make the king cake for the next Mardi Gras or host the next Mardi Gras party. If using a heat-proof baby token, it can be inserted into the cake before baking. If using plastic, insert the token into the cake after it has cooled and before frosting. This cake is also known as Twelfth Night Cake.
Yield: 28 servings