Tuesday, February 25, 2014

Mardi Gras Feast




It's no secret that Mardi Gras means Fat Tuesday.  It's a time of indulgence and feasting.  While this isn't the kind of food you should eat every day, one day a year won't kill ya.  Here's my Mardi Gras collection for your next Mardi Gras party!

MUFFULETTA
FOR THE OLIVE SALAD:
1 green onion
1 C green olives
One 14-ounce can black olives, drained
1/2 C olive oil
1/4 C pepperoncini peppers
1/4 C red wine vinegar
1 teaspoon oregano
1/4 C Italian parsley
2 cloves garlic
Salt & pepper to taste
Red chili flake to taste

FOR THE SANDWICH:
4 sourdough buns
1 C shredded mozzarella
1/2 C shredded parmesan cheese
1 C shredded cheddar cheese
Assorted Salami (like Genoa, Sopressata, Calabrese, etc)
Sliced deli ham
Tomato slices
Red onion slices
Shredded lettuce

GARLIC PARMESAN CAESAR DRESSING:
1 1/2 C mayonnaise
1/2 C olive oil
1/4 C shredded parmesan cheese
4 cloves garlic, minced
3 T lemon juice
2 teaspoons anchiovy paste (optional)
1 T Worcestershire sauce
Salt & pepper to taste

For the olive salad, you can either process all of the ingredients in a food processor or chop all of the veggies and then stir in the rest of the ingredients.

For the Garlic Caesar Dressing, mix all of the ingredients together in a blender.

To assemble the sandwiches, split the buns and divide the mozzarella and the parmesan to the bottom half of each sandwich and divide the cheddar cheese among the four top halves.  Melt under a broiler.

Next, spread some of the olive salad on the bottom buns. Layer the ham and salamis, tomato slices, red onion slices, and lettuce.  Drizzle on some Garlic Caesar Dressing and enjoy!



This is a pretty traditional New Orleans BBQ Shrimp recipe. It doesn't contain BBQ sauce, and it's certainly not cooked on the grill.  Who knows why they call it that, but you can for sure call it good.  The sauce is perfect for dunking a piece of French bread into.  This is a darn tasty treat!

NEW ORLEANS BBQ SHRIMP
1 lb colossal shrimp, peeled, tails on
1/4 C Worcestershire sauce
Juice of one lemon
1 T Cajun seasoning
6 cloves garlic, minced
1 C real butter
1/4 C white wine
2 T olive oil
Hot sauce, to taste
2-3 sliced green onions
1/4 C Italian parsley, chopped
French bread

Melt the butter in a large skillet and add in the olive oil.  Put the garlic in and stir quickly, cooking about 30 seconds.  Add in the wine, Worcestershire sauce, and Cajun seasoning. Cook a couple of minutes to reduce.  Add in the shrimp, parsley, lemon juice, and hot sauce to taste.  Cook the shrimp until they are pink and completely done, about 3 to 4 minutes for large shrimp.  Remove from heat and sprinkle the green onions over the top.  Serve in bowls with the sauce ladled over the top.  Serve with the French bread.

NOTE:  The sauce separates when leftover, so it should all be eaten right after cooking.



This dip is creamy, cheesy, a touch spicy, and delish!  Serve with your favorite crackers or tortilla chips!

HOT CRAB DIP
1 lb lump crab meat, picked through for shells
8 ounces cream cheese, softened and cubed
1/2 C mayonnaise
1/4 C shredded Parmesan cheese
2 green onions, chopped
1 clove garlic, minced
2 T Worcestershire sauce
1/2 lemon, juiced
2-3 teaspoons hot sauce
2 C Pepper Jack cheese, divided

Preheat the oven to 350 degrees.  Mix all ingredients together, reserving half of the Pepper Jack.  Spread the mixture into a pie pan or 8 x 8 pan.  Sprinkle the remaining cheese on top. Bake for about 15 minutes until it's all melted together and cheese on top is browned.  Serve with chips or crackers.



These delightful little mouthfuls are a great treat for a party or get-together!  Little puff pastry cups filled with creamy, spicy shrimp filling will please a crowd!

SPICY SHRIMP PUFFS
One package 24-count puff pastry cups
12 ounces shrimp, peeled, deveined, and rough chopped
2 T butter
Olive oil
Half a small onion, chopped
2 T chopped green bell pepper
1/4 C white wine
1 clove garlic, minced
Hot sauce, to taste
Cajun seasoning, to taste
Red chili flakes, to taste
1 T Worcestershire sauce
1 green onion, chopped
1/4 to 1/2 C shredded Parmesan cheese

Bake the puff pastry cups according to directions.  If necessary, poke the centers back down after removing from the oven.

Meanwhile, melt the butter in a large skillet and drizzle in some olive oil.  Cook the onion and bell pepper until tender. Deglaze the pan with the wine.  Add in the shrimp, garlic, hot sauce, Cajun seasoning, red chili flakes, Worcestershire sauce, and green onions.  Cook a couple of minutes or until shrimp is done.  Add in the cream and bring to a bubble. Remove from the heat and stir in the Parmesan cheese, adding the additional cheese if the sauce isn't thick enough. Spoon into the puff pastry cups.

The tradition behind this cake is interesting.  There is usually a plastic baby baked inside of the cake.  The person that finds the baby is pronounced the king for the year and has to bring the King's Cake the next year!

INDIVIDUAL KING'S CAKES
1 packet highly active yeast
1 1/4 warm water, about 110 degrees
2 T vegetable oil
3 to 3 1/2 C flour
1/4 C sugar
1 teaspoon salt

FOR THE FILLING:
Two 8-ounce packages cream cheese
3/4 C brown sugar
1 teaspoon brandy extract or bourbon

FOR THE GLAZE:
4 C powdered sugar
2-4 T milk
Yellow, purple, and green food coloring

Put the yeast, sugar, and water in the bowl of a mixer.  Let it sit about five minutes or until it becomes foamy.  Add in the flour, vegetable oil, and salt.  Mix with a dough hook until it forms a ball.  (Add in the remaining 1/2 C flour if it's too sticky.)  Place this into a very large greased bowl and cover with plastic wrap.  Let it sit and double in size, about an hour.

Meanwhile, beat the filling ingredients together in a mixer or with a whisk.  Once the dough has risen, roll it out into a large rectangle and divide into four pieces.  Place 1/4 of the filling into the center of each piece of dough.  Fold the edges down over the filling and form a ball shape, making sure no filling shows through.  Place seam-side down onto a baking sheet. Cover and let it rise again, about 45 minutes.

Make the glaze by adding a little milk at a time to the powdered sugar, whisking to combine.  When it's thin enough to spread, divide it into three different bowls and color yellow, purple, and green.  Cover and set aside until ready to use.

Preheat the oven to 350 degrees.  Bake the cakes about 20-25 minutes or until they sound hollow and are well browned on top.  Let them cool before glazing.



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