Live It Up
On Fat Tuesday

We all deserve a break from our healthy diets now and then - it gives us a chance to guiltlessly indulge then get back on track. Make Fat Tuesday (February 16th,this year) a day to follow a Mardi Gras menu with these deliciously tempting dishes you won't want to pass up.

Fat Tuesday King Cake

Classic Mardi Gras Cuisine

The more renowned Mardi Gras celebrations is, of course, in New Orleans, where Cajun and Creole cooking takes center stage on this one day of gluttony.

Traditional Cajun and Creole dishes are jambalaya, etouffees of all sorts, everything crawfish, gumbo, sausage, and the most classic Mardi Gras dish of all, the King Cake.

Traditionally, meat is given up throughout the six weeks of Lent either on Fridays or for the entire period, so Mardi Gras is a day to get your fill. Also, people often give up a favorite food item like a dessert, or soda or a favorite cocktail, so Mardi Gras is the perfect opportunity to allow yourself a day of indulgence before Lent begins.

If hosting a Mardi Gras party, try to serve your guests their soon to be relented vices so everyone can enjoy one last taste before giving them up. Even if you aren't planning on giving up a food or drink, Cajun and Creole cuisine is a fun and fitting way to begin the Lenten season.

Mardi Gras Recipes

Sausage Gumbo

Makes 4 to 6 servings

Ingredients:
3 tablespoons olive oil
3 tablespoons all-purpose flour
1 (16-ounce) can stewed diced tomatoes
2 tablespoons ketchup
1 small onion, finely diced
1 chopped red bell pepper
1 tablespoon cilantro flakes
1 clove garlic, crushed
1-1/2 cups hot water
1 teaspoon salt
1/4 teaspoon fresh ground black pepper
1/4 teaspoon cayenne pepper
1/2 pound andouille sausage

Directions:
1. Heat oil in a deep skillet until hot. Add flour and stir well, cook until golden.

2. Stir in tomatoes, ketchup, onion, bell pepper, cilantro, garlic, water, salt, black pepper and cayenne pepper. Bring mixture to a boil and then cook for 30 minutes at a simmer.

3. Add the sausage to the mixture and cook 10 to 15 minutes or until sausage is cooked through. Serve mixture over rice with hot sauce.

King Cake

Makes 10 to 12 servings

Ingredients:
2 tablespoons yeast
1/2 cup plus 2 teaspoons granulated sugar
1/2 cup warm water
4 cups all-purpose flour
1 teaspoon nutmeg
2 teaspoons salt
1 teaspoon lemon zest
1/2 cup warm milk
5 egg yolks
1/2 cup unsalted butter, softened
2 teaspoons ground cinnamon
1 egg beaten with 1 tablespoon milk
3 cups confectioners' sugar
1/4 cup lemon juice
3 to 6 tablespoons water
Purple, green, and yellow decorative sugar

Directions:
1. Combine yeast with 2 teaspoons sugar in warm water and let sit for 3 to 4 minutes. Stir well and let sit for 10 more minutes or until yeast bubbles.

2. Combine flour with 1/2 cup sugar, nutmeg, salt, and lemon zest. In a separate bowl, beat yeast mixture with milk and egg yolks then gradually beat flour mixture and butter in.

3. When dough becomes a soft ball, knead until smooth and shiny. Place dough in a buttered bowl and let cover with a towel. Let rise for 1 to 2 hours or until doubled.

4. When dough has risen, punch down and knead in cinnamon. Shape dough into a long roll and then shape into a circle. Place circle on a buttered baking sheet, cover and let rise for another 45 minutes.

5. When dough has risen, heat oven to 375 degrees F. and brush top with egg wash. Bake cake 25 to 30 minutes or until golden brown.

6. Let cake cool while preparing icing. Combine sugar, lemon juice and water until smooth. When cake is cool, spread icing over cake and sprinkle with colored sugar.

Note: The King Cake tradition is that a tiny plastic baby doll is hidden inside the cake and the person who gets the baby has to host the Mardi Gras party next year so add the baby doll before spreading the icing.

Hurricane

Makes 1 serving

Ingredients:
1-1/2 ounces light rum
1-1/2 ounces dark rum
1 ounce orange juice
1 ounce fresh lime juice
1/4 cup passion fruit juice
1 teaspoon superfine sugar
1 teaspoon grenadine
Cherries and orange slice to garnish

Directions:
1. Combine all ingredients except cherries and orange slices in a cocktail shaker with ice.

2. Shake well and strain into a hurricane glass. Garnish with cherries and orange slice.

{headine}More tasty ways to celebrate Mardi Gras

Tags: fat tuesday lent

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