Anyone who thinks Mardi Gras is just a chance to party doesn't know enough about the food surrounding this annual festival. The food of New Orleans is the stuff of legend - spicy jambalaya, blackened catfish, savory dirty rice --really, what's not to love? Many of this region's Cajun staples are stews built on rich, dark roux. (Its deep flavor is present in every bite of seafood gumbo and shrimp etouffe.) When you're on the hunt for Mardi Gras recipes, look for traditional preparations that hold true to the Cajun and Creole tradition. This cuisine doesn't need any fancy twists or updates - it's beauty is in its simplicity. Once you've cleared the dinner plates, it's time for king cake. This colorfully decorated cake isn't just a sweet dessert - local custom dictates that the baker add a trinket (often a tiny baby doll) to the batter. The lucky guest who finds the doll in his slice is "king of the feast". Hiding a trinket (it was once typically a bean, now bakers often a place a tiny baby doll) in the batter in this festively decorated cake is a Mardi Gras tradition.
Fried dough squares are sprinkled with powdered sugar to make these sweet rolls. Serve them while still warm for brunch, a snack, or dessert.
Toasted walnuts, honey, hot red pepper, and soft aromatic cheese blend seamlessly in this spicy and savory appetizer spread.
Serve these fun green drinks at a summer party or a Halloween bash.
From New Orleans' French Quarter coffee houses, beignets (ben yayz) are square hole-less fried dough that are airy and delicate. Use a deep saucepan to fry the beignets, leaving at least 3 inches between the oil and the top of the pan. Roll in powdered sugar and serve warm for breakfast, brunch, or dessert.
The sandwich filling that originated in New Orleans transforms itself into a tasty spread perfect for a quick, no-fuss snack and starter.
Ready in just 15 minutes, this easy recipe instantly awes guests. Brown sugar, bananas, and a splash of liqueur are warmed and poured over ice cream for an enticing dessert.
Decorated in traditional Mardi Gras green and yellow, King's Cake is first served on January 6, Twelfth Night. Whoever is served the hidden pecan becomes the king or queen for the week and bakes another King's Cake. This festive ritual continues each week until Mardi Gras, the day before Lent.
A melting pot of traditions go into Creole dishes French, Spanish, African and Native American originating in the Louisiana Bayou.
Set out a plate of these crispy appetizers and watch them disappear. The beer batter nicely coats the onion and fries to a lovely shade of golden brown.
Update chocolate fondue with a hint of coffee, and serve it with fresh fruit or meringue cookies.
In Mexico, these fritters are often served at Christmas. Some sprinkle them with cinnamon sugar while others prefer them with a drizzle of cinnamon syrup.
The flaming New Orleans' coffee brew with spices, lemon and orange peel, and brandy is the inspiration for this crisp slice-and-bake cookie recipe.
Tomato-infused rice perfectly complements the seafood in this Southern-style dinner recipe.
This five-ingredient dessert recipe has only 11 grams of fat.
A New Orleans favorite, this hefty sandwich is typically served on a baguette. Combine mango with chilled shrimp, rather than the customary fried shrimp, for a fresh take on tradition.
Most sources say jambalaya is from "jambon," the French word for "ham," an appropriate heritage for a Creole dish, plus the African "ya," meaning "rice."