Meet our Special Guest, Lauren of Fleur De-Lectable
I may be from the South but only a true native of New Orleans, Louisiana could do justice to what has got to be "the party of the year" - Mardi Gras! So I asked my friend Lauren of Fleur De-Lectable to do a post today on her favorite Mardi Gras foods.
Alaska Fish Taco Contest - it is amazing! So without further ado, take it away Lauren!
Mardi Gras Mambo!
Today is Mardi Gras Day, and if I were back home my day would have started out a lot differently. I would be getting ready for a day filled with amazing food, family, friends, music, floats, beads, doubloons; the list could go on and on. Growing up, my mom and I lived about two blocks from the parade route and on Mardi Gras morning, family and friends came over and everyone took turns camping out to hold a spot on the curb of the street, which on Mardi Gras Day is considered “prime real estate”. Everyone takes turns sitting in your sectioned off spot of lawn chairs and blankets and going inside to rest up, eat and get ready for the big party.
Here in Austin though, today is just like any other. No streets are blocked off, all the businesses and schools are open, and there’s no random party in the middle of everything. So to bring a little bit of the “Laissez les bon temps roulet” spirit to Austin I made the most quintessential Mardi Gras treat I know of; The King Cake. It just wouldn’t be Mardi Gras without one!
The recipe I use is from Cooking Up A Storm by Marcelle Bienvenu and Judy Walker. I received this book three years ago as a Christmas gift and I truly treasure it. After Hurricane Katrina many had lost all of the recipes and cookbooks they had. People displaced and back in New Orleans again began contacting the food columnists of the local news paper The Times Picayune for long lost recipes and that is how this book came about. It is a compilation of the best and most requested recipes from the food section of our newspaper from locals searching for a taste of home.
New Orleans-Style King Cake (adapted from Cooking Up a Storm by Marcelle Bienvenu and Judy Walker)
Makes 1 ring loaf
1/4 cup warm water (105 to 115 degrees)
1 envelope active dry yeast
1/4 cup warm milk (105 to 115 degrees)
1/2 cup butter, softened
2 tablespoons sugar
1/2 teaspoon ground nutmeg
1/2 teaspoon salt
3 to 3 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
Red bean, pecan half or plastic baby
For cinnamon filling:1/4 cup melted butter
1/3 cup packed light brown sugar
1 1/2 teaspoons cinnamon
For icing:1 cup powdered sugar, sifted
1/4 teaspoon almond extract
1 to 2 tablespoons milk
Purple, green and yellow sanding sugar
Place warm water in large warm bowl. Sprinkle in yeast; stir until dissolved. Add warm milk, softened butter, sugar, nutmeg and salt; then add 1 cup flour; blend well. Stir in eggs and enough remaining flour to make a soft dough. Knead on lightly floured surface until smooth and elastic, about 5 minutes. Place in greased bowl, turning to grease surface of dough. Cover; let rise in warm, draft-free place until doubled in size, about 1 hour.
Punch down dough. Remove to lightly floured surface; roll to 30- by 9-inch rectangle. Brush with melted butter; then sprinkle to within half-inch of edges with brown sugar and cinnamon. Beginning at long end, roll up tightly as for jelly roll; pinch seam to seal. With sharp knife, cut roll in half lengthwise; carefully turn halves so that the cut sides face up. Twist halves together, keeping cut sides up so filling is visible. As you are twisting, place charm somewhere in the center of the dough. Transfer dough to greased baking sheet. Shape into ring; pinch ends together to seal. Cover; let rise in warm, draft-free place until doubled in size, about 20 to 40 minutes.
Bake at 350 degrees for 30 minutes, or until done. Remove from baking sheet and let cool on wire rack.
Mix all icing ingredients together until smooth and drizzle over the cake. Decorate with colored sugar.
I have to say, this king cake is out of this world good! It’s like a cinnamon roll on steroids with a sweet almond glaze and fun and festive colored sugar on top. Don’t let the recipe intimidate you, my kids helped me make this and it was a lot of fun to put together as a family.
This Week at Fleur De-Lectable
Meals-to-go for this week include:
Monday- Red Beans and Rice with Cornbread- traditional New Orleans Monday meal of red beans and andouille sausage served with rice and cornbread wedges
Wednesday- Pineapple Glazed Pork Chops with Tropical Salsa and Cilantro Coconut Rice- pork chops marinated in a sweet and savory pineapple glaze, served with a cool tropical salsa and coconut scented rice
Friday: Stuffed Cabbage Soup- everything you love about stuffed cabbage rolls in a bowl
Don’t like to be in the kitchen or too busy to cook? Let me know if you would like to be added to the weekly dinner e-mail list by visiting my blog at fleurdelectable.blogspot.com. All meals serve two unless otherwise noted, and I am always happy to take special requests and work them into the rotation!
I can’t thank Emme and X enough for letting me write a guest post here today. I adore their blog and I hope I did it justice. Thanks so much for including me and letting me share something that is so near and dear to my heart!