Monday, March 3, 2014

Fat Tuesday Foods

Mardi Gras means Fat Tuesday, the culmination of the season between Christmas and Lent. Fat Tuesday falls on the day before Ash Wednesday, the first day of Lent. During the 46-day Lent period, many Christians forego the eating of meat, either completely or on Fridays. They also traditionally give up a favored food, drink, or habit. Fat Tuesday is a last chance party excuse before a six-week period of abstinence, and residents of New Orleans, Louisiana, are famous for their Mardi Gras celebrations and parades.

What's the difference between Cajun and Creole food?
New Orleans is famous for Cajun and Creole foods, so it's no wonder that those who celebrate Mardi Gras concentrate on these foods for their Fat Tuesday parties. What's the difference between Cajun and Creole foods? This is a question that is hotly debated. The two cuisines are confusingly intertwined and defy definition. Famous chef, restauranteur, and author Paul Prudhomme, father of the blackening technique, makes an attempt to differentiate the two. He describes Cajun food as country cooking, whereas Creole food is more elegant and sophisticated, city cooking so to speak.

Here are some of my favorite "Creole" or "Cajun" foods:

John's Creole Red Beans - These beans are great with barbecued chicken, or they could be a meal in itself ... simply serve with a side of corn bread.

Spicy Cajun Beans Super easy, using common pantry staples and some sliced polish sausages and you have a meal. Just add a side of corn bread and you have dinner!

Slow Cooker Carolina Chicken and Rice - Spicy slow cooker chicken and rice dish with creole sauce.

Carolina Red Beans and Rice - This recipe uses dried kidney beans, plus smoked sausage and creole sauce for a wonderful, slightly spicy red beans and rice. A meal in itself. *The Creole Sauce I use is from Carolina Creole

Classic Shrimp Creole -  Creole-type dishes combine the qualities of a gumbo and a jambalaya. They are typically thicker and spicier than a gumbo, and the rice is prepared separately and used as a bed for the creole mixture, rather than cooked in the same pot as with a jambalaya. 

Fasnacht's -  Fastnachts are yeast doughnuts of German descent that bear the same name as the traditional pre-Lenten celebration, which translates as "fast night." They typically have no hole or filling and are dusted with powdered sugar.


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