The thing is, Lentil, that with the exception of King Cake, there are very few dishes that are specifically Mardi Gras.
If you're going to laissez les bons temps rouler, that generally means great food, lot's of alcohol, and the right attitude. Mardi Gras meals are usually meat-heavy, because they preceed Lent, and it's the last shot at meat until Easter.
So, to assemble a Mardi Gras menu, just search out cajun and creole dishes, and pick the ones that most appeal. Some ideas:
Shrimp Stuffed with Crabmeat
Mardi Gras Salad
Oysters with Tasso, Cream, and Fettucine Pork Chops with Spinach & Pecan Stuffing Beef Filet Marchand de Vin
Corn and Crabmeat Soup
Well, I could go on and on. Note the absence of crawfish in that list. Crawfish are not really in season during Mardi Gras. But if you want to use frozen tails, to maintain the "New Orleans" theme, there are plenty to choose from. Crawfish Bisque, for instance, and Crawfish Pies. And, of course, the iconic Ecrivisses Etouffee.
FWIW, most frozen crawfish come from China, in case that's important to you.
Can you handle doing a couchon au lait? First choice, that one.
One way or the other, I'd build a big mardi-gras themed menu around pork. Preferably a whole animal -- whether a big whole hog or a smaller pig (or pigs). The ultimate choice would depend on the size of the group and what equipment I could get my paws on.
Pretty hard to beat a whole pig for southern festive.
Cocktails: Hurricanes. You Simply Must. In copious amounts. Let no brain go unmushed.
Some Other Must Haves: Some sort of etouffe or gumbo. Fried or cold seafood with remoulade. Greens. Salads, Spicy things. Very spicy things. Italian and/or French type breads (long story).
The marchand du vin thing was a great idea. You can do the sauce and serve it with darn near any type of beef -- it doesn't have to be a fillet roast (not that there's anything wrong with dat), it could be grilled flank steak -- or whatever.
One dessert among several others: King Cake as already mentioned.
You could do a whole NOLA sandwich thing and keep it simple -- Make long po' boys and cut them in short sections so people can have a selection. Here are some good po' boys: Fried oyster; Catfish; Debris (yum, debris); Barbecue Pork. And then there's the ever lovin' muffaletta.
:smiles:BDL.....not all of us that have lived and partied in southern Louisiana have hurricanes at our parties....well or party during hurricanes (though, it may be offensive after Katrina, it's a pretty common occurance).
after living in Baton Rouge and New Orleans for 15, Mardis Gras has different menus than most other "events"......couchon is usually a gig all by it self, ditto crawfish boil, crab boil or shrimp boil.....the newspaper comes out and the burners go up outside.
New Orleans has Creole food, the bayou along the gulf has cajun food....most small towns celebrate Mardis Gras.....
Gumbo in it's many forms is pretty standard
several menus suggested may not work well for offsite catering in NE USA.
I typically have avoided frying.....clients don't want the smells/oil that go with it....event sites aren't crazy about having fryers brought in....most here do not have them on site.
Seems like you cater a lot of Kosher parties, I'm assuming this is not kosher.
sweet potatoes, pecans, biscuits, french bread, tabasco or crystal sauce......
I'm planning a Mardis Gras brunch for chef friends, probably the Sunday or Monday prior to Ash Wed. just started thinking about pulling down the beads and decorations.....got a zulu gold coconut somewhere in the attic.
A good king cake is a beautiful thing, plastic babies are found at craft stores....in lew of that a red bean.....but I make beignets instead of king cakes for brunch, just a personal perference. Sweet Potato biscuits and ham, cheesy grits, poached eggs either sardou or a variation there of.....and of course a simmering pot of chicken sausage gumbo on the stove (with Stansil's popcorn rice if I can get some here) for guests to grab a cup/bowl when they arrive. Pralines make a super dessert addition. Pecans somewhere and cane syrup .......
There's some satsuma bitters in the fridge as well as lemoncello, but I'm more apt to have fresh OJ mimosas or rosemary citrus punch, of course dark roast coffee with chicory and some liquors to add in....
should be easy enough to find music.
bon temp roule.eace:
My bad, and for the record: cochon de lait, not couchon au lait. I can cook it (or something very much like it), but apparently can't remember the actual name, and can't spell the parts I do (too many Hurricanes?).
For the record, my reference to "hurricanes" at mardi gras was to the cocktail of that name. It's a great drink, an interesting story, and worth its own thread in the recipe section.
totally understood the hurricane reference......in Southern Louisiana, especially down at Grand Gulf there would be parties during hurricanes, seriously. We were in Baton Rouge during hurricane Andrew that wiped out many houses.....no electricity for 3-4 days......gas BBQ's can cook in a pinch.
Anyway my point without sounding crass is that people in Southern Louisiana would decide to stay and weather out hurricanes....and many would have parties during that time. Katrina was a fluke, it was a levy issue not a storm issue....
Thanks for all the wonderful ideas! I'm meeting with the client on Wed and will give her a list using many of them.
The event is an after work party at a bank with no alcohol unless possibly wine and beer. Definitely not a big drinking crowd in this circumstance!
They don't want a spice-heavy menu. There will be 50-60 guests so I'm thinking 5 options with a veg or fruit platter. Low budget-big surprise.... Here's what I'll present:
*Sweet Potato Biscuits with Ham and some kind of good mustard TBD
*Savory French Toast Bites MS recipe made with brioche topped with tomato and herbs
*Crab Cakes with spicy remoulade- my recipe
*Chicken skewers wrapped in bacon
*Jalepeno poppers wrapped in bacon and brushed with bbq sauce
*Succotash (as a dip) made with black eyed peas and served with crackers/corn chips
Of course, I'll offer cheese and crackers, veggies and dip, and fruit
The proposed menu should go over well. Anyway, I like it.
FWIW, "Jalepeno poppers wrapped in bacon and brushed with bbq sauce," are called "ABTs" if they're smoked or roasted and not breaded or fried. The acronym stands for "atomic buffalo t*rds." Properly speaking (if we can do that after explicating ABTs), bbq sauce is an optional but very nice touch.
So... how do you make those Jalepeno poppers wrapped in bacon and brushed with bbq sauce thingies?
Good point about the french toast! I'm offering both the bacon wrapped jalapeno and chicken because they didn't want too many spicy items and the chicken is a good alternative to the jalapenos. But on second thought, another stuffed veggie would be cheaper. I'll look for those small sweet peppers that Sam's Club sells. Thanks for catching that!
I don't know if I should tell you, BDL....You'll become addicted and I'll be to blame!
smallish jalepenos halved and seeded
fill with cream cheese- plain is fine, but you can do whatever you want
wrap in bacon just enough to go around once so you don't end up with soggy bacon
brush with the secret ingredient -whatever bbq sauce or other sauce you have on hand. I was thinking that apricot jam thinned with balsamic vinegar might lend a little class to the ABT, but with a name like that, who really cares?! Bake at 375* until bacon is no longer soggy. 15 min or longer?
Alas, too late, am already an ABT junky -- although yours are a skosh different from mine.
'Round here, we stuff with homemade spiced cheese (sort of like boursin), no barbecue sauce during the cooking, and smoked rather than baked. Those are minor changes compared to the unifying central concept; i.e., a cheese-stuffed jalapeno, wrapped in bacon, and roasted. Can't really go far wrong with that, can you?
They're not particularly NOLA, but they're plenty "New South" enough to fit in just fine.
Kevin's website is great! I just spent way too long poking around on it! I really like the "no cookie cutter menu" statement. The grits bar sounds great- all the savory toppings...I could eat that, but for breakfast- no way! :0