Tipsy French Quarter Praline Pecan Cheese Spread

Decadent, audacious and over-the-top sums up Mardi Gras festivities and the carnival season, in my opinion. The parades and Mardi Gras balls have a party-like atmosphere with lots of revelry, good times and costumes –some elegant, others more brazen and some just plain silly. This over-the-top appetizer, “Tipsy French Quarter Praline Pecan Cheese Spread,” fits right in. It is so, so rich. Like Mardi Gras, this appetizer is decadent, delicious and addictive. It is full of sugar and calories — but we’re indulging during these festivities. And Lent is coming soon. The cream cheese base has savory seasonings while the praline topping (brown sugar, butter, nuts and bourbon) is very sweet. Oddly enough, the sweet and savory flavors complement each other.

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Marie’s Party Shrimp Dip

With Mardi Gras quickly approaching, here’s a delicious “Shrimp Dip” to include in Mardi Gras parties. What could be more southern that shrimp? The dip, served along with crackers and vegetables, is perfect for this festive celebration. Actually, the shrimp dip is good any time of the year and it is a favorite appetizer for winter holiday buffets. Our little group of musician friends, which meets weekly, ends each jam session with a table of wine and snacks. How much fun is that? So this week I’m bringing Marie’s appetizer recipe for “Shrimp Dip.” It is easy to mix up, colorful and tastes great. The dip is better if it sets for eight hours to overnight for the flavors to blend so I better get moving.

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Let’s Bake a “Mardi Gras King Cake” from a Box

The Mardi Gras season is here, it’s time to partake in King Cakes. And for those folks who live outside of south Louisiana, a King Cake is a rich, sweet yeast bread baked in an oval shape and decorated with the Mardi Gras colors of purple, green and gold. Often the pastry has a filling such as cream cheese, praline or fruit which makes this tasty bread even better. King Cakes are an integral part of Mardi Gras holiday merriment and they fill the bakery section of grocery shelves from early January to Mardi Gras Day (this year it is March 1). It is common practice to take one of these pastries to work to share with co-workers for a morning treat. Yum.

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Savory Andouille King Cake

Mardi Gras is this Tuesday, with parades, revelry, krewes and their balls and king cakes. It wouldn’t be Mardi Gras without king cakes and hundreds of these are sold in the weeks preceding Mardi Gras in Louisiana and the Golf Coast. These desserts are rich pastries baked in an oval shape and decorated with green, purple and burnt orange sugar or icing. Often they are filled with cinnamon sugar, cream cheese, cherries or countless other fillings. This week, our local newspaper featured recipe for a “Boudin King Cake” which is a savory pastry filled with Cajun Boudin sausage. That’s sort of a unique twist on dessert king cakes, I mused. Why not give it a try. And so I made a variation, “Savory Andouille King Cake.”

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Mardi Gras Mambo Cupcakes

This year, in celebration of Mardi Gras, I am making cupcakes with colorful cream cheese icing for an event where everyone is expected to bring a dessert. Mardi Gras has been celebrated since the early beginnings of New Orleans and was originally a Catholic holiday of indulging in a rich meal before the beginning of Lent. Over time Mardi Gras has extended well beyond the Catholic religion and “Fat Tuesday.” Lots of revelry and fun for everyone. So my cupcakes are “in the spirit” of the Mardi Gras season.

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New Orleans’ Creole Remoulade Sauce

Creole Remoulade Sauce is truly a recipe of New Orleans. It is a very tangy and full-bodied sauce usually served with boiled shrimp or seafood. Derived from French cuisine and adapted by Creole cooks, the sauce eventually making it’s way onto the menus of some of the oldest and finest New Orleans’ restaurants. With Mardi Gras celebrations and their pageantry and traditions in progress in New Orleans, I’m reminded of these restaurants and what made them famous. Continue reading

Teen Chef: Let’s Bake Mardi Gras King Cake Broiches

It’s Mardi Gras season in Louisiana and today we’re making King Cakes. This year I have teenager, Jessi, to help me make these sweet, rich and delicious yeast breads known as King Cakes. King cakes fill the grocery stores and hundreds are sold in New Orleans during the Mardi Gras season. It is fairly easy to make a king cake yourself at home using this recipe. The key is using a heavy-duty mixer to do the kneading.

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