Aside from the temperatures, there is plenty that sizzles in the city of New Orleans. From the streets in the summer time to the music in the square almost any night of any given week to the food in dingy diners and white table clothe restaurants alike this city is hot and everyone who spends any amount of time here knows it. Mardi Gras in New Orleans is an entity unto itself. It has taken a hit since Katrina but the people of this great city that have come back and are dedicated to its rebuilding efforts are much like the food and the flare that makes Mardi Gras such a memorable event in this of all cities.
If you haven’t had the pleasure of some of the spicier New Orleans cuisine perhaps we should place a warning label on it, but this is something most visitors simply must find out for themselves. One thing is for certain if the first bite isn’t hot enough we can certainly bring up the temperature with some aptly named Louisiana hot sauce to be sure.
Red beans and rice is a great Cajun favorite. While the beans and the rice aren’t too terribly hot by themselves when you add a bit of the hot sauce and some andouille sausage to the mix you’ll find the temperature inside might be rivaling the warmest of August days in the sunshine. Be sure to have plenty of water close at hand when you begin your dining experience because while you don’t necessarily need it with the first bite, chances are good that you will need it by the last. When cooking red beans and rice you’ll want to brown the sausage a bit first, leaving the dripping in the pan, then add the beans and prepare to have them simmer all day once they’ve been brought to a boil. You should season according to your preferences but be sure to add a little bit of salt unless you’ll be adding ham in addition to the sausage. You also serve the beans over rice and don’t cook the rice and the beans together though some people certainly use less rice than others.
Another thing you want to remember when enjoying Cajun food is that you want to save room for whatever comes next and you do not necessarily want to know what you’re eating at all times. Sometimes it is better to wonder in ignorance than to like something and discover the truth. In other words, no matter how good it is, never, ever ask what’s in it.
Cooking Cajun Favorites Makes it Mardi Gras Sizzle Life
If you’re learning to cook Cajun food, of course, you won’t have the option of deniability. You will learn the good, the bad, and the ugly about many favorites. I think I was most dismayed to discover that I was eating turtle soup one day. It was actually quite delicious (though I’m not sure if I was more pleased with the soup or the sherry, which is a common add in for turtle soup, that I found more pleasing) until I discovered what it was. From that point on I was afraid to try anything that looked remotely different from what I was accustomed to eating without first wanting all the details of what was in it. I missed out on a few great dishes I am quite certain and have learned my lesson to some degree. But cooking Cajun food is part science, part art and very important to take the Mardi Gras atmosphere away from the Big easy. Good luck and “let the good times roll.”
Those who live in the American southwest have experienced the fan fare and celebrations of Cinco de Mayo a little longer than perhaps many other states across the U. S. though the exposure is most definitely growing. As a result more and more people of various ethnicities are joining in the celebration and adding Cinco de Mayo to their list of favorite holidays. Whether it’s the music, the dancing, the drinks, or the food that is most enjoyable about this holiday no one is really sure. However, when you combine them all you have a holiday that is difficult to match in gusto and fun. But for some of us, the food is most definitely the draw.
Mexican food is becoming an almost Americanized version of itself in many restaurants across the United States. One reason is because it’s just that popular. Even small towns are beginning to have as many Mexican restaurants as they do Chinese or Italian. This is good news on one hand as it indicates a growing desire on behalf of Americans to try the cuisine of our neighbors. It has also managed to get us accustomed to the wonderful flavors of Mexican cuisines and we are beginning more and more often to bring these cuisines into our own homes.
If you are looking for some great foods to cook for your family on Cinco de Mayo then you’ve definitely come to the right place for ideas and inspiration. My personal favorite is spicy chicken enchiladas with cheese sauce. This was something I had never heard of until I found a great Mexican restaurant in my neck of the woods called Carlos O’Kelly’s. It is now one of my favorite Mexican dishes of all times. It isn’t easy to prepare however, so that is the one major drawback.
If you are looking for something fun and festive try creating a taco or fajita bar that lets everyone add their favorite ingredients to their tacos and/or fajitas and keeps the favorite sides such as black beans, refried beans, and Mexican rice close by to complement the meal. This is an excellent idea if you are situated in a manner that allows for buffet style serving of family, friends, and honored guests. It’s a lot of fun and you can generally get people to help out or pitch in on the preparations and bringing their favorite toppings along. Be sure to have plenty of everything and refills that need to be chilled on ice and those that need to be kept warm in containers that allow for proper food safety.
Cooking Cajun Favorites
If you need something that is a little more portable, especially if you have little ones that tend to wander around with their food, then quesadillas may be the perfect solution. They are delicious, they are easy to walk around with if you have them cut properly, they are fun to make and they do not require a good deal of difficulty in the preparation – especially if you make the $20 investment in a good quesadillas maker. You put one in at a time and let them cook until they are ready. Clean up is a snap and you have a lot of happy campers with full bellies.
Keep the music upbeat and Mexican inspired to further the tone of the party and the food will digest so much better if you get up and dance around a bit. Enjoy the spirit of the celebration. In other words, have fun. Don’t spend the entire day in the kitchen fretting over whether you’ve made enough or if you need to make more. Have a few options available for one and all and leave it at that. If they are still hungry they can always make a run for the border (old Taco Bell slogan) though I’m quite certain that one and all will agree that your food was far superior to any fast food offerings in town.