Monday, February 20, 2012

Mardi Gras Time!

February and March is the season of Mardi Gras.  In 2011, I decided to theme my monthly dinner after this festive celebration -- A Fat Tuesday Party!  This is an easy theme for a dinner because you can purchase Mardi Gras themed items all over the place.  The colors are also simple -- purple, gold, and green.  I asked guest's to dress in these colors for the dinner.

Decor:  I used a bright purple tablecloth and green napkins. I made black masks and created designs on them with gold glitter.  I purchased a glittered top hat from Party City with the main Mardi Gras colors as another centerpiece and surrounded it with purple, gold, and green bead necklaces.  These items became props for our group photo later.

Just for laughs, I bought some fake boobs from a local costume shop!!  As the girls entered, I had them put them on for a quick photo op...and this is how they earned their bead necklace for the evening of course!  The bigger the better on these is awesome!!  I created a street sign for the wall with Bourbon Street to add more to the decor.

For a place card, I purchase mini bottles of bourbon.  I printed a Bourbon street sign on card stock with the guest's name.  I attached these to the bottle with Mardi Gras colors as well.

Party Activity:  When I ran my first marathon in New Orleans years before this party, and I noticed a popular game being played on the streets.  I decided to play this game, The Doubloon Toss, at the party.  I set up glasses (I used tea-light candle glasses because they are a little bigger than shot glasses), and I bought those chocolate gold coins you find in any store.  Guest's took turns seeing how many points they could earn as they tossed from a set line on the floor.  I adhered construction paper to the rim of the glass to designate point value.

Menu:  I served Jambalaya as my main dish as this is a very popular dish in New Orleans.  It was tasty.

Slow Cooker Jambalaya

1 pound skinless, boneless chicken breast halves - cut into 1 inch cubes
1 pound andouille sausage, sliced
1 (28 ounce) can diced tomatoes with juice
1 large onion, chopped
1 large green bell pepper, chopped
1 cup chopped celery
1 cup chicken broth
2 teaspoons dried oregano
2 teaspoons dried parsley
2 teaspoons Cajun seasoning
1 teaspoon cayenne pepper
1/2 teaspoon dried thyme
1 pound frozen cooked shrimp without tails


  1. In a slow cooker, mix the chicken, sausage, tomatoes with juice, onion, green bell pepper, celery, and broth. Season with oregano, parsley, Cajun seasoning, cayenne pepper, and thyme.
  2. Cover, and cook 7 to 8 hours on Low, or 3 to 4 hours on High. Stir in the shrimp during the last 30 minutes of cook time.

For dessert, I made a traditional Kings Cake.  The tradition with this cake is that you hide a mini plastic baby inside. The guest that is randomly served the slice of cake with the baby is supposed to be the next to host a party.  Some traditions say they are the next to bake a Kings Cake.  Since I always host the monthly dinners, it was a just for laughs for us.  I bought the baby at a local cake shop, Calico Cake Shop.  If you live in the area, you have to check out this is amazing!! I also bought the colored sugar there.

King Cake
Traditional New Orleans Recipe

1/2 cup warm water (110 to 115 degrees)  
2 packages active dry yeast  
1/2 cup plus 1 teaspoon sugar  
3 1/2 - 4 1/2 cups flour unsifted  
1 teaspoon nutmeg  
2 teaspoons salt  
1 teaspoon lemon zest, this is lemon rind, grated  
1/2 cup warm milk  
5 egg yolks  
1 stick butter cut into slices and softened, plus 2 tablespoons more softened butter  
1 egg slightly beaten with 1 tablespoon milk  
1 teaspoon cinnamon  
1 1" plastic baby doll

Pour the warm water into a small shallow bowl, and sprinkle yeast and 2 teaspoons sugar into it. Allow the yeast and sugar to rest for three minutes then mix thoroughly. Set bowl in a warm place for ten minutes, or until yeast bubbles up and mixture almost doubles in volume. Combine 3 1/2 cups of flour, remaining sugar, nutmeg and salt, and sift into a large mixing bowl. Stir in lemon zest. Separate center of mixture to form a hole and pour in yeast mixture and milk. Add egg yolks and, using a wooden spoon, slowly combine dry ingredients into the yeast/milk mixture. When mixture is smooth, beat in 8 tablespoons butter (1 tablespoon at a time) and continue to beat 2 minutes, or until dough can be formed into a medium-soft ball.

Place ball of dough on a lightly floured surface and knead like bread. While kneading, sprinkle up to 1 cup more of flour (1 tablespoon at a time) over the dough. When dough is no longer sticky, knead 10 minutes more until shiny and elastic.
Using a pastry brush, coat the inside of a large bowl evenly with one tablespoon softened butter. Place dough ball in the bowl and rotate until the entire surface is buttered. Cover bowl with a moderately thick kitchen towel and place in a draft-free spot for about 1 1/2 hours, or until the dough doubles in volume. Using a pastry brush, coat a large baking sheet with one tablespoon of butter and set aside.

Remove dough from bowl and place on lightly floured surface. Using your fist, punch dough down forcefully. Sprinkle cinnamon over the top, pat and shake dough into a cylinder. Twist dough to form a curled cylinder and loop cylinder onto the buttered baking sheet. Pinch the ends together to complete the circle. Cover dough with towel and set it in draft-free spot for 45 minutes, or until the circle of dough doubles in volume. Pre-heat oven to 375 degrees. 

Brush top and sides of cake with egg wash and bake on middle rack of oven for 25 to 35 minutes until golden brown. Place cake on wire rack to cool. If desired, you can hide the plastic baby in the cake at this time. 

3 cups confectioner's sugar
1/4 cup lemon juice
3-6 tablespoons water

Mix sugar, lemon juice and 3 tablespoons of water until mixture is smooth, adding more water as necessary to achieve a smooth, spreadable consistency. Spread icing over cake and immediately sprinkle colored sugar in alternating color rows.

Happy Mardi Gras season everyone!


km said...

heheheheh...your decor and details are magnificent AND HILARIOUS!!

Pam said...

I am doing a Mardi gras party and I love the placecards. Do you have the Bourbon Street street sign template?