February 24, 2014

Mardi Gras Foods

Dear Friends,
I just returned from New Orleans, where Carnival season is in full swing! Locals celebrate with music, dancing, parades, and, of course food.

This is the traditional time of feasting before the 40 days of lent and simple living, which lead up to Easter.

This year, Mardi Gras, which translates as 'Fat Tuesday', is March 4th.
Enjoy these healthy versions of celebratory foods and consider eating more simply for the days that follow. From a seasonal perspective, this practice is a wonderful way to prepare body, mind and spirit for spring, which makes its first appearance around spring equinox, March 21st.

Corn Bread

To prepare, preheat oven to 375 degrees.
Grease a square baking dish with oil and set aside.
In a mixing bowl, combine:
2 cups cornmeal
1 cup flour (rice, spelt, or millet)
1 teaspoon each: baking powder and baking soda
1 cup corn kernels (fresh or frozen)
1/2 teaspoon salt

Make a well in the center and add:
1 cup milk (almond, rice, or cow)
1/4 cup sunflower or olive oil
2 eggs (or 2 tablespoons flaxseed meal soaked in 4 tablespoons water)
1/4 cup unsweetened applesauce
1 teaspoon apple cider vinegar
Whisk these together, then incorporate with dry ingredients until barely mixed.
Pour into baking dish and bake for 25 minutes.

Try it with molasses, black-eyed peas and greens for a complete meal.

***
Another classic recipe of coastal people who celebrate Mardi Gras is Jambalaya. This one-pot wonder often includes spicy sausage and seafood. Prepare it according to your palate and tradition.

Jambalaya

In a stock pot, heat 1/4 cup olive oil. Brown 1 pound boneless chicken breasts on both sides, season with salt and pepper, and set aside.

Using the same pot, saute together for 10 minutes:

3 celery stalks, finely chopped
1 medium onion, finely chopped
1 green bell pepper, stemmed, seeded, and finely chopped
2 garlic cloves, minced
1 teaspoon gumbo file (made from sassafrass)
1 teaspoon each: cumin, coriander, paprika, turmeric, oregano

Add shrimp and/or andouille sausage if you like and cook until done, about 5 minutes.
Add cooked chicken.

Then, add 2 cups chicken stock and 1 cup crushed tomatoes with juice. Bring to a boil, reduce to simmer, and cook for 30 minutes.

Meanwhile, cook 1 cup long-grain rice in 2 cups water.
Add 1 teaspoon salt and 1 tablespoon olive oil as rice is cooking to add flavor.

Serve jambalaya over rice and breathe in the amazing aromas of this traditional dish.




1 comment:

Carolyn Mase said...

This looks like the perfect combination for a celebration!

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