- red beans and rice with sausage
- sauteed spinach
- banana bread pudding with caramel-rum sauce
- hurricanes (virgin, or not)
The red beans and rice were from a mix (Vigo). I KNOW. Shut up, it's only once a year. I've tried making them from scratch and I actually like the mix better. I did add half a pound of sliced beef sausage to them, though.
I've given you the cornbread recipe before.
Fresh baby spinach was just sauteed in a skillet with EVOO until wilted, then seasoned with kosher salt and freshly ground pepper.
Okay, now the bread pudding! This was sort of an experiment. I was going for Bananas Foster flavors, without having to flambe anything. This is how I made it:
1 loaf stale French bread, cubed
2 bananas, peeled and sliced
1/4 cup butter, melted
1/2 - 3/4 cup brown sugar (I didn't measure it)
1/4 cup dark rum
1 tsp. vanilla
pinch of salt
2.5 cups hot milk
Okay, toss the bread cubes and bananas into a casserole dish, pour the melted butter on top, toss with your hands or a big spoon, and set aside.
In a mixing bowl beat the eggs until well combined. Beat in the brown sugar, rum, vanilla and salt. Slowly add the hot milk, beating constantly. Pour this mixture over the bread cubes and bananas, pushing the bread down into the egg mixture to make sure it's all covered. Let sit for about 5 minutes so the bread can absorb the eggs/milk.
Sprinkle with a bit of cinnamon and nutmeg, then bake uncovered at 375 degrees F for about 35 minutes or until set. It will poof up like a souffle and be a bit jiggly, but it shouldn't be runny once it's cooked.
For the caramel-rum sauce, just combine one can of sweetened condensed milk with a tablespoon or so of dark rum in a saucepan. Put it over VERY low heat (or use a double boiler) and stir occasionally until the mixture has thickened and become a light golden brown. This will take a while. If it gets lumpy (mine did), just push it through a sieve. Serve alongside the bread pudding. This is a really easy way to make caramel sauce if you don't have any heavy cream lying around.
The hurricanes were also kind of an experiment because I didn't have some of the necessary ingredients (like passion fruit syrup). So here's how I made those.
6 oz. pineapple juice
6 oz. orange juice
4 oz. guava nectar
juice of one lime
2 oz. grenadine
Combine all of the above for a "virgin" version of the drink. Strain over crushed ice into a hurricane glass and garnish with a wedge of orange and a maraschino cherry. This makes a couple of servings.
For the non-virgin version, add 1 oz. each dark and light rum to each glass and stir.
I am not claiming that this is in any way an "authentic" Mardi Gras meal, but it was yummy!