searching for mardi gras menus
If you're going to laissez les bons temps rouler, that generally means great food, lot's of alcohol, and the right attitude. Mardi Gras meals are usually meat-heavy, because they preceed Lent, and it's the last shot at meat until Easter.
So, to assemble a Mardi Gras menu, just search out cajun and creole dishes, and pick the ones that most appeal. Some ideas:
Shrimp Stuffed with Crabmeat
Mardi Gras Salad
Oysters with Tasso, Cream, and Fettucine
Pork Chops with Spinach & Pecan Stuffing
Beef Filet Marchand de Vin
Corn and Crabmeat Soup
Well, I could go on and on. Note the absence of crawfish in that list. Crawfish are not really in season during Mardi Gras. But if you want to use frozen tails, to maintain the "New Orleans" theme, there are plenty to choose from. Crawfish Bisque, for instance, and Crawfish Pies. And, of course, the iconic Ecrivisses Etouffee.
FWIW, most frozen crawfish come from China, in case that's important to you.
One way or the other, I'd build a big mardi-gras themed menu around pork. Preferably a whole animal -- whether a big whole hog or a smaller pig (or pigs). The ultimate choice would depend on the size of the group and what equipment I could get my paws on.
Pretty hard to beat a whole pig for southern festive.
Cocktails: Hurricanes. You Simply Must. In copious amounts. Let no brain go unmushed.
Some Other Must Haves: Some sort of etouffe or gumbo. Fried or cold seafood with remoulade. Greens. Salads, Spicy things. Very spicy things. Italian and/or French type breads (long story).
The marchand du vin thing was a great idea. You can do the sauce and serve it with darn near any type of beef -- it doesn't have to be a fillet roast (not that there's anything wrong with dat), it could be grilled flank steak -- or whatever.
One dessert among several others: King Cake as already mentioned.
You could do a whole NOLA sandwich thing and keep it simple -- Make long po' boys and cut them in short sections so people can have a selection. Here are some good po' boys: Fried oyster; Catfish; Debris (yum, debris); Barbecue Pork. And then there's the ever lovin' muffaletta.
Hurricanes. Did I mention hurricanes?
after living in Baton Rouge and New Orleans for 15, Mardis Gras has different menus than most other "events"......couchon is usually a gig all by it self, ditto crawfish boil, crab boil or shrimp boil.....the newspaper comes out and the burners go up outside.
New Orleans has Creole food, the bayou along the gulf has cajun food....most small towns celebrate Mardis Gras.....
Gumbo in it's many forms is pretty standard
several menus suggested may not work well for offsite catering in NE USA.
I typically have avoided frying.....clients don't want the smells/oil that go with it....event sites aren't crazy about having fryers brought in....most here do not have them on site.
Seems like you cater a lot of Kosher parties, I'm assuming this is not kosher.
sweet potatoes, pecans, biscuits, french bread, tabasco or crystal sauce......
I'm planning a Mardis Gras brunch for chef friends, probably the Sunday or Monday prior to Ash Wed. just started thinking about pulling down the beads and decorations.....got a zulu gold coconut somewhere in the attic.
A good king cake is a beautiful thing, plastic babies are found at craft stores....in lew of that a red bean.....but I make beignets instead of king cakes for brunch, just a personal perference. Sweet Potato biscuits and ham, cheesy grits, poached eggs either sardou or a variation there of.....and of course a simmering pot of chicken sausage gumbo on the stove (with Stansil's popcorn rice if I can get some here) for guests to grab a cup/bowl when they arrive. Pralines make a super dessert addition. Pecans somewhere and cane syrup .......
There's some satsuma bitters in the fridge as well as lemoncello, but I'm more apt to have fresh OJ mimosas or rosemary citrus punch, of course dark roast coffee with chicory and some liquors to add in....
should be easy enough to find music.
bon temp roule.:smoking::peace:
The Hurricane as a CocktailMy bad, and for the record: cochon de lait, not couchon au lait. I can cook it (or something very much like it), but apparently can't remember the actual name, and can't spell the parts I do (too many Hurricanes?).
For the record, my reference to "hurricanes" at mardi gras was to the cocktail of that name. It's a great drink, an interesting story, and worth its own thread in the recipe section.
Anyway my point without sounding crass is that people in Southern Louisiana would decide to stay and weather out hurricanes....and many would have parties during that time. Katrina was a fluke, it was a levy issue not a storm issue....
The event is an after work party at a bank with no alcohol unless possibly wine and beer. Definitely not a big drinking crowd in this circumstance!
They don't want a spice-heavy menu. There will be 50-60 guests so I'm thinking 5 options with a veg or fruit platter. Low budget-big surprise.... Here's what I'll present:
*Sweet Potato Biscuits with Ham and some kind of good mustard TBD
*Savory French Toast Bites MS recipe made with brioche topped with tomato and herbs
*Crab Cakes with spicy remoulade- my recipe
*Chicken skewers wrapped in bacon
*Jalepeno poppers wrapped in bacon and brushed with bbq sauce
*Succotash (as a dip) made with black eyed peas and served with crackers/corn chips
Of course, I'll offer cheese and crackers, veggies and dip, and fruit
I'm wondering, too, if the chicken skewers and jalapeno poppers might not seem samee-same wrapped in bacon?
Other than that the menu sounds pretty good.
FWIW, "Jalepeno poppers wrapped in bacon and brushed with bbq sauce," are called "ABTs" if they're smoked or roasted and not breaded or fried. The acronym stands for "atomic buffalo t*rds." Properly speaking (if we can do that after explicating ABTs), bbq sauce is an optional but very nice touch.
So... how do you make those Jalepeno poppers wrapped in bacon and brushed with bbq sauce thingies?
smallish jalepenos halved and seeded
fill with cream cheese- plain is fine, but you can do whatever you want
wrap in bacon just enough to go around once so you don't end up with soggy bacon
brush with the secret ingredient -whatever bbq sauce or other sauce you have on hand. I was thinking that apricot jam thinned with balsamic vinegar might lend a little class to the ABT, but with a name like that, who really cares?! Bake at 375* until bacon is no longer soggy. 15 min or longer?
I noticed you don't have shrimp nor andouille on the menu.
A "jambayla skewer" small shrimp, sausage, chicken, onion, pepper is an idea.
red beans are used much more than black eyed peas....they have a less "earthy, muddy" flavor....anyway red beans and rice are a NO standard.
A caterer friend of mine has bite size muffs on his menu....he gets sheets of fougase, easier to work into bite squares than rounds of bread.
Olive salad is the key to a good muffalotta.
Menu reads good....lots of hot (heated) food, do they have the setup for that?
'Round here, we stuff with homemade spiced cheese (sort of like boursin), no barbecue sauce during the cooking, and smoked rather than baked. Those are minor changes compared to the unifying central concept; i.e., a cheese-stuffed jalapeno, wrapped in bacon, and roasted. Can't really go far wrong with that, can you?
They're not particularly NOLA, but they're plenty "New South" enough to fit in just fine.
mardi gras menuLast year we spent 3 weeks in Central Louisiana with our good friends and caterers who were in the process of starting a new catering biz in a new area and needed help
Here's the menu they served at a wedding reception (bride and groom were already married)
Best catered events mardi gras themed pre wedding celebration
Stuffed new potatoes
Spinach and artichoke dip with crackers and chips
Jambalaya with chix and sausage
Fiesta corn dip with chips
Cold spicy Louisiana shrimp dip with crackers
Mini po boy sandwiches served hot
Smoked beef brisket with rolls and condiments
baby rays bbq
Fruit and cheese display
riversof white, dark and milk chocolate
with lots of dipping goodies
also check out Kevin's website Tampa Catering - Wedding, Corporate and Event Caterer
He's a NOLA transplant (left after Katrina shut down the restaurant he was working at and he offers many cajun and creole ideas on his website.
Mardi Gras or N'awlins ideasI recall doing a low budget lunch at a business a couple years back; they brought in salad (served in disposable aluminum pans) and flew in very average Kings Bread from LA.
I served them Pork Po'Boys, Maque Choux and Dirty Rice. They chowed big time.
I've always liked serving Oysters Rockefeller.
I developed a hand pass hors d'oeuvres by making a corn tartlet or tiny corn cup in muffin tin or gastroflex and filling it with maque choux, garnished with chopped bacon & green onion or chives on top.
Shrimp or crab remoulade in a chinese spoon is a nice simple trick too.
For meatless H.D., I've scooped out tiny potato, roasted, then filled with a
stylized "creole" ratatouille
The creole ratatouille I just cut all the vegies a bit smaller, go a little heavy on the peppers, and kick it up a notch with Louisiana Gold or Crystal or Tabasco. Might sneak in a brunoise of okra if the mood strikes. Good vegetarian hors d'oeuvres-gluten free if ya watch your condiments.
I made my first King Cakes last week, by the way. Not for a N'awlins party, just a really nice little lunch that happened to fall on fat Tuesday. Got the recipe from my pal Les Kincaid. The dough is like a rich brioche, with some lemon zest & spices added. Served one, took the other home.
Most of those honkies at the lunch were clueless, only a couple even realized it was Mardi Gras day. But in about half an hour, the offices were abuzz with excitement about it, and I even spied a page being downloaded about the King Cake with picture & recipe. FUN!
Wish I had more time recently to help out with your menu. I was lucky enough to have a client hire me to cook for a group of people at her house on Mardi Gras night. It was a corporate event and the guests were all from out of town, so they loved the theme. I had to toss in some healthy options for those who didn't want to indulge (though they all did...). It ended up being 23 people and I pulled off the whole dinner myself (it was my second time cooking there, much of the food was pre-prepped and we also used disposable dinnerware). Here was the menu:
Crab Cake and Spring Green Salad
Jumbo lump pan sautéed crab cake with Creole remoulade sauce,
served atop a salad of mixed greens
tossed with house-made Creole Mustard Vinaigrette
Main Course – “Mardi Gras Madness”
“New Orleans Style” Barbecue Shrimp and Grits
with onions and peppers in a spicy sauce (no BBQ sauce in this dish, despite the name), served over creamy cheddar cheese grits
Cajun Chicken and Sausage Jambalaya
Authentic Cajun style jambalaya with blackened chicken and spicy smoked sausage, cooked in a cast iron pot
Sliced Grilled Chicken
Boneless, skinless chicken breast, Marinated in citrus and seasonings, grilled then sliced
Grilled Seasonal Vegetables
Including squash, zucchini, asparagus and red onion, grilled and tossed with olive oil, fresh lemon juice, salt and black pepper
Florida Strawberry Shortcake
Fresh Plant City (local) Strawberries, on an open faced buttermilk biscuit, with Homemade whipped cream
I am really late to the party but that menu above is perfect. I live in Southeast Louisiana along I-10 between BR and NO and am hoping to relocate back north in the next year and start a catering business and or small diner of this area origin. The first three items on that menu are common enjoyed foods here that I cook a lot and would be great for catered events. You can't beat a good Jambalaya for a catered event.
@Jay - while I agree that paul prudhomme is a genuine NOLA source, you might want to check out uptown kevin and his various blogs - he's also a real NOLA deal - born and raised - weaned on crawfish so to speak and he's a caterer - so from a caterers perspective it's a gold mine to be able to network on sites like these and others on facebook etc with colleagues who are homegrown experts (trust me I have actually gotten workable recipes, techniques and tips from Kevin and also my good catering buzzie buddy Dianne Evans who walks the walk as well as talks the NOLA and LA (louisiana) talk every day in terms of catering local food for local people. Again, not to knock cookbooks and celeb chefs but give me a real live person I can email and phone and message and get the complete skinny from - wow that's a powerful business tool.