Mardi Gras Parti
February 28, 2011 5:51 AM   Subscribe

I'm throwing a Mardi Gras party this weekend. What should I make?

I'm making a King's Cake, but I could really use some other ideas and recipes. I've found a few lists and recipes online, but I'm always so impressed with what shows up in these AskMe threads. So, how about it? Show me a recipe and I'll throw you some beads!
posted by madred to Food & Drink (14 answers total)
Hurricanes for drinks.
posted by Houstonian at 5:55 AM on February 28, 2011

Are people sitting down to eat (gumbo, etouffee), or should the food be something you can walk around with (muffaletta)?
posted by Houstonian at 6:03 AM on February 28, 2011

Both, Houstonian. Some will want to sit and eat and others will want to do a drunken stumble with food in hand. So, all ideas are welcome.
posted by madred at 6:08 AM on February 28, 2011

Red Beans and Rice or Jambalaya. Both easy to make ahead and in large batches. I'd try to find good andouille if you can. We used to make fairly mild batches and then set out a variety of hot sauces to let guests dial in their own heat. You can serve in coffee cups, too - easier to hold onto when stumbling.
posted by Acton at 6:28 AM on February 28, 2011

posted by General Malaise at 6:35 AM on February 28, 2011

See this thread for drink suggestions, the Sazerac being the clear winner, albeit involving some hard-to-find ingredients.
posted by staggernation at 6:42 AM on February 28, 2011

Hushpuppies, fried pickles, fried okra, or boudin balls would be good for people to snack on (finger foods / appetizers). If it's a sitdown party definitely do a red beans and rice / jambalaya / gumbo type dish!
posted by gatsby died at 7:22 AM on February 28, 2011

You should really have King Cake with a tiny plastic Mardi Gras baby inside. And if you make gumbo and/or jambalaya, you'll want cornbread to go with it. I'm very fond of muffalettas and also bread pudding, which must have bourbon sauce on it. Hawaiian Punch plus bourbon makes a decent enough Hurricane, if you use enough bourbon.
posted by theora55 at 7:44 AM on February 28, 2011

Learn from my mistake and don't make hurricanes.

Are they authentic? Totally.

Are they yummy? For sure.

Will they make all your party guests the most psychotic version of wasted you've ever seen and cause world class hangovers? Oh, yeah. Which is why you should AVOID.

And if you make the mistake of serving them anyway, decide they're too sweet and strong and decide to dilute them with something? Don't turn them into champagne cocktails. No matter how tasty they are.

Seriously, I have had bad trips that were easier to navigate than the bizarre haze of my hurricane party.


To answer your question.

Abita beer. Amber, Restoration Pale Ale, and Jockamo are all great beers in and of themselves. Lots of people like Purple Haze, too, though I don't. Also keep an eye out for their seasonal brews - I think right now it's Ponchatoula Strawberry. Serve in a red and white ice chest if possible.

Frozen daiquiris, if you have the equipment. The Mardi Gras cliche of my hometown is to hit the drive-thru daiquiri shop on the way to the parade, or better yet, watch the parade from the parking lot of said daiquiri shop.

Ro-Tel queso dip. 1 can of Ro-Tel diced peppers to a half-pound block of Velveeta. Bits of broken-up Jimmy Dean breakfast sausage optional. Do not try to gussy this up with real food of any kind.

Flats of fresh strawberries, if they're in season where you are. This time of year is strawberry season in southern Louisiana.

If you're making a meal, the most authentic Mardi Gras thing you could do would be to grill up burgers and hot dogs. That's what locals really do for food on Mardi Gras while camping out on the parade route waiting for things to get started. Jambalaya would be a good option if you are dead set on some Cajun dish (though Mardi Gras isn't really a Cajun thing, anyway). Most of the food I associate with Mardi Gras (aside from the aforementioned burgers and such), though, is street food and "fair" foods like Frito Pie, Funnel Cake, Corn Dogs, Boudin Balls, and the like. In its core culinary experience, Mardi Gras is some strange blend of tailgating and the state fair.

I have never seen anyone eat a muffaletta at Mardi Gras as a specific thing, aside from "hey, we picked up muffalettas on the way to the parade." As in, they have muffalettas in New Orleans, and they also celebrate Mardi Gras there. Same goes for po-boys. They're Mardi Gras food insofar as they're a fast food item frequently picked up on the way to the parade. That said, I'd serve fried seafood po-boys at a Mardi Gras party before I served gumbo, for sure.

For music: Neville Brothers, Harry Connick Jr, Marcia Ball, Allen Toussaint, brass band jazz, Proffessor Longhair, as well as "Mardi Gras Mambo" and that ilk. I believe there are "Mardi Gras Music" compliations you can buy which have all the typical songs on them.

Have beads on hand. Also, it's a King Cake, not a King's Cake. We don't have a King in south Louisiana any more than you guys in the rest of the USA do.
posted by Sara C. at 11:18 AM on February 28, 2011

Red Beans and Rice

No. Red Beans and Rice is a Monday thing, and it's austerity food of a type not AT ALL associated with Mardi Gras. Mardi Gras is about splashing out, doing everything to excess, and eating rich meaty foods.

Red Beans is the OPPOSITE of what you should serve.
posted by Sara C. at 11:19 AM on February 28, 2011 [1 favorite]

Shrimp and Grits, though Tasso can be hard to come by.
posted by rtimmel at 11:51 AM on February 28, 2011

I just threw a rocking NOLA/Mardi Gras party! Here's what worked and what didn't.

I decided against Hurricanes because they are nasty, but they *are* traditional.

I had mini-muffaletas on little mini-rolls - people loved them. Like, really, really loved them. I used a cookie cutter to make circles of cold cuts so they would fit in the rolls neatly, and ladled on a tasty olive salad adapted from here and whizzed in the food processor. Big success.

I made a hot crab dip with cajun spices - also a big hit.

King Cake, which you are already doing.

Mardi Gras cookies.

I got a case of Zapp's delivered.

Abita Beer.

Cruditees with remoulade dipping sauce. (Meh.)

Things I considered: fried crawfish or meat mini pies like these, red beans and rice (or gumbo) served in little shot glasses, pralines, mini-crab cakes, shrimp remoulade, grilled chicken bites in creole sauce, mardi gras dip.

I also got cheap masks and beads from these guys. I was going to make everyone wear masks but then relented. They all liked the beads though.

It helps, also, if a lunatic undertaker in Louisiana sends you very, very filthy X rated beads to get people chattering early on.
posted by CunningLinguist at 5:04 PM on February 28, 2011

Maquechou for a veggie selection.

Don't worry; it's not healthy.
posted by IAmBroom at 6:55 PM on February 28, 2011 [1 favorite]

Oysters. You won't be getting them from the Gulf, but they'd be on my list. For music, let Pandora do the work. There's several genre of regional music to choose from, Zydeco, Cajun, Dixieland, Delta Blues, etc. Pandora will shuttle around your filters to give you a mix.

A thought on your King Cake; I prefer to use icing, using food coloring, instead of the colored sugar. Not only does it look better, I think it tastes better.
posted by JABof72 at 12:34 AM on March 1, 2011 [1 favorite]

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