Monday, February 15, 2010

Mardi Gras Celebration! Who got the baby?

I have to thank my good friend Tiki, for indulging me in the spirit of Mardi Gras.  Ever since I've known her, we have celebrated it in one way or another.  Be it making gumbo, eating a king cake, or better yet, making the trip out to New Orleans to experience the true meaning of Mardi Gras, I have successfully celebrated the holiday every year since 1991.  This year was no different, except for the fact that I made my own King Cake!  As tradition stands, there is a plastic baby somewhere in the cake and whoever gets that piece, will have good luck for the whole year. 
I decorated this year by bringing out my own beads (earned during Mardi Gras in the early 90's, and yes, you are assuming correctly) to lay on the table and to adorn our guests.  I kept almost every strand of beads that I commandeered during that trip, so I was able to have an extra bowl for people to choose from.  Purple, green, red, gold, white, blue, pink, you name it...Mardi Gras beads come in all shapes and sizes. Some even have a baby in the middle of them, like one I used as part of the centerpiece.  One of the reasons I enjoy this holiday so much is that in the dull-drums of winter, even though in San Diego it was 75 degrees today, the colors of Mardi Gras bring a brightness to the ordinary drab winter.  To me, it's like the first sign of spring. 

First I made the king cake.  I can't believe I'm going to admit this, but I basically did a Sandra Lee recipe, with a few adaptations.  I'm not a fan of hers in anyway shape or form, but today, I was not in the mood to cook up a king cake in the proper fashion of using yeast.  I went for the easy way out and used bread sticks, braided them together, and formed them into a circle. 
I have ordered king cakes in past years, but in an effort to save money this year, I decided to make my own.  Upon reading the reviews for Sandra Lee's King Cake, I opted to go with one reviewer and dip the bread sticks in melted butter and sprinkle them with cinnamon and sugar before braiding.  All in all, it was okay, but since I cooked it earlier in the day, it did dry out.  Next year, I'll be making the yeast cake.  After cooking, you insert a plastic baby somewhere in the cake and then cover with frosting.  Can you spot the baby?

For the main course, we had Jambalaya, which was good and comforting.  I chose not to put in as much cayenne pepper as it called for since we were also feeding it to kids.  To compliment the dish, I put out a couple different hot sauces so the adults could spice it up a bit.  It was tasty, a tad on the gummy side, but very fulfilling with pieces of smoked sausage, ham, chicken, and shrimp.  
The kids also dressed up for the occasion!  Little did they know, but dressing up in costumes, wearing masks, and dancing is a big part of Mardi Gras.  I'm glad they did their part :)  

So who got the baby?  I'm glad it was one of the kids.  To make it even better, the kids were trying to pick their piece, telling me where they wanted me to cut it, etc...Ryan said he didn't care, and just to give him any piece.  Well, it worked.  
Happy Fat Tuesday!


  1. Great minds think alike... We celebrated Fat Tuesday by making jambalaya! I wanted to make king cake, but settled for jambalaya, since I was too lazy to go to the grocery. OK, to be fair, I was feeling a little under the weather.

  2. What a great time! Thanks for having us over! This was the BEST Jambalaya I've EVER had! I seriously almost licked my plate - no pun intended! :) The baby in the cake is great for the kids too, everyone can get a kick out of celebrating Mardi Gras - adults and children too! Thanks, Jen!

  3. I'm glad you liked the jambalaya! This will definitely be a tradition, if it isn't one already! Next year, I'm going to make the true king cake - a yeast cake. Got to try it!