MARDI GRAS: CAJUN FAVORITES & THE SECOND ROUND OF RESOLUTIONS
Being raised Catholic, Mardi Gras, henceforth MG, was the beginning of Lent, where we Catholics had 46 days of reconciliation and fasting. Thus begins round two of weight loss. Yes, we all cry for new beginnings, especially with beach season coming up. Well, at post 50 years of age, the washboard abs are more like a washtub and that false hope of beach grandeur has subsided like the Titanic. No, I’m not that Adonis-like figure at the beach any longer, much to your chagrin. Rest assured that I have not relegated myself to the thought of Bermuda shorts, black socks, disheveled short sleeve dress shirt unbuttoned to just above my pot bellied navel while showing a graying Afghan chest rug, sportingly accompanied by a gold chain retained from the pre-70’s disco boom. Nope, I’m a dashing 20 year old beach wannabe, sporting Rip Curl shorts and a flat brimmed cap to cover that solar panel forehead from brow line to the medulla.
With that diatribe coming to an end, let’s talk fasting. MG is a blast from the past for me and no true city of the south is better to finish off debauchery and gluttony like New Orleans. New Orleans puts the “art” in party and the ”oo” in food. Man, does it have all that you want to wrap up the last ten days of eating since the Super Bowl saw your New Year's resolution trashed. From beignets at breakfast to Po Boys for lunch and Cajun main dishes for dinner, all to be washed down with chicory coffee, voodoo beer and a Sazerac from Galatoire’s. I’m getting a “food chubby” just thinking about it! I say once again in this year of 2018, throw caution to the wind and dive into a day of dining bliss. I, myself, am headed to Po Melvin’s in Irving to visit my long time Catholic friend of food destruction, Lil Mel, cuz tonight I’m headed for a Cajun food coma, starting with lemon wings and shrimp (I wish crawfish was in season) gumbo, crawfish étouffée , roast beef po boy served with red beans and rice, collards and creole sides. Yep, caution is gone like my hairline, bye bye!!
So once again, you live only once, so step aside Keto, Atkins, Sonoma, Paleo, Cro-Magnum Man, etc., there is a chow hound coming to town! Tomorrow is a new day of fasting and healthy conscious eating, at least until another food-related holiday is a coming. So Gogitem!!
Bon Appètit and laissez le bon temps rouler!!!
COWBOY CHEF NEWTON'S CAST IRON RED BEANS & RICE
Ingredients: 1 lb. Dried Red Kidney Beans 6 C Water 2 med Onions, chopped 2 stalks Celery with leaves, chopped 1/2 Green Bell Pepper, chopped 2 cloves Garlic, crushed 6 slices Thick-sliced Bacon, chopped 1 lb Smoked Link Sausage, sliced 1 t Thyme 2 t Cayenne Pepper, plus a little for garnish 2 T Kosher Salt 1 t Black Pepper, or more to taste 3 C Cooked Rice 1 bunch Fresh Parsley for garnish
Instructions: 1. Soak Beans in Water overnight, or use the quick soak method by adding Beans to Water in a large saucepan, bring Water to a boil, reduce heat and simmer 2 minutes; turn off heat, cover and let stand 1 hour. 2. Rinse beans and add to fresh Water in a cast iron pot. 3. Add the Holy Trinity of Cajun cooking, Onions, Celery and Green Bell Pepper, Garlic and Bacon. Bring to a boil and simmer about 2 hours until beans are soft and start to thicken at the bottom of the pot. 4. Add Sausage, Thyme, Cayenne, Salt & Pepper and simmer an additional 30 minutes. 5. Serve with a scoop of cooked rice, I prefer Zatarain's Long Grain Rice, a sprinkle of Cayenne & Parsley.