Tag Archives: Creole

Mardi Gras in New York

17 Feb

Last night was Shrove Tuesday, otherwise known as Fat Tuesday or Mardi Gras. Now, Louisiana is a fair distance from New York but that doesn’t stop us from celebrating in the best way possible: with food and drink. My family had made reservations at the Broadway Beanery, a local restaurant that we frequent, for their special Mardi Gras menu. To begin with I had two of their beer specials for the night, an Abita Amber and a Dixie beer, both of which are from New Orleans breweries.

All the dishes on the menu were to have a cajun or creole twist. I’m kind of interested in the history of meals and what designates a specific cuisine, so I’m taking this opportunity to look up Louisiana and the distinction between creole/cajun in the Professional Chef, 8th Edition: “Louisiana inhabitants of Caribbean, African, Native American, and Spanish descent came to be known as Creole, a term that likely came from the Spanish word criollo meaning native to the place. In the mid-eighteenth century, the Acadians (French settlers in Canada) …. brought their language and cooking techniques, which were blended with Native American ingredients to make a new style of cooking. The name Acadian eventually became cajun. ”

Cajun Cooking Components

– iron skillets

-stock ( a combo of meat and seafood)

-golden to dark brown roux

-the trinity of onions, green peppers, and celery

-liqueurs

Cajun food also tends to include local ingredients including crayfish. Creole food tends to have more of a Spanish influence rather than French, with a focus on peppers, seafood and spices.

Appetizers which I sampled (or in the case of the crabcakes devoured) included an updated version of the Beanery’s normal crabcakes with an spicy carrot slaw and a pizzette topped with andouille sausage and peppers. The Cajun jambalaya was composed of smoked chicken, andouille sausage, shrimp and peppers served over dirty rice. I also managed to snag a bit of my uncle’s Louisiana Etouff√©, so I could try crayfish for the first time. Dessert for everyone was a slice of King’s Cake. “They are topped with sugar granules in the official Carnival colors of purple, green and gold. The purple represents the passion of Christ, the green represents hope and the gold the rewards of leading a Christian life.”¬† My aunt’s slice included the baby figurine tucked inside, but instead of being obliged with the responsibility of purchasing next year’s cake as tradition dictates she was presented with a bottle of wine.

On a side note, we had a great trio of musicians throughout dinner; a clarinetist, piano player and drummer. I just wished they had played more dixieland jazz rather than Benny Goodman.