Tuesday, February 16, 2010

Our Mardi Gras Celebration!

We took a little trip to the world of New Orleans today for some Mardi Gras fun!

First up:   Jambalaya!

I love him!  
He's so kind to humor me and my blogging obsession!

Easy Jambalaya

1 medium-size onion, chopped
3-4 stalks celery, cut into 1/2-inch slices
1 can (14.5 ounces) diced tomatoes
2 cups chicken broth
1 large boneless, skinless chicken breast, cut into 1-inch pieces
1 pound light kielbasa, cut into 1/2-inch slices
1/2 teaspoon cayenne pepper (more for a spicier flavor)
1 green pepper, chopped
1 red pepper, chopped
1 teaspoon thyme
1 teaspoon oregano
1 1/2 teaspoon Cajun seasoning
1/4 teaspoon salt

Hot cooked brown rice

In a large pot, stir onion, celery, tomatoes, broth, chicken, kielbasa salt, and cayenne together. Cover and simmer for one hour.
Stir in the green pepper, oregano, thyme, bay leaves, and Cajun seasoning and cook for 1 hour.
Serve over rice.

*I served the kids and then added another teaspoon of cayenne pepper to kick up the heat.

Next up, the King's Cake!  Traditionally, this cake has a charm or trinket hidden in it.  The finder gets a crown and the honor of being royalty for the day!  Thanks to Burger King for a little help with some pretty awesome crowns!  The kids get so excited about digging into the cake!  It's a very fun tradition!

This cake is more of a bready braid than a cake.  And I tend to have a little stigma against working with bread dough...like I can't do it!
However, this dough was soooo easy to work with!  The finished product was beautiful!  This recipe will definitely be a keeper!  I think it would make awesome  cinnamon rolls!

King's Cake
Makes two cakes

1 cup evaporated milk
1 cup (2 sticks) unsalted butter, plus more for bowl and baking sheet
1/3 cup plus 1 tablespoon granulated sugar
2 teaspoons pure vanilla extract
1 (1/4-ounce) package active-dry yeast
1/3 cup warm (110 degrees) water
5 cups all-purpose flour, plus more for work surface
1 teaspoon salt
4 large eggs, room temperature

2 1/2 cups confectioners' sugar
1/4 cup milk
Sanding sugar, for garnish

In a small saucepan, combine evaporated milk, butter, and 1/3 cup granulated sugar over medium heat until incorporated; remove from heat. Let cool slightly, and stir in vanilla; set aside.
Stir 1 tablespoon granulated sugar into warm water. Add yeast, and set aside until mixture begins to bubble, about 5 minutes. Meanwhile, butter a large bowl; set aside.
Combine flour and salt in a medium bowl; set aside. In the bowl of an electric mixer fitted with the paddle attachment, mix together eggs and milk mixture on medium speed; add yeast mixture. Mix until combined. Gradually add flour, beating until fully incorporated.
Turn dough out onto a lightly floured work surface; knead until smooth. Place in prepared bowl, turning several times to coat. Let rise, covered with wax paper and a clean damp towel, in a warm place until doubled in size, about 1 hour.

Once dough has doubled, punch down with your fist, and knead a few times in the bowl. Turn out onto a lightly floured work surface; and divide evenly into six pieces. Roll each piece into a log, about 24 inches long. Braid 3 logs together; shape each braid into an oval, pressing the ends together to seal.

Transfer to two buttered baking sheets; cover with wax paper, and let sit in a warm place until dough has doubled in size, about 1 hour.

 Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Once dough has doubled in size, discard wax paper, and bake until just golden, 25 to 30 minutes. Transfer to a wire rack; let cool slightly.

*Here's the sneaky part!  
Tuck a charm or picture of a king and queen into the cake for one lucky person to find!

In a medium bowl, stir together confectioners' sugar with remaining 1/4 cup milk to form a smooth, thick glaze. Add more sugar or milk, if necessary, for desired consistency. Working quickly, coat cakes with glaze, and sprinkle with sanding sugar. Serve warm or at room temperature.

 This was the cake for our family.

We had two happy kings and smiley queen!

This was the cake for our fun college Bible study girls!

I love them!
Congrats Queen Ashley!


peter marie said...

Yummy!! That king cake looks so delicious. What a fun idea..looks like everyone loved it!

une autre mère said...

What a fun Fat Tuesday! Next year I'll have to be more on the ball and start some traditions! Looks like those cakes turned about beautifully and yummily (yes, I realize that's not a word..).

Amy@My Front Porch said...

First of all -- that picture of Cody cracks me up :) When Dave and I went out for Valentine's I took a picture of him eating his ribs. His expression was a little less than enthusiastic :)

Second, I love that you do the King Cake! I wanted to try to make one this year but then I got lazy :) Might have to go for it next year. And I'm so trying that jambalaya recipe -- I have one but it's way more complicated than that!