Top 5 Mardi Gras Recipes

Chef Joe Barkson of  has some perfect recipes to create your own Mardi Gras extravaganza.  Feast your eyes on my top 5 favorites for Fat Tuesday.


By Vegan Feast Catering (Raspberry Beignets) [CC BY 2.0 (, via Wikimedia Commons

It may be possible to find a restaurant in New Orleans that doesn’t serve beignets for breakfast, but I think I would rather eat at one that does. Try these with a cup of good coffee or hot chocolate and you’ll wonder why you’ve been bringing home those boxes of doughnuts all these years.


1/2 cup (125 ml) water
4 Tbs (60 ml) butter
2 Tbs (30 ml) sugar
1/2 cup (125 ml) all-purpose flour
4 eggs
1 tsp (5 ml) vanilla
1/2 tsp (2 ml) grated lemon, orange, or lime rind
A grating of fresh nutmeg
Powdered (confectioner’s) sugar for dusting

Combine the water, butter, sugar, and flour in a saucepan and bring to a boil over low heat. Stir for about five minutes, until the batter becomes a shiny ball, and remove from heat. Add one egg at a time, beating vigorously for about 3 minutes after the addition of each egg. Add the vanilla, citrus rind, and nutmeg and beat to combine. Drop by the teaspoonful into deep fat heated to 375F (190C) and cook until golden, turning if necessary (they tend to turn themselves). Drain on paper towels and dust with powdered (confectioner’s) sugar. Serve immediately. Serves 4 to 6.


By Silar (Own work) [CC BY-SA 3.0 ( or GFDL (, via Wikimedia Commons

Ricotta-Cottage Cheese Pancakes

1 cup all-purpose flour
1 Tbs granulated sugar
1/4 tsp salt
1 tsp baking powder
4 eggs
1 cup ricotta cheese
1 cup small-curd cottage cheese
3/4 cup non-fat milk
1 tsp vanilla extract
1 tsp grated lemon rind

Combine the flour, sugar, salt, and baking powder in a large bowl. In a separate bowl beat the eggs with the ricotta, cottage cheese, milk, vanilla, and lemon zest. Add this mixture to the flour mixture, stirring until moistened. Do not stir any more than necessary to thoroughly combine ingredients. Drop a small amount on a lightly greased griddle or skillet over moderate heat and turn when the edges appear golden brown and dry, and the surface is bubbly. Makes about 24 3 to 4 inch (7 to 10 cm) pancakes.


By jons2 at [Public domain or CC0], via Wikimedia Commons

Seafood Gumbo

1/2 cup (125 ml) vegetable oil
1/2 cup (125 ml) flour
1 cup (250 ml) chopped onions
1/2 cup (125 ml) chopped red or green bell peppers
1/2 cup (125 ml) chopped celery
1 whole bay (laurel) leaf
Salt and freshly ground black pepper to taste
1/4 tsp (1 ml) cayenne pepper, or to taste
1/2 tsp (2 ml) dried thyme
1/2 tsp (2 ml) dried marjoram
1/2 tsp (2 ml) dried oregano
1 Tbs (15 ml) finely minced garlic
4 cups (1 L) chicken, beef, or vegetable stock, fresh or canned
1/2 lb (250 g) andouille sausage, or similar smoked sausage such as Polish kielbasa, cut into 1/2 inch (2 cm) pieces
1/2 lb (250 g) peeled shrimp
1/2 lb (250 g) scallops
12 large, raw oysters with their liquor
1 to 2 cups cooked white rice

Heat the oil in a heavy skillet over high heat until it is very hot. Stir in the flour and continue to stir until the roux is a dark reddish brown color. Add the onions, bell peppers, and celery, and cook about 2 minutes, stirring frequently. Add the seasonings and cook an additional minute, then remove from the heat. Meanwhile, bring the stock to a boil in a large pot over high heat. Add the roux mixture a little at a time, stirring after each addition to make sure the roux is dissolved before adding more. Add the sausage and simmer for 10 minutes. Add the shrimp, scallops, and oyster with their liquor, and simmer for 5 minutes, or until the shrimp are firm and pink. Serve immediately by spooning over 1/4 cup of rice in a bowl. Serves 4 to 6.


By Frank C. Müller (Own work) [Public domain], via Wikimedia Commons

Cajun-Style Shrimp

6 Tbs (90 ml) butter
4 – 6 cloves garlic, finely chopped
2 Tbs (30 ml) lemon juice
1 Tbs (15 ml) chopped fresh thyme, or 1 tsp (5 ml) dried
1 Tbs (15 ml) paprika
1/4 tsp (1 ml) cayenne pepper, or to taste
Salt and freshly ground pepper to taste
1 1/2 – 2 lbs (675 – 900 g) large shrimp in their shells

Melt the butter in a small saucepan over moderate heat and saute the garlic until it is tender, about 3 minutes. Remove the pot from the heat and add the lemon juice, thyme, paprika, cayenne, salt, and pepper. Using a sharp knife, split the backs of the shrimp and devein them, leaving the shell intact. Combine the shrimp with the marinade and toss to thoroughly coat. Refrigerate for 30 minutes to 1 hour. Remove the shrimp and discard the marinade. Grill directly over hot coals until opaque and firm to the touch, about 2 minutes per side. Serves 4 to 6.


By John [CC BY-SA 2.0 (, via Wikimedia Commons

Banana Bread Pudding

2 Tbs (30 ml) butter
4-5 bananas, peeled and thickly sliced
4 eggs
2 cups (500 ml) half-and-half or heavy cream
1/4 cup (60 ml) brown sugar
1/4 cup (60 ml) dark rum (optional)
1 tsp (5 ml) vanilla extract
1/2 tsp (2 ml) ground cinnamon
1/2 lb (225 g) egg bread, brioche, or white bread, sliced
1/4 cup (60 ml) raisins
Rum sauce (optional)
Vanilla ice cream (optional)

Heat the butter in a skillet over moderate heat and saute the bananas until lightly browned, about 3 minutes. Set aside. Whisk together the eggs, half-and-half, brown sugar, optional rum, vanilla, and cinnamon in a mixing bowl. Layer one-third of the bread slices in a greased 9×5-inch (23×12 cm) baking dish, top with half the bananas and raisins, and pour one-third of the egg mixture over all. Repeat with another layer of bread, bananas, raisins, and egg mixture, and finish with a final layer of bread and egg mixture. Bake in a preheated 350F (180C) oven until firm to the touch, 30 to 40 minutes. Serve warm, chilled, or at room temperature, topped with rum sauce and/or vanilla ice cream if desired. Serves 6 to 8.

Rum Sauce

1/4 cup (60 ml) butter
1/2 cup (125 ml) half-and-half or heavy cream
1/2 cup (125 ml) brown sugar
1/4 tsp (1 ml) salt
2-3 Tbs (30-45 ml) dark rum

Combine the butter, half-and-half, brown sugar, and salt in a saucepan and bring to a rolling boil over moderate heat, stirring frequently. Remove from the heat and stir in the rum. Makes about 1 cup (250 ml).

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