Of all of the things I would have thought would have been relatively unchanged for us during the pandemic, I would have guessed Mardi Gras would be it. Ironically, it was a much different holiday for us this year!
The church we’ve been attending since we were able to resume in-person worship last summer is located in the part of St. Louis known for its Mardi Gras celebration. While the festivities had to be cancelled this year, we did enjoy seeing all of the houses decorated for the holiday over the last few Sundays:
We always have pączki for breakfast on “Fat Tuesday,” but since I’m still limiting my grocery outings (plus we had a snow storm yesterday), I decided that this would finally be the year I actually made them from scratch. It was a lot of fun, and they were really delicious!
For dinner I made gumbo with chicken, sausage and shrimp, plus roast okra. Okra isn’t something we normally eat, and we were a little concerned about it, but it was delicious and not at all slimy. It turns out we were lucky to have it at all, because last week, the produce man at Schnucks said I was getting the first package from the first shipment they had had in over a month.
So, that was our Mardi Gras celebration in the time of COVID-19. Lent begins tomorrow, and I’m not going to lie…I still kind of feel like last Lent never really ended, so I’m not really planning on doing anything differently this year…I’m just hoping that this Easter might actually feel a bit like Easter should!
I’m not really sure why, but I’ve always loved the Festivale event in Animal Crossing. It was extra fun this year, and I especially love the float I was rewarded with for catching lots of flying feathers!
Today we had our annual Mardi Gras celebration. We started the day as we always do…with pączki. I’m still planning on making them from scratch one of these years! Like last year, we had red beans and rice for lunch. Much to everyone’s disappointment, I didn’t make beignets this year (there are only so many hours in the day!), but I did try a new recipe for dinner at Bunny’s request: shrimp gumbo. I even made my own shrimp broth, which was a new and entertaining experience. We finished the day with butterscotch bread pudding for dessert. I know,..that’s Southern, not Mardi Gras, but I really don’t like king cake, so I thought it was a decent substitute.
The celebration is over, and we’re ready for Lent to begin tomorrow!
I made beignets last Tuesday for our family Mardi Gras celebration (my first attempt at frying doughnuts of any kind), and I was pleasantly surprised by how easy it was, as well as how much fun! Make the dough a day ahead and refrigerate it for best results.
2 1/4 teaspoons active dry yeast
1 1/2 cups warm water
1/2 cup white sugar
1 teaspoon salt
1 cup evaporated milk
7 cups all-purpose flour
1/4 cup shortening
1 quart vegetable oil for frying
1/4 cup powdered sugar for dusting
In a large bowl, dissolve yeast and 1 tsp. sugar in warm water. Let stand 5-10 minutes. Add remaining sugar, salt, eggs, and evaporated milk; blend well. Mix in 4 cups of flour and beat until smooth. Add the shortening, and then the remaining 3 cups of flour. Cover and chill overnight or for up to 24 hours.
Heat oil to 360 F. Roll out dough 1/8 inch thick. Cut into 2 1/2 inch diamonds or squares. Fry until golden brown. Drain on paper towels.
Dust hot beignets with powdered sugar.. Serve warm.
I decided to go all out for Mardi Gras this year! We had pączki for breakfast (store bought…one of these years I’ll make them from scratch), red beans and rice with andouille sausage for lunch, beignet for an afternoon snack (my first-ever attempt at making donuts, and a very successful one at that!), jambalaya for dinner, and a King Cake for dessert. It was a delicious day!
We got into the Mardi Gras spirit today with a few special food items…Pączki, Cajun shrimp pasta, and a Doberge cake (a New Orleans twist on the Hungarian Dobos torte), a six-layer cake filled with homemade double chocolate custard, frosted with chocolate buttercream, and topped with a chocolate ganache.