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The Queen of Mardi Gras

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It takes me about two months after Mardi Gras to recover from all that carnival stuff. After that I no longer get queasy when I look at a bottle of tequila and I don’t get the shakes when someone asks me how I think the New Orleans Saints are going to do this season.

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New Orleans is a great town, and to experience Mardi Gras in the Big Easy is a once in a lifetime gift, if you can
survive. I’m not good in crowds and I tend to go to bed a little earlier than I use to. But when the streets cleared and the dust settled, I stood tall. Maybe not a better man, but still a man nonetheless.

The problem is this.

I took my girlfriend to Mardi Gras last year, it was our first outing at the world’s biggest street party, and since we’ve been home, she is driving me absolutely crazy. She’s from up North and she has never experienced the charm of the South. After a few days in New Orleans with her during the celebrations, I want to tell you, I am happy to be alive. They don’t call it Bourbon Street for nothing. I had never seen so many beads and breasts in my life, and I was in the Marine Corp. I must have seen at least a hundred fifty-seven bare naked breasts. Wow!

Anyway, Rhonda, my girlfriend, and I got home and she decided to adopt that whole Cajun/New Orleans lifestyle thing, and it has literally invaded our home and my space. It’s bizarre, and it’s making me into a nut
case. She has painted ceramic masks hanging on the walls, beads layered on the ceiling fans, even a crawfish garden in a small bayou she built in the backyard. She plays jazz music constantly. I like jazz music and Dixieland as much as the next guy, but how much Harry Connick Jr. can a guy take?

Then there is the food, or the “Cuisine”, as Rhonda calls it. Blackened fish, Cajun chicken, oysters, Jambalaya, crawfish boils…enough already! Is it really necessary to have Etoufee three nights a week?

Etouffee

¼ Cup Butter

¼ Cup Flour

1 Cup Onion, Chopped

1 Cup Celery Chopped

½ Cup Green Pepper, Chopped

1/2 cup chopped red pepper

3 Garlic Cloves, Minced

1 Lb. Shrimp, Peeled or 1 Lb. Crawfish Meat or 1 lb. Lump Crab Meat

1 1/2 Cups Chicken Broth

1/2 Cup Dark Beer

1/4 Cup Fresh Parsley, Chopped

Sea Salt/Freshly Ground Black Pepper

1/8Tsp. Cayenne

1/8 Tsp. Red Pepper Flakes

4 -5 Dashes Crystal Hot Sauce

Cooked White Rice

1 Can Black Beans, Rinsed

Melt butter in large cast iron skillet.

Blend in flour and stir over medium heat, until the roux is dark brown.

Be patient, this will take at least 20 minutes and should be the consistency of dark rich peanut butter.

Add onion, celery, green peppers and garlic; cook until tender crisp, 2 to 3 minutes.

Add the spices except the parsley, combine well and seafood and beer. Simmer for 15 minutes.

Sprinkle fresh parsley over the etouffee and serve over hot rice and black beans.

And don’t get me started on gator tail. No, it doesn’t taste like chicken; gator tail tastes like a purse with some spices on it.

All day long she walks around the house going, “Y’all this” and “N’awlins that”. Tone it down a little bit babe, is it too much to ask for a decent medium-rare T-bone steak, baked potato and maybe some Jell-o with some fruit cocktail in it for dessert?

I enjoy a few beers and some naked breasts every once in a while, but enough already!

N’awlins Po’ Boys, crawfish boils, Pat O’Brien’s Hurricanes. They are all staples in the French Quarter.

Rhonda likes to wake up in the morning, make a pot of Espresso and make some Beignets.

Beignets

½ Cup Water

½ Stick Butter

2Tbs. Sugar

1Tbs. Brown Sugar

½ Cup Flour

4 Eggs, Beaten

2 Tbs. Vanilla

Powdered Sugar

Cinnamon

In a large saucepan, whisk water, butter, sugars and flour over medium heat, about 3 minutes. Remove from heat and transfer to a bowl. Add eggs and vanilla and beat until smooth.

Heat deep fryer to 350 degrees. Drop a large spoon of dough carefully into deep fryer and fry until golden brown.

Remove and drain on paper towels, sprinkle with powdered sugar and dust with cinnamon and serve.

I made myself an authentic N’awlins spirited drink to ponder my options.

Sazerac Cocktail

The Sazerac is a local N’awlins version of a whiskey or cognac cocktail.

Hersaint is a N’awlins liqueur that has a licorice flavor.

1 ½ oz. Rye Whiskey

1 or 2 dashes of Herbsaint

1 Tsp. Sugar

2 Dashes Peychaud Bitters

1 Lemon Twist

Ice

Use 2 old-fashioned glasses.

In one glass, fill with ice and add sugar and bitters. The bitters will help dissolve the sugar. Next, add the Rye whiskey. In the second glass, add and coat the glass with the Herbsaint. Remove the excess Herbsaint with a paper towel. You just want to coat the glass with it.

Then, strain the rye whiskey, bitters and sugar into the Herbsaint coated glass. Add the lemon twist andpound it down.

I love Cajun, and I love Rhonda and I guess I’m headed to the Big Easy for another year of Fat Tuesday, as if I don’t get fat enough almost every Tuesday.

Laissez les bons temps rouler everybody!

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