April 9, 2013

Mardi Gras in March

So in an effort to meet people and make friends, we have tried to hold some neighborhood events. We have set up a couple for the whole street and then we tried a few dinners with specific people. We have had a sushi night, pizza night, soup night, and maybe this month we will have a crepe night.

It has ballooned into a dinner once a month with 14 (ish) people. Kind of crazy but definitely fun. We might try to have dinner with a smaller group sometimes just because it is hard to visit with such a large group. Anyway, we pick a theme and run. March was Mardi Gras, the PG version. We know Mardi Gras wasn't in March this year but that didn't matter to us. We got some beads, feather boas, and figured out the menu.

Muffulettas... oh how I love thee. So we first had one at Caputo's Downtown. I am not a sandwich eater. This sandwich changed that. I think about this sandwich... a lot. We have tried no less than 3 times at the Caputo's on 15 & 15 but it is way too spicy, inedible. Caputo's Downtown is perfect. Granato's makes one too but we tried it and would NOT eat it again. Ever. :(

When we make muffulettas at home we make the olive salad with the pimento stuffed green olives, giardiniera, two kinds of cheese (provolone and swiss is good), salami, and honey ham. We use a good bread that soaks up the olive oil and balsamic vinegar. We eat it cold but that might be personal preference. Come on, sing with me...

Jambalaya... I have never made jambalaya. I cannot even say if I have ever eaten it. One of our neighbors explained that there are 3 main things, gumbo, jambalaya, and étouffée. Gumbo is the soup, which he made and brought to dinner. It was delicious and I would love a bowl on this crummy, rainy day. Jambalaya is the rice dish. Research shows that it is incredible varied and people have strong opinions on consistency of the rice. We made it with smoked sausage, andouille sausage, and shrimp. It turned out pretty good, I will definitely make it again. It is just a matter of frying up the sausage with peppers and onion, add cajun spices and seasoning, broth, rice, and cook! Yum. 

Last but not least, dessert. The tradition is King Cake. Some cake that has a plastic baby baked inside of it. Whoever gets the piece with the baby brings the next cake and they might get special treatment or something. I didn't want to bake plastic IN food so I made cupcakes, cored one, and added a gumball. Paul, the newest neighbor was the lucky recipient. The cupcakes themselves were a recipe from Mini's Cupcakes cookbook. They were alright but not THE chocolate cupcakes. The search for the perfect chocolate cake recipe is still on. 

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