Monday, February 27, 2017

Mardi Gras festivities merge into Lenten season

   February has been full of jambalaya, boudain balls and gumbo, and I ate one thing on a stick at Mardi Gras of Southeast Texas.
                      The Jumbo Gumbo tasting featured all sorts of blends and surprises. One team seems to have taken all the skin off their chicken, perhaps in an attempt to make the gumbo more healthy. But they offered a bowl of fried chicken skins on the table. I ate two of those. Another team showed off shirts reading “Get Roux’d.” (Sounds like “get rude,” get it?)
                      Some other festive experiences around Port Arthur this Mardi Gras season:
                      * Worried about losing your baby in the king cake? Place him in a cloud of frosting atop a cupcake.
                      * My mom likes her boudain free from skin. I’ve discovered if your flatten your skinless link with a spatula, you can brown a sort of patty into crispy perfection.
                      * Zatarain’s sent me boxes of Dirty Rice Dinner Mix and Jambalaya Rice Dinner Mix that are both gluten free with no MSG added and have no colors from artificial sources. I’ve playing around with dirty rice omelette and rice salad with a mayo and vinaigrette dressing.

              Lenten list
              Mindful eating is a priority during my Lenten season and I focus on being grateful for every bite. I keep a small grocery budget and seek to donate to causes that feed the hungry in this time. So I try to stock up with bounty, to share with family and friends. My shopping list includes the basics, which can be transformed into creative blessings:
              Greek Yogurt
              Cottage Cheese
              Fruits and vegetables, fresh and frozen
              Beans, dry and canned
              Canned oysters


Sunday, February 19, 2017

Mardi Gras all weekend
                      Port Arthur is observing the big “25” of Mardi Gras of Southeast Texas and the festival will be Feb. 23-26 in downtown Port Arthur with Budweiser Clydesdales, laser shows, parades, a Jumbo Gumbo Cookoff and all the fun you can have. Ready for that?
                      I got to attend the Majestic Krewe of Aurora ball this year and it was a knock-out as usual. Amazing costumes and throws excited attendees who danced the night away.
                      And here’s my foodie observation. It seems like a lot, and I mean a lot, of tables featured trays of Amuny’s sandwiches. I say, those bites are one of my favorite things about Port Arthur and I love to see them so closely associated with one of my favorite seasons, Mardi Gras.

              Homesick for Texas?
                      If you’ve come back “home” for Mardi Gras because you’re “homesick,” there’s a candle for you. It smells like you never left, and I’m late to this trend.
                      When I fired up this beautiful small-batch soy, my friend said, “That’s the candle I’ve been hearing about. It smells like Texas!”
                      Come again? Makers of the “Homesick” line offer this promotional copy: “ Head back to Texas with this fragrance reminiscent of dark leather, fresh pine, and thick lemon slices. A floral note of cyclamen and a touch of sage help balance the big bold scents of the Lone Star State.”
                             Have you ever before associated cyclamen with Texas? Have you ever heard of cyclamen at all? Don’t worry. I’m not aware that bluebonnets have much of an aroma. This stuff is fresh and subtle, so not all of Texas is bold and loud. It’s not bragging if it’s true.
                             Now, have you considered what our neighbors in Louisiana smell like? They’re going with magnolia, honeysuckle, jasmine and sweet potato. I haven’t smelled the “Homesick” version of Louisiana, but I think they’ve picked a good “southern bouquet.”  There are state-associated limited edition “Homesick” chocolates as well.