Wednesday, February 22, 2006

Mardi Gras Meal

Gulf Coast Supper For Mardi Gras

Suggested Menu
Okra/Seafood File’ Gumbo
Swamp Wild Rice Almandine
Carrots/celery relish plate
Creole Bread
Louisiana Pecan pralines
Or Mardi Gras Cake
Southern Ice cream
Mint julep limeade
Café Noir

Tip: Mardi Gras is a time of jubilee among the New Orleans and Gulf Coast region.
Decorate the table with beads and moon pies or trinkets. Christians often use this time for spiritual retreats.
Food for Thought:
Whether you eat or drink, or whatever you do, do all to the glory of God. 1 Corinthians 10:32

Family Meal Planning
Eating Well for Wellness
Eating well for wellness involves many aspects of eating. First, enjoy any food that is placed before you. Eat a variety of foods so that you can obtain adequate nutrition for the proper function of your body organs. If you are served something that is unappealing, either pass it without comment or eat it with thankfulness and consideration of the one who is serving it. In foreign counties, you may find it hard to eat a goat’s intestines or even some types of fish, as I have found. Yet if you eat with a prayer in your heart and an attitude of appreciation of the things that God created, all foods are tolerable. When you concentrate on creating a cheerful environment, enjoying friends and family and eating with joyfulness, you can persevere. In everyday situations, chew your food well. Chew at least 25 times or until it is a liquid. The liquid form of food goes into the blood stream faster and provides energy and nutrients for your bodily functions. If you find yourself in a resentful or angry atmosphere, or if you are chewing your food too fast, calm down. Take deep breaths; start again; this time start slower. Stop eating when you grow tired of chewing or you are on the verge of feeling too full. Pleasant eating atmospheres and correct eating habits help you to eat well for wellness.

Gumbo is a cherished dish from the southern coastal area. It is made with file’ or okra as a thickening agent. File’ is made from sassafras leaves that are dried and ground into powder. The recipe is derived from the Choctaws Indians. The Indian word for sassafras is Kombo. Cajuns took the word and made it into Gumbo. File’ is added only after the dish is completely prepared and removed from the heat. Okra is mixed with the other vegetables and cooked. A roux also adds to the thickening of the soup or stew mix. Gumbo is a good dish to use left over meats. A mixture of meats can be used in gumbo. The vegetables can be cooked in beef or chicken broth. An authentic Cajun Gumbo is served over heaps of rice. The rice may also be cooked in leftover beef or chicken stock for variety. The slower the gumbo is cooked, the tastier it will be. About 2 hours is the basic time for slow cooking. For more tender vegetables, cook longer. Cajuns add Tabasco or hot sauce to their gumbo, but most Americans prefer it without. Either way, gumbo is a nutritious dish for a family meal.

From the Nutritionist: Gulf coast cooking is an easy way to obtain the nutrients that a family needs. This menu is an enjoyable way to enjoy cuisine of the region. Okra is still in season and is still economical in many farmers markets. A roux is mixed with the tomatoes, okra, and onions. A roux in the gumbo recipe is made with flour and oil to serve as a thickening agent. Although shrimp or crab meat is best, chicken or even sausage can be substituted. Other meats like venison and turkey can also be used. The vegetables in the gumbo as well as the relish plate provide needed vitamins and minerals. Protein is found in the meat. The rice has almond slivers sprinkled on top for an added appeal. Creole Bread is sausage cornbread with corn, plenty of black and red powdered peppers and Creole Seasoning. Rice and bread are 2 servings of carbohydrates. The pecan pralines and almonds give extra protein and minerals. Cooking a softball caramel candy mixture and adding the pecans is the method of preparation for making Louisiana pralines. Homemade ice cream is always a treat and supplies calcium to the food diet. The Mardi Gras cake is made with a yellow round layer. Place a cake decorator’s baby inside. A prize should be given to the person who bites into the baby. (Be sure to warn eaters about the trinket inside the cake and caution not to swallow.) When dishes are created from scratch, the sodium and sugar content can be controlled. This makes the menu adaptable for diabetics and special need dieters. Tabasco hot sauce is vital to Cajun meals. However, it can be omitted from the gumbo recipe without any major affects to the taste for most Americans. Happy Mardi Gras!!!!

After dinner coffee is a must. Chicory is desirable for an authentic cup of Cajun coffee. Green limeade with mint flavoring and a sprig of mint on the side can be substituted for mint juleps without alcohol. Happy southern coastal feasting!

Recipes are available upon request.
Comments and questions are welcomed.
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