It wasn't until I had already planned a complete menu of pasta, turkey meatballs, and homemade marinara sauce that I realized Family Dinner Series Week Fifteen was set to fall on Mardi Gras. Never one to turn down a theme, I scrapped the Italian and logged online in search of some Cajun inspiration.
My own Mardi Gras experiences have all been set in Burlington, Vermont... where Church Street takes the place of the famous French Quarter, and authentic Louisiana cuisine is replaced with company sponsored Jell-O shots. Luckily I was able to find a jambalaya recipe that I could handle. Luckier still, I already had the most delicious white bean salad recipe on hand, and according to Google, white beans are part of Mardi Gras!
Our guests for the evening were two of Uncle Bud and Gilbert Hoss's buddies home from college for Spring break. Spring break! That brought the median age of our event down to about 22.
With those two contributing "holiday" factors, you would think the evening would have been a little more wild.
"I've got the food, you bring the bourbon," I had told the boys. Instead they brought beers, and waited until I retreated to our town's Trivia Night to have their real fun.
Luckily, we did have beads.
And... as previously mentioned, the best white bean salad ever!
1 can white beans
1 avocado, chunked
red onion, chopped
1 tomato, chopped
fresh basil, chopped
Dressing: 2 parts lemon juice, 1 part olive oil seasoned with salt and pepper
You may need to double the recipe, or even triple it depending on the number of strapping young men you are feeding, and the amount of spice you need to counteract in your main dish jambalaya.
Especially if you are Irish, and not really accustomed to spicing jambalaya.
Conclusion? Sometimes a little spice is nice, but not every Mardi has to party.