Photo: Brown Eyed Baker, Flickr
"Fat Tuesday" may be tomorrow, but Mardi Gras celebrations are already in full swing, from Rio to New Orleans to New York. On this Fat Monday the Hurricanes are flowing, the King Cakes are being baked and frosted, and gumbo is simmering in more than a few pots. (For more on the history of the day, see "Mardi Gras 2011: Fat Tuesday and Carnival Explained," at AOL News.) Take some ideas from these cooks, and get your own Cajun-Creole party started.
Louisiana native (and KitchenDaily contributor) Alexis Touchet lays out all the essentials for Mardi Gras, including quintessentially southern recipes for Creole Chicken Fricassee, Crawfish Pie, Chicken-and-Shrimp File Gumbo, Shrimp Remoulade Garlic Toasts, and Coconut Rum Cream Tarts. No New Orleans Mardi Gras feast would be complete without a big old dish of red beans and rice. Alexis adds spicy andouille sausage to her recipe to amp up the flavor.
In New Orleans, so popular are red beans and rice that now there's a Redbeans Parade (held today), with 60 members of a krewe that has honored the dish by spending months creating their costumes using the legumes (uncooked, natch).