Ageists, step to the side - who says that an old banana can't be the sweetest thing you've ever put in your mouth? With a luxe combination of bananas, butter, brown sugar and booze, this recipe proves the naysayers wrong. Dead wrong.
A Mardi Gras Menu Worth Remembering (Muffulettas, Gumbo, Beignets and Hurricanes)
I Want to Be the Girl With the Most Beads
Ahh, New Orleans. I’ve never been so happy to get rolled as I was in the Crescent City. That is a place with just enough dark alleys to make a dirty girl want to explore.
Oh I know! You know how many people I showed my French Quarters in the French Quarter? No seriously, do you know? I can’t remember anything as I was so obliterated on hurricanes…
How could I possibly keep track of your New Orleans conquests? I had my own and it included a really filthy gumbo, a dark alley and voodoo. It was transporting.
And talk about a bender – first an orgy of meat and seafood at The Gumbo Shop, then a dish of slow-simmered, sumptuous greens in Dookie Chase’s famous Gumbo Z’Herbes so lickably dirty that I cleaned my plate with my tongue twice. Then, I covered my body with a glut of powdered sugar from the beignets at Cafe du Monde, causing me to resemble an extra on a brat pack flick at a wrap party with Robert Downie Jr. And to round things off, I carried my hurricane from Pat O’Briens through the goddamn streets like I was a baby and the rum was my bottle.
Hm. Licking. Sucking. Drinking. Powdered “Sugar” – should we be moving there?
Oh, I’m calling the real estate agent now. And I’m throwing out all of my La Perla bras. We won’t need them for all the beads we’re gonna get!
If we do it right, we won’t be needing panties either.
1 loaf of ciabatta bread
1/4 lb. of mortadella
1/4 lb. of capicolla
1/4 lb. of salami
1/4 lb. of provolone cheese
1/4 c. of giardiniera mix*
Halve the ciabatta and pile both sides with the giardiniera mix, olive oil and all. Pile the meats and cheese on the ciabatta and close up. Slice and eat.
* Giardiniera Mix is a condiment of olives, roasted peppers, cauliflower, celery and spices in olive oil. It can be found in the pickle aisle and is essential for this sandwich. You can also make it yourself if the mood strikes.
We make a riff off of the recipe of Cajun culinary great, Chef Paul Prudhomme. We also like to make our own stock using the shells from the shrimp, a ham hock or two, and a whole chicken – it makes the flavors jump from good to wicked.
1 lb. of fresh shell-on shrimp
1 whole chicken, all visible far removed
1 ham hock
3 bay leaves
1 stalk of celery
1 1/2 c. of flour
1 1/2 c. of vegetable oil
1 large onion, finely chopped
1 green pepper, finely chopped
3 stalks of celery, finely chopped
3 scallions, finely chopped
6 cloves of garlic, minced
20 oz. of frozen okra
1 lb. of smoked andouille sausage, cut into rounds
2 tbs. of Paul Prudhomme Poultry Magic
2 tbs. of hot sauce
2 tbs. of Worchestershire sauce
Peel the shrimp and reserve the shells. Refrigerate the shrimp. Take the shells and place in a cheesecloth and tie to close. Put the chicken, ham hocks, cheesecloth of shrimp shells and celery in a large stock pot. Add the bay leaves and fill with enough water to cover, about 8 cups. Bring to a boil and then lower to a simmer. Cook until the meat from the chicken falls off the bone. Remove chicken and set aside. Continue to cook the hocks until the meat falls of the bone. Strain the broth and allow the hocks to cool slightly. Take the chicken and meat from the hocks and shred. Set aside. Toss the bones.
In a large pot, heat the oil on high. Whisk in the flour and continuously whisk until the mixture is a little darker than peanut butter. Carefully add the onion, green pepper, celery, scallions and garlic to the roux (and be careful to keep your head away and avoid a painful facial) and stir until veggies become translucent. Add 7 cups of the chicken stock, the andouille, the frozen okra, Poultry Magic, hot sauce and Worcestershire sauce. Allow the gumbo to simmer on low for at least 3o minutes. When it is all done, stir in the chicken. Allow the flavors to incorporate and then serve with white rice and scallions.
This gumbo, traditionally served at Lent (aka when Catholics get really creative on what they want to give up without actually giving anything up), is made by simmering various types of greens in a flavorful vegetable stock. You can make it completely vegan, as we’ve done here. Or, you can be a bad ass and make a stock of ham hocks and put the meat (plus extra sausage) in there for double trouble. It’s your call.
6 c. of vegetable stock (or ham stock made from boiling 4 ham hocks in 6 c. of water until tender)
1 bunch of mustard greens
1 bunch of collards
1 bunch of turnip greens
1 bunch of kale
1 bunch of dandelion greens
12 oz. of frozen spinach
1 bag of shredded cabbage
4 sprigs of parsley
1 large onion, minced
6 cloves of garlic
1/2 c. of flour
1/2 c. of oil
2 tbs. of Cajun seasoning (I use Paul Prudhomme’s Meat Magic for this one)
Wash greens really well in lots of water. Remove stems and jam into the food processor in batches, along with a ladelful of stock each time. Blend until thoroughly chopped. Chop the parsley and the scallions as well.
Put the greens, onions, garlic, spinach, cabbage, parsley and scallions in a pressure cooker. Add the remaining vegetable stock, lock the lid and bring to high pressure. Cook for 30 minutes on high pressure, or until the greens are very soft.
Let the pressure subside naturally. In a stock pot, heat the oil on high. Whisk in the flour and continuously whisk until the mixture is a little darker than peanut butter. Ladle in the liquid from the greens in batches, whisking constantly to prevent lumps. Add the rest of the greens and bring to a simmer to allow to thicken. If you are making the meat version, stir in the reserved meat from the ham hocks and a 1/2 lb. of sliced andouille sausage.
Serve over steamed rice, garnished with scallions.
Make It a Party! Beignets, Hurricanes and Chicory Coffee
If you want to go all out, pick up (or order on Amazon) some Cafe Du Monde beignet mix, some Pat O’Brien’s Hurricane Mix and a can of Cafe du Monde Chicory Coffee. No, it will not be nearly as good as if you went to NoLa yourself, but no one will bitch at you when they are lubed up from rum, covered in powdered sugar and wired from strong-as-shit cafe au lait. In fact, you’ll be the one with the most beads, awarded to you for awesomeness and not for flashing your tatas…for a change.