The Richmond Register

Lifestyles & Community

February 27, 2014

Let’s have a Mardi Gras party in Kentucky

RICHMOND — It’s the time of year when the people in New Orleans celebrate a festival called Mardi Gras. Many states now do the same. Some call it “Fat Tuesday” which I have never understood till I went to New Orleans (five times) and saw all of the excitement for myself.

Mardi Gras, literally “Fat Tuesday” has grown in popularity in recent years as a raucous, sometimes hedonistic event. But it has its roots in the Christian calendar as the “last hurrah” before Lent begins on Ash Wednesday.

That’s why the enormous party in New Orleans, for example, ends abruptly at midnight on Tuesday with battalions of street sweepers pushing the crowds out of the French Quarter towards home.

What is less known about Mardi Gras is the relation to the Christmas season through the ordinary-time interlude known in many Catholic cultures as Carnival. Carnival comes from the Latin words carne vale, meaning “farewell the flesh.” Some also see it as a late winter celebration designed to welcome the coming of spring.

Bring it on to our area please.

Probably the most famous food item to come out of Mardi Gras time is the King Cake. When this is served it has a plastic baby in the cake, and the person that gets this part of the cake is supposed to have good luck for the coming year.

KING CAKE

Ingredients

FILLING:

4 oz of cream cheese

1/2 cup packed brown sugar

1/2 tsp cinnamon

1/4 cup raisins soaked in hot water for 15 min, and then drained

1/2 cup chopped pecan halves

CAKE:

2 rolls refrigerated crescent rolls in the can

ICING:

1 and 1/2 cups confectioners’ powdered sugar

3 to 4 tbsp. milk or cream

1 tsp vanilla

Purple, green and yellow colored sugar crystals or food coloring

Directions

Mix in mixer the cream cheese, brown sugar, cinnamon and raisins. Mix till combined. Add chopped pecan halves. Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Spray a pizza pan or baking sheet with vegetable oil spray.

Unroll crescent dough and separate into triangles. Position triangles next to each other with the points toward the center, overlapping the long sides about 1/4 inch, forming a large round. Where the pieces overlap, press the seams together only in the center of each seam, leaving either ends of the seams unsealed so you can fold them up over the filling. Spread the filling around in a ring covering the center sealed seam of each triangle.

Place a small plastic baby or dried bean somewhere in the filling. Fold the short side of each triangle toward the center just to the edge of the filling to cover. Then pull the point end of the triangle toward the outer rim of the pan to fully enclose the filling, tucking under the points. Lightly press the seams. Bake 20 to 25 minutes until golden brown and cool. Mix all the icing ingredients until smooth. Spoon the icing in a ring over the top of the cake and allow it to slowly drip down the sides. Decorate the cake with wide strips of the purple, green and yellow sugar crystals.

I know this seems like a long process to fix a recipe, but it brings back so many memories of my trips to the Mardi Gras times in New Orleans.

One of my best memories was the day I pulled up a sago palm plant as I was getting ready to go on the ferry that crosses the Mississippi into the west bank area. Unknown to me, I had stepped into some dog droppings and got on the ferry with my stolen palm plant to hear others tell how bad something was smelling on the ferry.

I thought to myself I am caught for sure as it was coming from my plant. Much to my surprise, when I got to the car and put the plant in the car I could still smell it outside the car. It’s not nice to steal from Mother Nature, as she gets one back with doggie pop on one’s shoes.

I had to put my shoes in the trunk to ever be allowed in my friend’s car. The plant died as well!

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