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Wednesday, March 9, 2011

The Pork Boys Do Mardi Gras

We let the bon temps rouler last night - although, this being Texas and not New Orleans, we had no parades, no floats, no screaming drag queens.  Which is probably just as well. 

But true to his Cajun roots, M.P. outdid himself with a scrumpdillyicious Louisiana feast.  And not just plain old gumbo or jambalaya, either, but some wonderful old recipes handed down from his family, and sometimes slightly improved upon.

To start with, he made not one, not two, but three kinds of appetizers:  a platter he called Southern Fried Fun, and boy howdy was it, with three kinds of dipping sauces too.

Counter-clockwise from top:  fried pickles, fried shrimp, and M. P.'s latest innovation, apple slices wrapped in bacon, battered and fried.  Major yum, I tell you what.
The three sauces are Ranch, Remoulade, and Barbecue Remoulade - all homemade.

Moving on to the meal proper, we began with the soup course, of course:  a new invention that M. P. calls Bacon Florentine Soup - bacon and spinach in a chicken-stock base with various savory seasonings.  Lovely.

M. P.'s charming table setting, with beads, doubloons, feathered masks, and tea lights in the proper Mardi Gras colors.  He's really getting to be rah-ther at that sort of thing.

Bacon Florentine Soup

Then a very pretty salad of cucumbers, tomatoes, lettuce, and slices of hard-boiled eggs, very prettily garnished with radish rosettes the way both our mamas used to do.

At this point, we refilled our wine glasses (White Zin) and took a cigarette break, both of us devoutly believing that a leisurely dinner with good conversation is one of life's finer and higher pleasures.  Then we came to the main course:  Beef Daube, made just the way M. P.'s mama did it, and served over rice.  Of course, first you make a roux.  Then you add the Holy Trinity - i. e., celery, onions, and bell peppers, natch.  Plus some sauteed mushrooms.  And then you cook it all in a slow oven with your roast, which comes out fork tender and sopping in the most delicious gravy you ever put in your mouth.  I tell you what.

M. P. doesn't have a written recipe for his mama's daube, but after numerous experiements he thinks he's finally got it figured out just right.  I think Mama would have been real proud, it's lip-smacking good.
Not be confused with what some people call daube glacee, which is a cold, congealed meat and veggie dish.

The accompaniment was Maque Choux, another of his mama's specialties:  corn and the Holy Trinity and butter and egg and some green onions and tomatoes for color.  Then you bake it all in the oven till it's done.  Mmmm-mmmm good - believe me when I tell you, boys.  On the side we had fresh French bread and honest-to-God butter.

Maque Choux - a name neither of us can make any sense of - is another re-creation M. P. has worked hard on, and finally gotten to turn out just like Mama made it.

By this time, the Pork Boys were approaching abdominal overload - we just can't pack it away like we used to in our younger days, fellas, and that's a damn shame.  You know what I mean?  So we took another break and rested our dinner while drinking some more wine - purely as an aid to digestion, you understand.  And of course more cigarettes and more chitchat.  Which gave Miss Thing M. P. plenty of time to play with his Mardi Gras beads - wish I could show you boys what a neat choker-and-swag effect he came up with, very fetching on him I thought, and so festive - but alas he wouldn't let me take a picture of that for some reason.  Grin.

Chef M. P. in Mardi Gras beads - the only picture he would approve for publication.
If only I could tell you boys where and how he got those beads in the first place . . . oh but never mind.

When we finally felt restored and ready, we approached the grande finale:  M. P.'s homemade King Cake, faithfully made from scratch to his Aunt Viola's recipe, and oh my what a wonderful flavor it had, with nutmeg and lemon zest featuring prominently among the ingredients.  Not like your modern store-bought king cakes that taste like stale bread with no flavor.

In good Cajun tradition, M. P. substituted a pecan for the Baby Jesus -
but alas, neither of us got it in our slices, doggone it.

We washed it down with both coffee and champagne - what the Pork Boys always say is, why do things by halves? 

And so after more drinks and smokes and talk and laughter, we finally came to the end of another larrupping good meal - I brought the French bread, the butter, and the champagne, all credit for the rest goes to the Chef.   And so went another very enjoyable evening with the Pork Boys.


Anonymous said...

The food looks terrific...but tell me, between you and I...what in the heck did you have to do to get the beads? lol


Russ Manley said...

Sorry bud, you'll have to ask M. P. about that, I'm sworn to secrecy. Grin.

David said...

Good lord I'm full just reading that.

In my opinion there isn't much better than a good beef daube. I'm also a pretty big fan of fried pickles.

Nicely done boys, as usual!

Russ Manley said...

Appreciate ya David, wish I could hand you a plate of the good stuff.

Ray's Cowboy said...

Looks like a great spread of food. I want to know who found the baby in the cake?


Ted said...

I just want to know why I wasn't invited, too!!!

Russ Manley said...

The pecan remains somewhere in that huge cake - M.P. will probably share the rest with his workmates.

Stan said...

Damn I love Cajun food! Sure wish I was there too. You guys look great!

FDeF said...

Now, 40 days of well deserved penance!

Greg said...

That food looks incredible! Much better than the cheeseburger and fries we ate on Mardi Gras.

Russ Manley said...

Wish we could have had all you fellas over to share the tasty, God knows there was plenty of it. I'm not repenting a thing.

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