Celebrating Mardi Gras…and New Orleans classics

Celebrating Mardi Gras…the world’s best party…
celebrating New Orleans Classics.
The Menu Shoppe has it covered…
elegant classics.
Cheers to the Vieux Carre.
Bon Appetit.  Bon Mardi Gras!
A brunch classic
Eggs Benedict
8 eggs, cracked into separate small bowls
3 egg yolks
8 slices Canadian bacon
2 cups distilled white vinegar
1 tbsp. vegetable oil
2 1/2 tsp. kosher salt, plus more to taste
1 tbsp. plus 1 tsp. fresh lemon juice
1⁄4 tsp. tabasco
8 tbsp. unsalted butter, melted
4 English muffins, toasted
Paprika or cayenne, for trim
Bring 16 cups water to a boil in a tall 6-quart saucepan over high heat. Add vinegar and 2 tsp. salt, lower heat to medium, and bring to a simmer. Heat oil in a 12″ skillet over medium-high heat; add bacon; cook, turning once, until lightly browned, about 3 minutes. Remove skillet from heat. Combine yolks, lemon juice, 4 tsp. warm water, Tabasco, and remaining salt in a blender–turn to medium speed and slowly drizzle in butter to make the hollandaise. Transfer to a bowl–set aside, covered. Swirl simmering water with a spoon to create a whirlpool. Carefully slide each egg into water–poach until just firm, about 3 minutes. Using a slotted spoon, transfer eggs to a paper towel-lined plate. Divide muffin halves between 4 plates–top each half with 1 slice of bacon and 1 egg.  Spoon 2–3 tbsp. sauce over each egg.  Sprinkle with paprika or cayenne.
Another classic is authentic Gumbo.
Courtesy of NEW ORLEANS magazine
Chicken and Sausage Gumbo
3 pounds boneless chicken thighs
Salt, pepper and Creole seasoning
1 pound andouille sausage
1 cup vegetable oil plus some for browning
1 cup flour
3 cups fresh vegetables seasoning mix (onions, bell peppers, celery, garlic), divided
4 garlic cloves, minced
2 cans chicken stock
Rinse and dry chicken thighs and cut into 2-inch chunks. Sprinkle with salt, pepper and Creole seasoning. Slice andouille sausage into 1/4-inch rounds. In a large, heavy pot, brown meat in 1 Tablespoon oil in single-layer batches. Remove meat from pot. Add another Tablespoon oil if needed while browning meat. Add 2 cups seasoning vegetables to the pot and sauté for a few minutes, adding garlic in the last minute. Add chicken stock and 2 cans water, stirring. Turn off heat while making roux.
In another heavy pot, make roux by mixing 1 cup oil with 1 cup flour and heating over medium-high heat, stirring constantly, until a dark brown color is reached. Add remaining cup of seasoning vegetables. Turn off heat. The hot roux will soften the vegetables. Stir constantly and add enough liquid from the other pot to cool down the mixture.  When the roux has cooled down a bit, begin scooping it into the pot of liquid, stirring and eventually scraping it all out with a spatula. Mix well and add meat. Cover, turn heat to a simmer and cook for 30 minutes. When done, skim excess fat from top. Taste and adjust seasonings if needed. Serve over rice.
Note: If desired, add about 2 dozen oysters at the very end of cooking or when heating it up to serve.  Serves 10 for dinner or 20 at a party buffet.
…and classic desserts
Bananas Foster
From Cooking Up a Storm: Recipes Lost and Found from The Times-Picayune of New Orleans
2 bananas, peeled
1 tablespoon fresh lemon juice
2 tablespoons unsalted butter
1/4 cup dark brown sugar
1/8 teaspoon ground cinnamon
2 tablespoons banana liqueur
1/4 cup white rum
1 pint vanilla ice cream
Slice the bananas in half lengthwise and brush with the lemon juice. Melt the butter with the sugar in a flat chafing dish or 10-inch skillet. Add the bananas and sauté until just tender. Sprinkle with the cinnamon.
Remove from the heat and add liqueur and rum. Carefully ignite with a long match. Use a large long-handled spoon to baste the bananas with the warm liquid until the flame burns out. Divide the ice cream among four dishes. Top each one with a banana half and some of the sauce.
…and classic spirits
Ramos Gin Fizz
3 oz. milk
1 1⁄4 oz. dry gin
3 dashes fresh lemon juice
3 dashes orange flower water
2 dashes fresh lime juice
1 egg white, beaten until frothy
1 tbsp. confectioners’ sugar
Combine milk, gin, lemon juice, orange flower water, lime juice, about a quarter of the egg white, and sugar with plenty of ice in a cocktail shaker. Shake very well and strain into a cocktail tumbler.
Sazerac 
2 ounces rye whiskey
4 dashes Peychaud Bitters
1 cube or 1/2 teaspoon sugar
Splash Herbsaint (or Pernod), about 1/2 teaspoon
Splash water, about 1/2 teaspoon
Lemon peel for trim
ice
In old-fashioned glass, add ice and set aside. In another, combine sugar, bitters, and water. Muddle until sugar is completely dissolved. Add rye whiskey, fill with ice, and stir well, about 15 seconds. From first glass, discard ice, then add Herbsaint. Holding glass horizontally, turn it so that Herbsaint completely coats the interior. Discard any excess. Strain contents of second glass into chilled glass. Twist lemon peel.
Courtesy of the Library Lounge at the Ritz-Carlton, New Orleans
If it’s on the menu…the Menu Shoppe has it covered.
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