History of Mardi Gras King Cake and Recipe

It’s Fat Tuesday have you had your king cake? King cakes received their name from the three biblical kings who visited the newborn baby Jesus. According to Catholic tradition the three kings’ journey to Bethlehem took twelve days and concluded on the day of Epiphany. King Cake season begins after the Twelve Days of Christmas and concludes on Mardi Gras day.

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Photo by Crystal Johnson

The king cake tradition was brought to New Orleans by colonist of France and Spain. While there are many different king cake styles the most popular version consists of a ring of twisted bread topped with icing or sugar. Food coloring is used to color the cake the traditional Carnival colors of purple, green, and gold. Some king cakes are filled with cream cheese or praline. Cajun King Cakes are deep fat fried and topped with sugar granules in the official Carnival colors of purple, green and gold. *Did you know the colors of carnival stand for The Passion of Christ (purple), hope (green), and the rewards of leading a Christian life (gold)? For more information on king cakes please visit: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/King_cake.

Click for King Cake Recipe

Don’t forget to place a small trinket, doll, coin, or toy in your cake! Traditionally the person who finds the trinket is responsible for preparing the next king cake!

About the Cities of Super Bowl 2010: New Orleans

Saints Win(Brees & Favre) Photo by David J. Phillip AP

It is quite convenient for the Multi Cultural Cooking Network that the New Orléans Saints will be in the Big Super Bowl dance versus the Indianapolis Colts.  Why? New Orléans is legendary for food so it makes our jobs easier.  The list of foods of New Orléans are as long as the Menu items at Bubba Gump. – Crystal A. Johnson, MCCN Editor

Food History of New Orleans, A Very Multi Cultural Story

The Cajun and Creole foods of the city and south Louisiana are living examples of people adapting to their new surroundings and neighbors. Creoles are descendants of wealthy Europeans sent to establish New Orleans. Their taste tended to be richer with sauces and roux from the French, sausages from the Germans, spices and rice from the Spanish, and desserts and pastries from the Italians. These European descendants often intermarried or employed Africans from the West Indies or Africa who contributed spices, slow cooking methods, beans and rice, and the use of the tomato. Africans brought with them a vegetable used to thicken and flavor soups. We call this vegetable “okra,” but the Africans called it “gumbo,” giving the famous soup its thickness and name. Native Americans introduced the settlers to local vegetables and spices, including sassafras for file and bay leaf.  Read More:  The Food of New Orleans

Food History from the Institute for New Orleans History and Culture at Gywnedd Mercy College

The Princess and Frog: What Matters is Under the Skin

One of the morals of the story in the Princess and the Frog is that is doesn’t matter what you like.  A wise blind character says,  “What matters is what is under the skin.”  While we celebrate cultural diverstity, The Multi Cultural Cooking Network shares the ideal of  cultural harmony.  The story celebrates multi-cultural friendships, romance and multi-cultural influenced food of New Orleans. Enjoy the trailer. See our review, coverage of the Prince of the Frog Cookbook, red carpet and more  at MCCN Video Section

Rhythm and Food: Interview with Zydeco Musician from Princess and the Frog

terance simien
Terrance Simien is a Zydeco musician who performs on the Princess and the frog soundtrack.  The music called  Zydeco has been around for over 300 years.  When asked, “How do music and food go together?”  The  Lafayette, LA native shares the correlation between music and food in New Orleans.  Bottom line, he expresses that with out music and food New Orleans would not have tourism.  Stating, “They both bring people to Louisiana.” As for his favorite dish, gumbo containing shrimp, crab claws, sausage and more qualifies as his top pick.   ne of the top talents in zydeco music with a long family history in Louisiana,
Simien is a grammy award winner and featured performer on The Princess and the Frog soundtrack, due for release on November 24th. Simien’s energetic accordion lights up the song, “I’m Gonna Take You There” (written by Randy Newman). An accordion playing firefly named Ray performs the action on screen, beckoning his companion to join him “down the bayou.”
gumbo from Buds Cafe
(Featured in photoGumbo from Buds Cafe in San Diego)
Simien is creole and cites that his ethnicity is quite multi-cultural.  He is of French, African, Spanish, Native American & German descent.  Furthermore, he expressed his joy about the first Disney movie featuring an African Princess taking place in his home state and how tremendous this is to the people of the state of Louisiana.
*His next show is on December 5th at festival in Charlottesville, VA.
Article co-written by Erika L. Holmes and Crystal A. Johnson

Recipe for Beignets: A New Orleans Specialty

Beignets (picture from Photobucket.com)

 If you have a sweet tooth, this recipe was made for you. This fried dough sprinkled with powdered sugar is a confectionary dream for those of us who are not ashamed to admit we’ve eaten sugar sandwiches. This treat is so beloved in Louisiana that it became the state doughnut in 1986.

Here’s the recipe for beignets! Do yourself a favor and get a pot of coffee brewing to go with this special indulgence.

Recipe for Beignets (Whatscookingamerica.net)

Ingredients

1 cup lukewarm water

1/4 cup sugar

1/2 teaspoon salt

1 egg, room temperature & beaten

2 tablespoons butter, softened

1/2 cup evaporated milk

4 cups bread flour or all-purpose flour

3 teaspoons instant active dry yeast

Vegetable oil*

Powdered sugar for dusting

* Use just enough vegetable oil to completely cover beignets while frying.

Instructions

Using a mixer with a dough hook, place water, sugar, salt, egg, butter, evaporated milk, flour, and yeast in the bowl. Beat until smooth. If using a bread machine, select dough setting and press Start. When dough cycle has finished, remove dough from pan and turn out onto a lightly oiled surface. form dough into an oval, place in a lightly greased bowl, cover with plastic wrap, and refrigerate until well chilled (3 to 4 hours) or overnight.

To prepare dough, remove from refrigerator and roll out on a lightly floured board to 1/2-inch thickness. Cut into approximately 3-inch squares or circles.

In a deep fryer or large pot, heat vegetable oil to 360 degrees F. Fry the beignets (2 or 3 at a time) 2 to 3 minutes or until they are puffed and golden brown on both sides, turning them in the oil with tongs once or twice to get them evenly brown; beignets will rise to the surface of the oil as soon as they begin to puff. NOTE: If the beignets don’t rise to the top immediately when dropped into the oil, the oil is not hot enough. Remove from oil and drain on paper towels, then sprinkle heavily with powdered sugar. Serve hot.

NOTE: The dough can be kept for up to a week in the refrigerator – it actually improves with age; just punch down when it rises. Dough can also be frozen; cut and roll, or shape doughnuts before freezing.)

Makes 18 beignets.

Learn about the History of King Cake:

 http://www.multiculturalcookingnetwork.com/component/k2/item/372-north-america-king-cake.html

Pictures from rachelleb.com