Mardi Gras of Southeast Texas is set for Feb. 27-March 2 in downtown Port Arthur and the Mardi Gras Store is open for business. Catch these goodies to put you in the MG state of mind:
Picture a map of the coast and eating your way along the shore line. Tom Bailey knows his way around a publishing house with 15 titles to his credit. He is showing us the way to amazing dishes through “The Complete Guide to Northern Seafood,’ new from Pelican Publishing. The cookbook goes from onion-baked mullet and a coral sauce with paprika, to horseradish-crusted snapper and an apricot swordfish. Other critters of the sea, like crab and shrimp, get their pages, too.
If you were thinking seafood is too intimidating, know that many of these recipes are short, with a focus on good ingredients and exquisite flavors. Here’s an example:
Shrimp Cocktail Sauce: Would you be buying the stuff if you knew you could create your own with ½ cup chili sauce, 1 tablespoon lemon juice, a half cup ketchup and two teaspoons ketchup?
I put out this next recipe with a nod to outdoors writer Chester Moore, who calls our part of the coast a flounder capital:
Flounder with Citrus Marinade
Juice of 2 limes
Juice of 1 orange or one half cup orange juice concentrate
2 sprigs fresh rosemary or 1 tablespoon dried rosemary
4 flounder filets
In a shallow dish, combine lime juice, orange juice and rosemary. Add fish. Cover with plastic wrap and refrigerate for 1 hour. Remove fish from refrigerator, spray with cooking oil and grill for 4 to 5 minutes per side. Serves 4.
Note: Alternatively, bake the fish in a 3750-degree oven for 30 minutes.
The Chocolate Study
SweetWorks Inc. makes premium gourmet chocolates taste good and look amazing in packaging designed to wow. Check out Celebration Pearls in Mardi Gras colors to make your King Cakes one of a kind. We’re talking greens, purples and gold that you may need to try in gumballs, too. Creative people, come and play. Are you at all familiar with Sixlets? Little balls of candy coated, chocolate flavored candy may have been part of your youth, but I’d never noticed them until they started showing up as wedding favors. With the colors I’ve seen, those wedding candy bars have a match for any bride.
Ovation: The Orange orb of foil is designed to bang against a table. Peel off the foil to reveal sections of citrus-flavored dark chocolate. Sections even have little etchings like they were of fruit, instead of amazing chocolate you can’t put down. This is the very stuff you’ll eat right for a long time so you can splurge on an experience.
Ovation Sticks or “batonnets” in cappuccino come in a six-sided column with some kind of origami top and packets of slender, rich sticks that are just enough in size and nearly too much in flavor. They’re intense and I can’t wait until my next ration. It should come as no surprise that I am equally impressed if not more so with the caramel version. You get a rich, melt-in-your-mouth sensation from this super-thin stick.
Niagara Chocolates - Sweet ways to say, I Love You:
Chocolate Champagne Bottle: Even though I immediately informed the birthday girl that the realistic looking foil covered bottle was made of chocolate and contained no actual Champaign, she didn’t believe me. Finally we had to brak it open and spend the night eating a wall of milk chocolate. Dinner guests loved the concept. I’ve already bitten heads off Niagra white, milk and dark chocolate bunnies which are ready to hop to shelves this Easter. Don’t worry, lovely chocolate eggs in foil pastels will arrive with the bunnies.
Prep your feet for walking the Mardi Gras parade route. Combine tea tree oil, wild mint and lavender and your feet will thank you. Thank Earth Therapeutics for Reflexology Foot Massage, a New York-based company reminding us of the notion that feet contain “reflex” pressure points that mirror pressure points throughout the entire body. Could a foot massage get to your “chi” and harmonize your entire body? If feels great when I use it. I can only imagine the contents unleashed in the hands of a professional.
It could be that the very phrase “foot massage” puts you in the mind of a scene from “Pulp Fiction.” This greaseless glide cools, heals, soothes, stimulates and releases an aroma that will send your mind to a spa, or an Asian garden, or a secluded waterfall…