I’m cooking a New Orleans favorite to celebrate Lundi Gras -- red beans and rice. I was interested to find out the significance of Lundi Gras, and discovered this on the source of all sources, Wikipedia:
Lundi Gras is a relatively recent name for a series of Shrove Monday events taking place during the New Orleans Mardi Gras. It includes the tradition of Rex, king of the New Orleans carnival, arriving by boat. This began in 1874, but the term Lundi Gras was not applied until 1987 when the arrival was brought back as part of a series of river-related events under the name of "Lundi Gras". Lundi Gras was the creation of journalist Errol Laborde.
I was actually living in New Orleans in 1987 and remember this taking place, but had no idea that this was the “beginning of Lundi Gras.” I declined to go what was apparently the inaugural event, since I always considered the night before Mardi Gras a night with no parades uptown and thus the chance to rest up before Mardi Gras day. So to me, Lundi Gras is about comfort food and a good night’s sleep.
My pot of red beans and the rice has been simmering on the stove all afternoon. I am fond of salad with ranch dressing with my red beans – I guess that must be a hold-over from CBD plate lunches since I do not otherwise eat much ranch dressing. For a slightly more sophisticated version, I’ve made Susan Spicer’s Creole Buttermilk-Black Pepper Dressing (or my slightly modified version, anyway) from her cookbook, Crescent City Cooking.
Creole Buttermilk-Black Pepper Dressing
- ½ cup mayonnaise
- ¼ cup light sour cream
- 1 T. Creole mustard
- 2 T. finely chopped shallot
- 3 T. low-fat buttermilk
- 1 t. prepared horseradish
- 1 t. white wine vinegar
- ¼ t. salt
- ¼ t. freshly ground black pepper
Whisk all the ingredients together in a small bowl.
For dessert, we have a King Cake made by a student of mine, in her dorm no less. She had her mom send her the shiny gold babies from Lake Charles.