Its Mardi Gras 2009, RVers!!
While Mardi Gras or Carnival celebrations take place all over the world our very own New Orleans comes to mind when you hear those two words. The traditional colors of green, purple and gold were selected by “King Rex” in 1892 and symbolize faith (purple), justice (green) and power (gold). Parades are a public and very energetic celebration where a fast-footed celebrant might just score some “throws” or trinkets tossed from passing floats. The most-prized throws are coconut throws from the Krewe of Zulu float. The Krewe of Zulu actually represents the Zulu Social Aid & Pleasure Club and if you are fortunate enough to be in NO during Mardi Gras you can purchase tickets to ride with them in the parade. There are dozens of other krewes as well – all unique and interesting in their own right.
After all that fun you are bound to be hungry. Do not miss one of my favorite (and quite famous) sandwich stops – Central Grocery in the French Quarter – said to have originated the muffaletta (muf-ah-let-ah). What’s a muffaletta, you ask? A thick and flavorful sandwich on an Italian round stuffed with meats and cheese and topped with signature olive salad. The muffaletta can be found as a warmed sandwich but purists call that a crime – room temperature is the way to go. I agree.
Not in NO? Never fear, you can make a muffaletta at home – the ingredients are available all across the country. Here’s the recipe:
1 10" round Italian loaf
Capicola or Ham (don't use honey or sweet ham)
Mortadella or Bologna
Olive salad (see recipe below)
Extra virgin olive oil for the bread (best if it comes from the olive salad)
Slice the loaf of bread so you have a top and bottom. Tear out a bit of the soft bread from the bottom so you can “nest” the ingredients. Brush the insides of both bread halves with olive oil. Layer the meat then cheese and top with a generous amount of olive salad.
Typically muffalettas are cut into quarters and will feed 2 hungry folks.
While there are dozens of olive salad recipes, this combo is the one the RV Cooking Show Krewe loves the most…
2/3 c pitted green olives stuffed with pimento (a 10 oz jar, drained but not rinsed, works great) - coarsely chopped
2/3 c pitted black or kalamata olives - coarsely chopped
1/4 cup jarred giardiniera (mixed Italian pickled vegetables) – coarsely chopped
3 cloves minced garlic
1 anchovy fillet, mashed
1 T capers - rinsed
1/3 c fresh parsley – finely chopped
1 t fresh oregano - chopped
1/4 t black pepper
1/2 c extra virgin olive oil
1 T red wine vinegar
In a large bowl combine all ingredients. Cover and marinate in the fridge overnight or at least 12 hours. This mix will keep for a long time…but I bet it won’t stick around more than a day or two!
You can also purchase olive salad in many groceries (found near the olives and pickles).
PS - There are a few campgrounds in the city. Check out these real-life RVer New Orleans RV Park Reviews.
Tuesday, February 24, 2009
Its Mardi Gras 2009, RVers!!