Businesses were decorated with purple, green and gold décor. Area chefs demonstrated their favorite New Orleans recipes and artists painted masks on children's faces. The finale was the Mardi Gras parade featuring decorated vintage cars, colorful floats, costumes, music and lots of beads.
At one end of downtown, Sabor a Pasion Chef Simon Webster and I demonstrated Shrimp & Sausage Jambalaya with Mardi Gras Coleslaw at Granny Muffin Wines, and at the other end were Jack Kraatz with Bella Serra Ranch and Lulu Dyess and Hunter Lohse with Fork in the Road at Lee Loveless Photography.
East Texas wineries joined the fun with samples at Lee Loveless from Sweet Dreams Winery and Texas Vineyard and Smokehaus. Granny Muffin Wines also served some of its new Chocolate Port and Red Chocolate Kiss, available for Valentine's Day, at their wine bar upstairs from The Texas Art Depot.
Fork in the Road is an Austin-style food truck that parks on Crawford Street in Old Town Palestine. A Palestine native, owner Lulu Dyess, had been living in Austin for 11 years. She decided to combine her love for food and travel and invested in a food truck. She brought in business partner and fellow-Austinite, Hunter Lohse, to join the venture.
Together they created Fork In The Road — a mobile food truck specializing in tacos. Their menu features three tacos with distinct and imaginative flavors. On Saturday, Lulu and Hunter were cooking Nola Red Dreams and Rice.
There was a large turnout for the cooking demonstrations, and an even bigger crowd for the parade. I have included the recipes for Chef Webster's Shrimp and Sausage Jambalaya and Fork in the Road's Red Dreams & Rice. The Mardi Gras Coleslaw I made is part of the Shrimp & Cajun Slaw Salad with Spicy Mustard Vinaigrette recipe.
After you complete your Mardi Gras celebration on Tuesday, don't forget that Thursday is Valentine's Day. Next week in FLAVOR we will celebrate with a romantic dinner at home made with red ingredients.
To accompany your Valentine's dinner, you might want to stop by Sweet Gourmet for some specialty chocolates — Godiva, Bissinger's and Le Grand Truffles, heart-shaped pasta, petit fours, decorated and dipped Oreos, solid chocolate champagne bottles and red velvet fudge.
Also stop in at KE Cellars for some bubbly. If you're sticking with the red theme, they have a sparkling red that has a beautiful vibrant color.
If you're at Granny Muffin Wines in Palestine shopping for Valentine's, pick up a bottle of the limited edition Chocolate Port in orange and raspberry or Granny's Chocolate Kiss. And pick up a jar of Australian hibiscus flowers. They are edible and make a tasty and gorgeous addition to a salad or glass of champagne.
At FRESH by Brookshire's, they're celebrating with events and tastings called “How Sweet It Is.”
Start things off on Friday with a free wine-pairing class, another cooking with wine class on Saturday, unique arrangements in the floral department and luscious treats in the bakery.
The special FRESH for 2 take-home dinner for Valentine's Day includes steak and shrimp with au gratin potatoes, asparagus and compound butter.
Other area restaurants also have special prix fixe menus planned for Valentine's dinner. Make your reservations soon because many places are filling up quickly.
RED DREAMS & RICE
2 pounds parboiled extra long grain rice (Parboiled keeps the grains from sticking to each other)
32 ounces chicken broth
1 twenty-six ounce can diced tomatoes
1 bunch fresh thyme, chopped
1/4 bunch fresh parsley, chopped
2 medium shallots, chopped
1 green bell pepper, chopped
2 finger peppers, chopped
3 stalks celery, chopped
1 pound andouille, 1/2 inch slices
1/4 picnic roast, separated into large pieces
1 pound red kidney beans, soaked
1/2 cup cayenne pepper (for medium heat, to taste)
1/2 cup paprika
1 tablespoon cumin
1 tablespoon red wine vinegar
Salt and pepper, to taste
We highly recommend using a large stove top pot or a crock pot to cook our Red Dreams & Rice for a minimum of 8 hours. Preparing the night before and cooking overnight is a perfect amount of time for the flavors of our recipe to come alive. Combine all ingredients in a large pot and cook covered, on low, for a minimum of 8 hours, stirring occasionally. The dish is ready once the kidney beans begin to fall apart when stirred. When you notice this, stir the beans & rice as little as possible from here on out. Serve hot in individual bowls. Garnish with Louisiana Cajun hot sauce if desired.
Recipe by Lulu Dyess and Hunter Lohse, Fork In The Road.
For questions email firstname.lastname@example.org
Chef Webster's Shrimp & Sausage Jambalaya
1/3 cup butter
1 white onion, chopped
1 green bell pepper, chopped
1/2 cup celery, chopped
4 garlic cloves, minced
1/2 cup green onions, chopped
2 dozen shrimp uncooked chicken, diced
3 links of andouille sausage, sliced
1/2 cup tomato paste
4 to 5 cups chicken stock
1/2 teaspoon salt
¼ cup Louisiana hot sauce
2 cup uncooked rice, rinsed
Melt butter in a large saucepan or Dutch oven. Add the onion, bell pepper, celery, and garlic and cook over moderately high heat until tender. Stir in green onions, and sausage and sauté for an additional 5 minutes. Add the shrimp and remaining ingredients, except the rice. Reduce the heat to low and simmer for 10 to 15 minutes. Stir in the rice and cover the pan. Cook on low for about 30 minutes or until rice is cooked. Stir the mixture occasionally during cooking and add more liquid if necessary. Recipe by Chef Simon Webster, Sabor a Pasion Country House & Bistro. For questions email email@example.com