by Breshay Woods (Culinary Literacy Center Intern)
Does all this Philadelphia snow have you ready for a virtual vacation to New Orleans? The Culinary Literacy Center is here to help, with Mardi Gras-inspired recipes and library resources to lift your spirits!
Mardi Gras is a Carnival celebration that draws in many people from all walks of life to New Orleans to join in on the fun. Though the celebration has been moved virtually due to our new normal, we can still celebrate Mardi Gras in the comfort of our homes.
- Check out Hoopla's collection of Mardi Gras related music, ebooks, and audiobooks.
- Create a soundtrack for your virtual celebration with the online Jazz Music Library (available to all Free Library cardholders!) which has "New Orleans Jazz" and "Traditional Big Band" sub-genres for you to explore.
- Search the Free Library catalog for Cajun and Creole cookbooks to explore the spicy, smoky, sometimes sweet cuisine that defines New Orleans.
One of the best parts of Mardi Gras is the food—no celebration would be complete without it! We are here to make your Carnival at home the best ever with food and drinks that the entire family can enjoy, Here's a recipe for a delicious dish typically found at Mardi Gras:
by Lauren Miyashiro and Lena Abraham
- 1 tbsp. extra-virgin olive oil
- 1 onion, chopped
- 2 bell peppers, chopped
- Kosher salt
- Freshly ground black pepper
- 1 lb. boneless skinless chicken breasts, cut into 1" pieces
- 1 tsp. dried oregano
- 6 oz. andouille sausage, sliced
- 2 cloves garlic, minced
- 2 tbsp. tomato paste
- 2 cup chicken stock
- 1 (15-oz.) can crushed tomatoes
- 1 cup long-grain rice
- 2 tsp. Old Bay seasoning
- 1 lb. medium shrimp, peeled and deveined
- 2 green onions, thinly sliced
- In a large pot over medium heat, heat the olive oil.
- Add onion and bell peppers and season with salt and pepper. Cook until soft, about 5 minutes.
- Stir in chicken and season with salt, pepper, and oregano. Cook until the chicken is golden, about 5 minutes.
- Stir in andouille sausage, garlic, and tomato paste and cook until fragrant, about 1 minute more.
- Add chicken broth, crushed tomatoes, rice, and Old Bay. Reduce heat to medium-low, cover with a tight-fitting lid, and cook until the rice is tender, and the liquid is almost absorbed (about 20 minutes).
- Add the shrimp and cook until pink, 3 to 5 minutes.
- Stir in green onions just before serving.
And of course, when you’re using Google Maps to virtually stroll down Bourbon Street, you need something to quench your thirst. We have just the solution for you! The New Orleans Hurricane Drink is the perfect beverage to get the party started. Check out the recipes below for the classic cocktail and non-alcoholic version of the drink - fun for the whole family!
from Visit New Orleans
- 2 oz. light rum
- 2 oz. dark rum
- 2 oz. passion fruit juice
- 1 oz. orange juice
- ½ oz. fresh lime juice
- 1 Tbsp simple syrup
- 1 Tbsp grenadine
- Garnish: orange slice and cherry
- Shake all ingredients in a cocktail shaker with ice and strain into a hurricane glass filled with ice.
- Garnish with a cheery and an orange slice.
Virgin Hurricane Drink (serves 4)
- 1 cup passion fruit juice
- ½ cup unsweetened pineapple juice
- ½ cup orange juice
- ¼ cup lemon juice
- 1 cup carbonated water
- Ice cubes
- Orange slices and maraschino cherries
- Combine the juices in a pitcher.
- Just before serving, stir in carbonated water.
- Pour into a hurricane or highball glasses filled with ice.
- Garnish with orange slices and cherries.
Food, music, drinks, and history—everything you need to get in the Mardi Gras spirit from home!
Laissez les bons temps rouler!