After spending three years working in Baton Rouge, Louisiana there will always be a place for Mardi Gras in my heart. Man, do those people know how to party. And while you might immediately start thinking of masses of people drinking on Bourbon Street, where it’s really at is when the brass band music comes on and everybody starts dancing. Doesn’t matter the time or place, they know how to drop what they’re doing and have a little fun. (Definitely something us Northeastern-ers have a problem with sometimes. Especially me.)
Three years ago (how was this that long ago??) I posted a hypothetical post on how you would host a Mardi Gras party. In 2015 I kicked it up a notch and hosted my own Mardi Gras party. I took the day off of work and spent the whole day cooking red beans and rice, jambalaya, gumbo, and beignets. We drank until after midnight, listened to brass band music, and ended the evening with some intense games of mafia.
Two years later, I’ve dialed it back a little bit. While the fridge is completely full of beer (purely by accident) I haven’t been drinking as much, but still wanted to celebrate the season. I realized some of my favorite treats from New Orleans would create the perfect menu for brunch: king cake and beignets. And there it was born, my Mardi Gras brunch idea.
Mardi Gras Brunch Menu
Brunch is my favorite meal to plan. I’m convinced the food is the easiest to cook, it’s the most fun, and you have the most options on the sweet to savory spectrum. I’m also finally learning that with only 6 people, you don’t need to make that many things. (Took long enough.)
- King Cake: I used Joy the Baker’s recipe for king cake. King cake is essentially what you would get if you crossed a cinnamon bun with a bundt cake and added a hint of lemon. Absolutely delicious. And a Mardi Gras specialty. It was a pretty straight forward recipe, even for somebody who doesn’t work with yeast that often. I didn’t want to invest in green, yellow, and purple sprinkles, so I took my friend Stephanie’s suggestion and dyed the frosting to add some color. Purple frosting + green Christmas sprinkles = perfection.
- Beignets: I don’t care if it’s touristy or not, but stopping at Cafe Du Monde for beignets and a hot chocolate is an absolute must for me when I’m in New Orleans. I used this beignet recipe from All Recipes during my last party and it came out delicious. They even have videos so you can be sure that you’re on the right track.
- Breakfast Casserole: We needed something savory to balance all the sweetness of king cake and beignets. I decided on a Whole 30- and Paleo-friendly breakfast casserole from Paleo Running Momma that turned out to be absolutely delicious. (So delicious that I made another one last night to eat for breakfast this week.) On top of that, it ended up being purple (sweet potatoes), green (brussel sprouts), and yellow (egg). I’m going to pretend I did that by accident.
- Sliced Fruit
- Champagne, Tea, and Water
Mardi Gras Brunch Ambiance
There are many things you can do to decorate for Mardi Gras, but I decided to keep it simple this year. I reused the paper chain I made for the last party I had which has been stored in the basement and turned on the Rebirth Brass Band Spotify station. Places like Party City and Oriental Trading have a million Mardi Gras decorations if you’re looking for more pizzazz!
Mardi Gras Brunch Plan
Half the battle of a party is figuring out how to get ready for it. The trick is reading all of the recipes before hand to understand exactly how much time they’re going to take; how much time things need to sit, settle, and cool before you can complete them; and making sure you have all the ingredients before you start. This party was on a Saturday morning at 11:00am. Here’s the breakdown of what the schedule looked like:
- Friday Night: Grocery shop. Bake the king cake. Set the table and decorate while the king cake cools enough to cover for the evening.
- Saturday Morning: Frost the king cake. Make the casserole. Make beignets and set aside so they’re ready to fry when your guests arrive. Put a pot of hot water on the stove. Enjoy.
I felt the need to include this photograph so that you understand while the table upstairs was lovely looking, the kitchen was (and will always be) kind of a hot mess. There is still flour on my black boots.
There’s still time this year to host your own Mardi Gras brunch, or at least to try your hand at making beignets or a king cake. Happy Mardi Gras season, y’all. Can’t wait for my next trip down to the Bayou. Only 3 more months to go!