Monday, February 15, 2010

King Cake

Fat Tuesday is tomorrow and here is a little history on the most important element to any Mardi Gras party - THE KING CAKE

Mardi Gras celebration is complete without a King Cake, also known as Twelfth Night Cake. This cake is actually a sweetened yeast bread, usually baked in a ring shape. The cake is frosted with gold, green, and purple icing representing in order, power, faith, and justice. The traditional colors on the King Cake date back to 1872. They were taken from a prominent parade group, called a krewe. Although this cake is colorful and tasty, the real fun hides within the cake.
The maker of each King Cake hides a token in the cake. The tokens used are a dried red bean or a figurine of a baby, representing the Christ child. When the cake is cut and shared, the finder of the hidden treasure is said to enjoy good luck for the coming year. The lucky recipient may also be expected to bake the King Cake or throw the Mardi Gras party for the following year.
As they say in New Orleans, Laissez le bon temps rouler, or Let the good times roll!

article from:

Monday, February 1, 2010

Groundhog Day

Happy Groundhog Day!

The day a little groundhog determines if we get to bear through a longer winter or celebrate an early spring. Either way, it is reason to gather and celebrate. Need an idea? Well.... how about gathering in front of the TV to watch Groundhog Day on DVD starring Bill Murray. This hilarious movie is fun for all ages.

So you might be thinking..... well that sounds great, but what do I serve. Simple, you serve popcorn. There are so many varieties and flavors to serve. Go to your local party supply store and purchase popcorn holders or if you want to keep it real simple, brown bag it.

Write each guests name on each bag and have them create a concoction in their own bag.

Here is just one recipe idea for gourmet popcorn:

Chocolate-Peanut Popcorn

20 cups air-popped popcorn
2 cups salted peanuts, divided
1 1/2 cups sugar
3/4 cup butter
1/2 cup corn syrup
3 tablespoons water
1 teaspoon salt
1/4 cup unsweetened cocoa powder
1 teaspoon vanilla
1/2 teaspoon baking soda

Preheat oven to 250 degrees

Place popcorn and 1 cups peanuts in a large roasting pan, set aside.

In a medium saucepan, combine sugar, butter, corn syrup, water and salt. Bring to a boil over medium heat, stirring occasionally. Cook for 8 to 10 minutes, or until mixture reaches 260 degrees, without stirring. Add cocoa, vanilla, and baking soda, stirring to combine.

Working quickly, pour sugar mixture over popcorn mixture, stirring until popcorn is evenly coated. Bake for 1 hour, stirring every 15 minutes. Immediately spread popcorn on to parchment paper to cool. Sprinkle with remaining 1 cup peanuts. Store in airtight container.

(recipe from Celebrate, Phyllis Hoffman)