Southern Delights – Hearty Mardi Gras Recipes

Laissez le bon temps roulez! It’s that time again! Mardi Gras is on March 4, which means Carnival season is at a fever pitch. Let Hickory Farms help you to host your own Mardi Gras party with the following suggestions.

Decorations

Purple, green and gold are the colors of carnival season, and each one has a special meaning. Let your decorations reflect justice (purple), faith (green) and power (gold). Making your own Mardi Gras masks is a lot of fun, or you can simply pick some up at a party supply store. No Mardi Gras party is complete without beads, so make sure you have plenty on hand for guests to adorn themselves. Long, lustrous pearls are especially coveted.

Menu

Stick to New Orleans tried and true recipes, like a simmering pot of Red Beans and Rice (don’t forget to make your roux). Cut slices of beef and turkey summer sausage from Hickory Farms Beef & Turkey Hearty Hickory Gift Box into the pot to make it especially savory.

Source: Even the Source Inc.

 

Another Mardi Gras favorite is jambalaya. As andouille sausage can be hard to find outside of south Louisiana, simply substitute Hickory Farms turkey or beef summer sausage to make it hearty and delicious.

Source: Bunky Cooks

The only dessert you’ll need is a King Cake, a delicious, brioche-style pastry topped with Mardi Gras-colored sugar. Don’t forget to stash a tiny plastic baby inside, as according to tradition, the person who gets the baby must host the next carnival party.

Libations

Source: Virginia Switzer via Southern Living

The quintessential New Orleansdrink is the Sazerac, which is said to be the Big Easy’s first cocktail. Another distinctly New Orleans cocktail is the Hurricane, made famous by Pat O’Brien’s bar in the French Quarter. Serve this tasty treat in a signature hurricane lamp-style glass for authenticity.

Music

No party is complete without music, so make sure you add some Mardi Gras songs to your playlist from some of the city’s finest musicians, past and present. The Meters, Professor Longhair and Dr. John are just some of our favorites!

Hickory Farms is proud to be a part of your Mardi Gras celebration wherever you may be. Call 800.753.8558 to place your order today.

Hosting Tips for an Entertaining Oscar Night Party

Every year, the Oscars bring a night of true Hollywood glitz and glamor to our televisions. Rather than letting the stars have all of the fun this year, why don’t you use the Oscars as a great opportunity to host your own fabulous gala? Plan a red carpet event your friends won’t forget with the help of Hickory Farms and these simple entertaining tips.

 

Planning the food and drinks

As with any good party, food and drinks are key components of a successful Oscars gathering. Break out your finest China and champagne flutes and prepare a buffet featuring refined treats, such as a platter of Hickory Farms Smoked and Farmhouse Cheddars, accompanied by Golden Toasted Crackers from our Red Ribbon Treat.

Source: Better Homes and Gardens

Next, add a couple refined hors d’oeuvres. Try stuffing green olives with our Hickory Farms Reserve Smoked blue cheese before drizzling the olives with fresh rosemary and olive oil, or take meatballs to the next level by adding a crust made of Hickory Farms mixed nuts.

Source: Better Homes and Gardens

For a fun cocktail theme, stick with red drinks, such as cherry sangria, to match the red carpet. Starting with the Hahn Pinot Noir from our basket, simply add orange juice, sweet cherries, cherry syrup and orange liqueur.

Source: Better Homes and Gardens

Preparing your home

To give your party real Hollywood drama, you have to set the scene. Make your home feel like a true A-list gathering with elegant accents, such as large bouquets of flowers, stunning hanging lights, and plenty of candlelight. For the total Oscar experience, find a long red rug or piece of fabric to make your very own red carpet.

Another important part of staging your party is determining the dress code. For an extra special event, ask your friends to come in their finest formal clothing. When they arrive, make your guests feel like the stars that they are by taking their pictures and conducting mock interviews on the red carpet.

By combining these simple decorating ideas and entertaining tips with the delicious cheeses and wine found in our Red Ribbon Treat, you can create an Oscar-worthy experience that’s sure to become an annual tradition.

Impressive Cheese Platters for Party Guests

Nothing gets the party going quite like the delicious combination of fruit, cheese and wine. By choosing complimentary flavors of gourmet wine and cheese, you’ll be able to make the perfect cheese plate. Wow your guests with a fantastic platter using these simple guidelines.

Source: Food Network

Start by selecting the cheese. This is where you get to be a little bit adventurous and have some fun. As a general rule, you want to pick between three and five different varieties and have two ounces of cheese per guest. Try mixing and matching cheeses with different flavors and textures to really keep your guests on their toes. Start with one blue cheese, one soft ripened cheese and one hard cheese, such as artisanal cheddar. Then, spice it up a little more by adding a fun or exotic cheese you’ve never tried before. Remove the cheese from the refrigerator at least an hour before serving.

Next, it’s time to add the accompaniments, starting with the fruit. Create a pretty presentation by rimming the platter with mixed slices of fresh fruit, including apples, plums, pears and peaches. Then pile on the dried fruits. Your platter should be filled with golden and dark raisins, dried apricots, cherries, dates and any other festive fruits you can think of. Finish by adding slices of baguette and wafer crackers, a mix of jams and chutneys and your serving utensils.

Source: What’s Cooking America

Finally, it’s time for, perhaps, the best part – the wine! To keep your gathering casual and fun, don’t worry too much about directing your guests in their pairings. Instead, stock a collection of whites and reds in both dry and sweet options and encourage your friends to dig in. The more combinations your guests try, the more fantastic pairings you’re going to find.

 

With these simple tips, you can make a gourmet fruit and cheese platter you and your guests will love to snack on. For a great starting point for your party, pick up a Hickory Farms Vineyards and Orchards Gift Box. With wine, cheese and fruit, you’ll have everything you need to begin an amazing platter.