Sunday, February 18, 2007

Mexican Mardi Gras

When we discovered that my older brother's job would require him to be here in town for the entire week preceding Ash Wednesday (actually, through the 22nd), my sister-in-law and I wasted no time in planning a memorable Mardi Gras bash. Having lived in New Orleans for the three years he attended law school, we consider my brother our chief expert on all things New Orleanian, so my sister-in-law grilled him about any particular customs or practices we could incorporate into our festivities. It was decided that we would have our own "Fat Tuesday" party, but since both Darren and my brother will be working on Tuesday, we celebrated yesterday instead. We had originally thought of trying a true New Orleans feast, but ultimately decided that we just wouldn't be able to do it proper justice. My brother assured us that we could indulge in whatever we didn't have to be seafood or even southern fare. Greatly relieved, we decided to have an early brunch, followed later by an alternate dinner consisting of red chile beef enchiladas, green chile chicken enchiladas, chicken tacos, chile con queso, and frozen margaritas...resulting in our own unique "Mexican Mardi Gras"! My sister-in-law brought a bunch of beads, masks, and garland that my brother had stored up in their attic, and I found a few other decorations at Hobby Lobby that perfectly completed our decor--including some awesome chile pepper Mardi Gras lights that we hung with the garland from the ledge in my kitchen. (I wonder...where else but in New Mexico might one actually find Mardi Gras chile peppers?!)

Dylan was ever so helpful with decorating for the party! He cheerfully made banners for the dining room window and fireplace mantle, hung masks and beads everywhere, and drew a really cool "Mardi Gras Higglytown Hero" to which he affixed a small mask from one of the party sticks he insisted we buy at Hobby Lobby.

The morning began splendidly, with a delectable brunch prepared (mostly!) by my sister-in-law: apple and cherry crepes, egg strata, champagne salad, and, in our one small acquiescence to authentic New Orleans cuisine...beignets! From Cafe Du Monde! We ate way too much, but it was all just so delicious! Later, to get some exercise and fresh air, we walked two blocks to a nearby playground. The weather was beautiful, and I loved watching our little "leaders", my niece and Caitlyn, walking hand in hand with their matching ponytails adorned with Mardi Gras ribbons.

After relaxing for most of the afternoon, we enjoyed our huge dinner but, once again, ate way more than was comfortable! Dessert was going to be a King Cake, but I opted instead to make this delicious lemon pound cake. With frosting and sprinkles, (and a few strategically placed plastic babies!), we had our own version of a King Cake with just a fraction of the work.

We all had such a great time that we agreed we should try this again next year. The food and drinks were phenomenal, but even better was the fun we had together, cooking and feasting and lingering at the table long after we were finished eating. If this is our "last hurrah" before the agonizingly long forty days of lent, I'll take it...with pleasure.


Blair said...

Looks like so much fun! Oh, and Cafe du Monde beignets, yum! We had our own little Mexican fajita meal with my parents tonight. Lots of leftovers to eat before Wednesday! Happy Mardi Gras!

ascozyasspring said...

That does look like so much fun. You've inspired me!

ascozyasspring said...

And adroable photos - that shot of Meghan is gorgeous!

Jill said...

What fun! I feel like throwing a Mexican Mardi Gras party now!
And not to make you sad or anything, but your baby is growing up so fast. Every time you post a picture of Meghan, she changes so much. So cute.