February 12, 2010

Have A Happy Vegan Mardi Gras!

Mardi Gras mask, close-up

My family is from New Orleans.

My family are staunch Creoles - from gumbo to greens .. they are NOLA, even down to mid-night mass.

How does that affect my vegan lifestyle?

Well, let's just say, creativity is the key to life.

I still consider myself a neophyte in my meat-free world. I still stumble and fall, but I have uncovered some really great tips to share as I gear up to celebrate my 3rd Mardi Gras as a vegan.

Reading the "Book Of Tofu" by William Shurtleff & Akiko Aoyagi has been a guide and inspiration.

My creole cousins in California sent it to me with fresh avocado recipes, so folks, IT REALLY helps to have folks pulling for ya, indeed!

This year,I have been experimenting with my Granma's Shrimp Creole recipe which is a LOT like the famous Dooky Chase's.

Because my family is not vegan, I steam and season my shrimp on the side. I prepare my roux the old fashioned way, in a cast iron skillet. 1/4 cup of hemp oil slowly mixing in flour. In New Orleans, the roux is the most important part, so I stir with patience, love and thoughts of all my ancestors. I tend to cook my roux forever because I prefer a rich, roasted peanut butter color.

On a separate burner have your 2 cans (16 ounces each) crushed tomatoes, 1 cup water, 1 1/2 cup of vegetable broth, 1/2 cup diced bell pepper, 1 tablespoons Creole season salt, 1 teaspoon crushed red pepper, 1 teaspoon dried thyme, 2 tablespoons chili pepper, chopped parsley, and 2 bay leaves.

In a separate pot, steam your shrimp ( I use 1 pound cleaned ) in broth adding season salt and pepper.

Finally, make a pot of rice. Once the roux is done (BE VERY CAREFUL THAT YOU DO NOT SCORCH OR ALLOW YOUR ROUX TO STICK) add crushed garlic and onion. In a few minutes you can add the roux to the other pot and mix. Allow it all to cook well - I use the smell as my indicator that it is done.

I make a vegan corn bread - substituting the eggs with oil and coconut milk and WA LA!

You have an awesome meal. Simply add a very full salad, loaded with nuts, dried cranberries, carrots, pecans, and dates!


Mardi Gras are pre-Lent celebrations before Fat Tuesday. Ironically, the year my Gran was born in 1918, there was no Mardi Gras due to the war! However, it is a wonderful tradition full of fun and fanfare.

Laissez les bon temps rouler!!! AND "Throw me sumthin' Mista!!!

Throw Me Something Mista with Mardi Gras necklace


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