January 28, 2016  

I can't believe it, but I'll be celebrating my 50th birthday on Wednesday. There will be a few parades in my honor, or so I like to think.

I'm in Lake Charles this morning for the Louisiana Travel Promotion Association's annual luncheon and tourism awards ceremony; we had a reception in honor of our new Lt. Governor Billy Nungesser last night. Our tourism industry is strong, and we're looking forward to working with him and his office over the next few years. I'm staying at L'Auberge du Lac; watching the sun set over the bayou from my room never fails to soothe.

This afternoon I'm stopping off in Henderson where my friend Chef Dustie Latiolais will show me how he boils crawfish at Crawfish Town USA-- they boil and serve tons of the tasty mud bugs each year. Henderson's Mayor Collette will be joining me; he grew up on the Atchafalaya Basin and has offered several times to take me on a personal tour. I'm going to see if I can get that scheduled for this spring when the swamp blooms- look for the photos and story in an issue later this year. It's a beautiful part of the state. 

Speaking of tourism, if you're planning to visit any part of the state over Mardi Gras, take a few minutes to research parade schedules and route, and other information about local traditions. It's all too easy to get stuck on the wrong side of a parade, and can take hours to clear. There's nothing to do but backtrack or wait, or in my case, drive across the river, turn around and drive back, taking a different exit. See our comphrenensive Mardi Gras Parade schedule.

Enjoy this week's recipes, share them with family and friends, and as always, let me know what's on your mind. Happy Mardi Gras!

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Susan Ford

Susan Ford, Publisher

Louisiana Kitchen & Culture

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Catch Mardi Gras

Smoked Andouille and Crawfish Pasta

Smoked Andouille and Louisiana Crawfish over Pasta

Chef Justin Ferguson created this easy recipe for a cooking demonstration we orchestrated a few years ago-- our stipulation was that it had to come together in under 30 minutes, and be delicious-- which it is!

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Mardi Gras Muffuletta Pasta Salad

Mardi Gras Muffuletta Pasta Salad

This is a great dish to take to a party, Mardi Gras-themed or not. If you have access to good-quality jarred olive salad it'll come together in about the amount of time it takes to boil the pasta; it's good hot, cold, or in between.  

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Chicken and Okra Gumbo

Chicken and Okra Gumbo

I rarely post recipes to the newsletter and website that appear in the magazine; they're mainly exclusive to our subscribers and newsstand customers. But here's an exception; I wanted to give you a chicken gumbo recipe for Mardi Gras, and astoundingly enough, we didn't seem to have on on the website. So- here you go, this is from the current, January/February issue of the print magazine. It's easy, and delicious, and I'll take this opportunity to remind those of you who do not subscribe to the print magazine, you're missing a lot of great recipes!

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Louisiana Farmers Markets 

Louisiana Visitors' Centers

Tip of the Week:

Baked Ham Help

Miss last week's recipes?

Louisiana Seafood Stuffed Eggplant (most-viewed last week)

Baked Ziti with Sausage

Chicken Pot Pie with Cheddar Crust

 Looking for a specific recipe? We have over 1,200: Click here!

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Click here for 2016 Louisiana Mardi Gras Parades, Events, and Festivals

Jan 20, 2016 to Jan 27, 2016

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