Laissez les bons temps rouler

enjoy GHL six times weekly T,W,TH & F on Create TV

Fact: Louisianians possess joie de vivre. They can find a reason to celebrate life any time of the year. Each visit to the state split by the Mississippi; either for pleasure or filming, has always brought me home with fine memories and new friendships - good times. 

With Fat Tuesday celebrated this week and today’s added Mardi Gras - New Orleans Saints parade, It only seems fitting to brush up on their rich food culture in Louisiana, and the traditions around Mardi Gras. Laissez les bons temps rouler! Translation; let the good times roll!

Which BTW code for New Orlean's colors are; purple for justice, green for faith, and gold for power.

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Mardi Gras Review

Carnival season which leads to Mardi Gras begins each year on Jan 6th.  But it’s really this past week that the Krewes really start to build up their parading steam right up to Fat Tuesday on February 9th, aka Shrove Tuesday served with Pancakes. Get out your beads and join the celebration.

Mardi Gras: Did You Know That?

Fat Tuesday is the English translation of the French words Mardi Gras. As the rite of Spring, Fat Tuesday festivities commence before the change of seasons. The original purpose of the big celebration was to pray to the Gods for good weather and good crops. In Louisiana, the first Mardi Gras was celebrated in 1589, when the French explorers Bienville and Iberville landed at the mouth of the Mississippi river in New Orleans. The next day was Ash Wednesday, the beginning of the Lenten season. The tradition back home in France/ Europe in those days, was to have a major feast prior to the 40 days of fasting in Lent. The day called Mardi Gras or Fat Tuesday, was the opportunity to eat and drink all day long prior to repenting for a long, long, forty days. 

Mardi Gras Colors & Throws

Rex (latin for king) selected the official Mardi Gras colors in 1872. The 1892 Rex Parade theme Symbolism of Colors gave meaning to the colors: purple represents justice; green-faith, and gold-power. The throwing of trinkets to the crowds was started in the early 1870s by the Twelfth Night Revelers, and is a time-honored expectation for young and old alike. 

In 1884 Rex started using medallions instead of trinkets. These medallions are represented today by doubloons. These doubloons are aluminum and anodized in many different colors. They depict the parade theme on one side and the Krewe's emblem on the other. 

So friends, let's top off the fete, with my Jambalaya recipe.

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The Fruit Whisperer

This is a serious topic at my house—knowing when to cut into a perfectly ripened piece of fruit. There is a fine line between unripened and overripe. Here are a few ideas that may help widen that window of use for your pears. Are you ever stuck, trying to make a different salad? Try slicing a ripe pear with feta or blue cheese. Has that pear on the counter over-ripened? Don't fret, chop it up and add it to a spicey soup or make a decandent dessert like my Roasted Pears with Raspberry Sauce which is ideal during the holiday season!

Roasted Pears and Raspberry Sauce
by George Hirsch | 4 Four Servings

4 ripe Bosc or Anjou pears
2 tablespoons melted butter or margarine
2 tablespoons cinnamon sugar
1 cup fresh or frozen raspberries
1 cup seedless raspberry preserves
2 Tablespoons orange juice
4 sprigs of fresh mint

Pre heat oven to 350 degrees.

Cut pears lengthwise into half, remove the cores.  Grease a non stick pan with butter.  Place quartered pears in pan and top with cinnamon sugar.  Cover pears and bake for 8-12 minutes or until slightly soft.  The time will vary according to level of ripeness.  Remove from oven and cool.

In a sauce pan simmer three fourths of the raspberries, the preserves, and orange juice for 4-5 minutes.  Press the sauce through a strainer, discarding the seeds.  

Pour the sauce evenly onto four dessert dishes, topping each with two pear halves.  Add the remaining raspberries on top of pears.  Top with fresh mint leaves.

Olives Gone Wild

I love olives in every which way they can be served; marinated with herbs and garlic, chopped into a tapanade, and don't forget sliced topping a bruschetta

Then there's art with olives! It’s just amazing how much olives can imitate life!

Every time I walk past a piece of Godard artwork I find myself intrigued how he pulls real life stories out of a personified olive or peice of fruit - with his twist of course. I hope you enjoy his work as much as I have. And if you have not had an opportunity to see one in person, here's a taste below.

Briefly about Godard

Known as the "Rock Star of the Art World" is currently the #1 best selling artist in the U.S. Godard's work is highly collected by private collectors, and people from all walks of life. Godard's imaginative world of art is seen by millions of people each month world wide such as cruise lines, galleries, hotels, television, magazines and countless merchandising kiosks and stores. Godard's world of art is a lighthearted perspective of life that surrounds us, mirroring our lives through martinis with animated olives, drunken grapes, dancing strawberries, and the good life. Godard's unique portrayal of fun is an exciting combination of imagination and often subtle humor which evoke and engage the creative side in "Olive" us. Today Michael Godard is considered one of the most prolific and influential artists of our time.