Has it been a week? King Cake, pasta, salad, Nutmeg

It has just occurred to me that I've not slept through the night since January 19, and even then, I was tired. Politics, the March, our kitchen, Nutmeg, various ailments racing through our house and community...I am so tired that today I watched a hilarious skit featuring Seth Meyers (SNL, The Late Show, and a former college-mate of mine) and Kelly Clarkson day-drinking and immediately wondered if I was drunk without my own knowledge.

I am that tired.

So, I have little for you except some recent kitchen wins and a kitchen update and an enormous spot of gratitude for hot tea and the fact that my in-laws have the boys tonight. Praise whomever for local grandparents being a fact of my life.

It's Mardi Gras season, y'all, and so, King Cake. This one was for Jack's family culture evening at school. Although we will have no kitchen starting Tuesday, I have promised cakes for both boys' classes on Mardi Gras Day. Hmm. As usual, I use Southern Living's Traditional King Cake recipe but I do NOT add the lemon juice to the icing. 


Last night: pasta with Brussels sprouts, speck, and parm. Amen for good carbs on cold nights. Also, it has a distinctly Mardi Gras feel, which I love. 


Lastly, a gorgeous winter salad of shaved fennel, avocado, pomelo, roasted and salted pistachios, shaved manchego, salt, pepper, basil olive oil, and blackberry balsamic. Is this not just glorious? It tasted as good!


The Nut acts as if he were never injured, and mercifully, our kitchen renovation finally commences on Tuesday with demolition day 1. If I could take the first swipe at it all, I would. Maybe I'll ask. I mean, this stupid Nunes memo nonsense has made my blood boil, so perhaps the crew wants a lady eager to crank through some cortisol via sledge hammer?!

Our new range -a stunning charcoal gray beauty from Lacanche via France- arrived last Monday. I have nicknamed her Gal Gadot because she is not only stunning but also strong and charismatic. She will anchor our new kitchen, but many other beautiful treasures will complete the room. I'll keep you posted, but here's a sneak peek of Gal. 

As an aside, why is not all language written in the beautiful scripts of Europe? Just look at those handwritten letters and numbers on the crate. Mon dieu. 

Happy Mardi Gras

Tomorrow (or today, depending on when you're reading this) is Mardi Gras, or Fat Tuesday. As you may know, I make king cakes every year for the kids to bring into their classrooms. Often I'll go too, bringing beads, masks, and music, and sharing some of the history and tradition of Mardi Gras. I find the holiday to be such a fine way to keep my kids aware of and tethered to their Louisiana roots, for Mardi Gras isn't religious (although it has some religious roots) and it epitomizes joie de vivre and celebration, two characteristics of Louisianians that I have always adored.

As the kids have grown, a single king cake has ceased being enough to feed their classmates. This year I doubled the recipes and made two much larger cakes and then a third one to split between us, Jack's math teacher (a Louisiana native), and a few other special teachers and friends. Doing so added a great deal to the cook time, but I'm pretty confident no one will go hungry tomorrow. That said, I expect not a crumb to return home. And that is how it should be.

For the first time, I've added a plastic baby to each cake, comfortable that all the kids are old enough now not to freak out if they cut or bite into a naked infant. Louisiana folks take such knowledge for granted, but I have long wondered if a child who's unfamiliar with the king cake tradition might be traumatized with such a surprise in his or her cake. 

As I usually do, this year I used Southern Living's classic, unfilled king cake recipe. I also made their glaze but omitted the lemon juice as I find it terribly distracting and unwelcome on a cinnamon sugar treat. 

So here you have it, six hours later, much in the way of celebratory cake. Laissez les bons temps rouler!!

after the very successful rising (see top pics), I rolled out subdivided balls of dough, slathered with butter, and sprinkled with cinnamon and sugar.

after the very successful rising (see top pics), I rolled out subdivided balls of dough, slathered with butter, and sprinkled with cinnamon and sugar.

king cakes that have risen and are ready for the oven

king cakes that have risen and are ready for the oven

Mardi Gras King Cakes in the house

After getting the boys off to school this morning (two hour delay is pesty but SO much better than a cancellation), I got busy making King Cakes for the Mardi Gras party I'm throwing for Ol's PK class tomorrow. I've got the beads, some masks, feathers, music and now these beauties. Did this for Jack's class when he was in PK and enjoyed it as much then as I know I will tomorrow. www.em-i-lis.com





This recipe is from Southern Living, and I liked the generous amount of yeasty, relative lack of sugar and the inclusion of sour cream in the dough. Can't wait to taste!