The Labyrinth Mardi Gras Masquerade (#77)
The Labyrinth happened to fall for us on February. I noticed that the date we had planned to watch the film fell pretty close to Mardi Gras. At that point, I started to make a lot of connections between these two things. The Labyrinth has a scene with a fancy masquerade, which is reminiscent of the masks warn at Mardi Gras. There is a Mardi Gras tradition of giving plastic necklaces, and there is a scene in the movie where Sara gives a gift of a plastic bracelet. Lastly, the film is all about trying to save a baby from the goblin king, and Mardi Gras has king cake with a hidden baby. The crossovers just came so naturally, so the theme of the party was quickly formed.
The food also themed well. I wanted to focus on Cajun or Creole flavors while sticking with the theme. I knew right away that I was going to make my own version of king cake for dessert and call it "goblin king cake," but it took me longer to figure out the rest of my dish. A coworker decided that I should make chicken bog as a connection to the Bog of Eternal Stench in the film. I had never heard of chicken bog, but when I looked it up, I discovered that it was a Carolina dish similar to jambalaya or dirty rice. This of course meant that I could connect it to the New Orleans theme. The flavors are typically different though, so I decided that I would flavor mine with creole seasoning to align it with the theme of the night. It ended up working really well. One big change I made though, was making it vegetarian. One of my guests is vegetarian and another is allergic to soy. This meant that I couldn't make it with chicken or a soy-based chicken alternative. So instead of cooking the bog in chicken broth with pieces of chicken mixed in, I decided to keep it vegetarian and make some chicken wings on the side to accompany it. This still worked well, but made the dish more of flavored rice than a traditional bog. The chicken wings, I made following one of my favorite recipes, which I found here, but will also attach below.
The Bog Of Creole Scent
2 tbsp butter
1 large white or yellow onion (diced)
1/4 tsp garlic powder
2 cups of long or medium uncooked white rice (I used Uncle Ben's original)
1 qt chicken broth (or vegetable stock if keeping it vegetarian)
1 lb of smoked sausage, sliced into coins (remove if making vegetarian)
Optional: celery and green peppers (diced)
- In a large pot, put your butter, onions, and any other vegetables that you feel like adding. Set the heat to medium and stir regularly until the onions have all softened and browned a bit. The butter will have coated the veggies and enriched their flavor.
- Now stir in the uncooked rice, garlic powder, and any meat that you plan to add. Mix thoroughly.
- Pour the broth into the pot now. Stir thoroughly to ensure that all of the rice grains are exposed to the broth, which they must absorb. Reduce the heat and cover.
- Stir occasionally to make sure you don't have any hard, uncooked rice and season as you go. You may decide to add more or less creole seasoning than I did. I suggest adding a little at a time and tasting as you go. For me, it needed just a little extra oomph, so I also added just a bit of cayenne. You'll know your dish is done when all the broth has been absorbed by the now flavoral and fragrant rice.
- Remove from heat and serve.
Chicken Wing Spice Blend
2 tbsp paprika
1 tbsp smoked paprika
1 tbsp black pepper
1 tbsp kosher salt
1 tbsp garlic powder
1 tbsp onion powder
1 tsp mustard powder
1/4 tsp cayenne pepper
Mix all ingredients together thoroughly and store in an airtight container.
Baked Chicken Wings
3 lbs chicken wings
1/3 cup or more of chicken wing spice blend
2 tbsp or more of canola oil
- Put chicken wings in a large bowl and add oil.
- Keeping one hand clean, use the other hand to toss the chicken in the oil to make sure you have an even coating. Add more oil if needed. You want ever wing to be coated.
- With your clean hand, add your spice blend. Continue to toss the chicken with your other hand and make sure that each wing is getting a good coating of spice, which should be binding with the oil. If you need to add more spice to make sure every wing is coated, do so.
- Wash your hands and prepare your cooking tray. I do this by lining the cooking tray with nonstick aluminum foil that has been crinkled up. I learned this trick when baking bacon. It causes the excess grease and oil to get caught in the ridges and gaps of the aluminum foil so the meat is less greasy when it comes out.
- Bake at 400 degrees Fahrenheit for 50 minutes. You may want to cook a little longer if you are working with especially large wings that take longer to cook through.
Goblin King Cake
For dessert, I knew that I wanted to make a variation of king cake. I decided that the differentiating factor should be the filling. Traditional king cake is typically made with either praline or cinnamon filling. I decided that I wanted this cake to be peach flavored to connect to the peach featured in the film. To make this cake, I bought Mam Papaul's king cake box mix and followed the recipe on the box. The only change came when it came to the filling.
Peaches and Cream Filling
1 3.4oz box of Jell-O brand vanilla instant pudding
2 cups heavy whipping cream
1 cup of diced peaches
- Use a mixer to blend the dry pudding mix and the cream. Blend until it forms into a thick whipped cream.
- Mix in your diced peaches.
The peaches and cream filling came out really good. Guests were saying they would eat it with a spoon. However, it did have some problems working as the filling for the cake. The cream part melted and left the cake feeling a bit soggy. If I was to redo this, I would probably do something more like a peach jelly or pie filling.
Overall, I would say that the theme and food was a hit.