March 23, 2010

Crawfish Boil Centerpiece with Realistic Bobble Crawfish

Crawfish Boil Centerpiece with Bobble Crawfish

Need a centerpiece for a crawfish boil or seafood buffet...get creative! Layering different crawfish or seafood items in and around a vase creates a unique centerpiece. This urn style vase that I have used before in a previous post makes an ideal base for a centerpiece. The neck on the vase allows you to add beads or ribbon accents and the 10" height of the vase works well in the middle of a table. For this centerpiece, Drape three chili pepper beads around the neck of the urn.  Twist each bead together a few inches up from the chili pepper to make it hang straight down. Wrap the remaining length of bead around the neck. Varying the lengths and distance of the hanging chili peppers adds interest. For some texture and color contrast, I clipped boxwood branches from the yard. The green of the boxwood branches makes the red crawfish color pop. Boxwood branches are great greenery for centerpieces because they stay looking fresh for days, maybe even weeks.

 Bobble Crawfish: large
Layered on top of the boxwood branches are fun Bobble Crawfish Picks and Crab picks. These realistic looking crawfish and crab on picks have springs attached at the arms and legs so they "bobble" around like real crustaceans. carries a large selection of bobble beads, picks and magnets. I added two sizes of the crawfish pick and a crab. At the base of the vase are a scattering of more boxwood branches, crawfish and crab figurines on magnets. Since the magnet is on the bottom, it does not show.
 metallic red crawfish

You could also scatter these small metallic red crawfish around the table like confetti. For added sparkle, drape chili pepper beads and/or red metallic crawfish beads down the center of the table. Personalize it with your own flair!

2011 Update:
We've made even more crawfish boil centerpieces to inspire you!
Crawfish Balloon Decoration
Cajun Crawfish Centerpiece Ideas
Crawfish Boil Tablescape
Crawfish Door Decoration
Mesh Crawfish Sacks

March 17, 2010

Happy Saint Patrick's Day!

Clover field

An Irish wish for you today!

Wishing you a rainbow
For sunlight after showers—
Miles and miles of Irish smiles
For golden happy hours—
Shamrocks at your doorway
For luck and laughter too,
And a host of friends that never ends
Each day your whole life through!

 Four leaf clover

March 16, 2010

How to: St. Patrick's Day Green Sinamay Wreath

In Louisiana, we celebrate everything with a parade. Parading is not just limited to Mardi Gras. Christmas, a Saints Superbowl Victory, LSU National Championship and of course St. Patrick's Day all involve parades with lots of throws and the requisite parties. I live in an area of town that has a great St. Patrick's Day parade. Most of the families host parties and decorate their yard and home for the event. The whole area shuts down for the day and celebrates the Irish way. For the occasion, I created a wreath to decorate the front door. The wreath uses some new sinamay ribbon, but recycles a large Mardi Gras bead to add a bit of sparkle. This wreath is similar to the Mardi Gras sinamay garland wreath posted previously.

Here are the supplies you will need and some photographs of the steps to put it together. It was simple to create and the options are endless to personalize it your own way.

 St. Patrick's Day Wreath Supplies


Grapevine Wreath (in whatever size or shape you prefer)
Green Sinamay Ribbon (2" or 4" style; I used 2" here)
Large Purple, Green and Gold Mardi Gras Bead or Large Green and Silver Beads (need the larger kind which are hollow balls strung on a string versus standard type which are molded on the string)
Hot glue gun and hot glue
Large bowl or container for loose beads

Once the supplies are gathered, unroll the ribbon. Plug in the hot glue gun in to warm up on a protected surface. Cut individual pieces of the ribbon about 6" long. Start tying the ribbon to the wreath form. I recommend adding the first four spacing equally apart.

Continue tying the ribbon pieces around the wreath. Use the first four ribbons as a guide to help space them evenly along the wreath. You can also use deco mesh ribbon, which is a synthetic version of sinamay. It comes in even more colors, patterns, sizes and finishes and is even more affordable.

Green and Silver Bead Balls

With the Mardi Gras beads over a bowl, use the scissors to cut the string that the balls are strung on. Separate out the green and gold beads. Recycle the purple beads for another project.

With the hot glue gun, attach these hollow balls to the wreath. Evenly space the assorted sizes and colors around the wreath. The more you add, the more metallic sparkle you add to the wreath.

St. Patricks Day Wreath with Sinamay
The finished product! Hang it on your door and go enjoy the parade!

March 11, 2010

Crawfish Boilin' time!

Crawfish Boiling Time!

In south Louisiana, the arrival of Lent and the requisite religious sacrifices that entails means no meat on Fridays. Since we live in one of the richest seafood areas in the country, that is not too much of a penance. We "make do" with crawfish pies, fried catfish, oyster poboys and seafood etouffee.  We have a special fondness for crawfish (sometimes described as crawdads or mudbugs). A Crawfish boil is a ritual in itself.  There is a technique to boiling great crawfish. It is not something you can do in a hurry. It takes lots of purging, boiling, seasoning and soaking to get the perfect batch of crawfish. All these steps lead up to a good time had by all.  Crawfish boils are time to get together with friends, slow down while the mudbugs soak and celebrate the good things in life. There is nothing comparable to a crawfish boil on one of those first pretty days of spring. This weekend will be my first Crawfish boil of the season. I can't wait!

crawfish or crab hat crawfish hat crawfish hat

Just in time for the Crawfish season, has expanded their line of Louisiana products and Crawfish boil supplies. There are fun crawfish hats and crawfish boil beads to wear to the party. They even have some crawfish bibs for those from the "nawth" that need to keep their clothes clean when eating boiled crawfish. For those who are hungry, they offer food mixes so you can make crawfish etouffe, gumbo or even crawfish pie.
crawfish bib

My favorite new items are the collection of  Seafood Buffet tableware by Tika . Since 1991 when Hasslock Studios introduced hand painted platters at the New Orleans Jazz and Heritage Festival, the popularity of these bright colorful serving pieces has continued to grow. Nationwide, Tika's whimsical designs are recognizable. The playful "Tika" Collection called Seafood Buffet  serves up a variety of entertaining pieces with assorted seafood like crab, shrimp and crawfish complete with garnishes of lemons, peppers, artichokes and Tabasco sauce. The bright blue, red and yellow colors on the platters pop against the off white background. Some of the pieces have raised three dimensional accents like this large crawfish on this platter.

Seafood Buffet Platter by Tika
Originally only available in hand thrown pottery, the whimsical pieces are now available in ceramic at very affordable prices. carries a large variety of styles and shapes in this collection, all of which are microwave and dishwasher safe. This makes clean-up after those messy crawfish boils a breeze. Not only are these colorful serving pieces great for crawfish or seafood boils, they also make great gifts and fun accents for any home. The platters would look great hung on the wall or displayed on a easel.

Seafood Buffet Tableware by Tika

An exclusive item that carries are these cute crawfish bowls. Made with removable glass insert bowls they are perfect for serving your special sauce at a crawfish boil.

crawfish bowlcrawfish bowl
If you're up for the whole crawfish boil experience, but not sure how to peel boiled crawfish, here is a link to Southern Living's website. They have a great detailed description of how to peel crawfish that was in the March 2010 magazine. Southern Living: How to peel and eat boiled crawfish

If you're not interested in the production of a crawfish boil, try a hot crawfish dip. You can get your fix of Louisiana crawfish with this recipe for Crawfish Cardinale. It is one of my favorite hot seafood dips. Serve it in this oven safe pewter crawfish casserole dish with crackers or in individual pastry cups.
Pewter Crawfish Casserole Dish
Crawfish Cardinale

3 tablespoons unsalted butter
1/2 cup finely chopped green onions
1 1/2 teaspoons minced garlic
3 tablespoons all-purpose flour
2 tablespoons tomato paste
2 cups heavy cream
2 tablespoons Cognac or brandy
1 tablespoon lemon juice preferable fresh
3/4 teaspoon salt
1/4 teaspoon cayenne
1 pound cooked  Louisiana crawfish tails

In a large skillet, melt the butter over medium-high heat. Add the green onions and garlic and cook, stirring, until soft, about 3 minutes. Add the flour and stir until caramel colored (this is making a roux) approximately 2 minutes. Add the tomato paste and stir for 1 minute. Add the cream, brandy, lemon juice, salt and cayenne. Whisk to combine. Cook, stirring, until the sauce thickens, 3 to 4 minutes. Add the crawfish tails and cook until warmed through, 2 to 3 minutes. Remove from the heat and adjust the seasoning, to taste.
This recipe adapted from Emeril Lagasse.

Here are more blog posts with recipes for Crawfish Phyllo Triangles Appetizer and Tony Chachere's Shrimp and Crawfish Fettuccine.

Looking for more links on how to eat crawfish? Click here.

Either way you enjoy crawfish this season, just slow down and let the good times boil!

March 1, 2010

Mardi Gras music in the family with Kristin Diable!

 Kristin Diable
Our carnival season reverberates with Mardi Gras music from around New Year's day until the final parades roll on Fat Tuesday. By the end of the season, even the die hard Mardi Gras fans are ready to hear something different.

Kristin DiableSo, I was thrilled to hear a great new Mardi Gras song, the classic IKO IKO, sung by our talented cousin, Kristin Diable. Kristin spent years away in New York getting her music career started. Far away from Mardi Gras and the south, she cultivated a voice that reflects a unique combination of folk, jazz and soul.  She recently returned south and set up shop in New Orleans. Kristin has had a guitar in her hand, singing her own songs, since she was too young to drive. I don't remember a family gathering with out that guitar and her amazing voice. (She may kill me for writing that, but I have pictures to prove it!) Kristin has come along way and her soulful voice proves it. She did a great job revisiting a classic with her own "Kristin" style and just in time for Mardi Gras.

From her website:
KD(Kristin Diable) is releasing her rendition of a New Orleans classic, The Dixie Cups, "IKO IKO!" Home recording Feb. 2010. It's yours to keep if you promise to add it to your playlists and keep it in rotation. Please share with friends!
P.S. This track is meant to be played LOUD on a real stereo (or in a car, or on a parade float, or a dance floor). We suggest burning it on a CD and/or adding it to your iPod to rock in spaces outside of the computer. Enjoy!

A piece of these famous lyrics (I think I can hear the parade rolling by right now...Can you?)
since i was a baby child, playing on that bayou
they been singin' that old song, gonna set your heart on fire...

Download the song and play it at your next Mardi Gras gathering. I hope you enjoy the song as much as I do.  I am so glad Kristin Diable is back down on that bayou!

<a href="">Iko Iko by Kristin Diable</a>


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