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Video: Mardi Gras! Crawfish spring rolls, ‘Who Dat’ lemonade

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    >>> we're celebrating mardi gras . fat tuesday marks the end of carnival season. nobody knows how to celebrate better than our friends from new orleans.

    >> yes.

    >> so excited to be here.

    >> you bought me a bead. haley bittermann, corporate executive chef from the ralph renan restaurant group.

    >> one of the finest restaurants in new orleans, the whole chain. what are we making today?

    >> we're going to get our mardi gras on.

    >> of course we are.

    >> and make some crawfish spring rolls .

    >> you almost exploded.

    >> show us the right way. watch how she does it.

    >> cut the top off. the top.

    >> suck the head.

    >> and then you -- you pinch the tail, you peel it a little bit like this.

    >> you don't have to peel it.

    >> going for it?

    >> hoda knows how to do it.

    >> you pull it with your teeth, right?

    >> oh, i just ate that. okay. you're sick, you're sick.

    >> oh, my god. where am i supposed to put the bottom? where does the bottom go?

    >> we'll go ahead and make this filling, for the spring rolls . we have onions and crawfish tails that have already been sauteed down. we're going to add a little bit of cabbage. we're going to add some shredded carrots, some cilantro, a little salt, a little pepper. and you're going to toss all this together.

    >> that's the filling?

    >> that's the filling. these are great, you can makes they a day ahead, roll them, freeze them.

    >> you were saying you're going to teach us how to actually do this.

    >> that's right.

    >> we're ready.

    >> we're going to make one of these. this is an egg roll .

    >> egg roll wrapper. you can find these in the produce section in the grocery store.

    >> brush three sides of this.

    >> three sides.

    >> i already --

    >> you're all right. you're all right.

    >> take some of the filling here. and you're going to put a little filling --

    >> right in the middle.

    >> right in the one edge, in the center here, okay.

    >> and then some of this?

    >> no. go on the side. you get your filling in there. you're going to put the sides up, right? and after you do this a couple of times it goes really quick.

    >> what about this?

    >> roll it right up.

    >> good.

    >> yeah.

    >> you go like this.

    >> after that, you go ahead and you freeze them, do it the next day or go ahead and deep fry them in some vegetable oil. we have some already made here.

    >> what is the dipping sauce ?

    >> that's a chili garlic dipping sauce and serving it with a roasted corn relish on the side.

    >> asiany. i love it.

    >> come on back here.

    >> i didn't want to leave my egg roll .

    >> we got a great to go drink. it is a who dat lemonade. we'll make this with a little bit of bourbon, simple syrup, okay. and then we have got some lemon juice and triple sec .

    >> wow.

    >> and give it a little shake. already have some --

    >> cheers.

    >> a little soda water.

    >> the crew, these shoes that were made especially by them, they are gorgeous. they throw these like they throw coconuts.

    >> correct.

    >> off the --

    >> they all make their own.

    >> we have corn fritters .

    >> also some corn fritters with a creole mustard dipping sauce .

    >> i can't.

    >> and one of my favorite ones in the world, banana foster cupcakes.

    >> i love that i have something in each hand. i don't know what to do.

    >> hats off to renans. thank you for coming. happy mardi

TODAY recipes
updated 3/3/2014 4:33:17 PM ET 2014-03-03T21:33:17

Recipe: Roasted corn relish

  • 3 ears corn in the husk, each 7 to 9 inches long
  • Water
  • 1 large fresh jalapeño pepper, stemmed
  • 1/2 cup red sweet peppers, finely chopped
  • 1/4 cup red onion, finely chopped
  • 1/4 cup green onions, finely sliced
  • 3 tablespoons fresh Italian flat-leaf parsley leaves, chopped
  • 1 tablespoon minced garlic
  • 2 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
  • 1 tablespoon mild-flavored honey, such as clover honey
  • 1 tablespoon fresh lemon juice
  • 1 tablespoon apple cider vinegar
  • 1/2 teaspoon kosher salt
  • 1/4 teaspoon black pepper, freshly ground

Preheat the oven to 350 degrees. Soak the ears of corn in the husks in a large pan of water for 30 minutes. Drain. Bake on a rimmed baking sheet for 35 minutes. Let corn cool, then strip off the husks and silk, and cut the kernels from the ears. You should have about 2 cups of kernels.

While the corn bakes, prepare the jalapeño pepper. Preheat the broiler. Broil the jalapeño, about 5 inches from the heat source, until the flesh is tender but still plump, and the skin blisters and turns very dark brown to black all over, about 9 minutes. Turn occasionally with tongs. If in doubt, under roast so the flesh is not overcooked.

Place the jalapeño in a small heat-proof bowl and cover bowl with plastic to let the jalapeño steam while it cools for 10 minutes. Peel the jalapeño and mince enough to have 1 1/2 tablespoons minced flesh.

In a large mixing bowl, combine the jalapeño and roasted corn kernels with the remaining corn relish ingredients, mixing well. Cover and refrigerate at least two hours or overnight before serving. The relish should be served chilled.

Serving Size

Serves 6

Recipe: Chile-garlic sauce

  • 1/2 cup rice vinegar
  • 3 tablespoons rice vinegar
  • 1/4 cup mild-flavored honey, such as clover honey
  • 2 1/2 tablespoon minced garlic
  • 2 1/2 tablespoons soy sauce
  • 1 tablespoon vegetable oil
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons vegetable oil
  • 2 teaspoons green onions (green parts only), thinly sliced
  • 1/2 teaspoon crushed red pepper

Thoroughly combine all of the ingredients in a small mixing bowl. The sauce will have a thin consistency. Cover and refrigerate until the flavors marry, at least 3 hours or overnight. Serve chilled.

Recipe: Cajun Andouille corn fritters with creole honey mustard

  • For the fritters:
  • 1 pound Andouille sausage
  • 1/4 cup all-purpose flour
  • 10 ounces corn flour
  • 1/4 cup sugar
  • 1/4 cup cornmeal
  • 1 tablespoon dry mustard
  • 1/4 teaspoon cayenne
  • 1/3 tablespoon onion powder
  • 1/3 tablespoon garlic powder
  • 1 1/2 tablespoons cane vinegar
  • 2 21/2 dashes Tabasco hot sauce
  • 2 1/4 teaspoons salt
  • 1/4 teaspoon baking soda
  • 3/4 teaspoon baking powder
  • 2 eggs
  • 1 1/2 cups buttermilk
  • 1 bunch green onions, chopped
  • Canola oil for frying
  • For the creole honey mustard:
  • 3 tablespoons creole mustard
  • 1/2 cup mayonnaise
  • 2 1/2 teaspoons lemon juice
  • 3 tablespoons honey
  • 3 pinches sea salt

Heat canola oil in a deep fryer to 250 degrees, or heat 1 1/2 to 2 inches of oil in a 5-quart Dutch oven over medium-high heat to 350 degrees. Dice the Andouille sausage into small pieces. Mix all dry ingredients together in one bowl, and all wet ingredients into another bowl. Mix wet ingredients into dry and then mix in the sausage and chopped green onions. Spoon sausage mixture into hot oil and fry until golden brown and crispy, about 2-3 minutes. Remove with a slotted spoon and drain on paper towels. Repeat process until all batter is fried, and serve while warm with Creole Honey Mustard.

For the honey mustard:

Combine all ingredients thoroughly and serve with warm the fritters.

Recipe: Spring rolls

  • 1 teaspoon vegetable oil
  • 1 cup onions, finely chopped
  • 8 ounces crawfish tails, peeled
  • 1 teaspoon minced garlic
  • 1 tablespoon soy sauce
  • .5 teaspoon kosher salt, plus more to taste
  • .5 teaspoon black pepper, plus more to taste
  • 3 cups napa cabbage, finely shredded
  • 1 cup carrots, peeled and coarsely shredded
  • 1 1/2 tablespoons fresh cilantro leaves, minced
  • 1 egg white
  • 12 egg-roll wrappers, 6 3/4 inches square
  • Oil for frying
  • 6 ounces mixed baby-lettuce greens

For the filling, in a heavy 10-inch skillet, heat 1 teaspoon oil over medium heat until hot, 30 to 40 seconds. Add the onions and cook until soft, about four minutes, stirring occasionally. Add the crawfish and garlic and cook for three minutes, stirring occasionally. Stir in the soy sauce, 1/4 teaspoon kosher salt, and 1/4 teaspoon pepper and continue cooking about one minute more. Remove from heat. Transfer the mixture to a shallow bowl or plate and refrigerate until cool, about 10 minutes. Add to the cooled mixture the cabbage, carrots and cilantro, mixing well. Season with more kosher salt and pepper if needed.

Line a small cookie sheet with parchment paper. The cookie sheet should be large enough to hold 12 spring rolls with a little room to spare. Beat the egg white in a small bowl until frothy. Place one of the egg-roll wrappers on a work surface. Using a pastry brush, brush the side of the wrapper farthest from you with a 1-inch swath of egg white. Likewise, brush a swath of egg white on the right and left sides of the wrapper. Place 3 tablespoons of filling in a log shape along the wrapper's edge closest to you, keeping the filling within the border formed by the egg white. Fold the side nearest to you over the filling and tuck the edge under the filling. Then fold over the left and right sides of the wrapper, using the edge of the filling as the crease point for the fold.

Brush more egg white on the right and left sides of the wrapper that are folded over and finish snugly rolling up the spring roll. Gently press all the seams to make sure the filling is completely sealed inside the wrapper. You should end with a spring roll that is about 5 inches long and 1 1/4 inches in diameter. Place the finished spring roll, seam up, on the prepared cookie sheet. Repeat this procedure to form 11 more spring rolls.

Heat the oil in a deep fryer to 350 degrees, or heat 2 1/2 inches of oil in a deep 5-quart Dutch oven to 350 degrees. While the oil is heating, mound lettuce greens in the center of each of six chilled dinner plates. Set aside the plates momentarily.

Deep-fry the spring rolls in small batches in the hot oil until golden brown on both sides, about three minutes total, turning at least once. Drain briefly on absorbent paper and serve immediately. If necessary, keep the finished rolls in a 200 degrees oven while frying the remaining ones.

Chef's Note:If making the spring rolls for freezing, freeze them in a single layer on a small cookie sheet until firm, then  transfer them to a self-sealing plastic freezer bag and keep frozen until ready to fry. Do not thaw before frying. The spring rolls will keep frozen for up to one month.

To assemble:

For each serving, cut two spring rolls in half on the bias. Arrange the four halves on top of the mound of lettuce greens so the cut ends of the halves face each other to form an X. Spoon 2 tablespoons of the chilled chile-garlic sauce around the lettuce and scatter a portion, about 3/4 cup, of the corn relish over all, with most of the corn mounded in the very center of the plate. Serve hot.  

Recipe: Who dat lemonade

  • 2 ounces simple syrup
  • 1 ounce lemon juice, fresh squeezed
  • 1 1/2 ounces bourbon
  • 1 ounce Triple Sec
  • 1 splash soda water
  • 1 lemon wedge

Combine all ingredients, and serve over ice with a lemon wedge for garnish.

Recipe: Bananas foster mini cupcakes

  • For cupcakes:
  • 1 1/2 cups ripe banana
  • 1 cup sugar
  • 1 cup flour
  • 1 teaspoon cinnamon
  • 3/4 cup vegetable oil
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1 teaspoon baking soda
  • 2 eggs
  • For icing:
  • 1 cup powdered sugar
  • 1/4 cup light brown sugar
  • 1/2 cup butter, room temperature
  • 1/4 teaspoon imitation rum extract
  • 1/16 teaspoon imitation banana extract

For the cupcakes:

Measure and combine flour, baking soda, salt and cinnamon. In a separate bowl, combine sugar and banana. Mash until smooth. Add eggs and vegetable oil to banana mixture then mix until smooth. Stir flour mixture into egg and banana mixture until combined. Line mini muffin pan with paper baking cups and fill with batter until nearly full. Bake at 300 degrees for 12-15 minutes. When cupcakes cool, top them with fosters butter cream icing. Cupcakes can be finished with chopped banana chips or sprinkles.

For the icing:

Using an electric mixer and whisk attachment, combine room temperate butter, light brown sugar and powdered sugar. Whip mixture on medium high speed until light and airy about 5 minutes.

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