Need help with Cajun-Themed/Mardi Gras Party (Yes, I know it's the wrong time of year)!
A good friend is turning 40, and his favorite place on earth is/was New Orleans, and so, we are throwing him a suprise Mardi-Gras party.
I need menu help! It will be an evening party, mostly for cocktails (i.e. not dinner), but I will be providing a buffet for grazing/snacking so people have something to sop up the hurricanes with!
Here's what I'm thinking:
Grilled sausages and shrimp
I'd also like to serve some kind of finger food/hors d'oeuvres that do not need to be served hot. Usually I'd serve something like a crudite platter with dip and a cheese plate, but those don't seem particularly "cajun" in theme.
Also, what (if anything) should I serve with the sausages and bbq shrimp?
One caveat: my oven doesn't work, so nothing baked!
New Orleanians love artichokes. How about several stuffed artichokes? Here's a recipe that's mostly from Marcelle Bienvenu's "Who's Your Mama, Are You Catholic, and Can You Make a Roux?":
For 2 large artichokes, combine 1 cup bread crumbs, 1/2 cup grated Romano or Parmesan cheese, 3 chopped green onions, 1/3 finely chopped ham, shrimp or crab, 1 clove minced garlic, 3 tsp. olive oil, juice of 1/2 lemon; salt, pepper and oregano. Trim the tips of the artichoke leaves and stuff the mixture down into each leaf. Place in Dutch oven with about 2" of water and add a little more salt, pepper and oregano to the water. Cover and simmer for one hour or until leaves pull away easily. Check periodically to make sure water hasn't evaporated away, and add more if needed.
You can serve these at room temperature.
Maybe try browsing around here:
Along with cold shrimp, maybe fresh oysters with a bar of accompaniments (pricy though)? Shooters of gumbo? Small bites of savory cheesecake (I know you said no baking, but this could be made ahead - maybe you could borrow a friend's oven a day before?). Maybe grill some corn in the husk with butter and spices (cayenne, etc for the cajun element) and then cut it into small rounds for an appetizer portion? Crab cakes or wedges of crab cake?