Post Mardi Gras Kitchen Refresh

Photo courtesy Wikimedia Commons user Bart Everson

Photo courtesy Wikimedia Commons user Bart Everson

If, as they say, the definition of insanity is repeating the same action and expecting a different result then I am the Mad Hatter and I throw the same tea party every year. I begin every new year by kicking carbs and hitting the gym so I can look my best in order to compete with teenagers for beads during Carnival. My health kick is motivated purely by vanity and immaturity. By the Thursday before Mardi Gras, when the Krewe of Muses lines up on Jefferson Avenue just 10 feet from my house in Uptown New Orleans, I have either met my goal and I'm ready to party or I have not met my goal and I am ready to give up and just score beads with brute force.

Either way, that's the night I hit the house party buffet that runs the length of the Uptown parade route. On the menu: dark gumbos, fried chicken galore, all manner of king cakes, beaucoup wine, and muchas tacky daiquiris sipped from Styrofoam cups. By the time I start Mardi Gras morning with pickled-vegetable-and-vodka-heavy-Bloody Marys and a slice of sticky king cake my blood will be moving as sludge through my veins.

Ash Wednesday ushers in a clean phase. In all honestly, thusly poisoned, I look forward to this annual cleanup almost as much as I enjoy the Poison Fest that necessitates it. Judging by the crowds gravitating toward light and fresh fare I have plenty of company. With this in mind I turned to our friend Jonathan Taube, a private chef affiliated with KitchenAid, one of our cherished kitchen sponsors, for a couple of fresh, healthy meat-free recipes to share with those of you who are honoring Lent or simply can't take it anymore and need something fresh and green. Enjoy .

Recipes Courtesy of KitchenAid

Peaches and Green Juice Blend

Makes 2 servings

  • 1 cup ice
  • 1 cup packed torn fresh spinach
  • 1 cup fresh or frozen peach slices
  • 1 cup vanilla almond milk
  • 2 teaspoons honey

Place ice, spinach, peaches, almond milk and honey in the carafe of a blender, preferably the KitchenAid® Torrent™. Cover and blend on Icy Drinks/Smoothies setting. Pour into two glasses; serve immediately.

Lemon-Basil Smoothie

Makes 4 servings

  • 10 ice cubes
  • 1 1/2 cups apple juice
  • 2 cups (1 pint) strawberries, cleaned and hulled
  • 4 medium ripe kiwis, skins removed
  • 3 tablespoons honey
  • 1/4 cup mascarpone (optional)
  • 1 cup plain yogurt
  • 1 tablespoon vanilla bean paste or vanilla extract

 Place all ingredients in the in the carafe of a blender, preferably the KitchenAid® Torrent™. Blend on the Milkshake setting. Pour mixture into glasses and serve.