Galveston cookbook creators and friends put together a Mardi Gras spread with island flair
When Galveston Island comes alive during Mardi Gras season with parades, balls and floats, many locals join in the revelry with their own intimate parties for family and friends.
Coast Monthly asked islanders Martha Justice and Suzanne Little to plan a Mardi Gras seafood buffet. It was a collaborative effort by a gathering of friends with a special Galveston-inspired flair.
They chose the festive menu from the recently released Galveston cookbook “Coastal Collection” featuring favorite recipes from members of the Women’s Association of the Galveston Country Club.
Justice and Little called in cookbook participants Cathy Abernethy, Carolyn Gaido and Barbara Zimmerman to round out the Mardi Gras party menu with their own special recipes. They set the scene with favorite china, silver and crystal, along with a beautiful Mardi Gras party arrangement created by Karen Milasincic, owner of Galveston’s Knapp Flower Shop.
Justice and Little met for the first time walking out of the Galveston Country Club when Little mentioned she would love to create a cookbook. Justice, who had self-published several cookbooks of her own, instantly agreed to help. Little, whose family owns the historic island gift shop Murdochs, chaired the cookbook project. They approached members of the Women’s Association of the Galveston Country Club, who contributed favorite recipes. Little created pages throughout the book with facts and photos of Galveston’s finest landmarks. Justice served as co-chair, designing and styling all 160 recipe pages to be readable and easy to follow.
1 (8-ounce) package cream cheese with chives
1 teaspoon curry powder
1⁄3 cup crumbled bacon (not bits in the jars)
24 medium mushrooms, stems removed
Mix cream cheese, curry powder and crumbled bacon in a bowl. Stuff mushroom caps with mixture.
Place on a baking sheet sprayed with cooking spray and bake 10-15 minutes at 350 F. Serve immediately.
It can be made the morning of serving. Refrigerate until 30 minutes before baking. Bake when at room temperature.
– Cathy Abernethy
Mardi Gras Salad
For the salad:
1½ cups chopped baby romaine
1½ cups chopped fresh spinach
1 cup chopped radicchio
1½ cups arugula or curly endive
Red cherry and yellow tomatoes, cut in half
Goat or feta cheese crumbles
Toasted chopped pecans
For the dressing:
½ cup Wesson oil
½ cup olive oil
½ cup red wine vinegar
1 tablespoon balsamic vinegar
Juice of half a lemon
1 teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon ground pepper
1½ teaspoons Dijon mustard
2-3 tablespoons sugar
2 tablespoons honey
Place dressing ingredients in jar. Shake well. Allow to come to room temperature before using. Makes 1 cup.
Layer lettuces. Toss lightly with dressing. Top with a little more dressing. Top with tomatoes, cucumbers, choice of cheese and toasted pecans. Add chopped, crisp bacon if desired.
“Everything’s better with bacon.” – Suzanne Little
35 to 50 oysters, drained on paper towel
½ cup Italian breadcrumbs
½ teaspoon garlic powder
¼ teaspoon of red pepper flakes or to taste
½ teaspoon Italian seasoning or ½ teaspoon oregano and basil, combined
½ teaspoon Tony Chachere’s original seasoning
½ teaspoon pepper
Salt, to taste
Mix together Parmesan, parsley flakes and remaining spices and seasoning. Spray a round quiche dish with cooking spray or olive oil.
Dredge oysters in dry mixture and arrange in quiche dish. Drizzle olive oil on top. Crush 8 or 10 crackers and sprinkle on top. You can add a little more Tony Chachere’s if you want. Bake in oven at 375 F for 12 minutes. Broil for 2-5 minutes. Do not turn oysters.
– Carolyn T. Gaido
½ cup butter
6 medium-large shrimp, cleaned and deveined
Salt and pepper
1 (8-ounce) snapper fillet per person
½ cup milk
½ cup flour
Melt butter in skillet. Add shrimp; sauté 2 minutes or until no longer pink. Set aside.
In same skillet, add a little more butter, if needed. Salt and pepper fillets, dip in milk, then in flour. Sauté fish 3-4 minutes on each side until golden brown. Remove from skillet, set aside. Wipe out skillet to make sauce.
½ cup white wine
1 stick butter
3 tablespoons lemon juice
In same skillet, heat wine for 2-3 minutes reducing by half. With a whisk, add cubes of butter slowly over low heat. Cook 5 minutes. Add lemon juice, Worcestershire and cook 1 minute.
Pour sauce over fillets topped with shrimp. You can prepare sauce 1 hour in advance. Gently reheat.
– Suzanne Little
Easy Crab Au Gratin
2 tablespoons butter
1 tablespoons cornstarch
1 cup half-and-half
1 egg yolk, beaten
1 cup shredded American cheese, divided
½ cup finely shredded cheddar cheese
¼ teaspoon (or a pinch) of cayenne, to taste
¼ teaspoon Creole seasoning
½ teaspoon garlic powder
Salt to taste
2 cups fresh lump crabmeat
¼ cup Parmesan cheese
2 tablespoons sliced green onion tops
Melt butter. Mix cornstarch with half-and-half and beaten egg yolk; stir into butter. Cook and stir slowly until thick. Add cayenne, Creole seasoning and garlic powder. Add ½ cup of the American cheese and ½ cup cheddar cheese and stir until cheese is melted. Salt to taste. Carefully fold in lump crabmeat.
Spoon into four individual ramekins or baking shells. Mix Parmesan and remaining ½ cup American cheese; sprinkle over each crab dish.
Bake at 350 F 15-20 minutes until cheese is melted. Top with breadcrumbs and broil a few minutes until lightly browned. Garnish with sliced green onion tops. Serves 4.
– Martha Justice
6 Hershey bars with almonds
One pint whipping cream
Whip cream until thick. Melt Hershey bars in microwave bowl and cool slightly. Fold in whipped cream. Put in pretty stemmed glasses and chill. Top with more whipped cream and chocolate shavings, if desired. Serves 4-6.
– Barbara Zimmerman
A committee of five women — Cathy Abernethy, Kalondia Casey, Jackie Fluke, Billie Lindamood and Linda Penney — spent hours compiling and proofing recipes for the cookbook “Coastal Collection.” This popular Galveston keepsake was released last fall to rave reviews. Best of all, partial proceeds will support the Women’s Association of the Galveston Country Club’s charitable endeavors and island programs, including the Galveston Island Humane Society and Women’s Resource and Crisis Center.
The first printing of the cookbook almost sold out. Reprint is scheduled for late January and soon will be available around Galveston at Tina’s on The Strand, Tom’s Thumb Nursery and Landscaping, The Sunflower Bakery & Cafe, Tola Market, Murdochs and Galveston Country Club. There may be a limited number of books still at Murdochs, 2215 Seawall Blvd.