One of America’s Favorites – Coleslaw

March 20, 2017 at 6:27 AM | Posted in One of America's Favorites | Leave a comment
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Coleslaw (also known as cole slaw or simply slaw) is a salad consisting primarily of finely shredded raw cabbage and dressed most commonly with a vinaigrette salad dressing. Prepared in this manner, coleslaw can be pickled for up to four weeks if it is stored in an airtight container. Another way to make coleslaw is to use foods that already contain vinaigrette: mayonnaise, for example, is commonly used.

Coleslaw is frequently served as a side dish in traditional meals in many countries, and can be seen in major fast food chains as well.

 

 

Coleslaw made with mayonnaise

There are many variations of the recipe, which include the addition of other ingredients such as red cabbage, pepper, shredded carrots, onion, grated cheese, pineapple, or apple, mixed with a salad dressing such as mayonnaise or cream. A variety of seasonings, such as celery seed, may be added. The cabbage may come in finely minced pieces, shredded strips, or small squares. Other slaw variants include broccoli slaw, which uses shredded raw broccoli in place of the cabbage. Cream, sour cream, or buttermilk are also popular additions. Buttermilk coleslaw is most commonly found in the southern United States.

 
In the United States, coleslaw often contains buttermilk, mayonnaise or mayonnaise substitutes, and carrot, although many regional variations exist, and recipes incorporating prepared mustard or vinegar without the dairy and mayonnaise are also common. Barbecue slaw, also known as red slaw, is made using ketchup and vinegar rather than mayonnaise. It is an essential part of “Lexington style” North Carolina barbecue.

 
Coleslaw is generally eaten as a side dish with foods such as fried chicken and barbecued meats and may be accompanied by French fries or potato salad as another side dish. It also may be used as a sandwich ingredient, being placed on barbecue sandwiches, hamburgers, and hot dogs along with chili and hot mustard. A vinegar-based coleslaw is the signature ingredient to a Primanti Brothers sandwich. Coleslaw also is used on a variant of the Reuben sandwich, with coleslaw substituting for the sauerkraut; the sandwich is commonly called a Rachel to differentiate it from the Reuben.

 
According to The Joy of Cooking (1997), raw cabbage is the only entirely consistent ingredient in coleslaw; the type of cabbage, dressing, and added ingredients vary widely. Vinaigrette, mayonnaise, and sour cream based dressings are all listed; bacon, carrots, bell peppers, pineapple, pickles, onions, and herbs are specifically mentioned as possible added ingredients.

 

One of America’s Favorites – Loco Moco

March 13, 2017 at 5:22 AM | Posted in One of America's Favorites | Leave a comment
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A loco moco plate lunch, with soba noodles (left) and macaroni salad (right)

Loco moco is a meal in the contemporary cuisine of Hawaii. There are many variations, but the traditional loco moco consists of white rice, topped with a hamburger patty, a fried egg, and brown gravy. Variations may include chili, bacon, ham, Spam, kalua pork, linguiça, teriyaki beef, teriyaki chicken, mahi-mahi, shrimp, oysters, and other meats. Loco Moco is also the name of a Hawaiian-based restaurant chain that serves Hawaiian rice bowl dishes.

 

 

 

 

Hamburger loco moco at Aqua Cafe, Honolulu

The dish was reportedly created at the Lincoln Grill restaurants in Hilo, Hawaii, in 1949 by its proprietors, Richard Inouye and his wife Nancy, at the request of teenagers from the Lincoln Wreckers Sports club seeking something that differed from a sandwich, was inexpensive yet quickly prepared and served. They asked Nancy to put some rice in a bowl, a hamburger patty over the rice and then topped with brown gravy. The egg came later. The teenagers named the dish Loco Moco after one of their members, George Okimoto, whose nickname was “Crazy”. George Takahashi, who was studying Spanish at Hilo High School, suggested using Loco, which is Spanish for crazy. They tacked on “moco” which “rhymed with loco and sounded good”. However, to Spanish-speakers, this may sound odd, considering that moco means “booger” in Spanish.

 

 
The dish is widely popular in Hawaii and now on the menu at many Hawaiian restaurants in the mainland United States. In keeping with the standards of Japanese cuisine, rice is used as a staple starch, finished off with the hamburger, gravy, and fried eggs to create a dish that does not require the preparation time of bento. Loco moco can be found in various forms on many Pacific islands from Hawaii to Samoa to Guam and Saipan, and is also popular in Japan.

Fish loco moco

This dish was featured on the “Taste of Hawai’i” episode of Girl Meets Hawai’i, a Travel Channel show hosted by Samantha Brown. The episode features the dish being served at the popular restaurant, Hawaiian Style Cafe, in Waimea together with the plate lunch, another Hawaiian specialty dish.

The loco moco was also featured on a Honolulu-based episode of the Travel Channel show Man v. Food (this episode aired in the show’s second season). The host, Adam Richman, tried this dish at the Hukilau Café, located in nearby Laie. Richman also tried an off-the-menu loco moco at a San Francisco eatery called Namu Gaji on his 2014 show, Man Finds Food.

 

One of America’s Favorites – Eggo Waffles

March 6, 2017 at 6:39 AM | Posted in One of America's Favorites | 3 Comments
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Two Eggo toaster waffles with butter and syrup

Two Eggo toaster waffles with butter and syrup

Eggo is a brand of frozen waffles in the United States, Canada and Mexico, which is owned by the Kellogg Company. Several varieties are available, including homestyle, miniature, blueberry, strawberry, vanilla bliss, brown sugar cinnamon, buttermilk, and chocolate chip.

Other than waffles, Eggo also produces a selection of pancakes, French toast, and egg and cheese breakfast sandwiches, of which varieties include ham or sausage.

By mid-June 2009, Eggo had a 73% share of the frozen waffle market in the United States.

 

 
Eggo waffles were invented in San Jose, California, by three brothers, Tony, Sam, and Frank Dorsa. In 1953, the Dorsa brothers introduced Eggo frozen waffles to supermarkets throughout the United States. Frozen waffles do not require a waffle iron to prepare.

When the Dorsas first introduced the product it was called “Froffles”, a portmanteau of frozen waffles. However people started referring to them as “eggos” due to their eggy taste. The name caught on and the brothers began using the moniker in marketing. Eventually the name became synonymous with the product and, in 1955, the Dorsa brothers officially changed the name to “Eggo”.

Along with frozen waffles, the Dorsa brothers also produced Eggo potato chips (and Golden Bear potato chips) and Eggo syrup. All of the products were produced at a sprawling plant and factory on Eggo Way in San Jose, CA, near the intersection of US101 and East Julian Street. The Dorsas were very involved in local community activities and donated extensively to school and community projects. For Halloween, instead of candy, Tony Dorsa would give out bags of Eggo potato chips to trick-or-treaters.

In 1968, as a means of diversification, the Kellogg Company purchased Eggo. Their advertising slogan—”L’eggo my Eggo”—is well known through their television commercials.

Kellogg’s produced an Eggo brand breakfast cereal that was shaped to have the likeness of waffles. Flavors include Maple syrup and cinnamon toast.

In 2016, the Netflix series Stranger Things featured Eggo waffles as a key story theme bringing the brand to global attention beyond the countries where the brand is sold. In the show, they were the favorite food of the character Eleven.

 

One of America’s Favorites – Beignet

February 27, 2017 at 6:16 AM | Posted in One of America's Favorites | Leave a comment
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Potato beignet

Potato beignet

 

Beignet (English pronunciation: /bɛnˈjeɪ/; French: [bɛɲɛ], literally bump), synonymous with the English “fritter”, is the French term for a pastry made from deep-fried choux pastry. Beignets may also be made from other types of dough, including yeast dough.

 

 

 

The tradition of deep-frying fruits for a side dish dates to the time of Ancient Rome, while the tradition of beignets in Europe is speculated to have originated with a heavy influence of Islamic culinary tradition. The term beignet can be applied to two varieties, depending on the type of pastry. The French-style beignet in the United States, has the specific meaning of deep-fried choux pastry. Beignets can also be made with yeast pastry, which might be called boules de Berlin in French, referring to Berliner doughnuts which have a spherical shape (in other words, they do not have the typical doughnut hole) filled with fruit or jam.

In Corsica, beignets made with chestnut flour (Beignets de farine de châtaigne) are known as fritelli.

Donuts (doughnuts) in Quebec and elsewhere in Canada are referred to as both Beigne and Beignet in French.

 

Beignets from Café du Monde in New Orleans

Beignets from Café du Monde in New Orleans

Beignets are commonly known in New Orleans as a breakfast served with powdered sugar on top. They are traditionally prepared right before consumption to be eaten fresh and hot. Variations of fried dough can be found across cuisines internationally; however, the origin of the term beignet is specifically French. In the United States, beignets have been popular within New Orleans Creole cuisine and are customarily served as a dessert or in some sweet variation. They were brought to New Orleans in the 18th century by French colonists, from “the old mother country”, and became a large part of home-style Creole cooking, variations often including banana or plantain – popular fruits in the port city. Today, Café du Monde is a popular New Orleans food destination specializing in beignets with powdered sugar, coffee with chicory, and café au lait. Beignets were declared the official state doughnut of Louisiana in 1986.

 
Preparation
Ingredients used to prepare beignets traditionally include:

* lukewarm water
* granulated sugar
* evaporated milk
* bread flour
* shortening
* oil or lard, for deep-frying
* confectioners’ sugar

 

One of America’s Favorites – Italian Sandwich

February 20, 2017 at 6:26 AM | Posted in One of America's Favorites | Leave a comment
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A close-up view of an Italian sandwich

A close-up view of an Italian sandwich

The Italian sandwich, sometimes referred to as the Maine Italian sandwich, is an American submarine sandwich in Italian-American cuisine prepared on a long bread roll or bun with meats, cheese and various vegetables. The ingredients serve to counterbalance one-another, creating an equilibrium of flavors and texture. The Italian sandwich was invented in Portland, Maine, in 1903 by Giovanni Amato, a baker. It is known as a submarine sandwich or a sub in Boston, Massachusetts, and as a spuckie in East Boston.

 
The Italian sandwich is prepared using a long bread roll or bun with meats such as salami, mortadella, capicolla and ham along with provolone or American cheese, tomato, onion, sour pickle, green bell pepper, black olives, olive oil or salad oil, salt and black pepper. Additional ingredients, such as pepperoni, banana pepper, lettuce and mustard, may be added, and the sandwich is often cut in half to make it easier to handle. The flavors and texture of the sandwich are counterbalanced by the ingredients used, creating an equilibrium of flavors, and the fats and acids in the ingredients also serve to counterbalance one another.

 

 

An Italian sandwich

An Italian sandwich

The Italian sandwich was invented in Portland, Maine, by baker Giovanni Amato in 1903. While selling his bread on his street cart, Amato received requests from dockworkers to slice his long bread rolls and add sliced meat, cheese and vegetables to them. Amato later opened a sandwich shop named Amato’s, and today the sandwich continues to be prepared by Amato’s sandwich shops in Portland. The Amato’s version is traditionally prepared using fresh-baked bread, ham, American cheese, slices of tomato, green pepper and sour pickle, black olives and salad oil.

The Italian sandwich is known as a submarine sandwich or a sub in Boston, Massachusetts, and in east Boston it is referred to as a spuckie, which may be named after the spuccadella, an Italian bread roll with a pointed shape. In Philadelphia and South Jersey it is known as a “hoagie” or a “grinder”. It is the first name that has given the designation to “Subway Sandwich Shops” around the world.

 

One of America’s Favorites – Burgoo

February 13, 2017 at 5:56 AM | Posted in One of America's Favorites | Leave a comment
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kentucky-burgoo-served-with-mashed-potatoes

Burgoo is a spicy stew, similar to Irish or Mulligan stew, often served with cornbread or corn muffins. It is often prepared communally as a social gathering. It is popular as the basis for civic fund-raisers in the American Midwest and South.

 

 

 
Traditional burgoo was made using whatever meats and vegetables were available—typically, venison, squirrel, opossum, raccoon or game birds, and was often associated with autumn and the harvest season. Today, local barbecue restaurants use a specific meat in their recipes, usually pork, chicken, or mutton, which, along with the spices used, creates a flavor unique to each restaurant.

A typical burgoo is a combination of meats: pork, chicken, mutton or beef, often hickory-smoked, but other meats are seen occasionally; and vegetables, such as lima beans, corn, okra, tomatoes, cabbage and potatoes. Typically, since burgoo is a slow-cooked dish, the starch from the added vegetables results in thickening of the stew. However, a thickening agent, such as cornmeal, ground beans, whole wheat, or potato starch can be used when cooked in a non-traditional way. In addition, soup bones can be added for taste and thickening.

The ingredients are combined in order of cooking time required, with meat first, vegetables next, and thickening agents as necessary. A good burgoo is said to be able to have a spoon stand up in it. Cider vinegar, hot sauce, Worcestershire sauce, or chili powder are common condiments.
Burgoo making in Kentucky often serves as a social event, in which each attendee brings one or more ingredients. In Kentucky and surrounding states such as Indiana, burgoo is often used for fund-raising for schools. This kind of event has been claimed to have been invented by the family of Ollie Beard, a former Major League Baseball player.

In Brighton, Illinois, a local traditional burgoo is prepared and served annually at the village’s summer festival, the Betsy Ann Picnic. Franklin, Illinois identifies as the Burgoo Capital of the World;[citation needed] they have an annual burgoo cookout over July 3 and July 4. Burgoo events are also held in Cass County, Illinois in the towns of Chandlerville and Arenzville. Arenzville claims to be the home of the world’s best burgoo.

Multiple cities have claimed to be the burgoo capital of the world such as Franklin, Illinois, Lawrenceburg, Kentucky, and Owensboro, Kentucky.

 

One of America’s Favorites – Gumbo

February 6, 2017 at 6:17 AM | Posted in One of America's Favorites | Leave a comment
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A bowl of shrimp, chicken and bacon gumbo, served over rice

A bowl of shrimp, chicken and bacon gumbo, served over rice

Gumbo is a stew that originated in southern Louisiana during the 18th century. It consists primarily of a strongly-flavored stock, meat or shellfish, a thickener, and what Louisianians call the “Holy Trinity” of vegetables, namely celery, bell peppers, and onions. Gumbo is often categorized by the type of thickener used, the vegetable okra, the Choctaw spice filé powder (dried and ground sassafras leaves), or roux, the French base made of flour and fat. The dish likely derived its name from either a word from a Bantu language for okra (ki ngombo) or the Choctaw word for filé (kombo).

Several different varieties exist. Creole gumbo generally contains shellfish, tomatoes, and a dark roux, file, or both. Cajun gumbo is generally based on a dark roux and is made with shellfish or fowl. Sausage or ham is often added to gumbos of either variety. After the base is prepared, vegetables are cooked down, and then meat is added. The dish simmers for a minimum of three hours, with shellfish and some spices added near the end. If desired, filé powder is added after the pot is removed from heat. Gumbo is traditionally served over rice. A third, lesser-known variety, the meatless gumbo z’herbes, is essentially a gumbo of slow-cooked greens sometimes thickened with roux, with rice served on the side.

The dish combines ingredients and culinary practices of several cultures, including French, Spanish, German, West African, and Choctaw. Gumbo may have been based on traditional West African or native dishes, or may be a derivation of the French dish bouillabaisse. It was first described in 1802, and was listed in various cookbooks in the latter half of the 19th century. The dish gained more widespread popularity in the 1970s, after the United States Senate cafeteria added it to the menu in honor of Louisiana Senator Allen Ellender. The popularity of chef Paul Prudhomme in the 1980s spurred further interest in gumbo. The dish is the official cuisine of the state of Louisiana.
Gumbo is a heavily seasoned soup or stew that combines several varieties of meat or seafood with a sauce or gravy. Any combination of meat or seafood can be used. Meat-based gumbo may consist of chicken, duck, squirrel, or rabbit, with oysters occasionally added. Seafood-based gumbo generally has shrimp, crabmeat, and sometimes oysters. Andouille sausage is often added to both meat and seafood gumbos to provide “piquancy, substance, and an additional layer of flavor” to the dish. With the exception of sausage and ham, beef and pork are almost never used. Most varieties of gumbo are seasoned with onions, parsley, bell pepper, and celery. Tomatoes are sometimes used in seafood gumbo, but traditionally few other vegetables are included.

 

Thickeners
Gumbo broth or gravy derives from three primary thickeners: okra, filé powder, and roux. Traditionally, okra and filé powder are not used in the same dish, although this rule is sometimes broken. Roux can be used alone or in conjunction with either of the other thickeners.

Okra is more often used as a thickener in seafood gumbos than those with meat. This mucilaginous vegetable is

Okra pods

Okra pods

usually cooked first, and other ingredients added once the desired consistency is reached. According to The Oxford Companion to Food, okra-based gumbos are becoming less popular, as changing tastes have made the okra texture less palatable.

Ground sassafras leaf, known as filé, is generally not added to the gravy until after the vegetables and meats or seafood have finished cooking and have been removed from the heat source. If added during the boiling process, filé makes the gumbo too ropey; when added at the end, the gumbo gains a slightly stringy texture.

Roux has become the most popular thickener, made from cooking together a roughly equal proportion of flour and fat (traditionally hog lard, although increasingly made with butter since the mid-20th century. The length of cooking time determines the final flavor and texture, since the longer the roux is cooked before being added to the gumbo, the darker it becomes and the less thickening power it retains. A very dark roux provides a much thinner sauce with a more intense flavor than a light roux.
Cajun vs. Creole gumbo

Creole seafood gumbo

Creole seafood gumbo

Gumbo is typically divided into two varieties. Combinations traditionally common in New Orleans and southeastern Louisiana are known as “Creole” after the Louisiana Creole people, descendants of French and Spanish settlers, who lived in those areas. “Cajun” combinations were common in southwestern Louisiana, which was populated primarily by Cajuns, descendants of the French-speaking settlers expelled from Acadia (located within the modern-day Canadian provinces of Quebec, Nova Scotia, New Brunswick and Prince Edward Island) in the mid-18th century.

Gumbo is usually identified by its dark roux, cooked until it is a color “a few shades from burning”. The roux is used with okra or filé powder. Seafood is popular in gumbo the closer to the water the people are, but the southwestern areas of Louisiana often use fowl, such as chicken or duck, and sausage.[8][9] The fowl is generally not deboned, and onions, celery, and bell pepper are not strained out of the dish. Cajun gumbo is usually topped with parsley and green onions.

Creole gumbo most often consists of seafood, tomatoes, and a thickener. Before the latter half of the 20th century, celery was rarely used in Creole gumbo.
Gumbo is cooked for a minimum of three hours, and often simmers all day. Meat (but not seafood) is often browned beforehand and removed from the heat. Okra and roux are cooked before other vegetables and seafood. Okra is removed from heat when it reaches the desired consistency, while roux remains in the pot. Seasoning vegetables are then added to the sauce. When these have turned to mush (more commonly called cooked down), the meat and okra are added to the pot along with water and/or stock, then boiled uncovered until the desired tenderness of the meat is reached. Seasonings, including red, black, and white pepper, bay leaves, thyme, hot sauce, and salt, are added to taste. According to Nobles, “proper seasoning of gumbo is essential, and in Louisiana adding just the right zing is considered an art”. Because seafood cooks fairly quickly, it is not added to the pot until the end of the process. As the gumbo finishes cooking, green onions and parsley are sometimes sprinkled on it. When desired, filé powder is added last.

Creole and Cajun gumbos are served over hot rice, which helps the dish to feed a larger number of people. Gumbo

Cajun seafood gumbo

Cajun seafood gumbo

z’herbes is served with rice on the side. Gumbo is almost always served directly from the pot on the stove, although in wealthier or fancier homes the dish might be transferred to a tureen on the table. Often, gumbo and bread are the sole courses in a meal, although many Cajun families provide a side dish of potato salad. Occasionally, gumbo is served as part of a larger menu.

Soniat gives examples of the main types of creole gumbos, along with descriptions of family traditions about them.

 

One of America’s Favorites – Buttermilk

January 30, 2017 at 6:33 AM | Posted in One of America's Favorites | 4 Comments
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buttermilk-right-compared-to-fresh-milk-left-the-thicker-buttermilk-leaves-a-more-visible-residue-on-the-glass

Buttermilk right compared to fresh milk left the thicker buttermilk leaves a more visible residue on the glass

Buttermilk refers to a number of dairy drinks. Originally, buttermilk was the liquid left behind after churning butter out of cream. This type of buttermilk is known as traditional buttermilk.

The term buttermilk also refers to a range of fermented milk drinks, common in warm climates (e.g., the Balkans, the Middle East, Turkey, Afghanistan, Pakistan, Nepal, India, Sri Lanka, Nicaragua and the Southern United States) where unrefrigerated fresh milk sours quickly, as well as in colder climates, such as Scandinavia, Ireland, the Netherlands, Germany, Poland, Slovakia, Slovenia, Croatia and the Czech Republic. This fermented dairy product known as cultured buttermilk is produced from cow’s milk and has a characteristically sour taste caused by lactic acid bacteria. This variant is made using one of two species of bacteria—either Lactococcus lactis or Lactobacillus bulgaricus, which creates more tartness.

The tartness of buttermilk is due to acid in the milk. The increased acidity is primarily due to lactic acid produced by lactic acid bacteria while fermenting lactose, the primary sugar in milk. As the bacteria produce lactic acid, the pH of the milk decreases and casein, the primary milk protein, precipitates, causing the curdling or clabbering of milk. This process makes buttermilk thicker than plain milk. While both traditional and cultured buttermilk contain lactic acid, traditional buttermilk tends to be less viscous, whereas cultured buttermilk is more viscous.

Buttermilk can be drunk straight, and it can also be used in cooking. Soda bread is a bread in which the acid in buttermilk reacts with the rising agent, sodium bicarbonate, to produce carbon dioxide which acts as the leavening agent. Buttermilk is also used in marination, especially of chicken and pork, whereby the lactic acid helps to tenderize, retain moisture, and allows added flavors to permeate throughout the meat.

One of America’s Favorites – Pastrami on Rye

January 23, 2017 at 6:46 AM | Posted in One of America's Favorites | Leave a comment
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A pastrami sandwich from Katz's Delicatessen

A pastrami sandwich from Katz’s Delicatessen

Pastrami on rye is a classic sandwich made famous in the Jewish kosher delicatessens of New York City. It was first created in 1888 by Sussman Volk, who served it at his deli on Delancey Street in New York City.

 

 

 

 
Sussman Volk immigrated from Lithuania in the late 1800s. He opened a small butcher shop on New York’s Lower East Side. He befriended another immigrant, this one from Romania, who he allowed to store meat in his large icebox. In exchange for his kindness, the friend gave the recipe for pastrami to Volk, who began to serve it to his customers. It proved so popular that in 1888, Volk opened a delicatessen at 88 Delancey Street, one of the first delis in New York City, where he served the meat on rye bread.

It became a favorite at other delis, served on rye bread and topped with spicy brown mustard. Delis in New York City, like Katz’s Delicatessen, have become known for their Pastrami on rye sandwiches. In her description of the book on Katz’s, Florence Fabricant, the noted food critic for the New York Times, described the volume “as overstuffed as Katz’s pastrami on rye.”

The pastrami on rye sandwich has come to be a symbol of the classic New York Jewish deli, being featured in delis around the world attempting to recreate the ambience of the original New York delis, in cities such as Los Angeles, Buenos Aires, Boca Raton, Florida, and San Diego, California. The classic, which some consider to be New York’s signature sandwich, consists simply of sliced pastrami, placed on rye bread, and topped with spicy brown mustard. It is usually accompanied by a Kosher dill pickle on the side.

 

 

 

Pastrami on rye, served with the classic accoutrements of spicy brown mustard and Kosher dill pickles

Pastrami on rye, served with the classic accoutrements of spicy brown mustard and Kosher dill pickles

Corned beef and pastrami on rye may be prepared using rye bread, pastrami, corned beef, cole slaw, and Russian dressing. Preparation involves placing both meats on a slice of rye bread and topping it with coleslaw. Russian dressing may be added to the top slice of bread.

Pastrami, lettuce, and tomato (PLT) may be prepared using two slices of toasted sourdough bread, mayonnaise, pastrami, lettuce, tomato slices. Preparation involves placing the pastrami on a toasted slice of sourdough bread and topping it with the lettuce and tomato slices. Mayonnaise may be spread on the second slice of sourdough, and placed on top of the sandwich.

 

One of America’s Favorites – Hotdish

January 16, 2017 at 6:32 AM | Posted in One of America's Favorites | Leave a comment
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A tater tot hotdish

A tater tot hotdish

Hotdish is a variety of casserole which typically contains a starch, a meat or other protein, and a canned or frozen vegetable, mixed with canned soup. The dish originates from and is popular in the Upper Midwest region of the United States, particularly the states of Minnesota and North Dakota. Hotdish is cooked and served hot in a single baking dish and commonly appears at communal gatherings such as family reunions and church suppers.

 

 
The history of the hotdish goes back to when “budget-minded farm wives needed to feed their own families, as well as congregations in the basements of the first Minnesota churches.” According to Howard Mohr, author of How to Talk Minnesotan, “A traditional main course, hotdish is cooked and served hot in a single baking dish and commonly appears at family reunions and church suppers.” The most typical meat for many years has been ground beef, and cream of mushroom remains the favorite canned soup. In past years a pasta was the most frequently used starch, but tater tots and local wild rice have now become very popular as well.

Hotdishes are filling, convenient, and easy to make. They are well-suited for family reunions, funerals, church suppers, and potlucks where they may be paired with potato salad, coleslaw, Jello salads and desserts, and pan-baked desserts known as bars.

 
Typical ingredients in hotdish are potatoes or pasta, ground beef, green beans, and corn, with canned soup added as a binder, flavoring and sauce. Potatoes may be in the form of tater tots, hash browns, potato chips, or shoe string potatoes. The dish is usually seasoned lightly with salt and pepper, and it may be eaten with ketchup as a condiment. Another popular hotdish is the tuna hotdish, made with macaroni or egg noodles, canned tuna, peas, and mushroom soup. Also common is a dish known as goulash, though it bears no resemblance to the familiar Hungarian goulash. Minnesota goulash is usually made with ground beef, macaroni, canned tomatoes, and perhaps a can of creamed corn.

Cream of mushroom soup is so ubiquitous in hotdish that it is often referred to in such recipes as “Lutheran Binder,” referring to hotdish’s position as a staple of Lutheran church cookbooks. The soup is considered a defining ingredient by some commentators.

 
Hotdish frequently appears, along with other stereotypical Minnesotan dishes such as lutefisk, in the radio program

Tater Tot Hotdish from the Saint Paul, Minnesota, Winter Carnival

Tater Tot Hotdish from the Saint Paul, Minnesota, Winter Carnival

A Prairie Home Companion. Hotdish is also described in Howard Mohr’s book How to Talk Minnesotan. Hotdish is an integral element of the book Hotdish to Die For, a collection of six culinary mystery short stories in which the weapon of choice is hotdish

Minnesota public television station, KSMQ in Austin, Minnesota, has produced a 2012 documentary video entitled “Minnesota Hotdish.” providing a historical and humorous look at the popular church supper and family gathering staple.

Hotdish was also the main meal featured in the comedy-drama film “Manny & Lo”.

“Hot Dish” is also the name of an Anchorage-based blue grass band, hotdishbluegrass.com. Their band name was chosen with a nod to mid-western roots of three of the five band members.

 

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