One of America’s Favorites – Club Sandwich

July 26, 2021 at 6:02 AM | Posted in One of America's Favorites | Leave a comment
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Club Sandwich

A club sandwich, also called a clubhouse sandwich, is a sandwich of bread (occasionally toasted), sliced cooked poultry, or fried bacon, lettuce, tomato, and mayonnaise. It is often cut into quarters or halves and held together by cocktail sticks. Modern versions frequently have two layers which are separated by an additional slice of bread.

The club sandwich may have originated at the Union Club of New York City. The earliest known reference to the sandwich, an article that appeared in The Evening World on November 18, 1889, is also an early recipe; “Have you tried a Union Club sandwich yet? Two toasted pieces of Graham bread, with a layer of turkey or chicken and ham between them, served warm. Several other early references also credit the chef of the Union Club with creating the sandwich.

Other sources, however, find the origin of the club sandwich to be up for debate. Another theory is that the club sandwich was invented in an exclusive Saratoga Springs, New York, gambling club in the late 19th century.

The sandwich is known to have appeared on U.S. restaurant menus as far back as 1899. The earliest reference to the sandwich in published fiction is from Conversations of a Chorus Girl, a 1903 book by Ray Cardell. Historically, club sandwiches featured slices of chicken, but with time, turkey has become increasingly common.

As with a BLT, toasted white bread is standard, along with iceberg lettuce, bacon, and tomatoes. The sandwich is traditionally dressed with mayonnaise. Variations, however, on the traditional club sandwich abound. Some vary the protein, for example, a “breakfast club” that includes eggs or a “roast beef club.” Others include ham (instead of, or in addition to bacon) and/or cheese slices. Vegetarian club sandwiches often include hummus, avocado or spinach, as well as substitute the real bacon with a vegetarian alternative. Mustard and sometimes honey mustard are common condiments. Upscale variations include, for example, the oyster club, the salmon club, and Dungeness crab melt.

The sandwich is commonly served with an accompaniment of either coleslaw, or potato salad, and often garnished with a pickle. The coleslaw or potato salad is often reduced to a “garnish” portion, when the primary accompaniment is an order of french fries or potato chips. Due to high fat and carb content from the bread, bacon and dressing, club sandwiches have sometimes been criticized as unhealthy. In 2000, Burger King came under fire for its chicken club, which contained 700 calories, 44 grams of fat (nine of them saturated), and 1,300 milligrams of sodium, as well as the trans fat from the fryer shortening.

One of America’s Favorites – Chili Burger

July 19, 2021 at 6:02 AM | Posted in One of America's Favorites | Leave a comment
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Chili burger with fries

A chili burger (also known as a chili size, or simply size, stemming from “hamburger size” is a type of hamburger. It consists of a hamburger, with the patty topped with chili con carne. It is often served open-faced, and sometimes the chili is served alongside the burger rather than on top. The chili may be served alone, or with cheese, onions, or occasionally tomatoes as garnishes.

Chili burgers appear to have been invented in the 1920s by Thomas M. “Ptomaine Tommy” DeForest, who founded a sawdust-floored all-night restaurant, “Ptomaine Tommy’s”, located in the Lincoln Heights neighborhood of Los Angeles. Ptomaine Tommy’s was open from around 1919 to 1958, where his chili burger was referred to as “size”, and chopped onions as “flowers” or “violets”.

The term size for a chili burger arguably derives from the portion size of the chili used at Ptomaine Tommy’s. Ptomaine Tommy “had two ladles, a large and a small” with which to serve his chili, whether smothered on top of the burger or in a bowl; originally the ordering lingo used by his patrons was “hamburger size” vs. “steak size”, but later simplified to “size” and “oversize”. The use of the shorthand term “size” for burger-size portion of chili (in a bowl or on a burger) then gained currency throughout Los Angeles. Ptomaine Tommy was forced to close his restaurant August 10, 1958 and sell his property to satisfy creditors, and he died just a week later. His service to the community and his invention was noted by resolution of the California State Senate that same year. Food author John T. Edge considers the invention the milestone that marks the start of “traceable history of burgers in LA”, a first step to what he considers the “baroque” character of the Los Angeles hamburger scene. By interviewing former customers and friends decades after the fact, columnist Jack Smith wrote a definitive article in 1974 about DeForest and the dish that he had invented which became a very important part of the history of Los Angeles. What helped spread the popularity of this is dish was Deforest’s diverse clientel which included doctors coming off the late shift at the local county hospital, fight fans on their way home after attending matches at the Olympic Auditorium, and people associated with the Hollywood film industry.

The Carolina Burger is a regional variant of the chili burger served with coleslaw, mustard and chopped onions. Common in local restaurants in the Carolinas, it is also periodically offered at Wendy’s restaurants as the Carolina Classic.

One of America’s Favorites – Bacon Explosion

July 12, 2021 at 6:02 AM | Posted in One of America's Favorites | Leave a comment
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A Bacon Explosion on a grill

A Bacon Explosion is a pork dish that consists of bacon wrapped around a filling of spiced sausage and crumbled bacon. The American-football-sized dish is then smoked or baked. It became known after being posted on the BBQ Addicts blog, and spread to the mainstream press with numerous stories discussing the dish. In time, the articles began to discuss the Internet “buzz” itself.

The Bacon Explosion is made of bacon, sausage, barbecue sauce, and barbecue seasoning or rub. The bacon is assembled in a weave to hold the sausage, sauce, and crumbled bacon. Once rolled, the Bacon Explosion is cooked (either smoked or baked), basted, cut, and served. The Bacon Explosion’s creators produced a cookbook featuring the recipes which ultimately won the 2010 Gourmand World Cookbook Awards for “Best Barbecue Book in the World”. The Bacon Explosion also won at the 2013 Blue Ribbon Bacon Festival.

Jason Day and Aaron Chronister posted the dish in December 2008 on their “BBQ Addicts” blog. It quickly became an Internet phenomenon, generating more than 500,000 hits and 16,000 links to the blog, and was even included on political blogs because “Republicans like meat.” There are fan clubs and follow-up videos of various attempts to create the dish.

The inventors are experienced barbecue competition participants from Kansas City, and compete in cook-offs as the Burnt Finger BBQ team. According to the Telegraph, “They came up with the delicacy after being challenged on Twitter to create the ultimate bacon recipe.” They christened their innovation the “Bacon Explosion: The BBQ Sausage Recipe of all Recipes.” The Bacon Explosion is similar to a number of previously published recipes. Day and Chronister do not claim to have invented the concept, but assert the term “Bacon Explosion” as a trademark.

Preparing a Bacon Explosion “requires the minimum of culinary talent” and the ingredient list is short. It is made from 2 pounds of thick cut bacon, 2 pounds of Italian sausage, one jar of barbecue sauce, and one jar of barbecue rub/seasoning. The Bacon Explosion is constructed by weaving the bacon together to serve as a base. The base is seasoned and followed by the layering of sausage meat and crumbled bacon. Barbecue sauce and more seasoning is added before rolling it into a giant “sausage-shaped monster” inside aluminum foil. It takes about an hour per inch of thickness to cook and is then basted with more barbecue sauce, sliced into rounds, and served.

One of America’s Favorites – French Fries

July 5, 2021 at 6:02 AM | Posted in One of America's Favorites | Leave a comment
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French fries

French fries, or simply fries (North American English), chips (British and Commonwealth English, Hiberno-English), finger chips (Indian English), hot chips (Australian English) or French-fried potatoes, are deep-fried potatoes, which have been cut into batons.

French fries are served hot, either soft or crispy, and are generally eaten as part of lunch or dinner or by themselves as a snack, and they commonly appear on the menus of diners, fast food restaurants, pubs, and bars. They are often salted and may be served with ketchup, vinegar, mayonnaise, tomato sauce, or other local specialties. Fries can be topped more heavily, as in the dishes of poutine or chili cheese fries. Chips can be made from sweet potatoes instead of potatoes. A baked variant, oven chips, uses less oil or no oil.

French fries are prepared by first cutting the potato (peeled or unpeeled) into even strips, which are then wiped off or soaked in cold water to remove the surface starch, and thoroughly dried. They may then be fried in one or two stages. Chefs generally agree that the two-bath technique produces better results. Potatoes fresh out of the ground can have too high a water content—resulting in soggy fries—so preference is for those that have been stored for a while.

A hamburger with crispy fries

In the two-stage or two-bath method, the first bath, sometimes called blanching, is in hot fat (around 160 °C/320 °F) to cook them through. This step can be done in advance. Then they are more briefly fried in very hot fat (190 °C/375 °F) to crisp the exterior. They are then placed in a colander or on a cloth to drain, salted, and served. The exact times of the two baths depend on the size of the potatoes. For example, for 2–3 mm strips, the first bath takes about 3 minutes, and the second bath takes only seconds. One can cook french fries using several techniques. Deep frying submerges food in hot fat, most commonly oil. Vacuum fryers are suitable to process low-quality potatoes with higher sugar levels than normal, as they frequently have to be processed in spring and early summer before the potatoes from the new harvest become available. In the UK, a chip pan is a deep-sided cooking pan used for deep-frying. Chip pans are named for their traditional use in frying chips.

Most french fries are produced from frozen potatoes which have been blanched or at least air-dried industrially. Most chains that sell fresh cut fries use the Idaho Russet Burbank variety of potatoes. It has been the standard for french fries in the United States. The usual fat for making french fries is vegetable oil. In the past, beef suet was recommended as superior, with vegetable shortening as an alternative. In fact, McDonald’s used a mixture of 93% beef tallow and 7% cottonseed oil until 1990, when they switched to vegetable oil with beef flavoring. Starting in the 1960s, more fast food restaurants have been using frozen french fries.

Crinkle-cut fries

French fries are fried in a two step process: the first time is to cook the starch throughout the entire cut at a low heat, and the second time is to create the golden crispy exterior of the fry at a higher temperature. This is necessary because if the potato cuts are only fried once, the temperature would either be too hot, causing only the exterior to be cooked and not the inside, or not hot enough where the entire fry is cooked, but its crispy exterior will not develop. Although the potato cuts may be baked or steamed as a preparation method, this section will only focus on french fries made using frying oil. During the initial frying process (approximately 150 °C), water on the surface of the cuts evaporates off the surface and the water inside the cuts gets absorbed by the starch granules, causing them to swell and produce the fluffy interior of the fry. The starch granules are able to retain the water and expand due to gelatinization. The water and heat break the glycosidic linkages between amylopectin and amylose strands, allowing a new gel matrix to form via hydrogen bonds which aid in water retention. The moisture that gets trapped in between the gel matrix is responsible for the fluffy interior of the fry. The gelatinized starch molecules move towards the surface of the fries “forming a thick layer of gelatinised starch” and this layer of pre-gelatinized starch will turn into the crispy exterior after the potato cuts are fried for a second time. During the second frying process (approximately 180 °C), the remaining water on the surface of the cuts will evaporate and the gelatinized starch molecules that collected towards the potato surface are cooked again, forming the crispy exterior. The golden-brown color of the fry will develop when the amino acids and glucose on the exterior participate in a Maillard browning reaction.

Although french fries were a popular dish in most British Commonwealth countries, the “thin style” french fries have been popularized worldwide in large part by the large American fast food chains such as McDonald’s, Burger King, and Wendy’s. In the United States, the J. R. Simplot Company is credited with successfully commercializing french fries in frozen form during the 1940s. Subsequently, in 1967, Ray Kroc of McDonald’s contracted the Simplot company to supply them with frozen fries, replacing fresh-cut potatoes. In 2004, 29% of the United States’ potato crop was used to make frozen fries – 90% consumed by the food services sector and 10% by retail. The United States is also known for supplying China with most of their french fries as 70% of China’s french fries are imported.

Waffle fries

Pre-made french fries have been available for home cooking since the 1960s, having been pre-fried (or sometimes baked), frozen and placed in a sealed plastic bag. Some varieties of french fries that appeared later have been battered and breaded, and many fast food chains in the U.S. dust the potatoes with kashi, dextrin, and other flavor coatings for crispier fries with particular tastes. French fries are one of the most popular dishes in the United States, commonly being served as a side dish to entrees and being seen in fast food restaurants. The average American eats around 30 pounds of french fries a year.

Fries tend to be served with a variety of accompaniments, such as salt and vinegar (malt, balsamic or white), pepper, Cajun seasoning, grated cheese, melted cheese, mushy peas, heated curry sauce, curry ketchup, hot sauce, relish, mustard, mayonnaise, bearnaise sauce, tartar sauce, chili, tzatziki, feta cheese, garlic sauce, fry sauce, butter, sour cream, ranch dressing, barbecue sauce, gravy, honey, aioli, brown sauce, ketchup, lemon juice, piccalilli, pickled cucumber, pickled gherkins, pickled onions or pickled eggs.

One of America’s Favorites – Cincinnati Chili

June 28, 2021 at 6:02 AM | Posted in One of America's Favorites | Leave a comment
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A Cincinnati chili 4-way garnished with oyster crackers

Cincinnati chili (or Cincinnati-style chili) is a Mediterranean-spiced meat sauce used as a topping for spaghetti or hot dogs (“coneys”); both dishes were developed by Macedonian immigrant restaurateurs in the 1920s. In 2013, Smithsonian named it one of the “20 Most Iconic Foods in America”. Its name evokes comparison to chili con carne, but the two are dissimilar in consistency, flavors and serving methods, which for Cincinnati chili more resemble Greek pasta sauces and the spiced-meat hot dog topping sauces seen in other parts of the United States.

Ingredients include ground beef, water or stock, tomato paste, spices such as cinnamon, nutmeg, allspice, clove, cumin, chili powder, bay leaf, and in some home recipes unsweetened dark chocolate in a soupy consistency. The most popular order is a ‘three-way’, which adds shredded cheddar cheese to the chili-topped spaghetti (‘two-way’), while serving it ‘four-‘ or ‘five-ways’ comes from addition of chopped onions and/or beans. Dishes are often served with oyster crackers and a mild hot sauce. Cincinnati chili is almost never served or eaten by the bowl.

While served in many local restaurants, it is most often associated with the over 250 independent and chain “chili parlors” (restaurants specializing in Cincinnati chili) found throughout greater Cincinnati with franchise locations throughout Ohio and in Kentucky, Indiana, Florida, and the Middle East. The dish is the Cincinnati area’s best-known regional food.

Skyline Chili location in Cincinnati

Cincinnati chili originated with immigrant restaurateurs from Macedonia who were trying to expand their customer base by moving beyond narrowly ethnic styles of cuisine. Ethnic Macedonians Tom and John Kiradjieff immigrated from the town of Hrupishta (today’s Argos Orestiko in Greece), fleeing the Balkan Wars, ethnic rivalries, and bigotry, in 1921. They began serving a “stew with traditional Mediterranean spices” as a topping for hot dogs which they called “coneys” in 1922 at their hot dog stand located next to a burlesque theater called the Empress, which they named their business after. Tom Kiradjieff used the sauce to modify a traditional Greek dish, speculated to have been pastitsio, moussaka or saltsa kima to come up with a dish he called chili spaghetti. He first developed a recipe calling for the spaghetti to be cooked in the chili but changed his method in response to customer requests and began serving the sauce as a topping, eventually adding grated cheese as a topping for both the chili spaghetti and the coneys, also in response to customer requests.

To make ordering more efficient, the brothers created the “way” system of ordering. The style has since been copied and modified by many other restaurant proprietors, often fellow Greek and Macedonian immigrants who had worked at Empress restaurants before leaving to open their own chili parlors, often following the business model to the point of locating their restaurants adjacent to theaters.

Empress was the largest chili parlor chain in Cincinnati until 1949, when a former Empress employee and Greek immigrant, Nicholas Lambrinides, started Skyline Chili. In 1965, four brothers named Daoud, immigrants from Jordan, bought a restaurant called Hamburger Heaven from a former Empress employee. They noticed that the Cincinnati chili was outselling the hamburgers on their menu and changed the restaurant’s name to Gold Star Chili. As of 2015, Skyline (over 130 locations) and Gold Star (89 locations) were the largest Cincinnati chili parlor chains, while Empress had only two remaining locations, down from over a dozen during the chain’s most successful period.

Gold Star Chili restaurant interior

Besides Empress, Skyline, and Gold Star, there are also smaller chains such as Dixie Chili and Deli and numerous independents including the acclaimed Camp Washington Chili. Other independents include Pleasant Ridge Chili, Blue Ash Chili, Park Chili Parlor, Price Hill Chili, Chili Time, Orlando based Cincinnati Chili Company, and the Blue Jay Restaurant, in all totalling more than 250 chili parlors. In 1985 one of the founders of Gold Star Chili, Fahid Daoud, returned to Jordan, where he opened his own parlor, called Chili House. Outside of Jordan, Chili House as of 2020 had locations in Iran, Iraq, Libya, Oman, Palestine, Turkey and Qatar.

In addition to the chili parlors, some version of Cincinnati chili is commonly served at many local restaurants. Arnold’s Bar and Grill, the oldest bar in the city, serves a vegetarian “Cincy Lentils” dish ordered in “ways.” Melt Eclectic Cafe offers a vegan 3-way. For Restaurant Week 2018, a local mixologist developed a cocktail called “Manhattan Skyline,” a Cincinnati chili-flavored whiskey cocktail.

The history of Cincinnati chili shares many factors in common with the apparently independent but simultaneous development of the Coney Island hot dog in other areas of the United States. “Virtually all” were developed by Greek or Macedonian immigrants who passed through Ellis Island as they fled the fallout from the Balkan Wars in the first two decades of the twentieth century.

Partially eaten 5-way from Skyline, garnished with oyster crackers

Raw ground beef is crumbled in water and/or stock, tomato paste and seasonings are added, and the mixture is brought to a boil and then simmered for several hours to form a thin meat sauce. Many recipes call for an overnight chill in the refrigerator to allow for easy skimming of fat and to allow flavors to develop, then reheating to serve. Typical proportions are 2 pounds of ground beef to 4 cups of water and 6 oz tomato paste to make 8 servings.

Ordering Cincinnati chili is based on a specific ingredient series: chili, spaghetti, shredded cheddar cheese, diced onions, and kidney beans. The number before the “way” of the chili determines which ingredients are included in each chili order. Customers order a:

* Two-way: spaghetti topped with chili (also called “chili spaghetti”)
* Three-way: spaghetti, chili, and cheese
* Four-way onion: spaghetti, chili, onions, and cheese
* Four-way bean: spaghetti, chili, beans, and cheese
* Five-way: spaghetti, chili, beans, onions, and cheese
small oval white plate with cheese coney showing bun, hot dog, sauce, and shredded cheese
Skyline cheese coney (hot dog topped with Cincinnati-style chili, mustard, onions, and a heap of shredded cheese)

Skyline cheese coney (hot dog topped with Cincinnati-style chili, mustard, onions, and a heap of shredded cheese)

* Some chili parlors will also serve the dish “inverted”: cheese on the bottom, so that it melts. Some restaurants, among them Skyline and Gold Star, do not use the term “four-way bean”, instead using the term “four-way” to denote a three-way plus the customer’s choice of onions or beans. Some restaurants may add extra ingredients to the way system; for example, Dixie Chili offers a “six-way”, which adds chopped garlic to a five-way. Cincinnati chili is also used as a hot dog topping to make a “coney”, a regional variation on the Coney Island chili dog, which is topped with shredded cheddar cheese to make a “cheese coney”. The standard coney also includes mustard and chopped onion. The “three-way” and the cheese coney are the most popular orders.

Very few customers order a bowl of plain chili. Most chili parlors do not offer plain chili as a regular menu item. Polly Campbell, former food editor of The Cincinnati Enquirer, calls ordering a bowl of chili, “Ridiculous. Would you order a bowl of spaghetti sauce? Because that’s what you’re doing.”

Serving and eating
Ways and coneys are traditionally served in a shallow oval bowl. Oyster crackers are usually served with Cincinnati chili,[9] and a mild hot sauce such as Tabasco is frequently available to be used as an optional topping to be added at the table. Locals eat Cincinnati chili as if it were a casserole, cutting each bite with the side of the fork instead of twirling the noodles.

 

One of America’s Favorites – Polish Boy

June 21, 2021 at 6:02 AM | Posted in One of America's Favorites | Leave a comment
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Polish Boy

The Polish Boy is a sausage sandwich native to Cleveland, Ohio. It consists of a link of kielbasa sausage placed in a bun, and covered with a layer of french fries, a layer of barbecue sauce or hot sauce, and a layer of coleslaw. While the sausage is typically grilled, some establishments will quickly deep fry the sausage after grilling and prior to assembling the sandwich.

While Polish Boys can be found at various establishments throughout Cleveland, a popular place is Freddie’s Southern Style Rib House, known for their southern style barbecue sauce. Esquire named theirs as one of the best sandwiches in America, calling it “soul on white.”

Chef Michael Symon cited the Polish Boy as “The Best Thing I Ever Ate” on the Food Network, where he featured Seti’s Polish Boys on the show. Seti’s version is unique because of optional chilli and cheese that can be added to your sandwich.

Chef Gregby Camp from “Mickey Flickey’s Amazing Wings” appeared on The Wendy Williams Show to teach the audience how to make a Cleveland Polish boy. Chef Camp suggests toasting the bun to give it better flavor and to hold the sandwich together. His sandwich features just enough coleslaw to taste, homemade french fries and their Amazing Comeback Barbecue Sauce.

Hot Sauce Williams, a restaurant on Cleveland’s East Side, features a variation that includes the addition of smoked and barbecued pork shoulder to the sandwich and was featured in June 2010 on the Travel Channel’s Man vs. Food. Host and food enthusiast Adam Richman tried their Polish boy, which featured the restaurant’s signature hot-sauce. Since the airing of the episode, Hot-Sauce Williams changed the type of french fries used in the sandwich and removed the pork shoulder from its components. B&M Barbecue, a Cleveland BBQ chain, calls this variant of the Polish Boy with pork shoulder a “Polish Girl”.

 

 

One of America’s Favorites – Gyros

June 14, 2021 at 6:02 AM | Posted in One of America's Favorites | Leave a comment
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Gyros sandwiches wraps in Greece, with meat, onions, tomato, lettuce, fries, and tzatziki rolled in a pita

A gyro or gyros pronounced [ˈʝiros]) is a Greek dish made from meat cooked on a vertical rotisserie. Like shawarma and al pastor meat, it is derived from the lamb-based doner kebab. In Greece and Cyprus it is prepared most often with pork or chicken, whilst beef, chicken, and lamb are common in other countries. It is typically served wrapped or stuffed in a pita, along with ingredients such as tomato, onion, and tzatziki sauce.

Grilling a vertical spit of stacked meat slices and cutting it off as it cooks was developed in Bursa in the 19th century Ottoman Empire, and called doner kebab (Turkish: döner kebap). Following World War II, doner kebab made with lamb was present in Athens, introduced by immigrants from Anatolia and the Middle East. A distinct Greek variation developed, often made with pork and served with tzatziki sauce, which later became known as gyros.

By 1970, gyros wrapped sandwiches were already a popular fast food in Athens, as well as in Chicago and New York City. At that time, although vertical rotisseries were starting to be mass-produced in the US by Gyros Inc. of Chicago, the stacks of meat were still hand-made.

Gyros plate

According to Margaret Garlic, it was she who first came up with the idea to mass-produce gyros meat cones, after watching a demonstration by a Greek restaurant owner carving gyros on the What’s My Line? television show. She convinced her husband John Garlic, a Jewish former Marine and then Cadillac salesman, of the idea. After obtaining a recipe from a Greek chef in Chicago, the couple rented a space in a sausage plant in Milwaukee and began operating the world’s first assembly line producing gyros meat from beef and lamb trimmings, in the early 1970s. The Garlics later sold their business to Gyros Inc., which along with Central Gyros Wholesale, and Kronos Foods, Inc, also of Chicago, began large-scale production in the mid-1970s.

 

The name comes from the Greek γύρος (gyros, ‘circle’ or ‘turn’), and is a calque of the Turkish word döner, from dönmek, also meaning “turn”. It was originally called ντονέρ (pronounced [doˈner]) in Greece. The word ντονέρ was criticized in mid-1970s Greece for being Turkish. The word gyro or gyros was already in use in English by at least 1970, and along with γύρος in Greek, eventually came to replace doner kebab for the Greek version of the dish. Some Greek restaurants in the US, such as the Syntagma Square in New York City—which can be seen briefly in the 1976 film Taxi Driver—continued to use both doner kebab and gyros to refer to the same dish, in the 1970s.

 

In Greece, gyros is normally made with pork, though other meats are also used. Chicken is common, and lamb or beef may be found more rarely. Typical American mass-produced gyros are made with finely ground beef mixed with lamb.

Gyros preparation

For hand-made gyros, meat is cut into approximately round, thin, flat slices, which are then stacked on a spit and seasoned. Fat trimmings are usually interspersed. Spices may include cumin, oregano, thyme, rosemary, and others. The pieces of meat, in the shape of an inverted cone, are placed on a tall vertical rotisserie, which turns slowly in front of a source of heat or broiler. As the cone cooks, lower parts are basted with the juices running off the upper parts. The outside of the meat is sliced vertically in thin, crisp shavings when done.

The rate of roasting can be adjusted by varying the intensity of the heat, the distance between the heat and the meat, and the speed of spit rotation, thus allowing the cook to adjust for varying rates of consumption.

In Greece it is customarily served in an oiled, lightly grilled piece of pita, rolled up with sliced tomatoes, chopped onions, lettuce, and french fries, topped with tzatziki sauce or, sometimes in northern Greece, ketchup or mustard.

One of America’s Favorites – Taquito

June 7, 2021 at 6:02 AM | Posted in One of America's Favorites | Leave a comment
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A taquito (Spanish pronunciation: [taˈkito], Spanish for “small taco”), tacos dorados, rolled taco, or flauta (Spanish pronunciation: [ˈflawta], Spanish for “flute”) is a Mexican food dish

5 rolled beef tacos with guacamole, lettuce, and cheese

that typically consists of a small rolled-up tortilla that contains filling, including beef, cheese or chicken. The filled tortilla is then crisp-fried or deep-fried. The dish is often topped with condiments such as sour cream and guacamole. Corn tortillas are generally used to make taquitos. The dish is more commonly known as flautas when they are larger than their taquito counterparts, and can be made with either flour or corn tortillas.

The taquito or small taco was referred to in the 1917 Preliminary Glossary of New Mexico Spanish, with the word noted as a “Mexicanism” used in New Mexico. The modern definition of a taquito as a rolled-tortilla dish was given in 1929 in a book of stories of Mexican people in the United States aimed at a youth audience, where the dish was noted as a particularly popular offering of railroad station vendors. Taquitos were referred to, without definition, in a 1932 issue of the Los Angeles School Journal.

Two Southern California restaurants are often given credit for their roles in the early development of the taquito. Cielito Lindo was founded by Aurora Guerrero in 1934 and located on Olvera Street in Los Angeles. Guerrero’s daughter used her taquito recipe in opening chain restaurants in Los Angeles, and soon competitors were selling similar dishes. In San Diego, what would become El Indio Mexican Restaurant began selling taquitos during World War II, when tortilla factory owner Ralph Pesqueria, Sr., was asked by workers at the Consolidated Aircraft Company factory across the street for a portable lunch item. Pesqueria, who used a recipe developed by his Mexican grandmother, has claimed credit for introducing the word “taquito” for the dish.

Carnitas flautas with jack cheese, guacamole, salsa fresca, and cotija cheese

Taquitos were among the early Mexican food items developed as a frozen food, with Van de Kamp introducing a successful frozen taquito offering by 1976. The United States government has determined that taquitos must contain at least 15% meat.

Crispy fried taquitos sold in Mexico are often called tacos dorados (“golden tacos”) or flautas. Typical toppings and sides include cabbage, crema (Mexican sour cream), guacamole, green chili or red chili salsa and crumbled Mexican cheese such as queso fresco. “Taquitos” in the Mexican border cities of Tijuana and Mexicali refer to small tacos sold in stands, rather than the rolled taco dish.

One of America’s Favorites – Chili Mac

May 31, 2021 at 6:02 AM | Posted in One of America's Favorites | Leave a comment
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A plate of chili mac prepared with macaroni noodles, chili, cheese, onion and green onion

Chili mac is a dish prepared using chili and macaroni as primary ingredients, which is often topped or intermingled with cheese. Some versions are made using prepared or homemade macaroni and cheese. It is a common dish in the cuisine of the Midwestern United States, and is also popular in other areas of the United States.

Several variations of the dish exist, and prepared canned and boxed versions also exist. It can be a relatively inexpensive dish to prepare, and has been described as a comfort food.

Preparation
Several preparation methods exist. Basic versions may be prepared using chopped meat, tomato, spices, and elbow macaroni. Another basic preparation method incorporates boxed, prepared macaroni and cheese and canned chili. Some recipes incorporate all of the ingredients together, while others are prepared with the ingredients separately layered. Those that use cheese may use grated cheese atop the dish, while others mix the cheese throughout the dish. Sometimes, onions or beans are added. Some diners in St. Louis, Missouri serve a version called “chili mac a la mode”, in which the dish is served topped with fried eggs.

The dish may be prepared on a range top in a skillet, in a slow cooker, or baked as a casserole. Vegetarian and vegan versions of the dish are sometimes prepared.

Versions
Chili mac has been a staple dish at American military dining facilities for years. It was introduced into the Meal, Ready-to-Eat (MRE) field ration menu in 1995 and is one of only three of the twelve MRE meals offered in 1995 that has remained on the MRE menu to date. A variation called “taco chili mac” has been consumed by NASA astronauts in space. It is processed by NASA as a freeze-dried product.

One of America’s Favorites – Red Slaw

May 24, 2021 at 6:02 AM | Posted in One of America's Favorites | Leave a comment
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Lexington (North Carolina) style barbecue (pulled pork) served with hushpuppies, baked beans and red slaw (lower right)

Red slaw (sometimes called barbecue slaw) is a condiment commonly served on hot dogs, on barbecue pork sandwiches, as a side dish for other types of barbecue, on hamburgers, or with other foods. It is an essential part of “Lexington style” North Carolina barbecue.

Red slaw is different from traditional coleslaw in that it does not use mayonnaise as an ingredient, allowing it to be stored for longer periods without refrigeration and making it more suitable for outdoor serving. It is made with green cabbage, vinegar, water and ketchup, giving it the characteristic color. In addition to being a staple part of Lexington style barbecue, it is also common in other portions of the Southeastern United States. In these regions, regular cole slaw may be called “white slaw” to differentiate it from red slaw.

Recipes vary widely and may include other ingredients, such as onion, sugar, black pepper, mustard seed and other spices, depending on the region in which it is being served.

In the late 1990s, Wendy’s sold the “Carolina Classic Burger” which was a traditional hamburger with red slaw, onions, chili and American cheese, going so far as to trademark the name.

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