One of America’s Favorites – Chicken Fried Steak and Mashed Potatoes

November 20, 2017 at 6:32 AM | Posted in One of America's Favorites | 2 Comments
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Chicken fried steak served with mashed potatoes topped with gravy

Chicken fried steak (also known as country fried steak) is an American breaded cutlet dish consisting of a piece of beefsteak (tenderized cube steak) coated with seasoned flour and pan-fried. It is associated with the Southern cuisine of the United States. Despite the name, the dish contains no chicken, but is so-named for the cooking method is similar to that of fried chicken.

Chicken fried steak resembles the Austrian dish Wiener Schnitzel and the Italian-South American dish Milanesa, which is a tenderized veal or pork cutlet, coated with flour, eggs, and bread crumbs, and then fried. It is also similar to the recipe for Scottish collops.

The precise origins of the dish are unclear, but many sources attribute its development to German and Austrian immigrants to Texas in the 19th century, who brought recipes for Wiener Schnitzel from Europe to the USA. Lamesa, the seat of Dawson County on the Texas South Plains, claims to be the birthplace of chicken fried steak, and hosts an annual celebration accordingly.

 

The Virginia Housewife, published in 1838 by Mary Randolph, has a recipe for veal cutlets that is one of the earliest recipes for a food like chicken fried steak. The recipe for what we now know as chicken fried steak was included in many regional cookbooks by the late 19th century. The Oxford English Dictionary’s earliest attestation of the term “chicken-fried steak” is from a restaurant advertisement in the 19 June 1914 edition of the Colorado Springs Gazette newspaper.

Chicken fried steak is prepared by taking a thin cut of beefsteak and tenderizing it by pounding, cubing, or forking. It is then either immersed in egg batter and/or dredged in flour to which salt, pepper, and often other seasonings have been added (called breading). After this, the steak is fried in a skillet or, less commonly, deep-fried. Restaurants often call the deep fried version chicken fried and the pan fried type country fried. The frying medium has traditionally been butter, lard, or other shortening, but in recent years, health concerns have led most cooks to substitute the shortening with vegetable oil.

 

Chicken fried steak with chipotle cream gravy

The cuts of steak used for chicken fried steak are usually the less expensive, less desirable ones, such as chuck, round steak, and occasionally flank steak. The method is also sometimes used for chopped, ground, or especially cube steak. When ground beef is used, it is sometimes called a “chuckwagon”. Chicken fried steak is usually served for lunch or dinner topped with cream gravy and with mashed potatoes, vegetables, and biscuits served on the side. In the Midwest, it is also common to serve chicken fried steak for breakfast, along with toast and hash browns.

The steak can be served on a hamburger bun as a sandwich, cubed and stuffed in a baked potato with the gravy and cheese, or cut into strips and served in a basket with fries and gravy, which is then known as “steak fingers”.

A 1943 American cookbook recipe for Wiener Schnitzel includes a white salt and pepper cream gravy.

Chicken fried steak is among numerous popular dishes which make up the official state meal of Oklahoma, added to the list in 1988.

Typically, in Texas and surrounding states, chicken fried steak is fried in a thick layer of oil in a pan and served with traditional peppered milk gravy. The same dish is sometimes known as “country fried steak” in other parts of the United States, where it is subject to some regional variations. Often there is a brown gravy, and occasionally the meat is either pan-fried with little oil, or simmered in the gravy. In some areas, “country steak” may refer to Salisbury steak, a chopped or minced beef patty in brown gravy.

 

Other meats may be used, with “chicken-fried chicken” having appeared on many menus, substituting a boneless chicken breast for the steak. Chicken fried chicken differs from the dish known as “fried chicken” because the meat is removed from the bones, and cooked in the fashion of chicken fried steak. Another term is “chicken-fried-steak-fried chicken”.

Boneless pork chops, usually center cut, can be served in this manner, as well as chicken fried buffalo steak.

 

 

Mashed potato

Another One of America’s Favorites – Mashed Potato

What’s Chicken Fried Steak without Mashed Potatoes!

Mashed potato (British English) or mashed potatoes (American English), is a dish prepared by mashing boiled potatoes. Recipes started appearing in 1747 with an entry in The Art of Cookery by Hannah Glasse. Dehydrated and frozen mashed potatoes are available in many supermarkets.

 

 

The use of “floury” types of potato is recommended, although “waxy” potatoes are sometimes used for a different texture. Butter, vegetable oil, milk and/or cream are usually added to improve flavor and texture, and the potatoes are seasoned with salt, pepper, and any other desired herbs and spices. Popular ingredients and seasonings include: garlic, cheese, bacon bits, sour cream, crisp onion or spring onion, caramelized onion, mustard, horseradish, spices such as nutmeg, and chopped herbs such as parsley.

One French variation adds egg yolk for pommes duchesse or Duchess potatoes; piped through a pastry tube into wavy ribbons and rosettes, brushed with butter and lightly browned. Pomme purée (potato puree) uses considerably more butter than normal mashed potato – up to two parts potato for one part butter. In low-calorie or non-dairy variations, milk, cream and butter may be replaced by soup stock or broth. Aloo Bharta, an Indian sub-continent variation, uses chopped onions, mustard (oil, paste or seeds), chili pepper, coriander leaves and other spices.

 

Mashed Potatoes with butter and chives

 

Mashed potato can be served as a side dish, and is often served with sausages in the British Isles, where they are known as bangers and mash. Mashed potato can be an ingredient of various other dishes, including shepherd’s and cottage pie, pierogi, colcannon, dumplings, potato pancakes, potato croquettes and gnocchi.

In the United Kingdom, the cold mashed potato is mixed with fresh eggs and then fried until crispy to produce the potato cake. This dish is thought to have originated in Cornwall and is a popular breakfast item. When instead combined with meat and other leftover vegetables, the fried dish is known as bubble and squeak.

A potato masher is a utensil which can be used to prepare the potatoes, as is a potato ricer.

 

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One of America’s Favorites – Pecan Pie

November 13, 2017 at 6:25 AM | Posted in One of America's Favorites | 4 Comments
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Pecan Pie

Pecan pie is a pie of pecan nuts mixed with a filling of eggs, butter, and sugar (typically corn syrup). Variations may include white or brown sugar, sugar syrup, molasses, maple syrup, or honey. It is popularly served at holiday meals and is also considered a specialty of Southern U.S. cuisine. Most pecan pie recipes include salt and vanilla as flavorings. Chocolate and bourbon whiskey are other popular additions to the recipe. Pecan pie is often served with whipped cream, vanilla ice cream, or hard sauce.

 

Pecans are native to the southern United States. Archaeological evidence found in Texas indicates that Native Americans used pecans more than 8,000 years ago. The word pecan is a derivative of an Algonquin word, pakani, referring to several nuts.

Sugar pies such as treacle tart were attested in Medieval Europe, and adapted in North America to the ingredients

A slice of pecan pie.

available, resulting in such dishes as shoofly pie, sugar pie, butter tart and chess pie. Pecan pie may be a variant of chess pie, which is made with a similar butter-sugar-egg custard.

Some have stated that the French invented pecan pie soon after settling in New Orleans, after being introduced to the pecan nut by the Native American Quinipissa and Tangipahoa tribes. Claims have also been made of pecan pie existing in the early 1800s in Alabama, but this does not appear to be backed up by recipes or literature. Attempts to trace the dish’s origin have not found any recipes dated earlier than a pecan custard pie recipe published in Harper’s Bazaar in 1886. Well-known cookbooks such as Fannie Farmer and The Joy of Cooking did not include this dessert before 1940.

The makers of Karo syrup significantly contributed to popularizing the dish and many of the recipes for variants (caramel, cinnamon, Irish creme, peanut butter, etc.) of the classic pie. The company has claimed that the dish was a 1930s “discovery” of a “new use for corn syrup” by a corporate sales executive’s wife. Pecan pie was made before the invention of corn syrup and older recipes used darker sugar based syrup or molasses. The 1929 congressional club cookbook has a recipe for the pie which used only eggs, milk, sugar and pecan, no syrup. The Pecan pie came to be closely associated with the culture of the Southern United States in the 1940s and 1950s.

Variations
In his 2004 book, Ken Haedrich identified a number of popular pecan pie variants:

Chocolate pecan tarts prior to baking

Butterscotch
Characterized by the addition of butterscotch chips and brown sugar (in addition to, not in place of, corn syrup)
Whiskey chocolate chip
In this pie, chocolate chips and a few teaspoons of Jack Daniel whiskey are added.
Alice Colombo’s Race Day Chocolate Pecan Pie
This pie is named after Alice Colombo, who was a food editor for the Louisville Courier-Journal in Kentucky. This pie was made by her on the occasion of the Kentucky Derby. The special ingredients suggested in the recipe include cornstarch, to soften the top, bourbon, chocolate chips and whipped cream.

Maple
Includes maple syrup and almond extract

Chocolate brownie
This pie has nuts on the surface and it is layered with chocolate pudding and fudge. It is served at room temperature or chilled.

Sawdust Pie
Sawdust Pie is a signature recipe of Patti’s Restaurant in Paducah, Kentucky, consisting of an egg-batter filling with coconut, graham cracker crumbs and pecans, topped with whipped cream and sliced bananas.

 

One of America’s Favorites – Sailor Sandwich MONDAY

November 6, 2017 at 6:22 AM | Posted in One of America's Favorites | Leave a comment
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Sailor sandwich

A sailor sandwich is a hot meat and cheese sandwich popular in Richmond, Virginia area restaurants. Its core ingredients are hot pastrami, grilled knackwurst, melted Swiss cheese and hot mustard on rye bread.

The New York Deli, founded in 1929, claims to be the originator of the sailor sandwich. The eatery moved to its current location in Carytown in 1934. According to local legend, during World War II, Navy seamen from the University of Richmond Navy V-12 program would frequent the New York Deli and order this then-nameless sandwich. It eventually became known as a sailor sandwich, although it is uncertain who officially named the sandwich.

The marine sandwich is popular around some Marine bases like MCB Quantico. It is usually served on Italian bread with knackwurst, pastrami or salami and uses German-style mustard and comes with peppers. The West Coast version often includes sliced tomatoes on the side.

 

One of America’s Favorites – Cajun Cuisine

October 30, 2017 at 5:36 AM | Posted in One of America's Favorites | Leave a comment
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Po’ boy sandwiches are associated with the cuisine of New Orleans.

Cajun cuisine (French: Cuisine cadienne, [kɥizin kadʒæ̃n]) is a style of cooking named for the French-speaking Acadian people deported by the British from Acadia in Canada to the Acadiana region of Louisiana. It is what could be called a rustic cuisine; locally available ingredients predominate and preparation is simple.

An authentic Cajun meal is usually a three-pot affair, with one pot dedicated to the main dish, one dedicated to steamed rice, special made sausages, or some seafood dish, and the third containing whatever vegetable is plentiful or available. Shrimp and pork sausage are staple meats used in a variety of dishes.

The aromatic vegetables green bell pepper (poivron), onion, and celery are called the holy trinity by Cajun chefs in Cajun and Louisiana Creole cuisines. Roughly diced and combined in cooking, the method is similar to the use of the mirepoix in traditional French cuisine which blends roughly diced onion, celery and carrot. Characteristic aromatics for the Creole version may also include parsley, bay leaf, green onions, dried cayenne pepper, and dried black pepper.

Around 1755, Acadians were forced out of their settlements by the British, and as a result, they migrated in 1755 in what was called le Grand Dérangement, eventually settling in Southern Louisiana. Due to the extreme change in climate, Acadians were unable to cook their original dishes. Soon, their former culinary traditions were lost, and so, these other meals developed to become what is now considered classic Cajun cuisine traditions (not to be confused with the more modern concept associated with Prudhomme’s style). Up through the 20th century, the meals were not elaborate but instead, rather basic. The public’s false perception of “Cajun” cuisine was based on Prudhomme’s style of Cajun cooking, which was spicy, flavorful, and not true to the classic form of the cuisine. Cajun and Creole label have been mistaken to be the same, but the origins of Creole cooking began in New Orleans, and Cajun cooking came 40 years after the establishment of New Orleans down south on the bayou. Today, most restaurants serve dishes that consist of Cajun styles, which Paul Prudhomme dubbed “Louisiana cooking”.In home-cooking, these individual styles are still kept separate. However, there are fewer and fewer people cooking the classic Cajun dishes that would have been eaten by the original settlers.

Boudin that has been smoked

Primary Cajun Dishes Favorites
Boudin is a type of sausage made from pork, pork liver, rice, garlic, green onions and other spices. It is widely available by the link or pound from butcher shops. Boudin is typically stuffed in a natural casing and has a softer consistency than other, better-known sausage varieties. It is usually served with side dishes such as rice dressing, maque choux or bread. Boudin balls are commonly served in southern Louisiana restaurants and are made by taking the boudin out of the case and frying it in spherical form.

Gumbo – High on the list of favorites of Cajun cooking are the soups called gumbos. Contrary to non-Cajun or

Seafood gumbo

Continental beliefs, gumbo does not mean simply “everything in the pot”. Gumbo exemplifies the influence of French, Spanish, African and Native American food cultures on Cajun cuisine. The name originally meant okra, a word brought to the region from western Africa. Okra which can be one of the principal ingredients in gumbo recipes is used as a thickening agent and for its distinct vegetable flavor. Many claim that Gumbo is a “Cajun” dish, but Gumbo was established long before the Acadian arrival. Its early existence came via the early French Creole culture In New Orleans, Louisiana, where French, Spanish and Africans frequented and also influenced by later waves of Italian, German and Irish settlers.

A filé gumbo is thickened with dried sassafras leaves after the stew has finished cooking, a practice borrowed from the Choctaw Indians. The backbone of a gumbo is roux of which there are two variations: Cajun, a golden brown roux, and Creole, a dark roux, which is made of flour, toasted until well-browned, and fat or oil. The classic gumbo is made with chicken and the Cajun sausage called andouille, pronounced {ahn-doo-wee}, but the ingredients vary according to what is available.

Jambalaya – Another classic Cajun dish is jambalaya. The only certain thing that can be said about a jambalaya is that it contains rice, some sort of meat (such as chicken or beef), seafood (such as shrimp or crawfish) or almost anything else. Usually, however, one will find green peppers, onions, celery, tomatoes and hot chili peppers. Anything else is optional. This is also a great pre-Acadian dish, established by the Spanish in Louisiana.

Rice and gravy – Rice and gravy dishes are a staple of Cajun cuisine and is usually a brown gravy based on pan drippings, which are deglazed and simmered with extra seasonings and served over steamed or boiled rice. The dish is traditionally made from cheaper cuts of meat and cooked in a cast iron pot, typically for an extended time period in order to let the tough cuts of meat become tender. Beef, pork, chicken or any of a large variety of game meats are used for its preparation. Popular local varieties include hamburger steak, smothered rabbit, turkey necks, and chicken fricassee.

Cajun Cuisine Food as an event
Crawfish boil

Louisiana-style crawfish boil

Louisiana-style crawfish boil

The crawfish boil is a celebratory event where Cajuns boil crawfish, potatoes, onions and corn in large pots over propane cookers. Lemons and small muslin bags containing a mixture of bay leaves, mustard seeds, cayenne pepper and other spices, commonly known as “crab boil” or “crawfish boil” are added to the water for seasoning. The results are then dumped onto large, newspaper-draped tables and in some areas covered in Creole / Cajun spice blends, such as REX, Zatarain’s, Louisiana Fish Fry or Tony Chachere’s. Also, Cocktail sauce, mayonnaise and hot sauce are sometimes used. The seafood is scooped onto large trays or plates and eaten by hand. During times when crawfish are not abundant, shrimp and crabs are prepared and served in the same manner.

Attendees are encouraged to “suck the head” of a crawfish by separating the abdomen of the crustacean and sucking out the abdominal fat/juices.

Often, newcomers to the crawfish boil or those unfamiliar with the traditions are jokingly warned “not to eat the dead ones”. This comes from the common belief that when live crawfish are boiled, their tails curl beneath themselves, but when dead crawfish are boiled, their tails are straight and limp. Seafood boils with crabs and shrimp are also popular.

Family Boucherie

Cornbread is a staple Cajun starch

A traditional “boucherie” near Eunice
The traditional Cajun outdoor food event hosted by a farmer in the rural areas of the Acadiana. Family and friends of the farmer gather to socialize, play games, dance, drink, and have a copious meal consisting of hog and other dishes. Men have the task of slaughtering a hog, cutting it into usable parts, and cooking the main pork dishes while women have the task of making boudin.

Cochon de Lait
Similar to a family boucherie, the cochon de lait is a food event that revolves around pork but does not need to be hosted by a farmer. Traditionally, a suckling pig was purchased for the event, but in modern cochon de laits, adult pigs are used. Unlike the family boucherie, a hog is not butchered by the hosts and there are generally not as many guests or activities. The host and male guests have the task of roasting the pig while female guests bring side dishes.

Rural Mardi Gras
The traditional Cajun Mardi Gras (see: Courir de Mardi Gras) is a Mardi Gras celebration in rural Cajun Parishes. The tradition originated in the 18th century with the Cajuns of Louisiana, but it was abandoned in the early 20th century because of unwelcome violence associated with the event. In the early 1950s the tradition was revived in Mamou in Evangeline Parish.

The event revolves around male maskers on horseback who ride into the countryside to collect food ingredients for the party later on. They entertain householders with Cajun music, dancing, and festive antics in return for the ingredients. The preferred ingredient is a live chicken in which the householder throws the chicken to allow the maskers to chase it down (symbolizing a hunt), but other ingredients include rice, sausage, vegetables, or frozen chicken. Unlike other Cajun events, men take no part in cooking the main course for the party, and women prepare the chicken and ingredients for the gumbo.

Once the festivities begin, the Cajun community members eat and dance to Cajun music until midnight, as the beginning of Lent.

 

One of America’s Favorites – Hash Browns

October 23, 2017 at 5:26 AM | Posted in One of America's Favorites | Leave a comment
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Shredded hash browns, pictured with slider sandwiches

Hash browns or hashed browns are a simple preparation in which potatoes are pan-fried after being shredded, diced, julienned or riced, in the style of a Swiss Rösti. In some cultures, hash browns or hashed browns can refer to any of these preparations, while in others it may refer to one specific preparation. Hash browns are a staple breakfast food at diners in North America and the UK, where they are often fried on a large common cooktop or grill.

In some parts of the United States, hash browns strictly refer to shredded or riced pan-fried potatoes and are considered a breakfast food, while potatoes diced or cubed and pan-fried are also a side dish called country fried potatoes or home fries (though many variations of home fries are par-cooked before frying). Some recipes add diced or chopped onions.

Hash browns are a popular mass-produced product sold in both refrigerated and frozen varieties. Hash browns are also available in dehydrated form.

 

Originally, the full name was “hashed brown potatoes” (or “hashed browned potatoes”), of which the first known mention is by American food author Maria Parloa (1843–1909) in 1888. The name was gradually shortened to ‘hash brown potatoes’. Bite sized Hash Browns are small cylindrical dumplings, known as Tater Tots in the U.S. and Potato Gems in Australia, and are sold commercially at diners and in frozen food aisles in packets.

 

The word “hash” is derived from the French word “hacher” which means to hack or chop. This means hashed browned potatoes literally translate to “chopped and fried potatoes”.

 

Hash browns patty

A chef may prepare hash browns by forming riced potatoes into patties before frying with onions (moisture and potato starch can hold them together); however, if a binding agent is added (egg or oil for example), such a preparation constitutes a potato pancake. Frozen hash browns are sometimes made into patty form for ease of handling, and the compact, flat shape can also be cooked in a toaster oven or toaster. If a dish of hash browned potatoes incorporates chopped meat, leftovers, or other vegetables, it is more commonly referred to as hash.

Hash browns are also manufactured as a dehydrated food, which is sometimes used by backpackers.

 

One of America’s Favorites – Sloppy Joe

October 16, 2017 at 5:46 AM | Posted in One of America's Favorites | Leave a comment
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A homemade sloppy joe with coleslaw

A Sloppy Joe is a sandwich consisting of ground beef, onions, tomato sauce or ketchup, Worcestershire sauce, and other seasonings, served on a hamburger bun. The dish originated in the United States during the early 20th century.

 

 

 

Early 20th century American cookbooks offer plenty of sloppy joe type recipes, though they go by different titles: Toasted Deviled Hamburgers, Chopped Meat Sandwiches, Hamburg a la Creole, Beef Mironton, and Minced Beef Spanish Style.

 

Marilyn Brown, Director of the Consumer Test Kitchen at H.J. Heinz in Pittsburgh, says their research at the Carnegie Library suggests that the sloppy joe’s origins lie with the “loose meat sandwiches” sold in Sioux City, Iowa in the 1930’s and were the creation of a cook named Joe.

References to sloppy joes as sandwiches begin by the 1940s. One example is a 1944 Coshocton Tribune ad under the heading “Good Things to Eat” says “Sloppy Joes’ – 10c – Originated in Cuba – You’ll ask for more – The Hamburg Shop” and elsewhere on the same page, “Hap is introducing that new sandwich at The Hamburg Shop – Sloppy Joes – 10c.”

The term sloppy joe’s had an earlier definition of any cheap restaurant or lunch counter serving cheap food quickly or of a type of casual clothing.

Food companies began producing packaged sloppy joe sauce, such as Manwich, by the 1960s.

 

 

Sloppy Joe meat being prepared

Several variations of the sloppy joe exist in North America. In Quebec, Canada, sandwiches of stewed ground beef such as pain à la viande and pain fourré gumbo are usually served on hot dog buns. A similar sandwich, the “dynamite”, exists in the area around Woonsocket, Rhode Island, and is distinguished by the use of onions, bell peppers, and sometimes celery.

Stewed meat sandwiches are common in several other culinary traditions as well. The rou jia mo, from China’s Shaanxi Province, consists of stewed pork, beef, or lamb on a steamed bun. Keema pav of Indian cuisine uses a pav bread roll filled with keema, a minced, stewed, curried meat.

Ground turkey or textured vegetable protein may be used as a substitute for ground beef.

A sloppy joe differs from a traditional loose meat or tavern sandwich due largely to its tomato-based sauce.

In some stores in northern New Jersey, an unrelated sandwich made with a combination of deli meat, such as turkey, roast beef or especially ham, with coleslaw, Russian dressing and Swiss cheese on three slices of rye bread is also known as a sloppy joe.

 

 

One of America’s Favorites – Pumpkin Pie

October 9, 2017 at 5:28 AM | Posted in One of America's Favorites | Leave a comment
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Pumpkin pie

Pumpkin pie is a sweet dessert pie with a spiced, pumpkin-based custard filling. The pumpkin is a symbol of harvest time, and pumpkin pie is often eaten during the fall and early winter. In the United States and Canada, it is usually prepared for Thanksgiving and Christmas, and is also featured at Halloween.

The pie consists of a pumpkin-based custard, ranging in colour from orange to brown, baked in a single pie shell, rarely with a top crust. The pie is generally flavored with cinnamon, powdered ginger, nutmeg, and cloves. Allspice is also commonly used and can replace the clove and nutmeg, as its flavor is similar to both combined. Cardamom and vanilla are also sometimes used as batter spices. The spice mixture is called pumpkin pie spice.

The pie is often made from canned pumpkin or packaged pumpkin pie filling (spices included), mainly from varieties of Cucurbita moschata.

 

Pumpkin pie filling being made

Pies made from pumpkins use pie pumpkins; at about six to eight inches in diameter, they are considerably smaller than jack o’lanterns. The pumpkin is sliced in half, and the seeds are removed. The two halves are heated until soft, in an oven, over an open fire, on a stove top, or in a microwave oven. Sometimes the pumpkin halves are brined to soften the pulp, rather than cooked. At this point the pulp is scooped out and puréed.

The pulp is mixed with eggs, evaporated and/or sweetened condensed milk, sugar, and a spice mixture called pumpkin pie spice, which includes nutmeg and other spices (e.g., ginger, cinnamon, cloves, allspice, mace), then baked in a pie shell. Similar pies are made with butternut squash or sweet potato fillings.

 

 

A slice of pumpkin pie

The pumpkin is native to the continent of North America. The pumpkin was an early export to France; from there it was introduced to Tudor England, and the flesh of the “pompion” was quickly accepted as pie filler. During the seventeenth century, pumpkin pie recipes could be found in English cookbooks, such as Hannah Woolley’s The Gentlewoman’s Companion (1675). Pumpkin “pies” made by early American colonists were more likely to be a savory soup made and served in a pumpkin than a sweet custard in a crust.

It was not until the early nineteenth century that the recipes appeared in American cookbooks or pumpkin pie became a common addition to the Thanksgiving dinner. The Pilgrims brought the pumpkin pie back to New England, while the English method of cooking the pumpkin took a different course. In the 19th century, the English pumpkin pie was prepared by stuffing the pumpkin with apples, spices, and sugar and then baking it whole.

Today, throughout much of the United States, it is traditional to serve pumpkin pie after Thanksgiving dinner. Additionally, many modern companies produce seasonal pumpkin pie-flavored products such as candy, cheesecake, coffee, ice cream, french toast, waffles and pancakes, and many breweries produce a seasonal pumpkin ale or beer; these are generally not flavored with pumpkins, but rather pumpkin pie spices. Commercially made pumpkin pie mix is made from Cucurbita pepo, Cucurbita maxima, and Cucurbita moschata (Libbey Select uses the Select Dickinson Pumpkin variety of C. moschata for its canned pumpkins).

 

 

A can of pureed pumpkin, typically used as the main ingredient in the pie filling

The world’s largest pumpkin pie was made in New Bremen, Ohio, at the New Bremen Pumpkinfest. It was created on September 25, 2010. The pie consisted of 1,212 pounds of canned pumpkin, 109 gallons of evaporated milk, 2,796 eggs, 7 pounds of salt, 14.5 pounds of cinnamon, and 525 pounds of sugar. The final pie weighed 3,699 pounds (1,678 kg) and measured 20 feet (6 m) in diameter.

 

 

One of America’s Favorites – Chicken and Waffles

October 2, 2017 at 5:24 AM | Posted in One of America's Favorites | Leave a comment
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Soul food style chicken and waffles, served with peaches and cream as dessert

Chicken and waffles refers to either of two American dishes – one from soul food, the other Pennsylvania Dutch – that combine chicken with waffles. It is served in certain specialty restaurants in the United States.

 

 

 

 

The best known chicken and waffle pairing comes from the American soul food tradition and uses fried chicken. The waffle is served as it would be at breakfast time, with condiments such as butter and syrup. This unusual combination of foods is beloved by many people who are influenced by traditions of soul food passed down from past generations of their families. This version of the dish is highly popular in Baltimore, Maryland, enough to become a well-known local custom.

 

Chicken and waffles

The exact origins of this dish are unknown, although several theories about its origin exist. Waffles entered American cuisine in the 1600s with European colonists. The food’s popularity saw a notable boost after 1789 with Thomas Jefferson’s purchase of a waffle iron in France.

In the early 1800s, hotels and resorts outside Philadelphia served waffles with fried catfish. Such establishments also served other dishes like fried chicken, which gradually became the meat of choice due to catfish’s limited, seasonal availability. Waffles served with chicken and gravy were noted as a common Sunday dish among the Pennsylvania Dutch by the 1860s. By the end of the 19th century, the dish was a symbol of Pennsylvania Dutch Country, brought on in part by its association with tourism.

In 1909, a Griswold’s waffle iron advertisement promised, “You can attend a chicken and waffle supper right at home any time you have the notion if you are the owner of a Griswold’s American Waffle Iron.”

The traditional origin of the dish states that because African-Americans in the South rarely had the opportunity to eat chicken and were more familiar with flapjacks or pancakes than with waffles, they considered the dish a delicacy. For decades, it remained “a special-occasion meal in African-American families.” However, other historians cite a scarcity of actual early era evidence of the dish’s existence in the South, and place the origin later, after the post-Civil War migration of Southern African-Americans to the North during the Reconstruction Era. The combination of chicken and waffles does not appear in early Southern cookbooks such as Mrs. Porter’s Southern Cookery Book, published in 1871 or in What Mrs. Fisher Knows About Old Southern Cooking, published in 1881 by former slave Abby Fisher. Fisher’s cookbook is generally considered the first cookbook written by an African-American. The lack of a recipe for the combination of chicken and waffles in Southern cookbooks from the era may suggest a later origin for the dish.

Whatever the case, many modern variants of the dish owe their origins to the meal as it was served in the African-American community in early 20th-century Harlem, New York. The dish was served as early as the 1930s in such Harlem locations as Tillie’s Chicken Shack, Dickie Wells’ jazz nightclub, and particularly the Wells Supper Club. Harlem-style chicken and waffles have been popular in Los Angeles since the 1970s due to the fame of former Harlem resident Herb Hudson’s restaurant Roscoe’s House of Chicken and Waffles, which has become known as a favorite of some Hollywood celebrities and been referenced in several movies.

 

 

One of America’s Favorites – Shortcake

September 25, 2017 at 5:03 AM | Posted in One of America's Favorites | Leave a comment
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Shortcake is a sweet cake or biscuit (in the American sense: that is, a crumbly bread that has been leavened with baking powder or baking soda).

Shortcake is typically made with flour, sugar, baking powder or soda, salt, butter, milk or cream, and sometimes eggs. The dry ingredients are blended, and then the butter is cut in until the mixture resembles cornmeal. The liquid ingredients are then mixed in just until moistened, resulting in a shortened dough. The dough is then dropped in spoonfuls onto a baking sheet, rolled and cut like baking powder biscuits, or poured into a cake pan, depending on how wet the dough is and the baker’s preferences. Then it is baked at a relatively high temperature until set.

 

An image of a strawberry shortcake

Strawberry shortcake
The most famous dessert made with shortcake is strawberry shortcake. Sliced strawberries are mixed with sugar and allowed to sit an hour or so, until the strawberries have surrendered a great deal of their juices (macerated). The shortcakes are split and the bottoms are covered with a layer of strawberries, juice, and whipped cream, typically flavored with sugar and vanilla. The top is replaced, and more strawberries and whipped cream are added onto the top. Some convenience versions of shortcake are not made with a shortcake (i.e. biscuit) at all, but instead use a base of sponge cake or sometimes a corn muffin. Japanese-style strawberry shortcakes use a sponge cake base, and are a popular Christmas treat in Japan.

The largest strawberry shortcake ever made was in the town of La Trinidad, Benguet in the Philippines on March 20, 2004. It weighed 21,213.40 lb.

Though strawberry is the most widely known shortcake dessert, peach shortcake, blueberry shortcake, chocolate shortcake and other similar desserts are made along similar lines. It is also common to see recipes where the shortcake itself is flavored; coconut is a common addition.

 

Though today’s shortcakes are usually of the biscuit or sponge-cake variety, earlier American recipes called for pie crust in rounds or broken-up pieces, which was a variety still being enjoyed in the 21st century, particularly in the South.

The first strawberry shortcake recipe appeared in an English cookbook as early as 1588, according to Driscoll’s berry growers. By 1850, strawberry shortcake was a well-known biscuit and fruit dessert served hot with butter and sweetened cream. In the United States, strawberry shortcake parties were held as celebrations of the summer fruit harvest. This tradition is upheld in some parts of the United States on June 14, which is Strawberry Shortcake Day. It wasn’t until 1910 that French pastry chefs replaced the topping with heavy whipped cream.

 

 

One of America’s Favorites – Strip Steak

September 18, 2017 at 5:26 AM | Posted in One of America's Favorites | Leave a comment
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Grilled Kansas City strip steak topped with onions and mushrooms

The strip steak, also called a New York strip, a Kansas City strip steak (US), a sirloin steak (UK/NZ/ZA), or a porterhouse (AU), is a cut of beef steaks from the short loin from a cow. It consists of a muscle that does little work, the longissimus, making the meat particularly tender; although not as tender as the nearby rib eye or tenderloin. Fat content of the strip is somewhere between the two cuts. Unlike the tenderloin, the short loin is a sizable muscle, allowing it to be cut into larger portions.

 

 

A U.S. Prime raw strip steak with a high marbling content

According to the National Cattlemen’s Beef Association, the steak is marketed under various names, including Ambassador Steak, Boneless Club Steak, Hotel-Style Steak, Kansas City Steak, New York Steak, and Veiny Steak.

In New Zealand and Australia, it is known as Porterhouse and Sirloin (strip loin steak) and can be found in the Handbook of Australian Meat under codes 2140 to 2143.

In Canada, most meat purveyors refer to this cut as a strip loin.

Delmonico’s Restaurant, an operation opened in New York City in 1827, offered as one of its signature dishes a cut from the short loin called a Delmonico steak. Due to its association with the city, it is often referred to as a New York strip steak.

 

Related Cuts – When still attached to the bone, and with a piece of the tenderloin also included, the strip steak becomes a T-bone steak or a porterhouse steak, the difference being that the porterhouse has a larger portion of tenderloin included. The strip steak may be sold with or without the bone. Strip steaks may be substituted for most recipes calling for T-bone and porterhouse steaks, and sometimes for fillet and rib eye steaks.

A bone-in strip steak with no tenderloin attached is sometimes referred to as a shell steak.

 

 

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