One of America’s Favorites – Hangtown Fry

August 13, 2018 at 5:02 AM | Posted in One of America's Favorites | Leave a comment
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A “hangtown burger” made using a hangtown fry, a ⅓-pound chuck steak, sriracha sauce of roasted red peppers, and baby arugula

Hangtown fry is a type of omelette made famous during the California Gold Rush in the 1850s. The most common version includes bacon and oysters combined with eggs, and fried together. The dish was invented in Placerville, California, then known as Hangtown. According to most accounts, the dish was invented when a gold prospector struck it rich, headed to the Cary House Hotel, and demanded the most expensive dish that the kitchen could provide. The most expensive ingredients available were eggs, which were delicate and had to be carefully brought to the mining town; bacon, which was shipped from the East Coast, and oysters, which had to be brought on ice from San Francisco, over 100 miles away.

Another creation myth is the one told by the waiters at Sam’s Grill in Tiburon, just north of San Francisco. At the county jail in Placerville, a condemned man was asked what he would like to eat for his last meal. He thought quickly and ordered an oyster omelet, knowing that the oysters would have to be brought from the water, over a hundred miles away by steamship and over rough roads, delaying his execution for a day.

The dish was popularized by Tadich Grill in San Francisco, where it has apparently been on the menu for 160 years. Later variations on the dish include the addition of onions, bell peppers, or various spices, and deep frying the oysters before adding them to the omelette.

According to the El Dorado County Museum, “No dish epitomizes California and its Gold Rush more than Hangtown Fry. It was created at a location central to the Gold Rush at the same time the great state was being born. And, like the miners who worked the river banks and hillsides, and the population that followed, it is a unique blend of many things, both those produced locally and those that have arrived from elsewhere.”

 

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One of America’s Favorites – Fried Clams

August 6, 2018 at 5:02 AM | Posted in One of America's Favorites | Leave a comment
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Fried clams are clam dipped in milk and then flour and deep-fried. Fried clams are an iconic food, “to New England, what barbecue is to the South”. They tend to be served at seaside clam shacks (roadside restaurants). Clam rolls are fried clams served in a hot dog bun. Tartar sauce is the usual condiment.

The clams are dipped in evaporated milk, and coated with a combination of regular, corn, and/or pastry flour. Then

Fried clams

the coated clams are fried in canola oil or soybean oil, or lard.

The usual variant in New England is made from whole soft-shell clams, known as “Whole-Bellies”; these include the clam’s gastrointestinal tract and have a fuller flavor. Some restaurants remove the clam’s chewy siphon called the neck.

Outside New England, “clam strips”, made of sliced parts of Atlantic surf clams, are more common.

Fried clams are mentioned as early as 1840, and are listed on an 1865 menu from the Parker House hotel. How exactly they were prepared is unclear; the 1865 menu offers both “oysters—fried” and “oysters—fried in batter”, but only “fried clams”.

Nineteenth-century American cookbooks describe several different dishes of fried clams:

* Seasoned clams sautéed in butter. (1850)
* Clams breaded (with egg binding) and sautéed in butter or fat. (1850) (1904)
* Clams in a beaten egg batter, fried in butter, called “clam fritters”. (1850) (1904)

The modern deep-fried, breaded version is generally credited to Lawrence Henry “Chubby” Woodman from Essex, Massachusetts. He is said to have created the first batch on July 3, 1916, in his small roadside restaurant, now Woodman’s of Essex. One of his specialties was potato chips, so he had large vats for deep-frying. He used the clams, which he had collected himself from the mud flats of the Essex River located close to his home.

Later, Thomas Soffron, of Soffron Brothers Clam Co., based in Ipswich, Massachusetts, created clam strips, which are made from the “foot” of hard-shelled sea clams. He sold these to Howard Johnson’s in an exclusive deal, and as the chain expanded, they became popular throughout the country.

Clams in themselves are low in cholesterol and fat, but fried clams absorb cooking fat.

 

One of America’s Favorites – Tavern Sandwich

July 30, 2018 at 5:02 AM | Posted in One of America's Favorites | Leave a comment
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A tavern sandwich with cheese

A tavern sandwich (also called a loose meat sandwich or loosemeat) is a sandwich consisting of ground beef on a bun, mixed with sauteed onions, and sometimes topped with pickles, ketchup, mustard, and cheese.

The tavern sandwich is unlike a hamburger, because a tavern’s meat is cooked loose rather than formed into a compact patty. It more closely resembles a sloppy joe, without the tomato-based sauce.

Carroll Dietz of Missoula, Montana created the precursor to the tavern sandwich in 1920, referred to as a “steamed hamburger.” In 1926, Fred Angell began selling his version of the sandwich at the first Maid-Rite restaurant in Muscatine, Iowa under the name “loose meat sandwich.” The name “tavern” for the sandwich is credited to David Heglin. Heglin sold the sandwiches at his Sioux City, Iowa restaurant in 1924. After Heglin died, Abe Kaled bought the business in 1934 and renamed the restaurant Ye Olde Tavern after the sandwich. Kaled perfected the recipe for the ground beef, and the tavern sandwich spread to restaurants and bars across the Sioux City area.

The sandwich is now well known throughout the Midwestern United States, and is served not only in small, local establishments but also in franchise restaurant locations such as Dairy Queen and Maid-Rite. The Wichita, Kansas-based chain Nu Way Cafe serves a version of the tavern/loose meat sandwich called a “Nu Way”. In Illinois, the sandwich is also known as a “loose hamburger sandwich”. In Iowa, it is sometimes referred to as a Maid-Rite.

 

One of America’s Favorites – Muffin

July 23, 2018 at 5:02 AM | Posted in One of America's Favorites | 2 Comments
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A chocolate muffin

A muffin is an individual-sized, baked product. It can refer to two distinct items, a part-raised flatbread and a cupcake-like quickbread. The flatbread is of British or European derivation, and dates from at least the early 18th century, while the quickbread originated in North America during the 19th century. Both are common worldwide today.

Quickbread muffins (known in Britain as “American muffins” or simply as “muffins”) originated in the United States in the mid-19th century. The use of the term to describe what are essentially cup cakes or buns did not become common usage in Britain until the last decades of the 20th century on the back of the spread of coffee shops such as Starbucks. (There is lingering resistance in the UK to the term as being inapplicable to cakes.) They are similar to cupcakes in size and cooking methods, the main difference being that cupcakes tend to be sweet desserts using cake batter and which are often topped with sugar icing (American frosting). Muffins are available in both savoury varieties, such as cornmeal and cheese muffins, or sweet varieties such as blueberry, chocolate chip, lemon or banana flavours. They are often eaten as a breakfast food, often accompanied by coffee or tea. Fresh baked muffins are sold by bakeries, donut shops and some fast food restaurants and coffeehouses. Factory baked muffins are sold at grocery stores and convenience stores and are also served in some coffee shops and cafeterias.

Quickbread Muffin

Recipes for quick bread muffins are common in 19th-century American cookbooks. Recipes for yeast-based muffins, which were sometimes called “common muffins” or “wheat muffins” in 19th-century American cookbooks, can be found in much older cookbooks. In her Boston Cooking-School Cook Book, Fannie Farmer gave recipes for both types of muffins, both those that used yeast to raise the dough and those that used a quick bread method, using muffin rings to shape the English muffins. Farmer indicated that stove top “baking”, as is done with yeast dough, was a useful method when baking in an oven was not practical.

 

One of America’s Favorites – Senate Bean Soup

July 16, 2018 at 5:02 AM | Posted in One of America's Favorites | 1 Comment
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Senate bean soup at the Dirksen Senate Office Building

U.S. Senate Bean Soup or simply Senate bean soup is a soup made with navy beans, ham hocks, and onion. It is served in the dining room of the United States Senate every day, in a tradition that dates back to the early 20th century. The original version included celery, garlic, parsley, and mashed potatoes as well.

According to the Senate website, “Bean soup is on the menu in the Senate’s restaurant every day. There are several stories about the origin of that mandate, but none has been corroborated.”

On September 14, 1943, rationing due to World War II left the Senate kitchen without enough navy beans to serve the soup. The Washington Times-Herald reported on its absence the following day. In a speech on the Senate floor in 1988, Bob Dole recounted the response to the crisis: “Somehow, by the next day, more beans were found and bowls of bean soup have been ladled up without interruption ever since.”

A 1967 memo from the Architect of the Capitol to the Librarian of the Senate describes the modern recipe, calling for “two pounds of small Michigan Navy Beans”.

John Egerton writes in Southern Food that the use of ham hocks suggests an origin in Southern cuisine. Although the legislators credited with institutionalizing the soup did not represent Southern states, most of the cooks at the time were black Southerners who would prepare bean soup in their own style. There was a period when the Senate dining services omitted the ham and instead used a soup base. In 1984, a new manager discovered this practice; he reflects, “we went back to the ham hocks, and there was a real difference.”

There are two Senate soup recipes:

The Famous Senate Restaurant Bean Soup Recipe
2 pounds dried navy beans
four quarts hot water
1 1/2 pounds smoked ham hocks
1 onion, chopped
2 tablespoons butter
salt and pepper to taste

Wash the navy beans and run hot water through them until they are slightly whitened. Place beans into pot with hot water. Add ham hocks and simmer approximately three hours in a covered pot, stirring occasionally. Remove ham hocks and set aside to cool. Dice meat and return to soup. Lightly brown the onion in butter. Add to soup. Before serving, bring to a boil and season with salt and pepper. Serves 8.

Bean Soup Recipe (for five gallons)
3 pounds dried navy beans
2 pounds of ham and a ham bone
1 quart mashed potatoes
5 onions, chopped
2 stalks of celery, chopped
four cloves garlic, chopped
half a bunch of parsley, chopped
Clean the beans, then cook them dry. Add ham, bone and water and bring to a boil. Add potatoes and mix thoroughly. Add chopped vegetables and bring to a boil. Simmer for one hour before serving.

As of 2010, members of the public can try the soup between 11:30am and 3pm in the Senate dining room. There is a dress code, and entry requires a “request letter” from a senator. The soup is also available to the general public at the Capitol Visitor Center restaurant on a rotating basis, between 7:30am and 4pm, and in the Longworth Cafeteria, between 7:30am and 2:30pm.

The Project Greek Island bunker, a Cold War-era emergency relocation center for Congress, included a cafeteria that would have served Senate bean soup.

Past prices for a bowl include:

1940: $0.15
1996: $1.00
1997: $1.10
2004: $4.50
2008: $5.00
2010: $6.00
2014: $3.60 for a 16-ounce bowl

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One of America’s Favorites – Maxwell Street Polish

July 9, 2018 at 5:02 AM | Posted in One of America's Favorites | Leave a comment
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Pork chops and Polish sausages, with the accompanying onions, on the grill.

A Maxwell Street Polish consists of a grilled or fried length of Polish sausage topped with grilled onions and yellow mustard and optional pickled whole, green sport peppers, served on a bun. The sandwich traces its origins to Chicago’s Maxwell Street market, and has been called one of “the classic foods synonymous with Chicago”.

 

 

 

The sandwich is widely said to have been created by Jimmy Stefanovic, a Macedonian immigrant, who took over His aunt and uncle’s hot dog stand in 1939 (now called Jim’s Original) located at Maxwell and Halsted in Chicago’s old Maxwell Street market district. The Express Grill, which is located right next door to Jim’s, advertises itself as the “Original Maxwell St. Polish” on its marquee, although it arrived after Jim’s and serves almost an identical menu. Due to their virtually undivided storefronts and 24-hour service at the original Halsted Street location of both stands, Jim’s Original and Express Grill had an added element of confusion for the casual observer not attentive to the change in signage a matter of feet in distance. Despite the competition, the Maxwell Polish sausage sandwich soon grew to be one of Chicago’s most popular local offerings, along with the Chicago-style hot dog and the Italian beef sandwich.

Jim’s Original at its current location on Union Avenue

Due to the University of Illinois Chicago’s South Campus development the Maxwell Street market district was razed and the two stands moved in 2005. After decades of coexisting at the intersection of Halsted and Maxwell Streets, the two have relocated their side-by-side competition a half block east onto Union Avenue, adjacent to the Dan Ryan Expressway on-ramp at Roosevelt Road.

Maxwell Polish are a staple of hot dog stands and today are found throughout the city and suburbs, including at restaurant chains such as Portillo’s and Brown’s Chicken, and is available at most sports venues in the area serving concessions. Most of the 24-hour stands (such as the original Express Grill and its neighboring competition, Jim’s Original) also serve the pork chop sandwich popularized alongside the Polish sausage sandwich during the days of the old Maxwell Street market.

 

Maxwell Street Polish Hot Dog Stand

The main feature of the sandwich is the sausage, which is widely available in grocery and specialty retail stores throughout the Chicago area. It is typically marketed as the “Maxwell Street” variety, which is a Chicago-specific variation of kielbasa distinguished by it being typically more seasoned and made from a combination of both beef and pork. The two largest manufacturers of this particular style of Polish sausage in Chicago are Vienna Beef and the Bobak’s Sausage Company

 

One of America’s Favorites – Italian Tomato Pie

July 2, 2018 at 5:02 AM | Posted in One of America's Favorites | Leave a comment
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Italian Tomato pie

Italian tomato pie is an Italian-American baked good consisting of a thick, porous, focaccia-like dough covered with tomato sauce. It may be sprinkled with romano cheese or oregano. It is not usually served straight from the oven, but allowed to cool and then consumed at room temperature or reheated. Like Sicilian pizza, tomato pie is baked in a large rectangular pan and served in square slices. In Rhode Island it is cut into long strips and often called pizza strips. Tomato pie descends from and resembles the Italian sfincione, although it is not the same dish; for instance, sfincione may have toppings, is usually served hot, and has a crust more like brioche than foccacia.

Other names for tomato pie include gravy pie (“gravy” here refers to “Italian gravy”, i.e. tomato sauce) and church pie in Philadelphia, and red bread, strip pizza, party pizza and bakery pizza in Rhode Island.

A 1903 article in the New-York Tribune on the food of Italian-Americans described an early version of tomato pie. Tomato pie has been sold by Iannelli’s Bakery in Philadelphia since 1910 and O’Scugnizzo’s Pizzeria in Utica, New York since 1914. Tomato pie remains popular in Philadelphia, Utica, and Rhode Island.

 

Kitchen Hint of the Day!

July 2, 2018 at 5:00 AM | Posted in One of America's Favorites | Leave a comment
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The healthy Acorn Squash……………..

In terms of vitamins and minerals, acorn squash has significant levels of vitamin C, vitamin A, thiamin, pantothenic acid, and other B-family vitamins, and its range of minerals is truly impressive, including potassium, magnesium, manganese, iron, copper, phosphorous, and calcium.

One of America’s Favorites – Ham and Cheese Sandwich

June 25, 2018 at 5:02 AM | Posted in One of America's Favorites | Leave a comment
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A grilled ham and cheese sandwich, in a cast iron frying pan

A ham and cheese sandwich is a common type of sandwich. It is made by putting cheese and sliced ham between two slices of bread. The bread is sometimes buttered and/or toasted. Vegetables like lettuce, tomato, onion or pickle slices can also be included. Various kinds of mustard and mayonnaise are also common.

Sliced bread, sliced cheese, and sliced cooked ham are very readily available in Western supermarkets and as a result ham and cheese sandwiches are quick and easy to prepare. They are a common component of a packed lunch.

 

As recalled by ballpark concessionaire Harry Stevens in a 1924 interview, in 1894 ham and cheese sandwiches were the only food sold in New York baseball parks; frankfurters were introduced in 1909.

Open-faced ham and cheese tapas-style sandwiches

An Englishwoman, writing in 1923 of her passage through Ellis Island on a trip to the U.S., noted:

I was in fear and trembling, having heard so many tales of the abuse aliens receive there…. The attendants were very kind and not at all rough with us. It was the noon hour… in a little while porters came along with baskets of very good ham and cheese sandwiches and coffee for the grown-ups and milk for the babies.
Richard E. Byrd took ham and cheese sandwiches on his 1926 polar flight as did 1927 transatlantic fliers Chamberlin and Levine.

 

The origin of the ham and cheese sandwich has been debated for a number of years by culinary intellectuals. The leading theory as to who first started to produce a ham, cheese and bread dish is mentioned in The Larousse Gastronomique 1961. Here it notes that Patrick Connolly, an 18th-century Irish immigrant to England, sold a bread dish which:

Home made ham and cheese sandwich

“combined the remains of pig, cured and sliced with a topping of Leicester cheese and a kiss of egg yolk sauce (a form of mayonnaise) in a round bread roll. The dish was rather unimaginatively known as a Connolly and is still sometimes referred to as this in some parts of the Midlands in the UK.”

In the UK, a common addition to a ham and cheese sandwich is pickle (a sweet, vinegary chutney originally by Branston); the snack is then known as a ham, cheese and pickle sandwich.

 

 

In French cuisine, a croque-monsieur is a type of ham and cheese sandwich. It is topped with cheese and baked or fried.

 

One of America’s Favorites – Fool’s Gold Loaf

June 18, 2018 at 5:02 AM | Posted in One of America's Favorites | Leave a comment
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Fool’s Gold Loaf is a sandwich made by the Colorado Mine Company, a restaurant in Denver, Colorado. The sandwich consists of a single warmed, hollowed-out loaf of bread filled with the contents of one jar of creamy peanut butter, one jar of grape jelly, and a pound of bacon. The sandwich’s connection to Elvis Presley is the source of its legend and prolonged interest. According to The Life and Cuisine of Elvis Presley, it was the focus of a midnight sandwich run by Elvis Presley and his friends. Taking his private jet from Graceland, Presley and his friends purchased 22 of the sandwiches and spent two hours eating them and drinking Perrier and champagne before flying home. The story became legend and the sandwich became the subject of continued media interest and part of numerous cookbooks, typically focused around Presley’s love of food.

There are two accounts on the origin of Fool’s Gold Loaf. According to Graeme Wood, the Fool’s Gold Loaf was created by Cindy and Buck Scott, owners of the Colorado Mine Company restaurant. Wood writes that Elvis obtained the recipe from the Scotts, so his personal chef could make it, but noted that “the Fool’s Gold Loaf never made a recorded encore”.

According to Nick Andurlakis, he helped create the sandwich while he was working at the Colorado Mine Company as a chef and suggested the Fool’s Gold Loaf to Elvis. Andurlakis claims that he personally delivered the sandwiches to Elvis on the famous night.

The sandwich was named to fit the mining motif of the restaurant. At the time of Elvis’s famous outing, the Fool’s Gold Loaf cost $49.95 (equivalent to $215 in 2017).

The recipe has been repeated by numerous sources, including The Life and Cuisine of Elvis Presley and Andurlakis, a chef at the Colorado Mine Company.

The Fool’s Gold Loaf begins with a loaf of French white bread that is covered in two tablespoons of margarine and baked in the oven at 350F/180C until brown. One pound of sliced bacon is fried in oil until crispy and drained. The loaf is sliced lengthwise, hollowed out, and filled with peanut butter, grape jelly and bacon.

According to Andurlakis, he personally served Elvis the Fool’s Gold Loaf with bacon, peanut butter, and blueberry preserves on a loaf of French bread. The specific type of preserves was allegedly Dickinson’s blueberry preserves.

David Adler’s book contains a detailed account of the event that made the Fool’s Gold Loaf sandwich famous. On the night of February 1, 1976, Elvis Presley was at his home at Graceland in Memphis, entertaining Capt. Jerry Kennedy of the Denver, Colorado police force, and Ron Pietrafeso of Colorado’s Strike Force Against Crime. The three men began discussing the sandwich, and Presley decided he wanted one right then. Presley had been to the restaurant before, while in Denver. Kennedy and Pietrafeso were friends of the owners and hung out there often, so they were driven to the Memphis airport and boarded Presley’s private jet, the Lisa Marie, and flew the two hours to Denver. When they arrived at Stapleton International Airport at 1:40 AM, the plane taxied to a special hangar where the passengers were greeted by Buck Scott, the owner of the Colorado Mine Company, and his wife Cindy who had brought 22 fresh Fool’s Gold Loaves for the men. They spent two hours in the hangar eating the sandwiches, washing them down with Perrier and champagne. Presley invited the pilots of the plane, Milo High and Elwood Davis, to join them. When they were done, they flew back to Memphis without ever having left the Denver airport.

 

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