One of America’s Favorites – Cobbler

October 25, 2021 at 6:02 AM | Posted in One of America's Favorites | Leave a comment
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Cobbler

Cobbler is a dessert consisting of a fruit (or less commonly savory) filling poured into a large baking dish and covered with a batter, biscuit, or dumpling (in the United Kingdom) before being baked. Some cobbler recipes, especially in the American South, resemble a thick-crusted, deep-dish pie with both a top and bottom crust. Cobbler is part of the cuisine of the United Kingdom and United States, and should not be confused with a crumble

Cobblers originated in the British American colonies. English settlers were unable to make traditional suet puddings due to lack of suitable ingredients and cooking equipment, so instead covered a stewed filling with a layer of uncooked plain biscuits or dumplings, fitted together.[citation needed] The origin of the name cobbler, recorded from 1859, is uncertain: it may be related to the archaic word cobbler, meaning “wooden bowl”.

North America

Grunts, pandowdy, and slumps are Canadian Maritimes and New England varieties of cobbler, typically cooked on the stovetop, or in an iron skillet or pan, with the dough on top in the shape of dumplings. They reportedly take their name from the grunting sound they make while cooking. Another name for the types of biscuits/dumplings used are called dough-boys. Dough-boys are used in stews and cobblers alike.
In the United States, additional varieties of cobbler include the apple pan dowdy (an apple cobbler whose crust has been broken and perhaps stirred back into the filling), the Betty, the buckle (made with yellow batter (like cake batter), with the filling mixed in with the batter), the dump (or dump cake), the grump, the slump, and the sonker. The sonker is unique to North Carolina: it is a deep-dish version of the American cobbler.
In the Deep South, cobblers most commonly come in single fruit varieties and are named as such, such as blackberry, blueberry, and peach cobbler. The Deep South tradition also gives the option of topping the fruit cobbler with a scoop or two of vanilla ice cream. Savory cobblers are less common in the region; for example, tomato cobbler, which may include onion and a biscuit topping that may include cheese or cornmeal, is one savoury variant that also resembles Southern tomato pie.

Peach cobbler with ice cream

Betty
The American variant known as the Betty or brown Betty dates from native times. In 1864, in the Yale Literary Magazine, it appeared with “brown” in lower case, thus making “Betty” the proper name. In 1890, however, a recipe was published in Practical Sanitary and Economic Cooking Adapted to Persons of Moderate and Small Means with the word “Brown” capitalised, making “Brown Betty” the proper name.
Brown Betties are made with breadcrumbs (or bread pieces, or graham cracker crumbs), and fruit, usually diced apples, in alternating layers. They are baked covered and have a consistency like bread pudding. In the midwestern United States, apple or strawberry Betty is often a synonym for apple crisp.

UK and British Commonwealth
In the UK and British Commonwealth, the scone-topped cobbler predominates, and is found in both sweet and savoury versions. Common sweet fillings include apple, blackberry, and peach. Savoury versions, such as beef, lamb, or mutton, consist of a casserole filling, sometimes with a simple ring of cobbles around the edge, rather than a complete layer, to aid cooking of the meat. Cheese or herb scones may also be used as a savory topping.
Cobblers and crumbles were promoted by the Ministry of Food during the Second World War, since they are filling, yet require less butter than a traditional pastry, and can be made with margarine.

One of America’s Favorites – Pastrami on Rye

October 18, 2021 at 6:02 AM | Posted in One of America's Favorites | Leave a comment
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A pastrami sandwich from Katz’s Delicatessen

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

One of America’s Favorites – Cheeseburger

October 11, 2021 at 6:02 AM | Posted in One of America's Favorites | Leave a comment
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Cheeseburger served with French fries

A cheeseburger is a hamburger topped with cheese. Traditionally, the slice of cheese is placed on top of the meat patty, but the burger can include many variations in structure, ingredients, and composition. The cheese is normally added to the cooking hamburger patty shortly before serving, which allows the cheese to melt. As with other hamburgers, a cheeseburger may include toppings, such as lettuce, tomato, onion, pickles, mustard, mayonnaise, ketchup, or bacon.

In fast food restaurants, the cheese used is normally processed cheese, but other cheeses may be used instead, such as cheddar, Swiss, mozzarella, blue cheese, and pepper jack. Also, in rare cases, spinach and olives are added.

 

By the late nineteenth century, the opening of the vast grasslands of the Great Plains to cattle ranching had made it possible for every American to enjoy beef almost daily. Hamburger was one of the cheapest way for even the poorest of Americans to eat beef.

Adding cheese to hamburgers became popular in the late-1920s to mid-1930s, and there are several competing claims as to who created the first cheeseburger. Lionel Sternberger is reputed to have introduced the cheeseburger in 1926 at the age of 16 when he was working as a fry cook at his father’s Pasadena, California sandwich shop, “The Rite Spot”, and “experimentally dropped a slab of American cheese on a sizzling hamburger.”

An early example of the cheeseburger appearing on a menu is a 1928 menu for the Los Angeles restaurant O’Dell’s which listed a cheeseburger smothered with chili for 25 cents.

Other restaurants also claim to have invented the cheeseburger. For example, Kaelin’s Restaurant in Louisville, Kentucky, said it invented the cheeseburger in 1934. One year later, a trademark for the name “cheeseburger” was awarded to Louis Ballast of the Humpty Dumpty Drive-In in Denver, Colorado. According to Steak ‘n Shake archives, the restaurant’s founder, Gus Belt, applied for a trademark on the word in the 1930s. Another example of the hamburger invention. “The history of the hamburger appears to be divided into two aspects: the American-type hamburger, with which most people are familiar, and the idea of the hamburger from Hamburg, Germany. The essential difference is in the name and sandwich. Hamburgers may have been inspired in the German city with the profusion of beef from cows in the country terrain. Given the lack of refrigeration, the meat had to be cooked immediately, and the Hamburg beef patties became popular.
The steamed cheeseburger, a variation almost exclusively served in central Connecticut, is believed to have been invented at a restaurant called Jack’s Lunch in Middletown, Connecticut, in the 1930s.
The largest cheeseburger ever made in the world weighed 2,014 pounds, “60 pounds of bacon, 50 pounds of lettuce, 50 pounds of sliced onions, 40 pounds of pickles, and 40 pounds of cheese.” The record was broken by Minnesota’s Black Bear Casino breaking the previous Cheeseburger record 881 pounds.
In the United States, National Cheeseburger Day is celebrated annually on September 18.

Some cheeseburger ingredients

The ingredients used to create cheeseburgers follow similar patterns found in the regional variations of hamburgers, although most start with ground beef. Common cheeses used for topping are American, Swiss, and other meltable cheeses. Popular toppings include lettuce, tomato, onion, pickles, bacon, avocado or guacamole, sliced sautéed mushrooms, cheese sauce or chili, but the variety of possible toppings is broad.

A cheeseburger may have more than one patty or more than one slice of cheese—it is reasonably common, but by no means automatic, for the number to increase at the same rate with cheese and meat interleaved. A stack of two or more patties follows the same basic pattern as hamburgers: with two patties will be called a double cheeseburger; a triple cheeseburger has three, and while much less common, a quadruple has four. A burger with 20 patties is called a score burger.

Sometimes cheeseburgers are prepared with the cheese enclosed within the ground beef, rather than on top. This is sometimes known as a Jucy Lucy.

One of America’s Favorites – Pumpkin Pie

October 4, 2021 at 6:02 AM | Posted in One of America's Favorites | Leave a comment
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A slice of pumpkin pie

Pumpkin pie is a dessert pie with a spiced, pumpkin-based custard filling, though other types of squash are more commonly utilized. The pumpkin is a symbol of harvest time, and pumpkin pie is generally eaten during the fall and early winter. In the United States and Canada, it is usually prepared for Thanksgiving, and other occasions when pumpkin is in season.

The pie filling ranges in color from orange to brown and is 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.

Pies made from pumpkins use pie pumpkins which measure about 15 to 20 centimetres (6 to 8 inches) in diameter. They are considerably smaller than jack o’lanterns. The first step for getting the edible part out of the pumpkin is to slice it in half and remove the seeds. 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 instead of being cooked. At this point, the pulp is scooped out and puréed.[citation needed]

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.

Pumpkin pie filling being made

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 Canadian and 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. In the United States after the Civil War, the pumpkin pie was resisted in southern states as a symbol of Yankee culture imposed on the south, where there was no tradition of eating pumpkin pie. Many southern cooks instead made sweet potato pie, or added bourbon and pecans to give a southern touch.

Today, throughout much of Canada and 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. (Libby Select uses the Select Dickinson Pumpkin variety of C. moschata for its canned pumpkins.)

Pumpkin pies were briefly discouraged from Thanksgiving dinners in 1947 as part of a rationing campaign, mainly because of the eggs in the recipe.

One of America’s Favorites – Cheesesteak

September 27, 2021 at 6:02 AM | Posted in One of America's Favorites | Leave a comment
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A cheesesteak sandwich with Cheez Whiz

A cheesesteak, also known as a Philadelphia cheese steak, Philly cheesesteak, cheesesteak sandwich, cheese steak, or steak and cheese, is a sandwich made from thinly sliced pieces of beefsteak and melted cheese in a long hoagie roll. A popular regional fast food, it has its roots in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania.

The cheesesteak was developed in the early 20th century “by combining frizzled beef, onions, and cheese in a small loaf of bread”, according to a 1987 exhibition catalog published by the Library Company of Philadelphia and the Historical Society of Pennsylvania.

Philadelphians Pat and Harry Olivieri are often credited with inventing the sandwich by serving chopped steak on an Italian roll in the early 1930s. The exact story behind its creation is debated, but in some accounts, Pat and Harry Olivieri originally owned a hot dog stand, and on one occasion, decided to make a new sandwich using chopped beef and grilled onions. While Pat was eating the sandwich, a cab driver stopped by and was interested in it, so he requested one for himself. After eating it, the cab driver suggested that Olivieri quit making hot dogs and instead focus on the new sandwich. They began selling this variation of steak sandwiches at their hot dog stand near South Philadelphia’s Italian Market. They became so popular that Pat opened up his own restaurant which still operates today as Pat’s King of Steaks. The sandwich was originally prepared without cheese; Olivieri said provolone cheese was first added by Joe “Cocky Joe” Lorenza, a manager at the Ridge Avenue location.”

Cheesesteaks have become popular at restaurants and food carts throughout the city with many locations being independently owned, family run businesses. Variations of cheesesteaks are now common in several fast food chains. Versions of the sandwich can also be found at high-end restaurants. Many establishments outside of Philadelphia refer to the sandwich as a “Philly cheesesteak.”

Description
Meat
The meat traditionally used is thinly sliced rib-eye or top round, although other cuts of beef are also used. On a lightly oiled griddle at medium temperature, the steak slices are quickly browned and then scrambled into smaller pieces with a flat spatula. Slices of cheese are then placed over the meat, letting it melt, and then the roll is placed on top of the cheese. The mixture is then scooped up with a spatula and pressed into the roll, which is then cut in half.

Common additions include sautéed onions, bell peppers, mushrooms, mayonnaise, hot sauce, salt, pepper.

Bread
In Philadelphia, most cheesesteak places use Amoroso or Vilotti-Pisanelli rolls; these rolls are long, soft, and slightly salted. One source writes that “a proper cheesesteak consists of provolone or Cheez Whiz slathered on an Amoroso roll and stuffed with thinly shaved grilled meat,” while a reader’s letter to an Indianapolis magazine, lamenting the unavailability of good cheesesteaks, wrote that “the mention of the Amoroso roll brought tears to my eyes.” After commenting on the debates over types of cheese and “chopped steak or sliced,” Risk and Insurance magazine declared “The only thing nearly everybody can agree on is that it all has to be piled onto a fresh, locally baked Amoroso roll.”

Cheese
American cheese, Cheez Whiz, and provolone are the most commonly used cheeses or cheese products put on to the Philly cheesesteak.

White American cheese along with provolone cheese are the favorites due to the mild flavor and medium consistency of American cheese. Some establishments melt the American cheese to achieve the creamy consistency, while others place slices over the meat, letting them melt slightly under the heat. Philadelphia Inquirer restaurant critic Craig LaBan says “Provolone is for aficionados, extra-sharp for the most discriminating among them.” Geno’s owner, Joey Vento, said, “We always recommend the provolone. That’s the real cheese.”

Cheez Whiz, first marketed in 1952, was not yet available for the original 1930 version, but has spread in popularity. A 1986 New York Times article called Cheez Whiz “the sine qua non of cheesesteak connoisseurs.” In a 1985 interview, Pat Olivieri’s nephew Frank Olivieri said that he uses “the processed cheese spread familiar to millions of parents who prize speed and ease in fixing the children’s lunch for the same reason, because it is fast.” Cheez Whiz is “overwhelmingly the favorite” at Pat’s, outselling runner-up American by a ratio of eight or ten to one, while Geno’s claims to go through eight to ten cases of Cheez Whiz a day.

Steak and cheese sandwich from Philadelphia

Variations

A cheesesteak with lots of cheese sauce
A cheesesteak with lots of cheese sauce

* A chicken cheesesteak is made with chicken instead of beef, sometimes referred to as a chicken Philly
* A pizza steak is a cheesesteak topped with pizza sauce and mozzarella cheese and may be toasted in a broiler
* A cheesesteak hoagie contains lettuce and tomato in addition to the ingredients found in the traditional steak sandwich, and may contain other elements often served in a hoagie.
* A vegan cheesesteak is a sandwich that replaces steak and cheese with vegan ingredients, such as seitan or mushrooms for the steak, and soy-based cheese.

One of America’s Favorites – Succotash

September 20, 2021 at 6:02 AM | Posted in One of America's Favorites | Leave a comment
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A simple succotash prepared with kidney instead of lima beans

Succotash (from Narragansett sohquttahhash, “broken corn kernels” is a vegetable dish consisting primarily of sweet corn with lima beans or other shell beans.

Other ingredients may be added such as onions, potatoes, turnips, tomatoes, bell peppers, corned beef, salt pork, or okra.

Combining a grain with a legume provides a dish that is high in all essential amino acids.

Succotash has a long history. The dish was introduced as a stew to North American colonists in the 17th century by indigenous peoples. Composed of ingredients unknown in Europe at the time, it gradually became a standard meal in the cuisine of New England and is a traditional dish of many Thanksgiving celebrations in the region, as well as in Pennsylvania and other states.

Because of the relatively inexpensive and more readily available ingredients, the dish was popular during the Great Depression in the United States.[citation needed] It was sometimes cooked in a casserole form, often with a light pie crust on top as in a traditional pot pie.

A “kitchen sink” succotash made with corn, lima beans, okra, andouille sausage, shrimp, tomato, onion, garlic, and basil

Sweet corn (a form of maize), American beans, tomatoes, and peppers are New World foods.

Catherine Beecher’s 19th-century recipe includes beans boiled with corn cobs from which the kernels have been removed. The kernels are added later, after the beans have boiled for several hours. The corn cobs are removed and the finished stew, in proportions of 2 parts corn to 1 part beans, is thickened with flour.

Henry Ward Beecher’s recipe, published in an 1846 issue of Western Farmer and Gardner, adds salt pork, which he says is “an essential part of the affair.”

In some parts of the American South, any mixture of vegetables prepared with lima beans and topped with lard or butter is called succotash.

One of America’s Favorites – Country Ham

September 13, 2021 at 6:02 AM | Posted in One of America's Favorites | Leave a comment
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Baked Country Ham

Country ham is a variety of heavily salted ham preserved by curing and smoking, associated with the cuisine of the Southern United States. Used as a method of preservation from before widespread refrigeration, country ham is packed in a mixture of salts, sugar, and spices and allowed to cure for a long period of time, sometimes months, and often smoked afterwards. Most preparations call for a long soak (as long as a day or two) prior to preparation so that much of the salt can be removed and the ham rehydrated. Commercially available country hams may be sold whole as-is (often still wrapped in the net bags used to hang the hams during the smoking process), soaked but uncooked, or cooked and ready to eat. Country ham is often contrasted with wet-cured hams known as city ham in areas of the U.S. where both types of ham are available.

Country ham is a popular breakfast item in the southern U.S. It is often served in diners as a grilled steak, with the cross-cut portion of the leg bone still intact, alongside a portion of red-eye gravy, which is made by deglazing the pan used to cook the ham with black coffee and then reducing the resulting sauce. Country ham is also served as a biscuit sandwich in popular fast-food establishments across the southern U.S. as a convenient breakfast food.

Country hams are salt-cured (with or without nitrites) for one to three months. They are usually hardwood smoked (usually hickory and red oak), but some types of country ham, such as the “salt-and-pepper ham” of North Carolina, are not smoked. Missouri country hams traditionally incorporate brown sugar in their cure mix and are known to be milder and less salty than hams produced in more eastern states such as Kentucky and Virginia. They are then aged for several months to 3 years, depending on the fat content of the meat. Country hams are not fully cooked, but preserved by the cure. They are usually sold in stores unrefrigerated as whole, bone-in hams packaged in rough cotton bags, with identifying markings printed on the bags. Country ham is also sold in presoaked, sliced, ready-to-cook form, usually vacuum-packaged.

There are several methods of cooking a country ham including slicing and pan-frying, baking whole, and simmering for several hours (in several changes of water). Whole hams may need to be scrubbed and soaked for several hours before eating to remove the salt cure and mold. Even when soaked, they are still quite salty. For traditionalists, part of the appeal of country ham is this highly salty taste. Some eaters of country ham scrub, scrape, or pare off the outer crust of curatives, slice it, pan fry it, and eat it as is. Or they may fry the ham with the crust on. Some discard the crust; others consume it along with the meat. Traditionalists, when frying the ham, will typically place it in a pan only long enough to lightly brown it on both sides and to warm the meat. Frying times as short as thirty seconds per side are not uncommon.[citation needed]

Fried country ham is often served as a main course as a whole slice, often with the femur cross-section left in. After the ham slice is fried and taken up, red-eye gravy is often made, by adding water or coffee to the pan drippings and cooking down for a short time. A ham steak is usually sliced about 3⁄8 inch thick.

Baked or boiled country ham is sliced paper thin and served with buttermilk (or similar) biscuits, beaten biscuits, or in yeast rolls, sometimes with butter or a sauce of melted butter and brown sugar. “Ham biscuits” (so-called whether in biscuits or rolls) are often found at church suppers and wedding receptions in the country ham area.

Trimming and scraps, the cooked bones, and the sawn-off hock are used for flavoring in the cooking of greens and pulses

Country ham is in some ways similar to Italian uncooked prosciutto (prosciutto crudo), but prosciutto is not smoked, and is usually moister than a country ham. It is also usually sliced much thinner than the thicker traditional country ham “steaks” or even slices for sandwiches.

In the United States, country ham is frequently used in recipes that call for Jinhua ham, which is not available in the US, due to USDA import restrictions.

One of America’s Favorites – Stromboli

September 6, 2021 at 6:02 AM | Posted in One of America's Favorites | Leave a comment
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Homemade stromboli

Stromboli is a type of turnover filled with various Italian cheeses (typically mozzarella) and usually Italian cold cuts (typically Italian meats such as salami, capocollo and bresaola) or vegetables. The dough used is either Italian bread dough or pizza dough. Stromboli was invented by Italian-Americans in the United States in suburban Philadelphia. The name of the dish is taken from the 1950 film Stromboli, which in turn is named after a volcanic island off the coast of Sicily.

A stromboli is similar to a calzone, and the two are sometimes confused. Unlike calzones, which are always stuffed and folded into a crescent shape, a stromboli is typically rolled or folded into a cylinder, and may sometimes contain a thin layer of tomato sauce on the inside.

Many American pizza shops serve a stromboli using pizza dough that is folded in half with fillings, similar to a half-moon-shaped calzone. At other establishments, a stromboli is made with a square-shaped pizza dough that can be topped with any pizza toppings and is then rolled into a cylindrical jelly roll shape and baked. Other variations include adding pizza sauce or deep-frying, similar to panzerotti.

There are several claims regarding the origin of the usage of the name stromboli for food in the United States.

Romano’s Italian Restaurant & Pizzeria claims to have first used the name in 1950 in Essington, Pennsylvania, just outside Philadelphia, courtesy of Nazzareno Romano, an Italian immigrant. The pizzeria owner had experimented with “pizza imbottita”, or “stuffed pizza”, and added ham, cotechino sausage, cheese and peppers into a pocket of bread dough. His future brother-in-law suggested he name it after the recently released movie Stromboli, notorious for an off-screen affair between married actress, Ingrid Bergman, and married director, Roberto Rossellini, resulting in a love child.

In 1954, Mike Aquino of Mike’s Burger Royal in Spokane, Washington, says he also named a turnover after the same movie. However, Aquino’s version appears to only share the same name as the commonly accepted version of the stromboli and is significantly different from the Philadelphia turnover version that is usually defined as a “stromboli”. Aquino’s “stromboli” consists of capicola ham and provolone cheese covered in an Italian chili sauce on a French bread roll. Variations also exist in Indiana.

One of America’s Favorites – Chili Con Carne

August 30, 2021 at 6:02 AM | Posted in One of America's Favorites | Leave a comment
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A bowl of chili con carne served with tortilla chips

Chili con carne (also spelled chilli con carne or chile con carne and shortened to chili or chilli; Spanish pronunciation: [ˈtʃili kon ˈkaɾne]), meaning “chili with meat”, is a spicy stew containing chili peppers (sometimes in the form of chili powder), meat (usually beef), tomatoes and optionally kidney beans. Other seasonings may include garlic, onions, and cumin. The dish originated in northern Mexico or southern Texas.

Geographic and personal tastes involve different types of meat and other ingredients. Recipes provoke disputes among aficionados, some of whom insist that the word chili applies only to the basic dish, without beans and tomatoes. Chili con carne is a common dish for cook-offs, and may be used as a side, garnish, or ingredient in other dishes, such as soups or salsas.

In writings from 1529, the Franciscan friar, Bernardino de Sahagún described chili pepper-seasoned stews being consumed in the Aztec capital, Tenochtitlan, now the location of Mexico City. The use of beef as the primary meat originated with Spanish colonizers. In Spanish, the term “chile con carne”, consisting of the word chile (from the Nahuatl chīlli) and carne, Spanish for ‘meat’, is first recorded in a book from 1857 about the Mexican-American War. A recipe dating back to the 1850s describes dried beef, suet, dried chili peppers and salt, which were pounded together, formed into bricks and left to dry, which could then be boiled in pots in an army encampment in Monterrey, of what is now Nuevo León, Mexico.

Chili became commonly prepared in northern Mexico and southern Texas. Unlike some other Texas foods, such as barbecued brisket, chili largely originated with working-class Tejana and Mexican women. The chili queens of San Antonio, Texas were particularly famous in previous decades for selling their inexpensive chili-flavored beef stew in their casual “chili joints”.

A pot of chili with whole green hot chilis, kidney beans, and tomatoes

 

The San Antonio Chili Stand, in operation at the 1893 Columbian Exposition in Chicago, helped popularize chili by giving many Americans their first taste of it. San Antonio was a tourist destination and helped Texas-style chili con carne spread throughout the South and West. Chili con carne is the official dish of the U.S. state of Texas as designated by the House Concurrent Resolution Number 18 of the 65th Texas Legislature during its regular session in 1977.

Before World War II, hundreds of small, family-run chili parlors could be found throughout Texas and other states, particularly those in which émigré Texans had made new homes. Each establishment usually had a claim to some kind of secret recipe.

By 1904, chili parlors were opening outside of Texas, in part due to the availability of commercial versions of chili powder, first manufactured in Texas in the late 19th century. After working at the Louisiana Purchase Exposition, Charles Taylor opened a chili parlor in Carlinville, Illinois, serving Mexican Chili. Varallo’s, the oldest restaurant in Tennessee, opened as a chili parlor in 1907, competing with other chili parlors that had opened in Nashville during the 1890s. In the 1920s and 1930s, chains of diner-style chili parlors began opening in the Midwest.

Cincinnati chili, a dish developed by Macedonian and Greek immigrants deriving from their own culinary traditions, arguably represents the most vibrant continuation of the chili parlor tradition, with dozens of restaurants offering this style throughout the Cincinnati area. It can be traced back to at least 1922, when the original Empress Chili location opened.

In Green Bay, Wisconsin, the chili parlor Chili John’s has existed since 1913. As with Cincinnati chili, it is most commonly served over spaghetti with oyster crackers, but the recipe is less sweet with a higher proportion of fat. The original proprietor’s son opened a second location in Burbank, California in 1946, which is also still in existence.

Until the late 2000s, a chili parlor dating to 1904, O.T. Hodge, continued to operate in St. Louis. It featured a chili-topped dish called a slinger: two cheeseburger patties, hash browns, and two eggs, and smothered in chili. As of 2014 no O.T. Hodge-branded locations remain, though Tully’s Tap, a pub and restaurant in O’Fallon, Missouri, offers what it claims to be the original O.T. Hodge recipe on its menu.

Dispute over ingredients

Ingredients for chili con carne

Beans
Beans, a staple of Tex-Mex cuisine, have been associated with chili as far back as the early 20th century. The question of whether beans belong in chili has long been a matter of contention among chili cooks. While it is generally accepted that the earliest chilis did not include beans, proponents of their inclusion contend that chili with beans has a long enough history to be considered authentic. The Chili Appreciation Society International specified in 1999 that, among other things, cooks are forbidden to include beans in the preparation of chili for official competition—nor are they allowed to marinate any meats. Small red or pink common beans are commonly used for chili, as are black beans, black-eyed peas, kidney beans, pinto beans, great northern beans, or navy beans.

Most commercially prepared canned chili includes beans. Commercial chili prepared without beans is usually called “chili no beans” in the United States. Some U.S. manufacturers, notably Bush Brothers and Company and Eden Organic, also sell canned precooked beans (without meat) that are labeled “chili beans”; these beans are intended for consumers to add to a chili recipe and are often sold with spices added.

Tomatoes
Tomatoes are another ingredient on which opinions differ. Wick Fowler, a north Texas newspaperman and inventor of “Two-Alarm Chili” (which he later marketed as a kit of spices), insisted on adding tomato sauce to his chili in the ratio of one 15-ounce can per three pounds of meat. He also believed that chili should never be eaten freshly cooked, but refrigerated overnight to seal in the flavor. Matt Weinstock, a Los Angeles newspaper columnist, once remarked that Fowler’s chili “was reputed to open eighteen sinus cavities unknown to the medical profession”.

Variations

Vegetarian chili

A pot of vegetarian chili

Vegetarian chili (also known as chili sin carne, chili without meat, chili non carne, and chili sans carne) acquired wide popularity in the U.S. during the 1960s and 1970s with the rise of vegetarianism. It is also popular with those on a diet restricting the use of red meat. To make the chili vegetarian, the cook leaves out the meat or replaces it with a meat analogue, such as textured vegetable protein or tofu, quinoa, or a starchy vegetable, such as potatoes. These chilis nearly always include beans. Variants may contain corn, squash, sautéed mushrooms, pearl onions, shallots or beets.

Chili verde
Chili verde (‘green chili’) is a moderately to extremely spicy New Mexican stew or sauce usually made from chunks of pork that have been slow-cooked in chicken broth, garlic, green tomatillos, and roasted green chilis.] The spiciness of the chili is adjusted by the use of various peppers: poblano, jalapeño, serrano, and occasionally habanero. Chili verde is a common filling for the Mission burrito.

White chili

A bowl of Texas-style chili without beans

White chili is made using chicken or turkey meat and broth, white beans, and green chili peppers. The resulting dish appears white when cooked and is more of a soup rather than a thickened stew. A white cheese, such as Monterey Jack, or sour cream are often added when served.

The dish may be served with toppings or accompaniments; grated cheese, diced onions, and sour cream are common toppings, as are saltine crackers, tortilla chips or corn chips, cornbread, rolled-up corn or flour tortillas, and pork tamales. Chili can also be served over rice or pasta in dishes such as chili mac.

Pre-made chili
Canned chili
Willie Gebhardt, originally of New Braunfels, Texas, and later of San Antonio, produced the first canned chili in 1908. Rancher Lyman Davis near Corsicana, Texas, developed Wolf Brand Chili in 1895. He owned a meat market and was a particular fan of Texas-style chili. In the 1880s, in partnership with an experienced range cook, he began producing heavily spiced chili based on chunks of lean beef and rendered beef suet, which he sold by the pot to local cafés.

In 1921, Davis began canning his product, naming it for his pet wolf, Kaiser Bill. Wolf Brand canned chili was a favorite of Will Rogers, who always took along a case when traveling and performing in other regions of the world. Ernest Tubb, the country singer, was such a fan that one Texas hotel maintained a supply of Wolf Brand for his visits. Both the Gebhardt and Wolf brands are now owned by ConAgra Foods, Inc. Another major maker of canned chili, Hormel, sells chili available with or without beans, made with turkey or in vegetarian varieties, under their own name and other brands like Stagg.

Brick chili

Chili with garnishes and tortilla chips

Another method of marketing commercial chili in the days before widespread home refrigerators was “brick chili”. It was produced by pressing out nearly all of the moisture, leaving a solid substance roughly the size and shape of a half-brick. Wolf Brand was originally sold in this form. Commonly available in small towns and rural areas of the American Southwest in the first three-quarters of the 20th century, brick chili has largely been surpassed by canned chili, but can still be found in some stores.

Seasoning mix
Home cooks may also purchase seasoning mixes for chili, including packets of dry ingredients such as chili powder, masa flour, salt, and cayenne pepper, to flavor meat and other ingredients.

One of America’s Favorites – Hotdish MONDAY

August 23, 2021 at 6:02 AM | Posted in One of America's Favorites | 1 Comment
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A tater tot hotdish

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

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

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

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

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

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

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