One of America’s Favorites – Beer Cheese (spread)

September 14, 2020 at 6:02 AM | Posted in One of America's Favorites | Leave a comment
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8 ounce tub of original Beer Cheese

Beer cheese is a cheese spread most commonly found in Kentucky. Similarly named cheese products can be found in other regions of the United States, but beer cheese spread itself is not widely distributed. There are a number of different brands that are popular, most are similar in taste and texture.

Commercially produced beer cheese spread usually consists of a processed cheese base with a sharp cheddar flavor, while homemade varieties almost always start with sharp cheddar cheese. To this, enough beer is added to provide flavor and texture, as well as garlic, and a variety of spices including dry mustard, horseradish and cayenne pepper. Most varieties come in “mild” and “hot” versions, but all tend to have a strong garlic flavor. Beer cheese is traditionally served with saltine crackers, though it can be found served with various other crackers and crudités, most often as an appetizer.

While there are conflicting stories about beer cheese’s origins, it appears to have first been served in the 1940s at a restaurant in Clark County, Kentucky known as Johnny Allman’s. The owner of the restaurant, John Allman, credited the invention of the cheese spread to his cousin, Joe Allman, a chef in Phoenix, Arizona. Joe’s Southwestern influence is said by some to explain the spread’s spicy nature. The original Johnny Allman’s restaurant has changed ownership a couple of times since the 1940’s and is currently Hall’s on the River, located on the Kentucky River in Winchester, KY. The original beer cheese is still served at Hall’s on the River.

On February 21, 2013, the Kentucky Legislature decreed Clark County as the birthplace of beer cheese.

An annual Beer Cheese Festival is held in downtown Winchester, Kentucky (the county seat of Clark County) featuring local arts & crafts vendors as well as both commercial and amateur recipe contests.

 

 

One of America’s Favorites – Chocolate Brownie

September 7, 2020 at 6:02 AM | Posted in One of America's Favorites | 2 Comments
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A homemade chocolate brownie

A chocolate brownie or simply a brownie is a square or rectangular chocolate baked confection. Brownies come in a variety of forms and may be either fudgy or cakey, depending on their density. They may include nuts, frosting, cream cheese, chocolate chips, or other ingredients. A variation made with brown sugar and vanilla rather than chocolate in the batter is called a blond brownie or blondie. The brownie was developed in the United States at the end of the 19th century and popularized in the U.S. and Canada during the first half of the 20th century.

Brownies are a form of sheet cake. They are typically eaten by hand, often accompanied by milk, served warm with ice cream (a la mode), topped with whipped cream, or sprinkled with powdered sugar and fudge. In North America they are common homemade treats and they are also popular in restaurants and coffeehouses.

One legend about the creation of brownies is that of Bertha Palmer, a prominent Chicago socialite whose husband owned the Palmer House Hotel. In 1893 Palmer asked a pastry chef for a dessert suitable for ladies attending the Chicago World’s Columbian Exposition. She requested a cake-like confection smaller than a piece of cake that could be included in boxed lunches. The result was the Palmer House Brownie with walnuts and an apricot glaze. The modern Palmer House Hotel serves a dessert to patrons made from the same recipe. The name was given to the dessert sometime after 1893, but was not used by cook books or journals at the time.

Mixing melted butter with chocolate to make a chocolate brownie
The first-known printed use of the word “brownie” to describe a dessert appeared in the 1896 version of the Boston Cooking-School Cook Book by Fannie Farmer, in reference to molasses cakes baked individually in tin molds. However, Farmer’s brownies did not contain chocolate.

In 1899 the first-known recipe was published in Machias Cookbook. They were called “Brownie’s Food”. The recipe appears on page 23 in the cake section of the book. Marie Kelley from Whitewater, Wisconsin created the recipe.

Store-bought brownies

The earliest-known published recipes for a modern style chocolate brownie appeared in the Home Cookery (1904, Laconia, NH), Service Club Cook Book (1904, Chicago, IL), The Boston Globe (April 2, 1905 p. 34), and the 1906 edition of Farmer cookbook. These recipes produced a relatively mild and cake-like brownie.

By 1907 the brownie was well established in a recognizable form, appearing in Lowney’s Cook Book by Maria Willet Howard (published by Walter M. Lowney Company, Boston) as an adaptation of the Boston Cooking School recipe for a “Bangor Brownie”. It added an extra egg and an additional square of chocolate, creating a richer, fudgier dessert. The name “Bangor Brownie” appears to have been derived from the town of Bangor, Maine, which an apocryphal story states was the hometown of a housewife who created the original brownie recipe. Maine food educator and columnist Mildred Brown Schrumpf was the main proponent of the theory that brownies were invented in Bangor. While The Oxford Companion to American Food and Drink (2007) refuted Schrumpf’s premise that “Bangor housewives” had created the brownie, citing the publication of a brownie recipe in a 1905 Fannie Farmer cookbook, in its second edition, The Oxford Encyclopedia of Food and Drink in America (2013) said it had discovered evidence to support Schrumpf’s claim, in the form of several 1904 cookbooks that included a recipe for “Bangor Brownies”.

 

 

One of America’s Favorites – Sandwich Bread

August 31, 2020 at 6:02 AM | Posted in One of America's Favorites | Leave a comment
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A commercially produced sandwich bread

A commercially produced sandwich bread

Sandwich bread (also referred to as sandwich loaf) is bread that is prepared specifically to be used for the preparation of sandwiches. Sandwich breads are produced in many varieties, such as white, whole wheat, sourdough, rye, multigrain and others. Sandwich bread may be formulated to slice easily, cleanly or uniformly, and may have a fine crumb (the soft, inner part of bread) and a light texture. Sandwich bread may be designed to have a balanced proportion of crumb and crust, whereby the bread holds and supports fillings in place and reduces drips and messiness. Some may be designed to not become crumbly, hardened, dried or have too squishy a texture. Sandwich bread can refer to cross-sectionally square, sliced white and wheat bread, which has been described as “perfectly designed for holding square luncheon meat”. The bread used for preparing finger sandwiches is sometimes referred to as sandwich bread. Pain de mie is a sandwich loaf. Some sandwich breads are designed for use in the creation of specific types of sandwiches, such as the submarine sandwich. For barbecuing, use of a high-quality white sandwich bread has been described as suitable for toasting over a fire. Gluten-free sandwich bread may be prepared using gluten-free flour, teff flour, and other ingredients.

 

 

In the 1930s in the United States, the term sandwich loaf referred to sliced bread. In contemporary times, U.S. consumers sometimes refer to white bread such as Wonder Bread as sandwich bread and sandwich loaf. Wonder Bread produced and marketed a bread called Wonder Round sandwich bread, which was designed to be used with round-shaped cold cuts and other fillings such as eggs and hamburgers, but it was discontinued due to low consumer demand. American sandwich breads have historically included some fat derived from the use of milk or oil to enrich the bread.

 

Sliced white bread

Some companies and restaurants, such as Subway, bake bread that is specifically used for the preparation of sandwiches. Pepperidge Farm produces breads designed and marketed to be used in sandwich preparation. Nature’s Pride is another brand that has produced sandwich bread. Bonn Group of Industries, a food company based in Ludhiana Punjab, India, produces a product called Super Sandwich Bread. Some supermarket chains, such as H-E-B, produce their own store brands of sandwich bread. Some mass-produced sandwich breads are sliced before being packaged, while others are packaged unsliced. Some companies, such as Nissen, also produce sandwich rolls.

 

 

In 2012, the New Jersey State Fair/Sussex County Farm and Horse Show held The Fleischmann’s yeast “Sensational Sandwich Bread” contest, in which contestants submitted their homemade sandwich bread prepared using Fleischmann’s Yeast. Breads were judged under the criteria of appearance, flavor, texture, sandwich filling and creativity. The contest included cash prizes and state and national grand-prize winners.

* My favorite is Aunt Millie’s Light Whole Grain Bread

 

 

One of America’s Favorites – Pepperoni Roll

August 24, 2020 at 6:02 AM | Posted in One of America's Favorites | Leave a comment
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Pepperoni roll

The pepperoni roll is a snack popular in West Virginia and some nearby regions of the Appalachian Mountains such as Western Pennsylvania, Western Maryland, and Appalachian Ohio. It is ubiquitous in West Virginia, particularly in convenience stores, and is arguably the food most closely associated with the state.

The classic pepperoni roll consists of a fairly soft white yeast bread roll with pepperoni baked in the middle. During baking, the fats in the pepperoni (which are hard at room temperature) melt, resulting in a spicy oil suffusing into the bread. Pepperoni rolls are typically eaten as a snack or as the main dish of a lunch either unheated or slightly warmed.

 

The pepperoni roll was first sold by Giuseppe “Joseph” Argiro at the Country Club Bakery in Fairmont, West Virginia, in 1927. The rolls originated as a lunch option for the coal miners of north-central West Virginia in the first half of the 20th century. Pepperoni rolls do not need to be refrigerated for storage and could readily be packed for lunch by miners. Pepperoni and other Italian foods became popular in north-central West Virginia in the early 20th century, when the booming mines and railroads attracted many immigrants from Italy. The pepperoni roll bears a resemblance to the pasty and sausage roll, which originated in the mining communities of Great Britain, as well as the Italian calzone.

A packaged pepperoni roll

Variations on the original pepperoni roll may contain different types of cheese, peppers, etc. The pepperoni within can take several forms, including a single stick, several folded slices, or shredded or ground meat.

 

In the early 2000s, the U.S. military began including a version of the pepperoni roll in one of the MREs (Meals, Ready-to-Eat) provided to troops. In the late 2000s, the U.S. Army changed the pepperoni roll to its First Strike Ration. These rations are designed for light infantry, airborne, and special forces during a typical 72-hour patrol. The pepperoni roll’s compact size and comparatively high nutritional return make it an ideal ration for these patrols. These rations were extensively employed during Operation Enduring Freedom. The military’s rolls are made by a North Carolina company.

 

One of America’s Favorites – Waldorf Salad

August 17, 2020 at 6:02 AM | Posted in One of America's Favorites | Leave a comment
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A modern Waldorf salad with green grapes and whole walnuts, served in a glass bowl

A Waldorf salad is a fruit and nut salad generally made of fresh celery, apples, walnuts, and grapes, dressed in mayonnaise, and traditionally served on a bed of lettuce as an appetizer or a light meal. The apples, celery, and grapes can all be green, which harmonizes the color palette of the dish.

 

Waldorf salad is named for the Waldorf-Astoria hotel in New York City, where it was first created for a charity ball given in honor of the St. Mary’s Hospital for Children on March 14, 1896. The Waldorf-Astoria’s maître d’hôtel, Oscar Tschirky, developed or inspired many of the hotel’s signature dishes and is widely credited with creating the salad recipe. In 1896, the salad appeared in The Cook Book by “Oscar of the Waldorf”.

The original recipe was just apples, celery, and mayonnaise. It did not contain nuts, but they had been added by the time the recipe appeared in The Rector Cook Book in 1928.

 

Other ingredients such as chicken, turkey, and dried fruit (e.g. dates or raisins) are sometimes added. Updated versions of the salad sometimes change the dressing to a seasoned mayonnaise (see also: dressings based on mayonnaise) or a yogurt dressing. Modern Waldorf salad may also include the zest of oranges and/or lemons.

A variation known as an “emerald salad” replaces the celery with cauliflower.

 

 

One of America’s Favorites – Barbecue Chicken

August 10, 2020 at 6:02 AM | Posted in One of America's Favorites | 2 Comments
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Marinated chicken on a barbecue

Barbecue chicken consists of chicken parts or entire chickens that are barbecued, grilled or smoked. There are many global and regional preparation techniques and cooking styles. Barbecue chicken is often seasoned or coated in a spice rub, barbecue sauce, or both. Marinades are also used to tenderize the meat and add flavor. Rotisserie chicken has gained prominence and popularity in U.S. grocery markets. Barbecued chicken is one of the world’s most popular barbecue dishes.

Various techniques exist for cutting poultry for barbecuing, including skewering, butterflying, halving quartering and using individual pieces. Many diverse cooking and flavoring techniques exist for this dish.

Regional variations in the preparation of barbecue chicken include culinary variance in preparation, cooking and saucing techniques.

In Alabama, egg or mayonnaise-based white sauces are sometimes served with barbecue chicken at the table as a dipping sauce. This has been described in the book 1,000 Places to See in the United States and Canada Before You Die as being more common in Northern Alabama, particularly in Northwest Alabama. Per the same book, barbecue in Southern Alabama tends to have sauces that are tomato-based.

California Pizza Kitchen, a restaurant chain founded in California, is the original creator of barbecue chicken pizza.

In the U.S. state of Georgia, slightly sweet sauces with mustard are used on chicken.

Another barbecued chicken dish

In Western North Carolina, thin tomato and vinegar based sauces are common.

In rural Pennsylvania, egg is sometimes used to make the skin on the chicken crispy. In Kentucky, chicken is a favorite meat for barbecuing along with lamb and mutton.

In Texas, barbecue usually refers to ribs, but many barbecue restaurants in Texas serve barbecue chicken seasoned with rub, sometimes called “dalmatian rub”, that is made of salt and pepper. The chicken is often served with a very hot vinegar or even beer-based barbecue sauce. Texas barbecue tends to be slow-smoked, rather than grilled.

Beer-can chicken involves the indirect grilling a whole chicken on a barbecue grill using steam from beer (or another liquid) as a flavoring agent and cooking medium.

 

One of America’s Favorites – Velveeta

August 3, 2020 at 6:02 AM | Posted in One of America's Favorites | 2 Comments
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Velveeta

Velveeta is a brand name for a processed cheese product that tastes like an American cheese, with a softer and smoother texture than non-processed cheese. When melted, Velveeta keeps a fully integrated and evenly clump-free liquid texture. It was invented in 1918 by Emil Frey of the Monroe Cheese Company in Monroe, New York. In 1923, The Velveeta Cheese Company was incorporated as a separate company, and sold to Kraft Foods in 1927.

The product was advertised as a nutritious health food. In the 1930s, Velveeta became the first cheese product to gain the American Medical Association’s seal of approval. It was reformulated in 1953 as a “cheese spread”, but as of 2002 Velveeta must be labeled in the United States as a “Pasteurized Prepared Cheese Product.”

The name Velveeta was intended to connote a “velvety smooth” edible product. Smoothness and melting ability are promoted as properties that result from reincorporating the whey with the curd. The brand has been successfully expanded into a line of products including cheesy bites, macaroni and cheese, and cheesy skillets. As with most processed cheeses, the manufacturer recommends Velveeta be refrigerated after opening.

A cheeseburger with bacon and melted Velveeta in place of cheese

Kraft Foods has listed Velveeta’s ingredients as follows: milk, water, whey, milk protein concentrate, milkfat, whey protein concentrate, sodium phosphate, and 2% or less of salt, calcium phosphate, lactic acid, sorbic acid, sodium citrate, sodium alginate, enzymes, apocarotenal, annatto, and cheese culture.

Kraft Foods has marketed Velveeta as an ingredient in chile con queso and grilled cheese sandwiches. It is currently sold in the United States, Canada, Panama, Hong Kong, the Philippines, and South Korea. In the 1930s and 1940s, it was sold in the United Kingdom and Germany as “Velveta”.

In the 1980s, Velveeta used the advertising jingle, “Colby, Swiss and Cheddar, blended all together” in its US television commercials to explain its taste and texture because real cheese was used in the product at that time.

One of Am

One of America’s Favorites – Banana Pudding

July 27, 2020 at 6:02 AM | Posted in One of America's Favorites | Leave a comment
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Banana pudding served in a bowl with vanilla wafers

Banana pudding is a dessert generally consisting of layers of sweet vanilla flavored custard, cookies (usually Vanilla Wafers or ladyfingers) and sliced fresh bananas placed in a dish and served, topped with whipped cream or meringue.

It is commonly associated with Southern American cuisine, however, it can be found around the country. Furthermore, it closely resembles an English Trifle in that it is assembled in layers and includes custard, fruit, sponge cake, and whipped cream.

Banana pudding can be prepared using a baked or refrigerated method, with the latter being the more popular, particularly among home cooks. Moreover, many recipes have been adapted using vanilla or banana pudding instead of a true custard. Other recipes omit the wafers. An early Banana pudding recipe was published in “The Kentucky Receipt Book,” by Mary Harris Frazer, in 1903. However, even this recipe does not include wafers.

Banana pudding

A typical method for making Banana pudding is to repeatedly layer the bananas, custard, and wafers into a dish and top with whipped cream or meringue. Over time, the wafers will absorb the custard and the layers will press together causing the flavors to intermingle.

The National Banana Pudding Festival is held at the Centerville River Park in Centerville, Tennessee. It is a 2-day event held on the first weekend of October.

 

One of America’s Favorites – Étouffée

July 20, 2020 at 6:02 AM | Posted in One of America's Favorites | Leave a comment
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Crawfish étouffée, served at a restaurant in New Orleans

Étouffée or etouffee (French: [e.tu.fe], English: /ˌeɪtuːˈfeɪ/ AY-too-FAY) is a dish found in both Cajun and Creole cuisine typically served with shellfish over rice. The dish employs a technique known as smothering, a popular method of cooking in the Cajun and Creole areas of southwest Louisiana. Étouffée is most popular in New Orleans and in the Acadiana area of the southernmost half of Louisiana as well as the coastal counties of Mississippi, Alabama, northern Florida, and eastern Texas.

Étouffée is a dish of seafood or chicken simmered in a sauce made from a light or blond roux.

It is most commonly made with shellfish, such as crab or shrimp. The most popular version of the dish is made with crayfish (or “crawfish”).

Étouffée is typically served over rice.

Another version of crawfish étouffée

Depending on who is making it and where it is being made it is flavored with either Creole or Cajun seasonings. Although Creole and Cajun cuisines are distinct, there are many similarities. In the case of the Creole version of crawfish étouffée, it is made with a blonde or brown roux and sometimes tomatoes are added. A blond roux is one that is cooked, stirring constantly, for approximately 5 minutes to remove the “raw” flavor of the flour and to add a slightly “nutty” flavor, while a brown roux is cooked longer (30 to 35 minutes) in order to deepen the color and flavor.

Around the 1950s, crawfish étouffée was introduced to restaurant goers in Breaux Bridge, Louisiana; however, the dish may have been invented as early as the late 1920s, according to some sources. Originally, crawfish étouffée was a popular dish amongst Cajuns in the bayous and backwaters of Louisiana. Around 1983, a waiter at the popular Bourbon Street restaurant Galatoire’s brought the dish to his boss to try. At the time, most New Orleans restaurants served French Creole cuisine, but this Cajun dish was a hit.

 

One of America’s Favorites – Maytag Blue Cheese

July 13, 2020 at 6:02 AM | Posted in One of America's Favorites | 2 Comments
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* This is my favorite Blue Cheese, just incredible flavor!

Maytag Blue Cheese

Maytag is a blue cheese produced on the Maytag Dairy Farms outside of Newton, Iowa, the former home of the Maytag Corporation. In 1938, Iowa State University independently developed a process for making blue cheese from homogenized cow’s milk instead of the traditional sheep’s milk.

In 1941 production of the cheese was started by Frederick L. Maytag II and Robert Maytag, grandsons of the founder of the Maytag appliance company, Frederick Louis Maytag I. The milk for the cheese initially came from a prize-winning herd of Holstein cattle that was established by E. H. Maytag, a son of the Maytag founder. As of 2016 the company was owned by the third and fourth generations of the Maytag family. The farm has survived without advertising or a sales staff.

The process for making Maytag Blue Cheese was discovered and patented in the United States by two Iowa State University microbiologists, Clarence Lane and Bernard W. Hammer. Roquefort, another type of blue cheese, had been made for hundreds of years in Europe, but attempts to manufacture a similar cheese in the United States had thus far been unsuccessful. Difficulties encountered in making these types of cheeses produced a less than satisfactory product, and quality control would have been disastrous.

“During the Second World War, the university patented the homogenisation of cheese milk and attempted to have charges levied on Danish cheese produced using homogenised milk. Their attempts failed, as it could be proved that this method had been introduced 20 years earlier in Denmark by Marius Boe.”

The problems encountered with producing Roquefort type cheeses in the United States for distribution were the lengthy time required to develop the flavor, the mold growth not being uniform, the quality being below average for numerous lots produced, and the color of the curd being too dark.

Maytag Blue Cheese Wheels

The process begins with homogenizing the milk used for the cheese. The cream is separated from the milk, homogenized and then added back into the now skim milk, typically at between 80 and 100 degrees Fahrenheit (27 and 38 °C) and 2000 to 3500 pounds-force per square inch (14 to 24 MPa) of pressure. This would allow for proper fat hydrolysis, which affects the flavor of the cheese.

There is a ripening period prior to adding rennet (a mixture of enzymes that coagulates milk into curds and whey) to the cheese. Typically 3 ounces of rennet are added per 100 pounds of milk, allowing it to set in a temperature range of 85 to 86 °F (30 °C). Better results were achieved using 4 ounces of rennet per 100 pounds of milk and setting in a higher than usual temperature range of 90 to 92 °F (32 to 33 °C).

According to Lane and Hammer’s records, their alterations caused the cheese-making process to speed up from this point forward, with the time spent setting, cutting and dipping nearly cut in half. Also, after dipping the cheese and allowing it to cook in hot whey, the draining time was cut from 20–30 minutes to 3–5 minutes.

Penicillium is then added to the finished product, which produces its characteristic green veins.

After the rounds of cheese are made by hand, the cheese is aged in specially designed caves where they are exposed to high humidity and cool temperatures.

As of 2017 the cheese continued to be made by hand with milk from local dairy farms.

The process produces cheese with more uniform color, flavor, and texture than previous processes, resulting in a consistent product.

* Best Hard Blue cheese at the 2005 World Cheese Awards

 

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