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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One of America’s Favorites – Cream Cheese

June 11, 2018 at 5:02 AM | Posted in One of America's Favorites | 2 Comments
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Cream Cheese

Cream cheese is a soft, mild-tasting fresh cheese made from milk and cream. Stabilizers such as carob bean gum and carrageenan are typically added in industrial production.

The U.S. Food and Drug Administration defines cream cheese as containing at least 33% milk fat with a moisture content of not more than 55%, and a pH range of 4.4 to 4.9. Similarly, under Canadian Food and Drug Regulations cream cheese must contain at least 30% milk fat and a maximum of 55% moisture. In other countries, it is defined differently and may need a considerably higher fat content.

Cream cheese is not naturally matured and is meant to be consumed fresh, so it differs from other soft cheeses such as Brie and Neufchâtel. It is more comparable in taste, texture, and production methods to Boursin and Mascarpone.

Recipes for cream cheese can be found in U.S. cookbooks and newspapers beginning in the mid-18th century. By the 1820s the dairy farms in and around Philadelphia and New York City had gained a reputation for producing the best examples of this cheese. Cream cheese was produced on family farms throughout the country, so quantities made and distributed were typically small.

A block of Philadelphia cream cheese

Around 1873 William A. Lawrence, a Chester, New York dairyman, was the first to mass-produce cream cheese. In 1872 he purchased a Neufchâtel factory and shortly thereafter, by adding cream to the process, was able to create a richer cheese that he called “cream cheese”. In 1877 he created the first brand of cream cheese: its logo was a silhouette of a cow followed by the words “Neufchatel & Cream Cheese”. In 1879, to create a larger factory, Lawrence entered into an arrangement with another Chester merchant, Samuel S. Durland. In 1880, Alvah Reynolds, a New York cheese distributor, began to sell the cheese of Lawrence & Durland and called it “Philadelphia Cream Cheese”. By the end of 1880, faced with increasing demand for his Philadelphia-brand cheese, Reynolds turned to Charles Green, a second Chester dairyman, who by 1880 had been manufacturing cream cheese as well. Some of Green’s cheese was now also sold under the Philadelphia label. In 1892 Reynolds bought the Empire Cheese Co. of South Edmeston, New York, to produce cheese under his “Philadelphia” label. When the Empire factory burned down in 1900 he asked the newly formed Phenix Cheese Company to create his cheese, instead. In 1903 Reynolds sold rights to the “Philadelphia” brand name to Phenix Cheese Company under the direction of Jason F. Whitney, Sr. (which merged with Kraft in 1928). By the early 1880s Star cream cheese had emerged as Lawrence & Durland’s brand and Green’s made World and Globe brands of the cheese. At the turn of the 20th century, New York dairymen were producing cream cheese under a number of other brands, as well: Triple Cream (C. Percival), Eagle (F.X. Baumert), Empire (Phenix Cheese Co.), Mohican (International Cheese Co.), Monroe Cheese Co. (Gross & Hoffman), and Nabob (F.H. Legget).

Popular in the Jewish cuisine of New York City, where it is commonly known as a “schmear”, it forms the basis of the bagel and cream cheese, a common open-faced sandwich which also often includes lox, capers, and other ingredients. The basic bagel and cream cheese has become a ubiquitous breakfast and brunch food throughout the U.S.

Cream cheese is easy to make at home, and many methods and recipes are used. Consistent, reliable, commercial manufacture is more difficult. Normally, protein molecules in milk have a negative surface charge, which keeps milk in a liquid state; the molecules act as surfactants, forming micelles around the particles of fat and keeping them in emulsion. Lactic acid bacteria are added to pasteurized and homogenized milk. During the fermentation around 22 °C (72 °F), the pH of the milk decreases (it becomes more acidic). Amino acids at the surface of the proteins begin losing charge and become neutral, turning the fat micelles from hydrophilic to hydrophobic state and causing the liquid to coagulate. If the bacteria are left in the milk too long, the pH lowers further, the micelles attain a positive charge, and the mixture returns to liquid form. The key, then, is to kill the bacteria by heating the mixture to 52–63 °C (126–145 °F) at the moment the cheese is at the isoelectric point, meaning the state at which half the ionizable surface amino acids of the proteins are positively charged and half are negative.

Inaccurate timing of the heating can produce inferior or unsalable cheese due to variations in flavor and texture. Cream cheese has a higher fat content than other cheeses, and fat repels water, which tends to separate from the cheese; this can be avoided in commercial production by adding stabilizers such as guar or carob gums to prolong its shelf life.

In Canada, the regulations for cream cheese stipulate that it is made by coagulating cream with the help of bacteria, forming a curd which is then formed into a mass after removing the whey. Some of its ingredients include cream (to adjust milk fat content), salt, nitrogen (to improve spreadability) and several gelling, thickening, stabilizing and emulsifying ingredients such as xanthan gum or gelatin, to a maximum of 0.5 percent. Regulations on preservatives used are that either sorbic acid, or propionic acid may be used independently or combined, but only to a maximum of 3,000 parts per million when used together. The only acceptable enzymes that can be used in manufacturing of cream cheese to be sold in Canada are chymosin A and B, pepsin and rennet.

In Spain and Mexico, cream cheese is sometimes called by the generic name queso filadelfia, following the marketing of Philadelphia branded cream cheese by Kraft Foods.

Cream cheese is often spread on bread, bagels, crackers, etc., and used as a dip for potato chips and similar snack items, and in salads. It can be mixed with other ingredients, such as yogurt or pepper jelly, to make spreads.

Cream cheese on a bagel

Cream cheese can be used for many purposes in sweet and savoury cookery, and is in the same family of ingredients as other milk products, such as cream, milk, butter, and yogurt. It can be used in cooking to make cheesecake and to thicken sauces and make them creamy. Cream cheese is sometimes used in place of or with butter (typically two parts cream cheese to one part butter) when making cakes or cookies, and cream cheese frosting. It is the main ingredient in the filling of crab rangoon, an appetizer commonly served at U.S. Chinese restaurants. It can also be used instead of or with butter or olive oil in mashed potatoes, and in some westernized sushi rolls. It can also be used for ants on a log.

American cream cheese tends to have lower fat content than elsewhere, but “Philadelphia” branded cheese is sometimes suggested as a substitute for petit suisse.

 

One of America’s Favorites – Danger Dog

June 4, 2018 at 5:02 AM | Posted in One of America's Favorites | Leave a comment
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A deep-fried, bacon wrapped Jersey breakfast dog

A danger dog is a hot dog that has been wrapped in bacon and deep-fried. It is served on a hot dog bun with various toppings. Also known as a bacon-wrapped hot dog, it was first sold by street vendors in Mexico. Its origin has been placed in either Tijuana or Hermosillo, where it was originally served in a bolillo instead of a hot dog bun.

Danger dogs are now sold by street vendors and in restaurants in urban areas in the United States such as Los Angeles, San Francisco, and New York City.

The term “danger dog” originates from this form of hot dog’s reputation as being of cheap quality, as it is often sold by unlicensed street vendors.

 

A francheezie with a side of fries; the cheese is on top instead of inside

Francheezie
In Chicago there is a variation of the danger dog called the francheezie. This is an all-beef hot dog wrapped in bacon and deep fried, with melted Cheddar or American cheese (or Velveeta). Usually the hot dog is split and filled with cheese before being deep fried. Alternatively the cheese may be added as a topping after frying. The francheezie is served on a poppy seed bun, either “plain” or with the toppings of a Chicago-style hot dog. It is typically sold by restaurants rather than by street vendors.

Bacon-wrapped
In Los Angeles the danger dog is known as the bacon-wrapped hot dog. Vendors can be found cooking them on a stainless steel baking tray over Sterno heat sources outside of bars, concerts, sporting events, and other late night establishments. The bacon-wrapped usually consists of a bacon-wrapped hot dog, grilled onions and bell peppers, ketchup, mustard, mayonnaise, and grilled jalapeño peppers. After a public campaign in 2010, the L.A. City Council proclaimed the bacon-wrapped to be the official hot dog of Los Angeles.

Jersey breakfast dog
In New Jersey and elsewhere on the East Coast, there is a variation called the Jersey breakfast dog. This is a bacon-wrapped, deep-fried hot dog with melted cheese, on top of a fried or scrambled egg.

Mission dog
In San Francisco the bacon-wrapped hot dog is called a Mission dog, named after the Mission District where it is sold. It is typically served with grilled onions, mustard, ketchup, mayonnaise, and jalapeños.

Texas Tommy

A bacon-wrapped

The Texas Tommy is found in Philadelphia and elsewhere in Eastern Pennsylvania. Like a francheezie, it is a hot dog that is split and filled with cheese before being wrapped with bacon. The Texas Tommy can be either deep-fried, broiled, or grilled.

 

One of America’s Favorites – Chicago-Style Pizza

May 28, 2018 at 5:02 AM | Posted in One of America's Favorites | Leave a comment
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Deep-dish pizza from Gino’s East in Chicago

Chicago-style pizza refers to several different styles of pizza developed in Chicago. Arguably, the most famous of these is known as deep-dish pizza. The pan in which it is baked gives the pizza its characteristically high edge which gives a lot of space for large amounts of cheese and a chunky tomato sauce. Chicago-style pizza may be prepared in deep-dish style and as a stuffed pizza.

Deep-dish pizza
According to Tim Samuelson, Chicago’s official cultural historian, there is not enough documentation to determine with certainty who invented Chicago-style deep-dish pizza. It is often reported that Chicago-style deep-dish pizza was invented at Pizzeria Uno in Chicago, in 1943, by Uno’s founder Ike Sewell. However, a 1956 article from the Chicago Daily News asserts that Uno’s original pizza chef Rudy Malnati developed the recipe.

The primary difference between deep-dish pizza and most other forms of pizza is that, as the name suggests, the crust is very deep, creating a very thick pizza that resembles a pie more than a flatbread. Although the entire pizza is very thick, in traditional Chicago-style deep-dish pizzas, the crust itself is thin to medium in thickness.

Deep-dish pizza from Pizzeria Uno

Deep-dish pizza is baked in a round, steel pan that is more similar to a cake or pie pan than a typical pizza pan. The pan is oiled in order to allow for easy removal as well as to create a fried effect on the outside of the crust. In addition to ordinary wheat flour, the pizza dough may contain corn meal, semolina, or food coloring, giving the crust a distinctly yellowish tone. The dough is pressed up onto the sides of the pan, forming a bowl for a very thick layer of toppings.

The thick layer of toppings used in deep-dish pizza requires a longer baking time, which could burn cheese or other toppings if they were used as the top layer of the pizza. Because of this, the toppings are assembled “upside-down” from their usual order on a pizza. The crust is covered with cheese (generally sliced mozzarella), followed by various meat options such as pepperoni or sausage, the latter of which is sometimes in a solid patty-like layer. Other toppings such as onions, mushrooms and bell peppers are then also used. An uncooked sauce, typically made from crushed canned tomatoes, is added as the finishing layer; though sometimes, a sprinkling of Parmesan cheese is added for extra flavor. It is typical that when ordered for carry-out or delivery, the pizza is uncut, as this prevents moisture from the sauce and toppings from soaking into the crust, causing the pie to become soggy.

Some Chicago deep-dish pizza restaurants ship their pizzas, partially baked and frozen, within the continental United States.

Stuffed pizza

Stuffed pizza from Giordano’s

By the mid-1970s, two Chicago chains, Nancy’s Pizza, founded by Rocco Palese, and Giordano’s Pizzeria, operated by brothers Efren and Joseph Boglio, began experimenting with deep-dish pizza and created the stuffed pizza. Palese based his creation on his mother’s recipe for scarciedda, an Italian Easter pie from his hometown of Potenza. Chicago Magazine articles featuring Nancy’s Pizza and Giordano’s stuffed pizza popularized the dish.

Stuffed pizzas are often even deeper than deep-dish pizzas, but otherwise, it can be hard to see the difference until it is cut into. A stuffed pizza generally has much deeper topping density than any other type of pizza. As with deep-dish pizza, a deep layer of dough forms a bowl in a high-sided pan and the toppings and cheese are added. Then, an additional layer of dough goes on top and is pressed to the sides of the crust.

At this stage, the thin dough top has a rounded, domed appearance. Pizza makers often poke a small hole in the top of the “lid” to allow air and steam to escape while cooking, so that the pizza does not explode. Usually, but not always, tomato sauce is ladled over the top crust.

Thin-crust pizza

Chicago-style party-cut thin-crust pizza

There is also a style of thin-crust pizza found in Chicago and throughout the rest of the Midwest. The crust is thin and firm enough to have a noticeable crunch, unlike a New York-style pizza. This pizza is cut into squares, also known as “tavern style” or “party cut”, as opposed to being cut into wedges. Among locals, thin-crust actually outsells the more widely known deep-dish style.

Toppings
In most of the United States, the most popular pizza topping is pepperoni, but in Chicago the most popular topping is sausage.

 

 

One of America’s Favorites – Cheese Fries

May 21, 2018 at 5:02 AM | Posted in One of America's Favorites | Leave a comment
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Cheese fries

Cheese fries or cheesy chips (latter British English) are an American fast-food dish, consisting of french fries covered in cheese with the possible addition of various other toppings. Cheese fries are generally served as a lunch- or dinner-time meal. They can be found in fast-food locations, diners, and grills all across the United States, as well as the rest of the world.

The dish originated in the United States, although its exact birthplace is still widely disputed. Cheese fries have been said to grow in popularity in the United States after canned cheese products such as Cheez Whiz hit the U.S. markets in 1952. Don A. Jenkins is said to have invented a variation of the cheese fry (the chili cheese fry), at the age of 16, in Tomball, Texas. Another report claims that a young fry cook named Austin Ruse was the first to serve this dish while working at Dairy Queen in St. Charles, MO.

A common method of making cheese fries involves pouring melted cheese onto a plate of fries:

1 – Place uncooked french fries (cut or frozen) onto a greased baking pan
2 – Bake at 450°F for about 15 minutes (or until golden brown)
3 – In a separate bowl, mix melted cheese with preferred spices, meats, or vegetables
4 – Once french fries are out of the oven, pour the melted cheese onto the fries

Throughout the Southwest US, cheese fries are often covered in melted cheddar cheese, bacon bits, jalapeño slices, and chives, and served with ranch dressing. Alternately, they are also served as carne asada fries. In Philadelphia, pizza fries are topped with melted mozzarella and served with pizza sauce on the side, while “mega fries” are topped with cheddar (or sometimes Cheez Whiz) and mozzarella cheese and bacon. Usually served with a side of ranch dressing. In New York City, Long Island, and New Jersey, they are covered with American, mozzarella, or Swiss cheese, then melted. In New Jersey and certain New York City diners, Disco Fries are served with mozzarella and brown gravy. In other parts of the US, nacho cheese is often used, especially in snack stand-type settings.

Chili cheese fries

Chili cheese fries are topped with chili con carne. The cheese is usually either American or cheddar. In Cincinnati, Ohio, they use their own Cincinnati chili for their chili cheese fries at the local chili restaurants. In New

Mexico, they use New Mexican chile for their chili cheese fries, often adding chopped lettuce, tomato, and olives as garnish.

In Ireland, a variation called “taco fries” consists of fresh cut chips covered in sub sauce and shredded cheddar. Piled on top of the cheese are ground beef, tomato, peppers, onions, and various seasonings. In Bulgaria, a common side dish offered in most restaurants consists of French fries, topped with grated or crumbled sirene. In the Netherlands a dish named ‘kapsalon’ is served as fast food. This consist of fries covered with cheese, salad, and shawarma or doner kebab. It is often consumed with large amounts of garlic sauce or chili sauce.

Animal Fries’ consisting of cheese, grilled onions, and spread on a regular order of fries at In-N-Out Burger, part of their “secret” menu

In the United Kingdom, chips and cheese are often served in pubs. Preparation includes the pouring of cheddar sauce over chips or sprinkling cheddar over chips and then putting the dish under a grill. A variation adds beef gravy on top.

 

One of America’s Favorites – Sausage Sandwich

May 7, 2018 at 5:02 AM | Posted in One of America's Favorites | Leave a comment
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An Italian sausage sandwich.

A sausage sandwich is a sandwich containing cooked sausage. It generally consists of an oblong bread roll such as a baguette or ciabatta roll, and sliced or whole links of sausage, such as hot or sweet Italian sausage, Polish sausage, German sausage (knackwurst, weisswurst, bratwurst, bockwurst), Mediterranean merguez, andouille or chorizo. Popular toppings include mustard, brown sauce, ketchup, steak sauce, peppers, onions, sauerkraut, chili, and salsa.

 

 

Vendor selling sausage sandwiches

United States
In the United States, sausage sandwiches are widely popular, one variety, colloquially known as a hot dog, is particularly popular—especially at sporting events, carnivals, beaches, and fairs. They are also sold in many delis as well as food stands on street corners of large cities. Many American hot dog vendors also serve Polish, Italian, Mexican, and German (e.g. bratwurst) sausage sandwiches in addition to their regular fare.

Sausage sandwiches that come on toast, a bagel, an English muffin, a biscuit, or kaiser roll, and include eggs are generally referred to as breakfast sandwiches.

 

United Kingdom

English sausage and egg sandwich

In the UK, sausage sandwiches (“sausage sarnie” or “butty” in English slang, or “piece ‘n’ sausage” in Scottish English) can typically be found in greasy spoons (workers’ cafés) and many roadside food stalls.

Although a breakfast favorite, it may be purchased and consumed at any time of the day. Popular combinations are sausage and bacon, sausage and egg, sausage and fried onions, and sausage and tomato.

Sausages are often served in a bread roll or hot dog bun, especially at barbecues.

In Scotland, a lorne sausage may be substituted and is usually served in a morning roll or bap.

 

Australia and New Zealand

In Australia and New Zealand, a variety is frequently sold at school fetes and other fundraising activities. The sausage is cooked on a barbecue grill in an outdoor area and served with grilled onions on a single, folded slice of bread with tomato or barbecue sauce. The activity is commonly known as a “sausage sizzle”. As well as fetes, fundraisers and markets, in recent years it has become common for “sausage sizzles” to be regularly held outside major retailers on weekends (often for charitable causes) such as Bunnings, The Warehouse or Harvey Norman. In the majority of states of Australia, such as New South Wales, Queensland, Western Australia and Tasmania, the sausages sold in a single piece of bread at a sausage sizzle are known as ‘sausage sandwiches’. However, elsewhere, such as Victoria and South Australia, these are known as ‘sausage in bread’ and a sausage sandwich refers to a sandwich made with two slices of bread, a chopped up sausage (often cold), and tomato sauce or chutney.

 

One of America’s Favorites – Burgoo

April 30, 2018 at 5:02 AM | Posted in One of America's Favorites | Leave a comment
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Kentucky burgoo served with mashed potatoes

Burgoo is a spicy stew, similar to Irish or Mulligan stew, often served with cornbread or corn muffins. It is often prepared communally as a social gathering. It is popular as the basis for civic fund-raisers in the American Midwest and South.

Traditional burgoo was made using whatever meats and vegetables were available—typically, venison, squirrel, opossum, raccoon or game birds, and was often associated with autumn and the harvest season. Today, local barbecue restaurants use a specific meat in their recipes, usually pork, chicken, or mutton, which, along with the spices used, creates a flavor unique to each restaurant.

A typical burgoo is a combination of meats: pork, chicken, mutton or beef, often hickory-smoked, but other meats are seen occasionally; and vegetables, such as lima beans, corn, okra, tomatoes, cabbage and potatoes. Typically, since burgoo is a slow-cooked dish, the starch from the added vegetables results in thickening of the stew. However, a thickening agent, such as cornmeal, ground beans, whole wheat, or potato starch can be used when cooked in a non-traditional way. In addition, soup bones can be added for taste and thickening.

The ingredients are combined in order of cooking time required, with meat first, vegetables next, and thickening agents as necessary. A good burgoo is said to be able to have a spoon stand up in it. Cider vinegar, hot sauce, Worcestershire sauce, or chili powder are common condiments.

Cooking burgoo in Kentucky often serves as a communal effort and social event, in which each attendee brings one or more ingredients. In Kentucky and surrounding states such as Indiana, burgoo is often used for fund-raising for schools. This kind of event has been claimed to have been invented by the family of Ollie Beard, a former Major League Baseball player.

In Brighton, Illinois, a local traditional burgoo is prepared and served annually at the village’s summer festival, the Betsy Ann Picnic. Franklin, Illinois self identifies as the Burgoo Capital of the World;[citation needed] they have an annual burgoo cookout over July 3 and July 4. Burgoo events are also held in Cass County, Illinois in the towns of Chandlerville and Arenzville. Arenzville claims to be the home of the world’s best burgoo.

Several cities have claimed to be the burgoo capital of the world such as Franklin, Illinois, Lawrenceburg, Kentucky, and Owensboro, Kentucky.

 

One of America’s Favorites – Machaca

April 23, 2018 at 5:02 AM | Posted in One of America's Favorites | Leave a comment
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Pork machaca, eggs and potatoes wrapped in a tortilla, served with guacamole

Machaca About this sound ma’t͡ʃaka is a traditionally dried meat, usually spiced beef or pork, which is rehydrated and then used in popular local cuisine in Northern Mexico and the Southwestern United States. It is also readily available in many ethnic groceries and supermarkets in these areas. In areas where the dried meat product is not easy to obtain, slow-cooked roast beef (brisket) or skirt steak shredded then fried is sometimes substituted.

Prepared machaca can be served any number of ways from tightly rolled flautas, to tacos, to burritos, or on a plate with eggs, onions and with peppers (chiles verdes or chiles poblanos). Machaca is almost always served with flour tortillas, which tend to be large, up to 20 inches in diameter. A very popular breakfast or brunch dish is machaca with eggs, associated with miners in the state of Chihuahua.

The dish is known primarily in the north of Mexico, and the southern regions of the U.S. states of Arizona, California, and New Mexico.

Machaca was originally prepared most commonly from dried, spiced beef or pork, then rehydrated and pounded to make it tender. The reconstituted meat would then be used to prepare any number of dishes. While drying meat is one of the oldest forms of preservation, the drying of beef with chilis and other native spices was developed by the ranchers and cowboys of northern Mexico.

After the arrival of refrigeration, dehydration was no longer needed for preservation. Most dried beef is sold in the U.S. as jerky. In Mexico, it is still sold for cooking and snacking; however, this is done mostly in the north and in small-scale operations. Most machaca dishes now are made from beef that has been well-cooked, shredded, then cooked in its juices until the desired consistency is achieved, which in Phoenix can be soupy, dry, or medio. In Tucson and south, the preparation is almost always dry, and approximates more closely the taste and texture of the original dish prepared from dried meat. Carne seca is an alternative name for machaca in Tucson and Sonora.

 

One of America’s Favorites – Belgian Waffles

April 16, 2018 at 5:02 AM | Posted in One of America's Favorites | Leave a comment
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A Belgian waffle with strawberries and confectioner’s sugar

In North America, Belgian waffles are a variety of waffle with a lighter batter, larger squares, and deeper pockets than ordinary American waffles. Belgian waffles were originally leavened with yeast, but baking powder is now often used.

In Belgium itself, there are several kinds of waffle, including the Brussels waffle and the Liège waffle.

In North America, they are often eaten as a breakfast food; toppings vary from whipped cream, confectioners sugar, soft fruit, and chocolate spread, to syrup and butter or margarine. They may also be served with vanilla ice cream and fresh fruit (such as strawberries) as a dessert.

Originally showcased in 1958 at Expo 58 in Brussels, Belgian waffles were introduced to North America by a Belgian named Walter Cleyman at the Century 21 Exposition in Seattle in 1962, and served with whipped cream and strawberries. The waffles were further popularized in the United States during the 1964 New York World’s Fair at Flushing Meadows Park. The waffle was introduced by Maurice Vermersch of Brussels, Belgium, and was named the Bel-Gem Waffle. Largely based on a simplified recipe for the Brussels waffles, Vermersch decided to change the name upon observing that many Americans could not correctly identify Brussels as the capital of Belgium. These waffles were served with whipped cream and strawberries, and retailed for a dollar.

 

One of America’s Favorites – Risotto

April 9, 2018 at 5:02 AM | Posted in One of America's Favorites | Leave a comment
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Creamy baked mushroom risotto

Risotto /rɪˈzɒtoʊ/ (Italian: [riˈzɔtto] or [riˈsɔtto]) is a northern Italian rice dish cooked in a broth to a creamy consistency. The broth can be derived from meat, fish, or vegetables. Many types of risotto contain butter, wine, and onion. It is one of the most common ways of cooking rice in Italy. Saffron was originally used for flavor and its attractive yellow color.

Risotto in Italy is normally a primo (first course), served on its own before the main course, but risotto alla milanese, (pronounced [riˈzɔtto alla milaˈneːze]), is often served together with ossobuco alla milanese.

Rice was grown in southern Italy since the 14th century, and eventually reached Milano in the northern region of Italy. While according to a legend a young glassblower apprentice from Flanders who used to use saffron as a pigment added it to a rice dish at a wedding feast, the first recipe identifiable as risotto dates from 1809. It includes rice sautéed in butter, sausages, bone marrow, onions with hot broth with saffron gradually added. There is a recipe for a dish named as a risotto in the 1854 Trattato di cucina (Treatise on Cooking) by Giovanni Vialardi, assistant chief chef to kings. However, the question of who invented the risotto in Milano remains unanswered today.

The rice varieties nowadays associated with risotto were developed in the 20th century, starting with Maratelli in 1914.

A high-starch (amylopectin), low-amylose round medium- or short- grain white rice is usually used for making risotto. Such rices have the ability to absorb liquids and to release starch and so they are stickier than the long grain varieties. The principal varieties used in Italy are Arborio, Baldo, Carnaroli, Maratelli, Padano, Roma, and Vialone Nano. Carnaroli, Maratelli (historical Italian variety) and Vialone Nano are considered to be the best (and most expensive) varieties, with different users preferring one over another. They have slightly different properties. For example, Carnaroli is less likely than Vialone Nano to get overcooked, but the latter, being smaller, cooks faster and absorbs condiments better. Other varieties such as Roma, Baldo, Ribe and Originario may be used but will not have the creaminess of the traditional dish; these varieties are considered better for soups and other non-risotto rice dishes, and sweet rice desserts. Rice designations of superfino, semifino and fino refer to the size and shape (specifically the length and the narrowness) of the grains, and not the quality.

Mushroom and Chicken Risotto

There are many different risotto recipes with different ingredients, but they are all based on rice of an appropriate variety, cooked in a standard procedure, requiring, unlike other rice dishes, constant care and attention. The rice is not pre-rinsed, as washing would remove much of the starch required for a creamy texture.

The rice is first cooked briefly in a soffritto of onion and butter or olive oil, to coat each grain in a film of fat, called tostatura; white wine is added and must be absorbed by the grains. When it has been absorbed the heat is raised to medium high, and boiling stock is gradually added in small amounts, while stirring constantly. The constant stirring, with only a small amount of liquid present, forces the grains to rub against each other and release the starch molecules from the outside of the grains into the surrounding liquid, creating a smooth creamy-textured mass. When the rice is cooked the pot is taken off the heat for mantecatura, vigorously beating in refrigerated balls of grated parmesan cheese and butter, to make the texture as creamy and smooth as possible. It may be removed from the heat a few minutes earlier and left to cook with its residual heat.

Properly cooked risotto is rich and creamy even if no cream is added, due to the starch in the grains, if properly prepared. It has some resistance or bite (al dente) and separate grains. The traditional texture is fairly fluid, or all’onda (“wavy, or flowing in waves”). It is served on flat dishes and should easily spread out but not have excess watery liquid around the perimeter. It must be eaten at once, as it continues to cook in its own heat, making the grains absorb all the liquid and become soft and dry.

 

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