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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Kitchen Hint of the Day!

April 4, 2018 at 5:00 AM | Posted in Uncategorized | Leave a comment
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Butter, Butter………..

You can store butter in the freezer for up to six months.

Kitchen Hint of the Day!

March 1, 2018 at 6:00 AM | Posted in Kitchen Hints | Leave a comment
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When baking have your items at room temperature……….

When ingredients are at room temperature, butter and sugar will cream properly and hold more air, eggs will blend well into the batter to act as an emulsifier, egg whites are easier to beat, and dry ingredients will combine easier.

One of America’s Favorites – Lobster Roll

January 29, 2018 at 6:09 AM | Posted in One of America's Favorites | Leave a comment
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Lobster roll

A lobster roll is a fast-food sandwich native to New England made of lobster meat served on a grilled hot dog-style bun with the opening on the top rather than the side. The filling may also contain butter, lemon juice, salt and black pepper, with variants made in other parts of New England replacing the butter with mayonnaise. Others contain diced celery or scallion. Potato chips or french fries are the typical sides.

 

 

According to the “Encyclopedia of American Food and Drink” the lobster roll originated as a hot dish at a restaurant named Perry’s in Milford, Connecticut, as early as 1929. Its popularity then spread up and down the Connecticut coast, but not far beyond it. In Connecticut, the sandwich served warm is a “lobster roll”, cold a “lobster salad roll”.

As far back as 1970, chopped lobster meat heated in drawn butter was served on a hot dog bun at road side stands such as Red’s Eats in Maine. Lobster rolls in the U.S. are associated with the state of Maine, but are also commonly available at seafood restaurants in the other New England states and on Eastern Long Island, where lobster fishing is common.

Lobster rolls in Maine are characteristically served on a New England-style hot dog bun, which is split on the top

A lobster-salad style roll

instead of the side and has flat sides for grilling. The lobster meat is usually served cold, rather than warm or hot, and mayonnaise is typically spread inside the bun or tossed with the meat. The filling consists of chunked knuckle, claw, and lobster tail, and only lightly seasoned if at all, and is otherwise plain. Four ounces is a standard serving size.

Lobster rolls are a staple summer meal throughout the Maritime provinces in Canada, particularly Nova Scotia where they may also appear on hamburger buns, baguettes, or other types of bread rolls and even pita pockets. The traditional sides are potato chips and dill pickles.

McDonald’s restaurants in Canadian provinces, such as Nova Scotia and Ontario, as well as in New England, offer lobster rolls as a limited edition item in the summer.

 

One of America’s Favorites – Pecan Pie

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

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

 

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

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

A slice of pecan pie.

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

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

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

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

Chocolate pecan tarts prior to baking

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

Maple
Includes maple syrup and almond extract

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

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

 

Kitchen Hint of the Day!

October 27, 2017 at 5:25 AM | Posted in Kitchen Hints | Leave a comment
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Add the Canola Oil…..

To saute or fry with butter, margarine, or lard, add a small amount of canola oil to raise the smoke point. This will keep the solid fat from breaking down at a higher temperature.

Kitchen Hint of the Day!

September 28, 2017 at 5:17 AM | Posted in Kitchen Hints | Leave a comment
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Butter it up………..

 

Next time you grill a steak or fish try this butter topping – Make flavored butter by stirring chopped fresh herbs or garlic into softened butter. Use a fork to work the herbs in thoroughly. Serve with the grilled meats or fish!

Kitchen Hint of the Day!

September 19, 2017 at 5:45 AM | Posted in Kitchen Hints | Leave a comment
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Butter………

 

The butter keeper in the fridge door is actually a bad place to store butter. Butter should be kept colder and tightly wrapped

Kitchen Hint of the Day!

July 24, 2017 at 5:32 AM | Posted in Kitchen Hints | Leave a comment
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Making your own Biscuits…..

 

Make sure all of the ingredients, including the flour and baking powder, are cold. Also don’t overwork the dough: Mix just until the liquid is incorporated, and knead just until the dough comes together. And don’t forget the gravy!

One of America’s Favorites – Milk Toast

July 3, 2017 at 5:04 AM | Posted in One of America's Favorites | 2 Comments
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Simple milk toast consisting of toasted buttermilk bread covered in white sauce with a dash of cinnamon

Milk toast is a breakfast food consisting of toasted bread in warm milk, typically with sugar and butter. Salt, pepper, paprika, cinnamon, cocoa, raisins and other ingredients may be added. In the New England region of the US, milk toast refers to toast that has been dipped in a milk-based white sauce. Milk toast was a popular food throughout the late 19th and early 20th centuries, especially for young children and for the convalescent, for whom the food was thought to be soothing and easy to digest. Although not as popular in the 2000s, milk toast is still considered a comfort food.

 

 

 

The food writer M. F. K. Fisher (1908–1992) called milk toast a “warm, mild, soothing thing, full of innocent strength”, and wrote, of eating milk toast in a famed restaurant with a convalescent friend, that the food was “a small modern miracle of gastronomy”. She notes that her homeliest kitchen manuals even list it under Feeding The Sick or Invalid Recipes, arguing that milk toast was “an instinctive palliative, something like boiled water”. Fisher also notes that for true comfort, a ritual may be necessary, and for Milk Toast people, the dish used may be foolishly important. Her favorite version of milk toast has the milk mixed 50/50 with Campbell’s condensed cream of tomato soup in a wide-lipped pitcher called a boccalino in Italian Switzerland where she got it.

 

Milk toast prepared with condensed milk

In the Southwestern United States
In New Mexican cuisine, milk toast is referred to as leche cocida, meaning cooked milk. Toasted bread is torn into chunks and placed in a bowl. Milk is cooked with a small amount of butter, salt and pepper and is poured over the bread. It is a meal associated with using up excess milk, perhaps from the days of milk man service, in this region.

 

 

 

Milk toast’s soft blandness served as inspiration for the name of the timid and ineffectual comic strip character Caspar Milquetoast, drawn by H. T. Webster from 1924 to 1952. Thus, the term “milquetoast” entered the language as the label for a timid, shrinking, apologetic person. Milk toast also appeared in Disney’s Follow Me Boys as an undesirable breakfast for the aging main character Lem Siddons.

 

 

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