National Pizza Pie Day is Today, February 9!! Celebrate the Day!

February 9, 2013 at 12:48 PM | Posted in pizza | 2 Comments
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National Pizza Pie Day is Today, February 9!! Celebrate the Day!

A pizza just removed from an oven

A pizza just removed from an oven

Pizza is an oven-baked, flat, round bread typically topped with a tomato sauce, cheese and various toppings. Pizza was originally invented in Naples, Italy, and the dish has since become popular in many parts of the world. An establishment that makes and sells pizzas is called a “pizzeria”. Many varieties of pizza exist worldwide, along with several dish variants based upon pizza. In 2009, upon Italy’s request, Neapolitan pizza was safeguarded in the European Union as a Traditional Specialty Guaranteed dish.

 
In restaurants, pizza can be baked in an oven with stone bricks above the heat source, an electric deck oven, a conveyor belt oven or, in the case of more expensive restaurants, a wood- or coal-fired brick oven. On deck ovens, the pizza can be slid into the oven on a long paddle, called a peel, and baked directly on the hot bricks or baked on a screen (a round metal grate, typically aluminum). When made at home, it can be baked on a pizza stone in a regular oven to reproduce the effect of a brick oven. Another option is grilled pizza, in which the crust is baked directly on a barbecue grill. Greek pizza, like Chicago-style pizza, is baked in a pan rather than directly on the bricks of the pizza oven.

 
The bottom of the pizza, called the “crust”, may vary widely according to style—thin as in a typical hand-tossed pizza or Roman pizza, or thick as in a typical pan pizza or Chicago-style pizza. It is traditionally plain, but may also be seasoned with garlic or herbs, or stuffed with cheese.

 
The most popular cheeses to use on pizza are mozzarella, provolone, cheddar and parmesan. Romano and Ricotta are often used as toppings and processed cheese manufactured specifically for pizza is used in mass-produced environments. Processed pizza cheese is manufactured to produce preferable qualities like browning, melting, stretchiness and fat and moisture content. Many studies and experiments have analyzed the impact of vegetable oil, manufacturing and culture processes, denatured whey proteins and other changes to creating the ideal and economical pizza cheese. In 1997 it was estimated that annual production of pizza cheese was 2 billion pounds in the US and 200 million pounds in Europe.

 
Toppings
Myriad toppings are used on pizzas, including, but not limited to:
Anchovies
Bacon
Ground beef
Mushrooms
Olives
Onions
Pepperoni
Peppers
Sausage
Seafood
Sun-dried tomato
Tomatoes
Vegetables

 

In 1905, the first pizza establishment in the United States was opened in New York’s Little Italy. Due to the wide influence of Italian

New York-style pizza.

New York-style pizza.

immigrants in American culture, the US has developed regional forms of pizza, some bearing only a casual resemblance to the Italian original. Chicago has its own style of a deep-dish pizza. Detroit also has its unique twice-baked style, with cheese all the way to the edge of the crust, and New York City has its own distinct variety of pizza. New Haven-style pizza is a thin crust variety that does not include cheese unless the customer asks for it as an additional topping.

One of America’s Favorites – Pop Corn

August 28, 2012 at 8:59 AM | Posted in cooking, snacks | Leave a comment
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Popcorn, also known as popping corn, is a type of corn (maize, Zea mays var. everta) that expands from the kernel and puffs up when heated. Corn is able to pop because, like amaranth grain, sorghum, quinoa and millet, its kernels have a hard moisture-sealed hull and a dense starchy interior. This allows pressure to build inside the kernel until an explosive “pop” results. Some strains of corn are now cultivated specifically as popping corns. The kernels are sometimes different than others.
There are many techniques for popping corn. Commercial large-scale popcorn machines were invented by Charles Cretors in the late 19th century. Many types of small-scale home methods for popping corn also exist, with the most popular in the United States being prepackaged.
Depending on how it is prepared and cooked, some consider it to be a health food while others caution against it for a variety of reasons. Popcorn can also have non-food applications, ranging from holiday decorations to packaging materials.

Popcorn was first discovered thousands of years ago by Native Americans. It is one of the oldest forms of corn: evidence of popcorn from 3600 B.C. was found in New Mexico and even earlier evidence dating to perhaps as early as 4700 BC was found in Peru. Some Popcorn has been found in early 1900s to be a purple color.
The English who came to America in the 16th and 17th centuries learned about popcorn from the Native Americans.

Unpopped popcorn

During the Great Depression, popcorn was comparatively cheap at 5–10 cents a bag and became popular. Thus, while other businesses failed, the popcorn business thrived and became a source of income for many struggling farmers. During World War II, sugar rations diminished candy production, causing Americans to eat three times as much popcorn than they had before.
At least six localities (all in the Midwestern United States) claim to be the “Popcorn Capital of the World”: Ridgway, Illinois; Valparaiso, Indiana; Van Buren, Indiana; Schaller, Iowa; Marion, Ohio; and North Loup, Nebraska. According to the USDA, most of the corn used for popcorn production is specifically planted for this purpose; most is grown in Nebraska and Indiana, with increasing area in Texas.
As the result of an elementary school project, popcorn became the official state snack food of Illinois.

Each kernel of popcorn contains a certain amount of moisture and oil. Unlike most other grains, the outer hull of the popcorn kernel is both strong and impervious to moisture, and the starch inside consists almost entirely of a hard, dense type.
As the oil and the water around the kernel are heated, they turn the moisture in the kernel, which has a moisture-proof hull, into a superheated pressurized steam. Under these conditions, the starch inside the kernel gelatinizes, softens and becomes pliable. The pressure continues to increase until the breaking point of the hull is reached: a pressure of about 135 psi (930 kPa) and a temperature of 180 °C (356 °F). The hull ruptures rapidly, causing a sudden drop in pressure inside the kernel and a corresponding rapid expansion of the steam, which expands the starch and proteins of the endosperm into airy foam. As the foam rapidly cools, the starch and protein polymers set into the familiar crispy puff. Special varieties are grown to give improved popping yield. Some wild types will pop, but the cultivated strain is “Zea mays averta,” which is a special kind of “flint corn.”

Although small quantities can be popped in a stove-top kettle, or pot in a home kitchen, commercial sale of freshly popped popcorn

An early popcorn machine. 1880s by Charles Cretors in Chicago

employs specially designed popcorn machines, which were invented in Chicago, Illinois, by Charles Cretors in 1885. Cretors successfully introduced his invention at the Columbian Exposition in 1893. At this same world’s fair, F.W. Rueckheim introduced a molasses-flavored “Candied Popcorn”, the first caramel corn; his brother, Louis, slightly altered the recipe and introduced it as Cracker Jack popcorn in 1896.
Cretors’s invention introduced the first patented steam-driven popcorn machine that popped corn in oil. Previously, vendors popped corn by holding a wire basket over an open flame. At best, the result was a hot, dry, unevenly cooked snack. Cretors’s machine popped corn in a mixture of one-third clarified butter, two-thirds lard, and salt. This mixture could withstand the 450 °F (232 °C) temperature needed to pop corn and it did without producing much smoke. A fire under a boiler created steam that drove a small engine; that engine drove the gears, shaft, and agitator that stirred the corn and powered a small automated clown puppet-like figure, “the Toasty Roasty Man”, an attention attracting amusement intended to drum up business. A wire connected to the top of the cooking pan allowed the operator to disengage the drive mechanism, lift the cover, and dump popped corn into the storage bin beneath. Exhaust from the steam engine was piped to a hollow pan below the corn storage bin and kept freshly popped corn uniformly warm for the first time ever.

A very different method of popcorn-making can still be seen on the streets of some Chinese cities today. The un-popped corn kernels are poured into a large cast-iron canister — sometimes called a ‘popcorn hammer’ — that is then sealed with a heavy lid and slowly turned over a curbside fire in rotisserie fashion. When a pressure gauge on the canister reaches a certain level, the canister is removed from the fire, a large canvas sack is put over the lid, and the seal is released. With a huge boom, all of the popcorn explodes at once and is poured into the sack. This method is believed to have been developed during the Song dynasty originally for puffing rice.
Individual consumers can also buy and use specialized popping appliances that typically generate no more than a gallon of popped corn per batch. Some of these appliances also accept a small volume of oil or melted butter to assist thermal transfer from a stationary heating element, but others are “air poppers” which rapidly circulate heated air up through the interior, keeping the un-popped kernels in motion to avoid burning and then blowing the popped kernels out through the chute. The majority of popcorn sold for home consumption is now packaged in a microwave popcorn bag for use in a microwave oven.

Popping results are sensitive to the rate at which the kernels are heated. If heated too quickly, the steam in the outer layers of the kernel can reach high pressures and rupture the hull before the starch in the center of the kernel can fully gelatinize, leading to partially popped kernels with hard centers. Heating too slowly leads to entirely unpopped kernels: the tip of the kernel, where it attached to the cob, is not entirely moisture-proof, and when heated slowly, the steam can leak out of the tip fast enough to keep the pressure from rising sufficiently to break the hull and cause the pop.
Producers and sellers of popcorn consider two major factors in evaluating the quality of popcorn: what percentage of the kernels will pop, and how much each popped kernel expands. Expansion is an important factor to both the consumer and vendor. For the consumer, larger pieces of popcorn tend to be more tender and are associated with higher quality. For the grower, distributor, and vendor, expansion is closely correlated with profit: vendors such as theaters buy popcorn by weight and sell it by volume. For both these reasons, higher-expansion popcorn fetches a higher profit per unit weight.
Popcorn will pop when freshly harvested, but not well: its high moisture content leads to poor expansion and chewy pieces of

Popcorn on the cob before shelling

popcorn. Kernels with a high moisture content are also susceptible to mold when stored. For these reasons, popcorn growers and distributors dry the kernels until they reach the moisture level at which they expand the most. This differs by variety and conditions, but is generally in the range of 14–15% moisture by weight. If the kernels are over-dried, the expansion rate will suffer and the percentage of kernels that pop at all will decline.
Two explanations exist for kernels which do not pop at proper temperatures, known in the popcorn industry as “old maids”. The first is that unpopped kernels do not have enough moisture to create enough steam for an explosion. The second explanation, according to research led by Dr. Bruce Hamaker of Purdue University, is that the unpopped kernel may have a leaky hull.
Popcorn varieties are broadly categorized by the shape of the kernels, the color of the kernels, or the shape of the popped corn. While the kernels may come in a variety of colors, the popped corn is always off-yellow or white as it is only the hull (or pericarp) that is colored. “Rice” type popcorns have a long kernel pointed at both ends; “pearl” type kernels are rounded at the top. Commercial popcorn production has moved mostly to pearl types. Historically, pearl popcorns were usually yellow and rice popcorns usually white. Today both shapes are available in both colors, as well as others including black, red, and variegated. Commercial production is dominated by white and yellow.

In popcorn jargon, a popped kernel of corn is known as a “flake”. Two shapes of flakes are commercially important. “Butterfly” flakes are irregular in shape and have a number of protruding “wings”. “Mushroom” flakes are largely ball-shaped, with few wings. Butterfly flakes are regarded as having better mouthfeel, with greater tenderness and less noticeable hulls. Mushroom flakes are less fragile than butterfly flakes and are therefore often used for packaged popcorn or confectionery, such as caramel corn. The kernels from a single cob of popcorn may form both butterfly and mushroom flakes; hybrids that produce 100% butterfly flakes or 100% mushroom flakes exist, the latter developed only as recently as 1998. Growing conditions and popping environment can also affect the butterfly-to-mushroom ratio.

Popcorn is commonly eaten in movie theaters. This snack is usually served salted or sweetened. In North America, it is traditionally served salted, often with butter or a butterlike topping. However, sweetened versions, such as caramel corn and kettle corn, are also commonly available. In the United Kingdom, ready-made popcorn is available either salted or simply sweetened with sugar. Toffee (i.e. caramel) popcorn is also available, but tends to be more expensive. In Peru popcorn is sometimes sweetened with small candy pellets and sweetened condensed milk, but its more often eaten with salt and the only buttered version known to any considerable degree is the microwave popcorn. Popcorn is a popular snack food at sporting events and in cinemas, where it has been served since 1912. The Boy Scouts of America sell popcorn door-to-door as a primary fundraiser, similar to Girl Scout cookies.

Air-popped popcorn is naturally high in dietary fiber, low in calories and fat, and free of sugar and sodium. This can make it an attractive snack to people with dietary restrictions on the intake of calories, fat, and/or sodium. For the sake of flavor, however, large amounts of fat, sugar, and sodium are often added to prepared popcorn, which can quickly convert it to a very poor choice for those on restricted diets.
One particularly notorious example of this first came to public attention in the mid-1990s, when the Center for Science in the Public Interest produced a report about “Movie Popcorn”, which became the subject of a widespread publicity campaign. The movie theaters surveyed used coconut oil to pop the corn, and then topped it with butter or margarine. “A medium-size buttered popcorn”, the report said, “contains more fat than a breakfast of bacon and eggs, a Big Mac and fries, and a steak dinner combined.” The practice continues today. For example, according to DietFacts.com, a small popcorn from Regal Cinema Group (the largest theater chain in the United States still contains 29 g of saturated fat, as much as three Big Macs and the equivalent of a full day-and-a-half’s reference daily intake.

Popcorn is included on the list of foods that the American Academy of Pediatrics recommends not serving to children under four, because of the risk of choking. Special “hull-less” popcorn has been developed that offers an alternative for small children and for people with braces or other dental problems who may otherwise need to avoid popcorn.
Microwaveable popcorn represents a special case, since it is designed to be cooked along with its various flavoring agents. One of these

An in-home hot-air popcorn maker

common artificial-butter flavorants, diacetyl, has been implicated in causing respiratory ailments.

Popcorn, threaded onto a string, is used as a wall or Christmas tree decoration in some parts of North America, as well as on the Balkan peninsula.
Some shipping companies have experimented with using popcorn as a biodegradable replacement for expanded polystyrene packing material. However, popcorn has numerous undesirable properties as a packing material, including attractiveness to pests, flammability, and a higher cost and greater density than expanded polystyrene. A more processed form of expanded corn foam has been developed to overcome some of these limitations.
The world’s largest popcorn ball was unveiled in October 2006 in Lake Forest, Illinois. It weighed 3,415 pounds, measured 8 feet (2.4 m) in diameter, and had a circumference of 24.6 ft.

One of America’s Favorites – Pizza

August 6, 2012 at 10:07 AM | Posted in cooking, Food, pizza | 2 Comments
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Pizza is an oven-baked, flat, round bread typically topped with a tomato sauce, cheese and various toppings.
After its invention in Naples, the dish has become popular in many parts of the world. An establishment that makes and sells pizzas is

Pizza with gorgonzola, spinach and bacon

called a “pizzeria”.

Pizza (Italian pronunciation: [ˈpittsa], from the Latin verb pìnsere, to press) is Greek in origin. The Ancient Greeks covered their bread with oils, herbs and cheese. In Byzantine Greek, the word was spelled πίτα or pita, meaning pie. The word has now spread to Turkish as pide, and Bulgarian, Croatian and Serbian as pita, Albanian as pite and Modern Hebrew pittāh. The Romans developed placenta, a sheet of dough topped with cheese and honey and flavored with bay leaves. Modern pizza originated in Italy as the Neapolitan pie with tomato. In 1889, cheese was added.
In 1889, during a visit to Naples, Queen Margherita of Italy was served a pizza resembling the colors of the Italian flag, red (tomato), white (mozzarella) and green (basil). This kind of pizza has been named after the Queen as Pizza Margherita.

The bottom of the pizza, called the “crust”, may vary widely according to style—thin as in a typical hand-tossed pizza or Roman pizza, or thick as in a typical pan pizza or Chicago-style pizza. It is traditionally plain, but may also be seasoned with garlic or herbs, or stuffed with cheese.
In restaurants, pizza can be baked in an oven with stone bricks above the heat source, an electric deck oven, a conveyor belt oven or, in the case of more expensive restaurants, a wood- or coal-fired brick oven. On deck ovens, the pizza can be slid into the oven on a long paddle, called a peel, and baked directly on the hot bricks or baked on a screen (a round metal grate, typically aluminum). When made at home, it can be baked on a pizza stone in a regular oven to reproduce the effect of a brick oven. Another option is grilled pizza, in which the crust is baked directly on a barbecue grill. Greek pizza, like Chicago-style pizza, is baked in a pan rather than directly on the bricks of the pizza oven.

Pizza types

*Neapolitan pizza (pizza napoletana): Authentic Neapolitan pizzas are typically made with tomatoes and Mozzarella cheese. They can be made with ingredients like San Marzano tomatoes, which grow on the volcanic plains to the south of Mount Vesuvius, and mozzarella di bufala Campana, made with the milk from water buffalo raised in the marshlands of Campania and Lazio in a semi-wild state (this mozzarella is protected with its own European protected designation of origin).

 
According to the rules proposed by the Associazione Vera Pizza Napoletana, the genuine Neapolitan pizza dough consists of wheat flour (type 0 or 00, or a mixture of both), natural Neapolitan yeast or brewer’s yeast, salt and water. For proper results, strong flour with high protein content (as used for bread-making rather than cakes) must be used. The dough must be kneaded by hand or with a low-speed mixer. After the rising process, the dough must be formed by hand without the help of a rolling pin or other machine, and may be no more than 3 millimetres (0.12 in) thick. The pizza must be baked for 60–90 seconds in a 485 °C (905 °F) stone oven with an oak-wood fire. When cooked, it should be crispy, tender and fragrant. There are three official variants: pizza marinara, which is made with tomato, garlic, oregano and extra virgin olive oil, pizza Margherita, made with tomato, sliced mozzarella, basil and extra-virgin olive oil, and pizza Margherita extra made with tomato, mozzarella from Campania in fillets, basil and extra virgin olive oil. The pizza napoletana is a Traditional Speciality Guaranteed (Specialità Tradizionale Garantita, STG) product in Europe.

 
*Lazio style: Pizza in Lazio (Rome), as well as in many other parts of Italy, is available in two different styles. Take-away shops sell pizza rustica or pizza al taglio. This pizza is cooked in long, rectangular baking pans and relatively thick (1–2 cm). The pizza is often cooked in an electric oven. It is usually cut with scissors or a knife and sold by weight. In pizzerias, pizza is served in a dish in its traditional round shape. It has a thin, crisp base quite different from the thicker and softer Neapolitan style base. It is usually cooked in a wood-fired oven, giving the pizza its unique flavor and texture. In Rome, a pizza napoletana is topped with tomato, mozzarella, anchovies and oil (thus, what in Naples is called pizza romana, in Rome is called pizza napoletana).

 
Other types of Lazio-style pizza include:
*Pizza romana: tomato, mozzarella, anchovies, oregano, oil

A pizza just removed from the oven

*Pizza viennese: tomato, mozzarella, German sausage, oregano, oil
*Pizza capricciosa: mozzarella, tomato, mushrooms, artichokes, cooked ham, olives, oil
*Pizza quattro formaggi (“four cheese pizza”): tomatoes, and the cheeses mozzarella, stracchino, fontina, and gorgonzola. Sometimes ricotta is swapped for one of the last three.
*Pizza bianca In Rome, the term pizza bianca refers to a type of bread topped with olive oil, salt and, occasionally, rosemary sprigs. It is also a Roman style to add figs to the pizza, the result being known as pizza e fichi
*Pizza alla casalinga (“Grandma pizza”) consists of a thin layer of dough is stretched into an oiled, square “Sicilian” pan, topped sparingly with shredded mozzarella, crushed uncooked canned tomatoes, chopped garlic and olive oil, and baked until the top bubbles and the bottom is crisp.
*Pizza is available frozen. Ways have been developed to overcome challenges such as preventing the sauce from combining with the dough and producing a crust that can be frozen and reheated without becoming rigid. Modified corn starch is commonly used as a moisture barrier between the sauce and crust. Traditionally the dough is partially baked and other ingredients are also sometimes precooked. There are frozen pizzas with raw ingredients and self-rising crusts. A form of uncooked pizza is available from take and bake pizzerias. This pizza is created fresh using raw ingredients, then sold to customers to bake in their own ovens and microwaves.

Due to the wide influence of Italian immigrants in American culture, the US has developed regional forms of pizza, some bearing only a casual resemblance to the Italian original. Chicago has its own style of a deep-dish pizza, Detroit also has its unique twice-baked style, with cheese all the way to the crust, whereas New York City has developed its own distinct variety of thin crust pizza.

One of America’s Favorite – The Hot dog

March 22, 2012 at 1:30 PM | Posted in diabetes, diabetes friendly, Food, low calorie, low carb, turkey hotdogs | 2 Comments
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A hot dog is a sausage served in a sliced bun. It is very often garnished with mustard, ketchup, onions, mayonnaise, relish

A cooked hot dog on a bun garnish

, and/or sauerkraut.

Claims about hot dog invention are difficult to assess, as stories assert the creation of the sausage, the placing of the sausage (or another kind of sausage) on bread or a bun as finger food, the popularization of the existing dish, or the application of the name “hot dog” to a sausage and bun combination most commonly used with ketchup or mustard and sometimes relish.

The word frankfurter comes from Frankfurt, Germany, where pork sausages served in a bun similar to hot dogs originated. These sausages, Frankfurter Würstchen, were known since the 13th century and given to the people on the event of imperial coronations, starting with the coronation of Maximilian II, Holy Roman Emperor as King. Wiener refers to Vienna, Austria, whose German name is “Wien”, home to a sausage made of a mixture of pork and beef (cf. Hamburger, whose name also derives from a German-speaking city). Johann Georg Lahner, a 18th/19th century butcher from the Franconian city of Coburg, is said to have brought the Frankfurter Würstchen to Vienna, where he added beef to the mixture and simply called it Frankfurter. Nowadays, in German speaking countries, except Austria, hot dog sausages are called Wiener or Wiener Würstchen (Würstchen means “little sausage”), in differentiation to the original pork only mixture from Frankfurt. In Swiss German, it is called Wienerli, while in Austria the terms Frankfurter or Frankfurter Würstel are used.

Around 1870, on Coney Island, German immigrant Charles Feltman began selling sausages in rolls.

Others have supposedly invented the hot dog. The idea of a hot dog on a bun is ascribed to the wife of a German named Antonoine Feuchtwanger, who sold hot dogs on the streets of St. Louis, Missouri, United States, in 1880, because his customers kept taking the white gloves handed to them for eating without burning their hands. Anton Ludwig Feuchtwanger, a Bavarian sausage seller, is said to have served sausages in rolls at the World’s Fair–either the 1893 World’s Columbian Exposition in Chicago or the 1904 Louisiana Purchase Exposition in St Louis–again allegedly because the white gloves he gave to customers so that they could eat his hot sausages in comfort began to disappear as souvenirs.

The association between hot dogs and baseball began as early as 1893 with Chris von der Ahe, a German immigrant who owned not

Grilled hot dogs

only the St. Louis Browns, but also an amusement park.

Another claim of inventing the hot dog is told by Harry M. Stevens, an American sports concessionaire whose vendors sold German sausages and rolls to spectators at the old New York Polo Grounds during the winter. He called them “Dachshund sandwiches”, but a New York Post cartoonist “couldn’t spell dachshund, so when he drew the cartoon, he called them hot dogs.”

In 1916, a German American employee of Feltman’s named Nathan Handwerker was encouraged by celebrity clients Eddie Cantor and Jimmy Durante to go into business in competition with his former employer. Handwerker undercut Feltman’s by charging five cents for a hot dog when his former employer was charging ten.

At an earlier time in food regulation the hot dog suspect, Handwerker made sure that men wearing surgeon’s smocks were seen eating at Nathan’s Famous to reassure potential customers.

The term “dog” has been used as a synonym for sausage since 1884 and accusations that sausage makers used dog meat date to at least 1845. In the early 20th century, consumption of dog meat in Germany was common. The suspicion that sausages contained dog meat was “occasionally justified”.

According to a myth, the use of the complete phrase “hot dog” in reference to sausage was coined by the newspaper cartoonist Thomas Aloysius “TAD” Dorgan around 1900 in a cartoon recording the sale of hot dogs during a New York Giants baseball game at the Polo Grounds. However, TAD’s earliest usage of “hot dog” was not in reference to a baseball game at the Polo Grounds, but to a bicycle race at Madison Square Garden, in The New York Evening Journal December 12, 1906, by which time the term “hot dog” in reference to sausage was already in use. In addition, no copy of the apocryphal cartoon has ever been found.

The earliest known usage of “hot dog” in clear reference to sausage, found by Fred R. Shapiro, appeared in the December 31, 1892 issue of the Paterson (NJ) Daily Press. The story concerned a local traveling vendor, Thomas Francis Xavier Morris, also known as “Hot Dog Morris”.

Somehow or other a frankfurter and a roll seem to go right to the spot where the void is felt the most. The small boy has got on such familiar terms with this sort of lunch that he now refers to it as “hot dog.” “Hey, Mister, give me a hot dog quick,” was the startling order that a rosy-cheeked gamin hurled at the man as a Press reporter stood close by last night. The “hot dog” was quickly inserted in a gash in a roll, a dash of mustard also splashed on to the “dog” with a piece of flat whittled stick, and the order was fulfilled.
Paterson Daily Press, Dec. 31, 1892, pg. 5

Other early uses of “hot dog” in reference to sausage appeared in the New Brunswick (NJ) Daily Times (May 20, 1893), the New York World (May 26, 1893), and the Knoxville (TN) Journal (Sep. 28, 1893).

Common hot dog ingredients include:

Meat trimmings and fat
Flavorings, such as salt, garlic, and paprika
Preservatives (cure) – typically sodium erythorbate and sodium nitrite

Pork and beef are the traditional meats used in hot dogs. Less expensive hot dogs are often made from chicken or turkey, using low cost mechanically separated poultry. Hot dogs often have high sodium, fat and nitrite content, ingredients linked to health problems. Changes in meat technology and dietary preferences have led manufacturers to use turkey, chicken, vegetarian meat substitutes, and to lower the salt content.

If a manufacturer produces two types of hot dogs, “wieners” tend to contain pork and are blander, while “franks” tend to be all beef and more strongly seasoned.

Hot dogs are prepared commercially by mixing the ingredients (meats, spices, binders and fillers) in vats where rapidly moving blades grind and mix the ingredients in the same operation. This mixture is forced through tubes into casings for cooking. Most hot dogs sold in the US are “skinless” as opposed to more expensive “natural casing” hot dogs.

As with most sausages, hot dogs must be in a casing to be cooked. Traditional casing is made from the small intestines of sheep. The products are known as “natural casing” hot dogs or frankfurters. These hot dogs have firmer texture and a “snap” that releases juices and flavor when the product is bitten.

Kosher casings are expensive in commercial quantities in the US, so kosher hot dogs are usually skinless or made with reconstituted collagen casings.

“Skinless” hot dogs must use a casing in the cooking process when the product is manufactured, but the casing is usually a long tube of thin cellulose that is removed between cooking and packaging. This process was invented in Chicago in 1925 by Erwin O. Freund, founder of Visking which would later become Viskase Companies.

The first skinless hot dog casings were produced by Freund’s new company under the name “Nojax”, short for “no jackets” and sold to local Chicago sausage makers.

Skinless hot dogs vary in the texture of the product surface but have a softer “bite” than natural casing hot dogs. Skinless hot dogs are more uniform in shape and size than natural casing hot dogs and less expensive.

Hot dogs are prepared and eaten in a variety of ways. The wieners may be boiled, grilled, fried, steamed, broiled, baked, or microwaved. The cooked wiener may be served on a bun (usually topped with condiments), or it may be used as an ingredient in another dish.

In the US, “hot dog” may refer to just the sausage or to the combination of a sausage in a bun. There have been many nicknames for hot dogs that have popped up over the years. A hot dog can often be seen under the names of frankfurter, frank, red hot, wiener, weenie, durger, coney, or just “dog”.

Common hot dog condiments include ketchup, mustard, chile con carne, pickle relish, sauerkraut, onion, mayonnaise, lettuce, tomato, cheese, and chili peppers, or just plain.

The US-based National Sausage and Hot Dog Council in 2005 found mustard to be the most popular condiment, with 32 percent of respondents preferring it; 23 percent of Americans said they preferred ketchup, chili con carne came in third at 17 percent, followed by relish at 9 percent and onions at 7 percent. Southerners showed the strongest preference for chili, while Midwesterners showed the greatest affinity for ketchup.” Condiments vary across the country. All-beef Chicago-style hot dogs are topped with mustard, fresh

A Detroit Coney Island hot dog with chili, onion and mustard.

tomatoes, onions, sport peppers, bright green relish, dill pickles, and celery salt, but they exclude ketchup.

Many variations are named after regions other than the one in which they are popular. Italian hot dogs popular in New Jersey include peppers, onions, and potatoes. Meaty Michigan hot dogs are popular in upstate New York (as are white hots), while beefy Coney Island hot dogs are popular in Michigan. In New York City, conventional hot dogs are available on Coney Island, as are bagel dogs. Hot wieners, or weenies, are a staple in Rhode Island. Texas hot dogs are spicy variants found in upstate New York and Pennsylvania (and as “all the way dogs” in New Jersey), but not Texas.

Some baseball parks have signature hot dogs, such as Fenway Franks at Fenway Park in Boston, Massachusetts and Dodger Dogs at Dodger Stadium in Los Angeles, California. The Fenway signature is that the hot dog is boiled and grilled Fenway-style, and then served on a New England-style bun, covered with ketchup and relish. Often during Red Sox games, vendors traverse the stadium selling the hot dogs plain, giving customers the choice of adding the condiments.

6th Annual AleFest Columbus – February 4, 2012

February 3, 2012 at 12:02 PM | Posted in Festivals, Food | Leave a comment
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February 4, 2012  6th Annual AleFest Columbus
Columbus, Ohio
AleFest is a craft beer festival showcasing the finest beer styles of the world in an educational, responsible, and enjoyable fashion

AleFest Columbus is a craft beer festival featuring over 250 great beers including rare draught & cask from more than 100 world class breweries.

Cost:
$40.00 Admission includes 20 samples of craft beer,
commemorative tasting glass, and tasting guide.
Must be 21 years of age to attend. Please sample responsibly.

Tickets are also available at the door.

Designated driver/non-drinker $10-must be 21
Admission includes a bottle of water and an
AleFest sampling glass as you exit.

http://alefest.com/columbus.htm

A little about Pizza!

January 20, 2012 at 1:37 PM | Posted in baking, cheese, pizza | Leave a comment
Tags: , , , , , , , , , , ,


Pizza is an oven-baked, flat, round bread typically topped with a tomato sauce, cheese and various toppings.

Originating in Italy, from the Neapolitan cuisine, the dish has become popular in many parts of the world. An establishment that makes and sells pizzas is called a “pizzeria”. Pizza is one of the national foods of Italy and the Italian people.

The Ancient Greeks covered their bread with oils, herbs and cheese. In Byzantine Greek, the word was spelled πίτα or pita, meaning pie. The word has now spread to Turkish as pide, Serbo-Croatian and Bulgarian as pita, Albanian as pite and Modern Hebrew pittāh. The Romans developed placenta, a sheet of dough topped with cheese and honey and flavored with bay leaves. Modern pizza originated in Italy as the Neapolitan pie with tomato. In 1889, cheese was added.

In 1889, during a visit to Naples, Queen Margherita of Italy was served a pizza resembling the colors of the Italian flag, red (tomato), white (mozzarella) and green (basil). This kind of pizza has been named after the Queen as Pizza Margherita.

The bottom of the pizza, called the “crust”, may vary widely according to style—thin as in a typical hand-tossed pizza or Roman pizza, or thick as in a typical pan pizza or Chicago-style pizza. It is traditionally plain, but may also be seasoned with garlic, or herbs, or stuffed with cheese.

In restaurants, pizza can be baked in an oven with stone bricks above the heat source, an electric deck oven, a conveyor belt oven or, in the case of more expensive restaurants, a wood- or coal-fired brick oven. On deck ovens, the pizza can be slid into the oven on a long paddle, called a peel, and baked directly on the hot bricks or baked on a screen (a round metal grate, typically aluminum). When made at home, it can be baked on a pizza stone in a regular oven to reproduce the effect of a brick oven. Another option is grilled pizza, in which the crust is baked directly on a barbecue grill. Greek pizza, like Chicago-style pizza, is baked in a pan rather than directly on the bricks of the pizza oven.

Neapolitan pizza (pizza napoletana): Authentic Neapolitan pizzas are typically made with tomatoes and Mozzarella cheese. They can be made with ingredients like San Marzano tomatoes, which grow on the volcanic plains to the south of Mount Vesuvius, and mozzarella di bufala Campana, made with the milk from water buffalo raised in the marshlands of Campania and Lazio in a semi-wild state (this mozzarella is protected with its own European protected designation of origin).

According to the rules proposed by the Associazione Vera Pizza Napoletana,[6] the genuine Neapolitan pizza dough consists of wheat flour (type 0 or 00, or a mixture of both), natural Neapolitan yeast or brewer’s yeast, salt and water. For proper results, strong flour with high protein content (as used for bread-making rather than cakes) must be used. The dough must be kneaded by hand or with a low-speed mixer. After the rising process, the dough must be formed by hand without the help of a rolling pin or other machine, and may be no more than 3 millimetres (0.12 in) thick. The pizza must be baked for 60–90 seconds in a 485 °C (905 °F) stone oven with an oak-wood fire. When cooked, it should be crispy, tender and fragrant. There are three official variants: pizza marinara, which is made with tomato, garlic, oregano and extra virgin olive oil, pizza Margherita, made with tomato, sliced mozzarella, basil and extra-virgin olive oil, and pizza Margherita extra made with tomato, mozzarella from Campania in fillets, basil and extra virgin olive oil. The pizza napoletana is a Traditional Speciality Guaranteed (Specialità Tradizionale Garantita, STG) product in Europe.

Lazio style: Pizza in Lazio (Rome), as well as in many other parts of Italy, is available in two different styles. Take-away shops sell pizza rustica or pizza al taglio. This pizza is cooked in long, rectangular baking pans and relatively thick (1–2 cm). The pizza is often cooked in an electric oven. It is usually cut with scissors or a knife and sold by weight. In pizzerias, pizza is served in a dish in its traditional round shape. It has a thin, crisp base quite different from the thicker and softer Neapolitan style base. It is usually cooked in a wood-fired oven, giving the pizza its unique flavor and texture. In Rome, a pizza napoletana is topped with tomato, mozzarella, anchovies and oil (thus, what in Naples is called pizza romana, in Rome is called pizza napoletana).

Other types of Lazio-style pizza include:

Pizza romana: tomato, mozzarella, anchovies, oregano, oil
Pizza viennese: tomato, mozzarella, German sausage, oregano, oil
Pizza capricciosa: mozzarella, tomato, mushrooms, artichokes, cooked ham, olives, oil
Pizza quattro formaggi (“four cheese pizza”): tomatoes, and the cheeses mozzarella, stracchino, fontina, and gorgonzola. Sometimes ricotta is swapped for one of the last three.
Pizza bianca In Rome, the term pizza bianca refers to a type of bread topped with olive oil, salt and, occasionally, rosemary sprigs. It is also a Roman style to add figs to the pizza, the result being known as pizza e fichi
Pizza alla casalinga (“Grandma pizza”) consists of a thin layer of dough is stretched into an oiled, square “Sicilian” pan, topped sparingly with shredded mozzarella, crushed uncooked canned tomatoes, chopped garlic and olive oil, and baked until the top bubbles and the bottom is crisp.

Pizza is available frozen. Ways have been developed to overcome challenges such as preventing the sauce from combining with the dough and producing a crust that can be frozen and reheated without becoming rigid. Modified corn starch is commonly used as a moisture barrier between the sauce and crust. Traditionally the dough is partially baked and other ingredients are also sometimes precooked. There are frozen pizzas with raw ingredients and self-rising crusts. A form of uncooked pizza is available from take and bake pizzerias. This pizza is created fresh using raw ingredients, then sold to customers to bake in their own ovens and microwaves.

In the 20th century, pizza has become a globally accessible dish mainly due to Italian immigrants that have brought their dishes to new people with resounding success and many times in racially and culturally resistive environments.

Due to the wide influence of Italian and Greek immigrants in American culture, the US has developed regional forms of pizza, some bearing only a casual resemblance to the Italian original. Chicago has its own style of a deep-dish pizza, Detroit also has its unique twice-baked style, with cheese all the way to the crust, whereas New York City has developed its own distinct variety of thin crust pizza.

1905 – Gennaro Lombardi claims to have opened the first United States Pizzeria in New York City at 53 1/2 Spring Street. Lombardo is now known as America’s “Patriaca della Pizza.” It wasn’t until the early 1930s that he added tables and chairs and sold spaghetti as well.

1943 – Chicago-style deep-dish pizza (a pizza with a flaky crust that rises an inch or more above the plate and surrounds deep piles of toppings) was created by Ike Sewell at his bar and grill called Pizzeria Uno.

1945 – With the stationing of American soldiers in Italy during World War II (1941-1945) came a growing appreciation of pizza. When the soldiers returned from war, they brought with them a taste for pizza.

1948 – The first commercial pizza-pie mix, “Roman Pizza Mix,” was produced in Worcester, Massachusetts by Frank A. Fiorello.

1950s – It wasn’t until the 1950s that Americans really started noticing pizza. Celebrities of Italian origin, such as Jerry Colonna, Frank Sinatra, Jimmy Durante, and baseball star Joe DiMaggio all devoured pizzas. It is also said that the line from the song by famous singer, Dean Martin; “When the moon hits your eye like a big pizza pie, that amore” set America singing and eating pizzas.

1957 – Frozen pizzas were introduced and found in local grocery stores. The first was marketed by the Celentano Brothers. Pizza soon became the most popular of all frozen food.

21st Century

December 9, 2009 – The European Union established a ruling to protect Naples’ Neapolitan pizzas. The EU’s ruling said Neapolitan pizza was now part of Europe’s food heritage, and that all pizzerias aspiring to supply and make the real Neapolitan pizzas must comply to strict traditional standards regarding ingredients and preparation that include using only San Marzano tomatoes and fresh buffalo mozzarella cheese. This protect status will enable producers to not only boast about their exclusivity, but also charge a premium for the pizza.

Pizza can be high in salt, fat and calories. There are concerns about negative health effects. Food chains, such as Pizza Hut, have come under criticism for the high salt content of some of their meals, which were found to contain more than twice the daily recommended amount of salt for an adult.

European nutrition research on the eating habits of people with cancer of the mouth, oesophagus, throat or colon showed those who ate pizza at least once a week had less chance of developing cancer. Dr Silvano Gallus, of the Mario Negri Institute for Pharmaceutical Research in Milan, attributed it to lycopene, an antioxidant chemical in tomatoes, which is thought to offer some protection against cancer. Carlo La Vecchia, a Milan-based epidemiologist said, “Pizza could simply be indicative of a lifestyle and food habits, in other words the Italian version of a Mediterranean diet.” A traditional Mediterranean diet is rich in olive oil, fiber, vegetables, fruit, flour, and freshly cooked food. In contrast to the traditional Italian pizza used in the research, popular pizza varieties in many parts of the world are often loaded with high fat cheeses and fatty meats, a high intake of which can contribute to obesity, itself a risk factor for cancer.

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