One of America’s Favorites – Cincinnati Chili

June 28, 2021 at 6:02 AM | Posted in One of America's Favorites | Leave a comment
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A Cincinnati chili 4-way garnished with oyster crackers

Cincinnati chili (or Cincinnati-style chili) is a Mediterranean-spiced meat sauce used as a topping for spaghetti or hot dogs (“coneys”); both dishes were developed by Macedonian immigrant restaurateurs in the 1920s. In 2013, Smithsonian named it one of the “20 Most Iconic Foods in America”. Its name evokes comparison to chili con carne, but the two are dissimilar in consistency, flavors and serving methods, which for Cincinnati chili more resemble Greek pasta sauces and the spiced-meat hot dog topping sauces seen in other parts of the United States.

Ingredients include ground beef, water or stock, tomato paste, spices such as cinnamon, nutmeg, allspice, clove, cumin, chili powder, bay leaf, and in some home recipes unsweetened dark chocolate in a soupy consistency. The most popular order is a ‘three-way’, which adds shredded cheddar cheese to the chili-topped spaghetti (‘two-way’), while serving it ‘four-‘ or ‘five-ways’ comes from addition of chopped onions and/or beans. Dishes are often served with oyster crackers and a mild hot sauce. Cincinnati chili is almost never served or eaten by the bowl.

While served in many local restaurants, it is most often associated with the over 250 independent and chain “chili parlors” (restaurants specializing in Cincinnati chili) found throughout greater Cincinnati with franchise locations throughout Ohio and in Kentucky, Indiana, Florida, and the Middle East. The dish is the Cincinnati area’s best-known regional food.

Skyline Chili location in Cincinnati

Cincinnati chili originated with immigrant restaurateurs from Macedonia who were trying to expand their customer base by moving beyond narrowly ethnic styles of cuisine. Ethnic Macedonians Tom and John Kiradjieff immigrated from the town of Hrupishta (today’s Argos Orestiko in Greece), fleeing the Balkan Wars, ethnic rivalries, and bigotry, in 1921. They began serving a “stew with traditional Mediterranean spices” as a topping for hot dogs which they called “coneys” in 1922 at their hot dog stand located next to a burlesque theater called the Empress, which they named their business after. Tom Kiradjieff used the sauce to modify a traditional Greek dish, speculated to have been pastitsio, moussaka or saltsa kima to come up with a dish he called chili spaghetti. He first developed a recipe calling for the spaghetti to be cooked in the chili but changed his method in response to customer requests and began serving the sauce as a topping, eventually adding grated cheese as a topping for both the chili spaghetti and the coneys, also in response to customer requests.

To make ordering more efficient, the brothers created the “way” system of ordering. The style has since been copied and modified by many other restaurant proprietors, often fellow Greek and Macedonian immigrants who had worked at Empress restaurants before leaving to open their own chili parlors, often following the business model to the point of locating their restaurants adjacent to theaters.

Empress was the largest chili parlor chain in Cincinnati until 1949, when a former Empress employee and Greek immigrant, Nicholas Lambrinides, started Skyline Chili. In 1965, four brothers named Daoud, immigrants from Jordan, bought a restaurant called Hamburger Heaven from a former Empress employee. They noticed that the Cincinnati chili was outselling the hamburgers on their menu and changed the restaurant’s name to Gold Star Chili. As of 2015, Skyline (over 130 locations) and Gold Star (89 locations) were the largest Cincinnati chili parlor chains, while Empress had only two remaining locations, down from over a dozen during the chain’s most successful period.

Gold Star Chili restaurant interior

Besides Empress, Skyline, and Gold Star, there are also smaller chains such as Dixie Chili and Deli and numerous independents including the acclaimed Camp Washington Chili. Other independents include Pleasant Ridge Chili, Blue Ash Chili, Park Chili Parlor, Price Hill Chili, Chili Time, Orlando based Cincinnati Chili Company, and the Blue Jay Restaurant, in all totalling more than 250 chili parlors. In 1985 one of the founders of Gold Star Chili, Fahid Daoud, returned to Jordan, where he opened his own parlor, called Chili House. Outside of Jordan, Chili House as of 2020 had locations in Iran, Iraq, Libya, Oman, Palestine, Turkey and Qatar.

In addition to the chili parlors, some version of Cincinnati chili is commonly served at many local restaurants. Arnold’s Bar and Grill, the oldest bar in the city, serves a vegetarian “Cincy Lentils” dish ordered in “ways.” Melt Eclectic Cafe offers a vegan 3-way. For Restaurant Week 2018, a local mixologist developed a cocktail called “Manhattan Skyline,” a Cincinnati chili-flavored whiskey cocktail.

The history of Cincinnati chili shares many factors in common with the apparently independent but simultaneous development of the Coney Island hot dog in other areas of the United States. “Virtually all” were developed by Greek or Macedonian immigrants who passed through Ellis Island as they fled the fallout from the Balkan Wars in the first two decades of the twentieth century.

Partially eaten 5-way from Skyline, garnished with oyster crackers

Raw ground beef is crumbled in water and/or stock, tomato paste and seasonings are added, and the mixture is brought to a boil and then simmered for several hours to form a thin meat sauce. Many recipes call for an overnight chill in the refrigerator to allow for easy skimming of fat and to allow flavors to develop, then reheating to serve. Typical proportions are 2 pounds of ground beef to 4 cups of water and 6 oz tomato paste to make 8 servings.

Ordering Cincinnati chili is based on a specific ingredient series: chili, spaghetti, shredded cheddar cheese, diced onions, and kidney beans. The number before the “way” of the chili determines which ingredients are included in each chili order. Customers order a:

* Two-way: spaghetti topped with chili (also called “chili spaghetti”)
* Three-way: spaghetti, chili, and cheese
* Four-way onion: spaghetti, chili, onions, and cheese
* Four-way bean: spaghetti, chili, beans, and cheese
* Five-way: spaghetti, chili, beans, onions, and cheese
small oval white plate with cheese coney showing bun, hot dog, sauce, and shredded cheese
Skyline cheese coney (hot dog topped with Cincinnati-style chili, mustard, onions, and a heap of shredded cheese)

Skyline cheese coney (hot dog topped with Cincinnati-style chili, mustard, onions, and a heap of shredded cheese)

* Some chili parlors will also serve the dish “inverted”: cheese on the bottom, so that it melts. Some restaurants, among them Skyline and Gold Star, do not use the term “four-way bean”, instead using the term “four-way” to denote a three-way plus the customer’s choice of onions or beans. Some restaurants may add extra ingredients to the way system; for example, Dixie Chili offers a “six-way”, which adds chopped garlic to a five-way. Cincinnati chili is also used as a hot dog topping to make a “coney”, a regional variation on the Coney Island chili dog, which is topped with shredded cheddar cheese to make a “cheese coney”. The standard coney also includes mustard and chopped onion. The “three-way” and the cheese coney are the most popular orders.

Very few customers order a bowl of plain chili. Most chili parlors do not offer plain chili as a regular menu item. Polly Campbell, former food editor of The Cincinnati Enquirer, calls ordering a bowl of chili, “Ridiculous. Would you order a bowl of spaghetti sauce? Because that’s what you’re doing.”

Serving and eating
Ways and coneys are traditionally served in a shallow oval bowl. Oyster crackers are usually served with Cincinnati chili,[9] and a mild hot sauce such as Tabasco is frequently available to be used as an optional topping to be added at the table. Locals eat Cincinnati chili as if it were a casserole, cutting each bite with the side of the fork instead of twirling the noodles.

 

Baked Cheesy Pizza Pasta w/ Baked Garlic Loaf Bread

September 1, 2019 at 6:40 PM | Posted in pasta | Leave a comment
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Today’s Menu: Baked Cheesy Pizza Pasta w/ Baked Garlic Loaf Bread

 

 

To start this day off I Poached an Egg and served it on a toasted Thomas Light English Muffin. Also had my morning cup of Bigelow Decaf Green Tea. After Breakfast I went to Walmart, stopped by the ATM, and got my car washed. It’s partly cloudy, 92 degrees, and humid out today. Did a few things around the yard and not much else going on. Pretty quiet Labor Day Weekend. For Dinner tonight I had a Baked Cheesy Pizza Pasta w/ Baked Garlic Loaf Bread.

 

 

 

While at Walmart I bought a Michael Angelo’s Cheesy Pizza Pasta. They have several different kinds but I thought I would give this one a try! It comes frozen and you prepare it from frozen.

 

 

 

 

 

 

To prepare it I’m baking it. To start I preheat the oven to 400°F. Removed the tray from the carton. Placed the tray on a cookie sheet. Cooked with the film on for 50 minutes. Removed it from the oven and removed the film, let it stand for 5 minutes before serving.

 

 

 

 

 

Wow! This is the second Michael Angelo’s product I’ve tried, we tried the Chicken Parmigiana also. The Michael Angelo’s products are some of the best frozen foods that will find. The Michael Angelo’s Chessy Pizza Pasta was so good. Plenty of Home Style Meat (Pork and Pepperoni) along with Mozzarella Cheese. Plus the taste and Seasoning are perfect! They have several products and look forward to trying them all. Meijer used to carry them but now I think Walmart is the only store to have them.

 

 

 

Then I also baked a loaf of La Baguetterie Roasted Garlic Oval Bread. For Dessert later a bowl of South Carolina grown fresh sliced Peaches. These Peaches we have been buying from Jungle Jim’s Market are so good!

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Michael Angelo’s Cheesy Pizza Pasta

Inspired by Italian traditions.

About This Item
Pasta with home-style meat sauce and uncured pepperoni. Topped with mozzarella cheese.

* Homemade taste
* Wholesome simple ingredients
* Inspired by Italian traditions
* No preservatives
COOKING INSTRUCTIONS
DO NOT THAW. KEEP FROZEN UNTIL READY TO USE. FOR SAFETY, MUST BE COOKED TO AN INTERNAL TEMPERATURE OF 160℉ AS MEASURED BY USE OF A FOOD THERMOMETER.
YES, OVENS TAKE LONGER, BUT IT TASTES (AND SMELLS) BETTER THAT WAY. ONE
ONE – PREHEAT OVEN TO 400°F.
REMOVE ENTREE FROM CARTON.
TWO – PLACE TRAY ON COOKIE SHEET ON CENTER RACK OF OVEN (6-8” FROM HEATING ELEMENT). COOK WITH FILM ON FOR 30-35 MINUTES.
THREE – CAREFULLY REMOVE ENTREE FROM OVEN, AND LET STAND FOR 5 MINUTES BEFORE SERVING.

Ingredients:
Ingredients: TOMATOES (TOMATOES, SALT), PASTA (DURUM SEMOLINA), WATER, BEEF, MOZZARELLA CHEESE (PASTEURIZED MILK, CHEESE CULTURE, SALT, ENZYMES), UNCURED PEPPERONI (PORK, SEA SALT, SPICES, WATER, DEXTROSE, PAPRIKA, NATURAL FLAVORING, GARLIC POWDER, OLEORESIN PAPRIKA, LACTIC ACID STARTER CULTURE – NO NITRATES OR NITRITES ADDED EXCEPT FOR THOSE NATURALLY OCCURRING IN SEA SALT), ONIONS, SALT, SPICES, GARLIC.
http://www.michaelangelos.com/product/cheesy-pizza-pasta/

One of America’s Favorites – Lasagne

June 3, 2019 at 6:02 AM | Posted in One of America's Favorites | Leave a comment
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Baked meat lasagne

Lasagne are a type of wide, flat pasta, possibly one of the oldest types of pasta. Lasagne, or the singular lasagna, commonly refers to a culinary dish made with stacked layers of pasta alternated with sauces and ingredients such as meats, vegetables and cheese, and sometimes topped with melted grated cheese. Typically, the cooked pasta is assembled with the other ingredients and then baked in an oven. The resulting lasagne casserole is cut into single-serving square portions.

Lasagne originated in Italy during the Middle Ages and has traditionally been ascribed to the city of Naples. The first recorded recipe was set down in the early 14th-century Liber de Coquina (The Book of Cookery). It bore only a slight resemblance to the later traditional form of lasagne, featuring a fermented dough flattened into a thin sheet, boiled, sprinkled with cheese and spices, and then eaten with the use of a small pointed stick. Recipes written in the century following the Liber de Coquina recommended boiling the pasta in chicken broth and dressing it with cheese and chicken fat. In a recipe adapted for the Lenten fast, walnuts were recommended.

The traditional lasagne of Naples, lasagne di carnevale, is layered with local sausage, small fried meatballs, hard-boiled eggs, ricotta and mozzarella cheeses, and sauced with a Neapolitan ragù, a meat sauce. Lasagne al forno, layered with a thicker ragù and Béchamel sauce, and corresponding to the most common version of the dish outside Italy, is traditionally associated with the Emilia-Romagna region of Italy. In other regions, lasagne can be made with various combinations of ricotta or mozzarella cheese, tomato sauce, meats (e.g., ground beef, pork or chicken), and vegetables (e.g., spinach, zucchini, olives, mushrooms), and the dish is typically flavoured with wine, garlic, onion, and oregano. In all cases, the lasagne is oven-baked (al forno).

Traditionally, pasta dough prepared in Southern Italy used semolina and water; in the northern regions, where semolina was not available, flour and eggs were used. In modern Italy, since the only type of wheat allowed for commercially sold pasta is durum wheat, commercial lasagne are made of semolina from durum wheat.

Emilia-Romagna’s intensive farming economy in the northern region of Italy results in plentiful dairy and meat products, and a commonality in regional cooking – more so than the olive oil found in southern regions of Italy. Pastas from Emilia-Romagna and its capital, Bologna, are almost always served with a ragù, a thick sauce made from ingredients such as onions, carrots, finely ground pork and beef, celery, butter, and tomatoes.

Slice of lasagne with green salad and red cherry tomatoes

In Ancient Rome, there was a dish similar to a traditional lasagne called lasana or lasanum (Latin for ‘container’ or ‘pot’) described in the book De re coquinaria by Marcus Gavius Apicius, but the word could have a more ancient origin. The first theory is that lasagne comes from Greek λάγανον (laganon), a flat sheet of pasta dough cut into strips. The word λαγάνα (lagana) is still used in Greek to mean a flat thin type of unleavened bread baked for the holiday Clean Monday.

Another theory is that the word lasagne comes from the Greek λάσανα (lasana) or λάσανον (lasanon) meaning ‘trivet’, ‘stand for a pot’ or ‘chamber pot’. The Romans borrowed the word as lasanum, meaning ‘cooking pot’. The Italians used the word to refer to the cookware in which lasagne is made. Later, the food took on the name of the serving dish.

Another proposed link, or reference, is the 14th-century English dish loseyn as described in The Forme of Cury, a cookbook prepared by “the chief Master Cooks of King Richard II”, which included English recipes as well as dishes influenced by Spanish, French, Italian, and Arab cuisines. This dish has similarities to modern lasagne in both its recipe, which features a layering of ingredients between pasta sheets, and its name. An important difference is the lack of tomatoes, which did not arrive in Europe until after Columbus reached America in 1492. The earliest discussion of the tomato in European literature appeared in a herbal written in 1544 by Pietro Andrea Mattioli, while the earliest cookbook found with tomato recipes was published in Naples in 1692, but the author had apparently obtained these recipes from Spanish sources.

As with most other types of pasta, the Italian word is a plural form: lasagne meaning more than one sheet of lasagna, though in many other languages a derivative of the singular word lasagna is used for the popular baked pasta dish. Regional usage in Italy, when referring to the baked dish, favours the plural form lasagne in the north of the country and the singular lasagna in the south. The former, plural usage has influenced the usual spelling found in British English, while the southern Italian, singular usage has influenced the spelling often used in American English.

 

One of America’s Favorites – Michigan Hot Dog

January 28, 2019 at 6:02 AM | Posted in One of America's Favorites | 4 Comments
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Michigan Hot Dog

A Michigan hot dog, or simply “Michigan”, is a steamed hot dog on a steamed bun topped with a meaty sauce, generally referred to as “Michigan sauce”. The sauce may be tomato-based, depending on where the Michigan is purchased. Michigans can be served with chopped onions. If served with onions, the onions can either be buried under the sauce, under the hot dog itself, or sprinkled on top of the sauce.

Michigans are particularly popular in the North Country of New York State, and have been so for many decades. Their popularity soon spread to New York City where they remain a fast food staple. One of the earliest known advertisements for Michigans appeared in the Friday, May 27, 1927, Plattsburgh Daily Republican.

Michigans are also very popular in Montreal and other parts of Quebec, where the sauce is often tomato-based. Lafleur Restaurants, a Quebec fast food chain, is known for its Michigans and poutine.

Oddly enough, “Michigan hot dogs” are never referred to by that name in Michigan itself, nor anywhere else in the Midwest. A similar food item, the Coney Island hot dog or “Coney dog”, is natural-casing beef or beef and pork European-style Frankfurter Würstel (Vienna sausage) of German origin having a natural lamb or sheep casing, and topped with a beef heart-based Coney sauce. Conversely, the “Coney Island” is not referred to as such on Coney Island, or anywhere else in New York State, instead called either a “Michigan” or a “Red Hot.”

There is no consensus on the origin of the Michigan. Although there are many different varieties of Michigan sauce available today, the original Michigan sauce was possibly created by George Todoroff in Jackson, Michigan. The sauce was originally created to be used as a topping on Coney Island hot dogs. In 1914, Mr. Todoroff founded the Jackson Coney Island restaurant and created his Coney Island chili sauce recipe. He retired in 1945.

How and when Michigan sauce arrived in upstate New York is somewhat of a mystery. The earliest known advertisement for Michigans appeared in the Friday, May 27, 1927, Plattsburgh Daily Republican. The ad announced the opening of “the Michigan Hot-Dog Stand Tuesday May 24, located between the two dance halls”. That hot dog stand may be the same one mentioned in the Plattsburgh Sentinel on Sept. 16, 1927, as being owned by a Mr. Garth C. Otis:

“Garth C. Otis has leased the quarters in the Plattsburgh Theatre building formerly occupied as the Locomobile salesroom in which place he will conduct an eating place under the name of the Michigan Hot Dog and Sandwich Shop opening Saturday. Mexican chili con carne will be one of the specialties. Mr. Otis promises a first class place for those who desire short order lunches.”

The origin of the “Michigan” name may have come from Plattsburgh residents Jack Rabin and his wife, who fell in love with the Jackson Coney Island hot dog while vacationing in Coney Island and subsequently recreated the sauce at Nitzi’s, their Michigan hot dog stand on Route 9 just outside Plattsburgh. However, a 1984 Sentinel article indicates that Nitzi’s was established in 1935, and says Jack Rabin indicated “his sauce came from Mrs. Eula Otis, who first coined the name ‘Michigans’ for her hot dog and sauce.” Otis was originally from Nashville and met her husband in Detroit, Michigan, where she learned to make meat sauce. They moved to Plattsburgh in the 1920s.

The Nitzi/Otis recipe is currently in use at Michigans Plus, located in the former IHOP building on Route 3.

In Vermont, the Michigan dog is almost always split and cooked on a grill before the meat sauce onions and mustard are added. Often, the bun (or a slice of bread) is also grilled. The first ones sold around the Burlington area were called Charlie’s Red Hots and the small shop was started during World War II by a well-known and respected restaurateur. The family closely guarded the sauce recipe. The originals are no longer sold, but there are many Michigan copies around and many local families claim to have the “Charlie’s” sauce recipe.

 

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