A Christmas Favorite – Red Velvet Cake

December 20, 2013 at 10:26 AM | Posted in dessert | Leave a comment
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I can’t ever remember a Christmas Dinner without a Red Velvet Cake for one of the desserts when my Grandmother was around! White Icing with Red and Green Sprinkles and so moist. It’s been many years since she passed away but every time I see or hear about Red Velvet Cake I always think of her.

 

Red Velvet Cake Waldorf Astoria

Red Velvet Cake Waldorf Astoria

 

 

Red velvet cake is a cake with either a dark red, bright red or red-brown color. It’s traditionally prepared as a layer cake topped with cream cheese or cooked roux icing. The reddish color is achieved by adding beetroot or red food coloring. Before more alkaline “Dutch processed” cocoa was widely available, the red color would have been more pronounced.
Common ingredients include buttermilk, butter, cocoa, and flour for the cake, beetroot or red food coloring for the color.

 

 

 

James Beard’s 1972 reference, American Cookery, describes three red velvet cakes varying in the amounts of shortening and butter, also vegetable oil. All used red food coloring, but the reaction of acidic vinegar and buttermilk tends to better reveal the red anthocyanin in cocoa and keeps the cake moist, light and fluffy. Before more alkaline “Dutch processed” cocoa was widely available, the red color would have been more pronounced. This natural tinting may have been the source for the name “red velvet” as well as “Devil’s food” and similar names for chocolate cakes.
When foods were rationed during World War II, bakers used boiled beet juices to enhance the color of their cakes. Beets are found in some red velvet cake recipes, where they also serve to retain moisture. Adams Extract, a Texas company, is credited for bringing the red velvet cake to kitchens across America during the time of the Great Depression by being one of the first to sell red food coloring and other flavor extracts with the use of point-of-sale posters and tear-off recipe cards. The cake and its original recipe, however, are well known in the United States from New York City’s famous Waldorf-Astoria Hotel. However, it is widely considered a Southern recipe. Traditionally, the cake is iced with a French-style butter roux icing (also called ermine icing), which is very light and fluffy but time-consuming to prepare. Cream cheese frosting and butter cream frosting are variations which have increased in popularity.
In Canada, the cake was a well-known dessert in the restaurants and bakeries of the Eaton’s department store chain in the 1940s and 1950s. Promoted as an exclusive Eaton’s recipe, with employees who knew the recipe sworn to silence, many mistakenly believed the cake to be the invention of the department store matriarch, Lady Eaton.
In recent years, red velvet cake and red velvet cupcakes have become increasingly popular in the United States and many European countries. A resurgence in the popularity of this cake is partly attributed to the 1989 film Steel Magnolias which included a red velvet groom’s cake made in the shape of an armadillo.

 

Food Day October 24, 2013

October 20, 2013 at 9:16 AM | Posted in cooking, Food | 2 Comments
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Coming up this coming week is Food Day, Oct. 24.

 

Web

 

Food Day October 24, 2013

 

Food Day is a nationwide celebration of healthy, affordable, and sustainably produced food and a grassroots campaign for better food policies. It builds all year long and culminates on October 24.
Food Day aims to help people Eat Real. That means cutting back on sugar drinks, overly salted packaged foods, and fatty, factory-farmed meats in favor of vegetables, fruits, whole grains, and sustainably raised protein. Food Day envisions shorter lines at fast-food drive-throughs—and bigger crowds at farmers markets.

This annual event involves some of the country’s most prominent food activists, united by a vision of food that is healthy, affordable, and produced with care for the environment, farm animals, and the people who grow, harvest, and serve it.

With Food Day, we can celebrate our food system when it works and fix it when it’s broken. Across the country, 3,200 events took place in 2012 and 2,300 in 2011, from community festivals in Denver, Savannah, and New York City, to a national conference in Washington, DC, to thousands of school activities in Portland, Minneapolis, and elsewhere.

 

Why Food Day?

The typical American diet is contributing to obesity, diabetes, heart disease, and other health problems. Those problems cost Americans more than $150 billion per year. Plus, a meat-heavy diet takes a terrible toll on the environment.

Eating Real can save your own health and put our food system on a more humane, sustainable path. With America’s resources, there’s no excuse for hunger, low wages for food and farm workers, or inhumane conditions for farm animals.

 

Join the Movement

The most important ingredient in Food Day is you! Use October 24 to start—or celebrate—eating a healthier diet and putting your family’s diet on track. Food Day is not just a day; it’s a year-long catalyst for healthier diets and a better food system. Let’s use this energy to make a meaningful and long-lasting difference!

 
http://www.foodday.org/

Gotham Greens -Greens On The Roof Of A Brooklyn Warehouse!

September 15, 2013 at 10:00 AM | Posted in vegetables | Leave a comment
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I was watching the Cooking Channel yesterday, Bobby Deen‘s “Not My Mama’s Meals”. On the show he visited a place, in Brooklyn, New York, called Gotham Green. What an amazing story and company! Gardens grown year round on the rooftops in NYC. Below is part of their story and a web link to their site. If you get a chance check them out, some great and interesting reading.

 

 

Gotham Greens was founded in 2008Gotham Greens

by Viraj Puri and Eric Haley who had a vision for a local farm that would offer New York chefs and retailers the freshest and highest quality culinary ingredients, year-round, at competitive prices. Jenn Nelkin, a nationally renowned greenhouse expert, joined Gotham Greens as a partner in 2009 to head all greenhouse operations.
Gotham Greens’ first greenhouse facility, in Greenpoint, Brookyn, will begin harvesting in June 2011. The greenhouse will annually produce over 80 tons of premium quality produce, year-round, that will be available at select retailers, markets and restaurants across the city. In 2012, Gotham Greens plans to expand operations to grow an even more diverse range of premium quality leaf and vine crops.

Gotham Greens is committed to the highest quality standards.

Our growers are passionate about producing the finest quality, freshest, best tasting, and most nutritious culinary ingredients available in New York City. They care about our customers just as much as they care about the every need of our plants, from seed to harvest.
Our products are harvested before breakfast so they can be on your plate by lunch. We don’t just blindly talk about being “local” “sustainable” and “natural”. While our business is about those things, we care about what those things stand for: flavor and nutrition, preserving water and soil resources, biodiversity, reducing harmful chemical use in food production, fair treatment of workers, and spending our dollars closer to home.
Our farm is unconventional. But so is our commitment to quality, taste and sustainability.

Gotham Greens2Gotham Greens’ first greenhouse facility, located on a rooftop in Greenpoint, Brookyn, will begin harvesting in June 2011. Our state of the art rooftop greenhouses combine advanced horticultural and engineering techniques to optimize crop production, crop quality, and production efficiency. The climate controlled facility will grow premium quality produce, year-round.

Greenhouse
Our greenhouse has been designed to give our expert growers complete control of the growing environment — light, temperature, humidity, CO2, nutrition, which ensures unmatched product quality. Our fully enclosed, sterile greenhouses minimize pest and disease risk. Our crops are protected against inclement weather and extreme weather events ensuring reliable and consistent yields. Sophisticated computer control systems manage heating, cooling, irrigation and plant nutrition.

Hydroponics
Hydroponics is a method of growing plants using mineral nutrient solutions. Nutrients are delivered to the plant in irrigation water eliminating soil. Water is re-circulated and none is wasted. The sterile, soil-free growing environment eliminates the risk of pathogens that is particularly important in light of the increase in food borne illnesses, such as E coli and salmonella, from fresh vegetables. Hydroponics does not result in any soil erosion nor the loss of precious soil nutrients. Hydroponics allows control over plant nutrition, for optimal flavor and quality. Our specially designed re-circulating hydroponic methods save land, save water, eliminate agricultural runoff and chemical pesticides, and offer the benefits of efficient, high-yield, local, year-round food production.

Year Round Production
By operating year round, Gotham Greens can provide locally grown vegetables and herbs, even in the winter months, when local supply is typically low.

 

http://gothamgreens.com/

Labor Day Menu by the Food Network

September 2, 2013 at 9:06 AM | Posted in cooking, Food | Leave a comment
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Here’s some great Labor Day tips and recipes to make that Labor Day Dinner a little bit better! The link for it all is at the end of the post.

 

 

Labor Day Menu by the Food Network

 

 

food
ADD TO YOUR LABOR DAY MENU
Rachael’s Black Bean and Corn Salad
Creamy Potato Salad
Lobster Rolls with Butter
Beer Can Chicken with Cola Barbecue Sauce
Ina’s Fresh Peach Cake
Barbecue Cheeseburgers

Read more at: http://www.foodnetwork.com/labor-day/package/index.html?vty=/labor&oc=linkback

Boar’s Head Provision Company

September 1, 2013 at 9:24 AM | Posted in Boar's Head | Leave a comment
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When I purchase Cold Cut Meats from the deli or packaged Cold Cuts I try to go with Boar’s Head Meats. Besides being the best tasting Cold Cuts, for the most part their healthier being lower in sodium, fat, and carbs. Anyway here’s a little background on Boar’s Head and a link to their web site. While there check out their recipe page, it’s loaded!

 

Boarsheadmeatslogo

 

Boar’s Head Provision Company
Boar’s Head Provision Company is a supplier of delicatessen meats and cheeses. The company was founded in 1905 in the New York City area and now distributes its products throughout the United States.

 

 

Boar’s Head Brand® began in the New York City area in 1905. Products were delivered by horse-drawn wagon to small delicatessens and Boars Head Meats“Mom and Pop” stores.

By 1933, distribution of Boar’s Head Brand products had grown. It was at that time that the founder, Frank Brunckhorst, dissatisfied with the quality of cooked hams which were available to him, decided that he would open a manufacturing plant of his own. The first plant was started in a small building in Brooklyn with only three employees.

Even back then there were thousands of delicatessens in New York City, and there were a great number of small manufacturers of delicatessen specialties. The competition among these manufacturers was keen; and as a result, very high standards were set for the quality of delicatessen products. Frank Brunckhorst set his own high standards, and he would not vary from them. Before long, Boar’s Head Brand products could be found in all of the best delicatessens, gourmet stores and fine food establishments in the New York area.

 
Our Mission
Our mission is to continue to be recognized as the leading provider of exceptional customer service and superior quality delicatessen products.
Commitment
We will continuously improve our time-honored traditional processes through the involvement of our dedicated employees.

 

 

http://boarshead.com/

7 Healthy Cooking Methods for Diabetes

August 22, 2013 at 8:40 AM | Posted in diabetes, diabetes friendly, Diabetic Living On Line | Leave a comment
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Another great article full of tips and recipes on Healthy Cooking Methods for Diabetes. It’s all from Diabetic Living On Line. The link is at the bottom of the post.

 

 

7 Healthy Cooking Methods for DiabetesDiabetic living logo
By Diabetic Living Editors
Bake, steam, grill, saute, stir-fry, roast, or poach: Whichever healthy cooking method you choose, we’ll show you the ropes and make it easy for you to prepare nutritious meals.
The Secrets of Better Cooking
If cooking healthfully seems impossible, you’ve come to the right place. Whether you want to bake, steam, grill, saute, stir-fry, roast, or poach, our breakdown of seven easy cooking methods proves anyone can cook healthfully….

 
Bake
Baking is a cooking method that circulates dry heat around food for a prolonged period. It requires minimal fat to make food browned and crisp….

 
Bake: Step 1
Drizzle cut vegetables, such as sweet potatoes, with a small amount of oil (use 1 tablespoon per 2 cups of vegetables), and add desired seasonings; toss to coat….

 
To get all the healthy recipes and tips click the link below.

 
http://www.diabeticlivingonline.com/diabetic-recipes/healthy-cooking-methods-for-diabetes/?sssdmh=dm17.684469&esrc=nwdlo081313

One of America’s Favorites – Bagels

July 22, 2013 at 7:39 AM | Posted in One of America's Favorites | Leave a comment
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A bagel (also spelled beigel) is a bread product, traditionally shaped by hand into the form of a ring from yeasted wheat dough,

A plain commercially produced bagel

A plain commercially produced bagel

roughly hand-sized, which is first boiled for a short time in water and then baked. The result is a dense, chewy, doughy interior with a browned and sometimes crisp exterior. Bagels are often topped with seeds baked on the outer crust, with the traditional ones being poppy or sesame seeds. Some also may have salt sprinkled on their surface, and there are also a number of different dough types such as whole-grain or rye.
Bagels have become a popular bread product in the United States, Canada and the United Kingdom, especially in cities with large Jewish populations, many with different ways of making bagels. Like other bakery products, bagels are available (either fresh or frozen, and often in many flavor varieties) in many major supermarkets in those countries.
The basic roll-with-a-hole design is hundreds of years old and has other practical advantages besides providing for a more even cooking and baking of the dough: the hole could be used to thread string or dowels through groups of bagels, allowing for easier handling and transportation and more appealing seller displays.

 

 

Contrary to some beliefs, the bagel was not created in the shape of a stirrup to commemorate the victory of Poland’s King Jan III Sobieski over the Ottoman Turks in the Battle of Vienna in 1683. It was actually invented much earlier in Kraków, Poland, as a competitor to the obwarzanek, a lean bread of wheat flour designed for Lent. Leo Rosten wrote in “The Joys of Yiddish” about the first known mention of the word bajgiel in the “Community Regulations” of the city of Kraków in 1610, which stated that the item was given as a gift to women in childbirth.
In the 16th and first half of the 17th centuries, the bajgiel became a staple of the Polish national diet, and a staple of the Slavic diet generally. That the name originated from beugal (old spelling of Bügel, meaning bail/bow or bale) is considered plausible by many[who?], both from the similarities of the word and because traditional handmade bagels are not perfectly circular but rather slightly stirrup-shaped. (This, however, may be due to the way the boiled bagels are pressed together on the baking sheet before baking.)
Additionally, variants of the word beugal are used in Yiddish and Austrian German to refer to a somewhat similar form of sweet filled pastry (Mohnbeugel (with poppy seeds) and Nussbeugel (with ground nuts)), or in southern German dialects (where beuge refers to a pile, e.g., holzbeuge, or woodpile). According to the Merriam-Webster’s dictionary, ‘bagel’ derives from the transliteration of the Yiddish ‘beygl’, which came from the Middle High German ‘böugel’ or ring, which itself came from ‘bouc’ (ring) in Old High German, similar to the Old English ‘bēag’ ‘(ring), and ‘būgan’ (to bend or bow). Similarly another etymology in the Webster’s New World College Dictionary says that the Middle High German form was derived from the Austrian German ‘beugel’, a kind of croissant, and was similar to the German ‘bügel’, a stirrup or ring.
In the Brick Lane district and surrounding area of London, England, bagels, or as locally spelled “beigels” have been sold since the middle of the 19th century. They were often displayed in the windows of bakeries on vertical wooden dowels, up to a metre in length, on racks.
Bagels were brought to the United States by immigrant Polish-Jews, with a thriving business developing in New York City that was controlled for decades by Bagel Bakers Local 338, which had contracts with nearly all bagel bakeries in and around the city for its workers, who prepared all their bagels by hand. The bagel came into more general use throughout North America in the last quarter of the 20th century, which was due at least partly to the efforts of bagel baker Harry Lender, his son, Murray Lender, and Florence Sender, who pioneered automated production and distribution of frozen bagels in the 1960s. Murray also invented pre-slicing the bagel.
In modern times, Canadian-born astronaut Gregory Chamitoff is the first person known to have taken a batch of bagels into space on his 2008 Space Shuttle mission to the International Space Station. His shipment consisted of 18 sesame seed bagels.

 

 

At its most basic, traditional bagel dough contains wheat flour (without germ or bran), salt, water, and yeast leavening. Bread flour or

Bagels with cream cheese and lox

Bagels with cream cheese and lox

other high gluten flours are preferred to create the firm and dense but spongy bagel shape and chewy texture. Most bagel recipes call for the addition of a sweetener to the dough, often barley malt (syrup or crystals), honey, sugar, with or without eggs, milk or butter. Leavening can be accomplished using either a sourdough technique or using commercially produced yeast.
Bagels are traditionally made by:

 

* mixing and kneading the ingredients to form the dough
* shaping the dough into the traditional bagel shape, round with a hole in the middle, from a long thin piece of dough
* proofing the bagels for at least 12 hours at low temperature (40–50 °F = 4.5–10 °C)
* boiling each bagel in water that may or may not contain additives such as lye, baking soda, barley malt syrup, or honey
* baking at between 175 °C and 315 °C (about 350–600 °F)
It is this unusual production method which is said to give bagels their distinctive taste, chewy texture, and shiny appearance. In recent years, a variant of this process has emerged, producing what is sometimes called the steam bagel. To make a steam bagel, the process of boiling is skipped, and the bagels are instead baked in an oven equipped with a steam injection system. In commercial bagel production, the steam bagel process requires less labor, since bagels need only be directly handled once, at the shaping stage. Thereafter, the bagels need never be removed from their pans as they are refrigerated and then steam-baked. The steam-bagel is not considered to be a genuine bagel by purists, as it results in a fluffier, softer, less chewy product more akin to a finger roll that happens to be shaped like a bagel. Steam bagels are also considered lower quality by purists as the dough used is intentionally more basic. The increase in pH is to aid browning since the steam injection process uses neutral water steam instead of a basic solution bath.
If not consumed immediately, there are certain storing techniques that can help to keep the bagel moist and fresh. First, cool bagels in a paper bag, then wrap the paper bag in a plastic bag (attempting to rid the bags of as much air as possible without squishing the bagels), then freeze for up to six months.

 

 

The two most prominent styles of traditional bagel in North America are the Montreal-style bagel and the New York-style bagel. The Montreal bagel contains malt and sugar with no salt; it is boiled in honey-sweetened water before baking in a wood-fired oven; and it is predominantly either of the poppy “black” or sesame “white” seeds variety. The New York bagel contains salt and malt and is boiled in water prior to baking in a standard oven. The resulting New York bagel is puffy with a moist crust, while the Montreal bagel is smaller (though with a larger hole), crunchier, and sweeter.
Chicago-style bagels are baked or baked with steam.
Poppy seeds are sometimes called by their Yiddish name, spelled either mun or mon (written מאָן) which is very similar to the German word for poppy, Mohn, as used in Mohnbrötchen. The traditional London bagel (or beigel as it is spelled) is harder and has a coarser texture with air bubbles.
American chef John Mitzewich suggests a recipe for what he calls “San Francisco-Style Bagels”. His recipe yields bagels flatter than New York-style bagels and characterized by a rough-textured crust.

 

 

While normally and traditionally made of yeasted wheat, in the late 20th century many variations on the bagel flourished.

Three Montreal-style bagels: one poppy and two sesame bagels

Three Montreal-style bagels: one poppy and two sesame bagels

Nontraditional versions which change the dough recipe include pumpernickel, rye, sourdough, bran, whole wheat, and multigrain. Other variations change the flavor of the dough, often using blueberry, salt, onion, garlic, egg, cinnamon, raisin, chocolate chip, cheese, or some combination of the above. Green bagels are sometimes created for St. Patrick’s Day.
Many corporate chains now offer bagels in such flavors as chocolate chip and French toast. Sandwich bagels have been popularized since the late 1990s by bagel specialty shops such as Bruegger’s and Einstein Brothers, and fast food restaurants such as McDonald’s. Breakfast bagels, a softer, sweeter variety usually sold in fruity or sweet flavors (e.g., cherry, strawberry, cheese, blueberry, cinnamon-raisin, chocolate chip, maple syrup, banana and nuts) are commonly sold by large supermarket chains. These are usually sold sliced and are intended to be prepared in a toaster.
A flat bagel, known as a ‘Flagel’, can be found in a few locations in and around New York City and Toronto. According to a review attributed to New York’s Village Voice food critic Robert Seitsema, the Flagel was first created by Brooklyn’s Tasty Bagels deli in the early 1990s.
Though the original bagel has a fairly well defined recipe and method of production, there is no legal standard of identity for bagels in the United States. Bakers are thus free to call any bread torus a bagel, even those that deviate wildly from the original formulation.

 

 

According to the American Institute of Baking (AIB), year 2008 supermarket sales (52 week period ending January 27, 2009) of the top eight leading commercial fresh (not frozen) bagel brands in the United States:
* totalled to US$430,185,378 based on 142,669,901 package unit sales.
* the top eight leading brand names for the above were (by order of sales): Thomas’, Sara Lee, (private label brands) Pepperidge Farm, Thomas Mini Squares, Lender’s Bagels (Pinnacle Foods), Weight Watchers and The Alternative Bagel (Western Bagel).
Further, AIB-provided statistics for the 52 week period ending May 18, 2008, for refrigerated/frozen supermarket bagel sales for the top 10 brand names totalled US$50,737,860, based on 36,719,977 unit package sales.

 

Hamilton to amend rules for neighborhood farming

May 30, 2013 at 8:58 AM | Posted in vegetables | Leave a comment
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Hamilton to amend rules for neighborhood farming

By Eric Schwartzberg

 
HAMILTON — A measure that promotes and encourages urban agriculture by allowing anyone to use city or private property to grow produce is expected to become a reality starting this summer.

New urban agriculture amendments will establish rules for local neighborhood farming and allow any Hamilton resident to take an underdeveloped or undeveloped city lot or private property and use it to grow vegetables, herbs, flowers, nut trees or fruit trees.

The harvested bounty could then be used for their own consumption, to sell to others or donate to area food pantries, according to Alfred Hall, co-founder of Hamilton Urban Garden Systems, or HUGS.

Hall said the change is an important step to not only beautifying Hamilton, but helping it become “the greenest little city in America.”

“They’ve made a very important first step in a process that will eventually grow into a local regional food system, which will allow us to feed ourselves, develop community and create economic opportunity,” Hall said.

For example, someone who has multiple lots in the city and wants to erect 10-by-20-foot greenhouses on each one to grow flowers to sell will be able to do so, he said.

The legislation got its start earlier this year when city officials approached HUGS and asked for help with the ordinance, Hall said.

Recently approved by the city’s planning commission, the measure is scheduled to go to Hamilton City Council for approval next month.

Passing the ordinance is important because it relaxes restrictions on what can be done on a privately-owned lot and eliminates the need to go to the city for approval to establish a garden, Hall said.

“Every time someone wanted to do that, they would have to go and get approval,” he said. “Now, that will be taken care of. The approval is a pre-approval. You don’t have to go.

“Instead of 17 people going 17 different times, 17 people can now just go and garden.”

The amendments would allow temporary farmers market stands to be established on each plot between May 1 through Sept. 30 and limit hours of operation to sunrise through sunset, according to a planning commission report approved May 20.

Other basic restrictions include staying 10 feet back from the front of the property and five feet from the side and back of the property. Outbuildings, such as a greenhouse to extend a property’s growing season, may not exceed 200 square feet and cannot be more than 15 feet high.

Raised beds, planter boxes or containers located in a primary or secondary front yard setback may not be taller than 30 inches at the tallest point above the surrounding grade and may not cover more than 20 percent of the total front yard area.

In addition, no single box may be larger than 8-foot long by 4-foot wide. All planter boxes and containers must be set back a minimum of 10 feet from any property line and five feet from side and rear property lines.

Encouraging urban agriculture fits with other “green” strategic initiatives that Hamilton has set in place, including establishing a farmers market on the plaza and reducing the city’s carbon footprint, according to Chris Lawson, assistant to the city manager.

“It comes down to producing local for individuals to grow their own food where they live to reduce that kind of footprint,” Lawson said. “Instead of driving to groceries where you don’t know exactly where the food comes from, you’re getting to grow it locally. It utilizes empty spaces more effectively and promotes a healthier lifestyle.”

Similarly, city officials recognize “the potential of urban farming to bring people together and increase neighborhood collaboration,” Lawson said.

Hall’s recommendation for anyone who wishes to use an undeveloped or underdeveloped private or city lot is to contact the city or property owner and develop a memorandum of understanding on how that lot will be developed and maintained.

 
http://www.journal-news.com/news/news/hamilton-to-amend-rules-for-neighborhood-farming/nX6Nd/

One of America’s Favorites – Pickled Cucumber

May 20, 2013 at 11:49 AM | Posted in One of America's Favorites | 4 Comments
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A pickled cucumber (commonly known as a pickle in Canada, and the United States or generically as gherkins in the UK) is a cucumber

A deli pickle

A deli pickle

that has been pickled in a brine, vinegar, or other solution and left to ferment for a period of time, by either immersing the cucumbers in an acidic solution or through souring by lacto-fermentation.

 
A gherkin is not only a pickle of a certain size but also a particular species of cucumber: the West Indian or Burr Gherkin (Cucumis anguria), which produces a somewhat smaller fruit than the garden cucumber (Cucumis sativus). Standard pickles are made from the Burr Gherkin, but the term gherkin has become loosely used as any small cucumber pickled in a vinegar brine, regardless of the variety of cucumber used.

 
Cornichons are tart French pickles made from small gherkins pickled in vinegar and tarragon. They traditionally accompany pâtés.

 
Brined pickles are prepared using the traditional process of natural fermentation in a brine which makes them grow sour. The brine concentration can vary between 20 g/litre to more than 40 g/litre of salt. There is no vinegar used in the brine of naturally fermented pickled cucumbers.
The fermentation process is entirely dependent on the naturally occurring Lactobacillus bacteria that normally cover the skin of a growing cucumber. Since these are routinely removed during commercial harvesting/packing processes, traditionally prepared pickles can only be made from freshly harvested cucumbers, unless the bacteria are artificially replaced.
Typically, small cucumbers are placed in a glass or ceramic vessel or a wooden barrel, together with a variety of spices. Among those traditionally used in many recipes are garlic, horseradish, whole dill stems with umbels and green seeds, white mustard seeds, grape, oak, cherry, blackcurrant and bay laurel leaves, dried allspice fruits, and—most importantly—salt. The container is then filled with cooled, boiled water and kept under a non-airtight cover (often cloth tied on with string or a rubber band) for several weeks, depending on taste and external temperature. Traditionally stones, also sterilized by boiling, are placed on top of the cucumbers to keep them under the water. The more salt is added the more sour the cucumbers become.
Since they are produced without vinegar, a film of bacteria forms on the top, but this does not indicate they have spoiled, and the film is simply removed. They do not, however, keep as long as cucumbers pickled with vinegar, and usually must be refrigerated. Some commercial manufacturers add vinegar as a preservative.

 
A “kosher” dill pickle is not necessarily kosher in the sense that it has been prepared in accordance with Jewish dietary law. Rather, it is a pickle made in the traditional manner of Jewish New York City pickle makers, with generous addition of garlic and dill to a natural salt brine.

In New York terminology, a “full-sour” kosher dill is one that has fully fermented, while a “half-sour,” given a shorter stay in the brine, is still crisp and bright green. Elsewhere, these pickles may sometimes be termed “old” and “new” dills.
Dill pickles (not necessarily described as “kosher”) have been served in New York City since at least 1899. They are not, however, native to New York; they have been prepared in Russia, Ukraine, Germany and Poland for hundreds of years.

 
The Polish-style pickled cucumber (Polish: ogórek kiszony/kwaszony) is a variety developed in the northern parts of Europe. It has been exported worldwide and is found in the cuisines of many countries. It is sour, similar to kosher dills, but tends to be seasoned differently[citation needed]. It is usually preserved in wooden barrels. A cucumber only pickled for a few days is different in taste (less sour) than one pickled for a longer time and is called ogórek małosolny, which literally means ‘little salt cucumber’. This distinction is similar to the one between half- and full-sour types of kosher dills.
Another kind of pickled cucumber, popular in Poland, is ogórek konserwowy (‘preserved cucumber’) which is rather sweet and vinegary in taste, due to different composition of the preserving solution. It is kept in jars instead of barrels or cans.

 
In Hungary, while regular vinegar-pickled cucumbers (Hungarian: savanyú uborka) are made during most of the year, during the summer kovászos uborka (“leavened pickles”) are made without the use of vinegar. Cucumbers are placed in a glass vessel along with spices (usually dill and garlic), water and salt. Additionally, a slice or two of bread are placed at the top and bottom of the solution, and the container is left to sit in the sun for a few days so the yeast in the bread can help cause a fermentation process.

 
Lime pickles are soaked in lime rather than in a salt brine. This is done more to enhance texture (by making them crisper) rather than as a preservative. The lime is then rinsed off the pickles. Vinegar and sugar are often added after the 24-hour soak in lime, along with pickling spices.

A jar of bread-and-butter pickles

A jar of bread-and-butter pickles

 
Bread-and-butter pickles are sweeter in flavor than dill pickles, having a high concentration of sugar or other sweetener added to the brine. Cucumbers to be made into bread and butters are often sliced before pickling.

 
Swedish pickled cucumbers (pressgurka) are thinly sliced, mixed with salt and pressed to drain some water from the cucumber slices. Afterwards placed in a jar with a sour-sweet brine of vinegar, sugar, dill and mustard seeds.
Danish cucumber salad (agurkesalat) is similar, but the cucumbers are not pressed and the brine doesn’t have parsley. The cucumber salad accompanies meat dishes, especially a roasted chicken dish (gammeldags kylling med agurkesalat), and is used on Danish hot dogs.

 
Kool-Aid pickles or “koolickles”, enjoyed by children in parts of the Southern United States are created by soaking dill pickles in a mixture of Kool-Aid and pickle brine.

 
Like pickled vegetables such as sauerkraut, sour pickled cucumbers (technically a fruit) are low in calories. They also contain a moderate amount of vitamin K, specifically in the form of K1. One sour pickled cucumber “spear” offers 12–16 µg, or approximately 15–20%, of the Recommended Daily Allowance of vitamin K. It also offers three kilocalories, most of which come from carbohydrate. However, most sour pickled cucumbers are also high in sodium; one spear can contain 350–500 mg, or 15–20% of the American recommended daily limit of 2400 mg.
Sweet pickled cucumbers, including bread-and-butter pickles, are higher in calories due to their sugar content; one large gherkin may contain 20-30 calories. However, sweet pickled cucumbers also tend to contain significantly less sodium than sour pickles.

 
In the United States, pickles are often served as a side dish accompanying meals. This often takes the form of a “pickle spear”, which is a

Fried pickles

Fried pickles

pickled cucumber cut length-wise into quarters or sixths. Pickles may be used as a condiment on a hamburger or other sandwich (usually in slice form), or on a sausage or hot dog in chopped form as pickle relish.
Soured cucumbers are commonly used in a variety of dishes—for example, pickle-stuffed meatloaf, potato salad or chicken salad—or consumed alone as an appetizer.
Pickles are sometimes served alone as festival foods, often on a stick. This is also done in Japan, where it is referred to as “stick pickle”. Dill pickles can be fried, typically deep-fried with a breading or batter surrounding the spear or slice. This is a popular dish in the Southern U.S., and a rising trend elsewhere in the US.
In Russia and Ukraine, pickles are used in rassolnik: a traditional soup made from pickled cucumbers, pearl barley, pork or beef kidneys, and various herbs. The dish is known to have existed as far back as the 15th century, when it was called kalya.

 
The term pickle is derived from the Dutch word pekel, meaning brine. In the U.S. and Canada, the word pickle alone almost always refers to a pickled cucumber (other types of pickles will be described as “pickled onion,” “pickled beets,” etc.). In the UK pickle generally refers to ploughman’s pickle, such as Branston pickle, traditionally served with a ploughman’s lunch.

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.

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