One of America’s Favorites – Sloppy Joe

October 16, 2017 at 5:46 AM | Posted in One of America's Favorites | Leave a comment
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A homemade sloppy joe with coleslaw

A Sloppy Joe is a sandwich consisting of ground beef, onions, tomato sauce or ketchup, Worcestershire sauce, and other seasonings, served on a hamburger bun. The dish originated in the United States during the early 20th century.

 

 

 

Early 20th century American cookbooks offer plenty of sloppy joe type recipes, though they go by different titles: Toasted Deviled Hamburgers, Chopped Meat Sandwiches, Hamburg a la Creole, Beef Mironton, and Minced Beef Spanish Style.

 

Marilyn Brown, Director of the Consumer Test Kitchen at H.J. Heinz in Pittsburgh, says their research at the Carnegie Library suggests that the sloppy joe’s origins lie with the “loose meat sandwiches” sold in Sioux City, Iowa in the 1930’s and were the creation of a cook named Joe.

References to sloppy joes as sandwiches begin by the 1940s. One example is a 1944 Coshocton Tribune ad under the heading “Good Things to Eat” says “Sloppy Joes’ – 10c – Originated in Cuba – You’ll ask for more – The Hamburg Shop” and elsewhere on the same page, “Hap is introducing that new sandwich at The Hamburg Shop – Sloppy Joes – 10c.”

The term sloppy joe’s had an earlier definition of any cheap restaurant or lunch counter serving cheap food quickly or of a type of casual clothing.

Food companies began producing packaged sloppy joe sauce, such as Manwich, by the 1960s.

 

 

Sloppy Joe meat being prepared

Several variations of the sloppy joe exist in North America. In Quebec, Canada, sandwiches of stewed ground beef such as pain à la viande and pain fourré gumbo are usually served on hot dog buns. A similar sandwich, the “dynamite”, exists in the area around Woonsocket, Rhode Island, and is distinguished by the use of onions, bell peppers, and sometimes celery.

Stewed meat sandwiches are common in several other culinary traditions as well. The rou jia mo, from China’s Shaanxi Province, consists of stewed pork, beef, or lamb on a steamed bun. Keema pav of Indian cuisine uses a pav bread roll filled with keema, a minced, stewed, curried meat.

Ground turkey or textured vegetable protein may be used as a substitute for ground beef.

A sloppy joe differs from a traditional loose meat or tavern sandwich due largely to its tomato-based sauce.

In some stores in northern New Jersey, an unrelated sandwich made with a combination of deli meat, such as turkey, roast beef or especially ham, with coleslaw, Russian dressing and Swiss cheese on three slices of rye bread is also known as a sloppy joe.

 

 

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One of America’s Favorites – Pumpkin Pie

October 9, 2017 at 5:28 AM | Posted in One of America's Favorites | Leave a comment
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Pumpkin pie

Pumpkin pie is a sweet dessert pie with a spiced, pumpkin-based custard filling. The pumpkin is a symbol of harvest time, and pumpkin pie is often eaten during the fall and early winter. In the United States and Canada, it is usually prepared for Thanksgiving and Christmas, and is also featured at Halloween.

The pie consists of a pumpkin-based custard, ranging in colour from orange to brown, baked in a single pie shell, rarely with a top crust. The pie is generally flavored with cinnamon, powdered ginger, nutmeg, and cloves. Allspice is also commonly used and can replace the clove and nutmeg, as its flavor is similar to both combined. Cardamom and vanilla are also sometimes used as batter spices. The spice mixture is called pumpkin pie spice.

The pie is often made from canned pumpkin or packaged pumpkin pie filling (spices included), mainly from varieties of Cucurbita moschata.

 

Pumpkin pie filling being made

Pies made from pumpkins use pie pumpkins; at about six to eight inches in diameter, they are considerably smaller than jack o’lanterns. The pumpkin is sliced in half, and the seeds are removed. The two halves are heated until soft, in an oven, over an open fire, on a stove top, or in a microwave oven. Sometimes the pumpkin halves are brined to soften the pulp, rather than cooked. At this point the pulp is scooped out and puréed.

The pulp is mixed with eggs, evaporated and/or sweetened condensed milk, sugar, and a spice mixture called pumpkin pie spice, which includes nutmeg and other spices (e.g., ginger, cinnamon, cloves, allspice, mace), then baked in a pie shell. Similar pies are made with butternut squash or sweet potato fillings.

 

 

A slice of pumpkin pie

The pumpkin is native to the continent of North America. The pumpkin was an early export to France; from there it was introduced to Tudor England, and the flesh of the “pompion” was quickly accepted as pie filler. During the seventeenth century, pumpkin pie recipes could be found in English cookbooks, such as Hannah Woolley’s The Gentlewoman’s Companion (1675). Pumpkin “pies” made by early American colonists were more likely to be a savory soup made and served in a pumpkin than a sweet custard in a crust.

It was not until the early nineteenth century that the recipes appeared in American cookbooks or pumpkin pie became a common addition to the Thanksgiving dinner. The Pilgrims brought the pumpkin pie back to New England, while the English method of cooking the pumpkin took a different course. In the 19th century, the English pumpkin pie was prepared by stuffing the pumpkin with apples, spices, and sugar and then baking it whole.

Today, throughout much of the United States, it is traditional to serve pumpkin pie after Thanksgiving dinner. Additionally, many modern companies produce seasonal pumpkin pie-flavored products such as candy, cheesecake, coffee, ice cream, french toast, waffles and pancakes, and many breweries produce a seasonal pumpkin ale or beer; these are generally not flavored with pumpkins, but rather pumpkin pie spices. Commercially made pumpkin pie mix is made from Cucurbita pepo, Cucurbita maxima, and Cucurbita moschata (Libbey Select uses the Select Dickinson Pumpkin variety of C. moschata for its canned pumpkins).

 

 

A can of pureed pumpkin, typically used as the main ingredient in the pie filling

The world’s largest pumpkin pie was made in New Bremen, Ohio, at the New Bremen Pumpkinfest. It was created on September 25, 2010. The pie consisted of 1,212 pounds of canned pumpkin, 109 gallons of evaporated milk, 2,796 eggs, 7 pounds of salt, 14.5 pounds of cinnamon, and 525 pounds of sugar. The final pie weighed 3,699 pounds (1,678 kg) and measured 20 feet (6 m) in diameter.

 

 

One of America’s Favorites – Chicken and Waffles

October 2, 2017 at 5:24 AM | Posted in One of America's Favorites | Leave a comment
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Soul food style chicken and waffles, served with peaches and cream as dessert

Chicken and waffles refers to either of two American dishes – one from soul food, the other Pennsylvania Dutch – that combine chicken with waffles. It is served in certain specialty restaurants in the United States.

 

 

 

 

The best known chicken and waffle pairing comes from the American soul food tradition and uses fried chicken. The waffle is served as it would be at breakfast time, with condiments such as butter and syrup. This unusual combination of foods is beloved by many people who are influenced by traditions of soul food passed down from past generations of their families. This version of the dish is highly popular in Baltimore, Maryland, enough to become a well-known local custom.

 

Chicken and waffles

The exact origins of this dish are unknown, although several theories about its origin exist. Waffles entered American cuisine in the 1600s with European colonists. The food’s popularity saw a notable boost after 1789 with Thomas Jefferson’s purchase of a waffle iron in France.

In the early 1800s, hotels and resorts outside Philadelphia served waffles with fried catfish. Such establishments also served other dishes like fried chicken, which gradually became the meat of choice due to catfish’s limited, seasonal availability. Waffles served with chicken and gravy were noted as a common Sunday dish among the Pennsylvania Dutch by the 1860s. By the end of the 19th century, the dish was a symbol of Pennsylvania Dutch Country, brought on in part by its association with tourism.

In 1909, a Griswold’s waffle iron advertisement promised, “You can attend a chicken and waffle supper right at home any time you have the notion if you are the owner of a Griswold’s American Waffle Iron.”

The traditional origin of the dish states that because African-Americans in the South rarely had the opportunity to eat chicken and were more familiar with flapjacks or pancakes than with waffles, they considered the dish a delicacy. For decades, it remained “a special-occasion meal in African-American families.” However, other historians cite a scarcity of actual early era evidence of the dish’s existence in the South, and place the origin later, after the post-Civil War migration of Southern African-Americans to the North during the Reconstruction Era. The combination of chicken and waffles does not appear in early Southern cookbooks such as Mrs. Porter’s Southern Cookery Book, published in 1871 or in What Mrs. Fisher Knows About Old Southern Cooking, published in 1881 by former slave Abby Fisher. Fisher’s cookbook is generally considered the first cookbook written by an African-American. The lack of a recipe for the combination of chicken and waffles in Southern cookbooks from the era may suggest a later origin for the dish.

Whatever the case, many modern variants of the dish owe their origins to the meal as it was served in the African-American community in early 20th-century Harlem, New York. The dish was served as early as the 1930s in such Harlem locations as Tillie’s Chicken Shack, Dickie Wells’ jazz nightclub, and particularly the Wells Supper Club. Harlem-style chicken and waffles have been popular in Los Angeles since the 1970s due to the fame of former Harlem resident Herb Hudson’s restaurant Roscoe’s House of Chicken and Waffles, which has become known as a favorite of some Hollywood celebrities and been referenced in several movies.

 

 

One of America’s Favorites – Shortcake

September 25, 2017 at 5:03 AM | Posted in One of America's Favorites | Leave a comment
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Shortcake is a sweet cake or biscuit (in the American sense: that is, a crumbly bread that has been leavened with baking powder or baking soda).

Shortcake is typically made with flour, sugar, baking powder or soda, salt, butter, milk or cream, and sometimes eggs. The dry ingredients are blended, and then the butter is cut in until the mixture resembles cornmeal. The liquid ingredients are then mixed in just until moistened, resulting in a shortened dough. The dough is then dropped in spoonfuls onto a baking sheet, rolled and cut like baking powder biscuits, or poured into a cake pan, depending on how wet the dough is and the baker’s preferences. Then it is baked at a relatively high temperature until set.

 

An image of a strawberry shortcake

Strawberry shortcake
The most famous dessert made with shortcake is strawberry shortcake. Sliced strawberries are mixed with sugar and allowed to sit an hour or so, until the strawberries have surrendered a great deal of their juices (macerated). The shortcakes are split and the bottoms are covered with a layer of strawberries, juice, and whipped cream, typically flavored with sugar and vanilla. The top is replaced, and more strawberries and whipped cream are added onto the top. Some convenience versions of shortcake are not made with a shortcake (i.e. biscuit) at all, but instead use a base of sponge cake or sometimes a corn muffin. Japanese-style strawberry shortcakes use a sponge cake base, and are a popular Christmas treat in Japan.

The largest strawberry shortcake ever made was in the town of La Trinidad, Benguet in the Philippines on March 20, 2004. It weighed 21,213.40 lb.

Though strawberry is the most widely known shortcake dessert, peach shortcake, blueberry shortcake, chocolate shortcake and other similar desserts are made along similar lines. It is also common to see recipes where the shortcake itself is flavored; coconut is a common addition.

 

Though today’s shortcakes are usually of the biscuit or sponge-cake variety, earlier American recipes called for pie crust in rounds or broken-up pieces, which was a variety still being enjoyed in the 21st century, particularly in the South.

The first strawberry shortcake recipe appeared in an English cookbook as early as 1588, according to Driscoll’s berry growers. By 1850, strawberry shortcake was a well-known biscuit and fruit dessert served hot with butter and sweetened cream. In the United States, strawberry shortcake parties were held as celebrations of the summer fruit harvest. This tradition is upheld in some parts of the United States on June 14, which is Strawberry Shortcake Day. It wasn’t until 1910 that French pastry chefs replaced the topping with heavy whipped cream.

 

 

One of America’s Favorites – Strip Steak

September 18, 2017 at 5:26 AM | Posted in One of America's Favorites | Leave a comment
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Grilled Kansas City strip steak topped with onions and mushrooms

The strip steak, also called a New York strip, a Kansas City strip steak (US), a sirloin steak (UK/NZ/ZA), or a porterhouse (AU), is a cut of beef steaks from the short loin from a cow. It consists of a muscle that does little work, the longissimus, making the meat particularly tender; although not as tender as the nearby rib eye or tenderloin. Fat content of the strip is somewhere between the two cuts. Unlike the tenderloin, the short loin is a sizable muscle, allowing it to be cut into larger portions.

 

 

A U.S. Prime raw strip steak with a high marbling content

According to the National Cattlemen’s Beef Association, the steak is marketed under various names, including Ambassador Steak, Boneless Club Steak, Hotel-Style Steak, Kansas City Steak, New York Steak, and Veiny Steak.

In New Zealand and Australia, it is known as Porterhouse and Sirloin (strip loin steak) and can be found in the Handbook of Australian Meat under codes 2140 to 2143.

In Canada, most meat purveyors refer to this cut as a strip loin.

Delmonico’s Restaurant, an operation opened in New York City in 1827, offered as one of its signature dishes a cut from the short loin called a Delmonico steak. Due to its association with the city, it is often referred to as a New York strip steak.

 

Related Cuts – When still attached to the bone, and with a piece of the tenderloin also included, the strip steak becomes a T-bone steak or a porterhouse steak, the difference being that the porterhouse has a larger portion of tenderloin included. The strip steak may be sold with or without the bone. Strip steaks may be substituted for most recipes calling for T-bone and porterhouse steaks, and sometimes for fillet and rib eye steaks.

A bone-in strip steak with no tenderloin attached is sometimes referred to as a shell steak.

 

 

One of America’s Favorites – Meatball Sandwich

September 11, 2017 at 5:31 AM | Posted in One of America's Favorites | 4 Comments
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A meatball sandwich

The meatball sandwich is a common sandwich that is a part of several cuisines, including Italian-American cuisine, American cuisine and Italian cuisine.

 

 

The sandwich primarily consists of meatballs, a tomato sauce or marinara sauce, and bread, such as Italian bread, baguette and bread rolls. Cheese such as provolone and mozzarella is sometimes used as an ingredient. Additional ingredients can include garlic, green pepper and butter, among others. It is sometimes prepared in the form of a submarine sandwich.

A meatball sandwich prepared using a bun

A meatball sandwich prepared using a bun

 

It has been suggested that the meatball sandwich was invented in the United States around the time of the turn of the 20th century.

 

 

One of America’s Favorites – Anadama Bread

September 4, 2017 at 5:40 AM | Posted in One of America's Favorites | Leave a comment
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Anadama Bread is a traditional yeast bread of New England in the United States made with wheat flour, cornmeal, molasses and sometimes rye flour.

It is not readily agreed exactly when or where the bread originated, except it existed before 1850 in Rockport,

Anadama bread

Massachusetts. It is thought to have come from the local fishing community, but it may have come through the Finnish community of local stonecutters.

Near the turn of the 20th century, it was baked by a man named Baker Knowlton on King Street in Rockport, Massachusetts, and delivered in a horse-drawn cart to households by men in blue smocks. In the 1940s, a Rockport restaurant owned by Bill and Melissa Smith called The Blacksmith Shop on Mt. Pleasant St. started baking the bread for their restaurant in a small bakery on Main St. They baked about 80 loaves a day until 1956, when they built a modern $250,000 bakery on Pooles Lane. They had 70 employees and 40 trucks which delivered Anadama bread all over New England.

The Anadama Bread center of consumption was in Rockport and next-door Gloucester, Massachusetts. It was commercially available from local bakeries widely on Cape Ann from the early 1900s until 1970, when the Anadama Bread Bakery on Pooles Lane in Rockport closed due to Bill Smith’s death. For a number of years, it was baked by small local bakeries at breakfast places on Cape Ann.

Put in a large mixing bowl 2 cups boiling water and 1/2 cup cornmeal. Stir thoroughly. Let stand one hour. Add 1/2 cup molasses, 2 teaspoons salt, and 1 tablespoon butter. Put in a small bowl 1/2 cup lukewarm water and 1 package yeast. When dissolved, add to the cornmeal. Stir in 4 1/2 cups flour. Beat thoroughly and let rise until double in bulk. Add enough more flour to make the dough just firm enough to knead. Shape into loaves and put into buttered pans. Let rise until almost double. Bake about 50 minutes at 350°. Makes 2 loaves. White flour will make the most “addictive” Anadama, but experiment with whole wheat, rye and other flours to make more healthful loaves.

 

 

One of America’s Favorites – New England Boiled Dinner

August 28, 2017 at 5:34 AM | Posted in One of America's Favorites | 2 Comments
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New England boiled dinner is the basis of a traditional New England meal, consisting of corned beef or a smoked “picnic ham” shoulder, with cabbage and added vegetable items, often including potato, rutabaga, parsnip, carrot, white turnip, and onion. With a beef roast, this meal is often known simply as corned beef and cabbage. A similar Newfoundland dish is called a Jiggs dinner.

New England boiled dinner

New England boiled dinner is a traditional meal on St. Patrick’s Day. Ireland produced a significant amount of the corned beef in the Atlantic trade from local cattle and salt imported from the Iberian Peninsula and southwestern France. Coastal cities, such as Dublin, Belfast, and Cork, created vast beef curing and packing industries, with Cork producing half of Ireland’s annual beef exports in 1668. Most of the people of Ireland during this period consumed little of the meat produced, in either fresh or salted form, due to its prohibitive cost. In the colonies the product was looked upon with disdain due to its association with poverty and slavery.

Corned beef was used as a substitute for bacon by Irish-American immigrants in the late 19th century. Corned beef and cabbage is the Irish-American variant of the original Irish dish of bacon and cabbage.

A “picnic ham” shoulder consists of the cured and smoked primal pork shoulder, which is cut from the lower portion of a hog’s foreleg still containing the arm and shank bones. The meat is then boiled with root vegetables for several hours or until it is tender. The resulting meat does not taste similar to a traditional ham.

Corned beef is prepared before the actual cooking of the meal by seasoning a cut of beef with salt (large grains of salt were known as corns) and spices and the natural meat juices. This meat is then placed whole, like a rump or pot roast into a crock pot, which in olden times was a ceramic pot over a fire, filled with cabbage and carrots, and, when available, red potatoes. However, after Luther Burbank’s alteration of potatoes, the potatoes were chopped when placed in the pot. Rutabaga or turnips are also common ingredients. This meal can be left in a crock pot all day but must be kept in the naturally humid environment of cooking meat. Corned beef and cabbage is often served as a whole meal.

Smoked shoulder is an exceptionally salty cut of meat. Two different methods of preparation are commonly used to decrease the amount of salt in the meat. In the first method, the meat is placed in a pot and soaked in a refrigerated cold water bath for one day prior to cooking. During the soak, the water is changed several times. The pot of meat and water is then boiled on the stovetop until the meat is tender. In the second method, the meat is placed in cold water and brought to a boil. The boiling water is then poured off, replaced with fresh cold water, and the ham is brought to a boil again. This process can be repeated several times, as deemed appropriate by the chef, before the meat is allowed to cook. A combination of both methods is also acceptable. This is a very easy meal to cook, as the salt and flavor of the meat require no additional seasonings. The ham generally must boil for several hours until it is ready to eat. The vegetables are placed in the pot and boiled with the meat; however, some chefs prefer to place them in the ham’s water after the meat has been removed to avoid overcooking.

Common condiments include horseradish, mustard, and cider vinegar.

 

 

One of America’s Favorites – Pork Ribs

August 21, 2017 at 5:16 AM | Posted in One of America's Favorites | 1 Comment
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Balinese roasted pork ribs

Pork ribs are a cut of pork popular in North American and Asian cuisines. The ribcage of a domestic pig, meat and bones together, is cut into usable pieces, prepared by smoking, grilling, or baking – usually with a sauce, often barbecue – and then served.

 

 

 

 

Cuts of pork ribs
Several different types of ribs are available, depending on the section of rib cage from which they are cut. Variation in the thickness of the meat and bone, as well as levels of fat in each cut, can alter the flavor and texture of the prepared dish. The inner surface of the rib cage is covered by a layer of connective tissue (pleura) that is difficult to cook tender; it is usually removed before marinating or cooking.

Baby back ribs

Baby back ribs served with fries and cornbread

Baby back ribs (also back ribs or loin ribs) are taken from the top of the rib cage between the spine and the spare ribs, below the loin muscle. They have meat between the bones and on top of the bones, and are shorter, curved, and sometimes meatier than spare ribs. The rack is shorter at one end, due to the natural tapering of a pig’s rib cage. The shortest bones are typically only about 3 in (7.6 cm) and the longest is usually about 6 in (15 cm), depending on the size of the hog. A pig side has 15 to 16 ribs (depending on the breed), but usually two or three are left on the shoulder when it is separated from the loin. So, a rack of back ribs contains a minimum of eight ribs (some may be trimmed if damaged), but can include up to 13 ribs, depending on how it has been prepared by the butcher. A typical commercial rack has 10–13 bones. If fewer than 10 bones are present, butchers call them “cheater racks”.

Spare ribs

Spare ribs cut into riblets with Chinese barbecue sauce

* Spare ribs, also called “spareribs” or “side ribs”, are taken from the belly side of the rib cage, below the section of back ribs and above the sternum (breast bone). Spare ribs are flatter and contain more bone than meat, but more fat that can make the ribs more tender than back ribs. The term “spare ribs” is a Middle English corruption (via “sparrib”) of “rippspeer”, a Low German term that referred to racks of meat being roasted on a turning spit.
* St. Louis style ribs (or St. Louis cut spare ribs) have had the sternum bone, cartilage, and rib tips (see below) removed. The shape is almost rectangular.
* Kansas City style ribs are trimmed less closely than the St. Louis style ribs, and have the hard bone removed.
Rib tips
Rib tips are short, meaty sections of rib attached to the lower end of the spare ribs, between the ribs and the sternum. Unlike back ribs or spare ribs, the structure of the rib is provided by dense costal cartilage, not bone. Rib tips are cut away from the spare ribs when preparing St. Louis style spare ribs.

Riblets

Smoked country style pork ribs

Riblets are prepared by butchers by cutting a full set of spare ribs approximately in half. This produces a set of short, flat ribs where the curved part of the rib is removed and gives them a more uniform look. Loin back ribs don’t always have this removed. When not removed they have a rounded look to them and are often referred to as baby back ribs. Another product (imprecisely) called riblets is actually the transverse processes of the lumbar vertebrae. Riblets used to be thrown out by butchers, but have become popular due to their excellent flavor and lower cost.

Button ribs (or feather bones) are often confused with riblets mostly because Applebee’s sells these as “riblets”. In fact, what Applebee’s sells is found just past the ribs near the back bone, just underneath the tenderloin. This cut of meat actually has no bones, but instead has “buttons” of cartilaginous material with meat attached.

Rib tips (or brisket) are found at the bottom of the spare ribs by the sternum. The rib tips have a high proportion of cartilage. The rib tips give the spare ribs a rounded appearance. In an attempt to give the meat a more uniform appearance and make it easier to eat, this piece is sometimes removed, and the remaining spare ribs are referred to as Saint Louis style ribs.

Other cuts and preparations

Crown rib roast of pork with apples

* Button ribs are flat, circular-shaped bones located at the sirloin end of the loin. They are not actually ribs, as they are not taken from the rib cage. The button ribs consist of the last four to six bones on the backbone; they do not have actual ribs connected to them. The meat on the button ribs consists of meat that covers each button and connects them together.
* Country-style ribs are cut from the blade end of the loin close to the pork shoulder. They are meatier than other rib cuts. They contain no rib bones, but instead contain parts of the shoulder blade (scapula).
* Rib roast (or bone-in pork loin rib roast, bone-in loin rib roast, center cut rib roast, prime rib of pork, standing rib roast) is a whole pork loin with the back ribs attached. They can be up to 2 ft long and 6 in thick. They are sold whole or in sections.
* Rib chops are pork steaks or chops that include a back rib bone and the loin meat attached. They are lean and tender.
* Rib patties – The meat from the ribs is taken off the bone and ground to make rib patties. McDonald’s McRib patties contain pork meat mostly from non-rib sections of the hog.
* Christmas ribs – About half of Norwegian families eat oven-cooked rib at Christmas Eve. Normally, they are referred to as ribbe or juleribbe. Traditional recipes include steaming half an hour before cooking in the oven to achieve a crisp surface.

 

 

One of America’s Favorites – Chimichanga

August 14, 2017 at 5:05 AM | Posted in One of America's Favorites | Leave a comment
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A chimichanga with rice

Chimichanga (/tʃɪmiˈtʃæŋɡə/; Spanish: [tʃimiˈtʃaŋɡa]) is a deep-fried burrito that is popular in Tex-Mex, Southwestern U.S. cuisine, and also found in the Mexican states of Sinaloa and Sonora. The dish is typically prepared by filling a flour tortilla with a wide range of ingredients, most commonly rice, cheese, machaca (dried meat), carne adobada (marinated meat), carne seca, or shredded chicken, and folding it into a rectangular package. It is then deep-fried and can be accompanied with salsa, guacamole, sour cream, and/or cheese.

 

Debate over the origins of the chimichanga is ongoing:

The words chimi and changa come from two Mexican Spanish terms: chamuscado, (past participle of the verb chamuscar which means seared or singed, and changa, related to chinga, (third-person present tense form of the vulgar verb chingar, a rude expression for the unexpected or a small insult.

According to one source, the founder of the Tucson, Arizona, restaurant El Charro, Monica Flin, accidentally dropped a burrito into the deep-fat fryer in 1922. She immediately began to utter a Spanish profanity beginning “chi…” (chingada), but quickly stopped herself and instead exclaimed chimichanga, a Spanish equivalent of “thingamajig”.

Woody Johnson, founder of Macayo’s Mexican Kitchen, claims he invented the chimichanga in 1946 when he put some burritos into a deep fryer as an experiment at his original restaurant Woody’s El Nido. These “fried burritos” became so popular that by 1952, when Woody’s El Nido became Macayo’s, the chimichanga was one of the restaurant’s main menu items. Johnson opened Macayo’s in 1952.

Although no official records indicate when the dish first appeared, retired University of Arizona folklorist Jim

A chimichanga with refried beans and rice

Griffith recalls seeing chimichangas at the Yaqui Old Pascua Village in Tucson in the mid-1950s.

Given the variant chivichanga, mainly employed in Mexico, another derivation would have it that immigrants to the United States brought the dish with them, mainly through Nogales into Arizona. A third, and perhaps most likely possibility, is that the chimichanga, or chivichanga, has long been a part of local cuisine of the Pimería Alta of Arizona and Sonora, with its early range extending southward into Sinaloa. In Sinaloa, the chimichangas are small.

Knowledge and appreciation of the dish spread slowly outward from the Tucson area, with popularity elsewhere accelerating in recent decades. Though the chimichanga is now found as part of the Tex-Mex repertoire, its roots within the U.S. seem to be in Pima County, Arizona.

According to data presented by the United States Department of Agriculture, a typical 183-gram (6.5-ounce) serving of a beef and cheese chimichanga contains 443 calories, 20 grams protein, 39 grams carbohydrates, 23 grams total fat, 11 grams saturated fat, 51 milligrams cholesterol, and 957 milligrams of sodium.

 

 

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