One of America’s Favorites – King Cake MONDAY

February 12, 2018 at 6:11 AM | Posted in One of America's Favorites | Leave a comment
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Louisiana-style king cake. The baby figurine is seen in the middle of the roll.

A king cake (sometimes shown as kingcake, kings’ cake, king’s cake, or three kings cake) is a type of cake associated in a number of countries with the festival of Epiphany at the end of the Christmas season; in other places, it is associated with the pre-Lenten celebrations of Mardi Gras/Carnival.

What started out roughly 300 years ago as a dry French bread–type dough with sugar on top and a bean inside now comes in many varieties depending on the country. Some king cakes are made of a sweet brioche dough in the shape of a hollow circle with a glazed topping sprinkled with colored sugar. Hundreds of thousands of King Cakes are eaten in New Orleans during the Carnival season. In other countries, king cakes are made with a puff pastry, filled with one of several fillings (e.g., almond, apple, chocolate/pear, etc.), and have a small figurine hidden inside. The figurine changes from bakery to bakery and often represents a hit movie or other cultural icon.

The cake often has a small plastic baby (to represent the Baby Jesus) inside or underneath; and the person who gets the piece of cake with the trinket has various privileges and obligations.

 

In the southern United States, the tradition was brought to the area by Basque settlers in 1718. Originally, it was a cinnamon-filled bready cake eaten to celebrate Epiphany, but it is now associated with Carnival (also known as Mardi Gras). Celebrated across the Gulf Coast region from the Florida Panhandle to East Texas, King cake parties are documented back to the 18th century.

The king cake of the Louisiana tradition comes in a number of styles. The most simple, said to be the most traditional, is a ring of twisted cinnamon roll-style dough. It may be topped with icing or sugar, which may be colored to show the traditional Mardi Gras colors of green, yellow, and purple. King cakes may also be filled with additional foodstuffs, the most common being cream cheese, praline, cinnamon, or strawberry. A so-called “Zulu King Cake” has chocolate icing with a coconut filling, because the Krewe of Zulu parade’s most celebrated throw is a coconut. Some bakers now offer king cakes for other holidays that immediately surround the Mardi Gras season, such as king cakes with green and red icing for Christmas, cakes with pink and red icing for Valentine’s Day, and cakes with green and white icing for St. Patrick’s Day. Others have gone a step further and produce specialty king cakes from the beginning of football season for Louisiana State University and New Orleans Saints tailgate parties, then for Halloween, then Thanksgiving—and do not cease until after Mardi Gras season, when they produce an Easter holiday king cake.

In the Southern culture, whoever finds the trinket must provide the next king cake or host the next Mardi Gras party.

 

Starting on Epiphany on January 6, residents begin holding parties especially dedicated to King Cake. King Cake parties bring families and community members together to celebrate the season of Mardi Gras, with its krewe parades and festivals. King Cake is so symbolic of the Mardi Gras celebration for residents it is believed that consuming King Cake outside of the Carnival season will result in rain on Mardi Gras day. The dessert’s “search for the baby,” the small figurine located inside the cake, is a fun way for residents of New Orleans to celebrate their Christian faith.

The dessert’s significance to the city was evident in the first Mardi Gras season (2006) after Hurricane Katrina: thousands of King Cake orders flooded bakeries both inside and outside of Louisiana, an example of how significant the dessert’s tradition is both inside and outside of the region.

Some sports teams around the area have also infused the tradition of the king cake baby into their teams. The Miami Marlins AAA minor league baseball affiliate, formerly known as the New Orleans Zephyrs, changed their name to the New Orleans Baby Cakes, starting in the 2017 season. The New Orleans Pelicans introduced the King Cake Baby as a second mascot during games around Mardi Gras, to accompany their main mascot, Pelican Pierre.

 

Traditional king cake baby

Traditionally, a small plastic or porcelain baby is hidden in the king cake. Originally, the baby was placed in the cake to symbolize baby Jesus. Fava beans were also used to represent Jesus.

Today, the baby symbolizes luck and prosperity to whoever finds it in his/her slice of cake. In some traditions, the finder of the baby is designated “king” or “queen” for the evening. That person is also responsible for purchasing next year’s cake, or for throwing the next Mardi Gras party.

Many bakers have recently been placing the baby outside of the cake, and leaving the hiding to the customer because there is a potential of customers choking on or swallowing the baby, and bakers want to stay clear of this liability.

 

 

There are many different recipes for king cake. However, the most common ones include: milk, butter, yeast, water, brown and white sugar, eggs, salt, nutmeg, flour and cinnamon. The frosting is typically made from confectioner’s sugar, water, lemon juice, and colored sugar crystals.

The colors of the king cake originally came from the Christian religion. The purple symbolizes justice, the green symbolizes faith, and the gold symbolizes power. The three colors honor the three kings who visited the Christ child (Jesus) on Epiphany, the 12th day after Christmas.

 

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The Difference Between Biscuits and Scones, Plus 6 Healthy Recipes

November 19, 2017 at 6:31 AM | Posted in Eating Well | Leave a comment
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From the EatingWell website and Magazine (http://www.eatingwell.com/) its – The Difference Between Biscuits and Scones, Plus 6 Healthy Recipes. You’ll lve tis one, delicious and healthy Scones. Includes 6 Scone recipes; Chocolate-Cherry Scones, Morning Glory Scones, Lemon-Poppy Seed Scones, Ham and Cheese Scones, Smoked Salmon and Dill Scones, and Sun-Dried Tomato, Thyme and Asiago Scones. Enjoy and Eat Healthy!

 

So, what’s the difference between a scone and a biscuit? The answer generally boils down to one ingredient: eggs. Scones have them, biscuits don’t.
Other than that, the ingredients and process are pretty much the same. Both scones and biscuits are usually made with some combination of flour, baking powder or baking soda (or a combination of both), salt, sugar, milk or buttermilk, eggs (if you’re making scones) and a fat (butter, Crisco, lard). The dry ingredients are mixed together, the fat is “cut in” with a pastry cutter, two knives or your fingers, and the liquid is added until the dough just comes together. The dough is gently kneaded very briefly then cut into circles or triangles and baked………

You can click the link below to read the article and get all 6 healthy and delicious Scone recipes

http://www.eatingwell.com/article/285584/the-difference-between-biscuits-and-scones-plus-6-healthy-recipes/

Stuffed Turkey Braided Bread

October 29, 2017 at 6:14 AM | Posted in Jennie-O Turkey Products | Leave a comment
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I have a second Jennie – O recipe for you today, Stuffed Turkey Braided Bread. This one looks so good, a perfect dish for the upcoming Holiday Meals! Made using JENNIE-O® Lean Ground Turkey along with mushrooms, leeks, fresh thyme, Parmesan Cheese. You can find this recipe along with all the other delicious and healthy recipe at the Jennie – O Turkey website. Enjoy and Make the SWITCH! https://www.jennieo.com/

 

Stuffed Turkey Braided Bread
Wow the crowd in every course! Start this holiday meal with this stuffed turkey braided bread! This recipe features mushrooms, leeks, fresh thyme, Parmesan and JENNIE-O® Lean Ground Turkey for a savory start to your celebration.

INGREDIENTS

½ (1-pound) package JENNIE-O® Lean Ground Turkey
3 leeks, thinly sliced
1 (8-ounce) package assorted mushroom, sliced
1 tablespoon chopped fresh thyme leaves
1 teaspoon kosher salt
1 (13.2-ounce) package puff pastry dough
1 egg, lightly beaten or ¼ cup egg substitute
½ cup grated Parmesan cheese

DIRECTIONS

1) Cook turkey as specified on the package. Always cook to well-done, 165°F as measured by a meat thermometer.
2) Add leeks, mushrooms, thyme and salt and cook 10 minutes. Spread mixture on jelly-roll pan to cool completely.
3) Place puff pastry sheet on parchment paper-lined baking sheet. Make 3-inch slits diagonally along each side of puff pastry, about 1 inch apart. Brush strips with egg. Place turkey mixture down center of pastry and fold dough strips across diagonally overlapping. Brush with remaining egg mixture. Sprinkle with Parmesan cheese. Bake 25 minutes or until browned.
* Always cook to an internal temperature of 165°F.

 

RECIPE NUTRITION INFORMATION
PER SERVING
Calories370
Protein15g
Carbohydrates30g
Fiber2g
Sugars4g
Fat21g
Cholesterol25mg
Sodium770mg
Saturated Fat6g
https://www.jennieo.com/recipes/1126-stuffed-turkey-braided-bread

One of America’s Favorites – Natchitoches Meat Pie

July 24, 2017 at 5:40 AM | Posted in One of America's Favorites | Leave a comment
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The Natchitoches meat pie is a regional dish from northern Louisiana, United States. It is one of the official state foods of Louisiana.

Ingredients include ground beef, ground pork, onions, peppers, garlic, oil, and a pie shell. Natchitoches meat pies are often fried in peanut oil because of that oil’s high smoking temperature. A number of restaurants in the historic district in Natchitoches serve meat pies, and frozen pies are available from grocers in northern Louisiana.

It has a savory meat filling in a crescent-shaped, flaky wheat pastry turnover. It is similar to a Spanish picadillo beef empanada. Varieties are found throughout the colonies of the Spanish Empire. The Natchitoches meat pie is nearly identical to the traditional ground beef empanada of Argentina, Empanada de Carne.

 

Natchitoches meat pie with New Orleans beans and rice

The meat pie is found all throughout Louisiana, including southern Louisiana which tends to have a spicier version compared to its northern counterpart, but its origins are found to be from Northern Louisiana. Although found in Greater New Orleans today, The Picayune’s Creole Cook Book published in 1901 by The Times Picayune of New Orleans does not contain a recipe for a Natchitoches style meat pie in its list of over a thousand recipes. Natchitoches meat pies are found in other parts of Southern Louisiana as well as sold at food booths at the New Orleans Jazz & Heritage Festival, and seems to have spread south from Northern Louisiana.

The use of wheat flour as an ingredient is significant. Corn is grown locally. It is a staple of both Spanish and Native American food. Wheat is difficult to grow in this wet, warm climate. Mexican wheat flour could have been imported initially by annual supply convoy over El Camino Real de los Tejas (a portion later became The Old San Antonio Road) or sourced from Europe via the French port on the Red River at Natchitoches.

In the modern recipe, ground pork or pork sausage is blended into the ground beef for additional flavor. Onions, bell pepper and when used garlic and parsley provide aromatics. Ground black pepper and cayenne pepper are added to get attention without being uncomfortable. Flour is added to the browned meat and vegetable mixture to dry, thicken and loosely bind the filling. The meat filling can be used in other foods (e.g., tacos, tamales, enchiladas, stuffed bell pepper et al) but the wheat turnover crust is a defining element. The traditional size is approximately 4 ounces (by weight) on a 5″-6″ diameter pastry dough. The filling should be made the day before to allow the flavors of the ingredients to meld. Filling, dough and tools should be chilled before assembly. Warm filling will cause the dough to disintegrate.

 

In the first part of the 20th century, meat pies were sold from home kitchens or from carts by street vendors. By 1967, Natchitoches meat pies were produced in commercial kitchens. Now, they may be ordered online.

Louisiana Public Broadcasting aired a program January 20, 2007, describing how to make Natchitoches meat pies. It is available on DVD entitled “A Taste of Louisiana with Chef John Folse & Company: Our Food Heritage – The Spanish Shows”. An annual Meat Pie Festival, held in September, celebrates the Natchitoches meat pie. It includes pie making demonstrations, a meat pie cook-off, live music and more.

 

 

One of America’s Favorites – Bear Claws

July 10, 2017 at 5:32 AM | Posted in One of America's Favorites | Leave a comment
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Bear claw

A bear claw is a sweet, yeast-raised pastry, similar to a Danish, originating in the United States during the mid-1920s. A bear claw is usually filled with almond paste, and sometimes raisins, and often shaped in a semicircle with slices along the curved edge, or rectangular with partial slices along one side. As the dough rises, the sections separate, evoking the shape of a bear’s toes.

A bear claw may also be a yeast doughnut in a shape similar to that of the pastry. Such doughnuts may have an apple pie-style filling, or other fillings such as butter pecan, dates, cream cheese, grape or cherry. Bear claw may also refer to an apple fritter.

The name bear claw as used for a pastry is first attested in 1936. The phrase is more common in Western American English, and is included in the U.S. Regional Dialect Survey Results, Question #87, “Do you use the term ‘bear claw’ for a kind of pastry?”

 

 

One of America’s Favorites – Danish Pastry

June 19, 2017 at 5:34 AM | Posted in One of America's Favorites | Leave a comment
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A typical Spandauer-type Danish with apple filling and glazing

A Danish pastry or just Danish (especially in American English) is a multilayered, laminated sweet pastry in the viennoiserie tradition. The concept was brought to Denmark by Austrian bakers and has since developed into a Danish specialty. Like other viennoiserie pastries, such as croissants, they are a variant of puff pastry made of laminated yeast-leavened doughs, creating a layered texture.

Danish pastries were exported with immigrants to the United States, and are today popular around the world.

 

Danish pastry is made of yeast-leavened dough of wheat flour, milk, eggs, sugar and large amounts of butter or margarine.

A yeast dough is rolled out thinly, covered with thin slices of butter between the layers of dough, and then the dough is folded and rolled several times, creating 27 layers. If necessary, the dough is chilled between foldings to ease handling. The process of rolling, buttering, folding and chilling is repeated multiple times to create a multilayered dough that becomes airy and crispy on the outside, but also rich and buttery.

Butter is the traditional fat used in Danish pastry, but in industrial production, less expensive fats are often used, such as hydrogenated sunflower oil (known as “pastry fat” in the UK).

 

In Danish, Norwegian and Swedish, the term for Danish pastry is wienerbrød/wienerbröd, “Viennese bread”. The same etymology is also the origin of the Finnish viineri. Danish pastry is referred to as facturas in some Spanish speaking countries. In Vienna, the Danish pastry, referring to Copenhagen, is called Kopenhagener Plunder or Dänischer Plunder.

 

The origin of the Danish pastry is often ascribed to a strike amongst bakery workers in Denmark in 1850. The strike forced bakery owners to hire workers from abroad, among them several Austrian bakers, who brought along new baking traditions and pastry recipes. The Austrian pastry of Plundergebäck soon became popular in Denmark and after the labour disputes ended, Danish bakers adopted the Austrian recipes, adjusting them to their own liking and traditions by increasing the amount of egg and fat for example. This development resulted in what is now known as the Danish pastry.

One of the baking techniques and traditions that the Austrian bakers brought with them was the Viennese lamination technique. Due to such novelties the Danes called the pastry technique “wienerbrød” and, as mentioned above, that name is still in use in Northern Europe today. At that time, almost all baked goods in Denmark were given exotic names.

 

A cinnamon Danish with chocolate

Danish pastries as consumed in Denmark have different shapes and names. Some are topped with chocolate, pearl sugar, glacé icing and/or slivered nuts and they may be stuffed with a variety of ingredients such as jam or preserves (usually apple or prune), remonce, marzipan and/or custard. Shapes are numerous, including circles with filling in the middle (known in Denmark as “Spandauers”), figure-eights, spirals (known as snails), and the pretzel-like kringles.

 

 

In Sweden, Danish pastry is typically made in the Spandauer-style, often with vanilla custard.

In the UK, various ingredients such as jam, custard, apricots, cherries, raisins, flaked almonds, pecans or caramelized toffee are placed on or within sections of divided dough, which is then baked. Cardamom is often added to increase the aromatic sense of sweetness.

In the US, Danishes are typically given a topping of fruit or sweet baker’s cheese prior to baking. Danishes with nuts on them are also popular there and in Sweden, where chocolate spritzing and powdered sugar are also often added.

In Argentina, they are usually filled with dulce de leche or dulce de membrillo.

 

A slice of an American apple crumb Danish

Danish pastry was brought to the United States by Danish immigrants. Lauritz C. Klitteng of Læsø popularized “Danish pastry” in the US around 1915–1920. According to Klitteng, he made Danish pastry for the wedding of President Woodrow Wilson in December 1915. Klitteng toured the world to promote his product and was featured in such 1920s periodicals as the National Baker, the Bakers’ Helper, and the Bakers’ Weekly. Klitteng briefly had his own Danish Culinary Studio at 146 Fifth Avenue in New York City.

Herman Gertner owned a chain of New York City restaurants and had brought Klitteng to New York to sell Danish pastry. Gertner’s obituary appeared in the January 23, 1962 New York Times:

“At one point during his career Mr. Gertner befriended a Danish baker who convinced him that Danish pastry might be well received in New York. Mr. Gertner began serving the pastry in his restaurant and it immediately was a success.”

 

 

National Doughnut Day 2017 in United States of America – Friday, June 2

June 2, 2017 at 11:35 AM | Posted in baking | Leave a comment
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National Doughnut Day was established in 1938 by the Chicago Salvation Army to honor women who served doughnuts to soldiers during World War I. The holiday is traditionally celebrated on the first Friday of June.

 

 

 

* Dunkin’ Donuts: At participating Dunkin’ Donuts, get a free classic doughnut of your choice with the purchase of any beverage all day Friday while supplies last. Go here to find a Dunkin’ Donuts near you.

* Krispy Kreme: Get one free doughnut of your choice, no purchase necessary at participating locations. Go here to learn more and find participating shops.

One of America’s Favorites – Beignet

February 27, 2017 at 6:16 AM | Posted in One of America's Favorites | Leave a comment
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Potato beignet

Potato beignet

 

Beignet (English pronunciation: /bɛnˈjeɪ/; French: [bɛɲɛ], literally bump), synonymous with the English “fritter”, is the French term for a pastry made from deep-fried choux pastry. Beignets may also be made from other types of dough, including yeast dough.

 

 

 

The tradition of deep-frying fruits for a side dish dates to the time of Ancient Rome, while the tradition of beignets in Europe is speculated to have originated with a heavy influence of Islamic culinary tradition. The term beignet can be applied to two varieties, depending on the type of pastry. The French-style beignet in the United States, has the specific meaning of deep-fried choux pastry. Beignets can also be made with yeast pastry, which might be called boules de Berlin in French, referring to Berliner doughnuts which have a spherical shape (in other words, they do not have the typical doughnut hole) filled with fruit or jam.

In Corsica, beignets made with chestnut flour (Beignets de farine de châtaigne) are known as fritelli.

Donuts (doughnuts) in Quebec and elsewhere in Canada are referred to as both Beigne and Beignet in French.

 

Beignets from Café du Monde in New Orleans

Beignets from Café du Monde in New Orleans

Beignets are commonly known in New Orleans as a breakfast served with powdered sugar on top. They are traditionally prepared right before consumption to be eaten fresh and hot. Variations of fried dough can be found across cuisines internationally; however, the origin of the term beignet is specifically French. In the United States, beignets have been popular within New Orleans Creole cuisine and are customarily served as a dessert or in some sweet variation. They were brought to New Orleans in the 18th century by French colonists, from “the old mother country”, and became a large part of home-style Creole cooking, variations often including banana or plantain – popular fruits in the port city. Today, Café du Monde is a popular New Orleans food destination specializing in beignets with powdered sugar, coffee with chicory, and café au lait. Beignets were declared the official state doughnut of Louisiana in 1986.

 
Preparation
Ingredients used to prepare beignets traditionally include:

* lukewarm water
* granulated sugar
* evaporated milk
* bread flour
* shortening
* oil or lard, for deep-frying
* confectioners’ sugar

 

One of America’s Favorites – Monkey Bread

December 19, 2016 at 5:51 AM | Posted in One of America's Favorites | 2 Comments
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monkey-bread

Monkey bread, also called monkey puzzle bread, sticky bread, African coffee cake, golden crown, pinch-me cake, and pluck-it cake is a soft, sweet, sticky pastry served in the United States for breakfast or as a treat. It consists of pieces of soft baked dough sprinkled with cinnamon. It is often served at fairs and festivals.

 

 

 
The origin of the term “monkey bread” comes from the pastry being a finger food, the consumer would pick apart the bread as a monkey would.

 

another-image-of-monkey-bread
Recipes for the bread first appeared in American women’s magazines and community cookbooks in the 1950s, but the dish is still virtually unknown outside the United States. The bread is made with pieces of sweet yeast dough (often frozen), which are baked in a cake pan at high heat after first being individually covered in melted butter, cinnamon, sugar, and chopped pecans. It is traditionally served hot so that the baked segments can be easily torn away with the fingers and eaten by hand.

One of America’s Favorites – Tarts

September 26, 2016 at 4:59 AM | Posted in One of America's Favorites | Leave a comment
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Blueberry tart

Blueberry tart

A tart is a baked dish consisting of a filling over a pastry base with an open top not covered with pastry. The pastry is usually short crust pastry; the filling may be sweet or savoury, though modern tarts are usually fruit-based, sometimes with custard. Tartlet refers to a miniature tart; an example would be egg tarts. The categories of ‘tart’, ‘flan’, ‘quiche’, and ‘pie’ overlap, with no sharp distinctions.

 

 

 
The French word tarte can be translated to mean either pie or tart, as both are mainly the same with the exception of a pie usually covering the filling in pastry, while flans and tarts leave it open.

Tarts are thought to have either come from a tradition of layering food, or to be a product of Medieval pie making. Enriched dough (i.e. short crust) is thought to have been first commonly used in 1550, approximately 200 years after pies. In this period, they were viewed as high-cuisine, popular with nobility, in contrast to the view of a commoners pie. While originally savory, with meat fillings, culinary tastes led to sweet tarts to prevail, filling tarts instead with fruit and custard.Early medieval tarts generally had meat fillings, but later ones were often based on fruit and custard.

An early tart was the Italian crostata, dating to at least the mid-15th century. It has been described as a “rustic free-form version of an open fruit tart”.

 
Tarts are typically free-standing with firm pastry base consisting of dough, itself made of flour, thick filling, and perpendicular sides while pies may have softer pastry, looser filling, and sloped sides, necessitating service from the pie plate.

 

 

Apple Tart

Apple Tart

There are many types of tarts, with popular varieties including Treacle tart, meringue tart, tarte tatin and Bakewell tart. Another popular tart flavor is jam tarts, which may be different colors depending on the flavor of the jam used to fill them.

Tarte Tatin is an upside-down tart, of apples, other fruit, or onions.

Savoury tarts include quiche, a family of savory tarts with a mostly custard filling; German Zwiebelkuchen ‘onion tart’, and Swiss cheese tart made from Gruyere.

 

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