One of America’s Favorites – Barbecue Sauce

June 17, 2013 at 9:19 AM | Posted in BBQ, BEEF, bison, JB's Fatboy Sauces and Rub, One of America's Favorites, ribs | 1 Comment
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Barbecue sauce (also abbreviated BBQ sauce) is a flavoring sauce used as a marinade, basting (cooking) or topping for meat cooked in

The St. Louis barbecue

The St. Louis barbecue

the barbecue cooking style, including pork or beef ribs and chicken. It is a ubiquitous condiment and is used on many other foods as well.

 

 
The ingredients vary widely even within individual countries, but most include some variation on vinegar and/or tomato paste as a base, as well as liquid smoke, spices such as mustard and black pepper, and sweeteners such as sugar or molasses. The most common barbecue sauce in the United States is a commercialized Kansas City-style which uses tomato puree, corn syrup, molasses and vinegar and has a long shelf life. This style is less intense but similar to steak sauce, which is itself a direct relative of the ubiquitous British brown sauce. Other regional recipes elsewhere forgo the tomato sauce base in favor of a more penetrating vinegar-dominant marinade.

 
The precise origin of barbecue sauce is unclear. Some trace it to the end of the 15th century, when Christopher Columbus brought a sauce back from Hispaniola, while others place it at the formation of the first American colonies in the 17th century. References to the substance start occurring in both English and French literature over the next two hundred years. South Carolina mustard sauce, a type of barbecue sauce, can be traced to German settlers in the 18th century.
Early cookbooks did not tend to include recipes for barbecue sauce. The first commercially produced barbecue sauce was made by the Georgia Barbecue Sauce Company in Atlanta, Georgia. Its sauce was advertised for sale in the Atlanta Constitution, January 31, 1909. Heinz released its barbecue sauce in 1940. Kraft Foods also started making cooking oils with bags of spices attached, supplying another market entrance of barbecue sauce.

 
Different geographical regions have allegiances to their particular styles and variations for barbecue sauce. For example, vinegar and

Hunt's barbecue sauce. A nationally distributed Kansas City–style sauce brand

Hunt’s barbecue sauce. A nationally distributed Kansas City–style sauce brand

mustard-based barbecue sauces are popular in certain areas of the southern United States, while in the northern U.S. tomato-based barbecue sauces are well-known. In Asian countries a ketchup and corn syrup-based sauce is common. Mexican salsa can also be used as a base for barbecue sauces.

 
The U.S. has a wide variety of differing barbecue sauce tastes. Some are based in regional tradition.
* East Carolina Sauce – Most American barbecue sauces can trace their roots to the two sauces common in North Carolina.[citation needed] The simplest and the earliest were supposedly popularized by African slaves who also advanced the development of American barbecue. They were made with vinegar, ground black pepper, and hot chili pepper flakes. It is used as a “mopping” sauce to baste the meat while it was cooking and as a dipping sauce when it is served. Thin and sharp, it penetrates the meat and cuts the fats in the mouth. There is little or no sugar in this sauce. Due to the sharp taste, it has more of a cult following amongst people not of the region.
* Lexington Dip (a.k.a. Western Carolina Dip or Piedmont Dip) – In Lexington and in the “Piedmont” hilly areas of western North Carolina, the sauce is often called a dip. It is a lot like the East Carolina Sauce (above) with tomato paste, tomato sauce, or ketchup added. The vinegar softens the tomato.
* Kansas City – Thick, reddish-brown, tomato or ketchup-based with sugars, vinegar, and spices. Evolved from the Lexington Dip (above), it is significantly different in that it is thick and sweet and does not penetrate the meat as much as sit on the surface. This is the most common and popular sauce in the US and all other tomato based sauces are variations on the theme using more or less of the main ingredients.
* Memphis – Similar to the Kansas City style, typically having the same ingredients, but tending to have a larger percentage of vinegar and use molasses as a sweetener.
* South Carolina Mustard Sauce – Part of South Carolina is known for its yellow barbecue sauces made primarily of yellow mustard, vinegar, sugar and spices. This sauce is most common in a belt from Columbia to Charleston, an area settled by many Germans. Vinegar-based sauces with black pepper are common in the coastal plains region as in North Carolina, and thin tomato- and vinegar-based sauces are common in the hilly regions as in North Carolina.
* Texas – In some of the older, more traditional restaurants the sauces are heavily seasoned with cumin, chili peppers, bell peppers, chili powder or ancho powder, lots of black pepper, fresh onion, only a touch of tomato, little or no sugar, and they often contain meat drippings and smoke flavor because meats are dipped into them. They are medium thick and often resemble a thin tomato soup. They penetrate the meat easily rather than sit on top. Bottled barbecue sauces from Texas are often different from those used in the same restaurants because they do not contain meat drippings.
* Alabama White Sauce – North Alabama is known for its distinctive white sauce, a mayonnaise-based sauce, which is used predominantly on chicken and pork. It is composed of mayonnaise, vinegar, sugar, salt and black pepper.

Loaded Bison Burger w/ Smoked Cheddar, Mushrooms, and Turkey Bacon

July 15, 2012 at 5:06 PM | Posted in bison, cheese, Healthy Life Whole Grain Breads, mushrooms, Ore - Ida, turkey bacon | 1 Comment
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Today’s Menu: Loaded Bison Burger w/ Smoked Cheddar, Mushrooms, and Turkey Bacon

 

 

Had one tasty burger for dinner tonight! I had a Ground Bison Sirloin that I seasoned with McCormick Steakhouse Seasoning. I fried it in Extra Virgin Olive Oil about 4 minutes per side. Served on a Healthy Life Whole Grain Bun and topped with a slice of Bordon‘s Smoked Cheddar, Sauteed Portobella Mushrooms, and a slice of Turkey Bacon. Now that’s loaded! I’ve switched over to Bison from Beef for a few years now. I just love the taste of Bison and how easy it is to prepare, and also the healthier benifits it has over Beef. I still have Beef from time to time but it’s mainly Bison.

For a side I had Ore Ida Steakhouse Seasoned Griller Potatoes. Another one I’ve recently staerted using. Nice thick cut potatoes and well seasoned. Dessert later a bowl of Breyer’s Carb Smart Vanilla Ice Cream topped with some of those delicious South Carolina Peaches!

Tea production in the United States

April 28, 2012 at 2:59 PM | Posted in green tea | 1 Comment
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Alittle about one of my favorite healthy drinks, Green Tea!

Although Camellia sinensis can be grown in warmer parts of the United States, currently the US mainland has only two commercial tea gardens: a relatively large, fully mechanized plantation in Charleston, South Carolina and a small operation in Burlington, Washington. Off the mainland, there is a collective of roughly 40 small growers in Hawaii.

As of 2010, Washington, South Carolina, and Hawaii Teas are available through mail order and online purchases.

Commercial tea cultivation in the United States has been attempted since 1744 when tea seeds were sent to the Trust Garden in Savannah. The first recorded successful cultivation of the tea plant in the United States is recorded as growing on Skidaway Island near Savannah in 1772. Junius Smith succeeded in growing tea commercially in Greenville, South Carolina, from 1848 until his death in 1853. Dr. Alexis Forster oversaw the next short-lived attempt in Georgetown, South Carolina, from 1874 until his death in 1879. In 1863, the New York Times reported the discovery of tea plants growing natively in Western Maryland and Pennsylvania.

The New York Times report of natively growing tea plants sparked an interest in cultivating the plants commercially. The US Government planted an experimental farm outside Summerville, South Carolina. They ran the program from 1884 until 1888. They concluded that South Carolina’s climate was too unstable to sustain the tea crop. The Department of Agriculture issued a report in 1897 that “estimates the minimum cost about eight times as much to pick one pound of tea in South Carolina as that paid for the same service in Asia.”

In 1888 Dr. Charles Shepard established the Pinehurst Tea Plantation close to the government’s farm. Dr. Shepard secured laborers for the fields by opening a school and making tea-picking part of its curriculum, essentially ensuring a force of child labor while providing them with an education they might not otherwise obtain. Pinehurst produced award winning teas until Dr. Shepard’s death in 1915. The garden closed after Shepard’s death and Pinehurst lay unattended until 1963.

In 1963, The Lipton Tea Company, worried about the instability of the third world countries that produce tea, paid to have the surviving tea plants at Pinehurst moved to a former potato farm on Wadmalaw Island. Lipton operated an experimental tea farm until it was sold in 1987 to Mack Fleming and Bill Hall, who converted the experimental farm into a working tea garden. The Charleston Tea Plantation utilized a converted tobacco harvester to mechanically harvest the tea. The Charleston Tea Plantation sold tea mail order known as American Classic Tea and also produced Sam’s Choice Instant Tea, sold through Sam’s Clubs. American Classic Tea has been the official tea of the White House since 1987. Losing money and nearly bankrupt, in 2003 it was sold to Bigelow Tea Company at a court auction for $1.28 million and was temporarily closed for renovation it in order to attract tourists and boost its revenues. The garden reopened in January 2006 and gives free tours to the public.

Like most plantations, each tea plant at the Charleston Tea Plantation comes from a clone rather than a seed to keep plant characteristics controlled. In this factory, black, oolong, and green tea is made; active harvesting takes place between May and October. The hybrid cotton picker/tobacco harvester modified by Fleming is used to harvest from the upper parts of the plants without injuring them, but cannot do so with the precision of hand-picking, necessary for the highest grades of tea. Inside the factory, leaves are placed on a withering bed for 12–18 hours. Natural air blows over the leaves to reduce the moisture from 80 percent to 68 percent. Then the leaves are chopped, sent to the oxidation bed for 55 minutes, then baked in an oven for about 28 minutes. (These times vary slightly depending on the moisture content of the leaves.) Then the sticks and fibers are sorted out and the remaining leaves are packaged.

Tea was introduced in Hawaii in 1887 and was commercially grown until 1892. While it is not clear why the tea was eventually discontinued, historians believe higher wages compared to other prime tea growing areas in Asia and Africa were among the deciding factors. Lower production costs of tea’s main rival, coffee, also helped prevent it from establishing a foothold.

In the 1960s Lipton and A&B formed a joint venture to investigate the possibility of growing tea commercially in Hawaii. Both companies decided not to open gardens on the Island, but rather to open gardens in Latin and South America.

In 2000 horticulturist Francis Zee found a strain of Camellia sinensis, the tea plant, that can flourish in the tropical climate and volcanic soil of Hawaii. A joint study of commercially growing tea in Hawaii was started by University of Hawaii at Manoa College of Tropical Agriculture and Human Resources and University of Hawaii at Hilo College of Agriculture, Forestry and Natural Resource Management with the U.S. Department of Agriculture.

With the decline of the Hawaii’s sugar industry, tea cultivation is seen as a possible replacement crop. In 2003 Hawaii had an estimated 5 acres of land producing tea but by 2005 that number jumped to roughly 80 acres. Tea production in Hawaii is expected to triple by 2008.

In 2004, the Hawaii Tea Society was formed from about 40 members, many of whom had started backyard tea farms to promote tea grown in Hawaii.

The Charleston Tea Plantation

April 28, 2012 at 2:57 PM | Posted in green tea | Leave a comment
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DSC_0219

DSC_0219 (Photo credit: scpetrel)

The Charleston Tea Plantation

The Charleston Tea Plantation is the home of American Classic Tea, tea grown in America. It is located on picturesque Wadmalaw Island in the heart of South Carolina’s Lowcountry. Its grounds include 127 acres of Camellia Sinensis tea plants, a working Tea Factory and a charming Plantation Gift Shoppe. Also available to guests is an adventurous and educational Trolley Tour that explores the scenic grounds that produce American Classic Tea.

About Us

The Charleston Tea Plantation is located on historic Wadmalaw Island in the heart of the Lowcountry of South Carolina.  The history of the Island dates back to mid-June of 1666 when it is believed that Captain Robert Sanford and the crew of the Berkeley Bay landed on the shores of what is now known as Rockville, South Carolina.  On June 23, 1666, he and his crew claimed the land for England and the Lords Proprietors.  Today, Wadmalaw is Oak Archway with Borderconsidered to be one of Charleston’s most unspoiled islands.  It is approximately 10 miles long and 6 miles wide.  The Island’s only connection to the mainland is a bridge that crosses over Church Creek.

Home to The Charleston Tea Plantation, Wadmalaw provides the perfect environment for propagating tea.  With its sandy soils, sub-tropical climate and average rainfall of 52 inches per year, Wadmalaw possess idyllic conditions for the Camellia Sinensis plant.  This plant is currently used to produce both black and green teas and exists in over 320 varieties on the 127 acre grounds of the Charleston Tea Plantation.Top of Tea Field with Border

The Plantation sits right off Maybank Highway.  Driving down Maybank is like taking a step back in time.  Wadmalaw has not and cannot be commercially developed, therefore much of the land remains untouched.  The Island is also home to other unique and historic attractions such as Irvin-House Vineyards, the only domestic winery in Charleston, South Carolina as well as the Angel Oak, a Live Oak tree that is believed to be over 1,500 years old.

Open 7 days a week, with the exception of a few holidays, the Charleston Tea Plantation is the perfect place to take a day trip.  Bring the family, pack a lunch and enjoy the beauty of the tea fields.  The experience is not only educational but more importantly one-of-a-kind.  You will learn first-hand how tea is made during an informative Factory Tour.  You can also take an enjoyable Trolley Ride through the tea fields, shop our unique Plantation Gift Shop and help yourself to all of the iced American Classic Tea you can drink.

Did you know that Bigelow Tea owns the Charleston Tea Plantation?

In 2003, the Bigelow Family purchased the Charleston Tea Plantation and formed a partnership with former owner William Barclay Hall. The Bigelows realized the value of this living piece of American history and decided that it must be preserved. The Bigelows shared their sixty-five years of knowledge and experience in the specialty tea business with the Plantation and its American Classic brand. Consequently, the Charleston Tea Plantation has transformed into a true American icon and American Classic Teas have continued to prosper as a result of consumers wanting to experience tea grown and produced in America. Today the Charleston Tea Plantation offers more than just a cup of fresh tea. Thanks to the Bigelow Family, the true working tea farm presents a learning experience unlike any other in the country!

http://www.charlestonteaplantation.com/

Nut of the Week – Pecans

February 21, 2012 at 9:54 AM | Posted in diabetes, diabetes friendly, Food, low calorie, low carb, nuts | Leave a comment
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The pecan is a species of hickory, native to south-central North America, in Mexicofrom Coahuila south to Jalisco and Veracruz, in

A large pecan tree in downtown Abilene, Texas

the United States from southern Iowa, Illinois, Missouri, and Indiana east to western Kentucky, southwestern Ohio, North Carolina, South Carolina, and western Tennessee, south through Georgia, Alabama, Mississippi, Louisiana, Texas, Oklahoma, Arkansas, and Florida, and west into New Mexico.

“Pecan” is from an Algonquian word, meaning a nut requiring a stone to crack.

The pecan tree is a large deciduous tree, growing to 66–130 ft in height, rarely to144 ft; taller trees to 160–180 ft have been claimed but not verified. It typically has a spread of 39–75 ft with a trunk up to 6.6 ft diameter. A 10-year-old sapling will stand about 16 ft tall. The leaves are alternate, 12–18 in long, and pinnate with 9–17 leaflets, each leaflet 2.0–4.7 in long and  0.79–2.4 in broad. The flowers are wind-pollinated, and monoecious, with staminate and pistillate catkins on the same tree; the male catkins are pendulous, up to 7.1 in long; the female catkins are small, with three to six flowers clustered together.

A pecan, like the fruit of all other members of the hickory genus, is not truly a nut, but is technically a drupe, a fruit with a single stone or pit, surrounded by a husk. The husks are produced from the exocarp tissue of the flower, while the part known as the nut develops from the endocarp and contains the seed. The nut itself is dark brown, oval to oblong, 1.0–2.4 in long and 0.59–1.2 in broad. The outer husk is 0.12–0.16 in thick, starts out green and turns brown at maturity, at which time it splits off in four sections to release the

Ripe pecan nuts on tree

thin-shelled nut.

The nuts of the pecan are edible, with a rich, buttery flavor. They can be eaten fresh or used in cooking, particularly in sweet desserts, but also in some savory dishes. One of the most common desserts with the pecan as a central ingredient is the pecan pie, a traditional southern U.S. recipe. Pecans are also a major ingredient in praline candy, most often associated with New Orleans.

In addition to the pecan nut, the wood is also used in making furniture and wood flooring, as well as flavoring fuel for smoking meats.

Pecans were one of the most recently domesticated major crops. Although wild pecans were well-known among the colonial Americans as a delicacy, the commercial growing of pecans in the United States did not begin until the 1880s. Today, the U.S. produces between 80% and 95% of the world’s pecans, with an annual crop of 150–200 thousand tons  from more than 10 million trees. The nut harvest for growers is typically around mid-October. Historically, the leading pecan-producing state in the U.S. has been Georgia, followed by Texas, New Mexico and Oklahoma; they are also grown in Arizona, South Carolina and Hawaii. Outside the United States, pecans are grown in Australia, Brazil, China, Israel, Mexico, Peru and South Africa. They can be grown approximately from USDA hardiness zones 5 to 9, provided summers are also hot and humid.

Pecan trees may live and bear edible nuts for more than 300 years. They are mostly self-incompatible, because most cultivars, being clones derived from wild trees, show incomplete dichogamy. Generally, two or more trees of different cultivars must be present to pollinate each other.

Pecans are a good source of protein and unsaturated fats. Like walnuts (which pecans resemble), pecans are rich in omega-6 fatty

Pecans with and without shells

acids, although pecans contain about half as much omega-6 as walnuts.

A diet rich in nuts can lower the risk of gallstones in women. The antioxidants and plant sterols found in pecans reduce high cholesterol by reducing the “bad” LDL cholesterol levels.

Clinical research published in the Journal of Nutrition (September 2001) found that eating about a handful of pecans each day may help lower cholesterol levels similar to what is often seen with cholesterol-lowering medications. Research conducted at the University of Georgia has also confirmed that pecans contain plant sterols, which are known for their cholesterol-lowering ability. Pecans may also play a role in neurological health. Eating pecans daily may delay age-related muscle nerve degeneration, according to a study conducted at the University of Massachusetts and published in Current Topics in Nutraceutical Research.

The Lazy Magnolia Brewing Company from Kiln, Mississippi has produced a variety of beer using pecans rather than hops.

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