One of America’s Favorites – Submarine Sandwich

December 30, 2013 at 10:45 AM | Posted in One of America's Favorites | Leave a comment
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A submarine sandwich.

A submarine sandwich.

A submarine sandwich, also known as a sub, hoagie, hero, grinder, or one of many regional naming variations, is a sandwich that consists of a long roll of Italian or French bread, split width wise either into two pieces or opened in a “V” on one side, and filled with a variety of meats, cheeses, vegetables, seasonings, and sauces. The sandwich has no standardized name, and many U.S. regions have their own names for it; one study found 13 different names for the sandwich in the United States. The usage of the several terms varies regionally but not in any pattern, as they have been used variously by the people and enterprises who make and sell them. The terms submarine and sub are widespread and not assignable to any certain region, though many of the localized terms are clustered in the northeast United States, where most Italian Americans live.

 

 

The sandwich originated in several different Italian American communities in the Northeastern United States from the late 19th to mid-20th centuries. Portland, Maine claims to be the birthplace of the “Italian sandwich” and it is considered Maine’s signature sandwich. The popularity of this Italian-American cuisine has grown from its origins in Connecticut, Pennsylvania, Delaware, New York, New Jersey, and Massachusetts to most parts of the United States, Canada, and with the advent of chain restaurants, is now available in many parts of the world. In Europe, it would simply be known as a baguette, or a ciabatta, named after traditional breads long baked in France and Italy.

 

 

Sub sandwich

Sub sandwich

The use of the term “submarine” or “sub” (after the resemblance of the roll to the shape of a submarine) is widespread. One theory is that it originated in a restaurant in Scollay Square in Boston, Massachusetts at the beginning of World War I. The sandwich was created to entice the large numbers of navy servicemen stationed at the Charlestown Navy Yard. The bread was a smaller, specially baked baguette that resembled the hull of the submarines it was named after.
Another theory suggests the submarine was brought to the U.S. by Dominic Conti (1874–1954), an Italian immigrant who came to New York in the early 1900s. He is said to have named it after seeing the recovered 1901 submarine called Fenian Ram in the Paterson Museum of New Jersey in 1918. His granddaughter has stated the following: “My grandfather came to this country circa 1895 from Montella, Italy. Around 1910, he started his grocery store, called Dominic Conti’s Grocery Store, on Mill Street in Paterson, New Jersey where he was selling the traditional Italian sandwiches. His sandwiches were made from a recipe he brought with him from Italy which consisted of a long crust roll, filled with cold cuts, topped with lettuce, tomatoes, peppers, onions, oil, vinegar, Italian herbs and spices, salt, and pepper. The sandwich started with a layer of cheese and ended with a layer of cheese (this was so the bread wouldn’t get soggy).

 

 

The term hoagie originated in the Philadelphia area. The Philadelphia Evening Bulletin reported, in 1953, that Italians working at the World War I–era shipyard in Philadelphia, known as Hog Island where emergency shipping was produced for the war effort, introduced the sandwich, by putting various meats, cheeses, and lettuce between two slices of bread. This became known as the “Hog Island” sandwich; shortened to “Hoggies”, then the “hoagie”.
The Philadelphia Almanac and Citizen’s Manual offers a different explanation, that the sandwich was created by early-twentieth-century street vendors called “hokey-pokey men”, who sold antipasto salad, meats and cookies. When Gilbert and Sullivan’s operetta H.M.S. Pinafore opened in Philadelphia in 1879, bakeries produced a long loaf called the pinafore. Entrepreneurial “hokey-pokey men” sliced the loaf in half, stuffed it with antipasto salad, and sold the world’s first “hoagie”.
Another explanation is that the word “hoagie” arose in the late 19th to early 20th century, among the Italian community in South Philadelphia, when “on the hoke” was a slang used to describe a destitute person. Deli owners would give away scraps of cheeses and meats in an Italian bread-roll known as a “hokie”, but the Italian immigrants pronounced it “hoagie”.
Other less likely explanations involve “Hogan” (a nickname for Irish workers at the Hog Island shipyard), a reference to the pork or “hog” meat used in hoagies, “honky sandwich” (using a racial slur for white people seen eating them) or “hooky sandwich” (derived from “hookie” for truant kids seen eating them). Shortly after World War II, there were numerous varieties of the term in use throughout Philadelphia. By the 1940s, the spellings “hoagie” and, to a lesser extent, “hoagy” had come to dominate less used variations like “hoogie” and “hoggie”. By 1955, restaurants throughout the area were using the term “hoagie”, with many selling hoagies and subs or hoagies and pizza. Listings in Pittsburgh show hoagies arriving in 1961 and becoming widespread in that city by 1966.
Former Philadelphia mayor (and later Pennsylvania governor) Ed Rendell declared the hoagie the “Official Sandwich of Philadelphia”. However, there are claims that the hoagie was actually a product of nearby Chester, Pennsylvania. DiCostanza’s in Boothwyn, Pennsylvania claims that the mother of DiConstanza’s owner originated the hoagie in 1925 in Chester. DiCostanza relates the story that a customer came into the family deli and through an exchange matching the customer’s requests and the deli’s offerings, the hoagie was created.
A local Philadelphia variation on the hoagie is the zep made in Norristown, Pennsylvania. It is a variation on the traditional hoagie, with no lettuce and only one meat. It is made on a round roll, with provolone cheese covering meat, chunks of raw onion, and slabs of tomato. It is dressed with oregano, salt, pepper, olive oil, and hot pepper relish.

 

The New York term hero is first attested in 1937. The name is sometimes credited to the New York Herald Tribune food writer Clementine Paddleford in the 1930s, but there is no good evidence for this. It is also sometimes claimed that it is related to the gyro, but this is unlikely as the gyro was unknown in the United States until the 1960s, according to some sources.
“Hero” (plural usually heros remains the prevailing New York City term for most sandwiches on an oblong roll with a generally Italian flavor, in addition to the original described above. Pizzeria menus often include eggplant parmigiana, chicken parmigiana, and meatball heros, each served with sauce.

 

 

 

Roast beef grinder

Roast beef grinder

Grinder, a common term in New England, its origin has several possibilities. One theory has the name coming from Italian-American slang for a dock worker, among whom the sandwich was popular Others say it was called a grinder because it took a lot of chewing to eat the hard crust of the bread used.
In western Massachusetts a grinder is specifically a toasted sub, for example, the sub is toasted in a pizza oven. In Pennsylvania and Delaware, the term grinder simply refers to a submarine sandwich that has been heated in any fashion.

From its origins with the Italian American labor force in the Northeastern United States, the sub began to show up on menus of local pizzerias. As time went on and popularity grew, small restaurants, called Hoagie shops and Sub shops, that specialized in the sandwich began to open.
After World War II, Italian food grew in popularity in the US and started to become assimilated. This brought the use of other meats to the sandwich including turkey, roast beef, American and Swiss cheese, as well as spreads such as mayonnaise and mustard.

 

 
Pizzerias may have been among the first Italian-American eateries, but even at the turn of the [20th] century distinctions were clear-cut as to what constituted a true ristorante. To be merely a pizza-maker was to be at the bottom of the culinary and social scale; so many pizzeria owners began offering other dishes, including the hero sandwich (also, depending on the region of the United States, called a ‘wedge,’ a ‘hoagie,’ a ‘sub,’ or a ‘grinder’) made on a Italian loaf of bread with lots of salami, cheese, and peppers.
—John Mariani, America Eats Out, p. 66
By the late 20th century, due to the rise of large franchisee chain restaurants and fast food, the sandwich became available worldwide. Many outlets offer non-traditional ingredient combinations.
In the United States, many chain restaurants have arisen that specialize in subs including Capriotti’s, Submarina, Jersey Mike’s Subs, Charley’s Grilled Subs, Blimpie, Jimmy John’s, Lenny’s Sub Shop, Milio’s, Port of Subs, Eegee’s, Firehouse Subs, Penn Station, Planet Sub, Potbelly, Tubby’s, Schlotzsky’s, Which Wich and D’Angelo Sandwich Shops. Major international chains include Quiznos, Mr. Sub and the largest restaurant chain in the world, Subway. The sandwich is also usually available at supermarkets and convenience stores.

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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.

 

A Christmas Favorite – Spritzgebäck

December 18, 2013 at 9:31 AM | Posted in dessert | Leave a comment
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Traditional holiday cookie plate with green tree-shaped spritz

Traditional holiday cookie plate with green tree-shaped spritz

Spritzgebäck is a type of German Christmas biscuit made of flour, butter, sugar and eggs. When made correctly, the cookies are crisp, fragile, somewhat dry, and buttery. The German verb spritzen means to squirt in English. As the name implies, these cookies are made by extruding, or “squirting” the dough with a press fitted with patterned holes (a cookie press) or with a cake decorator to which a variety of nozzles may be fitted. In the United States, the name is often shortened to spritz.
Spritzgebäck is a common pastry in Germany and served often during Christmas season, when parents commonly spend afternoons baking with their children for one or two weeks. Traditionally, parents bake Spritzgebäck using their own special recipes, which they pass down to their children.

 

 

 

 

How to Make Spritz Cookies

Spritz cookies are created using a cookie press. Sure, nothing beats the classical chocolate chip cookies, but if you just want a break from chocolate chip, then these cookies will be great. The variety of designs adds to their appeal and makes them ideal as both holiday season treats on the table and as holiday gifts.

This recipe will prove to you that spritz cookies are quick, easy, and fun to make, and they’re ideal to make with your family or friends.

Makes 7 to 8 dozen cookies
Ingredients
3 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
1 1/2 cup butter, softened
1 c granulated sugar
1 large egg
2 tbsp milk
1 tsp baking powder
1 tsp vanilla extract
1/2 tsp almond extract

 

Directions:
1 – Preheat the oven to 350ºF/180ºC. Assemble all the ingredients and items needed to prepare the recipe.
2 – In a small bowl, combine the baking powder and flour.
3 – In a large bowl, beat the butter and sugar with an electric mixer or whisk until light and fluffy.
4 – To the beaten butter mixture, add egg, milk, almond and vanilla extracts. Mix well.
5 – Slowly add the flour and baking powder mixture to the beaten mixture. Beat until well combined.
6 – Fill the cookie press with dough. Select the disk patterns you wish to use and put into place.
7 – Press the cookies onto the ungreased cookie sheet.
8 – Place in the oven when you have a tray full. Bake for 10 to 12 minutes or when golden brown.
9 – Cool for 2 minutes on the cookie sheet sitting on the cooling rack. Then remove the cookies from the sheet and leave to cool completely.
10 – Enjoy! Eat these plain or decorate them. Here are some decorating tips:
*Sprinkles: Use chocolate, rainbow or sugar sprinkles. Add sprinkles before baking the cookies. If you haven’t done so already, ice and then add them.
*Sandwich: Take two cookies and spread some chocolate or jelly between them.
*Icing: Take some cookie icing and spread it all over the cookie.
*Toppings: Add on other desired toppings such as nuts, colored sugar or chocolate chips.
11 – If giving them as a gift, place them in a pretty box. Line the box with wax or parchment paper first and add in carefully. You might like to compartmentalize if adding different spritz shapes. Finish with a pretty bow and perhaps attach the ingredients list so that the recipient can be reassured of the contents.

 

 
http://www.wikihow.com/Make-Spritz-Cookies

A Christmas Favorite – Fudge

December 15, 2013 at 9:09 AM | Posted in dessert | 1 Comment
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Chocolate Walnut Fudge

Chocolate Walnut Fudge

 

Fudge is a type of Western confectionery, which is usually soft, sweet and rich. It is made by mixing sugar, butter, and milk, heating it to the soft-ball stage at 240 °F (116 °C) and then beating the mixture while it cools so that it acquires a smooth, creamy consistency. Many variations with other flavorings are made, such as chocolate fudge, peanut butter fudge, and maple fudge. Nuts can also be added, such as in the flavor “maple walnut”, and some recipes call for candied fruit.

 

 

 

American-style fudge (containing chocolate) is found in a letter written by Emelyn Battersby Hartridge, a student at Vassar College in Poughkeepsie, New York. She wrote that her schoolmate’s cousin made fudge in Baltimore, Maryland in 1886 and sold it for 40 cents a pound. Hartridge obtained the fudge recipe, and in 1888, made 30 lb (14 kg) of fudge for the Vassar College Senior Auction. This Vassar fudge recipe became quite popular at the school for years to come.
Word of this popular confectionery spread to other women’s colleges. For example, Wellesley and Smith have their own versions of a fudge recipe dating from the late 19th or early 20th century.
A variety of fudge at a shop in Padstow
In the late 19th century shops on Mackinac Island in Michigan began to produce similar products for sale to summer vacationers. Fudge is still produced in some of the original shops on Mackinac Island and the surrounding area. Mackinac Island Fudge ice cream, a vanilla ice cream with chunks of fudge blended in, is also very common in this region and across the United States.

 

 

 

Fruit fudge

Fruit fudge

In forming a fondant, it is not easy to keep all vibrations and seed crystals from causing rapid crystallization to large crystals. Consequently, milkfat and corn syrup are often added. Corn syrup contains glucose, fructose (monosaccharides) and maltose (disaccharide). These sugars interact with the sucrose molecules. They help prevent premature crystallization by inhibiting sucrose crystal contact. The fat also helps inhibit rapid crystallization. Controlling the crystallization of the supersaturated sugar solution is the key to smooth fudge. Initiation of crystals before the desired time will result in fudge with fewer, larger sugar grains. The final texture will have a grainy mouthfeel rather than the smooth texture of high quality fudge.
One of the most important attributes of fudge is its texture. The end-point temperature separates hard caramel from fudge. The higher the peak temperature, the more sugar is dissolved and the more water is evaporated, resulting in a higher sugar-to-water ratio. Before the availability of cheap and accurate thermometers, cooks would use the ice water test, also known as the cold water test, to determine the saturation of the confection. Fudge is made at the “soft ball” stage, which varies by altitude and ambient humidity from 235 °F (113 °C) to 240 °F (116 °C).
Some recipes call for making fudge with prepared marshmallows as the sweetener. This allows the finished confection to use the structure of the marshmallow for support instead of relying on the crystallization of the sucrose.

 

 

 

Hot fudge in the United States and Canada is usually considered to be a chocolate product often used as a topping for ice cream in a heated form, particularly sundaes and parfaits. It may also occasionally be used as a topping for s’mores. It is a thick, chocolate-flavored syrup (flavored with real or artificial flavorings) similar in flavor and texture to chocolate fudge, except less viscous.

 

Cubed Steak w/ White Gravy, Mashed Potatoes, and Green Beans

December 13, 2013 at 6:11 PM | Posted in BEEF, Bob Evan's, greenbeans | 1 Comment
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Today’s Menu: Cubed Steak w/ White Gravy, Mashed Potatoes, and Green Beans

 

 Cubed Steak 004

 

Warming up around here, up to 9 degrees this morning! We have a few inches left on the ground and they say starting tonight into tomorrow night we have another 3 or 4 inches on the way. Got out again running a couple of errands and back home. Dinner tonight; Cubed Steak w/ White Gravy, Mashed Potatoes, and Green Beans.

 

 

 

I normally don’t eat Beef but I’m making an exception tonight. While at Meijer came across some beautiful looking Cubed Steak. They looked too nice to pass up so I picked a package. They come 2 to a package, so it was one for dinner and one for the freezer. They were good size patties so I was able to cut them in half and had 1 for dinner and the other half for breakfast. To prepare them I seasoned them with Sea Salt and Ground Black Pepper and I then rolled them in flour that I had mixed with a bit of Hungarian Paprika. Shook off the excess flour and pan fried them in Canola Oil, about 4 minutes per side. They came out delicious! Excellent flavor and very tender, especially for Cubed Steak which sometimes can be somewhat tough and stringy.

 

 

 

For a side dish I heated up some Bob Evan’s Mashed Potatoes, just microwave for 6 minutes total. Then I also made some Pioneer Peppered White Gravy, that I used to put on the Mashed Potatoes and Cubed Steak. I also heated up a small can of Del Monte Cut Green Beans and had a slice of Klosterman Wheat Bread. For dessert later a Del Monte No Sugar Added Mango Chunk Cup.

 

 

 

 

Cube SteakCubed Steak 003

Cube steak is a cut of beef, usually top round or top sirloin, tenderized by fierce pounding with a meat tenderizer, or use of an electric tenderizer. The name refers to the shape of the indentations left by that process (called “cubing”). Many professional cooks[who?] insist that regular tenderizing mallets cause too much mashing to produce a proper cube steak, and insist on either using specialized cube steak machines, or manually applying a set of sharp pointed rods to pierce the meat in every direction. This is the most common cut of meat used for chicken fried steak.

 

In Canada as well as in some parts of the United States, cube steak may be called a minute steak, because it can be cooked quickly.
Others distinguish minute steak as:[2]
* simply referring to the cut, which is not necessarily tenderized;
* thinner than cube steak (hence does not need tenderizing);
* cut from sirloin or round, while cube steak cut is from chuck or round.
The term “minute steak” is also used in the United Kingdom, where the term “cube steak” is little known.

 

 

 

Beef Cuts

 

Cubed Steak

 

   

 

 

 

 

 

 

Beef cut: Round
Steak type: Cube Steak

December 12, 2013 at 2:02 PM | Posted in dessert | Leave a comment
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A Christmas Favorite? – Fruitcake
Fruit cake (or fruitcake) is a cake made with chopped candied fruit and/or dried fruit, nuts, and spices, and (optionally) soaked in spirits. A cake that simply has fruit in it as an ingredient can also be colloquially called a fruit cake. In the United Kingdom, certain rich versions may be iced and decorated. Fruit cakes are often served in celebration of weddings and Christmas. Given their rich nature, fruit cake is most often consumed on its own, as opposed to with condiments (such as butter or cream).

 

 

Traditional American fruit cake with fruits and nuts

Traditional American fruit cake with fruits and nuts

 

The earliest recipe from ancient Rome lists pomegranate seeds, pine nuts, and raisins that were mixed into barley mash. In the Middle Ages, honey, spices, and preserved fruits were added.
Fruit cakes soon proliferated all over Europe. Recipes varied greatly in different countries throughout the ages, depending on the available ingredients as well as (in some instances) church regulations forbidding the use of butter, regarding the observance of fast. Pope Innocent VIII (1432–1492) finally granted the use of butter, in a written permission known as the ‘Butter Letter’ or Butterbrief in 1490, giving permission to Saxony to use milk and butter in the North German Stollen fruit cakes.
Starting in the 16th century, Sugar from the American Colonies (and the discovery that high concentrations of sugar could preserve fruits) created an excess of candied fruit, thus making fruit cakes more affordable and popular.

 

 

 

Typical American fruit cakes are rich in fruit and nuts.
Mail-order fruit cakes in America began in 1913. Some well-known American bakers of fruit cake include Collin Street Bakery in Corsicana, Texas, and The Claxton Bakery in Claxton, Georgia. Both Collin Street and Claxton are Southern companies with access to cheap nuts, for which the expression “nutty as a fruitcake” was derived in 1935. Commercial fruit cakes are often sold from catalogs by charities as a fund raiser.
Most American mass-produced fruit cakes are alcohol-free, but traditional recipes are saturated with liqueurs or brandy and covered in powdered sugar, both of which prevent mold. Brandy(or wine)soaked linens can be used to store the fruit cakes, and some people feel that fruit cakes improve with age.
In the United States, the fruit cake has been a ridiculed dessert. Some attribute the beginning of this trend with The Tonight Show host Johnny Carson. He would joke that there really is only one fruitcake in the world, passed from family to family. After Carson’s death, the tradition continued with “The Fruitcake Lady” (Marie Rudisill), who made appearances on the show and offered her “fruitcake” opinions. In fact, the fruitcake had been a butt of jokes on television programs such as “Father Knows Best” and “The Donna Reed Show” years before The Tonight Show debuted.
Since 1995, Manitou Springs, Colorado, has hosted the Great Fruitcake Toss on the first Saturday of every January. “We encourage the use of recycled fruitcakes,” says Leslie Lewis of the Manitou Springs Chamber of Commerce. The all-time Great Fruitcake Toss record is 1,420 feet, set in January 2007 by a group of eight Boeing engineers who built the “Omega 380,” a mock artillery piece fueled by compressed air pumped by an exercise bike.

 

 

 

If a fruit cake contains alcohol, it could remain edible for many years. For example, a fruit cake baked in 1878 is kept as an heirloom by a family (Morgan L. Ford) in Tecumseh, Michigan. In 2003 it was sampled by Jay Leno on The Tonight Show. Wrapping the cake in alcohol-soaked linen before storing is one method of lengthening its shelf life.

 

A Christmas Favorite – Egg Nog

December 11, 2013 at 9:52 AM | Posted in Food | 5 Comments
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A carton and a glass of eggnog

A carton and a glass of eggnog

 

Eggnog, or egg nog, is a sweetened dairy-based beverage traditionally made with milk and/or cream, sugar, and whipped eggs (which gives it a frothy texture). Brandy, rum, whisky, bourbon, vodka, or a combination of liquors are often added. The finished serving is often garnished with a sprinkling of ground cinnamon, nutmeg, or pumpkin spice.
It was also known as the egg milk punch.
Eggnog is a popular drink throughout the United States and Canada, and is usually associated with Christmas. Eggnog may be added as a flavoring to food or drinks such as coffee and tea. Eggnog as a custard can also be used as an ice cream base.

 

 

 

The origins, etymology, and the ingredients used to make the original eggnog drink are debated. Eggnog may have originated in East Anglia, England; or it may have simply developed from posset, a medieval European beverage made with hot milk. The “nog” part of its name may stem from the word noggin, a Middle English term for a small, carved wooden mug used to serve alcohol. However, the British drink was also called an Egg Flip (from the practice of “flipping” (rapidly pouring) the mixture between two pitchers to mix it).
Another story is that the term derived from egg and grog, a common Colonial term used for the drink made with rum. Eventually, that term was shortened to egg’n’grog, then eggnog.
One very early example: Isaac Weld, Junior, in his book Travels Through the States of North America and the Provinces of Upper and Lower Canada, during the years 1795, 1796, and 1797 (published in 1800) wrote: “The American travellers, before they pursued their journey, took a hearty draught each, according to custom, of egg-nog, a mixture composed of new milk, eggs, rum, and sugar, beat up together;…”
In Britain, the drink was popular mainly among the aristocracy. Those who could get milk and eggs mixed it with brandy, Madeira or sherry to make a drink similar to modern alcoholic egg nog. The drink is described in Cold Comfort Farm (chapter 21) as a Hell’s Angel, made with an egg, two ounces of brandy, a teaspoonful of cream, and some chips of ice, where it is served as breakfast.
The drink crossed the Atlantic to the English colonies during the 18th century. Since brandy and wine were heavily taxed, rum from the Triangular Trade with the Caribbean was a cost-effective substitute. The inexpensive liquor, coupled with plentiful farm and dairy products, helped the drink become very popular in America. When the supply of rum to the newly founded United States was reduced as a consequence of the American Revolutionary War, Americans turned to domestic whiskey, and eventually bourbon in particular, as a substitute.
The Eggnog Riot occurred at the United States Military Academy on 23–25 December 1826. Whiskey was smuggled into the barracks to make eggnog for a Christmas Day party. The incident resulted in the court-martialing of twenty cadets and one enlisted soldier.

 

 

 

Traditional eggnog typically consists of milk, sugar, raw eggs, and spices, usually nutmeg. Cream may be included to make a richer and thicker drink, though some modern eggnogs add gelatin. Vanilla is a common flavoring, with grated nutmeg sprinkled on top. Other toppings include whipped cream, meringue, cinnamon, ice cream, and chocolate curls.
Eggnog can be homemade from recipes. Ready-made eggnog versions are seasonally available and may contain whiskey, rum, brandy, bourbon, or cognac. Also available are “mixes” that contain all the ingredients except the liquor. With these the end-user can tailor the strength of the drink, from rather strong, to only a taste of liquor, to no liquor at all.
Though eggnog is high in fat and cholesterol, low-fat and no-sugar formulations are available using skimmed or lowfat milk.
Under current U.S. law, commercial products sold as eggnog are permitted to contain milk, sugar, modified milk ingredients, glucose-fructose, water, carrageenan, guar gum, natural and artificial flavorings, spices (though not necessarily nutmeg), monoglycerides, and colorings. The ingredients in commercial eggnog vary significantly, but generally raw eggs are not included.

 

 

 

"Silk Nog," a commercial soy milk eggnog.

“Silk Nog,” a commercial soy milk eggnog.

Some North American manufacturers offer soy, almond, rice or coconut milk-based alternatives for vegans and those with dairy allergies.
The history of non-dairy eggnogs goes back to at least 1899 when Almeda Lambert, in her Guide for Nut Cookery, gave a recipe for “Egg Nog” made using coconut cream, eggs, and sugar.
In 1973, Eunice Farmilant, in The Natural Foods Sweet-Tooth Cookbook, gave a more modern non-dairy eggnog recipe using 3 eggs separated, 2 tablespoons of barley malt extract or Amasake syrup, 4 cups of chilled soy milk, 1 teaspoon of vanilla extract, and nutmeg, (p. 138-39)
In December 1981, Grain Country of Los Angeles, California, introduced Grain Nog, the earliest known non-dairy and vegan eggnog. Based on amazake (a traditional Japanese fermented rice beverage) and containing no eggs, it was available in plain, strawberry, and carob flavors.
Also in December 1981, Redwood Valley Soyfoods Unlimited (California) introduced Soynog, the earliest known soy-based non-dairy and vegan eggnog based on soy milk and tofu (added for thickness). It was renamed Lite Nog in 1982 and Tofu Nog in 1985.

 

 

 

Some recipes for homemade eggnog call for egg yolks to be cooked with milk into a custard to avoid potential hazards from raw eggs; eggnog has much in common with classic custard-pudding recipes that do not call for corn starch, and many types of eggnog can also be cooked into egg-custard puddings.

 

 

 

For concerns about the safety of selling products made from raw eggs and milk, the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) has changed or altered the definition of eggnog a number of times towards artificial replacements for the large number of eggs traditionally required. Modern FDA regulations permit eggnog to contain less than 1% egg yolk solids and “milk or milk products.”
In the home and in restaurants, eggnog can be made more safely by using pasteurized eggs.

 

 

 

One of America’s Favorites – Cheese Sandwich

December 9, 2013 at 8:36 AM | Posted in cheese, One of America's Favorites | 4 Comments
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A grilled cheese sandwich with American cheese, served with tomato soup

A grilled cheese sandwich with American cheese, served with tomato soup

A cheese sandwich is a basic sandwich made generally with one or more varieties of cheese on any sort of bread. In addition to the cheese, it may also include condiments such as butter or mayonnaise. Cheese sandwiches can be uncooked, or heated so that the bread toasts and the cheese melts (a dish referred to as a grilled cheese sandwich, toasted cheese, cheese toastie or simply grilled cheese).
Cheese sandwiches with added meat (such as ham, bacon, turkey and other meats) are generally referred to by more specific names. If ham is included, for example, the result is a “ham and cheese sandwich”. Grilled cheese sandwiches are often served with soup in the United States.

Cooked bread and cheese is an ancient food, according to food historians, popular across the world in many cultures; evidence indicates that in the U.S., the modern version of the grilled cheese sandwich originated in the 1920s when inexpensive sliced bread and American cheese became easily available The cheese dream became popular during the Great Depression.
It was originally made as an open sandwich, but the top slice of bread became common by the 1960s. U.S. government cookbooks describe Navy cooks broiling “American cheese filling sandwiches” during World War II. Many versions of the grilled cheese sandwich can now be found on restaurant menus across the United States.

Uncooked cheese sandwiches simply require assembly of the cheese slices on the bread, along with any additions and condiments.
A grilled cheese sandwich is assembled and then heated until the bread crisps and the cheese melts, sometimes combined with an additional ingredient such as peppers, tomatoes or onions. Several different methods of heating the sandwich are used, depending on the region and personal preference. Common methods include being cooked on a griddle, grilled, fried in a pan or made in a panini grill or sandwich toaster (this method is more common in the United Kingdom where the sandwiches are normally called “toasted sandwiches” or “toasties”).
When making grilled cheese on an open griddle or pan, one side is cooked first, then the sandwich is flipped and cooked on the other side. The sandwich is finished when both sides are toasted and the cheese has melted. Butter, oil, or mayonnaise may first be spread on either the bread or the cooking surface in the case of butter and oil. An alternative technique is to toast or grill each half of the sandwich separately, then combine them. Another method sometimes referred as an “inside out” grilled cheese has an extra layer of cheese put on the outside of each side and cooked, causing the cheese to caramelize into a crispy outer layer.
When using butter best results are achieved at a medium heat. This prevents the milk solids in butter from burning and allows sufficient time for heat to thoroughly penetrate the sandwich and melt the cheese without burning the bread. A crispy golden-brown crust with a melted cheese center is a commonly preferred level of preparedness. Cooking times can vary depending on pan dimensions, ability to control the intensity of the heat source, bread type, cheese variety and overall thickness of pre-cooked sandwich.

A Grilled Cheese Basic Recipe and Web Links Grilled Cheese Recipes

Grilled Cheese Sandwich

Ingredients:

4 slices white bread
3 tablespoons butter, divided
2 slices Cheddar cheese

Directions:

* Preheat skillet over medium heat. Generously butter one side of a slice of bread. Place bread butter-side-down onto skillet bottom and add 1 slice of cheese. Butter a second slice of bread on one side and place butter-side-up on top of sandwich. Grill until lightly browned and flip over; continue grilling until cheese is melted. Repeat with remaining 2 slices of bread, butter and slice of cheese.

10 Greatest Grilled Cheese Sandwiches
http://www.womansday.com/food-recipes/10-greatest-grilled-cheese-sandwiches-71411

50 Grilled Cheeses (Food Network)

http://www.foodnetwork.com/recipes-and-cooking/50-grilled-cheeses/index.html

Seafood of the Week – Scallops

December 3, 2013 at 10:10 AM | Posted in scallops, seafood, Seafood of the Week | Leave a comment
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An edge-on view of a live scallop with the valves open

An edge-on view of a live scallop with the valves open

A scallop (/ˈskɒləp/ or /ˈskæləp/; from Old French escalope, meaning “shell”) is a common name applied to many species of marine bivalve mollusks in the family Pectinidae, the scallops. Scallops are a cosmopolitan family, found in all of the world’s oceans.
Many scallops are highly prized as a food source; the name “scallop” is also applied to the meat of these animals when it is used as seafood. The brightly colored, fan-shaped shells of some scallops, with their radiating, fluted patterns, are valued by shell collectors, and have been used since ancient times as motifs in art and design.

 

 

 

Most scallops are free-living, but some species can attach to a substrate by a structure called a byssus, or even be cemented to their substrate as adults (e.g. Hinnites spp.). Other scallops can extend a “foot” from between their valves. By then contracting the foot, they can burrow themselves deeper into sand. A free-living scallop can swim by rapidly opening and closing its shell. This method of locomotion is also a defensive technique, protecting it from threatening predators. So-called singing scallops can make an audible, soft popping sound as they flap their shells underwater.

 

 

A live opened scallop showing the internal anatomy

A live opened scallop showing the internal anatomy

 

By far the largest wild scallop fishery is for the Atlantic sea scallop (Placopecten magellanicus) found off northeastern United States and eastern Canada. Most of the rest of the world’s production of scallops is from Japan (wild, enhanced, and aquaculture), and China (mostly cultured Atlantic bay scallops).
Scallops are most commonly harvested using scallop dredges or bottom trawls. Recently, scallops harvested by divers, hand-caught on the ocean floor, have entered the marketplace. In contrast to scallops captured by a dredge across the sea floor, diver scallops tend to be less gritty. They are also more ecologically friendly, as the harvesting method does not cause damage to undersea flora or fauna. In addition, dredge-harvesting methods often result in delays of up to two weeks before the scallops arrive at market, which can cause the flesh to break down, and results in a much shorter shelf life.

 

 

 

On the east coast of the United States, over the last 100 years, the populations of bay scallops have greatly diminished due to several factors, but probably is mostly due to reduction in sea grasses (to which bay scallop spat attach) caused by increased coastal development and concomitant nutrient runoff. Another possible factor is reduction of sharks from overfishing. A variety of sharks used to feed on rays, which are a main predator of bay scallops. With the shark population reduced — in some places almost eliminated — the rays have been free to feed on scallops to the point of greatly decreasing their numbers. By contrast, the Atlantic sea scallop (Placopecten magellanicus) is at historically high levels of abundance after recovery from overfishing.

 

 

Dried scallops, also known as conpoy

Dried scallops, also known as conpoy

 

Scallops are characterized by having two types of meat in one shell: the adductor muscle, called “scallop”, which is white and meaty, and the roe, called “coral”, which is red or white and soft.
Sometimes, markets sell scallops already prepared in the shell, with only the adductor muscle intact. Outside the U.S., the scallop is often sold whole. In Galician cuisine, scallops are baked with bread crumbs, ham, and onions. In the UK and Australia, they are available both with and without the roe. The roe is also usually eaten.
Scallops without any additives are called “dry packed”, while scallops that are treated with sodium tripolyphosphate (STPP) are called “wet packed”. STPP causes the scallops to absorb moisture prior to the freezing process, thereby increasing the weight. The freezing process takes about two days.
In Japanese cuisine, scallops may be served in soup or prepared as sashimi or sushi. Dried scallop is known in Cantonese Chinese cuisine as conpoy.

In a sushi bar, hotategai is the traditional scallop on rice, and while kaibashira may be called scallops, it is actually the adductor muscle of any kind of shellfish, e.g. mussels, oysters, or clams.
Scallops have lent their name to the culinary term ‘scalloped’, which originally referred to seafood creamed and served hot in the shell. Today, it means a creamed casserole dish such as scalloped potatoes, which contains no seafood at all.

 

 

 

One of America’s Favorites – Gravy

December 2, 2013 at 7:35 AM | Posted in One of America's Favorites | Leave a comment
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Gravy can be served in a pitcher or gravy boat.

Gravy can be served in a pitcher or gravy boat.

Gravy is a sauce, made often from the juices that run naturally from meat or vegetables during cooking. In North America the term can refer to a wider variety of sauces. The gravy may be further colored and flavored with gravy salt (a simple mix of salt and caramel food colouring) or gravy browning (gravy salt dissolved in water) or ready-made cubes and powders can be used as a substitute for natural meat or vegetable extracts. Canned gravies are also available. Gravy is commonly served with roasts, meatloaf, rice, and mashed potatoes.

 

 

 

Types of gravy;

Chocolate gravy is a variety of gravy made with fat, flour, cocoa powder and sometimes a small amount of sugar.
* Egg gravy is a breakfast gravy that is served over biscuits. Meat drippings (usually from bacon) and flour are used to make a thick roux. The roux is salted and peppered to taste. Water and milk (even parts) are added, and the liquid is brought back up to a boil. A well-beaten egg is then slowly added while the gravy is stirred or whisked swiftly, cooking the egg immediately and separating it into small fragments in the gravy.
* Giblet gravy has the giblets of turkey or chicken added when it is to be served with those types of poultry, or uses stock made from the giblets.
* Onion gravy is made from large quantities of slowly sweated, chopped onions mixed with stock or wine. Commonly served with bangers and mash, eggs, chops, or other grilled or fried meat which by way of the cooking method would not produce their own gravy.
* Red-eye gravy is a gravy made from the drippings of ham fried in a skillet/frying pan. The pan is deglazed with coffee. This gravy is a staple of Southern U.S. cuisine and is usually served over ham, grits or biscuits.
* Vegetable gravy or vegetarian gravy is gravy made with boiled or roasted vegetables. A quick and flavorful vegetable gravy can be made from any combination of vegetable broth or vegetable stock, flour, and one of either butter, oil, or margarine. One recipe uses vegetarian bouillon cubes with cornstarch (corn flour) as a thickener (cowboy roux), which is whisked into boiling water. Sometimes vegetable juices are added to enrich the flavor, which may give the gravy a dark green color. Wine could be added. Brown vegetarian gravy can also be made with savory yeast extract like Marmite or Vegemite. There are also commercially produced instant gravy granules which are suitable for both vegetarians and vegans.
* White gravy (sawmill gravy in Southern U.S. cuisine) is the gravy typically used in biscuits and gravy and chicken fried steak. It is essentially a Béchamel sauce, with the roux being made of meat drippings and flour. Milk or cream is added and thickened by the roux; once prepared, black pepper and bits of mild sausage or chicken liver are sometimes added. Besides white and sawmill gravy, common names include country gravy, milk gravy, and sausage gravy.

 

 

 

In the UK, a Sunday roast is usually served with gravy. It is also popular in different parts of the UK, to have gravy with just chips (mostly from a fish’n’chip shop). It is commonly eaten with pork, chicken, lamb, turkey, beef, Yorkshire pudding, and stuffing.
In British cuisine, as well as in the cuisines of Commonwealth countries like Australia and New Zealand, the word gravy refers only to the meat based sauce (and vegetarian/vegan alternatives) derived from meat juices, stock cubes or gravy granules. Use of the word “gravy” does not include other thickened sauces. One of the most popular forms is onion gravy, which is eaten with sausages, Yorkshire pudding and roast meat. Gravy is very popular in the North of England; often, it is served with chips.

 

 

 

Biscuits covered in sausage gravy

Biscuits covered in sausage gravy

One Southern United States variation is sausage gravy eaten with American biscuits. Another Southern US dish that has white gravy is chicken fried steak. Rice and gravy is a staple of Cajun and Creole cuisine in the southern US state of Louisiana. Gravy is an integral part of the Canadian dish poutine.
In many parts of Asia, particularly India, Malaysia, and Singapore, the word “gravy” is used to refer to any thickened liquid part of a dish. For example, the liquid part of a thick curry may be referred to as gravy.
In the Mediterranean, Maghreb cuisine is dominated with gravy and bread-based dishes. Tajine and most Maghreb (Morocco, Algeria and Tunisia) dishes are derivatives of oil, meat and vegetable gravies. The dish is usually served with a loaf of bread. The bread is then dipped into the gravy and then used to gather or scoop the meat and vegetables between the index, middle finger and thumb, and consumed.
In gastronomy of Minorca, it has been used since the British colonisation during the 17th century in typical Minorquian and Catalan dishes, as for example macarrons amb grevi (pasta).

 

 

 

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