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Saturday, February 27, 2010

It's National Kahlua Day!

"Warning"

If you have an aversion to "intense coffee flavor with rich notes of caramel and vanilla" leave right now! This post is meant to heat you up to the alluring taste of Kahlúa! After all, it is National Kahlua Day!!! What's the best way to put a fire under the festivities you may ask. How about we begin with a hit of this Kahlúa Black Tie recipe?

Now that we've whet our whistles, it's time to give credit to where credit is due. It all begins at the Kahlúa website and one of their Signature Kahlúa drinks.
"The Kahlúa Perfect Serve is a testament to the culinary belief that if it grows together, it goes together. Kahlúa's two main ingredients, coffee and sugar cane are grown under the shade of orange trees in Veracruz. Capturing the dynamic flavor of the region, the citrus notes of the fresh zest of orange in the drink brings out the sweet, chocolaty characteristics of the Arabica coffee and buttery notes of summer fruits in the sugar cane spirit. Served on the rocks and garnished with engaging conversation, this is how Kahlúa is meant to be enjoyed."
The remaining recipes and images were harvested from the Kahlúa recipe books you see pictured above. There is one exception, but you will see that a little further down this post. Oh, okay, I'll give you a clue. It has something to do with today not only being National Kahlúa Day, it also happens to be International Polar Bear Day too! Kahlúa and Polar Bears what more could they have in common besides sharing the same celebration day? You'll see:) Let's eat!
Have you ever heard of Kahlúa Kugel? Me either, but, I must admit, it sure does sound intriguing, if you're a kugel kinda gal:) And I am!
Kahlúa Kugel
Ingredients:
8 ounces lasagna noodles
4 eggs
1/2 cup sugar
1 cup small curd cottage cheese
1 cup sour cream
1 cup milk
1/2 cup Kahlúa
1/4 cup unsalted butter, melted
Directions:
1. Cook noodles in 4 quarts boiling water until tender - about 10 minutes; drain and set aside.
2. In large bowl, beat eggs with sugar, cottage cheese, sour cream, milk, Kahlúa and melted butter to blend well.
3. Pour 1 cup of the mixture into a buttered 9-inch square baking dish.
4. Top with about 1/4 of the noodles, arranging in a single layer. Repeat layering until all ingredients are used up.
5. Cover and refrigerate at least 4 hours.
Topping
1/2 cup all-purpose flour
1/4 cup brown sugar, packed 2 ounces semisweet chocolate, finely chopped 1 teaspoon instant espresso powder 1/4 cup unsalted butter, chilled and cut into small pieces whipped cream (optional)
In a small bowl, combine flour, brown sugar, chocolate and expresso powder. Using fingers, rub cold butter into mixture to form coarse crumbs. (Topping can be made up to two days ahead.) When ready to bake, sprinkle topping evenly over Kugel. Bake at 350°F until firm in center, about 1 hour. Cool slightly. Cut warm Kugel in squares and serve with whipped cream, if desired.
The next recipe for Kahlúa Panna Cotta with Caramel Sauce was contributed by Star Chef Nancy Silverton.
Last but most certainly not least, we have a Kahlúa Polar Bear drink and two adorable Polar Bears who look like they just may be celebrating International Polar Bear Day just as any little ones would. Which reminds me, please indulge safely:) A special thanks to livescience.com for providing this adorable image.

revised February 2013

Tuesday, February 23, 2010

Look at Me; I'm A Blushing...

Grapefruit! February is National Grapefruit Month!!!

Grapefruit; I don't know what it is about the "forbidden fruit" of Barbados." I wouldn't feel at all deprived if I never had a dish of grapefruit set before me again. It isn't that I'm opposed to all things grapefruit, on the contrary, like most citrus fruit I've encountered in my "lifetime," grapefruit seems quite the versatile little "fellow." Personally, what I find most objectionable, when it comes to grapefruit, is the name. Why in heaven's name is a grapefruit called that when it doesn't even look like a grape?

Before you rule out the fruit's growing habits, let's see what the Science Reference Services @ the Library of Congress offers as an explanation.

It is believed that the name refers to the manner in which grapefruit grows in clusters on a tree. It is suggested that these clusters resemble the shape of large yellow grapes and so the fruit was called a grapefruit. Another explanation is that the premature grapefruit looks similar in shape to unripe green grapes.
When this new fruit was adopted into cultivation and the name grapefruit came into general circulation, American horticulturists viewed that title as so inappropriate that they endeavored to have it dropped in favor of "pomelo". However, it was difficult to avoid confusion with the pummelo, and the name grapefruit prevailed, and is in international use except in Spanish-speaking areas where the fruit is called toronja. In 1962, Florida Citrus Mutual proposed changing the name to something more appealing to consumers in order to stimulate greater sales. There were so many protests from the public against a name change that the idea was abandoned. source

Side-Note: According to The Wise Encyclopedia of Cookery (1971)

"Grapefruit: a large, round, or oblong citrus fruit, an improved variety of the shaddock, the original pamplemousse, a name which is now made to serve for both shaddock and grapefruit...As for the reason why grapefruit is called as such, "The grapefruit is called grapefruit because it frequently grows in large clusters, the same as grapes grow; and, like grapes, it is now being used as a source of wines, brandies, and cordials. Sometimes it is referred to as forbidden fruit on account of a cordial by that name which has been made from the juice."

The major citrus producing states in the United States include Florida, California, Arizona and Texas. I have a sort of "cute" recipe leaflet from the people over at Texas Citrus that offers "the Magic" qualities of the Ruby Red Grapefruit that I wanted to share with you today but, unfortunately, I'm not going to be able to really dig in to the history of Texas Grapefruit or any other grapefruit for that matter as there is still a lot going on here that I won't get to "discuss" until next week. I will tell you, I'm on my way down to New York and won't be back until Monday. I won't have my computer with me either...

Grapefruit in Texas

Little is known of the first plantings of grapefruit in Texas. We do know that a man by the name of John H. Shary is well remembered as the "Father of the Citrus Industry" in the history of Texas Grapefruit. While the first grapefruit were white-fleshed and seedy, the Texas grapefruit industry developed around seedless, dark red grapefruit varieties that are now grown and enjoyed all over the world.

The first reported planting of a grove in Texas was 1893. Initial grapefruit plantings in Texas were the white varieties, followed by pink varieties. John H. Shary, a developer originally from Omaha, Nebraska, was so impressed by the small crop raised by early citrus experimenters that he felt citrus was the crop of the future for Texas. Texas Citrus

Do me a favor, will you? The next time you enjoy a grapefruit, will you count the sections? I read somewhere that every hybrid grapefruit has 12 sections. Is that possible with so many varieties at our fingertips? 

Grapefruits are available year round. One reason for this convenience is because grapefruit keep well on the tree and continue to grow for several months. The best fruit from Florida and Texas are found between October and June and the peak of the season is from January to June. In July, August, and September, California and Arizona grapefruit are more readily available. Grapefruit should be individually wrapped and stored at 40-60 degrees. They freeze well too!!! Grapefruits come in assorted sizes and in a variety of skin and flesh colors. Some have seeds, others are seedless. The skins may be golden yellow, red-checked, bronze, or russet. The flesh colors are either yellow, pink, or red. Grapefruits come in all different sizes. Some are as small as an orange, others are as big as a melon.

Yellow, Pink & Red Grapefruit

First, we need to figure out how to choose a grapefruit. Grapefruit are divided into three main categories according to the color of their flesh, juice and skin. Bear in mind that the color of any grapefruit variety is affected by soil and climate. Time of year determines the quality, flavor, and texture of the fruit also. Until about fifty years ago, nearly all grapefruit were of a variety called the Duncan. They were thin-skinned, heavy, fine flavored, and full of juice, but also full of seeds. Hybrid grapefruit are different from the original grapefruit, which can still be found in Oriental markets. Called pomelos or shadocks, these tend to be larger than grapefruit, with rough, puffy, thick rinds and lots of seeds.

Yellow or pale colored varieties include:
Duncan, a favorite of Martha Stewart, Marsh, Oroblanco, Goldens, Wheeney, Sweetie and Melogold.
The most common pink varieties are:
Henderson Ruby, Ruby, Marsh Ruby, Ray Ruby, Red Blush, Thompson and Foster.
Grapefruit often exhibiting a deeper shade of red are:
Star Ruby, Ruby Red, Rio Star, Rio Red, Sunrise and Jaffa Sunrise.

Recipes

You might be surprised to discover that grapefruit is not only for breakfast. When I was researching a post for Inventors' Day earlier this month for my other blog, I happened upon a most interesting recipe for Cheddar Broiled Grapefruit in a book titled Cheese Cookery published by HP Books in 1980. (I was posting on the invention of the cheese slicer:)

Cheddar Broiled Grapefruit
3 grapefruits
3/4 cup shredded sharp Cheddar Cheese
1/2 cup firmly packed light brown sugar
1/4 tsp. ground nutmeg
1/8 tsp. salt
1/2 cup sour cream
6 maraschino cherries
Preheat broiler. Use a grapefruit knife or kitchen shears to remove cores from grapefruit. Use a sharp knife to cut around sections. (see quick sectioning tips here)
Place grapefruit on a baking sheet. Broil 4 inches from heat, 2 minutes. In a small bowl, toss cheese and brown sugar to combine. Sprinkle evenly over broiled grapefruit. Return to broiler until cheese mixture melts and bubbles. Stir nutmeg and salt into sour cream. Top each grapefruit with a dollop of sour cream mixture. Return to broiler to glaze, about 30 seconds. Garnish with cherries. Makes 6 servings.

I'm leaving a list of additional grapefruit recipe resources down below. I've picked out some really good ones too!!! Perhaps, you should begin with this recipe for Grapefruit Habanero Margarita since I missed National Margarita Day yesterday. The next recipe sounds like fun. It reminds me of recipe I found a while back using lemons. It's one of the recipes enclosed in the Texas Citrus leaflet however, it's also available here with more recipes using "The Magic of the Valley."

Texas Cocktail Squeeze
6 Texas Red Grapefruit
1/2 cup orange flavored liqueur
2 tablespoons rum
drinking straws
Directions:
Roll grapefruit back and forth on hard surface to soften and release juices. Then, with sharp knife or apple corer, make a 1-inch round hole in stem end of grapefruit. Continue to core center of grapefruit, removing seeds, if necessary, and being careful not to puncture bottom of fruit. Combine liqueur and rum; pour into openings, dividing equally. Insert straws for sipping. Grapefruit can be held in the hand for drinking, and squeezed to release more juice. Makes 6 drinks.

Here's an "oldie" I found over at Lidian's Kitchen Retro.
Grape Fruit Lozenges
1 tablespoon Cox’s Gelatine (I'm sure any unflavored gelatin would work)
1-1/2 cups confectioners sugar

8 tablespoons cold water
1/2 tablespoon corn or golden syrup

4 tablespoons grape fruit juice

Yellow food color
Directions:
Put one-half cup of the confectioner’s sugar and four tablespoonfuls of cold water into a saucepan; when dissolved, add corn syup, bring to the boiling point, add gelatine mixed with remainder of water, grape fruit juice and a few drops of yellow color. Sift remainder of sugar into a bowl, pour hot mixture into center, and allow it to cool. Work it with a wooden spoon until smooth. Spread mixture into a layer one inch thick in a wet pan, allow it to harden, cut into squares and roll in sugar.

Remember that auction I went to a couple of weekends ago? The next recipe comes from one of the books I won! Cook's Illustrated 2005. Yes indeed, a complete bound book of all the Cook's Illustrated Magazines for 2005. I also won complete years for 2000 and 2006!!! So cool...

Grapefruit-Lime Vinaigrette with Mint & Chives
Make sure to remove all white pith and membranes from grapefruit sections destined for garnishing fish.
2 tbs. juice from 1/2 pink grapefruit (remaining 1/2 cut into sections for serving)
2 tbs. juice from 1 to 2 limes
1 medium shallot, minced (about 3 tbs.)
1 tsp. honey
6 tbs. extra virgin olive oil
1 tbs. chopped fresh mint leaves
1 tbs. chopped fresh chives
table salt & pepper
Directions:
1. Combine grapefruit and lime juices, shallot and honey in medium bowl. Whisking constantly, gradually add olive oil; add mint and chives and season to taste with salt and pepper. Set aside while cooking fish.
2. To serve, whisk vinaigrette to recombine; drizzle vinaigrette over fish fillets and serve immediately with grapefruit sections.

In Australia, grapefruit peel is commercially processed as marmalade. You may just want to "give it a go" at home once you feast your eyes on this recipe for Grapefruit & Ginger Marmalade. Now, look at this recipe for Candied Grapefruit Shells filled with Fruitcake!!!  Wouldn't they make great holiday gifts?

Both grapefruit seed oil and extract are said to have antiseptic qualities. Grapefruit seed extract (GSE) was developed by a physicist from Yugoslavia by the name Dr. Jacob Harich. Grapefruit peel is rich with pectin which is used for the preservation of other fruits. Some believe the pectin found in grapefruit may have health benefits in the battle against high cholesterol. The oil from the peel has also been use as soft-drink flavoring. Commercially, it is used in cattle feed or converted into ethanol.

Not only is grapefruit good for you, Grapefruit can be used in natural skincare treatment at home. Whether it be a Refreshing Grapefruit Facial Mask or in the ability to be able to grow your own little grapefruit tree indoors, grapefruit sure does sound like the fruit that just keeps on giving.

Happy Grapefruit Month! Chances are, I won't be visiting or posting while I'm down in New York. (I'm leaving Thursday:) I'm going to try to get a "pre-baked" post up on Sunday with a short list of what food celebrations we can get ready for in March. 

FYI: Today is National Dog Biscuit Day. I guess I'm just going to have to wait until next year to do a post. In the mean time, I sent this recipe for Cleo's Pumpkin Dog Biscuits to my daughter, Michele and she said her Labs just love them!!!

Resources
1. February Is National Grapefruit Month (texas grapefruit recipes)
2. Grapefruit Month in Congress (short NY Times article; notice the date:)
3. Grapefruit: a fruit with a bit of a complex (Art Culinaire, Winter, 2007)
4. Grapefruit Uses
5. Limonin: Health Benefits in Citrus Fruits
6. Ocean Spray celebrates National Grapefruit Month
7. How does Grapefruit Juice affect Medications?
8. Grapefruit Essential Oil
Recipes
1. Honey Lavender Cupcakes with Grapefruit Frosting @ Baa Baa Cupcake
2. Grapefruit Cake with Cream Cheese Frosting @ Adventures in the Kitchen
3. Ginger and Pink Grapefruit Cheesecake @ Epicurious
4. Grapefruit Berry Turnovers
5. Frozen Grapefruit Shirley Temple @ Mare's Food & Fun
6. Frozen Grapefruit Mousse @ Canadian Living
7. Grapefruit & Shrimp Salad with Honey Soy Dressing
8. Home-made Grapefruit Wine

Saturday, February 20, 2010

Farewell to Pancake Week: Pancake Layer Cake


(click to enlarge)

Harvested from Cakes; 1,001 Classic Recipes from Around the World-Reader's Digest copyright 2005

If you would like to share a pancake creation you "threw" together this week, please feel free to include the link in the comments section. Night Owl Chef, that means you too!!!

FYI: The first machine for the manufacturing of toothpicks, was patented on February 20, 1872, by Silas Noble and J.P. Cooley, of Granville, Massachusetts. (cake tester anyone?)
Ruth Miriam Siems, creator of Stove Top Stuffing, was born today in 1931.
Today is National Cherry Pie Day and, the month of February is still National Cherry Month!!!

It didn't take much coaxing from Jane for me to share the surprise bloom I received on watering day this week. I admit, her Orange Polenta Cake with Sweet Citrus Glaze may have persuaded me just a wee bit. I'm thinking this scented geranium is beckoning spring...

The rest of the mud room, which I am temporarily using as a plant room until I get my new planting shed in the spring. A delightful Amish man and his 5 sons are building it for me "as we speak."



Tomorrow is National Sticky Bun Day & Clam Chowder Day. I hope to see you all on Tuesday:) just in time for National Dog Biscuit Day!!!

Tuesday, February 16, 2010

Shrove-tide Tidbits & Delicacies

The tradition of celebrating Shrove-tide is quite frankly, as old as the hills. There are many wonderful websites and blogs that tell of the history of Shrove-tide, Carling Sunday, Collop Monday and "Shrove Tuesday", "Fat Tuesday" or as we are more likely to call it, "Pancake Day."

"Throwing Pancakes on Shrove Tuesday in Westminster School"

At the last minute, I decided to include the resource links at the bottom of this post and celebrate with a two syrup recipe booklets instead. Why? Well, it occurred to me that pancakes are often "naked" without Syrup!

First, let's get a little taste of a few superstitions bound in the diversions leading up to the Lenten Fast. I found these two ditties in, of all places, Old English Sports by Peter Hampson Ditchfield (1891)

"In every house are shouts and cries, and mirth and revel rout,
And dainty tables spread, and all beset with guests about."

Describing the old English carnival: Mardi Gras?

"Some run about the streets attired like monks, and some like kings
Accompanied with pomp, and guard, and other stately things.
Some like wild beasts do run abroad in skins that divers be
Arrayed, and eke with loathsome shapes, that dreadful are to see,
They counterfeit both bears and wolves, and lions fierce in sight,
And raging bulls; some play the cranes, with wings and stilts upright."

These rather humorous excerpts were harvested from the Encyclopaedia of Superstitions, Folklore, and the Occult Sciences (1903) available at google books:

1. It is a saying among the Walloons that if a woman spins on "Mardi gras" (Shrove Tuesday) the flax crop will fail.
2. In Macedonia, just the same as in many other countries, there is great feasting on the night before Lent. At the end of the banquet all the crumbs are gathered up in the tablecloth and shaken outside the gate. This is done to cast out all the fleas in the house.
3. If sausages and sauerkraut are eaten at Shrovetide, good luck will follow. (North Germany).
4. At Basum near Osnabrück, Germany, it is considered lucky to throw stones at cocks at Shrovetide.
5. On the last day of Shrovetide a procession of masqueraders, goes through the streets of Bohemian villages headed by "Shrovetide" himself with a straw hat fancifully made, on his head. Who ever can snatch a straw from his head gear and place it under the setting hen the following spring, or under the old goose, can be sure the eggs will hatch well.
6. Shrovetide or butter week is a great holiday-time in Russia, and in fact is called "mad week," for they do all sorts of strange things, dressing up in odd costumes, going about in masks to their friends, dancing, making merry, and drinking until they are "mad as March hares."
7. If you eat soup on Shrovetide you will have a dripping nose.
8. After frying doughnuts on Shrove Tuesday, take the fat and grease all the iron implements in the house, and they will not rust that year.
9. Eat pancakes on Shrove Tuesday and gray peas on Ash-Wednesday, and you'll have money all the year round.
10. If you eat milk on Shrove Tuesday you will not get burnt by the sun in summer.
11. If you bake pancakes on pancake-day (Shrove Tuesday) your house will be free from roaches, bugs, and vermin for the year.

A Bucket of Syrup

The recipe for Griddle Cakes is from the above die-cut tally card booklet. I have many die-cut recipe booklets, booklets in the shape of the product that is advertised but, this is one of the few booklets that I have that are advertising bridge tally cards. Cool huh!

The following Log Cabin die-cut recipe booklet you may have seen before. I shared a few recipes from it to celebrate the 200th anniversary of Abraham Lincoln's birth last year.

Two recipes for griddle cakes for Pancake Day. (click to enlarge)

I must apologize for tossing this post together but something unexpected has come up and I probably won't get to posting for a couple of days. I will have access to my computer so I will be catching up on all of your blogs. You can "catch" my previous Pancake Day post in the column on the left. I celebrated Pancake Day last year and I kicked off Pancake Week Sunday with Dutch Babies just in case you missed them. Have FUN!!!

Just a Note: Today is also National Almond Day and tomorrow is world Cabbage Day. I so wanted to post for World Cabbage Day:( Here's a recipe for Cabbage Crepes from a previous post.

Resources
1. Shrove Tuesday in England
2. Pancake Day in Ireland
3. Fat Tuesday in Poland
4. Shrove Tuesday in Lithuania
5. Finnish Shrove-Tide
6. Shrovetide in Russia
7. Shrovetide Football
8. Old English Sports, by Peter Hampson Ditchfield (1891)
9. Pancakes for Shrove Tuesday
10. Shrove Tuesday Buns
11. Pancake Day @ Wilson's Almanac

Sunday, February 14, 2010

Kicking off Pancake Week with a Dutch Baby

A very Happy Valentine's Day to all you lovers' out there! I would also like to take a moment to wish all my visitors celebrating Chinese New Year's  a Healthy, Prosperous, Happy New Year!

When I woke up this Sunday morning I decided to "baby" myself a bit with one of my all time favorite breakfast treats; a Dutch Baby. My apple filled German Pancake doesn't look as tantalizing as T.W.'s Dutch Baby Pancake but I must admit, it was quite pleasing to the taste:) No, I didn't eat the whole thing but I sure came close.

According to an article published in Sunset Magazine, Dutch Babies were introduced in the early 1900s in Seattle at Manca's Cafe. The recipe created by the Manca family was based on a "family secret." It's interesting to note though, at one time, Manca's Cafe owned the trademark for the term Dutch Babies.

The most famous of his dishes is the Dutch Baby. While I personally do not know its derivation, many believe that the Dutch Baby is based off of the German Apfelpfannkuchen. The original recipe is a Manca family secret. But close approximations can be found on many places on the web. Martha Stewart even has a version!

The family lore is that one of Victor's daughters (one of my grandfather's sisters) named the Dutch Baby as a child. Perhaps they got named "Dutch" because of her inability to pronounce "Deutsch" - the German word for German.

What is a Dutch Baby you ask? Well, I don't usually refer to wikipedia without further research but in the case of these delectable clouds of puffiness, and since I'm still babying myself today...

A Dutch baby pancake, sometimes called a German pancake, is a sweet breakfast dish similar to Yorkshire pudding and derived from the German Apfelpfannkuchen. It is made with eggs, flour and milk, and usually seasoned with vanilla and cinnamon, although occasionally sugar is also added. It is baked in a metal pan and falls soon after being removed from the oven. It is generally served with fresh squeezed lemon, butter, and powdered sugar or fruit toppings or syrup.

There are bushels of Dutch Baby recipes on the internet. I didn't use the following recipe found at Food In Every Country website but I'm sure it's just as heavenly, literally. Dutch Babies have this natural puffiness about them, they are simply hard to say no to.

Apfelpfannkuchen (Apple Pancakes)
Ingredients
• ⅔ cup flour
• 2 teaspoons sugar
• ¼ teaspoon salt
• 4 eggs, beaten
• ½ cup milk
• 2 large apples, peeled, cored, and cut into thin slices
• 1½ sticks butter (¾ cup)
• 2 Tablespoons sugar
• ¼ teaspoon cinnamon
• Confectioners sugar
Procedure
1. Combine the flour with 2 teaspoons sugar and salt and set aside.
2. In a large bowl, beat eggs and milk together.
3. Gradually add flour mixture to the eggs and milk, and beat until smooth.
4. Melt ½ stick (¼ cup) butter in a saucepan.
5. Add apple slices and cook gently until apples are softened.
6. Mix 2 Tablespoons sugar and cinnamon together and stir gently into apples.
7. In a 6-inch frying pan, melt 2 Tablespoons of butter.
8. Pour in batter so that it is about ¼-inch deep.
9. Cook until the bubbles on top of the batter burst and the pancake begins to set.
10. Spoon about ¼ of the apples over the pancake and cover with more batter.
11. Allow it to set, and then gently turn the pancake to brown it on the other side.
12. Repeat to make 3 more pancakes.
13. Dust with confectioners sugar and serve.
Serves 4.

In other parts of the world, today is celebrated as Pretzel Sunday. Melanie @ My Kitchen Cafe has a recipe for a Chewy Soft Pretzel and Kelli offers Soft Jumbo Pretzels should you crave a pretzel or two today.

How do you plan on celebrating pancake week? Anyone going to Mardi Gras for Fat Tuesday? What about hitting the pancake houses? I hear IHOP is celebrating Pancake Day a week later this year. I know for sure Perkins is having a Pancake Day happening on the 15th. As for me, I'll be right back here on Pancake Day celebrating with some Shrovetide tidbits and delicacies. See ya then...
P.S. If you have a favorite pancake recipe you would like to share, be my guest and leave the link in comments. enjoy:)

Before I go, I must offer a note of thanks to a man by the name of Moses Coates. Why? The first U.S. patent for an apple peeler was filed by Moses Coates, of Downing's Field, Pa., on February 14, 1803. Now, how would I have peeled those apples without an Apple Peeler?

Resources
Chinese New Year's Links
1. Chinese New Year Food Superstitions
2. Chinese New Year Cupcakes - Nian Gao
3. For A Smooth Chinese Year of the Tiger & To Increase Wealth
4. "Lucky" food - bread, bun, wonton, dumpling - the shape of ingot
5. Chinese New Year Royal Icing Cookies (Selby's are adorable:)
6. Chinese New Year 2010 @ My Sarisari Store
Dutch Babies & German Pancakes
1. Making a Dutch Baby pancake is child's play
2. Lazy Weekend Dutch Baby Pancakes @ the Kitchen Wench

Thursday, February 11, 2010

It's Inventors' Day: Let's Play a Game!

I like to play these kinds of games with a nice setting of milk and cookies by my side. How about you? Cookies and milk are especially good when I'm working on a crossword puzzle. "In the old days" (the days before the move to PA:) a package of Pepperidge Farm® Milano® Cookies would be the cookies of choice. I find them delicate enough for dunking (yes I'm a dunker from way back:) should I decide to have milk or tea when settling down with a magazine or a puzzle. Books are a different story. Like most of you, I don't really have time for games these days. However, todays is Inventors' Day, a day worthy of a quick match game and a plate of freshly baked cookies. Let's play!!!

Milk & Cookies

There was no way I was going to get to the store today to pick up a package of my favorite "game" cookies. There's about a foot of snow outside my door. Instead, I decided to venture out via a Cocoa Pinwheel Cookie recipe I found in a 1977 Ideal's Hershey's Chocolate & Cocoa Cookbook that I was just about to relocate to the garage for our community yard sale come spring. Don't quote me on this but I think Pinwheel Cookies fall into the category of refrigerator cookies or slice and bake cookies (as opposed to mold cookies or pressed cookies, I think:) Or is that ice-box cookies?

I'm calling my version of these cookies Vanilla & Chocolate Pinwheels because instead of using one full cup of granulated sugar, I used the remainder of the vanilla sugar I had "fermenting" for quite a while. I just replaced about half the granulated plain sugar with granulated vanilla sugar. That's about it! The cookie dough was actually very easy to work with and as soon as it got too soft, I wrapped it up in wax paper and let it chill for about an hour. If I were to ever make these again, I wouldn't roll the dough into a ball before chilling. I would make it more rectangular or in the shape of a square ball. I'm sure it would have made it a heck of a lot easier to roll it flat into a square if I didn't start with a ball. Still without a rolling pin, I used my trusty napkin holder dowel again. It worked just fine. (I added rolling pin to my new kitchen accessory list:)

Vanilla & Chocolate Pinwheels
1/2 cup butter
1 3-ounce package cream cheese
1 cup granulated sugar (here's where I used half vanilla sugar)
1 egg
1 tsp. vanilla (I used Watkins Vanilla)
1-1/2 cups unsifted all-purpose flour
1/2 tsp. baking powder (I like aluminum free)
1/2 tsp. salt
1/8 tsp. baking soda
1/2 cup Hershey's Cocoa
3/4 cup sifted flour (this flour goes in at the end)
Directions:
1. Cream butter, cream cheese, sugar, egg, and vanilla in large bowl.
2. In a separate bowl combine 1-1/2 cups flour, baking powder, salt, and baking soda. Gradually add flour mixture to creamed mixture; blend well.
3. Divide dough in half. (I eye balled it:)
4. Blend cocoa into one half of the dough. Shape and refrigerate while preparing remainder of the dough.
5. Take the remainder of the vanilla dough and add the saved 3/4 cup of flour. Shape and refrigerate 15 minutes for easy handling.
6. Remove from refrigerator and roll each portion into a 9-inch square. (You won't need additional flour, it's very easy to work with and shouldn't stick.) Place chocolate layer on top of vanilla (or visa versa:) Roll up jelly roll style and wrap dough tightly in waxed paper or plastic wrap. (Colleen put her Peanut Butter Chocolate Pinwheel Cookie dough upright in a glass to keep its round shape.) Great idea Huh? Chill at least one hour or overnight. Slice dough 1/4-inch thick and place on un-greased cookie sheet. (they don't spread so you can put them pretty close together) (The Purple Foodie shared her tip for slicing in the Nutella Pinwheel Cookies post she shared for World Nutella Day)
7. Bake at 350 degrees for 12 to 15 minnutes or until lightly browned.
8. Remove from cookie sheet. Cool on wire rack. Makes about 3 dozen cookies. 
My Note: That's way too many cookies for me. I'm going to try a little experiment. I'm going to cut the roll down into 3 logs and put two in the freezer and keep one in the fridge. My son's birthday is this weekend and if per chance, I happen to be cooking dinner, I'll just grab Pinwheels from the freezer. I think these will freeze just fine. Enjoy!

Match the Links Game

Now for the game. It's easy really. Just match the person in the column on the left with their Months of Edible Celebrations link on the right. The hints at the top should give you an idea of what Tasteful Inventions have been shared in previous months. Don't worry, the answers are at the bottom of this post. Have fun!!!

Hints
Cocoa Powder
Root Beer Float
Eskimo Pie
Irish Coffee
Nutcracker, Nutpick
Paper Drinking Straw
Pop Rocks, Cool Whip & Tang
Match the Links
A: C. J. Van Houten
B: Frank Wisner
C: Christian K. Nelson
D: Chef Joe Sheridan
E: Henry Quackenbush
F: Marvin Stone
G: William A. Mitchell
1: Pop Rocks, Cool Whip & Tang!
2: Nutcrackers, Nutpicks @ MIT
3: Drinking Straw Day
4: Irish Coffee Day
5: The Black Cow
6: Eskimo Pie Day
7: Chocolate Milk Powder Day

Match Game Answers

Wasn't that fun? So, How'd you do? Here are the answers. 
A & 7-Coenraad Johannes Van Houten invented the process of making cocoa powder in 1828.
B & 5-Many credit Charles Elmer Hires as inventor of the Black Cow otherwise known as a Root Beer Float. However, legend has it that soda shop owner, Frank Wisner not only "invented" the soda fountain drink, he named it after the Cow Mountains of Cripple Creek, Colorado. The Black Cow
C & 6-Christian K Nelson was a high school teacher who invented the Eskimo Pie.
D & 4-Legend has it that one night in 1942, Chef Joe Sheridan was serving coffee at the Shannon Airport when it occured to him that tired travelers needed a little something extra. He sweetened hot coffee with sugar, a dram of Irish whiskey and floated a dollop of lightly-whipped cream on top. "A delectable brew was born."
E & 2-Henry Quackenbush's first successful invention was the extension ladder. His company manufactured products ranging from rifles to kitchen gadgets. His most successful kitchen gadget invention came in 1878 when he created the first nutcracker and nutpick.
F & 3-Legend has it that Marvin Stone invented the first paper drinking straw while sipping a mint julep after work.
G & 1-The General Foods research scientist who invented Pop Rocks, Cool Whip and Tang was named William A. Mitchell.

FYI:

Today is also Don't Cry Over Spilled Milk Day, the birthday of Paul Bocuse, touted as the ambassador of French cuisine, the birthday of Lydia Marie Child, author of The American Frugal Housewife AND, the day the television program The French Chef made its debut with Julia Child in 1963.
Can you guess from this riddle what day tomorrow is, besides Abraham Lincoln's birthday?

Flowers of England, Fruit of Spain
Met together in a shower of rain;
Put in a bag, tied round with string.
If you tell me this riddle, I'll give you a ring.

Resources
1. Pepperidge Farm® recipe archive
2. Tasteful Inventions (my other blog)
3. Log Cabin Fever (Abe Lincoln's 200th birthday last year, has a Log Cabin Syrup die-cut cookbook posted, very cool)

Sunday, February 7, 2010

Winning Recipes From The Junior League of Indianapolis

I'm unbiased when it comes to all things football including Super-Bowl Sunday. However, it just so happens that I have a copy of Winners; Winning Recipes from the Junior League of Indianapolis (1985) and thought today was the optimum day to share a few recipes from its contents.

From the introduction:

From the blue ribbons proudly adorning the judge's picks at the bustling Indiana State Fair to the checkered flags jubilantly signaling the victory lap of another 500 Mile Race, winning is a time-honored tradition in Indiana's capital city.

Rising in recent years to global recognition as a major center of amateur sports, Indianapolis hosted the 1982 National Sports Festival and was selected as the site for the International Pan American Games of 1987...

Accordingly, when we set out to produce a cookbook representing our winning city, we determined that it must be of first place, blue ribbon quality. Our book Winners, delineates the full variety of foods and techniques which blend deliciously to create our city's distinctive culinary legacy...

Indianapolis is and always has been a community known for the warmth of its hospitality and the best hospitality is the wonderful food for which Hoosier hostesses are deservedly famed...

From the chapter on Meats we have Pizza Fondue:

Pizza Fondue
1 lb. lean ground beef
1 onion, finely chopped
2 (10-1/2 ounce) cans pizza sauce with cheese, divided
1-1/2 tsp. fennel seed
1-1/2 tsp. dried oregano
1 clove garlic, minced
1 tbs. cornstarch
1-1/4 cups grated Cheddar cheese
1 cup grated mozzarella cheese
1 loaf French bread, cut into 1-1/2-inch cubes

Preheat oven to 350 degrees
Brown beef and onion in large skillet over medium heat. Drain grease from meat. Set aside 1/2 cup pizza sauce, add remaining sauce to meat.

Mix fennel seed, oregano, garlic, cornstarch and reserved pizza sauce in a small blowl. Add this mixture to the meat sauce and stir to combine. Add cheeses gradually and cook over low heat until cheese melts.

Toast French bread in oven at 350 degrees for 3-5 minutes.

Place pizza mixture in fondue pot or chafing dish. Serve with toasted bread cubes. Serves 4. Variation: This fondue makes a hearty hors d'oeuvres.

From the chapter on Bread; Hoosier Fried Biscuits: "Heavenly with butter and apple butter" and Elephant Ears: "A State Fair Classic"



Hoosier Fried Biscuits
1 package dry yeast
3 tbs. warm water
3 tbs. vegetable shortening, melted
1 cup lukewarm milk
3 tbs. granulated sugar
2 tsps. salt
3-1/4 cups all purpose flour (approximately)
1 quart vegetable oil, for frying

Dissolve yeast in warm water in large bowl. Stir in shortening. Add milk, sugar, and salt. Add flour gradually to make a stiff dough. Knead on floured surace until dough is mixed and smooth. Place in a greased bowl. Turn to coat all sides of dough with grease. Cover with damp towel and let rise until double, about 1 hour.

Punch down. flour hands. Pinch off walnut size pieces of dough. Stretch and pat into a biscuit shape.

Heat oil in 2-quart saucepan or deep fryer to 375 degrees. Drop into hot oil and fry until golden on one side. Turn and fry on other side. Drain on paper towels. Serve hot. Yield 24 biscuits Note: Dough keeps well in refrigerator for 3-4 days. Makes 24 pieces.

Elephant Ears
1 cup milk
1 cup water
3 tbs. granulated sugar
3 tbs. vegetable shortening
1 tbs. salt
1 package dry yeast
6 cups all-purpose flour
1 quart vegetable oil, for frying
1/2 cup granulated sugar
1 tsp. ground cinnamon

Combine milk, water, sugar, shortening, and salt in a small saucepan. Heat, but do not boil. Cool to luke-warm. Pour into large mixing bowl. Add yeast; stir to dissolve. Stir in flour (2 cups at a time) beating until smooth after each addition. Knead dough 8-10 minutes or until smooth and elastic. Place in greased bowl. Turn to coat all sides of dough with grease. Cover with damp towel and let rise in warm place until double, about 1 hour.

Combine sugar and cinnamon; set aside.

Pinch off golf-ball-size pieces of dough and roll out into 6-8 inch circles. Heat oil in large skillet to 375 degrees. Fry 3-5 minutes per side. Drain on paper towels. Sprinkle with reserved sugar mixture while still warm.

A favorite from Butler University sorority house. Cinnamon Pudding for dessert:

Cinnamon Pudding
1 cup granulated sugar
2 tbs. baking powder
2 tsp. ground cinnamon
2 cups all purpose flour
4 tbs. butter, melted (divided)
1 cup milk
2 cups firmly packed brown sugar
1-1/2 cups cold water
1/2 cup chopped nuts
Heavy cream, whipped

Preheat oven 350 degrees.

Combine sugar, baking powder, cinnamon and flour. Add 2 tablespoons butter and milk; mix well. Place in a 2-quart souffle dish.

Combine brown sugar and remaining 2 tablespoons butter. Add water; mix well. Pour over flour mixture. Sprinkle with chopped nuts. Place souffle dish on cookie sheet to catch any overflow. Bake at 350 degrees for 45 minutes. The pudding rises to the top, separating from the sauce. Serve by spooning pudding first, then top with sauce. Place dollop of whipped cream on each serving. Serve small portions for it is very rich. Serves 8

Looking for regional cookbook ideas from New Orleans? I asked Mae from Mae's Food Blog if she would share from her collection of both New Orleans and Louisiana cookbooks. Wait until you see what she has prepared!!!

Just A Note:

Don't forget, Charles Dickens was born today. Janet over @ The Old Foodie celebrates!!!
It's National Fettucine Alfredo Day! Ready for a bit of guilty pleasure? Check out the sinfully rich Fettucine Alfredo recipe over @ Cucina Panzano. Heavenly!

Resources
1. Junior League of Indianapolis
2. Traditional Indiana Foods
3. Three Guys from Miami Cook Cuban (may as well include the city where the Super Bowl was played.)

Friday, February 5, 2010

National Frozen Yogurt Day: Redemption Crepes

Update: National Frozen Yogurt Day is February 7th. I just realized this post went up on the wrong day. Thanks:)

No long stories today visitors. I'm off to an auction "as we speak." Yes, my first auction of the season "good Lord willing and the creek don't freeze." It is snowing Big Time! at the moment. When I went to the preview this afternoon I asked the auctioneer what his policy was as far as weather. He said, "It's on no matter what!" Normally, I would reconsider going out in a blizzard for an auction, however, I'm seething with excitement. As advertised, there will be 400+ cookbooks!!! It isn't a far ride and if at all possible, that is where I will be, probably the entire day. Cookbook Heaven:)

Before I go, I would like to show you what I made for dessert tonight. Oh, okay, it really was my dinner:) I can eat dessert for dinner if I want, I can, I can!!!

I'll give you a quick run down as to what I did because I actually combined two recipes and then added a few personal touches. Now, you know I've been making gallons of yogurt these days. When I looked through The Yogurt Gourmet for frozen yogurt recipes, most every one of them called for gelatin to be added to the yogurt during the yogurt making process. Uh oh?? My yogurt is simply Meyer dairy milk and yogurt culture. Just about when I was ready to give up, I found a recipe for Frozen Banana Yogurt that did not require gelatin. Yippee!!! Basically you add frozen bananas (which I just happen to have in the freezer) to thick yogurt in the blender. After it's nice and smooth, you put it in the freezer for a spell or until you're ready to serve it. In my case, I decided to make crepes "stuffed" with the sweet dollops of frozen yogurt. Crepes, oh my gosh, it's been a very, very long time since I made crepes. I do believe I had crepes on my belly's mind after reading Sophia's post the other day.  I followed a recipe, yes you read that correctly, I followed a recipe from The Many Faces of Kahula recipe book. I love those little Kahlua recipes books, don't you?

The only alternation I made to this recipe was I used 2 tablespoons of Kahula Coffee Cream rather than plain ol' creamy Kahula. I also omitted the bananas on top because I didn't have any. Instead, I made a simple blueberry syrup from the last of the blueberries in the fridge. (I went on a blueberry frenzy the other day when they were on sale for $1.59) and splashed it on. Oh and those tiny strips on top are pieces I cut off from one of the unsightly crepes. I caramelized them in butter and the Kahula Coffee Cream. That added soft, sweet, crunch, made all the difference!

After that "unappealing" carrot cake I baked the other night, I'm calling these my Redemption Crepes.

I hadn't planned on posting for Super-Bowl Sunday; dare I say, I'm not really much of a football fan. However, as I was re-shelving books last night, I happened upon a cookbook published by the Junior League of Indianapolis titled Winners. I'll be sharing a few recipes from that book tomorrow, Super-Bowl Sunday. In other News, today may also be Pisco Sour Day. Honestly, trying to figure out the true date of Pisco Sour Day, made me a bit tipsy. Peru celebrates its national drink either on February 8 or as of recently, the first Saturday in February which happens to be today. February 7th is also the day that the SunMaid Raisin trademark was filed in 1917. I mention this just in case you were unaware of the fact that unlike Aunt Jemima, the Sun-Maid girl trademark was inspired by a real person by the name of Lorraine Collett Petersen. I posted a really cool SunMaid cookbook and more about her back in 2008. Just follow her link if you have the time. I haven't gotten around to checking the links but I think I left a few raisin sauce recipes for your enjoyment. 

Wish me luck at the auction!!!

Wednesday, February 3, 2010

Quick Links: It's Carrot Cake Day!!!

So, I made my weekly trip to Meyer's Dairy in State College this morning for some farm fresh milk. Meyer Dairy is a State College icon started by two brothers in 1970. They have the best milk I have tasted since my childhood. I'm saving Meyer's for another day. Today, we're talking Carrot Cake as in Carrot Cake Day!!!

Armed with my replenished milk, I headed over to the new State College Diner for a bite to eat. I don't want to say this weekly event has become my routine since moving to Pennsylvania. Let's just say, I've been to the dairy three times and I'm only living here one month and two days:) Why do I make the 20 mile trip on a regular basis. Well, it's for the milk of course. However, I'm not much of a milk drinker. But, I do make yogurt as often as possible. I was getting a bit scant about my yogurt making while living in two places but since my permanent move, I've been setting it up at least once a week. Yes, I've been holding out on you. I'm saving my yogurt making escapades for another day too. Let me just explain the spoon in the image. It's plastic. I have a thing about using metal with yogurt. Weird I know:)

My feeling about Carrot Cake is you either like it or you don't. There's no in between. I happen to like carrot cake. However, I'm beginning to think Carrot Cake Day doesn't like me very much. My post for Carrot Cake Day last year got all discombobulated and it doesn't seem like this year's embarrassment is going to be any better. But, more about that later. Let's get on to the good stuff. First, I would like to thank all of the following hostesses for their generous hospitality and for letting me "borrow" their images to include in today's Carrot Cake Day recipe round-up. Thank you all so much:)

The Delicious Images

From Aly @ Treat A Week we have Pineapple Carrot Cake:

Patricia @ Technicolor Kitchen offers her Carrot Cake-Brazillian Style in both English and Spanish.

Big Grandma's Carrot Cake is courtesy of Cynthia from Gherkins & Tomatoes.

We couldn't we possibly celebrate Carrot Cake Day without at least one Carrot Cake Cheesecake...Cheesecake Factory Carrot Cake Cheesecake from Bunny's Oven.

The Nibbles

Alton Brown's 18-Carrot Cake @ Cathy's Noble Pig
Dense and Moist Carrot Cake @ Cookie Madness 
Simple Carrot Cake with Cream Cheese Frosting @ Good Things Catered
Williams-Sonoma's Carrot Cake from the Food Librarian
Chef Jeenas Dairy Free Carrot Cake
Carrot Pulp Cake
European Carrot Cake (with sherry brandy:)
Carrot Cake with Apple Filling
"Carrot Cake" Oatmeal? (creatively intriguing)
Buttermilk Glazed Carrot Cake with Cream Cheese Icing
Coca-Cola Carrot Cake
Chocolate Carrot Cake

What's Up Carrot Cake?

Or, What's going down??? My plan was to bake a carrot cake from a recipe I found in The Yogurt Gourmet by Anne Lanigan. (1978) An excellent book by the way. However, when I went to the fridge to get the carrots ready, I realized I used the carrots for the Carrot Raisin Salad I made for the kids on Sunday. If you didn't see that post, I'll leave the link below. Well, lo and behold I chose to improvise. UG!!! First, let me scan the recipe for you from The Yogurt Gourmet. (click to enlarge)


The recipe is fairly easy to follow, IF, you follow the recipe. In this case, I got as far as the 2 cups of grated carrots and instead substituted crushed pineapples. I figured pineapples are often times used in carrot cake recipes, what the heck!!! Aly's Pineapple Carrot Cake looks pretty darn good. I also omitted the walnuts. Crushed pineapples and walnuts, No go! When it came to the shredded coconut I decided to "play." I "marinated" the shredded  coconut in a mixture of pineapple juice, a few drops of Mojito Mix (I cleaned out the freezer this morning:) and some other juices I found in the fridge. Sorry, I can't remember what others, mad scientist that I am. Now, close your eyes for a second and prepare yourself. Open them. Ta Da!!!

It sunk!!! I don't know what happened. I tested it with a toothpick to make sure it was done. It baked for 55 minutes. I'm guessing I got my pan size wrong because when I went to cut a slice, ok so it wasn't entirely cooled, it was not done on the inside. Hence, I would imagine, the sinking. I did manage to get one slice cut before putting it back in the oven, which by the way didn't help:(

I share this with you today, not because I'm proud, quite frankly I'm more than embarrassed, but because, sometimes things like this happen. Has my baking "career" been hampered? Yes and No. Let's just put it this way, I won't be baking Carrot Cake any time soon so, if any body out there happens to have an extra slice or two, I'm really craving carrot cake. And, there's always next year to try again:)

To make up for my apparent "flop", I thought I would include another contribution for National Carrot Cake Day. How about this Golden Treasure Carrot Cake provided by the California Fresh Carrot Advisory Board?

Have a wonderful Carrot Cake Day. May all your carrot cake dreams come true:) I'll be back in time for National Frozen Yogurt Day, good Lord willing and the creek don't freeze. It is suppose to snow. Why would Frozen Yogurt Day be in February anyway I wonder?

Flash: If you have a carrot cake recipe to share, just leave the link in the comment section or email me. If you have a pic, email me and I'll include it:) 

Resources
1. Meyer Dairy Reviews
2. Making The Perfect Carrot Cake
3. Carrot Cake Day 2009
4. Sunday Dinner with the Kids: Apple Stuffed Pork & Cheaters' Bear Claws