Sunday, April 25, 2010

April Food Celebrations 25th-May 1st

Thank you everyone for your well wishes. I'll miss you "guys" but I don't see why I won't be able to visit your blogs every now and again while I'm away. No, I won't be blogging. However, you didn't think I would go flying off to Idaho and not fill you in on this week's food celebrations, now did you?

April 25th

National Zucchini Bread Day @ Dying for Chocolate

Anzac Day. At All Things Nice, you can learn the history of Anzac Day and enjoy a recipe. Gluten Free Anzac Biscuits

The First Lady of Jazz, Ella Fitzgerald, was born April 25, 1918. I found a recipe for Old Fashioned Corn Pudding which I harvested from Harmony In The Kitchen; Favorite Recipes of Musical Celebrities compiled by Maida Glancy and Ettore Stratta; © 1979.
Old Fashioned Corn Pudding, a la Ella Fitzgerald
2-1 lb. cans cream style corn

3 eggs

1 lg can evaporated milk

1-1/2 c. sugar
1/2 stick butter, melted

2 tsp. vanilla

1 tsp. baking powder

1 tsp. cornstarch
Combine milk, eggs, sugar and butter in a bowl. Add cornstarch, vanilla, pinch of salt and mix well. Stir in creamed corn. Add the baking powder, mix well. Pour mixture into a pan that is at least 3 inches deep. Preheat oven to 275 degrees.

Bake pudding 45 minutes to an 1 hour, or until it is firm and golden brown. Serves 6-8.

St. Mark's Day-The traditional dish for the Feast-Day of St. Mark, the patron saint of Venice, is Risi e bisi; rice and peas.

Adele shares her rather humorous trials and tribulations for finding the "perfect" peas for her Risi e bisi while trying to keep the serving size down to a minimum:)

April 26th

Where will you be getting your free pretzel for *National Pretzel Day? The Philly Pretzel Factory will be celebrating with its annual Free Pretzel promotion as will Pretzel Time. At Pretzel Time® you will need to sing for your pretzel:)

I just couldn't leave without hitting my favorite pretzel store before I left. However, I had to "share" my pretzel with these "guys."

April 27th

Why has our poetry eschewed
The rapture and response of food?
What hymns are sung, what praises said
For home made miracles of bread?

Louis Untermeyer
Food and Drink

Not in the mood for pretzels. Why not bake a fragrant loaf of St. Zita's Bread instead.

St. Zita's Feast day is April 27. The Little Cook, as she is fondly remembered as, is the Patroness of servants. As a domestic servant for a wealthy family, St. Zita was also responsible for the baking of the daily bread. There are a number of legends surrounding St. Zita. One morning while in church, she became so absorbed in prayer that her hour for bread baking had past. When she returned from church, loaves of bread were all laid out and ready to be baked. None of the other servants had prepared or shaped the loaves. When the breads were all baked a glorious fragrance filled the kitchen. St. Zita knew that angels had prepared the bread while she had been deep in prayer.
National Prime Rib Day. A wonderful day to refresh our memories on how to cook the perfect Prime Rib or Standing Rib Roast rather than using that old stand by method, the blowtorch:) If you live in the Chicago vicinity, you may want to check to see whether Gemini Bistro is celebrating.

Henry Marcus Quackenbush was born on April 27, 1847. Henry Quackenbush is credited with inventing the first American nutcracker and nutpick in 1878. You may also want to check out the history of Nutcrackers in Germany.

April 28th

"A Ravishing Cake" celebrates a birthday today. Read all about it @ The Old Foodie:)

Happy National Blueberry Pie Day!

Happy Birthday Alice Waters– Food Activist

Today is the birth date of one Marie Harel. Who? Wonder of wonders, I had no idea there was a place for Marie Harel in the history of Camembert Cheese. Did you?

April 29th

National Shrimp Scampi Day

April 30th

When American welfare worker *Lizzie Black Kander raised enough money from local Milwaukee businesses and produced the first edition of The Settlement Cookbook on April 30, 1901, little did she know she would go down in history as publishing the most successful American Jewish charity cookbook ever!

April 30 might be National Oatmeal Cookie Day. It seems oatmeal cookies are so popular, no one can settle on a one particular day to celebrate them. However, I'm pretty certain today is also National Raisin Day. Let's see, Oatmeal Raisin Cookies sounds like something we might nibble on to "balance" the celebration. While we're at it, let's not forget the *Sun-maid Raisin Girl. I celebrated her birthday back in December of 2008. Yes, she was indeed a real person!

Born today Alice B. Toklas. Have you ever heard of Alice and those cookies? I don't have time to talk about them now, perhaps, someday:)

In 1952 Alice B. Toklas signed a contract to write a collection of recipes and remembrances called The Alice B. Toklas Cookbook. With the deadline approaching and her book only half complete, Toklas turned to her artistic friends to provide recipes. Artist Brion Gysin came up with a recipes for 'Hashish Fudge', which he described as 'an entertaining refreshment for a Lady's Bridge Club or a chapter meeting of the DAR.' One of the ingredients was "Canibus Sativa" - marijuana. (Alice B. Toklas' Hashish Fudge)

Happy Birthday Mr. Potato Head Day! Did you know that when Mr. Potato Head was introduced to the public on April 30th, 1952 he cost just one dollar?
...And for that dollar you got almost 30 parts, all a kid needed to transform any fruit or vegetable into all sorts of silly and bizarre faces. All those mothers that had urged their children not to play with their food were now facing a losing battle! Kids all over America embraced the little plastic pieces and poked holes in every piece of produce imaginable. Although the natural creative and imaginative appeal of the toy contributed to it’s popularity, Mr. Potato head could credit some of his early success to the emerging television industry. Most historians agree that Mr. Potato Head holds the distinction of being the first toy to be advertised on TV. It was obvious that the children of the 1950's were fascinated by this new gadget called TV, and everything they saw on it. Those early Potato Head commercials resulted in over $4 million in Mr. Potato Head sales in the first year! (cool source:)

Food Celebrations in May

The Museum of the American Cocktail, will be celebrating World Cocktail Week this year from May 6th–13th.
World Cocktail Week® was established to promote better understanding and appreciation of the art of the cocktail and its history, and responsible drinking. The date commemorates the first definition of the term Cocktail in print in the 1806 edition of The Balance and Columbian Repository.

I would love to be here to post about the first cocktail party, allegedly held by a Mrs. Julius S. Walsh of St. Louis Missouri.

May is National Hamburger Month

May is National Barbecue Month

May is Asian Pacific American Heritage Month

Asian Pacific American Heritage Month is celebrated in May to commemorate the contributions of people of Asian and Pacific Islander descent in the United States. Congress passed a joint Congressional Resolution in 1978 to commemorate Asian American Heritage Week during the first week of May. This date was chosen because two important anniversaries occurred during this time: the arrival of the first Japanese immigrants in America on May 7, 1843 and the completion of the transcontinental railroad (by many Chinese laborers) on May 10, 1869. Congress later voted to expand it from a week long to a month long celebration. (source)

May is National Asparagus Month!

Here's an asparagus recipe from Jane Grigson's Vegetable Book (1981)

Asparagus Soldiers (Asperges A La Fontenelle)

An attractive way of economizing on asparagus comes from Belgium. Fontenelle is in Hainault, to the south of Charleroi, and close to the French border.

Serve everybody with a boiled egg and a small bundle of cold or barely warm asparagus. Put on the table a large pat of butter and a half loaf of brown bread, with salt and the pepper mill. Each person removes the top of his egg, seasons the nicely runny yolk with salt, pepper and a little knob of butter and dips the asparagus into it, nursery style. More bits of butter, more seasoning, may be added as the yolk goes down. Finish of the egg in the usual way with a spoon, eating it with bread and butter.
Note: If the asparagus is cold, it will be easier to manage; if it is tepid, it will taste even better. Provide napkins of cloth, not paper.

May is National Salad Month

May is National Strawberry Month

My contribution for Strawberry Month (and salad month) is the following recipe from Mrs. Ericsson Hammond's Salad Appetizer Cook Book © 1924. The title of the recipe in Mrs. Hammond's book is Brioche of Strawberry a la Hedgehog.

Brioche of Strawberry a la Hedgehog
3 eggs, separated

5 tbs. sugar

5 tbs. flour

4 tbs. butter, melted

2 tsp. baking powder

1 tbs. almond paste

1-1/2 c. strawberry juice

meringue for garnishing
Stir the egg yolks with the sugar to a souffle, add the almond paste and butter, beat the egg whites to a stiff meringue, add part of the egg whites. Fill it in a high timbale form that has been well buttered. Put in oven to bake and when baked turn out and pour strawberry juice (which has first been heated) over it, baste until all the juice is absorbed. Sprinkle with grated chocolate and "hedgehog" with almonds that have been cut in strips. If served hot, decorate it with meringues on top and around.

Note: This is also a very delicious dessert when cold, decorate it with whipped cream on top.

Second Week: American Craft Beer Week

May 1st

Happy May Day!!!
May Queen Cake
1/2 Cup butter
1 Cup sugar
6 egg whites
1/2 tsp. baking soda
1 Cup sour cream
2 Cup pastry flour
1/2 tsp. grated nutmeg
1/2 c finely shaved citron
1. Cream butter and sugar.
2. Add 3 beaten egg whites.
3. Dissolve baking soda in a little water and add to sour cream.
4. Add sifted pastry flour, nutmeg, and citron. Last add the remainder of egg whites.
5. Bake at 350 degrees in a pretty shaped tin until toothpick inserted into center comes out clean (around 30 minutes) and frost with any white icing.
Directions for Maypole: Use a striped candy (candy cane) to which narrow ribbons have been attached at top. Drape the ribbons into small Maybaskets arranged around the cake. Candy baskets would be more appropriate. Baskets of straw or paper, filled with fruit nuts or candy will give great pleasures to the May Queen and her maids.

Update: I prepared this post before I left for Idaho but I didn't get a chance to post it until I tonight:) Yes, indeed, I made it here safely and everyone is just fine. We have quite an itinerary planned so I doubt I will be be making any more posts until I return. Have a GREAT couple of weeks everyone. I know I will!!!

Sunday, April 18, 2010

April Food Celebrations: 18th-24th

This time next week, I'll be in "sunny" Idaho. Sun shines anywhere my grandchildren are:) Needless to say, I am ecstatic!!! I'll be there for both Tabi and Noah's dance recital, gymnastic programs, Grandparents' Day at school, AND, Mother's Day!!! I hear the kids have a few days planned themselves but don't you worry, grammy has a few ideas too:) Shssh... we're going to start a garden. I think we'll call it The Visiting Garden.

I haven't worked out all the details yet. I do know we will need a fair amount of time. We'll see what happens. If all goes well, I'll give you the run down when I return. In the mean time, I'm not leaving yet, let's see what food celebrations we have this week.

The 1st Whoopie Pie of the season
Whoopie Pie
The 1st Cardinal of the season. You really need to click to enlarge Cardinal
The 1st Dandelion of the season.
I LOVE Dandelions:)
I Love Dandelions

April 18th

Animal Crackers, you know those tiny bites of animal shaped crackers, have a birthday. Supposedly, they made their National Biscuit Company [Nabsico] debut on April 18th, 1902. Further investigation required...However, this may just be the perfect time to sing that jingle so famously recited by my all time favorite; Shirley Temple. Why? Shirley Temple's birthday is also this week!!! (Those of you who have been visiting here since the beginning, may remember my very first avatar was that of Shirley Temple's "Curly Locks.")
"Animal crackers in my soup,
monkeys and rabbits loop the loop...

April 19th

It's Garlic Day!

Last year I did a post about the healing benefits of garlic. As I look back, I'm not happy with it. I would LOVE to do a new Garlic Day post but, no can do this year. How about, I leave you my recipe for Spaghetti with Garlic and Oil; (Aglio e Olio) the very first meal I gave to both my grand children as soon as they could get their tiny mouths filled with pasta. (Of course, I chopped it up for them and fed them with spoons) Now, they slurp up the pasta just like kids should. I always grate Locatelli cheese on my Aglio Oilio, tons!

Aglio Oilio
1 lb. thin spaghetti
3 ounces extra virgin olive oil
4 cloves fresh garlic sliced (I don't use a garlic press, some do)
salt & pepper to taste
3 anchovies (optional)
1/4 cup chopped flat-leaf parsley (a couple of handfuls)
1 teaspoon crushed red pepper flakes (optional)
Cook spaghetti according to package directions. As the pasta is cooking, gently heat the olive oil in a deep frying pan and add the garlic to the heated oil and saute until lightly browned. If you are adding the anchovies, you can add them at this time. I usually add a handful of parsley at this time saving the rest for the top along with the crushed red pepper. When the spaghetti is done, drain it and add it slowly to the oil mixture. There are a few variations to this method. Some choose to strain the pasta lightly so that some of the liquid from the spaghetti is added to the oil. I don't do it this way. I like it garlic and oil style! Be careful when adding the pasta to the hot oil. Top it with the remainder of parsley, crushed red pepper, and the your favorite Italian grating cheese. Mine is Locatelli however, Parmigiano Reggiano works GREAT too!
The "Ninja Method" of Peeling Garlic: "The only thing about garlic I didn't like was peeling it. Until I discovered the "Ninja Method," that is. All you do is put a little salt on a cutting board, put the clove on top, and, with the back of a wide knife, give it a good whack, screaming like a Ninja warrior as you do. Then just pull off the skin and chop it with abandon." (Mike Kalina's Travelin' Gourmet pg. 5)

National Amaretto Day! Garlic and Amaretto both in the same day...I best leave it at that:) I have persoanlly made this recipe for Chicken with Amaretto. Take my word for it, it's heavenly!!! The recipe is from a charming Amaretto recipe book published by the distillers of Amaretto Disaronno. Chicken Amaretto

April 20th

National Pineapple Upside Down Cake Day is April 20. You can celebrate with this recipe for Vegan Pineapple Upside-Down Cake or this one for Butter Rum Pineapple Upside Down Cake; 1st place winner at the 2006 Wahiawa Pineapple Festival. I bake a mean Pineapple Upside Down Cake, with a cake mix of course:) It looks something like Marjie's Pineapple Upside Down Cake but she bakes hers from scratch!

Lima Bean Respect Day (I'll be posting; out of respect, of course:)

April 21st

John Muir, often referred to as "America's First Conservationist" and the "Father of our National Parks," was born today; April 21, 1838.

National Chocolate-Covered Cashews Day

Have you ever heard of Peppercorn Day? It's a holiday celebrated in Bermuda on the Wednesday closest to April 23rd. On the day of the peppercorn ceremony, officials collect one peppercorn as rent of the Old State House in Saint George.

April 22nd

Cadwallader C. Washburn, (PDF) General Mills Founder, was born on April 22, 1818. One of 10 children, during his life, Washburn would become a congressman, a governor, an army general, a lumberman and a flour miller. He was successful at all of these occupations.

National Jelly Bean Day

On April 22, 1964, the New York World's Fair opened. Like many fairgoers from years past, a new taste sensation was to be experienced for the very first time. Guess what we had at the fair? Bel-Gem Waffles:)

Many of the World's Fairs were long remembered for a fast food sensation introduced at the exposition. The ice cream cone was introduced at St. Louis in 1904 and the 1964 New York World's Fair had the "Bel-Gem" waffle. Of course it orginated at the Belgium Village, but it was also all available all over the Fair. It was constructed of a fat, fluffy waffle base that was piled high with strawberries and topped with whipped cream. Best of all it was delicious. source

There seems to be a bit of a discrepancy and a recipe at Saveur.com

Maurice Vermesch baked these waffles (properly called Brussels waffles and, in Belgium, topped with just confectioners' sugar) at the 1962 Seattle World's Fair, but only after he sold them at the 1964-65 New York fair did they soar in popularity in this country...
Earth Day: The Earth Day Groceries Project is a cost-free environmental awareness project in which students decorate paper grocery bags with environmental messages for Earth Day. While you're at it, why not bake up Janet's Dirt Cupcakes for Earth Day or Emily's Gourmet Dirt Cake.

April 23rd

Today is the feast day of St George, the patron saint of England. To celebrate St. George’s Day, some English establishments have suggested feasting on one of England's popular culinary offerings; the pudding.

National Cherry Cheesecake Day

Shirley Temple's Birthday

Happy Birthday to the Bard of Avon!
From *Morsels of Shakespeare: (a previous post)A lovely recipe for Salmon with Violets from Shakespeare's Kitchen.
Shakespeare in his plays speaks of apricots, mulberries, pomegranates, quinces, figs, gooseberries, and seems to have had a particular interest in strawberries, then considered by many to possess some special health giving qualities. In Henry V a courtier likens the emergence of the young king's virtues after a misspent youth to the virtue of the strawberry thriving under the nettle. Indeed, the fascination with medicinal plants and herbs long survived: to Shakespeare, rhubarb was known as physicke (which, to be sure, it is), and cowslips, lungwort, liverwort, pennyroyal, were respected for their qualities along with the mysterious mandrake--celebrated in the second line of John Donne's lyric "Get with child a mandrake root...(The Horizon Cookbook & Illustrated History of Eating & Drinking through the Ages by William Harlan Hale & The Editors of Horizon Magazine, © 1968 pgs. 131-132)
Why oh why National Picnic Day is sometimes stated as being celebrated on April 23rd, I don't know. However, it sure seems like the perfect time to remind everyone about the Picnic Game we played last year for *International Picnic Day in June. "I'm going on a picnic [in June] and I'm bringing...

April 24th

National Pigs-in-a-Blanket Day

Isabel Gordon Curtis author of The Good Housekeeping Woman's Home Cook Book was born April 24, 1863.

On April 24 1800, President John Adams signed a law establishing the Library of Congress.

The third week of April is designated as National Bubblegum Week. It looks like I'm not the only one who gets days and weeks mixed up; but hey, who can resist this Bubblegum Martini? I mean really Just Grin & Bake Make It!

FYI: Kasha over @ Have a Daily Serving & Enjoy is having an eyeball saver of a give-away. All you need to do is comment on the last movie that made you cry to enter. (hint, hint:)

Tuesday, April 13, 2010

Celebrating Edna Lewis

Edna Lewis, the "Queen of Southern Cooking," was born in Freetown, Virginia on April 13, 1916. There's a wonderful tribute to Edna Lewis by Damon Lee Fowler in the Fall, 2007 issue of Repast a publication of the Culinary Historians Society of Ann Arbor Michigan. (it's a PDF file but well worth the wait:)

Try as I may, I could never pay homage to Edna Lewis appropriately. I leave it to those who knew of her personally:

In 1999 Edna Lewis received the Lifetime Achievement Award Winner from the Southern Foodways Alliance:

...Edna Lewis was one of the first to generate respect and acceptance for southern cooking as true American cuisine.  Born in Freetown, Virginia, the granddaughter of freed slaves, she went on to become a celebrated black chef in New York in the late 1940s and 1950s, when there were few, if any, other black or female chefs working in the city... 
Chef Joe Randall owner of, Chef Joe Randall’s Cooking School mourned the passing of a friend and author Chef Edna Lewis:
...Edna Lewis began her career around the age of 16 as a cook at the Brazilian Embassy in Washington, DC. As early as 1948, Ms. Lewis was a popular chef in New York City, serving up her Southern specialties at Café Nicholson for John Nicholson on Manhattan’s East Side, Aschkenasy’s US Steak House, and eventually at Gage & Tollner in Brooklyn. She later taught cooking classes, worked as a caterer and was a visiting consulting restaurant chef at such great places as Fearrington House in Pittsboro, North Carolina and Middletown Place in Charleston, South Carolina... (Continue reading)

From the New York Times:

In 1976, Miss Lewis turned the focused, close-to-nature cooking of her childhood into the second first of her four books, "The Taste of Country Cooking" (Knopf). The book, considered a classic study of Southern cooking and one that sits on the shelves of America's best chefs, helped put an end to the knee-slapping, cornpone image of Southern food among many American cooks.

Memories of Southern Chef Edna Lewis by Vertamae Grosvenor author of Vibration Cooking, The Travel Notes of a Geechee Girl (another book I hope to share with you one day:)

She honored the taste and the history of true southern cooking. The recipes in her cookbooks are so seductive; they make you go back to putting lard in your pie crusts. Her recipe for Whipped Cornmeal and Okra is so good it will make you fall in love with the slimy vegetable you swore you couldn't stand. She learned to cook, she said, by watching her mother feed their large family, and followed her example. We lived by the seasons, she wrote, in The Taste of Country Cooking. Chapter headings read, An Early Summer Dinner of Veal Scallions and the First Berries; Emancipation Day dinner in the fall, which she described in a 1993 NPR interview.

In Pursuit of Flavor

Edna Lewis

Before I begin to share notes and recipes from Edna Lewis' book In Pursuit of flavor, I must remind you that today is National Peach Cobbler Day AND, I was lucky enough to find Edna Lewis’ Fresh Peach Cobbler recipe @ ezraoundcake.com. Okay, now that I have recuperated from that "death defying" cobbler, let's take a peek into In Pursuit of Flavor by Edna Lewis, © 1988 1st ed.

Long before the mantra of fresh and seasonal captured us all with its born-again, near-evangelical fervor, Lewis's mother, her aunt Jenny Hailstalk, and all the other women of Freetown knew instinctively that in the spring you made skinny wild asparagus and shad; summer brought corn, tomatoes, and every imaginable berry; fall meant game and apples; and winter was the time to bake and cook like crazy in preparation for the biggest feast of all, Christmas. Although Lewis left Freetown at 16 and moved to New York, she never forgot where she came from.(source)
It seems rather befitting that Edna Lewis was born in the Spring. Don't you think? From the jacket cover:
Edna Lewis, whose name has become synonymous with honest American food, simply and lovingly prepared, gives us the secrets of a lifetime in pursuit of flavor...

Following the seasons, Edna Lewis leads us through the chapters of this book-From the Gardens and Orchards, From the Farmyard, From the Lakes, Streams and Oceans, For the Cupboard, From the Bread Oven and Griddle, and The Good Taste of Old Fashioned Desserts-and drawing on her childhood in Freetown, Virginia, a farming community founded by her grandfather and his friends after emancipation, she recreates some of the simple good dishes she grew up on.

The Introduction:

...I feel fortunate to have been raised at a time when the vegetables from the garden, the fruit from the orchard, and the meat from the smokehouse were all good and pure, unadulterated by chemicals and long-life packaging...

I have noticed that as people get older, they're apt to complain that food simply does not taste as good as it used to. I don't believe this has to be true...One of the greatest pleasures of my life has been that I have never stopped learning about good cooking and good food. some of the recipes here are old friends, others are new discoveries. All represent a lifetime spent in the pursuit of good flavor.

The Recipes

I've chosen some recipes that I either didn't find available online or were very scarce. Here's a very simple recipe for Morels in Oil with commentary from Edna Lewis:

I think this is my favorite way to serve wild mushrooms. The flavor is heightened by the garlic and oil. I cook only morels this way because I do not think the texture of other mushrooms would hold up in the oil. They are a wonderful garnish with cold chicken, game, or veal, or a Bibb or Romaine lettuce salad.

Morels in Oil
1-1/2 cups cold water
1/2 teaspoon salt
6 large blond or gray morels
1 clove garlic, finely chopped
Olive Oil
In a 1-quart saucepan, bring the water to a boil, and add the salt. Add in the morels and cook briskly, covered, until tender, 10 to 12 minutes. Remove from the burner. (Save the liquid for a sauce or stew.) Place the morels in a deep dish. Add in the garliv and enough olive oil to cover. cover and refrigerate until ready to serve. It is best to let marinate for a few days.
Homemade Jelly Bags

How's this for ingenuity?

I often cook a pork roast or chicken on top of the stove because I find this way of cooking produces good flavor and tenderness that is different from oven cooking. Cooked in the oven, this same cut of meat would be crispy on the outside and have a very definite oven-roasted flavor. It would taste delicious, but I prefer the flavor when cooked on the stove. I add peanut butter, which blends so nicely with the garlic as well as the pork, and it tastes so much better than water alone. Its flavor is a pleasant surprise.

Boneless Pork Roast Cooked on Top of the Stove
3 pounds boneless pork roast, trimmed and tied
Salt and freshly ground black pepper
1 teaspoon ground ginger
1 teaspoon crumbled dried sage leaves
2 tablespoons butter
3 unpeeled garlic cloves
2 tablespoons water
1 to 2 tablespoons unsalted peanut butter
Cover the prepared meat with a mixture of salt, pepper, ginger and sage leaves. Heat a 2-quart oval pot over medium-high heat and warm the butter in the pot until it foams. Add the pork roast and cook it, turning constantly, so that the meat is well browned all over.

Lift up the meat and place the garlic cloves on the bottom of the pot. Put the meat back on top and lower the heat so that the pork will cook without burning. Partially cover the pot so steam can escape and the meat will not stew. Adjust the heat as necessary. Cook the pork for 1-1/2 to 2 hours, or until the meat is tender when pierced.

Remove meat from the pot and set aside in a warm place. Skim the fat from the pot, and remove and discard the garlic. Add the water and stir to dislodge the residue that developed during cooking. Cook over low heat, adding a few more drops of water as necessary. Add 1 to 2 tablespoons of peanut butter to thicken the sauce and to add flavor. Season with more salt and pepper, if necessary. Strain the sauce and serve with the pork. Serves 4 or 5

IMHO, There's nothing like the fragrance of yeast baked coffee cake. I just may put gloves on for this one!!!
"This coffee cake is rich but has a light texture. I think of it more as a brunch cake than a breakfast bread, and although it "takes a lot doing" to make, it's worth it.

Coffee Cake
4 teaspoons active dry yeast
1 teaspoon salt
2 cups unbleached all-purpose flour
1/2 cup lukewarm milk
4 eggs plus 1 egg yolk, lightly beaten
2/3 cup very soft unsalted butter
2 teaspoons cinnamon
2/3 cup superfine sugar
2 egg whites, beaten to soft peaks
1 cup raspberry preserves
2/3 cup chopped walnuts
2/3 cup seedless raisins, cut in half
1 tablespoon melted butter
Mix together the yeast, salt, and 3 tablespoons of the flour in a deep mixing bowl. Stir in the milk. Set the bowl in a warm, draft-fee place for 15 to 20 minutes, until the mixture becomes bubbly. Add the eggs and the remainder of the flour, mixing well until the batter is smooth. Add the softened butter and stir for about 5 minutes, until the dough is smooth and elastic. Turn the dough into a shallow bowl, cover loosely and chill in the refrigerator overnight.

To prepare the filling: Mix together the cinnamon and sugar. Have the beaten egg whites, preserves and chopped nuts and raisins in hand. Spread out 2 sheets of wax paper, about 22 inches long, so that the sheet nearest you overlaps the second sheet by several inches. dust both generously with flour (about 1/2 cup). work swiftly with the dough as it is very fragile. With a cake spatula, pry the dough out of the dish in which it was chilled. Turn it onto the floured wax paper and start to roll it out, using a chilled rolling pin well dusted with flour. After each roll. pick up the dough and give it a quarter turn. If it begins to stick, dust the sticky spot with flour. Roll the dough out into a rectangular shape, about 18 by 12 inches and 1/4 inch or more thick.

Brush the beaten egg whites over the dough to within 2 inches of the edges. Quickly sprinkle the nuts, raisins, cinnamon sugar and 10 to 12 teaspoons of raspberry preserves over the dough. Now roll the dough up in jelly roll fashion. To do this, lift up the edge of the wax paper closest to you and give it a quick flip away from you to start the dough rolling. Turn the dough about 3 times and then flip the far edge of the paper toward you to finish the roll. Grasping each end of the paper, lift the rolled dough, bend it gently into a horseshoe, and slide it into a 10-inch tube pan, 3 inches deep. Join the ends of the horseshoe by tilting the pan and shaking it gently. With a rubber spatula, lightly press down the dough so that the ring settles evenly on the bottom of the pan. Brush the dough ring with the melted butter. Put the pan in a warm, draft-free place (about 80 degrees F), cover loosely with a cloth, and leave until the dough has risen to within an inch of the top of the pan.

Preheat the oven to 375 degrees for 15 minutes, and bake the cake for 45 minutes. Remove from the oven and set the pan on a wire rack to cool for about 12 minutes. before turning out onto a serving plate. Serves 8 to 10

Edna Lewis' mother, eager for the Virginia spring, would line up eggshells on her kitchen window and put a bean in each, along with a teaspoon of water. The arrival of April's first day of spring was a day of triumph when Mrs. Lewis could transfer the sprouted beans into the soil of her kitchen garden." (Smokehouse Ham, Spoon Bread & Scuppernong Wine by Joseph E. Dabney)
Edna LewisAdditional Resources:
Southern secrets from Edna Lewis - Cuisine
Happy Birthday, Miss Lewis

Sunday, April 11, 2010

April Food Celebrations: 11th-17th

I happened upon quite an embarrassing dilemma when tallying the winner of the April Fool's Day Game. Quite frankly, I've decided give-aways are not my forte. It seems, I should have stressed the fact that since the Sauces book is so hefty, the game was opened to US residents only. You can imagine how I felt when I had to tell the person who I thought won, she wasn't eligible to win because she didn't live in the US. Terrible, horrified, and just plain rotten to say it mildly. I didn't have much of a choice considering others from "far away" lands also wanted to participate and I had to tell them; "not this time."

I certainly don't want to lessen the excitement for Miranda from A Duck in Her Pond. She also guessed the two ganache recipes and she lives in Texas. So, Duckie, if you are reading this post, please get in touch with me so I can get the book of Sauces in the mail ASAP. 

April 11th

National Cheese Fondue Day-FonDOs and FonDON’Ts
The Melting Pot fondue restaurants are donating $10 from every cheese fondue purchase on April 11 to local charities across North America in honor of National Cheese Fondue Day.
Chicago’s legendary fondue restaurant Geja’s Café, 340 W. Armitage, celebrating its 45th year of business in 2010, will celebrate National Cheese Fondue Day, Sunday, April 11, by offering complimentary samples of their world renowned Swiss Gruyere Cheese fondue on the outdoor patio from 12 p.m. until 4 p.m.
Simply Fondue will celebrate National Cheese Fondue Day on Sunday, April 11th, by offering any of their six varieties of cheese fondue for $10 per pot, a wine tasting paired with an appetizer or cheese fondue for $25, and a chance to win FREE cheese fondue for one year!
James Vernor, Sr. born today
Vernor's Recipes

The Vernor Recipes die-cut booklet pictured is unfortunately undated. It is another example of the popularity in die-cut advertising promotions. Although it measures about 5 inches, it's primed with recipes using "Deliciously Different" Vernor's. Foreword:

Vernor's Ginger Ale is "deliciously different" and such complete refreshment in itself, that is seems to be "gilding the lily" to suggest its use in concocting mixed drinks and other delicacies.
There are, however, so many delightful recipes which are made more delightful by the inclusion of Vernor's that we have prepared this little booklet to acquaint you with a few of them.

I actually had a difficult time picking out a recipe to include today. The pictured recipes are Vernor Punch and Vernor Julep (the pages are really in better condition than they appear & will open larger in a new page.) As expected, there are a few beverage recipes but, to my "delight," there are also recipes which use Vernor's as a cooking ingredient. There's Vernor's Chicken Salad, Frozen Pineapple Salad, Apples a la Vernor and more. The one I decided on is Baked Ham a la Vernor.

Boil Ham until tender, discarding water. Remove skin and excess fat. Rub liberally with brown sugar and stick cloves into ham. Place in baking dish, adding contents of one or two bottles of Vernor's Ginger Ale according to size of ham, sufficient to baste. Bake in slow oven until ham is heated through (one to two hours), Baste every 15 minutes.

James Vernor, Sr. was born on April 11, 1843 in New York. He moved to Detroit Michigan as a young boy. He was a pharmacist and druggist who invented Vernor's ginger ale in 1866. He also served as Commander-in-Chief of the Military Order of the Loyal Legion of the United States during World War II.

"Most historians credit James Vernor as the inventor of ginger ale. His trade expanded at such a rate that he soon abandoned his drug store and went into the manufacturing of ginger ale on a full time basis although he was very proud of holding Michigan Pharmacy License #1 as long as he lived". (source)

April 12th

It's National Grilled Cheese Sandwich Day! I posted about the history of grilled cheese for *National Grilled Cheese Month in 2008

National Licorice Day

April 13th

According to What's Cooking America, on April 13, 1995, Governor Frank Keating of Oklahoma proclaimed that the real birthplace of the hamburger on the bun, was created and consumed in Tulsa in 1891.
The term Hamburger steak first appeared in the January 5, 1889 edition of the Walla Walla (Washington) Union. The steak was soon dropped...Origin of the Word Hamburger
We have no archeological evidence telling us when the first hamburger was eaten or where. It is almost certainty, however, that the first hamburger was eaten raw. Stone age peoples, having no metal tools, sometimes chose to scape away at large chunks of raw meat with sharpened, chipped stones. The small particles they collected were easier to chew than gnawing directly on large, tough slabs of raw flesh.Lila Perl The Hamburger Book (c) 1974.
(I hope to be sharing recipes from Lila Perl's book in May; National Hamburger Month!)

Thomas Jefferson was born on April 13 1743 in Shadwell, Virginia. If there were any American President I would like to sit down to dine with, it would be Thomas Jefferson. I hope to one day do a post devoted to Thomas Jefferson. In the mean while, I leave you Jefferson's Rum Omelet from a previous *Presidents' Day post.

Jefferson's Rum Omelet
6 eggs beaten2 tbs. butter
1/2 tsp. salt2 tbs. confectioner's sugar
3 tbs. sugar4 tbs. apricot preserves
4 tbs. rum
Add salt, sugar and 2tbs. of rum to beaten eggs. Beat again until fluffy. Heat butter in omelet pan, pour in egg mixture, cook until firm, lifting up from sides. When firm throughout, but still a little moist, fold over, slip onto warm platter. Sprinkle with confectioner's sugar. Make a sauce of remaining rum and preserves. Pour over omelet.

Catherine de Medicis, The Italian Queen of French Cuisine,  is another person often associated with food and culture. Catherine was born on April 13, 1519 in Italy. She married Prince Henry, the second son of the King of France in 1533. It is said that Catherine invented women's panties to enable her to ride a horse with her skirt high enough to show her legs. She brought melon seeds, sweetbreads, aspics, truffles, artichokes, quenelles, custards, cakes, cream puffs and more to the French dining experience. She also brought the first forks, recipes for Italian sherbet, which her son Henry III ate daily. In order to gain political influence, Catherine formed a group of young women known as the Escadron Volant. (Flying Squadron) She taught them how to entertain men, by skillfully showing them proper etiquette and table manners. In order to prevent the girls from getting pregnant, she taught them how to eat green apples and told them to drink a cup of vinegar a day; two items of the day thought to prevent pregnancy. We may also bestow the credit of “Florentine” preparations on Caterina de' Medici.

Edna Lewis, the "Queen of Southern Cooking," was born in Freetown, Virginia on April 13, 1916. I will be back on her birthday to share a few recipes from In Pursuit of Flavor. See ya then!!!

April 13, 1962, Silent Spring by Rachel Carson published.

To this day, one of my most influential reading experiences comes from a book written my Rachel Carson titled Silent Spring.

Silent Spring, one of her most famous and controversial works, was published in 1962, and was called by Justice William O. Douglass, "the most important chronicle of this century for the human race." In Silent Spring, Carson warned against the indiscriminate use of chemicals upsetting the balance of nature. The book prompted a controversy among conservationists, the chemical industry, and the Department of Agriculture. Ms. Carson learned that she had cancer during the writing of Silent Spring. She died in 1964 at her home in Silver Spring, Maryland. (source)

In the 70's, when I was a young mother, I learned all I could about organic gardening. I read about companion planting; Garlic Loves Roses you know. Once when I was out in the yard in the middle of the night removing tomato horn worms off of my tomato plants, my neighbor in the back, who also happened to be a sherif, came out to investigate. There I was with my pail and flash light picking those nasty creatures off my plants. He laughed, said something to the effect of, "she's at it again" and went back in his house. We often bickered over the fence about the size and production of our gardens. His garden certainly "looked" better then mine but I always insisted mine was healthier and saved lives. I put the worms in the compost pile. What happened to them after that is anybody's guess but at least they were off my tomatoes and still alive. Making manure tea was a project in itself. I had a 50 gallon drum dug into the ground where I put all my ingredients for manure tea. I know it doesn't sound appetizing but it sure did work. Oh yes indeed, it did stink up the yard and the surrounding areas but I didn't care. After all, when my neighbors were spraying their yards, whatever insects survived probably came over to my safe haven. It took about 3 years before I got a bumper crop but it was certainly worth it. Thankfully, organic gardening has gotten a bit easier these days but, we should all remember, and pay homage to those such as Rachel Carson who even in the midst of disease and controversy turned the conversation to the sounds of our gardens and where they come from:)

National Peach Cobbler Day

April 14th

I just can't seem to get the correct date for National Pecan Day. If you saw that link, you may gather the reason as to why I don't know How To Celebrate National Pecan Day. In any case, the consensus seems to be that April is indeed National Pecan Month and that's fine by me. I posted a rather detailed recipe for Nectarine Pecan Cake back in 2009 when I was still celebrating National Pecan Day in March. Just in case you didn't see it, here's a portion of that post with the clickable recipe.
This dessert--comprised of buttery crisp wafers, moist genoise, fresh nectarines and rum buttercream--is a striking example of Jim's deep understanding of harmony among ingredients. The cake is presented with nectarine rum sauce; despite its subtlety, it clerverly accentuates the cake's star ingredients. Jim exhuberantly launches into the logic behind the dessert. He chose nectarines because few people know how to incorporate them into baked desserts. "I devised the wafers to add buttery crispness. They balance the drier crunch of the pecans. The rum contributes warmth. It awakens all the flavors of the dessert...

"On the evening of April 14, 1912 a number of first-class passengers on the Titanic revelled in a privately hosted feast in the first-class á la carte restaurant." The Last Dinner on the Titanic. 

April 15th

April 15, 1955 first *McDonald's Debut

Tax Return Dinner

National Glazed-Spiral Ham Day

Painter, musician, poet, engineer, mechanic, architect, physician, gourmet and cook, Leonardo de Vinci was born April 15, 1452. From Epicurean Monthly, by Jean Conil October, 1957.
Leonardo de Vinci was not to proud to turn his attention and genius towards kitchen equipment, and his manuscripts contain the design and description of a spit, [roasting] still used in certain regions of Italy today.

April 16th

The Dagwood Bumstead's Famous Sandwich introduced.
The Dagwood Sandwich was introduced to the American public on April 16, 1936. It was invented by Chic Young and featured in his comic strip Blondie. The first Dagwood consisted of tongue, onion, mustard, sardine, beans and horseradish. Over the years, the sandwich grew bigger and typically included everything "but the kitchen sink!" foodtimeline.org
National Eggs Benedict Day.

Day of the Mushroom

April 17th

Eliza Acton was born on this day in 1799 in Sussex.

National Cheeseball Day

One of our most beloved cartoon characters celebrates his birthday today; Daffy Duck!! Happy Birthday Daffy Duck! Are YOU celebrating???

Wednesday, April 7, 2010

National Beer Day or Is It?

A hundred posters of beer on the blogs, one hundred posters of beer...

Can someone tell me when National Beer Day is, one hundred posters of beer...

Better yet, does anyone have a definitive answer for; When Prohibition Ended?

Everything that National Beer Day holds near and dear stems on when prohibition ended in. Some would have us believe that prohibition ended in the United States of America on April 7, 1933.

In 1933 during the prohibition era, the Cullen-Harrison Act was signed into law by President Franklin Roosevelt on March 23rd. That law was enacted on April 7th allowing the brewing and sale of beer in the United States again as long as it was (3.2)( source )

Not according to my notes it didn't. So convinced was I that Prohibition went into effect on January 16, 1920, I did a post about Prohibition, Gin and Ginger-Ale way back in 2008. (which included Gilbey's Gin & Vernor's Ginger Soda recipes.) I didn't want to get into the politics of the "prohibition crusaders" then and I certainly don't want to brew up a keg of intoxicating allegations now.

Update April 8, 2010: Justin Smith, the founder of National Beer Day, was kind enough to email me with this response:

My name is Justin Smith and I am the founder of National Beer Day.  The article you referenced on your blog was taken from my Facebook page.

You are correct that prohibition did not end completely on April 7th.  Spirits and stronger wines were still not able to be sold until later that year when prohibition officially ended on December 5th.  April 7th is the day that beer was able to be sold again as long as it was under 3.2%.  That is why April 7th is National Beer Day, and not celebrated as the end of prohibition. If you have any other questions about this holiday, I would be happy to answer them.

Thanks, Justin Smith

I do have another question though; where did the notion come from that Beer Day is celebrated in the US on March 1st? I could certainly understand the suds getting mixed up if the claim for Beer Day was initiated for April 23rd, that's when Bavarian Beer Week begins in Germany.

The Bavarian Beer Week was the idea of the Bavarian Brewers Federation...The week always starts on or around April 23, a date listed in the Bavarian Beer Calendar as Bavarian Beer Day...It was on April 23, 1516 that the Bavarian co-rulers Duke Wilhelm IV and Duke Ludwig X proclaimed the weighty and consequential Bavarian Beer Purity Law. This law has become so famous around the world that it is now often known just by its German name of Reinheitsgebot. (source)

We still haven't found out where Beer Day is celebrated on March 1st. Or have we?

Today is the 21st annual Beer Day in Iceland. The tradition began in 1989 when after 75 years, prohibition on beer was lifted. So today, celebrate Iceland with good food and plenty of drink. As if we needed an excuse for a party dedicated to beer.((source))

I'm still a bit skeptical, after all, that site was a "party remdey" site and no longer current. What about a "sobering" article from the examiner.com website?

Beer Day (March 1st)-National Beer Day celebrates a 75 year long prohibition of beer which ended on March 1st, 1989. Highly festive celebrations are held at pubs, restaurants, and clubs all around Iceland, as now Icelanders are one of the world's leading beer drinkers.

We mustn't forget Navy Beer Day either. It's a tradition:)

Well, that pretty much sums it up. It seems, "we don't need an excuse for a party dedicated to beer." We can celebrate Iceland Beer Day next March, National Cask Ale Week across the Pond, although we will have to wait until next year for that one too. We just missed it. We can look forward to American Beer Day in October or National Lager Day in December but we don't want to chug-a-lug the summer away; or do we? We won't have to wait too long, we have today which is dutifully celebrated as National Beer Day. Not prepared, don't you fret, May 7th is National Homebrew Day and The Brewers Association is happy to assemble American Craft Beer Week, in May. We also have American Beer Month in July!!! I don't know about you, but I need some Real Beer and Good Eats (soft cover, 1995) right now...

Beer Recipes

Rarely do I "crack open a cold one." Did I say that right:) I do however have two fascinations with beer; cooking with it and beer snacks. I absolutely comprehend the reason why I find cooking with beer so intriguing, it's easy!!! It also happens to be the only way I can bake a half way decent loaf of bread. You see, beer in bread equals no yeast to dawdle with. Bread yeast and I don't play well together. And when it comes to Bread Flour, I need all the fermentation I can get:) The Zesty Cook's Homemade Bubbly Beer Bread sounds like a bread recipe I just may be able to handle. Brewing and Baking seem to have gone hand and hand since the beginning. Did you know women were the first brewers?

In 1892 a woman in New York was granted two patents, one for a process of malting beer and the other for hooping malt liquors. These inventions, however, are not so foreign to the avocation of woman as they at first appear. For, if we may believe the teachings of ethnology and prehistoric archaeology in this matter, women were the first brewers. The one, therefore, who two decades ago secured the two patents just mentioned was but taking up anew an occupation in which her sex furnished the first invention many thousand years ago. (Women in Science, 1915)

Oh yes siree, there's kegs of trivia I didn't know about beer. For instance:

Pennsylvania has had more breweries in its history than any other state.

Uh oh, Am I in the wrong state?

The first recipe I've chosen to share from the Real Beer and Good Eats cookbook by Bruce Aidells and Denis Kelly is Stuffed Pork Loin in Imperial Stout. (any dark beer can be substituted) It appears to be a rather long and technical recipe but oh, doesn't it sound good?

This next recipe for Blue Cheese and Beer Croutons is much easier but sounds just as intriguing.

You can eat these cheesy croutons as is as a bar snack or use them as a garnish in soups and salads. Vary the cheese as you wish. We used Maytag Blue from Iowa, but you could use other blue cheeses such as Oregon blue, Stilton, or Roquefort--or even non-blue cheeses such as grated sharp Cheddar or ages Gruyere. A full-flavored ale works best here: We suggest Winchester Brewing's Red Ale or Massachusetts Bay Harpoon Ale.
Blue Cheese & Beer Croutons
4 cups stale bread, cut into 1/2 inch cubes
1 12-ounce bottle ale
1 cup finely crumbled blue cheese
Olive Oil
Preheat oven to 400 degrees. Dip the bread cubes in the ale to barely moisten them, then roll them in the crumbled cheese. Generously brush a cookie sheet with olive oil. Spread cubes over the pan, and drizzle a little olive oil over them. Bake about 10 minutes until golden brown and crispy. In a sealed container the croutons will keep for 2 weeks. Makes 4 cups.

Some day, I hope to make my own sausage. Here's a recipe I would love to try. If you're not into sausage making, you can always use the mixture in patty form.

Saloon Sausage
1-1/2 lbs. pork butt in pieces
1/2 lb. pork fat in pieces
1 tsp. coarsly ground pepper
2 tsps. salt
2 tsps. minced garlic
1/4 cup chopped pars;ey
1/4 cup beer
2 tbs. bourbon
2 tbs. chopped fresh herbs, such as chervil, tarragon, and or basil
1/4 tsp. nutmeg
Medium hog casing (optional)
Grind meat and fat through the 1/4-inch (small) or 3/8 inch (medium) plate of meat grinder or process them in a food processor until coarsley chopped. Add the remaining ingredients and knead well. Stuff the mixture into hop casing, and tie into 5-inch links, or make into patties. To cook, pan-fry the sausage for 7 or 8 minutes, turning often, or grill over medium coals until done. The sausage keeps 3 days refrigerated or 2 months frozen. Makes 2 pounds.

April Fool's Day Game Update: It seems, I may have been a bit "tipsy" when I posted the winner of the Sauces book by James Peterson. Here is the paragraph I omitted from that post. The post has since been updated. Once again, thank you to everyone for participating and thank you very much for your patience with my mishap:)

"Witty" Vibi from La Casserole Carree looks like our winner. To be perfectly honest, Vibi is a fairly new welcomed visitor to Months of Edible Celebrations and I'm not quite sure if she is abroad or here in the USA. Let us know Vibi:)
Vibi guessed: Lets see if I can be as witty... I say no. 4 & 6.

The Blonde Duck, the delightful hostess of A Duck in Her Pond, had the next closest guess of 4 and 6.

I probably won't be back here until the end of the week. Definitely on Sunday for next week's foodie days. Training is going well and Marion has found a doctor she seems to like. We'll see. I'll be popping around visiting your blogs all week. I'm also waiting to hear from Vibi, now that she knows she won. I'll keep you posted:) Wishing you all a GREAT rest of the week. Enjoy:)

1. National Beer Day (Facebook)
2. New Beer's Eve: Happy days were here again (CNN April 7, 2008)
3. Woman in science by John Augustine Zahm 1915 (@ google books)
4. Beer Batter Halibut (Coleen's Recipes)
5. Beer and Chocolate Chili
6. Fudge Stout Brownies
7. Joe's Icelandic Recipes
8. Farmgirl Susan's Beyond Easy Dill & Cheddar Beer Bread
9. April Fool's Day Game

Sunday, April 4, 2010

April Food Celebrations: Week Two

So far, I think posting the "foodie" days by the week, is working out pretty well. I'm not to good at figuring out where the weeks begin or end but that's okay, I have the same problem with days too:) Let's begin with:

April 4th

Dyngus Day is a post-Easter festivity always celebrated on Easter Monday. If you don't know why Dyngus Day is celebrated, quite frankly, neither did I until I did this *Happy Dyngus Day post. If it helps, I shared The Art of Polish Cooking by Alina Zeranska which explains it quite nicely.

On April 4, 1932, Dr. Charles Glen King of the University of Pittsburgh, was the first to isolate Vitamin C after five years of research. Have you tasted the *Golden Apple today? (source: Time Magazine )

National Cordon Bleu Day

"The emblem of the knights of the Order of the Holy Ghost was a blue ribbon, and a man decorated with this ribbon was referred to as a cordon bleu. I do not know why or by what steps the shifting of the term from members of this Ordre du Saint-Esprit to wielders of pots and pans took place. The Littre' dictionary merely cites these meanings that I have given, and adds: familiarity and jokingly, cordon bleu: a very skillful cook." (Culture and Cuisine; A Journey through the History of Food by Jean-Francois Revel (1982)
*Chocolate Milk Powder Day? Whether it is or it isn't, the Ice Box Chocolate Syrup recipe I posted made with Van Houten Cocoa be-stills my heart:)
Perhaps not as much as these Van Houten's Nut Brownies:

Van Houten's Nut Brownies
1 cup sugar
1/2 cup butter
7 tbsp. (tbs) Van Houten's Cocoa
2 eggs
few grains salt
1/2 cup flour
1 cup chopped nut meats
1 tsp. vanilla
Cream butter and sugar together. Add cocoa and cream well. Add beaten eggs, then flour and salt, nuts and vanilla. Bake in greased pan in moderate oven (350 degrees) about 30 minutes. Allow to cool and cut in squares. My Note: In the Van Houten recipe booklet I posted for Chocolate Milk Powder Day this recipe is "signed" at the bottom but unfortunately, I can't make out the name. It appears to read F. Rumeary, Chef de Cuisine, Hotel Ambassador, New York City.

April 5th

National Bake Week begins

National Egg Salad Week is always the full week right after Easter Sunday

On April 5, 1945, Post Raisin Bran hit the supermarket shelves for the very first time. (source: Mr. Pop History)

New Orleans, restaurateur Owen Edward Brennan, the founder of Brennan's Restaurant, was born April 5, 1910. I will forever be thankful to Mr. Brennan's Chef; Paul Blangé, for the creation of Bananas Foster

National Caramel Day

National Raisin and Spice Bar Day

April 6th

*Happy Birthday Twinkies! The Twinkie was invented on April 6, 1930 by bakery manager James Dewar. *Tweaking Twinkies @ Tasteful Inventions, my other "neglected" blog:)

On the morning of April 6, 1938, DuPont chemist Roy Plunkett accidentally created polytetrafluoroethylene, later dubbed Teflon. There's an article at American Heritage.com titled Making Teflon Stick.

National Caramel Popcorn Day

The Mom and Popcorn Company, located in downtown McKinney, Texas, is giving its customers a reason to celebrate National Caramel Popcorn Day with a Buy One Bag Get One Bag Free special promotion. The special promotion expires Wednesday, April 7. To receive the Buy One Get One Free discount, customers need to enter CARAMEL as the promo code in their shopping cart after adding two bags of Caramel Popcorn.(source)
National Tartan Day: By Presidential proclamation, Tartan Day is The National Holiday for all Scottish Americans.

New Beer's Eve 

April 7th

*National Coffee Cake Day

National Beer Day: The day to celebrate when it was once again legal to drink beer with 3.2 percent alcohol content. That day was April 7, 1933. The time was 12:01 a.m. the end of Prohibition!!! (signed into law by FDR on March 23, 1933)

Will Keith Kellogg, The "King of Corn Flakes," was born in Battle Creek, Michigan on April 7, 1860. The Battle Creek Toasted Corn Flake Company was founded by Will Keith Kellogg on February 19, 1906; *A Marketable Flake

No Housework Day! Housework? What's that?

April 8th

When I posted for *National Empanada Day a while back I shared recipes from from a recipe book titled Empanadas & Other International Turnovers by George & Sherry LaFollette. Does Baba Gannoujh Empanada strike your fancy?

Milk in Glass Bottles Day. I promise, I didn't make this up. It seems, "The first successful milk bottles were introduced in New York on April 8th 1879 by the Echo Farms Dairy Company. (Today in Science)

April 9th

Chinese Almond Cookie Day

April 9 & 10 2010-Annual Pig Cookin' Contest Newport North Carolina

Ponchatoula Strawberry Festival (April 9, 10 & 11, 2010)

April 10th

National Cinnamon Crescent Day

Banana Debut? Bananas made their London Debut on April 10, 1633. A perfect day for Banana's Foster. Don't you think? (see the next entry:)

Brunch goes public! Brunch was served in private homes many years before "it went public" for the first time at the Fifth Avenue Hotel in New York City. The restaurant's brunch was advertised at $1 per person and was served from 1 p.m. to 3 p.m. Well, I know what dessert will be, I better get moving on a Brunch post:) After all, Saturday is a GREAT brunch day too!!!

Don't forget, there's plenty of time to celebrate National Applesauce Month, National Fresh Celery Month, National Soyfoods Month, Fresh Florida Tomato Month, National Pecan Month, National Soft Pretzel Month and National Grilled Cheese Sandwich Month!!! If you have any "special" Grilled Cheese Sandwich recipes stashed away, leave your link in the comment section and I'll try to gather a bunch for a Quick Links post for National Grilled Cheese Month!!! Let me know if it's okay to use the image.

Just in case you're curious as to who won the Sauces book, I posted the April Fool's Day Winners here. I'm not sure which day I will be posting this week. It appears Marion and I have a few chores to attend to. Marion hasn't found a doctor in PA yet, well, actually, neither of us have. The shed is causing more of a problem than I had anticipated so that must be finalized this week and, I have a few days of training ahead of me before I can start my volunteer work at the Woman's Shelter in Lock Haven. I don't remember if I told you about the shelter. I met the wonderful staff there when I donated my grandchildren's "kiddie" bedroom sets; Dora & Spiderman. Since I worked at a shelter in New York for many years, they asked me if I would like to donate some time right here in PA.

I hope those of you that celebrated the Easter Season had a heavenly weekend. Marion and I enjoyed a peaceful dinner. And, I got a big chocolate bunny for the first time in many many years:) I would show it to you, but I'm afraid I've already tackled his ears!!! Don't be surprised if you "see" me visiting your blogs late at night, it seems to be the only time I can really sit down and enjoy:)

Saturday, April 3, 2010

April Fool's Day Winner!!!

I'm not sure who had more fun playing this game, you or ME!!! Your comments brought a smile to my face; each and every one of them!!! As for Marion, she's having quite a time getting use to this blogging stuff and is bewildered by the thought of us playing a game and actually having a WINNER!!! Wait until she "sees" us play the Picnic Game this year. She'll really be in a whirl. Thank goodness she's a quick learner:)

Remember these:

Chocolatier Sandwich Cookies
1. Oatmeal Sandwich Cookies
2. Brownie Peanut Butter Sandwiches
3. Linzerheart Sandwich Cookies
4. Citrus Sandwich Cookies with Orange Ganache (Winner!)
5. Fig-Filled Whole Wheat Sandwich Cookies
6. Peanut Butter Sandwich Cookies with Chocolate Ganache (Winner!)
7. Chocolate Sandwich Cookies

"Witty" Vibi from La Casserole Carree looks like our winner. To be perfectly honest, Vibi is a fairly new welcomed visitor to Months of Edible Celebrations and I'm not quite sure if she is abroad or here in the USA. Let us know Vibi:)

Vibi guessed: Lets see if I can be as witty... I say no. 4 & 6.

The Blonde Duck, the delightful hostess of A Duck in Her Pond, had the next closest guess of 4 and 6.

Thank you everyone for playing. I'm so glad the Sauces book is going to a new home.

You didn't think I would leave you Cookie less, did you? Here are the recipes. (click to enlarge)

Citrus Sandwich Cookies with Orange Ganache
Peanut Butter Sandwich Cookies with Chocolate Ganache

I'll be back late Easter Sunday with next week's food celebrations. Enjoy, Louise:)

Thursday, April 1, 2010

An Old Fool and The First Week of April

Can you pick the ganache filled sandwich cookie on the cover of this September 1989 issue of Chocolatier Magazine? No, it's not a trick. And to prove it, who ever gets the right answer, wins a prize!!! There is a slight hitch though. There are actually two rows of ganache filled sandwich cookies on this cover. You need to guess them both.

Here's a better picture. (click to enlarge)

Remember the other day when I did that post for Black Forest Cake Day, well, when I read in the Cake Doctor that the French translation for the word Fool is Ganache, I just couldn't help but to make note and share a bit of ganache today. I know I might be going out on a limb here but hey, it is April Fool's Day so "foolery" is acceptable.

The first of April some do say
Is set apart for All Fool's Day
But on this day are people sent
On purpose for pure merriment.

No one really knows who invented ganache. Some say it originated in Switzerland where it was used as a base for truffles. Others say it was invented in Paris. Ganache stems from a culinary accident that went amiss. Supposedly, a chocolatier's apprentice spilled cream in the chocolate he was melting. The chef, angry at the lad, called him a "Ganache." I don't know how true it is but I'd say that boy made one delicious blunder!!!

Macaron Ganache Filling: Ganche is a mid 19th century invention of simply pouring equal portions of hot cream over broken chocolate, and then stirring the mixture until it is completely smooth. Though both Switzerland and Paris claim the invention, for the macaron it was the Parisian Pierre Desfontaines, the grandson of Louis Ernest Ladurée, who got the idea of placing a layer of chocolate ganache between two single macaron cookies while on a trip to Switzerland. (About Macarons)

If you have a moment, stop by the Fun & Food Blog for an instructive and informative post which also includes 2 ways for making Chocolate Ganache. If you find yourself experimenting with the versatility of ganache, Janet at Dying for Chocolate has suggestions for leftover ganache. You can always send it my way. I won't mind at all:) Marilyn @ Simmer till Done, has a rather amusing post along with directions for making ganache. I've also left a decadent list of resources and recipe links below. If I were you, my first stop would be Joe Pastry. Did you know you could make ganache with crème fraîche? While I was there, I discovered a cake I had never heard of before; Marjolain. I'm sure most of you have but for me, my visit was quite enlightening.

"Who lives without folly is not so wise as he thinks"

Here's another boo boo...

Shortly after the marriage of Napoleon with Maria-Louisa, daughter of the Emperor of Austria, some political measures were adopted by the Austrian Court which were contrary to the views of Bonaparte. On receiving the news he said: "The Emperor of Austria is une vieille ganache (an old fool)." Marie-Louisa was present, but never having heard the expression before, she did not understand it.

Soon after, when she was alone with her husband, she asked him the meaning of the word ganache; but unwilling to tell her the true signification, he said: "Oh, it means a man of great experience and good understanding."

On the following day, the Chancellor Cambaceres waited on the Empress with an address of congratulation on her marriage, and wishing to pay him a compliment in her reply, she thanked him heartily, saying she considered him the greatest ganache in the empire.

The courtiers were astonished and confounded; but of course they withdrew without making any observation. The circumstance came shortly to the ears of Napoleon, who laughed heartily at it, and during some weeks it was a topic of pleasantry in all Paris, the Empress herself being the only person who remained ignorant of the blunder she had committed. (French Wit and Humor; 1902)

I'd love to go on and on about the virtues of ganache but I have "important" food celebrations to investigate. It's April! and Kasha has a Spring Cupcake Bouquet just for you, and me:) A red * denotes a previous post. I must apologize. I didn't get a chance to check links on this month's previous posts...

April Monthly Food Celebrations

Beckoning from blue or stormy skies,
April smiles, and then April sighs...

-Louise Bates-
National Applesauce Month (PDF verification)
National Fresh Celery Month (remember when we celebrated plain ol' Celery Month in March:)
National Soft Pretzel Month @ Slashfood
National Soyfoods Month
April is Fresh Florida Tomato Month
Alcohol Awareness Month
National Pecan Month *Question: Pecans or Nanaimo Bars?
April is *Grange Month
Thai Heritage Month
*National Grilled Cheese Sandwich Month Psst... April 12th is National Grilled Cheese Sandwich Day:)

April Daily Food Celebrations, 1, 2 3

April 1

For centuries, the first of April has been observed as April Fool's Day or All Fool's Day. In many lands the custom of dispatching persons on fruitless errands has long been practiced. In Scotland, this was called "hunting the gowk." (Gowk being a common expression for a cuckoo, which is reckoned one of the most silly of the feathered tribe.) In France, a person who was fooled in this way was dubbed a "poisson d' Avril" or an April fish. Mentioned in Brady's Clavis Calendaria by John Brady, this probably evolved because of the season in which young fish were easy to catch; they were known as less wise and foolish fish caught by deception. Last year I went a little *Topsy Turvey on April Fool's Day. (you should pop over if only to see the Humpty Dumpty Cake:)

The Wm. Wrigley Jr. Company was founded on April 1, 1891 originally selling products such as soap and baking powder. In 1892, William Wrigley, Jr., the company's founder, began offering chewing gum with each can of baking powder. The chewing gum eventually became more popular than the baking powder itself and Wrigley's reoriented the company to produce the popular chewing gum. (online encyclopedia)
Jean Anthelme Brillat-Savarin was born on April 1, 1775. *The Loves of Brillat-Savarin

The International Edible Book Festival is held annually around April 1st.

National Sourdough Bread Day (I'd love to see some of you bread bakers post a Sourdough Bread Recipe to celebrate. I sure could use some tips:)

German Chancellor, Otto Von Bismarck, was born on April 1st. Bismarck Doughnuts (Jelly Donuts:) were named after him.

April 2

On April 2, 1889, *Charles Martin Hall patented an inexpensive method for the production of aluminum. How much Aluminum Foil do you use? I use way too much...

April 2 is the birth-date of Medieval king, Charlemagne
The French king Charlemagne also played an important role in the history of Roquefort. It is said that he was passing through the region of Aveyron, when he was served a moldy cheese by his host. The king carefully set about cutting off the unappetizing parts of the cheese, until his host dared explain to him that the mold was what gave this cheese all its flavor. Charlemagne found the cheese to be so much to his liking that he requested that cartloads of Roquefort cheese be sent to his residence in the north of France every year.(Easy French Food)
Today is Good Friday. If you missed Joumana 's Sardine Hummos on pita, you simply must drop everything and check it out!

Oyster lover, Giacomo Girolamo Casanova was born April 2, 1725.

National Peanut Butter and Jelly Day. You GOTTA check out Sarah's Peanut Butter & Jelly Bars!

April 3

National Chocolate Mousse Day @ The Nibble

On April 3, 1829, James Carrington, of Wallingford, CT, received a patent for the "Manufacture of Coffee Mills". It says so right here...

The anniversary of New Orleans' beloved Antoine's is "believed to be on April 3rd." (New York Times article)
"The joke of the day is to deceive persons by sending them upon frivolous and nonsensical errands; to pretend they are wanted when they are not, or, in fact, any way to betray them into some supposed ludicrous situation, so as to enable you to call them An April Fool." (Brady's Clavis Calendaria)

Magazine Cover Game

Since I missed telling you about *National Sauce Month in March, I've decided your prize, should you guess right, will be a copy of James Peterson's book; Sauces. And yes, it does include a recipe for Ganache:) Just leave your guess in the comment section below. I'm so sorry to say, I'll have to limit this April Fool's Day game to US residents only:( Just leave your guesses in the comment section and I'll announce the winner on Sunday, when I post next week's "foodie days." If by chance more than one person guesses the two rows of ganache filled cookies, the winner will be the first person who posted the correct answer in the comment section. If you want to know more about the book, follow the National Sauce Month link. The book is also available @ Amazon if you want to review the reviews:) Good Luck and, Have FUN!

Just in case you're wondering, Sauces is one of the books that I won at that auction a few weeks back. Since I already have a copy, I thought I would share. Just remember, it isn't brand new but it is in GREAT condition!!!

P.S. Feel free to guess more than once, if you like. Just make sure to be the first one to get it right!!!

1. Vegan Cupcakes That Can Fool April
2. April Fool's Day Truffles (surprise!)
3. Banana Cake with Praline Filling and White Chocolate Ganache
4. Lemon Polenta Whoopie Pies w/Chocolate Ganache
5. Passion Fruit, Mango & Chocolate Cake
6. Peanut Butter Chocolate Ganache
7. Macarons with white chocolate and raspberry ganache