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The Food Almanac: Tuesday, January 15, 2013

The Food Almanac: Tuesday, January 15, 2013

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In The Food Almanac, Tom Fitzmorris of the online newsletter The New Orleans Menu notes food facts and sayings.

Days Until. .
Mardi Gras--28
Valentine's Day--30

Annals Of Food Disasters
Today in 1919, an enormous tank of molasses broke open and flooded downtown Boston with over two million gallons of the sticky stuff. It proved that molasses in January is not all that slow. It moved at over thirty miles per hour, and before it stopped it had destroyed several homes and other buildings. Twenty-one people drowned in the molasses. People would not make gingerbread or pancakes for years afterward, I'll bet.

Food Inventions
Today in 1889 Daniel Johnson patented a revolving table for dining rooms on ships. People sitting at such a table could turn it to have the food they were interested in come to them, rather than requiring a waiter do it. This concept can be seen in action in a number of restaurants in Mississippi, notably the Dinner Bell in McComb.

The Physiology Of Taste
William Prout was born today in 1785. His work focused on the chemistry of food and the digestive system. He discovered that the stomach does its work with hydrochloric acid. He was also the man who noted that most foods can be classified as either carbohydrates, proteins, or fats. He'd be proud of those nutritional labels on food packages--the ones we're beginning to consider more important than matters like taste and whether we really need to eat that stuff in the first place.

Food Inventions
Today in 1889 Daniel Johnson patented a revolving table for dining rooms on ships. This concept can be seen in action in a number of restaurants in Mississippi, notably the Dinner Bell in McComb.

Today's Flavor
It's National Curry Day. In America, curry is one of the most misunderstood of food concepts. A curry does not necessarily (and probably doesn't) have the flavor of curry powder, with its powerful flavors of cumin and turmeric. The word "curry" originated in the Tamil language, as the name for a dish cooked with a spiced sauce. That admits of an enormous variety of dishes, with such a wide spread of flavors that the word "curry" becomes as generic as "stew" or "soup." A good Indian restaurant will have dozens of dishes that they'd call curries, each with its own distinctive ingredients and flavor.

Certain ingredients do turn up in many curries. But the actual spice blend for each curry dish is unique. Some of the most common components are coriander, cardamom, black pepper, cumin, turmeric, mustard, cinnamon, and fenugreek. Cayenne and other red peppers are now also common curry ingredients. Finally, there's curry leaf, a member of the same family of trees that includes the citrus fruits. All of these are roasted and ground to the same consistency so they blend well.

Curries are found in many Asian cuisines. Thai curries have their own wide variety of tastes, none of which have much in common with Indian curries. The curries you find in Chinese restaurants have another range of distinctive differences. There are even American curries. These, interestingly, are the ones most likely to use curry powder.

Those who love curry know that it's habit-forming. This is not merely because we like the flavor. There's scientific evidence that the spices in curry are literally addictive. It's a very benign addiction, however. The spices in curry all seem to be good for you. They certainly taste good.

Edible Dictionary
fenugreek, n.--The herb and spice from a low-growing plant native to the Middle East and India. Although the leaves are used in some dishes, the seeds find their way into many more kitchens. Ground fenugreek seeds are an important component in the spice mixtures for Indian curry. The flavor of fenugreek blends well with sweet tastes. It's used in making tea and to add a little spice to some sweet cakes. It provides the imitation maple flavor in inexpensive syrups. In the Middle East, Africa, and India, it turns up in many other recipes. Although you can buy it from the spice rack, fenugreek is not as well known as most other spices.

The Old Kitchen Sage Sez:
The best tool for grinding spices is a coffee mill. Buy a separate one from the one you use to grind coffee beans. The flavor of cardamom and peppercorns will not ruin each other, but neither of them is acceptable in coffee.

Gourmet Gazetteer
Molasses Creek flows west across three miles in the Coastal Range in northwest California. It begins at Beaver Ridge, takes in a tributary from the Hundred Acre Field, and passes the Studhorse Prairie before dropping it flow into Redwood Creek. It lives up to its name most of the time, its waters moving sluggishly along. It can become a torrent in major rainfalls, turning as dark as its namesake. It's an isolated feature in wild, wooded country. The nearest restaurant is Stardough's Cafe in Blue Lake, eleven miles toward the Pacific Ocean.

Deft Dining Rule #62:
No dish tastes the same in two different restaurants. If a restaurant closes, you will have to get unused to the way it cooks its food, and learn to like the best of what's served elsewhere.

Annals Of Popular Cuisine
Today in 1990, Campbell's produced the twenty billionth can of tomato soup, its original product. Canned tomato soup is more useful as an additive than on its own. For example, when added to beef broth along with crushed canned tomatoes, it makes a better soup than just the whole tomatoes alone.

Eating Across America
Today in 1777, Vermont declared its independence not only from its British colonizers, but also from New York, which had controlled it under the name of New Connecticut. Vermont's most famous food product is its maple syrup, but its major specialty is dairy products, notably Vermont Cheddar cheese.

Food Namesakes
Captain Beefheart (real name: Don Glen Vliet), one of the farthest-out of the far-out rock and blues musicians of the late 1960s and 1970s, was born today in 1941. Early baseball pro Grover Lowdermilk stepped onto the Big Diamond today in 1885.

Words To Eat By
"Playwrights are like men who have been dining for a month in an Indian restaurant. After eating curry night after night, they deny the existence of asparagus."--Peter Ustinov.

The Food Almanac: Tuesday, January 15, 2013 - Recipes


Both of those recipes sound wonderful. We LOVE mac and do the grandkids- I will be trying this recipe- xo Diana

Happy New Year Ron!!
OMG do those sound good!! Definitely keeping these recipes!

Don't do corn, but that Mac sounds fabulous. Will be pinning that one!

Oh my word! I'm a such a lover of comfort foods! Those two recipes look heavenly. May have to try them out. Losing weight? I should work on that. Could stand to lose about 10 lbs (as I discussed with my doctor back in November). Sounds pretty easy huh? However, I don't have a lot of willpower. Like I said, I love comfort foods! LOL!

I might also add some buttered panko to the mac and cheese as a topping!

YUM! Gosh, both of those looks sooo good. Bet they'd be great with some left over black eyed peas and turnip greens.

The recipes sound soooo delicious that I printed them out immediately. I have to show my ignorance and ask-
what is shoepeg corn?

I will eat healthy, I will eat healthy. *sigh*
It isn't working. I really want to try that macaroni and cheese recipe. I'll let you know if I fail miserablely and decide to give it a whirl. You are a bad influence on me. o)
Happy New Year!

Loving comfort foods! The corn casserole is a keeper. Now all I need is some pot roast or meatloaf with them! YUM! Thanks, Ron!

That is just the sweetest closing comment you made there about the PH blog. THANKS so much, sweet friend!

These recipes are GREAT!
Both of my kids live for mac and cheese and will not eat a homemade version because nothing ever compares (for them) to the Stouffer's frozen version! Ugg.
And that to me is not what I remember my grandma making when I was little so I quit eating mac and cheese years ago.
However. maybe I can renew my love of m&c with your recipe. It sounds fantastic. This is something I know my husband would like too.

Your corn casserole is similar to one I make on Thanksgiving, but I bet your spin is probably even richer with layered textures -- cream cheese and then the added Ritz crunch -- sounds reallly good!

Thanks so much for sharing.
I love it when you stop by!

Happy, happy new year to you, Ron.
May the new year bring you many blessings.

The Food Almanac: Tuesday, January 15, 2013 - Recipes

I have made a a simple Baking Powder Coffee Cake to go with this coffee. This was a recipe from a Depression-era cookbook. I love these recipes they are simple and sustaining. The recipes use ingredients you have on hand.


My mom used to make coffee cake like this. -)
Love the new old coffee maker. Sarah

Love the coffee maker and the yummy cake!

Your coffee cake looks delish! I'm not sure the age of your coffee pot but I love it!

I love that first photograph so much. perfect for the CHARM of home. I'd like to try that recipe after ditching a few post holiday pounds. :)

Hi Sherry: That cake looks so good. Love your beautiful cups. Have a wonderful week. Blessings, Martha

Pretty! I love it and the streusel looks delish. Christine

Oh Sherry, I LOVE your coffee pot and that coffee cake looks delicious!! Enjoy your evening, Gail

Lovely photos and I can almost smell that delicious, classic cake!

That coffee pot is fabulous. I collect them and don't even drink coffee. I would eat that coffee cake, though. I'd be thrilled if you would join Country Whites Weekend this Friday.
Farmhouse hugs,

LOVE that coffee pot! I don't know when it was from, but when I was a little girl, my mom had some stackable enamel containers that looked a lot like that.

AND, wanted to let you know that I'm having a 4 HomemadeSoapnSuch Valentine Soap Sachet Giveaway - on now through Friday. Hope you'll stop in at Cranberry Morning and enter. :-)

Sherry, great photos!! I love your coffee pot and the coffee cake looks yummy. I love when the ingredients are simple.

What a great coffee pot! I will definitely try that delicious looking recipe! Thanks for sharing it!
sandy :)

I'm not sure but it is a sweet pot and in such good condition! I love enamelware!

I am in love with that coffee pot! And the cake looks so yummy. Great photos! I love the composition.

Oh that is the sweetest enamel tea pot! It looks great with your setting and white tea cup. What a great vintage look.

What a darling coffee pot, Sherry! Your cake looks yummy and your whole vignette looks very cozy. Thank you for joining me for tea.

Coffee cake is so good with a hot cup of coffee. Love your enamel teapot. Charming!
Mary Alice

Very special coffee pot. I love it.

Your wonderful post will be featured at Country Whites Weekend tomorrow. Thank you so much for attending the party and making it a success!
Farmhouse hugs,

Saturday, December 8, 2012

Easy Chocolate Brownies With Peppermint Bark

I have so many of these to make this year I decided to take a shortcut. Ghirardelli's Triple Brownie Mix which, by the way, you can find at Costco. Because it already includes three types of chocolate chips I decided to omit the peppermint bark squares in the middle and add a teaspoon of peppermint extract to the batter. They are finished with Peppermint Bark AND crushed peppermint candy. I think that's enough peppermint, don't you?! Below, the original recipe and my shortcut.

Chocolate Brownies with Peppermint Bark

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Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Line a 9 x 13 inch baking pan with foil and grease with pan spray. In a medium saucepan, bring 2 inches of water to a gentle simmer. Put the 60% chips and butter in a heatproof bowl and set it over (but not touching) the simmering water. Stir the mixture with a rubber spatula until the better is melted and both ingredients are completely combined. Turn off the heat and leave the bowl over the warm water. Sift together the flour and baking powder and set aside. In a large bowl whisk together eggs, salt, sugar and vanilla. Add the egg mixture to the chocolate mixture and whisk together gently. With a spatula, fold in the flour. Immediately pour ½ the mixture into the prepared baking pan and spread it evenly. Next, sprinkle the chopped peppermint bark over the batter and then pour the remaining batter over this. Spread evenly.
Bake for 15-20 minutes. The center should be fudgy but not dry. Remove from the oven and cool for 10 minutes.
Place Peppermint Bark chunks on top of warm brownies and allow them to soften for 1 minute. Using a spatula, gently swirl the melting Peppermint Bark to create swirls of melted chocolate. Refrigerate for 1 hour. Trim the 4 edges of the brownies by 1/4 inch. And cut into 18 squares.

1 Box Ghirardelli's Triple Chocolate Brownies
1 tsp. Peppermint Extract
16 Perppermint Bark Squares
Crushed Peppermint Candy

I used a 9x9 square pan (glass)

Follow the directions on the box . Add a teaspoon of the peppermint extract to the batter. Cook as directed.

With the brownies still hot from the oven lay the peppermint squares side by side and touching on top so the will melt. Place back in the oven for a minute or two until almost melted. Take out and swirl with spatula or tooth pick. Sprinkle the crushed peppermint candy on top. Wait until cooled to cut. Cut into 16 squares.

Notes: If you lay the squares whole instead of broken up, they take about 4 minutes to melt in the oven. If you go that route, take brownies out about 5 minutes before they are done so they won't over cook.

Tuesday, January 15, 2013

The Vegan Test

I've been wanting to try a month of being vegan for quite a while now, half a year to be exact, and now I'm actually doing it! I've done a month on the pescetarian diet, for no apparent reason other then to build up to my vegan test. Although this will absolutely be a challenge, I am really excited for it! This is a way for me to eat more healthy and discover new delicious foods. During this month, I will be documenting what I eat along with different vegan recipes I have come across and tried out. For now, I leave you with pictures of a few vegan dishes. Look how yummy it looks to be vegan!

As I have been compiling ideas of what to eat, I have come across these two vegan blogs. If you are interested, check them out! VeganYumYum & PostPunkKitchen

If you are vegan or have any recipes you'd like to share with me, I highly appreciate it! Just tell me about it in the comments below!

Cookin’ Up Health in the Kitchen!

What happens when you get 15 strangers in the same kitchen with green aprons, chef knives and a volunteer chef instructor? You make delicious pumpkin muffins and barley jambalaya! We are excited to announce that on Tuesday January 15, we hosted and taught Clark County Food Bank’s first Cooking Matters class. The class was complete with discussion centered on MyPlate, tips for making healthy food choices, the importance of physical activity and free groceries! Each class participant was given the necessary groceries to replicate one of the classroom recipes for themselves and/or their family members at home. The class is part of a six-week series so we look forward to continued cooking and nutrition education with these eager students!

The Cooking Matters program is a national program produced through Share Our Strength which teaches kids and parents important lessons about self-sufficiency in the kitchen. Participants practice fundamental lessons including knife skills, reading ingredient labels, cutting up a whole chicken, and making a healthy meal for a family of four on a $10 budget. Volunteer course chef and nutrition instructors teach cooking skills, practical nutrition information and food budgeting strategies that will last a lifetime, thus reducing the chance of needing food assistance. Adults and teens take home a bag of groceries after each class so they can practice the recipes taught that day.

The goal of the Clark County Nutrition Education program is to continue to expand the Cooking Matters courses throughout the county by holding classes at various locations. We also hope to train volunteer chef and nutrition instructors, shoppers and lead assistants to allow more classes to be taught simultaneously. If you are interested in finding out more about how you might be involved and trained as a volunteer for this program, please contact our Nutrition Education team at [email protected] or 360-693-0939.

Stay tuned for more fun stories and excitement regarding these classes…and recipes we use in class!

Follow these links to try your hand at the recipes we used in Tuesday’s Cooking Matters class

Carrot Cake Smoothie

Coming up with new smoothies can be tricky in the winter months. Carrots are one of the roots we are dependent on this time of year. We like cake. We like carrots. We like carrot cake. Here's a smoothie version that we really. like. Actually, I crave it. Please excuse the orange smoothie 'stache. *burp*

On a nutritional note, did you know that carrots don't contain Vitamin A? They have beta carotene and your body turns it into Vitamin A only with the help of fat. The milk in this smoothie (whether you choose dairy, coconut, or almond) provides a good fat to help this conversion.

Carrot Cake Smoothies
Prep time: 10 minutes, yields: 4 cups

  • 1 cup carrot juice (for a thinner smoothies) or 5 whole carrots (for a thicker one)
  • 1 inch nob fresh ginger
  • 1 cup milk (raw dairy, coconut, or almond milk is best)
  • 1-3 bananas, frozen (you can use room temperature bananas but the smoothie won't be icy-cold)
  • 1/4 cup raisins (optional)
  • 1/2 teaspoon cinnamon
  1. If you have a juicer, juice the carrots and ginger nob. If not, use whole carrots, peel ginger nob and dice.
  2. Place all ingredients in blender and run it on high for about 45-60 seconds, or until smooth. Enjoy!

Browse more Riddlelove recipes here.

Recipes from the Archives on January 8, 2013

Label Lies: What you find on Chicken

This month in Good Housekeeping (January 2013), they scrutinized the labels on chicken*. They went through the buzz-words frequently found to help you determine if it is worth the extra money that usually accompanies these terms.

Here's my rating key:
$ = don't bother
$ = a better option
$$ = worth the extra cash

* I'd link to the actual article, but alas, I couldn't find it on-line.

Chickens can run around outdoors, but there isn't any guarantee that they actually did.
My Rating: $ - I'm going to have a little hope that if they had access to the outdoors, they ran around instead of being crammed into cages where they aren't allowed to move all. Also keep in mind that the USDA only requires outside access, not necessarily the ability to move around without fencing, a specific outside size area or a certain amount of "exercise time" for them.

Yeah, this means diddly-squat. There is no USDA oversight to this terminology and some that have been labeled as "natural" have been injected with antibiotics.
My Rating: $ - It's simply a marketing term with no meat behind it. Just a reason to charge more money.

The practice of injecting hormones into US raised poultry is illegal. and has been since 1959.
My Rating: $ - If this is all they can come up with, spend your money elsewhere. All chicken is hormone free, so don't pay extra for this on the label.

One of the only terms actually regulated by the USDA, the farm must prove that the chickens eat only organic food and raised without any antibiotics or other injections.
My Rating: $$ - This is the real muscle of the industry since it is regulated. Not only do the poultry farmers have to prove that they are up to standards, but the feed providers need to prove THEY are up to standards. for SEVEN YEARS.

Similar to Free-Range, this definition can be loosely interpreted because of the term "raised". It refers to only what happens after the chicken has been hatched.
My Rating: $ - According to Good Housekeeping, a company injected the eggs with antibiotics before they were hatched, so I wouldn't put much faith in anyone using this terminology.

If you don't think that ANY of these terms make a difference, let me share a story with you. I was making dinner for family once and went to Whole Foods for organic chicken. At the last minute, I found out more people were going to be coming, so I scooted out to the closest grocery store and bought their fresh chicken. When cooking, I sectioned the chicken off to make sure I fed "the good stuff" first.

Just as I expected, we ate all of the organic chicken and someone wanted another helping. He ate the chicken and then asked me if I had done something different to the last batch. He said it didn't taste "bad" but it tasted different. When I told him what was different, he said that it didn't taste as fresh or juicy.

So keep that story and these terms in mind next time you are out shopping for chicken. And remember, you don't have to be having people over to get the best. You deserve the freshest and most delicious food even when you're eating alone.

Happy Cooking.

Monday, January 21, 2013

Week 20 - Jan 21

No kindergarten classes this week.

Ms. Gillespie's class will do money activities in Sheppard Math.'
Mrs. Link's class will illustrate their winter poems in KidPix.
Ms. Billings' class will practice multiplication arrays in Harcourt Math.
Ms. Shastri's class will practice in Typing Web.
Ms. Nichols' class will work on math word problems.
Ms. Malone's class will work on their character trait paragraphs.
Mr. Gill's class will work on their book reports.
Ms. Henry's class will practice equivalent fractions in Sheppard Math.

Upper grade classes will practice typing in Typing Web and learn about the inauguration.

Cypress Hill Farm

Well, aren't you a clever girl to use your cookie press to make crackers! Great tip! These look really good.
Crackers are pretty much the only processed food I still buy but try to limit myself to Triscuits. I have made a couple of kinds of crackers but hubby eats them up waaayyy too fast! )

Hi, I'm a new follower over from The backyard Farming Connection! Love your story and the fact that you're striving to live a healthy, self sustainable life! We are also working at eating healthier, growing our own food and eating less processed, it has made a huge difference in our lives!
Looking forward to reading more!

Those sound & look yummy.. thanks for the recipe! I have a cookie press.. and never once thought about using it for homemade crackers. Think I will "pin" this for future reference ) I need to come by more often - you have inspired me greatly today! -Tammy


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