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Archive for September 22, 2017

FOOD FACTS: Kappa Does Not Mean Cucumber!

If you’re a sushi lover, you’ve invariably had—or at least seen—kappa maki. It’s a sushi roll (maki) filled with cucumber, and often garnished with sesame seeds.

Most of us assumed that kappa is the Japanese word for cucumber. Today we discovered differently.

The kappa is a well-known Japanese mythological creature, a water imp that inhabits rivers and ponds.

Threats of the kappa have been used to warn children of the dangers lurking in rivers and lakes. A kappa may try to lure them into water, and pull them down.

Tke kappa is a trickster. It is typically depicted as roughly humanoid with scaly reptilian skin, about the size of a child.

Cucumber is their favorite meal. Hence, kappa maki was named for them. The Japanese word for regular cucumber is kyuuri.

Here’s more about the kappa.

 

Kappa Maki Goma

Kappa maki with goma, sesame seeds. Here’s the recipe from JapaneseFood.About.com.

 

  

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RECIPE: Soft Pumpkin Pretzels With Pumpkin

Pumpkin Stout Pretzels
[1] Warm from the oven and ready to dip in the sweet-and-salty coating. photo courtesy GrowlersAndLace.com.

Libby Pumpkin Puree
[2] Be sure to use pumpkin purée, not pumpkin pie filling, which contains sugar and spices (photo courtesy Libby).

Organic Pumpkin Puree Libby
[3] Libby and other brands offer organic pumpkin purée (photo courtesy Libby).

Glass Of Stout

[4] Enjoy the pretzels with a glass of stout (photo courtesy American Craft Beer).

 

Fall begins at 4:02 today, the autumnal equinox.

An equinox is the moment in which the plane of Earth’s equator passes through the center of the Sun’s disk. This means that the Sun is exactly overhead at a point on the equator. It occurs twice each year.

  • The Vernal Equinox occurs roughly around March 20th, when the sun crosses the equator, moving north (in the Northern Hemisphere). It marks the beginning of spring: longer days and shorter nights.
  • The Autumnal Equinox occurs around September 23rd, when the sun crosses the equator, moving south (in the Northern Hemisphere). It marks the beginning of fall: shorter days and longer nights.
  • On a these two days, the length of day and night are equal lengths, all over the planet.
  • The word equinox derives from the Latin equi, meaning equal, and nox, meaning night. Here’s more (equinox information).
  •  
    That’s the science lesson; now for the treat.

    RECIPE: PUMPKIN & STOUT PRETZELS

    This recipe, sent to us from the CraftBeer.com website of the Brewers Association, is a treat you can serve through the end of the year. Buttery, salty and sweet, the pretzels are enhanced favorite fall spices: cinnamon, clove and nutmeg.

    The plain, uncoated pretzels can be frozen. Just wrap them in plastic wrap and place in a zipper-sealed plastic freezer bag. When ready to serve, thaw, brush with butter and toss them in the sugar-spice mixture.

    The recipe was developed by Sandy Smith of Growlers And Lace.com. Prep time is 1.5 hours.

    Serve them with a glass of stout or other favorite beer (the different types of beer).

    Ingredients For 10-12 Large Pretzels

  • 1 cup stout (ideally oatmeal stout, like Samuel Smith’s)
  • 1/2 cup pure pumpkin purée (not pie filling)
  • 1/4 cup light brown sugar
  • 1 packet dry active yeast*
  • 2 tablespoons vegetable oil
  • 3 cups all-purpose flour
  • 1 cup whole wheat flour
  • 2 teaspoons cinnamon
  • 1/2 teaspoon freshly-grated nutmeg
  • 1/4 teaspoon ground ginger
  • 1/4 teaspoon ground cloves
  • 1/2 teaspoon sea salt
  • 1/4 cup baking soda (for boiling)
  •  
    For The Topping

  • 1/4 cup granulated sugar
  • 1 tablespoon turbinado sugar
  • 1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
  • 1/4 teaspoon freshly grated nutmeg
  • 1/4 teaspoon ground ginger
  • 1/4 teaspoon ground cloves
  • 1 teaspoon kosher salt
  • 1/2 stick melted butter
  •  
    Preparation

    1. COMBINE the stout, pumpkin pureée and brown sugar in a medium saucepan. Heat over medium heat, stirring, until very warm but not hot (no hotter than 110°F). Remove the pan from the heat and sprinkle yeast over the pumpkin mixture. Stir and let stand 5 minutes. At the end of that time, the yeast should be “blooming.”

    2. ADD the all-purpose flour, whole wheat flour, salt and spices to the bowl of a stand mixer. Pour in the pumpkin-yeast mixture, add the oil and stir with a wooden spoon or spatula to moisten the dry ingredients. If the dough is too dry, add another tablespoon or two of stout. Using the dough hook attachment…

    3. KNEAD on medium speed for 2-3 minutes, until the dough forms a smooth ball around the hook and doesn’t cling to the sides of the bowl. If the dough is too sticky, add additional flour, a tablespoon at a time. Cover the dough with plastic wrap and set in a warm place to rise for about 45 minutes. The dough won’t quite double, but it should have a decent lift.

     
    4. LINE baking sheets with parchment and spray with pan spray. Divide the dough into 12 equal pieces and roll each piece into a rope about 18 inches long. Form each dough rope into a pretzel and place on a separate (non-prepared) pan or the countertop. Cover the pretzels with a clean linen cloth and let rise for 25 minutes.

    5. BRING a stockpot or other large pot of water just to a boil. Add the baking soda carefully (it will bubble aggressively for a moment). Stir to dissolve. Boil the pretzels in batches for about a minute, turning halfway through.
    Remove pretzels from water bath and let drain for a minute on clean towels. While you’re boiling the pretzels…

    6. PREHEAT the oven to 450°F. Place boiled pretzels on the parchment-lined and sprayed baking sheets. Bake for 12 to 15 minutes, or until a deep golden brown. Transfer the pretzels to a rack to cool completely. While they’re cooling…

    7. COMBINE the sugars, spices and salt in a pie plate or a similarly-rimmed dish. Brush the pretzels with a very light coat of melted butter, then toss in sugar-spice mixture until coated. Ideally, serve warm.

    ________________

    *If you buy yeast in 1 pound packages instead of individual packets, the equivalent to a single yeast packet is 2.25 teaspoons.
     
      

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