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FOOD HOLIDAY: International Pancake Day

Scallion Pancakes

Scallion Pancakes

Monte Cristo Pancakes

Top: American-style scallion pancakes. Photo and recipe by Joelen Tan for Krusteaz. Middle: Chinese-style scallion pancakes from Zesty South Indiana Kitchen. Here’s the recipe. Bottom: Monte Cristo Pancakes, like the sandwich but with pancakes instead of bread. Photo courtesy Bakerita.com.

 

International Pancake Day is held each year on Shrove Tuesday, also called Fat Tuesday, Mardi Gras (which is French for Fat Tuesday) and in the U.K., Pancake Day. The date changes each year according to the date of Easter Sunday, and can vary from February 3rd to March 9th.

Shrove Tuesday is the last day of feasting before Lent begins, on Ash Wednesday. It is observed mainly in English speaking countries: Australia, Canada, Ireland, New Zealand, the United Kingdom, and the U.S. But it is also observed elsewhere.

Each country has its own customary food.

  • In Spain it’s an omelet (tortilla) made with sausage or pork fat.
  • In Lithuania, Poland and Portugal, it’s doughnuts (fried dough pastry), a custom brought to Hawaii by Portuguese laborers in the late 1800s.
  • Pastry or sweet buns are consumed in Estonia, Finland and Sweden.
  • In the U.K., Canada and Australia, the custom is eating a meal of pancakes.
  •  
    Why pancakes?

    They’re a way to use up rich foods such as eggs, milk, and sugar, before the fasting season of the 40 days of Lent. (The same applies to doughnuts and other pastry). The Lenten fast emphasizes eating plainer food and refraining from food that would give pleasure. In many cultures, this means no meat, dairy or eggs.

    Your Pancake Day celebration does not have to include conventional pancakes with a sweet syrup. Here are ideas for the savory palate.

     
    RECIPE: EASY SCALLION PANCAKES

    This recipe adds garlic powder and sliced scallions to regular pancake batter (or use a conventional Chinese Scallion Pancakes recipe).

    Serve them alongside steak and eggs or simply top with butter. Can you serve them with bacon and sausage? Absolutely!

    This recipe was developed by Joelen Tan for Krusteaz, who used its Buttermilk Pancake Mix. Prep time is 5 minutes, total time is 10-12 minutes.

    Ingredients For 4-8 Pancakes

  • 1 cup buttermilk pancake mix
  • 2/3 cup water
  • 1 teaspoon garlic powder
  • 1/4 cup thinly sliced scallions or green onions
  •  

    Preparation

    1. HEAT a pancake griddle or skillet over medium heat and grease lightly. Whisk together pancake mix, water, garlic powder and scallions until combined. The batter will be slightly lumpy; do not overmix.

    2. POUR 1/4 cup of batter onto the preheated griddle and cook pancakes for 1 to 1-1/2 minutes per side, or until golden brown.
     
    We enjoyed ours served with Korean beef bulgogi and a fried egg, adding an Asian twist to American steak and eggs.
     
    MORE SAVORY PANCAKE RECIPES

  • Bacon, Corn & Cheese Pancakes recipe
  • Bacon Potato Pancakes With Corn Salsa recipe
  • Monte Cristo Pancakes, with ham and cheese recipe
  • Potato Chips & Beer Pancakes recipe
  • Potato Pancakes (Latkes) recipe
  •  
    *Shrove is a form of shrive, which means to obtain absolution for one’s sins by way of confession and penance. It was/is customary for Christians to be “shriven” before the start of Lent.

     
    SEE ALL THE DIFFERENT TYPES OF PANCAKES.
     
      

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    FOOD FUN: Snowman Marshmallows

    Chef Ingrid Hoffman created these fun marshmallow snowmen as a project for kids.

    All you need:

  • Large and mini marshmallows
  • Wooden skewers
  • Red and black gel icings
  •  
    Chef Ingrid stuck the skewers into a piece of styrofoam covered with burlap. You can use half a melon, a stale loaf of bread, or present the skewers on a tray.

    Find more of Chef Ingrid’s recipes—serious and fun—at IngridHoffman.com.
     
    FONDUE, ANYONE?

    These snowmen make great fondue dippers to add to our list of 40 chocolate fondue dippers.

    If you want to whip up a batch of chocolate fondue, here are our favorite recipes.

  • Chocolate fondue
  • White chocolate fondue
  • White chocolate pumpkin fondue
  • Spiced chocolate fondue
  •  

    /home/content/p3pnexwpnas01_data02/07/2891007/html/wp content/uploads/snowman marshmallows ingridhoffmannFB 230

    Marshmallow snowmen can be food-on-a-stick or fondue dippers. Photo courtesy Chef Ingrid Hoffman.

     

      

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    FOOD HOLIDAY: Make A Pisco Sour For National Pisco Day

    pisco-porton-and-la-caravedo-230

    Pisco Portón is an acholado mosto verde
    pisco. Its sister brand, La Caravedo, is a
    pisco puro, from estate-grown Quebranta
    grapes. See the definitions below. Photo
    courtesy Pisco Portón.

     

    Quinoa isn’t the only hot product from Peru. Pisco, Peru’s national spirit, is another.

    Peruvians honor their pisco so much there are two annual holidays celebrated nationally: Pisco Sour Day (Día del Pisco Sour), the first Saturday of February; and Pisco Day (Día del Pisco), the fourth Sunday of July.
     
    WHAT IS PISCO?

    Pisco, a grape-based white spirit, dates from the 16th century. It is Denomination of Origin (D.O.) protected, which means it must be made in Peru, in traditional copper pot stills in small batches.

  • It must be unaged and unaltered, meaning that no additives, flavorings or even water can be added to the distilled product.
  • It must be made from at least one of eight specific grape varietals: Albilla, Italia, Mollar, Moscatel, Negra Corriente, Quebranta, Torontel and Uvina.
  • Pisco was created as an act of rebellion. In 1641, Philip IV, King of Spain imposed heavy taxes on all wine produced in Peru. His Peruvian subjects dodged the tax by distilling the year’s grape harvest in hand-forged copper vats.

    A new white spirit was born and christened pisco, after the Port of Pisco from where it was exported. (Pisco means “bird” in the indigenous Quechua language.)

     
    Pisco became so popular that when the pirate Sir Francis Drake took hostages from the Port of Pisco in the 16th century, he demanded a ransom of 300 bottles.

    Types Of Pisco

    There are three types of pisco:

  • Pisco puro, made from one of the eight grape varietals allowed by law.
  • Pisco acholado, a blend of two or more of the eight grape varietals.
  • Pisco mosto verde, made from any of the eight grape varietals or a blend. Mosto verde refers to a specific process* where the fermentation of freshly pressed grape juice is interrupted before the distillation occurs.
  •  
    Pisco Portón, marketed as a “super-premium pisco,” is the number-one pisco brand exported to the U.S. It’s the most award-winning pisco in the world.
     
    *To make the other two styles of pisco, the fermentation process turns all the sugar content in the grape juice to alcohol. The fermented juice is then distilled. With pisco mosto verde, the juice is distill when there is still sugar present. This results in a product that is velvety and smoother on the palate.

     

    RECIPE: PISCO SOUR

    It is believed that the Pisco Sour was invented in at Morris’ Bar in Lima the 1920s by its American owner, Victor Morris. The recipe was perfected by bartender Mario Bruguet, who added the egg whites to create the velvety cocktail we enjoy today.

    Here’s Pisco Portón’s recipe for the most popular pisco drink, Pisco Sour.
     
    Ingredients Per Drink

  • 2 ounces pisco
  • 1 ounce fresh lime juice
  • 1 ounce simple syrup (recipe)
  • 1 ounce egg whites
  • Dash of Angostura bitters
  • 5 ice cubes
  •  
    Preparation

     

    pisco-sour-piscoportion-230

    Pisco Sour, the national cocktail of Peru. Photo courtesy Pisco Portón.

     
    1. PLACE all ingredients in a blender. Blend on high for 15 seconds, add 5 cubes of ice, and then pulse in the blender 5 times.

    2. STRAIN into a glass. Garnish with 3 drops of Angostura bitters.
     
    MORE PISCO DRINKS

    Here’s a recipe for Pisco Punch. You can find other classic pisco recipes at PiscoPorton.com.

      

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    FOOD FUN: Football Fries (French Fry Footballs)

    If you have kids and like to make special treats for them, head to HungryHappenings.com and sign up for the emails. Even if you don’t make them, you’ll enjoy the creative ideas.

    Here’s one that adults can enjoy, too: French fries shaped like footballs. The Football Fries recipe is on the Hungry Happenings website.

    If you don’t want to be frying or reheating during the game, these recipes can be made in advance:

  • Chocolate Caramel Fudge Footballs (recipe)
  • Microwave Football Caramels (recipe)
  • Super Bowl Popcorn With Chocolate Football Almonds (recipe)
  •  
    And don’t forget the Football Calzone.

     

    Football Fries

    Football fries for the big game. Photo courtesy HungryHappenings.com.

     

      

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    TIP OF THE DAY: Stack Cake Party

    Stack Cake

    Stack Cake

    Stack Cake

    Top: Strawberry Jam Stack Cake from Sweet Auburn Desserts, photo by Deborah Whitlaw Llewellyn. Here’s the recipe. Middle photo from TheSimpleElements.com. Here’s the recipe. Bottom photo from Maman Bakery Cafe | NYC.

     

    Do you have plans for Valentine’s Day? If you have nothing going on, why not round up a group of friends and neighbors and have a stack cake party?

    What’s a stack cake?

    STACK CAKE HISTORY

    Stack cake is an old-fashioned concept from the Southern Appalachian Mountains. It originated as a wedding cake alternative in that economically-challenged region.

    Each guest or family would bring a layer for the cake, and the bride’s family would provide the filling. The layers would be assembled at the party.

    The result: a rustic layer cake with no icing but lots of heart.

    Beyond weddings, stack cake parties were another way for people to get together to exchange recipes and gossip.

    Many types of cake layers could be brought, from sponge-like layers to cookie-like layers. In order stop the typical seven or eight layers from toppling over, each layer was sometimes pressed very flat.

    These days, another un-iced cake, called naked cake, is enjoying its moment. Unlike stack cake, the whole naked cake is made by one person, in one flavor. The sides of the cake aren’t iced, although the top usually is.

    Rather than an economical way to assemble a cake, naked cake economizes on calories and labor, by not frosting the sides.

    YOUR STACK CAKE PARTY

    You never knew exactly how the layers would add up. Even if you told everyone to bring an eight-inch layer of yellow cake or chocolate cake…well, what are the odds that they’d match, even if you provided a recipe?

    Besides, isn’t it more fun if to have a pot luck cake with different layers: carrot, chocolate, devil’s food, gingerbread, red velvet, vanilla and, well, we’d like a layer with big chocolate chunks?

    All you have to do is:

  • Tell everyone what size to make their layer cake (eight inches is standard).
  • You can cap the layers at four or five, or make two cakes.
  • You can assign flavors, or let the universe decide what you get.
  • You provide the filling and some icing to decorate the top.
  • Or you can delegate those, too, and just focus on the beverages.
  •  

     
      

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    FOOD HOLIDAY: National Tater Tot Day

    February 2nd is National Tater Tot Day.

    Chefs nationwide have been putting their own twists on this American comfort food.

    At The Eddy in New York City, the potato is blended with bacon prior to frying. The tots are served in a pool of mustard sauce, topped with pickled mustard seed and English pea purée (we substituted homemade basil mayonnaise).
     
    TATER TOTS HISTORY

    Tater Tots are an American side dish made from deep-fried, grated potatoes. They are miniature croquettes: crisp little cylinders of hash brown-style potatoes. Tater is American dialect for potato, and “tots” came from their small size.

    Although the name may seem generic, Tater Tots® is a registered trademark of Ore-Ida. Tater Tots were created in 1953 when Ore-Ida’s founders, brothers F. Nephi Grigg and Golden Grigg, were considering what to do with leftover slivers of cut-up potatoes from their French fries.

    They chopped them up, mixed them with flour and seasonings, and pushed logs of the grated/mashed potato mixture through a form, slicing off and frying small pieces. The rest is history.

    The Ore-Ida brand was acquired by H. J. Heinz Company in 1965.
     
    PICKLED MUSTARD SEEDS

    What’s with pickled mustard seeds? Over the last year or so, they’ve have become a trend with chefs, some of whom use them as a condiment with fatty foods (bacon, charcuterie, fried food, pastrami, etc.).

     

    Gourmet Tater Tots

    Mustard Seeds

    Top: Tater Tots interpreted at The Eddy in New York City, with pea purée and pickled mustard seeds. Bottom: Pickled mustard seeds from OurDailyBrine.com.

     
    The Eddy paired them with their version of Tater Tots.

    To make your own, follow this recipe from OurDailyBrine.com. to make your own pickled mustard seeds.
     
    MORE TATER TOTS

  • Gourmet Potato Tots Recipes
  • Baked Potato Tots Recipe
  •   

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    FOOD FUN: Groundhog Day

    /home/content/p3pnexwpnas01_data02/07/2891007/html/wp content/uploads/groundhog grinds 230sq

    Celebrating Groundhog Day with coffee grounds. Photo courtesy Folgers.

     

    The Italian artist Giulia Bernardelli doesn’t work in pastels or oils; she works in coffee. See her stunning work here.

    For more images, go to Google Images and search for Giulia Bernardelli.

    You may not be able to paint with spilled coffee, but you can try your skill with ground coffee.

    Get an artist’s paintbrush, and fashion your picture as you may have once put magnetic hair on Wooly Willy.

    What to do with your coffee groundhog? We have no idea; it’s just food fun.

     

     
      

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    FOOD FUN: Good Luck Foods For The Chinese New Year

    The Chinese New Year starts on February 8th. It’s the Year of the Monkey.

    It’s also known as the Lunar New Year, since it’s based on the lunar calendar; and other Asian countries besides China celebrate it. The celebration lasts for 15 days, and is celebrated by an estimated 1.4 billion people around the world.

    Families gather to feast and to wish each other good luck in the year ahead. Children may be given red envelopes filled with coins, although the money inside is not as important as the color and symbol found on the envelopes, which signify happiness and good blessings.

     
    FUN FACTS ABOUT CHINESE NEW YEAR

    These tidbits come from Calbee North America, a company that specializes in crisp, natural snacks with popular brands like Harvest Snaps, Saya Snow Pea Crisps and Shrimp Chips.

  • The start of the Chinese New Year varies each year. It depends entirely on the phases of the moon, which is why it is also known as the Lunar New Year. It usually begins sometime between January 21st and February 10th.
  • The Chinese New Year engenders the world’s largest human migration, known as Chunyan. More than one billion people board planes, trains, boats, buses and cars to visit loved ones.
  • Chinese New Year celebrations were born out of fear and myth. Legend spoke of the wild beast Nien (which also is the word for year) who appeared at the end of each year, attacking and killing villagers. Loud noises and bright lights were used to scare the beast away.
  • No meat is eaten on the first day of the Chinese New Year. This is meant to ensure a long and happy life. (Did those ancient Chinese know about cholesterol?)
  • The meal on Chinese New Year’s Eve is the most important dinner of the year. Typically, families gather at a relative’s house for dinner. These days, many families often celebrate at a restaurant.
  • Greet people with the phrase Kung Hei Fat Choi. It means Happy New Year, or May You Have Good Fortune, in Cantonese.
  •    

    Calamondin Oranges

    Pomelo

    Lucky citrus: Both oranges and pomelos are considered good luck for the Lunar New Year. Top photo courtesy FamilyFeedbag.com, bottom photo courtesy Good Eggs | San Francisco.

     

     

    Branzino

    A whole fish is served to ensure a good start and finish to the year. Photo courtesy Eataly.

     

    GOOD LUCK FOODS

    Stock up for Chinese New Year with:

    1. Oranges & Tangerines

    Displaying these fruits, and eating them, is said to bring wealth and luck. The tradition stems from the way the Chinese words for gold and orange sound alike, while the word for tangerine echoes luck.
     
    2. Long Noodles

    Eating the longest possible noodles portends long life. Unless you can buy uncut fresh strands from a pasta shop, look for a box of spaghettoni.
     
    3. Pomelo

    This parent of the grapefruit is thought to bring prosperity and status, because its Cantonese name sounds similar to the words for prosperity and status. (The pomelo was crossed with a variety of orange to produce the grapefruit.)

     
    4. Long Leafy Greens and Long Beans

    Chinese broccoli and long beans are cooked without slicing, to wish for a long life. You can substitute regular broccoli, broccoli rabe or broccolini. As for the long beans: They’re so much fun, so see if you can find them at a Chinese grocer.
     
    5. Whole Fish

    The Chinese word for fish sounds like the word for abundance. The fish is served with the head and tail intact to ensure a good start and finish to the year.

      

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    PRODUCT: Mardi Gras King Cake Kit

    King Cake

    King Cake

    Here’s what you can make from the King Cake Kit. You can use the icing and sparkling sugars to create your own special design. Photos courtesy King Arthur Flour.

     

    Egad: It’s a perfect storm of food holidays! The Super Bowl is February 7th, Lunar New Year begins February 8th, Mardi Gras follows on February 9th, and Valentine’s Day is February 14th.

    We’re tackling them one by one. Here, an easy and most delicious King Cake kit from King Arthur Flour lets you celebrate in style. It has everything you need to make a fine King Cake. You can even host a King Cake party, as many do in Louisiana.

    Hundreds of thousands of King Cakes are eaten in Louisiana during the Carnival season: at home, in offices and at King Cake parties.

    While people in other parts of the country may order a King Cake from a baking company in Louisiana, making your own with a King Arthur product is likely to be tastier, not to mention less expensive and more fun.
     
    THE KING CAKE KIT

    What’s included:

  • 1-pound box of premium cake mix (an egg- and butter-rich yeasted sweet dough)
  • Almond paste for the filling
  • White icing mix
  • 2-ounce bag of each decorating sugar in the Mardi Gras colors of yellow, green and purple
  •  
    The traditional plastic baby is not included, but you can get one at the nearest party store (in the Baby Shower section).

    The kit is $19.95 at KingArthurFlour.com.

     
    ________________________________________
    *The colors were selected in 1872 to honor the visiting Russian Grand Duke Alexis Alexis Alexandrovich Romanoff, whose house colors were purple, green and gold. Purple signifies justice, green represents faith and gold is for power.

     

    THE HISTORY OF KING CAKE

    The King Cake is an adaptation of the French Epiphany Cake. While an Epiphany Cake is subdued—a round of crisp brown pastry—the celebration cakes in New Orleans are decorated in the three official colors of Mardi Gras: purple, green and gold*.

    The cake itself is named for the three Wise Men, also called Magi or Kings. In France the Epiphany Cake is called galette des rois, king cake.

    The King Cake tradition is believed to have arrived in New Orleans around 1870. In France, puff pastry (pâte à choux) is filled with almond cream (frangipane). But in New Orleans, the concept took another direction.

    The first King Cakes for Mardi Gras were simple rings of yeast dough, some braided, with a small amount of decoration.

    The cakes became more festive over time, incorporating the Mardi Gras colors.

    In more recent years, the fillings have followed modern tastes. You can find them in chocolate, numerous fruit flavors, even cream cheese. Royal icing with the three official colors of sparkling sugar decorate the tops.

    Shapes have evolved, too: round, oval, square, and at fine restaurants, deconstructed. There are also cookie and macarons in purple, green and gold.

    The ubiquitous cakes range from garish supermarket options to elegant pastry from the best bakers.
     
    What About The Baby?

    The cake traditionally includes a small plastic baby representing Baby Jesus. The person who gets the piece of cake with the baby is said to have good luck for the next year.

    Note, however, that the lucky trinket has various privileges and obligations, which can include hosing next year’s party—or at least, bringing the cake.

    After the rich Danish dough is braided and baked, the “baby” is inserted. The top of the ring or oval cake is then covered with delicious sugar toppings in the Mardi Gras colors.

    Today, a tiny plastic baby is the common prize. At a party, the King Cake is sliced and served. Each person looks to see if their piece contains the “baby.” If so, then that person is named “King” for a day and bound by custom to host the next party and provide the King Cake.
     
    In earlier days, the baby might be made of porcelain, or even gold in wealthy homes.

    These days, since no one should bake plastic inside a cake, the trinket is typically inserted through the underside of the baked cake.

    In the past, as in France, other trinkets such as coins and charms could be baked into the cake. In humbler homes, a pecan, pea or bean could be baked in.

    Trinket or not, we look forward to a big slice of our King Arthur King Cake.

     

    King Cake

    Glamorous King Cake

    Deconstructed King Cake

    Baby Figurines

    Top: A nicely decorated King Cake from Hudson Valley Chocolates. Second: A glamorous King Cake from New Orleans confectioner Sucre. Third: Chef Ric Tramonto’s deconstructed King Cake at Restaurant R’evolution. Bottom: A baby figurine is inserted into the cake. These are from Wilton, but any party store should have them.

     

      

    Comments

    SUPER BOWL RECIPE: Football Calzone

    What have you planned for the Super Bowl? How about this Football Calzone: layers of pizza crust topped with pepperoni, sauce and mozzarella.

    It was created by Beth of HungryHappenings.com for Tablespoon.com, part of Pillsbury. Beth who says that it is “super simple” to make and recommends it as a hearty appetizerg.

    First, you’ll need a Wilton First And Ten Football Pan. Made for cakes, it’s also happy to bake your calzone.

    A calzone is essentially a “pocket pizza”: It has the same ingredients as pizza, but the crust is folded over, similar to an empanada or turnover.

    You also can stuff more ounces of ingredients into a calzone than you can add to a pizza crust. Although Beth doesn’t include ricotta in this recipe, we love to pile in ricotta as well as mozzarella.

    RECIPE: FOOTBALL CALZONE

    Prep time is 20 minutes, cook time is 20 mimutes.

    Ingredients For 12 Servings

  • Cooking spray
  • 4 tubes Pillsbury refrigerated thin pizza crust
  • 3 ounces pepperoni, sliced
  • 3 cups mozzarella cheese, shredded
  • 1-1/2 cups pizza sauce
  • 1 string cheese
  •  
    Preparation

    1. PREHEAT the oven to 425°F. Spray a football-shaped cake pan with cooking spray.

    2. UNROLL 2 pizza crusts onto baking sheets and bake for 8-10 minutes, until golden brown. Cut football shapes out of crusts, one larger than the other, which will fit inside the cake pan. Tip: First cut a football shape from parchment, check the size against the pan, and use it as a cutting template.

     

    Football Pizza

    string-cheese-daytondailynews-shutterstock_46018177-230

    Top and middle: Football Calzone. Photos courtesy Tablespoon.com. Bottom: String cheese for the football laces. Photo courtesy DaytonDailyNews.com.

     
    3. UNROLL and drape the third tube of pizza dough over the inside of football pan. Sprinkle on 1/3 of the pepperoni, cheese, and sauce. Top with the smaller football crust. Sprinkle on 1/3 of the remaining pepperoni, cheese, and sauce. Top with larger football-shaped crust. Sprinkle on the remaining pepperoni, cheese, and sauce.

    4. UNROLL and drape the fourth tube of pizza dough over top of the pan. Cut off the dough around the edge of pan and pinch the dough together along the edge.

    5. BAKE for 15 minutes. Then turn the oven off, cover the calzone with foil, and leave in oven for 5 minutes. Meanwhile, cut the string cheese to create the laces of the football.

    6. REMOVE the calzone from the oven and un-mold it onto a serving platter. Add “laces” of string cheese. Serve hot.

     
    HERE ARE STEP-BY-STEP PHOTOS AND INSTRUCTIONS.

      

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