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TIP OF THE DAY: Reuben Sandwich Day & Recipe For Reuben Muffins

Reuben Sandwich

Reuben On Marble Rye

Turkey Reuben On Rye

[1] A classic Reuben Sandwich (photo J. Java |Fotolia). [2] A Reuben on marble rye (photo courtesy Boar’s Head). [3] A Turkey Reuben on plain rye instead of pumpernickel (photo National Turkey Federation).

 

In 2013, March 14th was declared National Reuben Sandwich Day by the city of Omaha, birthplace of the Reuben Sandwich.

HISTORY OF THE REUBEN SANDWICH

As the story goes, Reuben Kulakofsky (1873-1960), a Jewish Lithuanian-born wholesale grocer, invented the sandwich in the late 1920s for his weekly poker game. He may have had input from members of the group, which held forth in the Blackstone Hotel from about 1920 through 1935.

The Reuben he created is a grilled or toasted sandwich on rye or pumpernickel, with generous amounts of corned beef, sauerkraut, Swiss cheese and either Russian or Thousand Island dressing (the difference is the pickle relish in the latter).

Among the poker players was the hotel’s owner, Charles Schimmel, who added it to the Blackstone’s lunch menu, where it was quite popular.

But the Reuben Sandwich became known nationally when a hotel employee won a national contest with the recipe.

The National Sandwich Idea Contest was a promotion held during National Sandwich Month, to inspire professional cooks to create excitement in the sandwich category. It was sponsored by the Chicago-based Wheat Flour Institute.

The first winners were announced in 1956, and top honors went to Fern Snider, a cook at the Blackstone [source]. The sandwich recipe was provided (restaurant sized, for 48 sandwiches!) to restaurants nationwide.

Another story credits Arnold Reuben (1883-1970), the German-Jewish owner of the Reuben’s Delicatessen in New York City (open 1908 to 2001, changing locations numerous times).

In a 1938 interview with Arnold Manoff, a writer with the Federal Writers’ Project of the WPA, Arnold Reuben details his creation of the “Reuben Special,” but it was made with roast beef, not corned beef, in 1926 [source—a seven-page transcript of the interview].

He also claims, in that interview, to have created the concept of sandwiches named for celebrities. That claim is not contested.

The evidence says Omaha wins. But it took until March 2013, in Omaha, for the mayor to proclaim March 14th as Reuben Sandwich Day.

Check out our Sandwich Glossary for other sandwich histories.
 
REUBEN SANDWICH VARIATIONS

The Reuben has been adapted many times over, including a substitute of pastrami, turkey (photo #2) or tongue for the corned beef, and coleslaw for the sauerkraut. Rye or marble rye (photo #2) can stand in for the pumpernickel.

Some variations aren’t grilled (so the cheese isn’t melted, alas). Some variations:

  • Georgia Reuben: a Michigan variant of a turkey Reuben that substitutes barbecue sauce or French dressing for the Russian/Thousand Island dressing.
  • Grouper Reuben: a Florida specialty that substitutes local grouper for the corned beef.
  • Lobster Reuben: this Florida Keys variation substitutes lobster for the corned beef.
  • Montreal Reuben: substitutes Montreal-style smoked meat for corned beef.
  • Walleye Reuben: a Minnesota version that features the state fish, the walleye, instead of corned beef.
  • West Coast Reuben: substitutes Dijon mustard for the Thousand Island dressing.
  •  
    We’ve also published recipes for Reuben Egg Rolls (photo #5) and Reuben Collard Wraps (photo #6).

    A Reuben on a pumpkernickel bagel (photo #7). Oy vey! A pumpernickel wrap sandwich is a much better homage (they’re made by Tumaro’s and can be found nationwide, including at Walmart).

    How about Reuben Tacos?

    This year we have Reuben Biscuits (photo #3). The recipe follows.

     

    RECIPE: REUBEN MUFFINS

    Thanks to King Arthur Flour for this variation (photo #4). Prep time is 15-20 minutes, bake time is 22-24 minutes.

    The muffins are delicious with scrambled eggs.

    Ingredients For 15 Biscuits

  • 2 cups unbleached all-purpose Flour
  • 3/4 teaspoon salt
  • 1 tablespoon baking powder
  • 2 teaspoons sugar
  • 4 tablespoons cold butter
  • 1 cup diced Swiss cheese (1/4″ dice)
  • 3/4 cup diced ham (1/4″ dice)
  • 1/3 cup well-drained sauerkraut
  • 1/4 cup sour cream
  • 1/2 cup milk
  • Cream for brushing
  • Optional: Thousand Island dressing
  •  
    Preparation

    1. PREHEAT the oven to 425°F. Lightly grease a baking sheet, or line it with parchment.

    2. WHISK together the flour, salt, baking powder, and sugar. Work the butter into the flour until the mixture is unevenly crumbly. Mix in the cheese, ham and sauerkraut until evenly distributed.

    3. WHISK together the sour cream and milk and add to the dough, stirring to combine. The dough should be sticky. Drop the dough by the 1/4-cupful onto the prepared baking sheet (a muffin scoop works well here).

    The biscuits can be spaced quite close together. About 1″ apart is fine.

    4. BRUSH the biscuits with a bit of cream; this will help their crust brown.

    5. BAKE the biscuits for 22 to 24 minutes, until they’re golden brown. Remove them from the oven and cool slightly in the pan. Serve warm or at room temperature. Thousand Island dressing is a nice accompaniment.
     
     
    MORE REUBEN RECIPES

  • Reuben Egg Rolls
  • Reuben Collard Wraps (meat or vegan)
  • Reuben Tacos
  • Reuben Burger
  • Vegetarian Reuben with vegan pastrami
  • Reuben Hors Bites or Beer Bites
  • Reuben Hot Dogs
  • Reuben ravioli from Chef Michael Symon
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    Reuben Biscuits

    Reuben Egg Rolls

    Reuben Collard Wrap

    Reuben On A Bagel

    [4] Reuben Biscuits (recipe and photo courtesy King Arthur Flour. [5] An Egg Roll Reuben (photo courtesy Dietz & Watson). [6] A Reuben Collard Wrap (photo courtesy Spring Vegan). [7] Reuben on a pumpernickel bagel—with added mustard. Oy vey! (photo courtesy

     

      

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    FOOD HOLIDAY: National Ranch Dressing Day & The History Of Ranch Dressing

    Hidden Valley Ranch Dressing

    Kraft Buttermilk Ranch Dressing

    Casserole With Ranch Dressing

    [1] America’s #1 bottled dressing, Hidden Valley Ranch, and [2] Kraft, a runner-up. Note that both are labeled both ranch and buttermilk. [3] The dressing is used to top tacos, pizzas, and casseroles like this one. Here’s the recipe from Kraft.

     

    March 10th is National Ranch Dressing Day.

    Based on sales of bottled dressing, Ranch is America’s favorite. It surpassed the previous favorite, Italian dressing, way back in 1992.

    Ranch dressing is made of buttermilk, mayonnaise, seasonings (black pepper, garlic, ground mustard seed, lemon juice, paprika) and herbs (chives, parsley, and dill). Sour cream or yogurt are sometimes used for all or part of the buttermilk or mayonnaise.

    Here’s some little-known food history:

    You heard it here first: ranch and buttermilk are the same dressing. Buttermilk dressing, which has been made in the southern U.S. for centuries, has the same recipe.

    Look closely at recipes and packaged dressings. Many have both “buttermilk” and “ranch” in the title or on the label.

    HISTORY OF RANCH DRESSING

    By the late 1800s, the naturally-occurring sour milk, called buttermilk, was popular in baked goods, for marinating chicken, as a health food at spas and sanitariums, and other applications.

    Printed recipes for buttermilk dressing go back more than 100 years in southern cookbooks.

    The original was a boiled dressing made with eggs, vinegar, buttermilk, herbs and spices. (Famed restaurant critic Craig Claiborne, a Southern boy, hated it.)

    With the advent of commercial mayonnaise in the 1930s, it became easier to make, and no boiling was required.

    As modern refrigeration (in the form of the ice box) became commonplace in homes, the milk no longer soured. Commercial dairies began to culture it, and sold the buttermilk we know today beginning in the 1920s.

    But before then, the dressing became popular among cowboys. With a wealth of cattle, buttermilk was more available on the High Plains* than vegetable oils. The chuck wagons dished out creamy buttermilk-based dressings for a long time [source].

    Here’s a longer discussion of the evolution of buttermilk.

    In the early 1950s, Steve Henson, a Nebraskan working in the Alaska bush, created a dressing for his crew from buttermilk, sour cream, mayonnaise and seasonings: garlic, herbs and spices, onions and salt.

    In 1954, Steve and his wife Gayle opened Hidden Valley Ranch, a dude ranch in the Santa Ynez mountains, near Santa Barbara, California. They served the dressing to guests and called it ranch dressing.

    Aha!

    It was very popular, and guests asked to buy it to take home. The Hensons sold it both as a finished product and as packets of dry mix to be combined with mayonnaise and buttermilk.

    Demand for the dressing grew much more than demand for bookings at the ranch. The Hidden Valley Ranch Food Products was incorporated and a factory established.

    The dressing was first distributed to supermarkets in the California and the Southwest, and eventually, nationwide. The brand was purchased by Clorox and the ranch sold.

    And now you know how old-fashioned buttermilk dressing turned into the more intriguing-sounding ranch dressing.

     
    HOW TO USE RANCH DRESSING

    Ranch dressing is common in the U.S. as a salad dressing and a dip for crudités. It is also used:

  • As a dip for chips and pretzels.
  • As a dip or sauce for fried food: chicken fingers, French fries, fried mushrooms, fried onion rings, fried pickles, fried zucchini, hushpuppies, jalapeño poppers.
  • As a condiment or sauce for baked potatoes, burgers, casseroles, chicken wings, pizza, tacos, wraps and other sandwiches; and with seafood such as Arctic char, lobster, salmon and shrimp.
  • According to an article on ranch dressing facts, Melissa McCarthy and Courteney Cox have been known to chug it, and Katy Perry insists on ranch in her backstage rider (what is available in her dressing room).

    ________________

    *The High Plains comprise southeastern Wyoming, southwestern South Dakota, western Nebraska, eastern Colorado, western Kansas, eastern New Mexico, western Oklahoma, and south of the Texas Panhandle.

  •  

    WHY YOU SHOULD MAKE YOUR OWN RANCH DRESSING

    Be Food Smart researched America’s favorite dressing, Hidden Valley Ranch, to point out the brand promise vis-à-vis the actual ingredients. Here’s their full article, but the highlights:

    What the brand’s website says:

    Our Original Ranch® recipes are made with wholesome ingredients and the perfect blend of herbs and spices. Enjoy the farm fresh taste of Hidden Valley® in our ranch dressing mixes, dips and salad toppings.

    The actual ingredient list:

    INGREDIENTS: Soybean oil, water, egg yolk, sugar, salt, cultured nonfat buttermilk, natural flavors (soy), spices, less than 1% of: dried garlic, dried onion, vinegar, phosphoric acid, xanthan gum, modified food starch, monosodium glutatmate, artificial flavors, disodium phosphate, sorbic acid and calcium disodium EDTA as preservatives, disodium inosinate, and disodium guanylate.

    Not exactly wholesome or farm fresh!

    So, time to really know how good ranch is, by making your own. We adapted this recipe from Simply Recipes.

    Make your own buttermilk. You don’t have to buy a quart of buttermilk. You can make 1 cup of buttermilk by adding 2 tablespoons of fresh lemon juice or vinegar to a one-cup measure, plus enough milk to make 1 cup. Stir and let sit.

    Turn buttermilk/ranch into blue cheese dressing. Just stir in 1/2 cup crumbled quality blue cheese at the end.

    RECIPE: BUTTERMILK RANCH DRESSING

    Ingredients For 1.5 Cups

  • 1 cup buttermilk
  • 1/2 cup mayonnaise
  • 1 teaspoon fresh lemon juice
  • 1/8 teaspoon paprika
  • 1/4 teaspoon mustard powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1/8 teaspoon black pepper
  • 1 tablespoon fresh parsley, finely chopped
  • 1 teaspoon fresh chives, finely chopped
  • 1 teaspoon fresh dill, finely chopped (substitute 1/4 teaspoon of dry dill, but nothing beats fresh)
  •  
    Variations

    There are many variations on the original ranch recipe. Anyone can adjust the seasonings in the recipe above to bring out the flavors you like. You can also switch them out; for example:

  • A blend of Greek yogurt (1/3) and buttermilk (2/3).
  • Apple cider vinegar instead of lemon juice.
  • Cayenne instead of black pepper.
  • Dijon mustard instead of powdered mustard.
  • Minced garlic clove or 1 teaspoon garlic powder.
  • Scallions instead of minced chives—and more of them!
  • Tarragon instead of dill.
  •  
    Preparation

     

    Buttermilk Ranch Dressing

    Wedge Salad Buttermilk Dressing

    Crudites Plate

    [4] Freshly made buttermilk/ranch dressing. Here’s the recipe from Little Broken. [5] A wedge salad with buttermilk/ranch dressing. Here’s the recipe from Creative Culinary. [6] Crudités with buttermilk/ranch dressing, from Good Cheap Eats.

     
    1. WHISK together the buttermilk and mayonnaise in a medium bowl. When fully combined, blend in the other ingredients. That’s it!

    2. COVER and refrigerate. It will keep a few weeks.

      

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    TIP OF THE DAY: Seafood Gravy With Biscuits Or Toast

    Biscuits & Gravy

    Biscuits & Oyster Gravy

    Fried Egg, Biscuits & Gravy

    Biscuits & Gravy Recipe

    Shucked Oysters

    [1] Elevate your biscuits, like these kabocha sage biscuits. Here’s the recipe from Betty S. Liu. [2] Simple oyster gravy. Here’s the recipe from Anson Mills. [3] Put an egg on it (photo courtesy Pillsbury). [4] Surf and turf: oyster gravy over ham and biscuits (photo courtesy Pillsbury). [5] Shucked oysters. Your store may also sell a container of shucked oyster meats (photo courtesy The Spectator Hotel).

     

    Biscuits and gravy is a popular breakfast dish in the southern United States, a comfort food of biscuits smothered in sawmill or sausage gravy (see the different types of gravy, below).

    It’s a hearty gravy, made from the drippings of cooked pork sausage, white flour, milk, and often bits of sausage, bacon, ground beef or other meat. The meat gives heft to the dish as a main dish.

    Last year we featured biscuits and gravy as a Tip Of The Day. Check out a classic recipe and the history of biscuits and gravy.

    This week, Anson Mills sent us a recipe for oyster gravy on toast, using their local Sea Island oysters. It sure is an improvement on butter or jam.

    If fish for breakfast sounds strange, think of:

  • American shrimp and grits, bagels and lox, smoked salmon scramble (a.k.a. lox and eggs), and brunch dishes like seafood quiche or frittata and crab casserole and smoked salmon Eggs Benedict.
  • British kedergee—smoked fish with rice and eggs (based on the Indian khichri, from the days of the Raj).
  • Chinese congee (porridge).
  • Japanese grilled fish*.
  • Scandinavian smoked fish and pickled fish.
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    GRAVY CULTURE

    Time out for an accolade: Anson Mills, founded by food visionary Glenn Roberts, has managed to reclaim America’s heirloom grains from oblivion. Bred for flavor, not for efficiency and profit, whatever products bear their name are the best of breed.

    If you want the best, or know someone who does, take a look. You’ll be overwhelmed at the riches, so be prepared to return.

    Says Glenn Roberts: “We won’t quibble with anyone outside our region over Southern ownership of gravy culture. But we will go to the mat defending the high art and undervalued virtues of seafood gravy.

    “Stop and think about it: When was the last time you heard anyone talk about seafood gravy? When did you last hear someone utter the phrase ‘gravy culture’?”

    Oyster Gravy Recipe

    Seafood gravy “flowed exclusively from the Sea Islands of Carolina and Georgia,” says John. About the oyster gravy recipe, he elaborates:

    “…This recipe is really about secret ingredients within a lost cannon of Sea Island slave food culture: one from the big house larder, the other from hidden gardens.

    “From the big house, the aforementioned beurre manié—made with local butter and white lammas wheat flour grown on the Sea Islands—to thicken this gravy and create a silk and satin finish to match the voluptuousness of fresh shucked oysters.”

    In his recipe, the deglazing liquid is white wine and the flour is added at the end, in the form of beurre manié (a mash of flour and butter).

    And, he serves the oyster gravy over toast (photo #2), in the manner of another old breakfast favorite, creamed chipped beef on toast. But biscuits are an easy substitute.

    Here’s the recipe. Try it for breakfast or brunch, or:

  • As a first course at dinner.
  • As a tea-time snack, instead of tea sandwiches.
  • When you need some comfort food, more elegant than mac and cheese.
  • Whenever life gives you a bounty of oysters.
  • As surf-and-turf, topping a slice of ham on the biscuit.
  • With specialty biscuits, like these sage and kabocha squash biscuits, or these dill biscuits with smoked salmon.
  •  
    Which Oysters To Use?

    The freshest ones! If you live on or near one of the coasts, ask for the best. Size doesn’t matter since you’ll be quartering them. Any plump, briny-aroma oysters will do.

    Anson Mills chose local oysters, but you can make seafood gravy with any fish or shellfish or snails. Or, order the best oysters, whole or already shucked, from Willapa Oysters.

    Seafood Gravy

    Fish gravies are parts of global cuisines from Indian fish curries to African fish gravy, a breakfast and dinner dish.

    TIP: You can add oysters or other seafood to a hearty mushroom gravy recipe.

    DIFFERENT TYPES OF GRAVY

    Gravy is a category of sauce made in its simplest form from flour (a thickener), fat (and pan drippings) from meat and poultry and seasonings (salt and pepper). Vegetables can be added, as well as wine and additional thickeners, such as cornstarch.

    The word originally referred to a sauce made from the drippings (fat and uses) from cooked meat and poultry, there are now vegetarian and vegan gravies, and gravies that add milk or buttermilk, even tomato.

    Jus (pronounced ZHOO), is the French term for a meat gravy that has been refined and condensed into a clear liquid.

    All gravies are sauces, but not all sauces are gravy.
     
    In classic American cooking, gravies are white or brown. Popular gravies include:

  • Brown gravy, made with the drippings from roasted meat or poultry.
  • Cream gravy is the white gravy used in Biscuits and Gravy and Chicken Fried Steak. It is a béchamel sauce made with meat drippings and optionally, bits of mild sausage or chicken liver. Other names include country gravy, milk gravy, sawmill gravy, sausage gravy and white gravy.
  • Egg gravy is a béchamel sauce that is served over biscuits, essentially cream gravy with a beaten egg whisked in. The egg creates small pieces in the gravy.
  • Giblet gravy is a brown gravy that includes the giblets of turkey or chicken, and is served with those fowl. It is the traditional Thanksgiving gravy.
  • Mushroom gravy is a brown or white gravy made with mushrooms.
  • Onion gravy is made from large quantities of slowly sweated, chopped onions mixed with stock or wine. Commonly served with bangers and mash, eggs, chops, or other grilled or fried meat which by way of the cooking method would not produce their own gravy.
  • Red-eye gravy is a gravy made from the drippings of ham fried in a skillet, a Southern specialty served over biscuits, grits or ham. The pan is deglazed with coffee, and the gravy has no thickening agent.
  • Vegetable gravy is a vegetarian gravy made with boiled or roasted vegetables plus vegetable stock, flour and fat. Wine and/or vegetable juice can be added.
  •  
    And let’s not forget our favorite dessert “gravy”: chocolate sauce, made with fat (butter), flour, cocoa powder and sugar.
    ________________

    *A traditional Japanese breakfast is what Americans might order or dinner at a Japanese restaurant: rice, grilled fish, miso soup, pickles and a Japanese-style omelette (tamago). Here’s more information.

      

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    TIP OF THE DAY: Margarita Vs. Not A Margarita

    Cherry Margarita

    Grape Margarita

    Guava Margarita

    Classic Margarita

    Smoked Salt Rim Margarita

    Margarita Glass

    Will the real Margarita please stand up? [1] Cherry Margarita (photo courtesy Created By Diane). [2] Grape Margarita (photo courtesy California Table Grape Commission. [3] Guava Margarita (photo courtesy Chef Ingrid Hoffmann). [4] and [5] The real deal, from Casa Noble Tequila: a classic Margarita and the classic with a smoked salt rim. [6] A Margarita made with GranGala orange liqueur in a Margarita glass.

     

    Around this time of year, we get bombarded with every imaginable recipe for National Margarita Day (February 22nd).

    In fact, most of these drinks are Margarita in name only.

    Because Margarita and Martini are the two most popular cocktails in America, some tequila companies (who know better) and establishments (who should) call too many concoctions by one of these names. Grape Margarita? Avocado Margarita? Seriously?

    Here are just a few of the oh-so-wrong Margarita recipes we’ve received in recent weeks:

  • Avocado Margarita: blanco tequila, triple sec, lime, avocado (one entire avocado per drink!), fresh cilantro, cayenne pepper.
  • Mango Scotch Bonnet Margarita: tequila tequila, lime juice, 3 slices of scotch bonnet pepper, diced mango, mango jam.
  • Raspberry Margarita: oro tequila, Cointreau, lime juice, black raspberry syrup, fresh raspberries.
  • Spicy Raspberry Margarita: reposado tequila, Chambord, Sprite, sour mix, Tabasco.
  •  
    When did this all begin? In our experience, it was the mid 1980s, when we first saw a “Peach-arita” featured on a menu in East Hampton. It substituted peach schnapps for the Cointreau.

    It was delicious—we had two—and the name was delightfully catchy. Many variations have appeared all over the ensuing 30 years. But in retrospect, they aren’t Margaritas at all; just cocktails riding on Margarita’s coattails, appropriating the name.

    We are complicit: We’ve published numerous poseur Margarita recipes, because they were really good cocktails. But the madness (at least ours) stops today.

    We’ll still publish good cocktail recipes, but any faux Margarita will be linked to this conscious-raising rant.
     
    WHAT IS A MARGARITA?

    The original Margarita combined tequila, Cointreau, and lime juice: a orange-flavored tequila cocktail with a salt rim, served with a lime wheel (here’s the Margarita history).

    Unless you’re talking Frozen Margarita—where any flavor can be added via fruit purée—Margarita is an orange drink, not a cherry, grape or pineapple one.

    Once you take great license with ingredients, you create a different cocktail.

    Would you make a Pineapple Cosmo, substituting the standard cranberry juice with pineapple juice? Create a Grapefruit Screwdriver?

    A Screwdriver combines orange juice and vodka. Grapefruit juice and vodka is a Greyhound.

    Adding cranberry juice to a Greyhound produces a Sea Breeze.

    And that’s how it should be. Cocktails should observe a nomenclature, like everything else.

    MARGARITA VARIATIONS

    That being said, there is license to slightly vary the original ingredients. Each change marginally alters the original flavor profile, but the drink is still recognizable.

  • Tequila: You can use reposado or anejo tequila instead of the original blanco (silver). But you can’t make a “Mezcal Margarita,” any more than you can make a Vodka Margarita. Call those drinks something else!
  • Cointreau: You can use a different orange liqueur. Many bartenders quickly adopted the less expensive triple sec (generic orange liqueur); Grand Marnier promoted the “Grand” Margarita, making it seem a better choice (although Cointreau is the most expensive of the orange liqueurs—$10 more per bottle than Grand Marnier). GranGala did the same, calling a Margarita made with its liqueur the Ultra Margarita. We received an Orange Blossom Margarita recipe that included both Grand Marnier and Pavan Orange Blossom Liqueur—all right—but further added agave and club soda. We’d call that an Orange Blossom Fizz.
  • Lime juice: You could substitute or add a different citrus juice, creating a Blood Orange Margarita, a Grapefruit Margarita, a Lemon Margarita.
  • Rim: Instead of plain salt, use flavored salt (chipotle, smoked, whatever) or a seasoning blend like Tajin, a blend of chile, lime and salt.
  • Garnish: This is where you can express creativity without altering the integrity of the drink. You can add to, or substitute, the lime wheel with a wedge, and with something decorative (a red chile on a pick), or tossed into/onto the drink: jalapeño slices, berries, a sprig of cilantro or tarragon.
  • Glass: The original Margarita was served in a rocks (Old Fashioned) glass. Over time, bartenders chose whatever they had on hand, such as a Martini glass or a coupe. A “Margarita glass†” was invented in Mexico, and can be found in use at Mexican restaurants in the U.S.Use whatever you like.
  •  
    If you want to add a fruit flavor (guava, mango, strawberry, whatever), add purée to the original recipe. We’d even grant passage to a something like a Mango Basil Margarita, with the purée and torn basil leaves in the shaker.

    But a recipe of tequila, lime juice, spicy mango syrup, grapefruit bitters and basil leaves? Call it something else—even if that’s Margarita’s Sister.

    Ditto, an Apple Cider Margarita, tequila, apple cider, lemon juice and a cinnamon-sugar for rim.

    Ditto, tequila and lime juice with muddled cilantro.

    If you get rid of the orange liqueur and lime, it’s not a Margarita.

    Give your raspberry-tequila cocktail another name—or look it up: There aren’t many combinations that haven’t been otherwise named.

    (That said, We just looked up “raspberry tequila cocktail” and got the usual slew of Raspberry Margarita recipes, although Deliciously Organic forthrightly called it a Raspberry, Lime and Tequila Cocktail. Right on!)

    Final rant:

    The Margarita is the most popular† drink in the country.

    Give it the respect it deserves.

    Create a new name for your cocktail—just like every other drink recipe has done.

     
    ________________

    *The Margarita glass is a variation of the classic champagne coupe, and is used to serve blended fruit Margaritas and frozen Margaritas. The same glass can be used to serve shrimp cocktail and other appetizers and desserts. The glass was originally made from recycled Coke bottles, and the mottled green color of the original survive.

    †Some industry reports place the Martini first. It depends on the survey and the year.

     
      

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    FOOD FUN: Chicken Salad Without The Sandwich

    Like chicken salad, but trying to cut back on bread?

    If you want to avoid the bread, croissants and wraps, there’s always a scoop of chicken salad on greens, in lettuce cups, or stuffed into a bell pepper, tomato, or avocado half.

    But we thought these ideas from Willow Tree Farm add allure to a long-time favorite.

    Whether a filling for celery or fennel stalks, or a base for mini “cucumber sandwiches,” these make fun appetizers or snacks.

    Use your own chicken salad, or one from Willow Tree Farm.

    cucumber sandwiches. Serve #Sriracha Chicken Salad between two cucumbers for a crunchy, cool and spicy bite.

     
    RECIPE: CHICKEN SALAD STACKS

    For snacks, with beer, or as an amuse bouche before dinner. For something sweeter, you can use apple slices.

    Ingredients

  • 1 cucumber
  • 1 container of Willow Tree Farm Sriracha Chicken Salad (or your recipe)
  • Garnish: cilantro or other herb
  •  
    Preparation

    1. SLICE the cucumber into 1/2″ slices

    2. PLACE the chicken salad on half of the cucumber slices. Top with a cucumber slice.

    3. ROUND the edges with a spatula. Garnish with cilantro and secure with a toothpick.

    THE HISTORY OF CHICKEN SALAD

    It may come as a surprise—because modern mayonnaise was invented around 1800——but the Chinese were the first to serve variations of “chicken salad” (see below).

    The ingredients were not the same as what we call Chinese chicken salad*, but included pieces of chicken mixed with a variety of spices and oils and another binder, such as rice.

    The American form of chicken salad was first served in 1863 by Town Meats, a meat market in Wakefield, Rhode Island. The owner, Liam Gray, mixed leftover chicken with mayonnaise, tarragon, and grapes. It became such a popular item that the meat market was converted to a delicatessen.

    Modern Chicken Salad

    In the U.S., chicken salad is a cold salad with chicken as the main ingredient, and typically bound with mayonnaise with optional mustard. Other ingredients can include bell pepper, celery, hard-boiled egg, onion, pickles or pickle relish, plus herbs, such as dill, rosemary or tarragon.

    It can also include diced apples, grapes or dried fruit, such as cherries, cranberries or raisins. Diced mango is another popular addition as are nuts, such as almonds, pecans and walnuts.

    In some areas of the U.S., especially the South, chicken salad may be a garden salad topped with fried, grilled, or roasted chicken, sliced.

    While today chicken salad is mostly served in a sandwich or wrap, it has a history as a ladies’ luncheon staple, served on a bed of greens with sliced tomatoes, hard-boiled eggs, bell pepper rings, and olives or other garnish, served with crackers.

    Variations were inevitable, using ingredients specific to regional and international cuisines.

  • Chinese chicken salad is made with celery, sliced almonds, fruit (diced apples, mandarin orange segments or pineapple chunks) and mayonnaise, and topped with fried Chinese noodles.
  • Southwestern chicken salad includes avocado, black beans, cilantro, corn kernels, diced tomatoes, onion, shredded cheddar cheese and a garnish of crushed tortilla chips (recipe).
  •  
    Modern recipes expand the concept of chicken salad to pasta salad or Caesar salad with chunks of chicken; add wing sauce and blue cheese for buffalo chicken salad.

    Binders can include anything you like: blue cheese dressing, hummus, pesto, remoulade sauce, Russian dressing, Thai peanut sauce, and on and on.

    In other countries, chicken salad can be made with any number of dressings, along with couscous, pasta, rice and vegetables.

    So don’t be wary: Experiment!

    Fancy presentations serve it in a lettuce-lined coupe; molded into a ring; or scooped into a toast cup, avocado half or pineapple half.

    As with any recipe, add whatever you like; from bacon to capers to pickled jalapeño.

    ABOUT WILLOW TREE FARMS

    Willow Tree Farms makes pot pies and chicken salad from premium white meat.

    In addition to original chicken salad, there’s a flavorful selection of:

  • Avocado Chicken Salad
  • Buffalo Chicken Salad
  • Cranberry Walnut Chicken Salad
  • Sriracha Chicken Salad
  •  
    The products are sold at major retailers, including BJ’s, Stop & Shop and Whole Foods in New England and the East Coast. Here’s a store locator.

     

    Chicken Salad Celery Sticks

    Chicken Salad Cucumber Stacks

    Chicken Salad In Wonton Cups

    Mango Chicken Salad Stuffed Avocado

    Southwestern Chicken Salad

    Avocado Chicken Salad

    [1] Filled celery sticks and [2] cucumber stacks from Willow Tree Farm. [3] Chicken salad in wonton wrappers (here’s the recipe from Shared). [4] Mango chicken salad in an avocado (here’s the recipe from The Real Food Dieticians). [5] Southwestern chicken salad recipe from Sally’s Baking Addiction. [6] Avocado chicken salad (here’s the recipe from Whole And Heavenly Oven).

     

      

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