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Archive for Food Holidays/History/Facts

TIP OF THE DAY: Celebrate Negroni Week

Negroni Cocktail Recipe

Negroni Cocktail

Top: A Negroni, elegantly presented in a stemmed glass at The Heathman Restaurant & Bar in Portland, Oregon. Bottom: A fun presentation at Irvington in New York City.

 

It’s Negroni Week, an opportunity to try a classic cocktail, created in 1919.

Negroni Week is a worldwide holiday, launched in 2013 by Imbibe Magazine and Campari, an Italian apéritif wine. It was begun not only to celebrate one of the world’s great cocktails, but as an effort to raise money for charitable causes around the world. Visit NegroniWeek.com to see how you can participate.
 
NEGRONI HISTORY

As the story goes, the cocktail was invented at the Bar Cassoni (now the Caffè Cavalli) in Florence, Italy by bartender Fosco Scarselli. He created it for a regular patron, Count Camillo Negroni, who had asked for an Americano* cocktail strengthened with a dash of gin instead of the usual soda water.

Scarselli mixed the drink, used an orange slice garnish instead of the lemon garnish of the Americano, and presented his client with the first “Negroni.”

The cocktail took off, and the Negroni family quickly founded Negroni Antica Distilleria in Treviso, producing Antico Negroni, a ready-made version of the drink.

But the Negroni was unknown in the U.S. until 1947 when Orson Welles, working in Rome, wrote about it. This sent Americans to bars demanding Negronis.

 
RECIPE: NEGRONI COCKTAIL

The Negroni is made in 1:1:1 proportions of gin, Campari and sweet vermouth. There are many variations of the cocktail today. Check out these in L.A. Magazine.

Ingredients Per Drink

  • 1.25 ounces gin
  • 1.25 ounces Campari
  • 1.25 ounces Martini sweet vermouth
  • Garnish: orange twist or slice
  •  
    Preparation

    1. COMBINE ingredients in a shaker with ice.

    2. STRAIN into chilled coupe or serve over ice in a chilled rocks glass.

    3. GARNISH and serve.

     
    FIND MORE OF OUR FAVORITE COCKTAIL RECIPES.

    Use the Gourmet Foods pull-down menu at the right, and also check out the Cocktails section on the main site of TheNibble.com.
     
    _____________________
    *An even older cocktail, dating to the 1860s, the Americano was created in Novara, Italy by Gaspare Campari at his Caffè Campari. The ingredients: Campari (an apéritif wine, invented by Gaspare in 1860), sweet vermouth and club soda, with a lemon garnish. The cocktail was originally known as the Milano-Torino because of its ingredients: Campari, the bitter liqueur, was made outside of Milano (Milan) and Punt e Mes, the vermouth, was made in Torino (Turin). Campari was originally colored red with carmine dye, derived from crushed cochineal, a plant-sucking insect. In 2006, Gruppo Campari ceased using carmine in favor of artificial red coloring. [Source]

     
      

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    TIP OF THE DAY: Have A Tapas Party For World Tapas Day

    “Official” food holidays are those officially declared by a government: local, state or national. In these fast and loose days of the Internet, however, many companies and individuals don’t bother to seek official sanction for a “special observance day.” Instead, they simply announce online that a particular date is now World Nutella Day (started by two bloggers) or National [Whatever] Day.

    Here’s how official holidays are established in the U.S.
     
    IT’S OFFICIAL: WORLD TAPAS DAY

    No less an entity than the country of Spain has established a welcome new holiday: World Tapas Day. Spain’s tourism agency, Turespaña, has declared El Día Mundial de la Tapa, to recognize the “singular nature of this vital element of Spanish cuisine and culture” (here’s more information).

    World Tapas Day will be held each year on the third Thursday of June. That’s June 16th this year, and you’ve got time to plan a tapas party—or serve tapas for Father’s Day on June 19th. Tapas are easy to make. Check out these recipes from Martha Stewart. You can make it a “group party” and have everyone make a different tapa.

    Tapas are a long tradition in Spain. A snack for agricultural workers evolved into bar food, and has become so popular in modern times that it is now the focus of brunches and cocktail parties.
     
    THE HISTORY OF TAPAS

    While there are legends surrounding the birth of tapas, the accepted theory is that they originated as a snack for field workers. (Paella also originated among field workers, as the lunch meal.)

    As a refreshment during the long hours between breakfast and lunch, workers were served wine from a ceramic jug. The top of the jug was covered with a piece of bread with ham or cheese, which served to keep insects out of the wine. Tapa is a cover or lid.

    As the idea came to cities, tapas with a snack became popular at midday or for an after-work drink. According to the Royal Spanish Academy, tapas (TOP-us) are “a small portion of any food served to accompany a drink.”

    The original tapas were simple: slices of bread with ham or chorizo served free with a drink. The bread was set on top of the glass rim and covered the drink, just as with the jug of wine. Today the choices can be vast, and are served on small plates.

    It has evolved into a verb, tapear: to eat tapas. A tapeo is a social gathering where the food is tapas.As with the free caviar supplied at American taverns in the 19th century (American sturgeon were plentiful then, and caviar was cheap [sigh]), the salty food made patrons thirstier and they bought more alcohol.

       

    Tapas Plate

    Modern Tuna Tapas

    TOP: A platter of tapas: tortilla (potato omelet), boquerones (marinated anchovies) and chiles fritos (fried shishito peppers (photo courtesy Foods From Spain). Bottom: Headed to Vegas? Check out the best tapas restaurants in this feature from Vegas Magazine. This is Julian Serrano’s modern take on tuna tapas.

     

    Today, tapas comprise a wide variety of cold or hot foods can be ordered with a drink or combined into an entire meal.

    Each region of Spain serves tapas that reflect the local cuisine. Meats, cheeses, olives and nuts and tortillas (egg and potato omelet) are common to all areas, with more seafood tapas along the coastline.

    Spaniards seek out the best tapas bars (a bar that serves tapas—not all bars do) as Americans seek out the best pizza. While tapas are ubiquitous all over Spain, cities such as Cordoba, Granada, Madrid, Málaga, San Sebastian and Seville are known for the quality, variety and innovation of their tapas.

     

    Croquetas de Bacalao

    Empanada Gallega Galicia

    Top: Croquetas De Bacalo, cod croquettes. Bottom: Empanada Gallega Galicia, Galician Pork and Pepper Pie—the original empanada (photos courtesy LaTienda.com).

     

    HOW ARE TAPAS DIFFERENT FROM OTHER SMALL PLATES?

    Amuses-bouche, antipasto, hors d’oeuvre, mezzo and tapas are similar, though different.

  • Amuse-bouche (pronounced ah-MEEZ boosh) is French for “amusing the mouth.” It’s an hors d’oeuvre-size portion plated on a tiny dish, sent as a gift from the chef after the order has been placed but before the food arrives. It is brought after the wine is poured. It is just one bite: A larger portion would constitute an appetizer. Amuses-bouches tend to be complex in both flavors and garniture, and enable the chef to show creativity.
  • Antipasto, the traditional first course of a formal Italian dinner, is an assortment of anchovies, cheeses (mozzarella, provolone), cured meats, marinated artichoke hearts, marinated mushrooms and other vegetables, olives, peperoncini and pickled foods. The choices vary greatly, reflecting regional cuisines. Some restaurants have antipasto buffets.
  • Appetizer, a first course lately referred to as a starter in fashionable venues, is small serving of food served as a first course. It can be the same type of food that could be served as an entrée or a side dish, but in a smaller portion (e.g., a half-size portion of gnocchi). Or it could be something not served as a main dish, such as smoked salmon with capers.
  • Hors d’oeuvre (pronounced or-DERV) are one- or two-bite tidbits served with cocktails. They can be placed on a table for self-service, or passed on trays by the host or a server. Canapés—small pieces of bread or pastry with a savory topping, served at room temperature—were the original hors d’oeuvre. They’ve been joined in modern times by hot options such as cheese puffs, mini quiches, skewers, baby lamb chops and other foods. Also in modern times, several pieces of hors d’oeuvre can be plated to serve as an “hors d’oeuvre plate” appetizer/first course.
  • The translation of “hors d’oeuvre” means “[dishes] outside the work” i.e., outside the main meal. Technically, the term “hors d’oeuvre” refers to small, individual food items that have been prepared by a cook. Thus, a cheese plate is not an hors d’oeuvre, nor is a crudité tray with dip, even though someone has cut the vegetables and made the dip. Martinets note: In French, the term “hors d’oeuvre” is used to indicate both the singular and plural forms; Americans incorrectly write and speak it as “hors d’oeuvres.”
  • Mezze or meze (pronounced MEH-zay) refers an assortment of small dishes, served to accompany alcoholic drinks or as an appetizer plate before the main dish. In Greece, expect mezedes of feta cheese, Kalamata olives, pepperoncini, assorted raw vegetables and dips like taramasalata and tzatziki. Among the many other options, anchovies and sardines, saganaki (grilled or fried cheese) and roasted red peppers are commonly served. In the Middle East, you’ll typically find dips (babaganoush, hummus), olives, pickles, tabouleh and other items, from raw vegetables to falafel and sambousek (small meat turnovers). Don’t forget the pita wedges!
  • Tapas (pronounced TOP-us) are appetizers or snacks that comprise a wide variety of popular foods in Spanish cuisine. They may be cold or hot, from cheese and olives to chorizo to a tortilla, meatballs, or fried squid. While originally traditional foods, some tapas bars now serve very sophisticated plates. You can order one or more tapas with a glass of wine, or order a series of plates to create a full meal.
  •  
    MORE ON TAPAS

  • Entertaining With Tapas
  • Vermouth & Tapas Brunch Or Cocktails
  • Potato Tapas
  •   

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    RECIPE: Shrimp In Adobo Sauce

    Shrimp With Adobo Sauce Recipe

    Raw Shrimp

    Poblano Chiles

    Top: Put some camarónes on the barbacoa: That’s Spanish for put some shrimp on the barbie (photo courtesy Eat Wisconsin Cheese). Center: Fresh-caught shrimp from I Love Blue Sea/Vital Choice. Bottom: Poblano chiles (photo courtesy Burpee).

     

    May 10th is National Shrimp Day, celebrating America’s favorite seafood. Here’s a Mexican-style recipe, courtesy of EatWisconsinCheese.com.

    You can serve this dish warm or chilled—perhaps with a warm grain or a room temperature or chilled grain salad, plus dressed greens.
     
    RECIPE: SHRIMP WITH SOUR CREAM CHILI ADOBO SAUCE

    Ingredients For 4 Servings

  • 1 tablespoon olive oil
  • 1/4 cup plus 1 tablespoon adobo sauce (from a can* of chipotles in adobo)
  • 1 pound jumbo shrimp (10 to 12 count)
  • 1/2 cup sour cream
  • 1 teaspoon fresh lime juice
  • 2 tablespoons poblano chiles, finely diced
  •  
    _______________________
    *Available in the Latin American foods aisle of most supermarkets.

     
    Preparation

    1. HEAT the oil and 1/4 cup adobo sauce in a large nonstick skillet over medium heat. Add the shrimp and cook until pink and no longer translucent. But don’t overcook them: Cooked shrimp should have a slight curl. When they curl tightly inwards, the flesh will be rubbery. While the shrimp cooks…

    2. MIX the sour cream, lime juice and 1 tablespoon of adobo sauce in a small bowl. Pour into a small serving dish. Sprinkle the poblanos over shrimp to garnish.
     
    TIPS FOR USING FROZEN SHRIMP

    1. THAW the shrimp slowly in the refrigerator beginning 24 hours before you plan to cook them. Place the container in the refrigerator on a low shelf—if not in a sealed bag, then covered lightly with plastic wrap. Then remove any liquid that has collected in the container and use the thawed shrimp within one day.

    NOTE: Keep all raw foods on the lowest shelf and cooked foods on higher shelves to prevent any contamination from raw juices dripping onto cooked food.

    3. QUICK THAWING TECHNIQUE: If you can closely monitor the shrimp, place them in a leak-proof plastic bag (if it is not in one already.) Submerge the shrimp in cold tap water and change the water every 30 minutes until the shrimp has defrosted. Do not try to hasten the process with warm water or hot water because the shrimp will begin to cook. Cook immediately after thawing.

     
    WHAT IS ADOBO SAUCE?

    Adobo is a Mexican spice blend: spicy and rich in flavor, but not too hot. As with chili powder, Chinese Five Spice, curry powder, jerk spice and other spice blends, the ingredients and proportions will vary somewhat among manufacturers and home cooks.

    Traditional adobo blends contain black pepper, cayenne, cumin, garlic, onion and oregano. They have no added salt (but check the label). You can buy the dry spice mix, or ready-made, canned chipotles in adobo sauce.

    Traditional uses are as a rub, along with lime juice and a bit of salt, on grilled chicken, fish or pork. It is added to chili recipes and taco fixings, and used to season guacamole.

    You can buy adobo ready-mixed, or can blend your own. For the latter, try 2 tablespoons granulated garlic, 1 tablespoon salt (optional), 4 teaspoons dried oregano, 1 teaspoon black pepper, 2 teaspoons cumin, 2 teaspoons onion powder and 2 teaspoons cayenne, ground chipotle or other chile powder.

      

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    TIP OF THE DAY: Have A Barbecue Party For National Barbecue Month

    Backyard Grill

    Grilled Brisket

    Top: Deluxe grill from Landmann. Bottom: Weber’s Q series fits almost anywhere.

     

    Did you fire up the grill for Mother’s Day? It’s one of the biggest barbecue days of the year, with 34% 0f grill owners cooking celebrate Mom. It following the Fourth of July (76%), Labor Day (62%), Memorial Day (62%) and Father’s Day (49%) in popularity.

    More than 75% of Americans own a grill or smoker. May is National Barbecue Month: A survey from the Hearth, Patio & Barbecue Association (HPBA) names grilling as America’s favorite patio pastime.

    Our Tip Of The Day: Have a BYO Favorite Dish barbecue party. Whether it’s a venerable family recipe or something more recent like grilled poppers, everyone should bring a favorite food: sides, punch, desserts, etc. (In our family, it’s homemade baked beans with molasses and a topping of crisp bacon.)

    It can be quite a feast: Beyond proteins and veggies, people grill everything from bread, pizza and quesadillas to fruit and other desserts.
     
    2016 BBQ TRENDS

    Whether for easy weeknight dinners, weekend feasts or even breakfast, here’s the scoop from HPBA’s most recent State of the Barbecue Industry Report, from a survey conducted in July and August, 2015.

  • Who has a grill? 75% of U.S. adults own a grill or smoker.
  • Gas, charcoal or electric? 62% of households have gas grill, 53% have a charcoal grill and 12% have an electric grill. Two percent own a wood pellet grill and 8% are thinking of purchasing one this year.
  • Why so much grilling? 71% say it’s to improve flavor, 54% simply enjoy grilling and 42% like it for entertaining family and friends.
  • Seasonal or year-round? 63% of grill owners use their grill or smoker year-round; 43% cook at least once a month during winter.
  • Grill accessories. Half of all grill owners have the most basic grilling accessories: cleaning brush, tongs, and gloves/mitts (hmm…what does the other half use?). The most popular new accessories owners plan to buy include pizza stones, broiling baskets and cooking planks.
  • Outdoor kitchens: 10% of grill owners have a full “backyard kitchen,” including premium furniture and lighting.
  • Barbecued breakfast: 11% of grill owners prepared breakfast on a grill in the past year.
  • Beyond the backyard: Nearly one third of grill owners (31%) grilled someplace other than their homes in the past year, including 24% who grilled while camping.
  • Barbecue plans: Nearly half of U.S. adults (45%) plan to purchase a new grill or smoker in 2016, while nearly a third of current owners (30%) plan to grill with greater frequency.
  •  
    WHAT’S A BARBEQUE?

    Barbecue is a noun and a verb. It’s a meal cooked outdoors—for millennia over an open fire until the development of modern gas and electric grills. “Barbecue” also refers to:

  • A grill or open hearth/fireplace—used to barbecue food.
  • The meat, poultry or fish that is barbecued.
  • Meat or poultry that is basted in a sweetened “barbecue sauce” during cooking.
  • An outdoor party or picnic at which barbecued food is served.
  •  
    BARBECUE, BARBEQUE OR BBQ?

    Barbecue and barbeque are alternative spellings, along with the short form BBQ.

    To quote chef Anthony Bourdain, “Barbecue may not be the road to world peace, but it’s a start.”

      

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    FOOD FUN: Pretzel Doughnuts

    Pretzel Doughnuts

    For National Pretzel Day, have some pretzels on your doughnut. Here’s the recipe from ACosyKitchen.com.

     

    Use pretzels in a different way on April 26th, National Pretzel Day. Consider everything from mini pretzels and pretzel sticks to big, soft pretzels as:

  • As a garnish for scrambled eggs, oatmeal, soup, yogurt (minis or crushed)
  • Instead of croutons on soup (minis or crushed)
  • Plain or toasted, for breakfast (big, soft)
  • Sliced for a sandwich (big, soft)
  • As a topping for potatoes or vegetables (crushed)
  • As a topping for ice cream (minis or crushed)
  • As a topping for cake, pudding, brownies or other dessert (minis or crushed)
  • As a crust for chicken or fish
  • Any other way you like
  •  
    If you come up with something nifty, let us know.
     
    Here’s a recipe for Caramel Pretzel Doughnuts from Betty Crocker.

    Alternatively, here’s an iced doughnut shaped like a pretzel.

    And here’s a recipe to bake your own soft pretzels. Perhaps add a doughnut glaze (recipe below). Have fun with it!

     
    Having a good time? There’s also National Soft Pretzel Day on October 26th.

     
    PRETZEL HISTORY

    Thanks to creative monks, man has enjoyed 15 centuries of pretzel snacks. Here’s the history of pretzels.
     
    RECIPE: DOUGHNUT GLAZE

    Ingredients

  • 1/4 cup whole milk
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 2 cups confectioners’ sugar
  • Hot water
  •  
    Preparation

    1. COMBINE the milk and vanilla in a medium saucepan; heat over low until warm. Sift the confectioners’ sugar into the milk and whisk slowly until thoroughly combined.

    2. REMOVE from the heat and set over a bowl of hot water to keep the glaze from hardening. Dip the doughnuts (or pretzels) into the glaze, one at a time, and set on a rack placed in a half sheet pan to drip. Let set for 5 minutes before serving.

     
      

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    TIP OF THE DAY: Have A Malbec

    Glass Of Malbec In Riedel Malbec Glass

    A glass of Malbec in the specially designed Riedel Malbec glass. Photo courtesy Riedel.

     

    Celebrated on April 17th, World Malbec Day is the perfect opportunity to open up a bottle of the wine that is Argentina’s claim to varietal fame.

    Malbec is a black grape that produces red wine—a deep purple-red in color and nearly opaque, similar to Syrah and Mourvedre.

    The original Malbec rootstock came from France, where it was widely planted in the Cahors region in the Midi-Pyrénées region of south-central France, with some in the Loire Valley of central France. Argentina now has 75% of the world’s Malbec acreage.

    Argentine Malbec is very different from its French parent. As is true among all wine grapes (and some other crops), planting the same vines in different terroirs* yield different results.

  • Argentine Malbec is fruit forward, with notes of black cherry, black plum and currant. They have lower acidity, more tannins, and fuller body than French Malbec.
  • French Malbec has moderate tannin, higher acidity and flavor notes of black pepper and spice. Because of their moderate tannin and acidity with lower alcohol, French Malbec wines tend to age longer.
  •  
    World Malbec Day commemorates April 17, 1853, when President Domingo Faustino Sarmiento of Argentina launched a mission to transform Argentina’s wine industry. To start that endeavor, a French soil expert bought grape varietals from France, one of which was Malbec. During the experiment period, which planted different wines in different terroirs, Malbec proved to be a star. It flourished in the Mendoza region of Argentina, in the northwest part of the country at the foothills of the Andes Mountains.
     
    Malbec Is A Very Well-Priced Red

    As a result of the volume produced and the economics of wine production in Argentina, Malbec also proved to be a bargain. It’s a well-priced alternative to Cabernet Sauvignon. You can find many good Malbecs for $10 a bottle or less.

    You can also find bottles at twice that price, and even pricier—for example, $95 for a bottle of Cheval des Andes, a joint venture between Bordeaux’s great Chateau Cheval Blanc and Argentina’s Terrazas de los Andes.

  • Some Argentine Malbecs, like the latter, are blended with some Cabernet Franc, Cabernet Sauvignon, Merlot and/or Petit Verdot—classic grapes of Bordeaux, to give some Bordeaux style to the wines.
  • But there’s a fifth Bordeaux grape: Malbec is also grown there as a blending grape. Because the varietal has poor resistance bad weather and pests, it never became a top French varietal like Merlot and Caber.
  • Some vintners blend in a bit of Petit Syrah instead. Petit Syrah, now grown largely in Australia and California, is a cross that originated in the Auvergne-Rhône-Alpes region of France.
  •  
    Three Favorite Malbecs From Argentina

    Our wine editor, Kris Prasad, has a fondness for Altos Las Hormigas and Alamos (one of the wines with Syrah, depending on the vintage). Both can be found for $10 or less, although special bottling (e.g., certain vineyards) cost more.

    He also likes Tinto Negro “Limestock Block,” pricier at around $15. He calls it an “interesting wine”; it is two-thirds Malbec. We haven’t had it, but we do love the label, with part of the name spelled backwards (see the photo of the label above).

     

    PAIRING MALBEC WITH FOOD

    Steak—of which Argentina has a bounty—is a classic pairing (give us a T-bone, please!). But Malbec is much more flexible than a pairing with beef. Try it with:

  • Any grilled red meat or pork (serve with some Argentine chimichurri sauce).
  • Duck and other dark-meat poultry like game birds.
  • Full-flavored fish such as salmon and tuna.
  • Braised short ribs.
  • Burgers and barbecue.
  • Pasta and pizza.
  • Blue cheese, washed rind and other strong cheeses.
  • Mushrooms.
  • Dishes with earthy or smoky flavors.
  • Dishes spiced with clove, cumin, garlic, juniper berry, smoked paprika or sumac.
  •  
    Serve it instead of Cabernet Sauvignon, Merlot, Petit Syrah and other full-bodied reds.

    For an even bigger celebration, put on some tango music—which developed in Argentina—and dance!
     
    ___________________________
    *ABOUT TERROIR: The same rootstock that is grown in different locations produces different flavors; for example, depending on where it is grown, Sauvignon Blanc can have grass or grapefruit notes—or neither. Terroir, pronounced tur-WAH, is a French agricultural term referring to the unique set of environmental factors in a specific habitat that affect a crop’s qualities. It includes climate, elevation, proximity to a body of water, slant of the land, soil type and amount of sun. These environmental characteristics gives the wine its character. Terroir is the basis of the French A.O.C. (appellation d’origine contrôlée) system.

     

    Los Altos Malbecs

    Malbec Label

    Top: Look for Los Altos Las Hormigas Malbecs, a favorite of our wine editor. Photo courtesy Los Altos. Bottom: The quirky label of another favorite Malbec, Tinto Negro.

     

      

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    RECIPE: A Special Sandwich For National Grilled Cheese Day

    Raspberry Grilled  Cheese Sandwich

    Blue Cheese Crumbles

    Lighthouse Blue Cheese Crumbles

    Top: Sweet and savory grilled cheese: mozzarella, basil and fresh raspberries. Bottom: Litehouse Blue Cheese Crumbles. Photos courtesy Litehouse. Center: Blue cheese crumbles from PopArtichoke.com.

     

    April 12th is National Grilled Cheese Sandwich Day, a day to try something new.

    Actually, the entire month of April is National Grilled Cheese Month, so you’ve got an additional 17 days.

    This sweet and savory sandwich recipe is from Litehouse Foods, which used its Blue Cheese Crumbles.

    RECIPE: GRILLED RASPBERRY & MOZZARELLA SANDWICH WITH BLUE CHEESE & BASIL

    Ingredients For 2 Sandwiches

  • 4 slices sourdough bread
  • 2 tablespoons butter at room temperature
  • 1 cup shredded mozzarella cheese
  • ½ cup crumbled blue cheese
  • 1/2 cup fresh raspberries, smashed
  • 3-4 fresh basil leaves, torn
  •  
    Preparation

    1. DIVIDE the butter evenly among the four slices of bread, spreading it on one side of each slice.

    2. HEAT a grill pan over medium-high heat and place two slices of bread, butter side down, in the pan. Top each slice with ¼ of the mozzarella cheese and half of the blue cheese, raspberries and basil. Divide the remaining mozzarella cheese between the two sandwiches.

    3. TOP each sandwich with the remaining slices of bread, butter side up. Grill each side for 3-4 minutes, until golden brown. Slice in half and serve immediately.
     
    MORE GRILLED CHEESE RECIPES

  • How To Make The Best Grilled Cheese Sandwich
  • Four Pages Of Grilled Cheese Recipes
  • Dessert Grilled Cheese Recipes
  • Gourmet Grilled Cheese
  • Grilled Cheese Benedict
  •  
    BLUE CHEESE CRUMBLES

    Many people buy blue cheese crumbles for the convenience. But we love blue cheese so much, we buy one of our favorites and crumble it with a knife. Just dice it in your size of choice.

    We also buy extra for table cheese, and to make this delicious blue cheese dip from PopArtichoke.com.

    Our favorite blues from America’s artisan cheesemakers: Anything from Point Reyes Farmstead Cheese, anything from Rogue Creamery, and Bayley Hazen from Jasper Hill Farm.

    Here’s more about blue cheese.

     
     
      

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    TIP OF THE DAY: Chess Pie

    Chess Pie

    /home/content/p3pnexwpnas01 data02/07/2891007/html/wp content/uploads/lemon chess pie goodeggsSF 230r

    Pumpkin Chess Pie

    Tangerine Chess Pie

    Top: Classic Chess Pie from Zulka Sugar. Second: Lemon Chess Pie from Good Eggs | SF. Third: Pumpkin Chess Pie from Midwest Living (recipe). Bottom: Tangerine Chess Pie from Southern Living (recipe).

     

    Chess Pie is a venerable Southern recipe that likely has nothing to do with the game of chess.

    It’s a one-crust, sweet, rich custard pie made with basic ingredients found in every kitchen: butter, eggs, flour, milk, sugar and vanilla—plus two distinctive ingredients, cornmeal and vinegar. A one-bowl recipe, simply stirred, Chess Pie, which dates back to Colonial times, has remained popular over the generations.
     
    THE HISTORY OF CHESS PIE

    An early version appears in Martha Washington’s Booke Of Cookery, comprising recipes handed down from her first husband’s mother, Frances Parke Custis, possibly at her marriage in 1750. The first known recipe called Chess Pie appears in the 1877, in Buckeye Cookery and Practical Housekeeping by Estelle Woods Wilcox.

    We will probably never know how Chess Pie got its name, but here are the four prevailing theories:

  • Gentlemen were served the pie as they retreated to a room to play chess.
  • It’s Southern dialect: for “jes’ pie” (It’s just pie).
  • Its “chest pie”—“chess pie” when drawled. Because the pie is so high in sugar, it kept well at room temperature in the pie chest.
  • Perhaps the most academic theory, a Lemon Chess Pie was so similar to the English Lemon Curd Pie. The latter, often called “cheese” pie, evolved to “chess” in the U.S.
  • Add your theory in the comments section.
  •  
    Early variations added lemon juice or pie spices: cinnamon, ginger, nutmeg. Some added flaked coconut or toasted pecans. Some substituted part of the milk with buttermilk (buttermilk or lemon juice provides acid that can substitute for the vinegar). When cocoa powder became available, it was whisked right in to make Chocolate Chess Pie.
     
    RECIPE: CLASSIC CHESS PIE

    You can save time with refrigerated pie crusts, or make your own. This classic recipe from Southern Living saves time with a refrigerated crust.

    Other Southern Living recipes include Chocolate-Pecan Chess Pie, Grapefruit Chess Pie, Lemon Chess Pie, Orange Chess Pie and Tangerine Chess Pie. Some use a traditional flaky pie crust, some use a shortbread crust.

    We also found a lovely Pumpkin Chess Pie, a Cookie Chess Pie with Oreos and numerous other variations. Have a favorite flavor? Incorporate it into a Chess Pie!
     
    Ingredients

  • 1/2 package (15-ounce) refrigerated pie crusts
  • 2 cups sugar
  • 2 tablespoons cornmeal
  • 1 tablespoon all-purpose flour
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt
  • 1/2 cup butter, melted
  • 1/4 cup milk
  • 1 tablespoon white vinegar
  • 1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 4 large eggs, lightly beaten
  •  
    For A Cocoonut Chess Pie

  • 1 cup toasted flaked coconut
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    Preparation

    1. FIT the pie crust into a 9-inch pie plate, according to package directions. Fold the edges under and crimp.

    2. LINE the crust with aluminum foil, and fill with pie weights or dried beans. Bake at 425° for 4 to 5 minutes. Remove the weights and foil; bake 2 more minutes or until golden. Cool.

    3. STIR together the sugar and the other ingredients except the eggs, until blended. Then add the eggs one at a time, stirring well, followed by the optional coconut.

    4. POUR the mixture into the pie crust. Bake at 350° for 50 to 55 minutes. After 10 minutes, to prevent excessive browning, shield the crust edges with aluminum foil or a pie crust shield—very useful if you make a lot of pies. Cool completely on a wire rack.
     
    WANT MORE PIE?

    Check out our Pie & Pastry Glossary and pick something new.

     
      

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    RECIPE: BLT Pancakes

    BLT Pancakes Recipe

    Quark Cheese

    Baby Arugula

    Top: Something different: BLT Pancakes. Center: Quark and cherry tomatoes. Recipe and photos courtesy Tieghan Gerard | Wisconsin Cheese Talk. Bottom: Baby arugula from Baldor Specialty Foods | Facebook.

     

    For National BLT Month, how about some savory BLT pancakes?

    This recipe was created by Tieghan Gerard of Half Baked Harvest for Wisconsin Cheese Talk, who used Wisconsin-made quark in the recipe.

    “Quark is like ricotta’s saltier cousin mixed with a creamy version of feta,” says Tieghan Gerard of Half Baked Harvest, who shared this recipe with the Wisconsin cheese folks.

    “When I first tried it, I had so many ideas of how to use quark in my recipes, but one recipe stuck out: these BLT Quark Pancakes with Chipotle Bourbon Dressing.”

    Here’s more about quark, a fresh cheese that looks like sour cream and yogurt.

    Check out Half Baked Harvest. You’ll want to eat every recipe!

     
    RECIPE: BLT QUARK PANCAKES WITH CHIPOTLE BOURBON DRESSING

    Serve these pancakes for brunch, lunch, or even as a first course at dinner. The recipe serves 6 as an entrée, 12 as a starter.

    If you can’t find quark, substitute ricotta. The biggest challenge is when to make the recipe:

    It’s a recipe for tomato season, but it seems a shame to wait for July’s crop of heirloom tomatoes. So the next best thing is to substitute cherry tomatoes (in addition to the ones already in the recipe.

    Ingredients

    For The Chipotle Bourbon Dressing

  • Optional: 1/4 cup bourbon
  • 1/2 cup olive oil
  • 2 tablespoons apple cider vinegar
  • 2 tablespoons pure maple syrup
  • 1 canned chipotle pepper in adobo, minced
  • 1 clove garlic, minced or grated
  • Salt and pepper, to taste
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    For The Quark Pancakes

  • 2 eggs, whites separated from yolks
  • 16 ounces (1 pound) Wisconsin quark cheese, divided
  • 3/4 cup buttermilk
  • 1 cup white whole wheat flour or whole wheat pastry flour
  • 1 tablespoon honey
  • 1/2 teaspoon baking soda
  • Pinch of salt
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    For The Topping

  • 1/3 cup heavy cream
  • Zest from 1/2 lemon
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    Garnishes

  • 8 slices cooked bacon
  • 2 tomatoes, preferably heirloom, sliced
  • 1 cup cherry tomatoes, halved
  • 3 cups arugula or other dark greens
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    Preparation

    1. MAKE the Chipotle Bourbon Dressing: In small saucepan over medium heat, bring the bourbon, if using, to a boil. Cook until the liquid is reduced to about 2 tablespoons, 3 to 4 minutes. Transfer to a bowl; add the olive oil, apple cider vinegar, maple syrup, chipotle pepper and garlic. Season with salt and pepper to taste; whisk to combine. Set aside until ready to serve.

    2. MAKE the Quark Pancakes: Preheat the oven to 300°F/150°C. Beat the egg whites with an electric mixer until stiff peaks form, about 5 minutes. Combine 8 ounces of quark, the buttermilk and egg yolks in a separate, larger mixing bowl. Add the flour, honey, baking soda and salt to the batter, stirring gently until just combined. Stir a small scoop of egg whites into the mixture to lighten the batter; then fold in the remaining beaten whites with a spatula.

    3. HEAT a skillet over medium heat. Coat with butter or cooking spray. For entrée-size pancakes, pour 1/3 cup of the pancake batter onto the center of the hot skillet. Cook until bubbles appear on the pancake’s surface. Using a spatula, gently flip the pancake; cook the second side until golden. Repeat with the remaining batter. Keep the pancakes warm in the oven.

     

    Pancakes & Bacon

    Ready to assemble. Photo courtesy Tieghan Gerard | Wisconsin Cheese Talk.

     
    4. MAKE the topping. Place the remaining 8 ounces of quark in a mixing bowl. Add the heavy cream. Using an electric mixer with the whisk attachment, whisk until the quark is whipped, about 3 minutes. Stir in the lemon zest.

    5. ASSEMBLE: Stack the pancakes on serving plates; top with the bacon, tomato slices, halved cherry tomatoes and arugula. Add a dollop of whipped quark cheese and drizzle with the reserved dressing.

      

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    FOOD HOLIDAY: National Beer Day

    Amber Ale

    Burger & Lager Beer

    Top: Amber ale with blue cheese from the EatWisconsinCheese.com. Bottom: Burger and a lager at The Palm.

     

    What will you do on April 7th, National Beer Day?

    Drink beer, of course. Hopefully, you’ll choose a complex craft beer instead of something mass-produced and bland.

    Depending on your age, it may seem that craft breweries have always been around.

    Of course in the Colonies, it was brewed in small batches at home or for a tavern, and simply called beer. When not a soldier and statesman, George Washington, and landowners like him, first grew the grain and then brewed their beer.

    In 1819 the first commercial brewery opened in the U.S., in Rochester, New York. Over the next 50 years, every region that did not have local prohibition laws had breweries. Some of today’s mega-brewers, including Anheuser-Busch, Miller, Pabst, Schlitz and Stroh, started as small regional breweries.

    Fast forward 200+ years to the dawn of the American microbrew. In 1977, a brewery opened in Sonoma, California. The New Albion Brewery was short lived, but was America’s first microbrewery or craft brewery.

    Here’s a really interesting chronology of beer brewing in America.
     
    CRAFT BEER & FOOD

    Tom Acitelli, author of the The Audacity of Hops: The History of America’s Craft Beer Revolution, sent us these little-known events that shaped the bond between American craft beer and good food.

  • Pairing Beer & Food. Englishman Michael Jackson was already the world’s best-known beer critic when he wrote a long piece for The Washington Post, the week before Thanksgiving 1983. He advised on which beers to pair with which parts of the national feast (for the turkey itself, he recommended Bavarian pales). It was the first time a major American newspaper published a serious article about pairing beer with food.
  • Beer Dinners. In September 1985, a legendary beer bar, the Brickskeller in Washington, D.C., hosted a meeting of the Cornell Alumni Association. Attendees paid $15 each to drink 10 different beers with a dinner. It was the first commercially run sit-down beer dinner in the U.S.
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  • International Acclaim. In October 1998, a handful of American craft brewers flew to Turin, Italy with their beers to attend Salon del Gusto, the biennial convention of the Slow Food movement. They were greeted like rock stars. It was the first time European gourmands embraced American brewers and beers in such a public way.
  • Craft Beer Every Day. In 2003 Garrett Oliver, brewmaster of the Brooklyn Brewery, published The Brewmaster’s Table. At 384 pages, it was not only the lengthiest guide to date on how to pair beer with food, but the first to explain how to really incorporate craft beer into everyday meals.
  • Craft Beer At The White House. During a Super Bowl party on February 6, 2011, President and Mrs. Obama served a honey ale made by the White House Mess using the honey from a beehive on the mansion’s grounds—the first time brewing had ever been done in the 210-year history of the White House. When the recipe was released in September 2012, it caused a run on honey at homebrew shops nationwide.
  •  
     
    CHECK OUT OUR BEER GLOSSARY: THE DIFFERENT TYPES OF BEER.
     
      

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