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More About Espresso Drinks For National Espresso Day

Cup Of Espresso
[1] While this moka pot makes strong Greek or Turkish coffee, it is not an espresso machine (photo © Andres Vera | Unsplash).

Krups Espresso Machine
[2] This is a home espresso machine adapted from a professional model that forces pressure through the spigot (photo © Krups).

Nespresso Home Espresso Machine
[3] Another home version uses capsules to make an almost-as-good cup of espresso as the larger models (photo © Nespresso).

 

There’s National Coffee Day and National Coffee Month, but November 23rd celebrates a specific type of coffee. It’s National Espresso Day. What is espresso, and how does it differ from coffee in general?

One of the primary differences between coffee and espresso is how they are made. Trade, a coffee trade association, tells us that:

  • For most other coffee brewing methods, the extraction process takes place over a moderate amount of time (4–5 minutes) either by full-immersion steeping, like in a French press, or through a kind of progressive extraction aided by the force of gravity, like with a pour-over or drip brewer.
  • Espresso, on the other hand, is brewed using the force of significant additional pressure. (Think of the “press” in “espresso” as a reminder.)
  •  
    In the original days of espresso coffee, this pressure was created using steam power.

  • Today, most modern espresso machines use electric pumps that can force water through the bed of coffee grounds at 9 atmospheric bars of pressure, or about 130 pounds.
  • This pressurized brewing allows the extraction to happen much faster, typically between 20 and 30 seconds.
  • And that pressure and extraction is the key difference.

    In addition, espresso is a concentrate; coffee is diluted.

    Espresso is also brewed as a concentrate, meaning there is less water and more coffee flavor in the finished beverage. That’s why the taste is stronger (although ounce-for-ounce, the caffeine is the same).

  • While you can certainly brew a stronger, or more concentrated, cup of drip, French press coffee, or moka pot (photo #1) or use dark roast or French roast capsules in a K-cup machine, your final product will likely contain less than 2% of extracted coffee.
  • An espresso, on the other hand, generally contains between 10%–13% extracted coffee.
  •  
     
    MORE ABOUT ESPRESSO 

    The history of espresso.

    The different types of espresso drinks.
     
     
    ESPRESSO RECIPES 

  • Affogato: An Ice Cream Pour-Over
  • Dalgona Whipped Coffee
  • Espresso Cocktails
  • Espresso Ice Cream Shooters
  • Espresso Mousse In Espresso Cups
  • Irish Espresso (Irish Coffee Shots)
  • Kahlua Espresso Martini
  • Pumpkin Spice Latte Ice Cream Pops
  • Spiked Iced Coffee & Iced Espresso
  •  
    Plus 

  • Why you should consider a sparkling water chaser.
  •  

     
     

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    Thanksgiving Salad: America’s Favorite Salads For Turkey Day

    What green salad would you add to the Thanksgiving bounty?

    The team at Diabetic.org turned to online search data to find out which salads were in demand and where.

    They gathered 48 search terms from sources like Taste of Home and Taste Atlas and analyzed five years of data to determine every state’s most searched-for salad and dressing.

    They also looked at “nontraditional” salads—those without lettuce, such as tuna salad or poke.

    While the data don’t specifically answer the question, “What salad do you serve on Thanksgiving,” here’s what they indicate overall:

  • Wedge salad was the most searched (12 states), followed by Southwest salad and Cobb salad, which tied for second place (9 states).
  • Ranch dressing reigned supreme (13 states), followed by ginger dressing (11 states), and apple cider vinegar (6 states).
  • Not a big veggie person? Chicken salad (11 states) was the most searched non-green salad, closely followed by Caprese salad (10 states).
  • Looking to bring a more unusual dish?
    > Michigan was the only state to choose fattoush, a Middle Eastern salad with crunchy pita croutons.
    > Oklahoma chooses tabbouleh, a combination of chopped parsley, with tomatoes, mint, onion, and bulgur.
    > Hawaii favors poke.
    > Wyoming’s biggest search was for frog eye salad (don’t worry: no frogs are harmed in the making of this dessert—see the footnote*).
     
    Here are the favorite salads by state.

    To serve a salad, or not to serve one at the big meal?

    Whichever, have a wonderful Thanksgiving dinner.

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    Butternut Squash Salad for Thanksgiving
    [1] Our Thanksgiving salad includes roasted butternut squash and pecans in a lemon vinaigrette (photo © Go Bold With Butter).

    Thanksgiving Salad With Honeycrisp Apples, Pecans & Sultana Raisins
    [2] Another Thanksgiving salad idea: romaine and radicchio with walnuts and sultana raisins (photo © Le Coq Rico | NYC [permanently closed]).

     
    ________________

    *Frog eye salad is a sweet pasta salad made with acini de pepe pasta (tiny rounds the size of peppercorns), canned fruits such as pineapple and mandarins, an egg custard, and whipped topping. Often it’s topped with marshmallows and/or coconut.

     
     

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    A Hearty Kimchi Soup Recipe For National Kimchi Day

    Kimchi Soup Recipe
    [1] A hearty bowl of kimchi soup with sides of bean-thread noodles and more kimchi (photos #1 and #2 © The Vegan Atlas).

    Kimchi Soup Recipe Ingredients
    [2] Kimchi soup ingredients.

    Gochugaru Korean Red Chile Spice
    [3] Gochugaru, Korean red chile that adds a fruity, sweet, and smokey flavor to dishes (photo © Gochujar).

    Korean Gochujang Paste
    [4] Gochugang paste, very spicy and deeply flavored (photo © Gochujar).

    Asian Bean Thread Noodles
    [5] Bean thread noodles are also called cellophane or glass noodles (photo © Webstaurant Store).

    Homemade Kimchi
    [6] The photos that follow show kimchi in various presentations (photo © Umami Information Center).

    Kimchi Side Dish
    [7] As a side dish with any meal (photo © Nakano Rice Vinegar).

    Kimchi Side Dish
    [8] Two presentations (photos #8 and #9 via Wikipedia | CC-BY-SA-2.0).

    Dishes With Kimchi
    [9] Two more presentations.

     

    National Kimchi Day is November 22nd, and we’d like to share a delicious kimchi soup recipe from The Vegan Atlas.

    If you’re not familiar with kimchi (KIM-chee), it’s a staple Korean condiment* made from fermented vegetables (as are pickles and sauerkraut).

    Think of kimchi as a spicier, chunkier, and more complex form of sauerkraut. It can be vegan, or have some fish ingredients, like fermented anchovies (did you know that there are fermented anchovies in Worcestershire sauce?).

    “Even with all the spices and bold flavors,” says Nava Atlas, author of The Vegan Atlas, “kimchi soup somehow qualifies as comfort food! It’s a classic in Korean cuisine, and this recipe is ready to eat quickly.” Prep time is 15 minutes, and cook time is 15 minutes.

    As with so many recipes, no two are alike. The cook has a wide range to tailor the recipe.

    But the star is always kimchi, the fermented condiment based most often on cabbage (it can include other vegetables).

    If you’re interested in delicious vegan recipes, head to TheVeganAtlas.com and sign up!
     
     
    RECIPE: KIMCHI SOUP

    The ingredient list might look a bit long, but there’s surprisingly little prep. The ingredients cook up quickly.

    Brimming with Korean seasonings and briny kimchi, the broth becomes flavorful in no time. Optional ingredients include rice, rice noodles, or sweet potato, which all act as foils to the other vigorous and spicy flavors.

    While you may hesitate to buy gochugaru, you can use the rest of it as you would another red chile spice. Here’s more about it. You can substitute Aleppo pepper or Kashmiri (Indian) chile powder.

    It’s the same with gochujang, “the next sriracha.” Here’s more about it.
     
    Ingredients

  • 14-ounce tub extra-firm tofu (see Note)
  • 1 tablespoon toasted sesame oil or neutral vegetable oil
  • 1 medium onion, finely chopped
  • 3 to 4 cloves garlic, minced
  • 4 cups green cabbage, preferably napa, sliced
  • 6 to 8 ounces mushrooms, any variety, stemmed and sliced
  • 2 teaspoons grated fresh or squeeze-bottle ginger (add more to taste)
  • 1 teaspoon gochugaru (add more to taste<)
  • 6 cups water, plus more as needed
  • 2 vegetable bouillon cubes
  • 2 tablespoons soy sauce
  • 14.5-ounce can diced tomatoes (fire-roasted, if available)
  • 4 stalks bok choy or 1 medium baby bok choy, sliced
  • 1 tablespoon gochujang paste, more or less to taste
  • 1 cup kimchi, mild or medium, or more if desired
  • 2 scallions, thinly sliced plus more (green parts) for topping
  • 1/3 cup fresh cilantro leaves, plus more for topping
  •  
    Optional Additions

  • Cooked rice (about 1-1/2 cups)
  • Bean-thread noodles, a.k.a. cellophane or glass noodles (about 4 ounces), cooked and cut into shorter lengths
  • 1 medium sweet potato, peeled, diced, and cooked
  •  
    Preparation

    1. CUT the tofu into 6 slabs crosswise and blot well between layers of a clean tea towel or paper towel (or, if you have a tofu press, use it ahead of time). Cut the slabs into dice.

    2. HEAT the oil in a soup pot. Add the onion and sauté over medium heat until translucent. Add the garlic and continue to sauté until the onion is golden.

    3. ADD the cabbage, mushrooms, ginger, gochugaru, water, bouillon cubes, soy sauce, and tomatoes. Bring to a slow boil, then turn down the heat and simmer gently until the cabbage and mushrooms are wilted, about 5 minutes.

    4. ADD the reserved tofu, bok choy, gochujang paste, kimchi, and scallions. The broth will likely be a bit crowded, so add 1 to 2 cups of water, or more as needed. Continue to cook over low heat for 5 minutes, or just until everything is piping hot. Don’t overcook!

    5. REMOVE from the heat. Season with salt and stir in the cilantro. Serve at once, garnishing each serving with some extra scallion and cilantro.

    For the optional ingredients:

  • If using rice, place a little in each bowl before ladling in the soup.
  • If using bean-thread noodles or sweet potato, arrange them in small mounds on top of the soup after ladling them into each bowl, before adding the garnishes. Or, you can simply stir them into the soup.
  • If you do any of it in a different order, it doesn’t matter; it will all taste good no matter how you arrange it!
  •  
     
    MORE KIMCHI RECIPES

  • Deviled Eggs With Kimchi
  • Kimchi Fried Rice
  • Kimchi Hot Dogs
  • Kimchi Nachos
  • Napa Cabbage Kimchi
  • Poutine With Kimchi Topping
  • Ramen Soup With Kimchi
  • Taco & Wing Bar With Kimchi
  • Teriyaki Meatball Hero With Kimchi
  • Waffles With Kimchi
  •  
     
    THE HISTORY OF KIMCHI 

    Kimchi has been made for three thousand years in Korea. It was, and is, made by fermenting vegetables. It began as a way to ferment and store vegetables during the cold winter when many Koreans died of starvation.

    It quickly became a stape food for year-round consumption, an ubiquitous side dish on every table every day [source].

    The dish is an integral part of every meal—so much so that when South Korea launched its first astronaut to space in 2008, it sent kimchi with her [source].

    Today, kimchi is pungent and fiery, seasoned with red chile flakes or whole chiles. But historical versions were not spicy.

    Early records of kimchi do not mention garlic or chile peppers. In fact, hot chiles, now a standard ingredient in kimchi, are a New World crop. They were unknown in Korea until the early 17th century, when they were introduced to East Asia by Portuguese traders.

    The first mention of chiles in Korea is found in an encyclopedia published in 1614 [source] and kimchi with chili peppers was described in a book on farm management.

    However, it was not until the 19th century that the use of chile peppers in kimchi was widespread. The recipes from early 19th century closely resemble today’s hot and spicy kimchi [source].

    A 1766 book describes kimchi varieties made with different ingredients, including chonggak-kimchi (made with chonggak radish), oi-sobagi (made with cucumber), seokbak-ji (made with jogi-jeot, salted seafood), and dongchimi (Korean radish, napa cabbage, scallions, pickled green chile, ginger, Korean pear and watery brine).

    Napa cabbage, the key ingredient in most popular modern kimchi, was introduced to Korea from China only at the end of 19th century [source].

    The basic modern recipe came together: a powerful punch of napa cabbage, scallion (green onion), fish sauce, red pepper flakes, rice flour, salt, ginger, radish, carrot, and garlic, fermented kimchi in onggi (a clay pot) is loved by many around the world [source].
     
     
    Modern Kimchi 

    Considered the national dish of Korea, kimchi is eaten as a side dish as well as incorporated into recipes.

    Given regional preferences and ingredients, there are more than 200 types of kimchi in Korea [source].

    “Kimchi season” spans November and December, the time when kimjang (kimchi curing) takes place in preparation for winter.

    During this time, family members and neighbors gather in each other’s kitchens to cook together, trade recipes, and share stories. Kimjang is meant to create moments of joy and encourage living in harmony with nature.

  • During kimjang, cabbage is pickled by cutting it into smaller pieces, soaking it in brine overnight, and adding salt.
  • Next, yangnyum (radish coated in chili powder) is mixed with ingredients such as scallions (green onions), dropwort, mustard leaves, ginger, garlic, and fermented shrimp or anchovies.
  • Finally, the pickled cabbage is stuffed or mixed with the yangnyum and stored away to ferment until eating [source].
  •  
    The tradition of making and sharing kimchi is listed as an Intangible Cultural Heritage by Unesco that “reaffirms Korean identity” [source].”

    Kimchi is stored in large clay pots or jars. Storing them in the family refrigerator meant there was little space for anything else.

    Hence, many Korean households even have a separate kimchi refrigerator [source].

    Beyond Korea, kimchi is a terrific fusion food, pairing well with everything from eggs to sandwiches to meat to tacos.

    If you like pungent, spicy foods, take a taste. Many supermarkets carry kimchi in the refrigerated foods section. Mother-In-Law’s Kimchi is a favorite of ours.

    > More kimchi history.

    > How kimchi is made.

     
    ________________
     
    *Along with hot sauce, ketchup, mayonnaise, mustard, salsa, and other familiar condiments on the American table, pickled foods are also categorized as condiments. Common pickled foods used as condiments the world over include chutney (South Asia), cucumbers (dill, butter, and gherkin pickles, for starters in North America and cornichons in France), ginger (Japan), marmite pickled onions (UK), olives (Mediterranean), and sauerkraut (Germany). Almost all vegetables have been pickled and used as condiments in some form: whole, sliced or diced into a relish.
     
     
     
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    Pumpkin Spice Tea For Thanksgiving

    For a cup of tea after Thanksgiving dinner—or any time over the holidays—sip a comforting cup of pumpkin spice tea.

    While pumpkin spice tea in general isn’t hard to find, the blend from Tea Forté is top quality and is delicious plain or with milk and sweetener.

    Tea Forté’s Pumpkin Spice adds a trio of classic fall spices—cinnamon, ginger, and clove—to organic black tea leaves.

    The Tea Forté silken, pyramid-shaped tea bags (photo #2) are the loveliest in the business. Each pyramid tea bag is packaged in an equally elegant pyramid-shaped box (photo #1).

    The tea is certified organic, and certified kosher by KOF-K. But they’re not microwaveable—if you want to boil the water in the microwave, do that first and add the tea bag.
     
     
    GET YOUR PUMPKIN SPICE TEA 

    While a gift box of 10 pyramids makes a lovely hostess gift, if you are the host you can give individual tea bags as party favors.

    Or use them as place settings instead of chocolate turkeys (this only works at a dinner without kids demanding chocolate turkeys).

    Head to TeaForte.com.

    The products are also available on Amazon.
     
     
    > The history of tea.

    > The history of tea bags.

    > The different types of tea.

     

    Pumpkin Spice Tea Pyramid Tea Bags From Tea Forte
    [1] Pumpkin Spice pyramid tea bags, elegantly packaged (both photos © Tea Forté).

    Tea Forte Pyramid Tea Bag In White Cup
    [2] An impressive finale to Thanksgiving dinner.

     

     
     

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    Gingerbread History & Recipes For National Gingerbread Day

    November 21st is National Gingerbread Day, a time for a bit of gingerbread history and some tasty recipes (below).

    Gingerbread cookies are examples of rolled cookies, a.k.a. cutout cookies (there are 11 basic types of cookies).

    While they are most often considered cookies for Thanksgiving and Christmas, there’s no reason why they can’t be enjoyed year-round, like their “siblings” ginger cookies and gingersnaps.
     
     
    DIFFERENT TYPES OF GINGER COOKIES

    There are ginger cookies, gingersnaps, and gingerbread.

  • A ginger cookie is a soft, molasses-type cookie that is flavored with ginger and other spices. It is similar in texture to the traditional German Christmas cookie known as Lebkuchen (see the fourth bullet). It is larger than, and otherwise differs from, a gingersnap.
  • A gingersnap is a thin, plain round cookie with a hard, smooth texture like a gingerbread cookie. Like gingerbread, gingersnaps break with a “snap.” Gingersnaps contain a larger amount of ginger, and thus are spicier, than chewier ginger cookies.
  • Gingerbread is a fancier affair, often cut into special shapes (cottages, flowers, hearts, horses, people, trees, etc., along with 3-D constructions such as houses and carousels). They are hand-decorated with icing and candies. Monks made the first gingerbread for holidays and festivals. The tale of Hansel and Gretel, published in 1812 (as part of Grimm’s Fairy Tales), vastly increased the popularity of gingerbread cookies and other treats, such as gingerbread Christmas cards. Gingerbread men and animals became popular Christmas tree ornaments.
  • Lebkuchen, often called German gingerbread, is something a bit different. These spice cookies have nuts in the dough. Most imported Lebkuchen has a relatively low nut content, ranging from zero to 25%. The latter is the bare minimum required by German regulations to be considered Nürnberger Lebkuchen. Artisanal lebkuchen bakeries in Nuremberg opt for at least 40% nuts.
  •  
     
    THE HISTORY OF GINGERBREAD 

    Crusaders returning from the Holy Land‡ (1095-1291) brought ginger and other spices.

    Prior to the 15th century, “gingerbread” referred to preserved ginger*. At that time, ginger was found to have medicinal qualities† and the dried and ground spice began to be used in cakes and cookies.

    The spice ginger, zingiber in Latin, became gingerbras in Old French, gingerbread in Medieval English, and Ingwer in German. What we call gingerbread cookies are the German spice cookies known as Lebkuchen‡‡.

    Lebkuchen has its roots in the honey cakes (Honigkuchen) baked in ancient Egypt as offerings to the gods. However, the Lebkuchen that emerged in the Middle Ages was created for holidays and festivals by Franconian monks in the 13th century, in the region of Bavaria.

    Nuremberg, the second-largest city in Bavaria (after its capital, Munich) became the center for Lebkuchen production for two reasons. The forests around the city provided a wealth of honey, the sweetener; and the city was located at the crossroads of the ancient spice trade routes [source].

    With the growth of the German guilds (not unlike today’s unions), only Lebkuchen Guild members could bake gingerbread [for sale], except during Christmas, when anyone could bake it.

    The Medieval German Lebkuchen Guild transformed gingerbread into a highly-decorated art, crafting fancy shapes, decorated with sugar and gold.

    Gingerbread cookies were (and are) traditionally made in shapes—flowers, hearts, trees, and so forth. They vary by size and can be iced and decorated. But they weren’t making gingerbread men!

    The honor for that invention probably goes to Queen Elizabeth I—or more precisely, an unnamed palace baker who toiled during her reign (1558 to 1603). Her Majesty bestowed “portrait” gingerbread cookies upon important court visitors, decorated in their likenesses.

    The tale of Hansel and Gretel, published in 1812 (as part of Grimm’s Fairy Tales—you can read them here), vastly increased the popularity of gingerbread cookies and other treats, such as gingerbread houses, and gingerbread Christmas cards. Gingerbread men and animals became popular Christmas tree ornaments.

    Today, you can make everything from gingerbread bar cookies to gingerbread whoopie pies to cookies that look like tiny gingerbread houses (photo #5), and entire gingerbread villages.
     
     
    > The history of gingerbread.

    > The history of the gingerbread house.

    > The history of cookies.

    > A glossary of delicious cookies.

    > The history of ginger.
     
     
    GINGERBREAD RECIPES

  • Chocolate Chocolate Chip Gingerbread Cookies
  • Gingerbread Cake
  • Gingerbread Cookie Dip & Spread
  • Gingerbread Cupcakes
  • Gingerbread Bars With Cream Cheese Icing
  • Gingerbread Bundt Cake
  • Gingerbread Latte
  • Gingerbread Lemon Cinnamon Bars
  • Gingerbread Leprechaun Cookies
  • Gingerbread Men In A Sleigh
  • Gingerbread Mustard
  • Gingerbread Muffins
  • Gingerbread Rim Cookies For Cups & Mugs
  • Gingerbread Skeletons For Halloween
  • Gingerbread Whoopie Pies With Lemon Cream Filling
  • Ginger Cookies (Lebkuchen)
  • Ginger Snaps
  • Gluten-Free Gingerbread Cookies
  • Gingerbread Waffles
  • Mini Gingerbread Eggnog Cheesecakes
  • Valentine Gingerbread Men
  •  

    Gingerbread Cake With Gingerbread Cookies
    [1] Mash-up: Gingerbread cookies + gingerbread cake = gingerbread house (photo © Bruna Branco | Unsplash).

    A Simple Gingerbread House
    [2] A simple but elegant gingerbread house, with only royal icing. The gumdrops and other candies are to dazzle kids (photo © Ian | Stock Xchange).

    Gingerbread Cookies - People
    [3] Queen Elizabeth I was first to introduce the concept of gingerbread men, having them decorated to look like her favorite courtiers (photo © Aleksandra Tanasiienko | Unsplash).

    Different Gingerbread Shapes
    [4] Beyond gingerbread men: Christmas trees, mini-houses, reindeer, plus bells, candy canes, Christmas cards, gift boxes, horses, polar bears, stars, sweaters, whatever you fancy (photo © Lydia Matzal | Unsplash).

    Gingerbread Rim Cookies
    [5] Gingerbread rim cookies. Here’s the recipe (photo © Solutions | Blair).

    Gingerbread Cookies Decorated Like Skeletons
    [6] It’s not just for the holidays. Decorate gingerbread people with skeletons, Valentine hearts, leprechaun outfits, bathing suits, anything (photo © Grandma’s Molasses | Facebook).

     
    ________________
     
    *Preserved ginger is the root peeled, cooked, preserved in sugar syrup, and then chopped and used in desserts. The sugar syrup, which absorbs ginger flavor, can be used separately.

    †Among other things, the volatile oils in ginger, gingerols, and shogaols, help with digestion, gas, and cramping; relieve nausea; help to reduce inflammation and fever; help prevent blood clots; make ginger a natural decongestant and antihistamine and may also help lower LDL cholesterol. But that’s no reason to eat lots of cookies!

    ‡In addition, Europeans discovered sugar and coffee in the Middle East, which were then largely foreign commodities, along with rice and varieties of fruits (among other foodstuffs). They also brought back cotton cloth for clothing and sheets, mattresses, glass mirrors, wheelbarrows, and writing paper,all of which helped to improve the standard of living in Europe. Algebra and many other forms of modern math were carried home by the Crusaders, along with the game of chess [source].

    ‡‡There are different types of Lebkuchen. Here’s more about them.

     
     

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