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The Food Almanac: Friday, March 29, 2013

The Food Almanac: Friday, March 29, 2013

It is Good Friday, recalling the most infamous execution of all time. And the day, most likely, on which the most seafood is eaten in America.

Today's Flavor
This is Wild Rice Week. Wild rice is indeed wild, but it's not really rice. Although it is now being cultivated, the plant is exactly as the Native Americans found it for centuries in the bogs in Minnesota. The long distance of its relation to true rice is obvious when you eat it. It has a nutty flavor more like that of oats or barley than rice. But, really, it has a taste all its own. It's most often served with game, and for decades any restaurant that served duck served wild rice with it. More often than not, wild rice in a restaurant is combined with regular rice, for the usual reason: wild rice is very expensive. It cooks quickly--just twenty minutes or so in a steamer.

Today is alleged by some sources to be National Lemon Chiffon Cake Day. Chiffon cakes are an American invention, and get their spongy, light consistency by incorporating beaten egg whites into the batter. Yawn.

Gourmet Gazetteer
Beans Corner, Maine is about thirty-file miles northwest of the state capital, Augusta. It's a pure farming area, although trees grow over many acres of formerly tilled land. If you'd like to eat some beans, you'll be frustrated by the number of fast food and Chinese restaurants you'll have to pass before coming to Soup For You, six miles away in Farmington.

Science In Food
Biologist Charles Elton was born today in 1900. He was the first to use the term food chain, describing the deep interdependent relationships among plants and animals in nature, and how critical those relationships are to all living things. He thought of it as an energy flow, with plants taking up energy from the sun to produce food for herbivores which are then food for carnivores (to oversimplify the food chain a great deal).

Edible Dictionary
cream of tartar, n.--Potassium bitartrate, a natural byproduct of winemaking, cream of tartar is a mildly acidic powder whose uses are surprisingly varied. It is most frequently encoutered--although you might not be aware of its presence--mixed with other powders. It's found in some kinds of baking powder, to fire off the gas-producing effect of baking soda. It's in Sweet 'n' Low, to counteract the bitterness of saccharin. In its solo performances, cream of tartar added to egg whites makes them easier to turn into a thick foam for meringue. A paste of water and cream of tartar can polish metals. You may have encountered cream of tartar on the hoof. If you've ever seen what looks like glass chips in the bottom of a bottle of wine, or crystals on the underside of a cork, you've seen unpowdered cream of tartar. It's an element of the grape juice itself that sometimes precipitates, especially if the wine is kept chilled for a long time.

Deft Dining Rule #233:
Dishes with colorful names are divided into two categories: the delicious and the terrible. There is no in-between. The very fact that it has an unusual name means the dish makes a big flavor statement.

Food At War
On this day in 1943--right in the middle of World War II--meat, cheese, and butter began to be rationed in the United States. The weekly ration for meat per person was 28 ounces. That was more of a hardship then than it would be now, because the American diet then was more meat-based. A large percentage of the American public now eats far less than 28 ounces of meat a week, by choice. Seafood eaters fared well during rationing. Fish and shellfish never were rationed, even though they were in shorter supply.

Roots Of Creole Cooking
Adrien de Pauger landed at what would become New Orleans on this date in 1721. He laid out the original street plan of the French Quarter. For his efforts he has a street named after him in the Marigny. A curiosity of a rough layout of his drawing is a note pointing to the block of Royal between Conti and St. Louis Streets. It says, "Good but expensive breakfast joint here."

Annals Of Soft Drinks
Today in 1886 druggist John S. Pemberton began advertising a new brain tonic and intellectual beverage (as he called it), made from kola nuts and containing a cocaine precursor. He named it Coca-Cola. He did not make much money with it, because before the stuff hit really big, Pemberton sold the formula to Asa Candler, who was the marketing genius.

The Old Kitchen Sage Sez:
If you add Coca-Cola or anything like it to a recipe, you may be doing so just so you can say, "Oh, yes, I make my ham glaze with root beer."

Music To Eat With Your Man By
Today in 1918, actress and blues singer Pearl Bailey was born. "I don't like to say that my kitchen is a religious place," she said, "but I would say that if I were a voodoo priestess, I would conduct my rituals there." Pearly Mae was a frequent performer at the Blue Room of the old Fairmont Hotel here. In her honor the hotel named its twenty-four-hour restaurant after her. The restaurant outlived its namesake by a few years, but ultimately closed. After the Waldorf-Astoria arm of Hilton took over the old Fairmont and re-renamed it The Roosevelt, the space where Bailey's once was was turned over to Chef John Besh, who installed his new Italian restaurant Domenica there.

Words To Eat By
"Food history is as important as a baroque church. Governments should recognize cultural heritage and protect traditional foods. A cheese is as worthy of preserving as a sixteenth-century building."--Carlo Petrini, the founder of the Slow Food Movement.

Words To Drink By
"Popularity, I have always thought, may aptly be compared to a coquette—the more you woo her, the more apt is she to elude your embrace."--John Tyler, tenth U.S. President, born today in 1790.

Coffee Mousse

This recipe is taken from a very old cookbook that belonged to my Mother- in -law. the book is called "Majturiba". The original recipe is very small and says to use 1/5 of an egg, which I have never seen in any other cookbook. I did the original recipe x5, which is the proportions I will share with you today.

At Lido, the most popular cafeteria style restaurant in Latvia, with tons of traditional Latvian food choices this is a dessert we enjoy. It is served in a pretty dessert cup, with a red currant ķiselis (something like thickened juice) poured in the bottom and a square of this on top. Yum!

250 g. cream
100 g. milk or cream ( today I used all cream because I didn't have any milk)
1 egg
75 g. sugar
10-20 g. coffee
10 g. gelatin.
Vanilla ( today I used a vanilla been scraped out)

Method: (May not be correct, but it is the way I did it and it worked. Hope if works for you, can see other recipes on the Internet for other directions)

March 20 Friday

Whenever we are privileged to eat of the bread which Jesus gives, we are, like Ruth, satisfied with the full and sweet repast. When Jesus is the host no guest goes empty from the table. Our head is satisfied with the precious truth which Christ reveals our heart is content with Jesus, as the altogether lovely object of affection our hope is satisfied, for whom have we in heaven but Jesus? and our desire is satiated, for what can we wish for more than “to know Christ and to be found in him?”

Jesus fills our conscience till it is at perfect peace our judgment with persuasion of the certainty of his teachings our memory with recollections of what he has done, and our imagination with the prospects of what he is yet to do. As Ruth was “sufficed, and left,” so is it with us. We have had deep draughts we have thought that we could take in all of Christ but when we have done our best we have had to leave a vast remainder. We have sat at the table of the Lord’s love, and said, “Nothing but the infinite can ever satisfy me I am such a great sinner that I must have infinite merit to wash my sin away” but we have had our sin removed, and found that there was merit to spare we have had our hunger relieved at the feast of sacred love, and found that there was a redundance of spiritual meat remaining.

There are certain sweet things in the Word of God which we have not enjoyed yet, and which we are obliged to leave for awhile for we are like the disciples to whom Jesus said, “I have yet many things to say unto you, but ye cannot bear them now.” Yes, there are graces to which we have not attained places of fellowship nearer to Christ which we have not reached and heights of communion which our feet have not climbed. At every banquet of love there are many baskets of fragments left. Let us magnify the liberality of our glorious Boaz.

The Sweatman Family

Last year for Easter I made this Bunny Butt Cake and several friends have been asking about it for this year. I can't seem to find a blog post about it in my archive so I'll walk you through it now!

Believe it or not . I totally winged this cake. I had no instruction when I was making it. I had merely seen pictures of it from other people.

  • 1 box of cake mix (any flavor)
  • Prepared batch of Buttercream Icing (or any favorite icing)
  • 4 XL packages of Kit Kats
  • Easter M&Ms
  • Prepared fondant (either store bought Wilton or homemade marshmallow fondant)
  • Coconut shavings (optional but I think its so cute this way)
  • Pink & Green Food Coloring


I decided to try making Tonya's bunny cake this year because it was way too cute last year!
It was super easy and I'm no baker but this was so fun to make.
I have never messed with fondant either and that was so fun molding my bunny's butt!
I only came across one flaw, I accidently broke a set of kit kats so, instead of running to store for more I "glued" them
Back with the icing and the ribbon covers up the break!!
Hope you find time to make it and have as much fun as I did
Thank You Tonya for sharing !!

So glad it worked for you Kini! Thanks for the tip on repairing Kit Kats :)

Thank you for this marvellous idea. Definitely easier to make Bunny Bottoms than Bunny faces!

This looks great, can't wait to "attempt" it this year, wish me luck!

i do agree with reusing butter tubs and such but the plastic starts to wear down so i only use them a few times. if you have large yogurt containers and such you couls donate them to a school or arts camp program.

I have made this cake for the last few years but never with the bunny bottom . SO CUTE and will make a great addition. Wish me luck :)))))

Old Fashioned Deviled Eggs

I think of deviled eggs as an old fashioned picnic food. The kind of food I’d expect to find at my grandma’s family reunion, where the median age ran north of 60. Despite it’s fuddy duddy status, it’s a perennial favorite.

Whenever I set out to make deviled eggs, I pull out the trusty teaching cookbook I got from my mom. It was her text book when she taught Home Economics. Talk about old school.

Cold Water Method for Hard Cooked Eggs

  1. Place eggs in a saucepan and cover completely with cold water.
  2. Bring water quickly to a boil, then remove from heat.
  3. Cover the pan and let it stand 10-12 minutes.
    12 minutes is perfect for my extra-large eggs.
  4. Fill another bowl with ice cubes and cold water and transfer the cooked eggs to the cold water.
    I use a slotted spoon so I don’t transfer the hot water, and then transfer the cold bowl into the fridge.

Peeling the eggs can be a pain, it’s probably my least favorite part of making deviled eggs. BUT, immediately transferring to cold water helps the shell separate and makes peeling them better. I usually do the tap, crack and roll with my palm method. However, I see there are a bunch of options out there, including a guy who blows his eggs out of the shell!

Once the eggs are peeled, it’s time to get down to the devil’s business. Ever wonder why they’re called “deviled”? The answer is not as exciting as you might think.

Tuesday, March 26, 2013

Ottijiet tal-gunglien (Sesame Dunkers)


Juice of an orange
Milk and Sesame seeds to decorate with


Put the flour, baking powder, butter and icing sugar in a bowl and mix using the rub-in method until mixture resembles breadcrumbs. Throw in the orange and lemon zest, toasted aniseed, eggs and orange juice and form a dough.

On a floured surface, cut dough into walnut-sized pieces. Roll out in the shape of a pencil and form the "8" shape. Press ends together well.

Dip the figure of 8 in milk and then put it in a plate with sesame seeds to coat the top of the cookie.

Sfineg tal-Incova

Sfineg tal-Incova (Deep fried anchovy balls)


Pizza Dough
Anchovy Fillets

There are several ways to prepare sfineg. These are traditionally sold during lent in Malta, very simple yet very tasty. Traditionally, according to "Recipes from Malta" published in 1972, a batter made out of flour, baking powder and water was formed and set to rest for about an hour. Pieces of anchovies were then dipped in this thick batter and deep fried in fat.

A quicker version can be made using store-bought pizza dough (however much of the authenticity will be lost because as you can see, the original recipe doesn't use any yeast in the batter).

Using store bought pizza dough you can roll u walnut sized balls, stuff a piece of anchovy in side and deep fry.

Alternatively, if you are making home made pizza dough, you can go ahead and knead in pieces of anchovies in the dough and just fry it like that.

The Food Almanac: Friday, March 29, 2013 - Recipes

another fabulous Pinterest find! It's truly the best cornbread! Or cake. or cornbread. I don't know which. It's very sweet, so it is really a treat to make this once in a while. We had it with my Turkey Two Bean Chili, but I also ate it over the next couple of days when I was craving something sweet.

1 box yellow cake mix (I used Duncan Hines Butter Golden)
water, butter or oil and eggs (from the directions on the box - minus 1 egg if using what I used)

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Spray a 9x13" baking pan with non-stick cooking spray. Start with the cornbread by combining all ingredients through the vegetable oil. After that is mixed together, add the eggs and milk. Set aside. Make the cake mix according to package directions in a large mixing bowl. Combine the two mixes together and pour into the 9x13" pan. Bake for about 30 minutes or until a toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean. Cut into squares.

The Food Almanac: Friday, March 29, 2013 - Recipes

Perfect Hard Boiled Eggs:
Not under cooked, not dry, not green around the yolk, peels easily!

Place eggs from the fridge in a single layer in a large soup pot. Cover the eggs completely with water and bring to a boil over high heat. Once the water boils, reduce the heat to medium and cook for 10 minutes. Using a slotted spoon, remove the eggs to a colander in the sink. Let the hot eggs rest for about 20 minutes. If they are still too hot to handle, rinse with cold water.

Using warm hard boiled eggs, color as desired on the shells using crayons. Brush chunky bits of wax away using a dry paint brush for a clean look.

Draw on the egg shells, around but not over the wax, using food writing pens.

Prepare disposable cups 1/2 to 2/3 full of water by stirring in about 10 drops of liquid food coloring. Add a tablespoon of white vinegar to the liquid to intensify the color in the dyed eggs.

Gently drop the eggs, one at a time, into the liquid. Soak them for few seconds for pale colors, and up to several minutes for bright colors. You may want to add more food coloring once you're dyeing the eggs if the color isn't bright enough for you.

Definition can be added to your drawings by going over with addition crayon wax after they're dyed. You can also create a smooth painted-on look with wax by coloring it on really thick and melting it with the tip of a hot glue gun.

Fight Back Friday March 29th

Welcome to another Fight Back Friday! Today we are bringing together another collection of recipes, tips, anecdotes, and testimonies from members of the Real Food Revolution.

Who are they? Why, they’re the Food Renegades. You know who you are — lovers of SOLE (Sustainable, Organic, Local, and Ethical) food, traditional food, primal food, REAL food, the list goes on. I believe that by joining together, our influence can grow, and we can change the way America (and the industrialized world) eats!

If you want to participate but aren’t sure how, please read these guidelines for how Fight Back Fridays will work.

Please be courteous and use your BEST blog carnival manners! In the very least, that means remember the two most important things you can do:

  1. Share a relevant post from your blog with us using the McLinky Widget below (don’t just link to your blog’s home page).
  2. In your post, be sure to link back to this post (not the Food Renegade home page) so that your readers can have access to all the information and encouragement we’ll be sharing.

Please also feel free to make use of any of the banners below by saving the image to your desktop then uploading it to your own server. (You don’t have to use them, but they’re there for you!)

If you don’t have a blog but are interested in joining the conversation, you can leave your comments below!

The Macaroni & Cheese Project

I obtained this score at the public library book sale. Being a big fan of Tasha Tudor's children's books and her beautiful world recreated through her lovely stories and sweet illustrations I was really looking forward to trying this out. This cookbook is full of cozy standards and comfort food so of course mac and cheese makes an appearance. I was a bit surprised by the use of Ritz crackers and Velveeta and also a bit excited. Most of the recipes I make are of the purist sort so I was looking forward to trying something different. We never had Velveeta as a kid so I'm not really used to cooking with it but if you ignore the plasticy texture it's fun to cook with and adds a certain depth of flavour when other cheeses are present.

This was so easy and good I would definitely make it again.

2 c elbow macaroni
5 T unsalted butter
1/4 c unbleached flour
2 c milk
1 c sharp cheddar cheese, grated
salt and pepper
4 oz Velveeta, cubed
1/2 c crumbled Ritz crackers for topping

Preheat oven to 350 degrees F and butter a shallow 1 1/2 quart baking dish.
Cook the macaroni in boiling slated water until just tender. Drain it while you prepare the cream sauce.
In a large saucepan, melt 4 T of the butter, then whisk in the flour and add the milk. Stir the mixture until it thickens, then add the cheddar cheese and stir it in until it melts. Season with salt and pepper. Cut the Velveeta into 1/2-inch chunks and stir it into the white sauce, but do not allow it to melt completely. Place the drained macaroni in the prepared baking dish, pour the cheese sauce over it, and stir gently to mix. Sprinkle the crumbled Ritz crackers generously over the top and dot with the remaining butter. Bake in the preheated oven for 20 to 25 minutes, until browned and bubbly.