American Classics

Constitution Week – Foods of Our Forefathers

September 17, 2013

Revolutionary War

Today is Constitution Day (Constitution Week is from Sept 17th – Sept 23rd), which commemorates the formation, and signing of the U.S. Constitution by thirty-nine brave men on September 17, 1787, recognizing all who, are born in the U.S. or by naturalization, have become citizens.  Our Constitution was signed on September 17, 1787, and after an extended period of national conversation and with the promise of a bill of rights, it became the supreme law of the land.  We are a proud Nation of immigrants. Throughout our history, immigrants have embraced the spirit of liberty, equality, and justice for all – the same ideals that stirred the patriots of 1776 to rise against an empire, guided the Framers as they built a stronger republic, and moved generations to bridge our founding promise with the realities of time. 

Many people wonder what it was like in those days.  What did people eat?  Today, it is possible to travel from coast to coast, at any time of the year, without feeling any need to change your eating habits.  Sophisticated processing and storage techniques, fast transport, and a creative variety of formulated convenience food products have made it possible to ignore regional and seasonal differences in food production – if it is desirable or necessary for personal reasons. 

It was not always so.  As early Americans moved about, they had to change their eating habits to fit local conditions.  Climate was one of the major limiting factors, but soil water and other vegetation play a part.  It’s easy to romanticize the food supply of early America, and there is no question that in many ways it was a vast improvement over that available in many of the immigrant’s homelands.  Inadequate yields, seasonal availability of produce, nutrition-robbing preservation techniques, constant labor, continual attention to schedules and danger of contamination were some of the factors bearing on the food supply that sustained our forefathers and foremothers as they developed our country. 

Most early immigrants from Europe were accustomed to a limited, monotonous diet.  Fresh meat was an infrequent main course on the tables of the working classes.  Two meal’s worth of meat per week was regarded as good treatment for a servant.  Game was the property of the Royal Family in most countries, and killing a deer was a capital offense. “Milk, butter and cheese are the laborers dyet, and a pot of good beer quickens his spirit,” said Breton, an English author, in 1626.

Only a handful of vegetables were known in Europe, prior to the discovery and settling of the New World.  The short list included root vegetables such as beets, carrots, radishes, turnips and parsnips, plus cabbages, onions, leeks and lentils.  There was a considerable variety of fruits and berries, but they were available only during a short harvest.  

To Be Continued…

Pack Your Omelet Full Of Goodness

July 22, 2013

Cooking OmeletPack Your Omelet Full Of Goodness

Omelets are one of those dishes that you can have for breakfast, lunch or dinner.  The versatile omelet is low in calories too especially if you start with one egg and two egg whites (about 100 calories).  Add the fillings of your choice and you have a protein packed meal that will satisfy your hunger.

Cheese Choices

Choose 1/4 cup of one of these cheese for your omelet.

Shredded Swiss

Shredded Cheddar

Crumbled Feta

Vegetables

Choose as many vegetables as you want because they are full of fiber and low in calories.

Chopped Broccoli

Sliced Mushrooms

Chopped Tomatoes

Proteins

Choose1/4 cup of these delicious proteins.

Smoked Salmon

Turkey Bacon

Ham

Optional

Choose one of these for a total treat.

Sautéed Potatoes

Avocado

Crème Fraiche

 

Kentucky Benedictine Sandwiches

July 17, 2013

Kentucky Benedictine SandwichesKentucky Benedictine Sandwiches

Make the Kentucky Benedictine spread.  With a round cookie or biscuit cutter, cut rounds out of the bread slices.  Spread the mixture on half of the rounds and top with another round.  Garnish with a sprig of parsley or watercress if you want to get fancy.

 

All-American Hot Dogs

June 10, 2013

Hot DogsAll-American Hot Dogs

Summer is here and why pay top dollar going out when you can make delicious hot dogs at home?  Here is a guide to the different ways Americans make their frankfurters around the country.  I had the Sonoran style hot dogs while I was in Tucson in February and absolutely loved them.

 

New York Style

Served with brown or German mustard and sauerkraut or onions cooked in tomato paste.

 

Chicago Style

Served on a poppy seed bun with mustard, pickle relish, sport peppers, onions, tomatoes, dill pickles and celery salt.  Pepperoncini can be substituted for sport peppers.

 

Kansas City Style

Served on a sesame seed bun with brown or German mustard, sauerkraut and Swiss cheese.

 

Atlanta “Dragged Through The Garden” Style

Serve topped with coleslaw.

 

Detroit “Coney” Style

Served with chili, onions, mustard and cheddar cheese.

 

Seattle Style

Served with cream cheese and grilled onions.

 

Phoenix/Tucson “Sonoran” Style

Served as a bacon-wrapped hot dog with pinto beans, onions, tomatoes, mustard, mayo, jalapeno peppers and cheese.

 

Austin “Tex-Mex” Style

Served with queso, guacamole and crushed tortilla chips.

 

San Francisco “Wine Country” Style

Served with red wine caramelized onions and goat cheese.

 

Miami “Cuban” Style

Served with mustard, pickles and Swiss cheese.

 

Sonoran Hot Dogs Wrapped In Bacon On The GrillSonoran Hot Dogs Ready To Eat

Mother’s Day Brunch

May 10, 2013

Mother's Day FlowersMother’s Day Brunch

Put mom in a good mood this Sunday and make Mother’s Day a special day with a memorable brunch.  When my children were younger they often made me breakfast in bed for Mother’s Day.  They made me promise to stay in bed propped up on pillows while they wobbled trays of pancakes, sausage, fresh juice and chopped fruit to my bed. These breakfasts made by little hands were so sweet. They were so proud of themselves that they would hop up on my bed all smiles asking if they each could have a sausage or piece of bacon.  Before I knew it they would eat my entire “breakfast in bed.”

Eggs Benedict

Mother’s Day Scramble

Eggs Florentine With Waffles & Hollandaise

 

Pecan Pancakes

Lemon Curd French Toast

 

Melon Balls

Mixed Berries With Crème Fraiche

Raspberry Parfaits With Yogurt & Granola

 

Cherry Pecan Scones

Cherry Almond Quick Bread

 

Roasted Tomatoes

Hash Browns With Fresh Chives

Sweet Potato Hash Browns

 

Smoked Sausage

Smoked Bacon

Smoked Salmon

 

Freshly Brewed Coffee or Tea

Fresh Squeezed OJ

Fresh Squeezed Grapefruit Juice

Mother’s Day Mimosas

Citrus Spritzers

Bloody Marys

Mac & Cheese Please!

April 9, 2013

Mac & Cheese Please!Mac & Cheese Please!

Forget that horrible box stuff and make your own delicious Mac & Cheese.  Here is a different spin on the usual cheddar cheese macaroni & cheese dish.  Using the brie, cream cheese and mascarpone makes it nice and creamy.  I used macaroni pasta here, but you can use pasta shells or farfalle pasta.

INGREDNTS

2 Tablespoons Unsalted Butter

1/2 Teaspoon Kosher Salt

12 Ounces of Farfelle or Macaroni Pasta or Shells

7 Ounces Brie (Rind Removed) Cut Into Chunks

5 Ounces Cream Cheese Softened & Cubed

3 Large Eggs Lightly Beaten

1 Cup Mascarpone Cheese

1 Cup Grated Parmigiano Reggiano Cheese

3/4 Teaspoon Black Pepper

1/4 Teaspoon Finely Grated Nutmeg

Heat your oven to 375º F.  Butter a 2 quart gratin dish.  Bring a large pot of heavily salted water to a boil.  Cook pasta to al dente and then drain well.  DO NOT rinse the pasta. Transfer the hot pasta to a large bowl and toss immediately with Brie and cream cheese until melted and smooth.  In a separate bowl, whisk together the eggs, mascarpone and Parmigiano.  Stir the egg mixture into pasta.  Season with the kosher salt, pepper and nutmeg.  Place the pasta into the prepared baking dish. Bake for 30 minutes.  Remove from the oven and serve immediately.  Serves 6

Easter Menu Ideas

March 30, 2013

Easter 1Easter Menu Ideas

The greatest feast of the Christian Church takes its name from that of Eastre, the Anglo-Saxon goddess of the dawn.  The feast, however, has another name, the Pasch, the Greek word coming from the Hebrew pesakh, the Passover.  This is the term for the feast which is used in nearly every language except English and German, but even these two languages use the words Paschal candle and Paschaltide.  In the churches of the Eastern Orthodox the feast of Easter comes somewhat later than in the Western calendar, but the observance is as great, if not greater.  Here are some Easter feast ideas that may be useful in your home this Sunday.

Easter Breakfast Or Brunch

Mini Frittatas: Cheddar, Asparagus, Sun-Dried Tomato, Swiss, Bacon or Mushroom

Spring Onion Quiches With Gruyere Cheese: Cooked Leeks & Onions With Cheese & A Savory Egg Custard Baked In A Tart Shell

Asparagus, Arugula & Goat Cheese Quiche:  Asparagus, Baby Arugula & Goat Cheese Mixed With Egg Custard Baked In a Flaky Crust

Fresh Fruit Platter:  Sliced Cantaloupe, Honeydew, Watermelon , Pineapple, Grapes & Berries

Easter Appetizers

Asparagus Rolled In Pancetta

Mini Spinach & Ricotta Calzone

Bruschetta

Crudites Platter:  Celery, Broccoli, Cauliflower, Green & Yellow Squash, Sliced Cucumbers, Red/Yellow/Green Bell Peppers, Grape Tomatoes And Baby Carrots

Cheese Platter:  Classic American & European Cheeses Cubes & Wedges For Snacking.  Serve With Almonds & Crostini

Shrimp Cocktail:  Cook, Devein & De-shell Large Shrimp Serve with Lemons & Cocktail Sauce

Smoked Salmon Platter:  Sliced Salmon With Chopped Red Onions, Capers, Cornichons, Mustard Sauce & Horseradish Sauce

Whole Boneless Poached Salmon:  Poached In White Wine With A Light & Creamy Dill Sauce

Soups

Spring Pea & Onion Soup:  Pureed Spring Pea & Onion Soup Made With Celery, Leeks, Garlic & Thyme

Carrot & Fennel Soup:  Carrots, Fennel & Tomatoes Cooked In Vegetable Broth.  Pureed Smooth

Salads & Side Dishes

Shrimp, Spring Pea & Morel Salad:  Shrimp With Crispy Spring Peas, Morel Mushrooms & Tomatoes Lightly Tossed In A Lemon Vinaigrette

Golden Beet, Radish & Frisee Salad:  Golden Beets, Radishes, Frisee Served With Goat Cheese, Pecans & Champagne Vinaigrette.

Grilled Asparagus:  Marinate In Olive Oil & Kosher Salt.  Grill

Gnocchi, Peas & Pancetta:  Gnocchi, Peas, Panchetta, Ricotta Salata, Baby Arugula & Lemon Zest

Entrees

Honey Spiced Turkey Breast: Brine, Slow Roast Finished With Spices & Honey Glaze

Apricot Bourbon Glazed Ham:  Apricot Jam, Honey, Dijon Mustard & Bourbon Combined & Poured On Top Of Ham Then Baked

Victoria’s Apricot Pork Tenderloin

Rosemary Rubbed Leg Of Lamb:  Boneless Leg Of Lamb Marinated In Olive Oil & Herbs Then Roasted To Medium Rare

Grilled Salmon With Crispy Potato & Leek Fondue:  Grilled Salmon Topped With Melted Spring Leeks With A Touch Of Cream & Crispy Fingerling Potatoes

Rack Of Lamb: Roasted With A Variety Of Spices

Desserts

Carrot Cake With Cream Cheese Frosting

Chocolate Cake

Yellow Cake With White Chocolate Ganache

Victoria’s Caramel & Chocolate Pecan Bars

Fruit Tarts

Hot Cross Buns

 

Past Inaugural Luncheon Menus

January 21, 2013

Past Inaugural Luncheon Menus

Today President Obama will serve his second inaugural luncheon.  Last year he served Lincoln inspired foods such as pheasant, whipped sweet potatoes and cinnamon apple sponge cake. 

 

At President Clinton’s second inaugural luncheon he served shrimp, oyster & scallop pie before serving beggar’s pudding and quince ice cream for dessert.

 

President Kennedy’s guests dined on American specialties such as Texas ribs and New England boiled lobster.

 

President Buchanan had 6,000 guests at his inaugural luncheon.  His staff made 400 gallons of oysters, 60 saddles of mutton and 125 beef tongues.

 

President Madison’s first lady, Dolley, loved ice cream so much that he served it for dessert at his second inaugural meal. 

Butter Cookies

November 24, 2012

Butter Cookies

It’s time to start thinking about making Christmas cookies. 

1 1/2 Cups Softened Butter

1 1/2 Cups Sugar

2 Eggs Lightly Beaten

3 Cups Unbleached Flour

1/3 Teaspoon Kosher Salt

1/2 Teaspoon Vanilla Extract

1/4 Cup Sifted Powdered Sugar (Optional)

Cookie Press

Preheat your oven to 375° F.  In a large size bowl cream the butter and sugar together.  Add the beaten eggs.  In a separate bowl mix the flour and salt.  Gradually add the flour mixture to the sugar mixture.  Blend well and then add the vanilla.  Fill the cookie press with 1/4 of the cookie dough at a time.  Press the cookies onto a parchment paper covered cookie sheet 2 inches apart.  Bake for 10 minutes.  Remove from the oven and allow the cookies to cool for 10 minutes while still on the cookie sheet.  Transfer to a cooling rack to cool completely.  Dust with the powdered sugar if you want to.  Makes 48 cookies. 

Building A Healthier Burger

June 19, 2012

Building A Healthier Burger

 

Nothing says grilling season like a hot & juicy burger.  You can enjoy an American favorite that is new and improved by giving your burger a healthy twist without skimping on flavor.  Here are some things that you can do to create a better burger. 

Choose Your Patty:  For a classic burger it is important to choose the leanest ground beef available.  Purists will tell you to use the fattiest ground beef, but if you are trying to cut down on fat and create a healthier burger try using lean meat.  I like to use ground sirloin.  You also might try: Ground Turkey Breast (usually 99% fat free); Ground Buffalo/Bison (naturally sweet & lean); Veggie Burgers (usually has one seventh the saturated fat of traditional burgers); Fish Burgers; Salmon Burgers (rich in omega-3); Mushroom Burgers (made from large grilled Portobello mushrooms). 

 

Jazz Up Your Burgers:  Spices and condiments are key here.  Mix in or season your burgers with salt free or low sodium spices.  You can get creative here to suit your tastes or mood.  I like to use Cajun spices, Italian spices and sometimes a touch of curry spices. You can get a fiber boost and add texture by adding chopped or grated vegetables or herbs. 

 

To Bun Or Not To Bun:  Who says a burger must be served on a traditional white bun?  Feel free to serve your burgers on 100% whole grain buns or pita pockets.  If you are going for a totally bunless burger you might want to try sturdy lettuce or cabbage leaves. 

Accessorize:  The tasty trimming options are endless, but here are a few ideas.  Choose condiments that are low in fat, sodium and sugar.  Read the labels on varieties of ketchup, mayonnaise, mustard, relish and salsa.  Choose low-fat or fat-free varieties of cheese.  The white cheeses tend to be lower in fat such as Swiss or provolone.  Top your burger with grilled onions and sliced tomatoes.  Instead of using iceberg lettuce try radicchio, arugula or romaine.  While you’re at it add cucumber slices, radish slices or red pepper rings for some extra crunch.

 

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