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Archive for the ‘Cuisine and Food’ Category

Jan
19

How to Prepare Crab Louie or Crab Louis Salad

At different times, this dish has been called Crab Louie, Crab Louis Salad, Louis Salad and/or the King of Salads.

Research indicates that although the origins of the recipe are unclear, it is reputed to date back to the early 1900’s. Some anecdotes credit the original recipe to the entrepreneur Louis Davenport.

Presently, three recipes in print exist, one from a 1910 edition of a cookbook by V. Hertzler, and another, in a 1914 publication, Bohemian San Francisco, by C. E. Edwards. Another recipe pre-dates 1914, and can be found in the historical menus at Davenport Hotel, in  Spokane, Washington.

However, you may still find this recipe on the menu of some upscale hotels and restaurants, including the Palace Hotel in San Francisco and the Davenport Hotel, in Spokane, Washington

You will find Crab Louis typically listed as a hors d’Å“uvre

As a rule it is served either chilled or at room temperature, on a bed of crisp Butter or Romaine Lettuce.

This following recipe serves 4.

Ingredients

♦  2 cups of cooked Crab meat – Although the preferred crab is Dungeness Crab, other crab meat (e.g., Pacific Crab or Alaskan King Crab) can be substituted;

♦  2 Hard boiled Eggs;

♦ 1 Tomato;

♦  Steamed Asparagus spears;

♦  1 Cucumber (I prefer English Cucumber);

♦  Chopped chives

Another essential ingredient is a seafood dressing such as Sauce Louis (recipe below). However in a pinch Thousand Island Dressing will suffice.

Ingredients

♦  Mayonnaise;

♦  Chili Sauce;

♦  Heavy Cream

♦  chopped Green Pepper

♦  chopped Spring or Green Onions;

♦  Worcestershire sauce;

♦  Lemon Juice;

♦  Salt;

♦  Black Pepper.

NOTE:. Start by making the Sauce Louis:

(This sauce is also good with stuffed artichokes, and shrimp.)

Combine

♦ 1 cup Mayonnaise;

♦ 1/2 cup Chili Sauce;

♦ 1/4 cup Heavy Cream

♦ 1/4 cup chopped Green Pepper;

♦ 1/4 cup chopped Green Onion;

♦ 1 teaspoon Worcestershire sauce;

♦ 2 tablespoons Lemon Juice

♦ Season to taste with salt and black pepper.

Leave the dressing to chill in the refrigerator.

This dressing can be served on the side or mixed with the other ingredients, depending on the personal preference of you and your guest(s).

This is my favorite:

Just prior to serving, arrange around the inside of a bowl:

♦ Lettuce leaves

Place on the bottom:

♦ 3/4 cup shredded lettuce leaves

Heap on these:

♦ 2 cups of cooked Crab Meat

Pour over the crab:

♦ 1 cup of Sauce Louis (Recipe above) or Thousand Island Dressing

Slice 2 hard-boiled eggs

♦ Place them on top of the crab.

Dice the tomato, steamed asparagus spears, and the cucumber;

♦ Layer them on the egg and crab.

Sprinkle over them:

♦ Chopped chives.

Then the final step is to enjoy. Bien manger!

 

 

Nov
20

Best Savory and Sweet Cheese Dishes

From hearty appetizers and snacks, to comfort foods, to elegant dishes and decadent desserts, cheese lends its richness to both savory and sweet dishes that do not fail to satisfy one’s basic hunger or his desire for sweet indulgence.

Following are good old proven recipes that feature cheese as a main ingredient. These recipes are familiar to everyone and they truly demonstrate the goodness of cheese.

Decadent desserts

Cheesecake – a rich dessert that uses soft cheese as a main ingredient is said to have originated in Greece. In the United States, it uses cream cheese in the recipe. In Italy, ricotta cheese is used instead. The New York-style cheesecake is heavier and denser compared to the French-style cheesecake which is fluffier and lighter. Plain cheesecake is wonderful in itself without additional flavors, but some variations add swirls of strawberry or caramel syrup to the recipe. The very popular turtle cheesecake contains chocolate, caramel and nuts. A wonderful Turtle Cheesecake recipe is found at the Kraft Foods website.

Tiramisu – is an Italian dessert that includes a sweet and creamy filling that uses Mascarpone cheese blended with other ingredients, such as whipped cream, sugar and sometimes eggs. The filling is typically layered alternately with coffee-soaked Lady Finger biscuits. It is also flavored with cocoa and usually garnished with dark chocolate shavings. There are variations to the recipe, but basically the flavors created are of sweet cream, coffee and chocolate. A good example of Tiramisu recipe is found at allrecipes.com.

Elegant dishes

Cheese Fondue – is considered as the National Dish of Switzerland. Fondue is a French word derived from the verb “fondre”, which means to melt. Cheese fondue is made with cheese melted in dry white wine that is brought to a simmer in a fondue pot.  A little bit of flour is also added into the mixture. Cubed pieces of bread are then dipped in the melted cheese using a long fondue fork. Blanched vegetables, and sometimes fruit are also dunked in the cheese if desired. Cheese fondue is a meal in itself. It can be served in a romantic and candlelit dinner shared with someone, as it is a lengthy course and allows ample time for intimate conversation. It may then be followed by a chocolate fondue dessert course. A cheese fondue recipe using Swiss cheese and Gruyere cheese is found at foodnetwork.com.

Cheese Soufflé – is a savory baked dish that has a creamy sauce base made with milk, egg yolks, melted cheese and other ingredients.  Egg whites beaten to stiff peaks give lightness to the dish. Gruyere and Cheddar are examples of cheeses that may be used in the recipe. The result is a delicate dish that is melt-in-your-mouth and fluffy. It is enjoyed as a main dish and can be served with a side of green salad. It is a lovely and impressive dish to make for a cook-in dinner date.

Comfort foods

Macaroni and Cheese – is considered by many as comfort food. It is made with cooked elbow macaroni pasta and a cheesy sauce.  Although it is widely available in convenient packaged ready to prepare version, many people like to put their own twist on it and make it from scratch. Some people use pre-made cheese sauce in the recipe, while others start with a roux before adding milk and cheese to make the sauce. The pasta and sauce are then put in a casserole dish and baked in an oven. Strong flavored cheeses are preferred, such as sharp Cheddar, as the pasta and sauce absorb a lot of the flavor. Others also prefer adding diced tomatoes to the mixture before the dish is baked.

Broccoli and Cheddar Soup – is another comforting and hearty dish. This creamy main dish soup is both rich and flavorful. The strong flavor of cheddar is not overpowered by the equally pungent flavor of broccoli. An impressive way to present this soup is by serving it in a bread bowl, made by hollowing out a round loaf bread, such as Italian sourdough. Highly rated recipes for this dish are found on websites like foodnetwoork.com and allrecipes.com.

Bar-type appetizers

Fried Cheese Sticks – are snack treats that kids and grown-ups alike enjoy. They are often made with breaded and deep-fried Mozzarella sticks, but cheddar or Swiss cheese may be used as well. They are satisfying snacks that are also rich in protein.

Potato Skins with Cheese – are substantial snacks that provide carbohydrate from the potatoes and protein from the cheese. The potatoes are first baked. When done, the insides are scooped-out until only half an inch thickness is left. They are then cut into wedges and topped with shredded cheese. Monterey Jack, Cheddar, Gouda, or other preferred cheeses may be used. The potato wedges need to bake for a few minutes to melt the cheese.

Café-style sandwiches

Hot-press Panini – is a gourmet-style sandwich using crusty European type breads or artisan breads. The Weight Watchers website show detailed instructions on how to build a custom Panini sandwich  with choices of breads, gourmet cheeses, meats and flavorings.

Grilled Cheese Sandwich – is also considered comfort food and is loved by kids and grown-ups. The most popular version uses American bread and American cheese, but Woman’s Day magazine has a collection of ten reinventions of the classic grilled cheese sandwich. The Croque Madame is grilled cheese sandwich with meat and topped with a fried egg. Grilled Caprese is inspired by the popular Italian Caprese salad.

Nov
19

Benefits of canned veggies over frozen veggies

People debate over fresh, frozen and canned vegetables. There are fans of all three and some have preferences or one over the others. No one can deny which version offers the best nutritional bang for your buck. 

In the world of vegetables, fresh rules hands down. There is nothing like the taste and texture of a fresh veggie. However, there are upsides to the canned version. Canned vegetables often get the short end of the stick in discussions and research. When you dig a little deeper, you find that there are benefits to canned vegetables that fresh and frozen simply cannot compete with. 

Convenient

All you have to do to enjoy your favorite vegetable is open the can and reheat the contents. Simple and quick is the order of the day for some people on busy days. Sometimes people just appreciate the easy cleanup of canned vegetables. No messy washing, peeling and slicing required when opening a can. You empty the contents into a pan or microwaveable dish and then throw the can away!

Another way canned vegetables are convenient is storage. You do not have to refrigerate or freeze canned items. You can place a can of vegetables in your pantry, on the floor, or anywhere you have room. You do not have to worry about the proper temperature for canned vegetables either. 

One more convenience for canned vegetables is the portability factor. You can toss a couple of cans into a bag and head out the door without a second thought. Fresh veggies are portable but you have to take care that the vegetables do not get bruised or punctured in transit. Frozen veggies must be kept frozen until ready for use. 

Affordability

Not many people will dispute the fact that fresh and frozen vegetables can be on the expensive side. In many areas, a can of vegetables can be purchased for less than a dollar. You can pay that much for a single small tomato depending on the area and time of year!

The other thing is you can often catch canned veggies on sale. During these sales you can get a variety of veggies for one low price. You rarely find the same type of deal for different fresh vegetables. Frozen vegetables can be bought during brand sales but you still pay more than canned vegetables. 

Shelf life

Fresh vegetables do not last very long before beginning to spoil. Frozen vegetables last longer in the freezer than fresh, but you have to be careful of freezer burn. Once again, the winner for best shelf life goes to canned vegetables. Canned veggies can be stored on the shelf for up to two years before concern needs to set in. 

The greatest thing about canned veggie storage life is that you can forget all about a can of vegetables for 6 months and not worry about it. Try that with a bag of tomatoes! Canned vegetables are stackable to allow more to be stored; fresh don’t fair too well stacked in the fridge. 

The benefits of canned veggies are well worth consideration. Power outages, for example, do not affect canned veggies. Canned veggies are more convenient when you are in a hurry to prepare a last minute side dish. It also doesn’t hurt that the cost of canned veggies is cheaper than frozen and much cheaper than fresh ones too.

In a perfect world, fresh vegetables would have long shelf lives, be easy to prepare and cost less. Unfortunately, this isn’t the case. Canned vegetables have the market for benefits in this regard. The next time you are in a hurry or simply don’t feel like washing, peeling and slicing, then be happy you can reach for that can!

Nov
15

The History of the Burrito

You’ve left work late. You’re child has to be at practice soon. You realize you don’t have time to cook dinner and decide to stop at Taco Bell for dinner. You’re thinking simple, quick and easy for someone on the go, right? Well have you ever wondered how this “on the go” food got its start?

As you probably assumed, the burrito got its start in Mexico. In fact, according to Mexican tradition there was a man named Juan Mendez who used a donkey to transport his self and the food to his taco street stand. This occurred during the Mexican Revolution (1910-1921) in the Belle Vista neighborhood of Ciudad Jurez, Chihuahua. He wanted to be able to keep the food warm that he was to sell, so he decided to wrapped the food in large homemade flour tortillas. He then wrapped them in napkins.

Even back then, they were a hit with the local townsfolk. The word spread though, causing people from all over Northern Mexico to sell burritos. Although they are popular in Northern Mexico, they aren’t commonly found throughout Mexico. Sure you can find restaurants and stands today in other parts of Mexico, but it just isn’t as prevalent as in Northern Mexico.

Another thing to realize is that the burritos of Mexico aren’t like the burritos you find at Taco Bell or other American restaurants. Authentic Mexican burritos generally only have two ingredients in each burrito and are wrapped in a thin flour tortilla. Some of the ingredients to choose from would have been: some form of meat, beans, chile rajas, potatoes, and asadero cheese. Even still, most of the tortillas used to wrap the food are made from wheat flour. In fact, in Mexico the burrito isn’t even called a burrito. It is called tacos de harina meaning wheat flour tacos in Central and Southern Mexico. In Northern Mexico it is called burritas. In the state of Sonora, located next to Chihuahua, they are long and thin and resemble chimichangas. In Sonora these chimichanga look-a-likes are called chivichanga.

So now that you know the basic start of the burrito, how did something so simple turn in a variety of different choices at Mexican restaurants in the United States, not to mention the quick and easy Taco Bell? People are creative and always working to improve simple concepts. So now the once simple two ingredient meal of Mexico has turned into a multi-ingredient large meal in the United States.

One of the most popular burritos in the United States is the San Francisco burrito. It is a large multi-ingredient burrito wrapped in aluminum foil. The San Francisco origins can be traced back to the Mission District of San Francisco, California. It is said that this burrito was born in September 29,1969 by the owner of Tacqueria near Valencia and 16th. However, the owner of El Faro claims that he created the first San Francisco burrito September 26, 1961 when he served it to a group of firefighters. The debate doesn’t stop there. Some California Central Valley farm workers insist that they were making these San Francisco burritos long before the restaurants did. Unfortunately, there is no way to verify who exactly is right.

So what ingredients go into a San Francisco burrito? The ingredients vary depending upon the customer’s preference. Today you will find a variety of choices to choose from that will surely please everyone’s palate. Although, the most common choices are loaded with meat, beans and rice. There are even burritos out there that appeal to the healthier side of life.

Heart Healthy Burrito*

4 (10 inch) Mission 96% Fat Free Flour Tortillas

2 cups grilled chicken strips, pre-cooked, prepared refrigerated or frozen

1 1/3 cups brown rice, microwaveable

1 1/3 cups broccoli, microwaveable

2 cups Cheddar Cheese, shredded

Cook chicken strips, brown rice and broccoli according to each of their package instructions. Warm tortillas in a microwave for 10 seconds.

To build one burrito: Place 1/2 cup of chicken on the bottom third of each tortilla, followed by 1/3 cup of brown rice, then 1/3 cup of broccoli. Evenly sprinkle 1/2 cup of cheese over the broccoli. Repeat steps 1 through 4 using remaining tortillas and ingredients. Roll each tortilla into a burrito, forming a larger size burrito. Cut each burrito in half, on an angle, and serve hot. Serves four people.

Another type of burrito is called the New Mexican burrito. It is simple in nature and generally only contains one ingredient with or without cheese. It is then wrapped in a flour tortilla. The most common New Mexican burrito is the bean burrito. Just take a flour tortilla and fill it with refried beans. Hardly ever will you find this style of burrito without some sort of sauce.

An American favorite that became popular in 1975 was the Breakfast burrito. Tia Sophia’s lays claim to inventing the first breakfast burrito back in 1975. They filled a rolled tortilla with potatoes and bacon then served wet with chili and cheese. McDonald’s fast food chains caught on to the idea and added breakfast burritos to their menu in the late 1980s. It didn’t take Taco Bell long to offer their own version of the breakfast burritos in 1990s. Of course, Taco Bell wasn’t the only one to add the breakfast burritos to their menus in the 1990s. Many restaurants were adding them to their menus as well. It wasn’t just the restaurants that started fixing them; households all over the United States began creating their own version of the breakfast burrito. Below is a recipe for you to try at home.

Bacon-Potato Burritos*

8 bacon strips

1 1/2 cups frozen Southern-style hash brown potatoes

2 teaspoons dried minced onion

4 eggs

1/4 cup milk

1 teaspoon Worcestershire sauce

1/4 teaspoon salt

1/4 teaspoon pepper

6 cup shredded Cheddar cheese

6 (8 inch) (8 inch) flour tortillas

In a large skillet, cook bacon until crisp and drain on paper towels. Brown potatoes and onions in bacon drippings. In a bowl, beat eggs; add milk, Worcestershire sauce, salt and pepper. Pour over potatoes; cook and stir until eggs are set. Crumble bacon and stir into eggs. Sprinkle with cheese. Meanwhile, warm tortillas according to package directions. Spoon egg mixture down center of tortillas; fold in sides of tortilla. Serve with salsa.

There are even more variations of the burrito. One of those variations includes the burrito bowl. It is a burrito or fajita served without the tortilla. This tradition began in 2000 as a part of the “low carb” fad. It does however contain carbohydrates due to the rice at the bottom of the bowl.

The burrito bowl wasn’t the only other burrito style created. There was a tex-mex dish, called the chimichanga that was created by dropping a burrito into hot oil. Even with this burrito, there are disputes on who created it. According to the owner of El Charro in Tucson, Arizona, Madame Susan Sourkoff, it was her employee Monica Flinn who accidently dropped a burrito in a vat of hot oil in 1922. When she did this she began to say the Spanish curse word that begins with “chi-” but she stopped herself and shouted out chimichanga instead. However, Woody Johnson, the founder of Macayo’s Mexican Kitchen in Phoenix, Arizona claims he made the first chimichanga in 1946 when he decided to fry the unsold burritos from his restaurant El Nido . These fried burritos where so popular that he added them to his menu in 1952 when he opened Macayo’s Mexican Kitchen.

Chicken Chimichangas*

1 1/2 cups chicken broth

1 cup uncooked long-grain rice

1/2 cup red enchilada sauce

1 1/2 onion, diced, divided

6 (12 inch) flour tortillas

4 cups diced cooked chicken breast, divided

1 pound Monterey Jack cheese, shredded, divided

1 (6 ounce) can sliced black olives

4 cups refried beans, divided

1/4 cup vegetable oil

TOPPING

3 avocados, peeled and pitted

1/2 cup finely chopped cilantro

2 tablespoons lemon juice

3 green onions, diced

1/4 cup finely chopped jalapeno chile peppers

1 tomato, diced

2 cups shredded lettuce

1 cup sour cream

2 cups shredded Cheddar cheese

In a medium saucepan combine the broth, rice, sauce, and 1 diced onion. Mix and bring to a boil; reduce heat to low and let simmer for about 20 minutes, or until rice is tender. Meanwhile, heat tortillas in a large skillet (so that they are soft enough to fold). When rice mixture is ready, spoon equal amounts of the following onto each tortilla: Chicken, shredded Jack cheese, diced onion, olives, rice mixture and beans. Roll tortillas, tucking in sides to prevent filling from spilling over.

Heat oil in a large skillet and fry the filled tortillas, turning, until browned on all sides. Drain on paper towels.

To Serve: In a medium bowl combine the avocados, cilantro, lemon juice, green onions, chile peppers and tomatoes. Mash together. Place shredded lettuce on a platter, topped with chimichangas, avocado mix, sour cream and shredded Cheddar cheese.

Regardless of who was the first to make the varied styles of burritos, we have enjoyed them over the ages. We will continue to enjoy them through the ages as more and more people use their creativity to create even more ways of fixing burritos. Whether you need a quick burrito on the go or cook a large meal for your family, I guarantee that there is a burrito out there for you. If not, create your own. Who knows maybe decades later you too will have become a part of the burrito history.

*These recipes and more can be found at http://allrecipes.com