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July 27, 2010 / Sarah

National Hamburger Day

Spanish Pork Burgers
Adapted from Eating Well

1 tablespoon extra-virgin olive oil
1 large red onion, thinly sliced onion
3/4 teaspoon freshly ground pepper, divided
1/2 teaspoon kosher salt, divided
20 ounces lean ground pork
1 tablespoon finely chopped Spanish green olives, such as Manzanilla
4 cloves garlic, minced
2 teaspoons hot paprika
1/2 cup reduced-fat mayonnaise
2 tablespoons lemon juice
Pinch of saffron
4 slices Monterey Jack cheese
4 whole-wheat hamburger buns, toasted
1/4 cup sliced hot cherry peppers

  1. Preheat grill to medium.
  2. Meanwhile, heat oil in a large skillet over medium heat. Add onion, 1/4 teaspoon pepper and 1/4 teaspoon salt. Cover and cook, stirring occasionally, until soft and translucent, about 10 minutes. Set aside half the onion for topping; finely chop the other half.
  3. Place the chopped onion in a medium bowl; add pork, olives, garlic, paprika, the remaining 1/2 teaspoon pepper and 1/4 teaspoon salt. Gently combine, without overmixing, until evenly incorporated. Form into 4 equal patties, about 1/2 inch thick.
  4. Grill the burgers, turning once, until an instant-read thermometer inserted in the center registers 165 degrees F, 10 to 12 minutes total. Top with cheese and cook until it is melted, about 1 minute more.
  5. While the burgers cook, combine mayonnaise, lemon juice, and saffron in a small bowl.  Refrigerate until ready to use.
  6. Assemble the burgers on toasted buns with the lemon-saffron mayonnaise, some of the reserved onions and cherry peppers.
July 26, 2010 / Sarah

National Bagelfest

Bagels seem like they would be difficult to make, but luckily the steps to make them are easy; it’s the lengthy process that seems intimidating.  If you use this recipe, give your self plenty of time to allow the bagels to sit and be aware that they have to sit in the refrigerator over night before they are ready to cook.

The bagel recipe is from Brown Eyed Baker and the sandwich adapted from a sandwich offered at Truckee Bagel Co.

Egg Bagels

1 1/2 teaspoon instant yeast
7 3/4 cups bread flour
2 cups water, at room temperature
8 egg yolks
2 3/4 teaspoons salt
1 tablespoon brown sugar
1 tablespoon baking soda
Cornmeal for dusting

  1. Stir together 1 teaspoon yeast and 4 cups flour in a large mixing bowl. Add the water, whisking or stirring only until all of the flour is hydrated. Cover the bowl with plastic wrap and leave at room temperature for approximately 2 hours, or until the mixture becomes very foamy and bubbly. It should swell to nearly double in size and collapse when the bowl is tapped on the countertop.
  2. After the mixture has sat for 2 hours, stir in the remaining yeast to the sponge. Add 3 cups of the flour, the egg yolks, salt, and brown sugar. Stir or mix with your hands until the ingredients form a ball, slowly working in the remaining ¾ cup flour to stiffen the dough.
  3. Transfer the dough to a floured surface and knead for 10 minutes.  The dough should be firm, but still pliable and smooth. There should be no raw flour – all the ingredients should be hydrated. If the dough seems too dry and rips, add a few drops of water and continue kneading. If the dough seems tacky or sticky, add more flour to achieve the stiffness required. The kneaded dough should feel satiny and pliable but not be tacky.
  4. Immediately divide the dough into 12 equal pieces and form into round rolls.  Cover with a damp towel and allow to rest for approximately 20 minutes.  Line 2 large baking sheets with parchment paper and mist lightly with cooking spray.
  5. For each dough round, roll out into an 8-inch-long rope. Wrap the dough around the palm and back of your hand, between the thumb and forefinger, overlapping the ends by several inches. Press the overlapping ends on the counter with the palm of your hand, rocking back and forth to seal.
  6. Place each of the shaped pieces 2 inches apart on the prepared baking sheets. Mist the bagels very lightly with the cooking spray and cover loosely with plastic wrap. Let the pans sit at room temperature for about 20 minutes.
  7. Fill a small bowl with cool or room-temperature water and place one bagel in the water.  If the bagel floats within 10 seconds, place the bagel back on the baking sheet, pat dry, and recover the pan.  Place the baking sheets in the refrigerator overnight.  If the bagel does not float, place the bagel back on the baking sheet, pat dry, recover the pan and let sit at room temperature for an additional 10 minutes.  Repeat the float test until a tester floats.
  8. After the bagels have been in the refrigerator overnight, preheat the oven to 500 degrees F with the racks set in the middle of the oven.  Bring a wide pot of water to a boil and add the baking soda.
  9. Remove the bagels from the refrigerator and gently drop them into the water, boiling only as many as comfortably fit.  After 1 minute flip them over and boil for another minute. If you like very chewy bagels, you can extend the boiling to 2 minutes per side. While the bagels are boiling, sprinkle the baking sheets’ parchment paper with cornmeal.  When the bagels are done boiling, place them back on the baking sheets.
  10. Place the baking sheets in the oven and bake for approximately 5 minutes, then rotate the pans, switching shelves and giving the pans a 180-degree rotation.  Lower temperature to 450 degrees F and continue baking for about 5 minutes, or until the bagels turn light golden brown.
  11. Remove the pans from the oven and let the bagels cool on a rack for 15 minutes or longer before serving.

Mount Rose Bagel Sandwich

1/2 cup mayonnaise
1 tablespoon prepared horseradish
1 tablespoon lemon juice
salt and pepper
1 lb. sliced rare roast beef
1/4 lb. slice smoked cheddar
1 large tomato, sliced
1/2 red onion, sliced
1 cup sprouts

  1. Mix the mayonnaise, horseradish, lemon juice, salt and pepper together in a small bowl.  Place in refrigerator until ready to use.
  2. Split a bagel in half and spread both sides with the horseradish mayonnaise.  Place roast beef, cheese, tomato slice, red onion slice, and sprouts on the bottom half and top with the other half of the bagel.
July 25, 2010 / Sarah

National Hot Fudge Sundae Day

Mint Hot Fudge Sundae
From Bon Appetit

1 cup bittersweet chocolate chips
1/4 cup light corn syrup
1/4 cup water
2 tablespoons (1/4 stick) butter
2 tablespoons sugar, divided
1 ounce unsweetened chocolate, chopped
1/2 teaspoon peppermint extract
2 tablespoons sliced fresh mint leaves plus fresh mint sprigs for garnish
1 pint vanilla ice cream
10 chocolate-mint sandwich cookies, coarsely broken
1 pint green mint chocolate chip ice cream
Sweetened whipped cream

  1. Stir bittersweet chocolate chips, corn syrup, water, butter, and 1 tablespoon sugar in heavy small saucepan over medium-high heat until chocolate is melted and smooth. Bring just to boil. Remove from heat. Add unsweetened chocolate and extract; stir until smooth. Set mint-fudge sauce aside.
  2. Toss remaining 1 tablespoon sugar and sliced mint in small bowl. Set mint sugar aside.
  3. Place small scoop of vanilla ice cream in each dish. Top with some broken cookies, then scoop of mint ice cream and more cookies. Drizzle 1 to 2 tablespoons warm sauce over each. Top with whipped cream. Garnish with mint sugar and mint sprigs.
July 25, 2010 / Sarah

July 23 – 30

The food holidays for the week of July 24 – 30 are:

July 25 – National Hot Fudge Sundae Day
July 26 – National Bagelfest
July 28 – National Milk Chocolate Day
July 28 – National Hamburger Day
July 29 – National Lasagna Day
July 30 – National Cheesecake Day

July 23, 2010 / Sarah

National Vanilla Ice Cream Day

No recipe for vanilla ice cream, but this sounds like a nice change from plain, old vanilla ice cream:

Affogato al Caffè
From Sunset

1/2  gallon vanilla ice cream
1  cup  strong brewed espresso, at room temperature or hot

  1. Put a scoop of vanilla ice cream into each of 8 small bowls and put bowls in freezer for at least 1 hour and up to 6.
  2. When ready to serve, put each bowl of ice cream on a small dinner plate and set a shot glass next to it. Fill glasses with espresso, dividing evenly, for each guest to pour onto ice cream.
July 22, 2010 / Sarah

National Penuche Day

Penuche – what the heck is that?  My best guess was something savory, maybe with a Spanish influence.  I was completely wrong!  Penuche is similar to fudge but without the chocolate – it’s basically brown sugar, butter milk, and vanilla.  And it’s not Spanish – it’s usually found in New England and sometimes in the Southern United States.

I guess you learn something new everyday!  Finding a recipe for Penuche – not so easy, but here is one for coffee penuche.

Coffee Penuche
From Southern Living

3 cups firmly packed light brown sugar
1 cup brewed coffee
2 tablespoons light corn syrup
2 tablespoons butter or margarine
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
1/8 teaspoon salt
1 cup chopped pecans

  1. Cook brown sugar, coffee, and corn syrup in a large heavy saucepan over low heat, stirring until sugar dissolves. Cover and cook over medium heat 2 to 3 minutes to wash down sugar from sides of pan. Uncover and cook, without stirring, until candy thermometer registers 238° (soft ball stage).
  2. Remove from heat, and add butter, vanilla, and salt (do not stir). Cool to 175°. Stir in pecans, and beat with a wooden spoon until mixture thickens and begins to lose its gloss. Spread into a buttered 8-inch square pan. Cool until firm. Cut into squares.
July 21, 2010 / Sarah

National Creme Brulee Day

Crème Brûlée Cheesecake
From Abigail Johnson Dodge via Fine Cooking

8 ounces vanilla wafers, finely crushed (2 cups of crumbs)
3 tablespoons granulated sugar
7 tablespoons unsalted butter, melted
3 8-ounce packages cream cheese, at room temperature
8 ounces mascarpone
2 tablespoon. all-purpose flour
Table salt
1-1/4 cups granulated sugar
1 tablespoon pure vanilla extract
4 large eggs, at room temperature
2 tablespoons granulated sugar

  1. Position a rack in the center of the oven and heat the oven to 375 degrees F.
  2. In a medium bowl, stir together the vanilla wafer crumbs and 3 tablespoons granulated sugar. Mix in the melted butter until the crumbs are evenly moist and clump together slightly. Transfer the mixture to a 9-inch springform pan and press evenly onto the bottom and about 2 inches up the sides of the pan. Bake until the crust is fragrant and slightly darkened, 9 to 12 minutes. Let the pan cool on a rack. Lower the oven temperature to 300 degrees F.
  3. In a stand mixer fitted with the paddle attachment, beat the cream cheese, mascarpone, flour, and a pinch of table salt on medium speed, scraping down the sides of the bowl and the paddle frequently, until very smooth and fluffy, about 5 minutes. Make sure the cheese has no lumps. Add the 1-1/4 cups granulated sugar and continue beating until well blended and smooth.
  4. Add the vanilla and beat until blended, about 30 seconds. Add the eggs one at a time, beating just until blended. (Don’t overbeat once the eggs have been added or the cheesecake will puff too much and crack as it cools.) Pour the filling into the cooled crust and smooth the top.
  5. Bake at 300 degrees F until the center jiggles when nudged, 55 to 65 minutes. The cake will be slightly puffed around the edges, and the center will still look moist. Set on a rack and cool completely. Cover and refrigerate until well chilled, at least 8 hours and up to 3 days.
  6. Unclasp and remove the side of the springform pan and run a long, thin metal spatula under the bottom crust of the cheesecake. Carefully slide the cake onto a flat serving plate. Sprinkle the 2 tablespoons granulated sugar evenly over the top of the cheesecake and slowly pass a hand-held kitchen torch over the sugar until melted and caramelized.
  7. To cut, run a thin knife under hot water, wipe it dry, and cut the cake into slices, heating and wiping the knife after every slice.
July 20, 2010 / Sarah

National Lollipop Day

Berry Lollipops
From Food & Wine

Vegetable oil, for brushing
1 cup sugar
1/2 cup water
1/3 cup light corn syrup
1/4 cup cranraspberry concentrate
4 drops red food coloring
Twenty-four 6-inch lollipop sticks

  1. Brush 2 flat baking sheets with oil. Fill a pie plate with 1 inch of cold water.
  2. In a small, heavy saucepan, combine the sugar, water, and corn syrup and bring to a boil, stirring just until the sugar dissolves. Boil over high heat, without stirring, until the syrup reaches 280 degrees on a candy thermometer, about 20 minutes. Add the cranraspberry concentrate and food coloring and cook over moderately high heat until the syrup reaches 300 degrees. Briefly dip the saucepan in the cold water to stop the cooking.
  3. Once the bubbling subsides, carefully spoon 6 scant tablespoons of syrup about 2 inches apart on 1 of the prepared baking sheets. Working quickly, place a stick in each of the lollipops, turning it to cover with syrup. Continue to form the lollipops, 6 at a time, until both baking sheets are full. If the syrup in the saucepan becomes too thick, melt it over low heat. Let the lollipops harden, then wrap in plastic.
July 18, 2010 / Sarah

National Caviar Day

I’ve never had caviar before so this would have been the perfect day to try it for the first time.  I knew where to find it – the awesome European Food Market we have here.  I went in after work, found it next to the rest of the fish, and then saw the prices.  $45 for 1 ounce for the cheapest?!  Ok, a little (a lot) too spendy for me.  Luckily, this recipe works without the caviar.  It’s meant to be an appetizer, but between the two of us, we made it into a dinner.

Potato Pancakes with Smoked Salmon, Caviar and Dill Cream
From Wolfgang Puck

1/2 cup crème fraîche or sour cream
1 teaspoon chopped dill
1 teaspoon fresh lemon juice
Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper
1 tablespoon snipped chives
2 medium baking potatoes (1 pound), peeled
1 small onion
1 large egg, lightly beaten
2 tablespoons all-purpose flour
1/2 teaspoon baking powder
1/2 cup vegetable oil
1/2 pound thinly sliced smoked salmon
2 ounces caviar

  1. In a small bowl, stir the crème fraîche with the dill and lemon juice. Season with salt and black pepper and sprinkle with the chives. Refrigerate until ready to serve.
  2. In a food processor or on a box grater, coarsely shred the potatoes and the onion. Transfer to a large, clean kitchen towel and squeeze dry.
  3. In a medium bowl, mix the shredded potatoes and onion with the egg, flour, baking powder, 1 teaspoon of salt and 1/4 teaspoon of black pepper.
  4. In a large nonstick skillet or on a griddle, heat the vegetable oil until shimmering. Drop 2 tablespoons of the potato mixture into the skillet and flatten with the back of a spoon to make a 3-inch round. Make about 5 more pancakes and cook over moderately high heat until golden on the bottom, about 4 minutes. Flip the pancakes and cook until golden, about 2 minutes longer. Transfer to paper towels to drain. Repeat with the remaining potato mixture; you should have 12 pancakes.
  5. Arrange the potato pancakes on a platter. Serve warm, with the dill cream, smoked salmon and caviar.
July 17, 2010 / Sarah

National Peach Ice Cream Day

Peach Ice Cream
From Cooking Light

3  cups  sliced peeled peaches (about 1 1/2 pounds)
1  cup  half-and-half
1/2  cup  sugar
1/2  cup  whole milk
1  teaspoon  vanilla extract

  1. Place the peaches in a blender or food processor; process until finely chopped.
  2. Combine peaches and remaining ingredients in a large bowl.
  3. Pour peach mixture into the freezer can of an ice-cream freezer; freeze according to manufacturer’s instructions.
  4. Spoon ice cream into a freezer-safe container; cover and freeze for 2 hours or until firm.