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July 16, 2010 / Sarah

July 17 – 23

The food holidays for the week of July 17 – 23 are:

July 17 – National Peach Ice Cream Day
July 18 – National Caviar Day
July 20 – National Ice Cream Day
July 20 – National Lollipop Day
July 21 – National Creme Brulee Day
July 22 – National Penuche Day
July 23 – National Vanilla Ice Cream Day

Thoughts on this week’s food holidays:

  • Can you tell that July is National Ice Cream Month?  Isn’t a little excessive to have three ice-cream related holidays in one week during this month?  In addition to the other ice-cream holidays throughout the year….  Us American’s must love us some ice cream!
  • “Penuche” is one of those foods that I have never heard of before.  Turns out it’s a lot like a fudge, so at least I’ve had some experience with that!
  • Wish me luck with the caviar, hopefully it doesn’t end up like the escargot.
July 15, 2010 / Sarah

National Tapioca Pudding Day

Fruit-on-the-Bottom Tapioca Pudding
From Gourmet

2 cups water
1/3 cup small tapioca pearls
1 cup heavy cream
6 tablespoons sugar, divided
1 teaspoon fennel seeds
1 quart strawberries, trimmed and coarsely chopped

  1. Bring water to a boil in a 1-quart heavy saucepan. Whisk in tapioca and simmer, uncovered, whisking occasionally, until tapioca is mostly opaque, about 15 minutes. Whisk in cream, 1/4 cup sugar, and 1/8 teaspoon salt and simmer, uncovered, whisking occasionally, until tapioca is cooked through, about 3 minutes. Transfer to a metal bowl and cool completely in an ice bath, stirring frequently, 5 to 10 minutes.
  2. Meanwhile, grind fennel seeds in grinder. Pulse strawberries in a food processor with fennel and remaining 2 tablespoons sugar until coarsely puréed. Divide among (6-ounce) glasses.
  3. Spoon tapioca over strawberries. Chill until cold, about 15 minutes.
July 12, 2010 / Sarah

National Pecan Pie Day

Crunchy Pecan Pie Bites
Adapted from Southern Living

3 cups chopped pecans
3/4 cup sugar
3/4 cup dark corn syrup
3 large eggs, lightly beaten
2 tablespoons melted butter
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
1/8 teaspoon salt
5 (1.9-oz.) packages frozen mini-phyllo pastry shells (75 shells)

  1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees F. Bake pecans in a single layer on a baking sheet for 8 to 10 minutes until toasted and fragrant.
  2. Stir together sugar and corn syrup in a medium bowl. Stir in pecans, eggs, and next 3 ingredients.
  3. Spoon about 1 heaping teaspoonful pecan mixture into each pastry shell, and place on 2 large baking sheets.
  4. Bake 18 to 20 minutes or until set. Remove to wire racks, and let cool completely.  Store in an airtight container for up to 3 days.
July 11, 2010 / Sarah

National Blueberry Muffin Day

Blueberry muffins are my favorite kind of muffins!  And adding a crumb topping to just about anything (well, ok, maybe just desserts) instantly makes the even the best thing even better.  Luckily it’s blueberry season and finding blueberries was not a problem, but I think you could easily use frozen blueberries (or any berry for that matter) as a substitute.

Blueberry Muffins with Crumb Topping
From Grace Parisi via Food & Wine

2 3/4 cups all-purpose flour, divided
3 tablespoons light brown sugar
1 cup plus 2 tablespoons granulated sugar, divided
3 1/4 teaspoon baking powder, divided
6 tablespoons unsalted butter, melted
1/2 teaspoon salt
2 large eggs
1/2 cup canola oil
3/4 cup whole milk
1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
1 1/2 cups blueberries

  1. Preheat the oven to 375 degrees. Line 18 muffin cups with paper or foil liners and set aside.
  2. In a medium bowl, combine 1 cup flour, brown sugar, 2 tablespoons granulated sugar, 1 teaspoon baking powder, and a pinch of salt.  Stir in the melted butter until crumbs form.
  3. In another medium bowl, whisk together the remaining flour, remaining baking powder, and salt.  Set aside.
  4. In a large bowl, beat the remaining granulated sugar, eggs, and canola oil with an electric hand-held mixer at low speed until combined.  Beat in the milk and vanilla extract.  Add all of the flour mixture in one batch and beat at low speed until combined.  Stir in the blueberries with a spoon.
  5. Spoon the batter into the prepared muffin tins until each is three-quarters full.  Sprinkle the crumb topping on each.  Bake for 30 minutes or until the muffins are golden brown and a toothpick inserted in the center comes out with a few crumbs attached.
  6. Let the muffins cool in the pan on racks for 10 minutes before serving.
July 10, 2010 / Sarah

National Pina Colada Day

National Pina Colada Day, in my opinion, should be celebrated on a tropical island somewhere.  I want my drink to come with a little umbrella and fruit while I sit under a (much) larger umbrella and enjoy the sound of the waves hitting the shore.  *Sigh* Unfortunately, I’m not on a tropical island right now, just home, but we can mix up a pina colada and wish we were sitting on the beach….

Put 3 ounces light rum, 3 tablespoons coconut milk, 3 tablespoons crushed pineapple and 2 cups crushed ice into a blender.  Blend on high speed until combined, strain into a glass and serve.

July 10, 2010 / Sarah

July 10 – 16

The food holidays for the week of July 10 -16 are:

July 10 – National Pina Colada Day
July 11 – National Blueberry Muffin Day
July 12 – National Pecan Pie Day
July 15 – National Tapioca Pudding Day

Thoughts on this week’s holidays:

  • It’s been a huge pet peeve of mine throughout this project that there are food holidays that don’t match the season.  Like National Rhubarb Pie Day in the January.  National Pecan Pie Day just doesn’t make sense in July since it such a typical Thanksgiving and Christmas dessert.  But at least I won’t have any issues finding the ingredients.
July 9, 2010 / Sarah

National Sugar Cookie Day

Soft and Chewy Sugar Cookies
From Brown Eyed Baker

2 cups all-purpose flour
1/2 teaspoon baking powder
1/2 teaspoon salt
2 sticks unsalted butter, softened but still cool
1 1/2 cup granulated sugar
1 tablespoon light brown sugar
1 large egg
1 1/2 teaspoons vanilla extract

  1. Adjust the oven racks to the upper and lower middle positions and heat the oven to 375 degrees F. Line 2 large baking sheets with parchment paper or spray them with nonstick cooking spray as set aside.
  2. Whisk the flour, baking powder, and salt together in a medium bowl.  Set aside.
  3. Cream the butter, 1 cup granulated sugar, and brown sugar at medium speed until light and fluffy, about 3 minutes, scraping down the sides of the bowl with a rubber spatula as needed. Add the egg and vanilla and beat at medium speed until combined. Add the flour mixture and beat at low speed until just combined, scraping down the sides of bowl as needed.
  4. Place the remaining sugar in a shallow bowl. Fill a medium bowl halfway with cold tap water. Dip your hands in the water and shake off any excess. Roll dough into 1 1/2-inch balls between moistened palms, roll the balls in the sugar, and then place it on the prepared baking sheet. Space the balls about 2 inches apart. Butter the bottom of a drinking glass and then dip the bottom of the glass in the remaining sugar. Flatten the balls with the bottom of the glass until they are about 3/4- inch thick, dipping the glass in sugar as necessary to prevent sticking (after every 2 or 3 cookies).
  5. Bake until the cookies are golden brown around the edges and their center are just set and very lightly colored, 15 to 18 minutes, rotating the baking sheets front to back and top to bottom halfway through the baking time. Cool the cookies on the baking sheets about 3 minutes then transfer the cookies from the pans to a wire rack and cool to room temperature. Store in an airtight container at room temperature.
July 8, 2010 / Sarah

National Milk Chocolate with Almonds Day

While you could just as easily make chocolate covered toffee with almonds, fudge with almonds, or rocky road for this food holiday this recipe sounded delicious!

Milk Chocolate Soufflés with Nougat Whip
From Bon Appetit

12 ounces high-quality milk chocolate, chopped
1/2 plus 1/3 cup heavy whipping cream
2 large egg yolks
Pinch of salt
7 large egg whites, at room temperature, divided
2 tablespoons sugar
1 1/2 tablespoons honey
1 tablespoon amaretto or other almond liqueur
1/4 cup whole almonds, toasted , chopped

  1. Preheat oven to 400 degrees F.  Butter eight 3/4-cup soufflé dishes and coat completely with sugar, tapping out any excess. Place prepared soufflé dishes on large baking sheet and set aside.
  2. Combine chocolate and 1/2 cup cream in large metal bowl. Set bowl over saucepan of barely simmering water and stir until chocolate is melted and mixture is smooth. Remove bowl from over water and stir in egg yolks and salt.
  3. Using electric mixer, beat 6 egg whites in another large bowl until soft peaks form. Gradually add the sugar, beating until semi-firm peaks form. Using rubber spatula, fold 1/4 of beaten egg whites into chocolate mixture to lighten. Fold remaining egg whites into chocolate mixture in 2 additions. Divide chocolate mixture among prepared soufflé dishes, filling dishes completely.
  4. Using electric mixer, beat remaining egg white in medium bowl until soft peaks form. Gradually add honey, beating until soft peaks form, about 3 minutes.
  5. Combine remaining cream and amaretto in another medium bowl and beat until thick and soft peaks form. Fold whipped cream mixture and almonds into meringue. 
  6. Bake soufflés on baking sheet until puffed and tops feel firm, about 16 minutes.  Serve soufflés immediately, passing nougat whip alongside.
    July 7, 2010 / Sarah

    National Macaroni Day

    I have some complaints about this recipe, not in taste, but in execution and name.  The name is horrible, just a little to similar to “Hamburger Helper” for me.  Also, for those of us who do not have a food processor with a feed tube (ahem – me), this is not the easiest thing to do.  I have two small food processors and even using both of them, I ended up with half of my carrots/onions/mushrooms a puree and the other half coarsely chopped.  Annoying.  But, I guess it’s my own fault for choosing a recipe that  requires equipment that I don’t have! 

    Hamburger Buddy
    From Eating Well

    3 cloves garlic, crushed and peeled
    2 medium carrots, cut into 2-inch pieces
    8 ounces white mushrooms, large ones cut in half
    1 large onion, cut into 2-inch pieces
    1 pound lean ground beef
    2 teaspoons dried thyme
    3/4 teaspoon salt
    1/4 teaspoon freshly ground pepper
    2 cups water
    1 3/4 cups beef broth, divided
    2 cups whole-wheat elbow noodles
    2 tablespoons Worcestershire sauce
    2 tablespoons all-purpose flour
    1/2 cup fat-free sour cream
    1 tablespoon chopped fresh parsley or chives, for garnish

    1. Fit a food processor with the steel blade attachment. With the motor running, drop garlic through the feed tube and process until minced, then add carrots and mushrooms and process until finely chopped. Turn it off, add onion, and pulse until roughly chopped.
    2. Cook beef in a large straight-sided skillet or Dutch oven over medium-high heat, breaking it up with a wooden spoon, until no longer pink, 3 to 5 minutes. Stir in the chopped vegetables, thyme, salt and pepper and cook, stirring often, until the vegetables start to soften and the mushrooms release their juices, 5 to 7 minutes.
    3. Stir in water, 1 1/2 cups broth, noodles and Worcestershire sauce; bring to a boil. Cover, reduce heat to medium and cook, stirring occasionally, until the pasta is tender, 8 to 10 minutes.
    4. Whisk flour with the remaining 1/4 cup broth in a small bowl until smooth; stir into the hamburger mixture. Stir in the sour cream. Simmer, stirring often, until the sauce is thickened, about 2 minutes. Serve sprinkled with parsley (or chives), if desired.
    July 6, 2010 / Sarah

    National Fried Chicken Day

    Butter, chocolate, and fried chicken are not good for diets.  That being said, it sure doesn’t stop me from eating the majority of the sweets that I make.  (Not that I eat the entire batch of cookies or anything, but I have to try everything to make sure it’s ok, right?)  I try to make healthy modifications here and there (but some desserts should just be left alone in their original buttery, sugary, and chocolatey goodness).  I feel much better about making healthy modifications to savory foods, such as fried chicken.  So, without actually frying anything, this recipe gives you a crispy crunch you’d expect, but from the oven.

    Oven-Fried Chicken
    Adapted from Eating Well

    1/2 cup non-fat milk
    1 1/2 teaspoons lemon juice
    1 tablespoon Dijon mustard
    2 cloves garlic, minced
    1 teaspoon hot sauce
    Canola oil cooking spray
    2 pounds chicken thighs, skin removed and trimmed
    1/2 cup whole-wheat flour
    2 tablespoons sesame seeds
    1 1/2 teaspoons paprika
    1 teaspoon dried thyme
    1 teaspoon baking powder
    1/4 teaspoon kosher salt
    Freshly ground pepper, to taste

    1. Whisk milk, lemon juice, mustard, garlic, and hot sauce in a shallow glass dish until well blended. Add chicken and turn to coat. Marinate in the refrigerator for at least 30 minutes or for up to 8 hours.
    2. Meanwhile, preheat oven to 425 degrees F. Line a baking sheet with foil. Set a wire rack on the baking sheet and coat it with cooking spray.
    3. Add flour, sesame seeds, paprika, thyme, baking powder, salt, and pepper to a large, sealable plastic bag; shake to combine.
    4. Shaking off excess marinade, place one or two pieces of chicken at a time in the bag and shake to coat. Shake off excess flour and place the chicken on the prepared rack. Spray the chicken thighs with cooking spray.
    5. Bake the chicken until golden brown and no longer pink in the center, about 40 minutes.