Meatless Monday – Hush Puppies
Ok, the loyal fan club, (read that whiny critics, who can not boil water, much less an egg), have asked, “What’s those round things on the plate?”
I had shown these in my post on Fish Fry, and I had made them at that time but, neglected to add the recipe to the post.
Hushpuppies are a distinctly Southern food, although they are now available in many areas of America on the menus of fried-fish fast food restaurants. The name “hushpuppies” is often attributed to hunters or fishermen who would quickly fry corn meal and feed it to their dogs to “hush the puppies” during cook outs or fish frys.
Two other legends surrounding the hush puppy date back to Civil War days. Southern soldiers would sit beside a campfire, preparing their meals. When Union soldiers came near, they would toss their barking dogs some of the fried cakes with the command “Hush, puppies”.
A common explanation for the name in Charleston, South Carolina is that slaves returning into the homes of their masters carrying food recently prepared in the outdoor kitchens would throw the batter balls to the barking dogs, telling the “puppies” to “hush.” Also, during the time of the underground railroads, escaping slaves would feed these to the dogs tracking them while coaxing them with hopeful commands such as “hush, puppies.”
Irish Soda Bread
Ah, St. Patties is surely upon us, the annual celebration of drunken people wearing “Kiss Me I’m Irish”, buttons, even when they hail from South East Asia ….
One thing served at this time of the year is Soda bread, a type of quick bread in which bread soda (or baking soda) is used for leavening rather than the more common yeast. The ingredients of traditional soda bread are flour, bread soda, salt, and buttermilk. Other ingredients can be added such as raisins, egg or various forms of nuts.
The buttermilk in the dough contains lactic acid, which reacts with the baking soda to form tiny bubbles of carbon dioxide. In Ireland, the flour is typically made from soft wheat; so soda bread is best made with a cake or pastry flour (made from soft wheat), which has lower levels of gluten than a bread flour.
Various forms of soda bread are popular throughout Ireland. Soda breads are made using either wholemeal or white flour. The two major shapes are the loaf and the “griddle cake”, or farl in Northern Ireland. The loaf form takes a more rounded shape and has a cross cut in the top to allow the bread to expand. The griddle cake or farl, is a more flattened type of bread. It is cooked on a griddle allowing it to take a more flat shape and split into four sections.
As an extension, one can divide the dough into a set of muffing pans and create a soda bread muffin or biscuit, one can add lemon zest, or serve hot with butter and citrus jellies / marmalade …
I am not feeling all that well today, and I have a lab night scheduled this evening, so food needs to be fast and tasty. Looks like it is time for a bad wolf cheat.
I’m thinking pizza, but I’m not ordering in, and I am defiantly not prepping dough, so perhaps french bread pizza, but with a nice crisp texture, and a wide body for adding toppings. I’m think ciabatta here, almost a focaccia, but not quite.
Ciabatta, (literally slipper bread) is an Italian white bread made from wheat flour and yeast. Ciabatta is somewhat elongated, broad and flat and is baked in many variations.
Ciabatta bread was introduced to the United Kingdom in 1985 by Marks & Spencer, then brought to America in 1987 by Orlando Bakery, a Cleveland firm. They brought over 3 bakers from Italy to develop the product and the mass production process. They successfully introduced a fresh bread, then later, a frozen version. It was quickly copied throughout the United States.
The more open-crumbed form, which is usual in the United States, is made from a very wet dough, often requiring machine-kneading, and a biga or sourdough starter.
Pizza is an oven-baked, flat, round bread typically topped with a tomato sauce, cheese and various toppings. Pizza was originally invented in Naples, Italy, and the dish has since become popular in many parts of the world. An establishment that makes and sells pizzas is called a “pizzeria”. Many varieties of pizza exist worldwide, along with several dish variants based upon pizza. In 2009, upon Italy’s request, Neapolitan pizza was safeguarded in the European Union as a Traditional Specialty Guaranteed dish.
Thank you to ilisa for such a wonderful graphic
It is close to the holiday of Purim, and one thing I do so love is the cookies, and one of the things I do miss about my good friends. Aka Hamantaschen.
A hamantash is a pastry in Jewish cuisine recognizable for its three-cornered shape. The shape is achieved by folding in the sides of a circular piece of dough, with a filling placed in the center. It is traditionally eaten during the Jewish holiday of Purim. While occasionally seen other times of year in secular contexts, this is not traditional. Hamantashen are made with many different fillings, including poppy seed (the oldest and most traditional variety), prunes, nut, date, apricot, apple, fruit preserves, cherry, chocolate, dulce de leche, halva, or even caramel or cheese. Their formation varies from hard pastry to soft doughy casings.
The name hamantash , is commonly known as a reference to Haman, the villain of Purim, as described in the Book of Esther. The pastries are supposed to symbolize the defeated enemy of the Jewish people, and thus resemble the “ears of Haman”.
“Naked Archaeologist” documentarian Simcha Jacobovici has shown the resemblance of hamantaschen to dice from the ancient Babylonian Royal Game of Ur, thus suggesting that the pastries are meant to symbolize the pyramidal shape of the dice cast by Haman in determining the day of destruction for the Jews.
Another possible source of the name is a folk etymology: the original Yiddish word מאָן־טאַשן (montashn) or German word mohntaschen, both meaning poppyseed-filled pouches, was transformed to Hamantaschen, likely by association with Haman.
In Israel, they are called Oznei Haman, Hebrew for “Haman’s ears” in reference to their defeated enemy’s ears.
Meatless Monday – Grilled Cheese
The grilled cheese is true comfort food. Then again not just “normal” grilled cheese, I hate “white bread” and loth “spreadable cheeses”.
Considering the construction of a perfect grilled cheese, I turn to my trusty chill box, where I found Sourdough, Irish Cheddar cheese, pickles, various herbs, and of course butter… This looks like heart attack ala grilled cheese…
Uncooked cheese sandwiches simply require assembly of the cheese slices on the bread, along with any additions and condiments.
A grilled cheese sandwich is assembled and then heated until the bread crisps and the cheese melts, sometimes combined with an additional ingredient such as peppers, tomatoes or onions. Several different methods of heating the sandwich are used, depending on the region and personal preference. Common methods include being cooked on a griddle, grilled, fried in a pan or made in a panini grill or sandwich toaster (this method is more common in the United Kingdom where the sandwiches are normally called “toasted sandwiches” or “toasties”).
When making grilled cheese on an open griddle or pan, one side is cooked first, then the sandwich is flipped and cooked on the other side. The sandwich is finished when both sides are toasted and the cheese has melted. Butter, oil, or mayonnaise may first be spread on either the bread or the cooking surface in the case of butter and oil. An alternative technique is to toast or grill each half of the sandwich separately, then combine them.
When using butter best results are achieved at a medium heat. This prevents the milk solids in butter from burning and allows sufficient time for heat to thoroughly penetrate the sandwich and melt the cheese without burning the bread. A crispy golden-brown crust with a melted cheese center is a commonly preferred level of preparedness. Cooking times can vary depending on pan dimensions, ability to control the intensity of the heat source, bread type, cheese variety and overall thickness of pre-cooked sandwich.
Sausage Cheese Biscuits
As I prep for the annual holiday dinner, I need to feed myself, but it has to be quick, and hearty, and a memory from long, long, ago and far, far, away, popped into my mind. An old friend who was into various alternate cultures, and may have been to role model for the “urban pioneer”, used to make these to match long conversations at the fire, along with the various wines.
(As I said, long, long, ago and far, far, away …)
Sausage, baking mix and cheese are mixed with a bit of beer to make a very tasty, and somewhat filling snack. Quick, Cheap, and plentiful, all the things that youths on their own for the first time look for.