Holidays

September Foodie Holidays

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It’s the first of the month and Daisy’s here with your monthly holiday announcements!  Here she is enjoying her stick on one of the last few days of summer in the backyard.  September is another busy month for our “national” holidays.  Of course there’s Labor Day, and Back-To-School things going on, which also means college football starts up again (finally!!!).  There’s also the Mexican Day of Independence (16th), and Rosh Hashanah (28th @ sundown) and Talk-Like-A-Pirate Day (19th).  Plus, Daisy turns 2 on the 29th!

Daisy loves her stick!

This month we have:  National Chicken Month, National Honey Month, National Mushroom Month, National Papaya Month, National Potato Month, and National Rice Month.  As for specific days, we have:

National Welsh Rarebit Day

4  National Macadamia Nut Day

National Cheese Pizza Day

7  National Beer Lover’s Day

8  National Date-Nut Bread Day

11  National Hot Cross Bun Day

12  National Chocolate Milkshake Day

13  National Peanut Day

14  National Cream-Filled Donut Day

15  National Creme de Menthe Day

16  National Cinnamon-Raisin Bread Day

17  National Apple Dumpling Day

19  International Talk Like a Pirate Day

19  National Butterscotch Pudding Day

20  National Punch Day

21  National Pecan Cookie Day

22 National White Chocolate Day

26  National Pancake Day (maybe)

28  National Strawberry Cream Pie Day

30  National Mulled Cider Day

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2011 also marks the 10 year anniversary of 9/11.  I know that this is not a holiday, but I feel that you can’t talk about a calendar of events without mentioning this day.  I thought it was important to address and provide just a couple of informational links for folks.  National Geographic has done some good specials about that day from different perspectives, including a special interview with President Bush about his personal experiences as the terrorist attacks unfolded.  Also Yahoo! News has posted some different profiles and personal stories on how 9/11 has changed our lives as a nation.  You should also visit the national memorial site to see how the memorial and museum are taking shape.  It is my hope that on this day,  we can put aside what separates us and remember what brings us together.

Take care everyone.

Root Beer Float Cupcakes

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So in all the hub-bub of National Mustard Day, folks may have forgotten that August 6th is also National Root Beer Float Day.  So how to celebrate?  Why not make a cake or some cupcakes?  Seems simple enough, right?  Sort of an obvious choice for me, but you stick with what you know.  But things get a little tricky — I don’t really know root beer floats.  Luckily I know a couple so I can get their take on it.

Again, not the best pictures I’ve taken.  I am not a professional photographer.  Hell, I don’t even know what the symbols are on your regular point-and-shoot!  What does the “mountain” setting mean anyway?  Is it for high altitude pictures?  Which sounds dumb because it’s a digital camera.  But I digress. . . here’s what you need:

For the cake:

  • 2 sticks  butter, softened
  • 1 c. sugar
  • 3 eggs
  • 1/4 vegetable oil
  • 1 t. vanilla
  • 1/2 c. light brown sugar
  • 2 1/2 c. all-purpose flour
  • 1 t. salt
  • 1/2 t. baking powder
  • 1/2 t. baking soda
  • 2 1/2  c. root beer

1.  Preheat your oven to 350 degrees F.  Line your pans with cupcake papers and set aside.  I ran out of some papers, so I just sprayed the pans with some cooking spray.  Put the root beer in a saucepan on medium and reduce by half.  Cool and set aside.

2.  Alright, no surprises here!  In the bowl of a mixer, cream the butter for about 5 minutes.  Gradually add the sugars and mix on medium for anther 5 minutes.  Add your eggs one at a time, mixing well after each addition.  Then add the oil and the vanilla.  Mix well.

2.  Sift together the flour, salt, baking powder, and baking soda.  Add to the butter mixture in three additions, alternating with the root beer.

4.  Bake for about 20-25 minutes.  Cool on racks before glazing.

For the glaze:

  • 1 c. confectioners sugar
  • 3 T. root beer
  • 1 T. bourbon (completely optional!  but I like booze!)

Sift the confectioners sugar if it is lumpy.  Otherwise just mix the ingredients until smooth.  Depending on the humidity, you may have to adjust the ratios to get the right consistency.  Drizzle the amount desired over your cupcakes.

Notes — I had some leftover Seven-Minute Frosting that I used to top off the cupcakes (if you don’t bake, you will probably never say this sentence in your entire life!).  I then put some of the glaze over the top of that.  Sure looks like a mini root beer float to me!. . . but the glaze does have a tendency to dissolve the frosting. . . of course, traditionally floats are done with vanilla ice cream, so by all means use that instead of the frosting. . . I really liked these cupcakes, but I was hoping for a more pronounced flavor, but if the cupcakes sit for a day, the root beer taste becomes more pronounced. . .

Happy Mustard Day!

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Just a quick post today about this great national holiday.  A couple of quick things to point out:  1) I don’t make my own mustard.  2) I don’t really have a recipe that uses mustard (although my dry rub recipe does have some dry mustard).  3) I love mustard, as you can tell from the mustards that I have in my refrigerator, not counting the Blue Cheese Mustard from Stonewall Kitchen that was just polished off the other day.  I totally recommend that mustard by the way.  But I digress. . . we all probably have some kind of mustard in our kitchen.  It’s a part of our everyday lives!!!. . . for the most part. . . maybe.

But back to the holiday. . . if you are somewhere near Madison, WI, you should pop on over to the National Mustard Museum in Middleton and celebrate at the festival.  Mustard from everywhere will be there — from Kaua’i, HI to Beaverton, OR to Clearwater, FL.  Unfortunately I can’t make it but I did have to order my very own 20th Annual National Mustard Day (NMD) T-shirt!  It sounds like a fun time and it looks to be a very well attended event.  So go celebrate everything mustard and eat a couple of free hotdogs.  Looks like they have some mustard custard to top everything off!

Does anyone have a recipe out there using mustard?

As a side note — today is also National Root Beer Float Day!  I am working on a cake to celebrate!

August Foodie Holidays

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Daisy says, “Happy August everyone!”  If you thought that August is a slow month for national holidays, you’d be wrong.  Not only is it National Catfish month, but this country celebrates a whole bunch of things ranging from raspberries to mustard to toasted marshmallows (I just found out that it is also National Peach Month, too).  So grab a root beer float and a bag of trail mix cuz it’s August!  Here is what we have to look forward this month:

National Raspberry Cream Pie Day

National Ice Cream Sandwich Day

3  National Ice Cream Soda Day (or June 20th)

4  National Chocolate Chip Day (or May 15th)

5  International Beer Day (just found this out!)

6  National Mustard Day (check out the Mustard Museum!)

National Root Beer Float Day

7  National Raspberries ‘n Cream Day

8  National Frozen Custard Day

National Rice Pudding Day

10  National S’mores Day

11  National Raspberry Bombe Day

14  National Creamsicle Day

15  National Lemon Meringue Pie Day

17  National Vanilla Custard Day

18  National Ice Cream Pie Day

19  National Soft Ice Cream Day

20  National Chocolate Pecan Pie Day

21  National Spumoni Day

22  National Pecan Torte Day

23  National Spongecake Day

24  National Peach Pie Day

25  National Banana Split Day

26  National Cherry Popsicle Day

27  National Pots de Creme Day

28  National Cherry Turnovers Day

30  National Toasted Marshmallow Day

31  National Trail Mix Day

July Foodie Holidays

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Happy July everybody!  Lots of stuff going on in July, much like every month.  Of course, there’s the 4th of July for us in the States, but there’s also Canada Day on the 1st (it’s like the 4th of July. . . . but Canadian!).  And there’s Bastille Day on the 14th.  Guess lots of people went independent this month.  I think it’s because of the heat.

There’s lots going on in the world of food, too.  Month-long celebrations include:  National Baked Bean Month, National Culinary Arts Month, National Ice Cream Month, National Hot Dog Month, National Picnic Month, and National July is for Blueberries Month!

Here are some days of interest:

1  National Gingersnap Day

4  National Barbeque Day

5  National Apple Turnover Day

6  National Fried Chicken Day

7  National Strawberry Sundae Day, National Macaroni Day

9  National Sugar Cookie Day

10  National Pina Colada Day

11  National Blueberry Muffin Day

12  National Pecan Pie Day

17  National Peach Ice Cream Day

20  National Ice Cream Day

21  National Creme Brulee Day

22  National Penuche Day

23  National Vanilla Ice Cream Day

25  National Hot Fudge Sundae Day

26  National Bagelfest

28  National Milk Chocolate Day, National Hamburger Day

29  National Lasagna Day

30  National Cheesecake Day

31  National Raspberry Cake Day

That’s lots of “national holidays”!  As always, I will try to keep these in mind when trying to post stuff on the blog, but I really don’t have any experience working with penuche 🙂

Dutch Strawberry Rhubarb Pie

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Now I will admit that pies have never been my thing.  Don’t get me wrong, I love eating them, but I could never really get all that enthusiastic about making them.  I have this romanticized view of mom putting out the pies to cool on the window sill just as the men-folk are finishing up their chores in the hay field, whilst the kids are russelin’ up the horses before they eat all the cotton by the pumpkin patch near Farmer Jedidiah’s dairy coop.  I am almost 100% certain that the previous sentence makes no sense whatsoever to anyone who knows anything about farming or livestock.  What the hell do I know?  I grew up in Brooklyn.  The closest thing we had to anything rural like that was the pigeons flying by or going to Central Park.  The police did have horses though.  And there were those horse-drawn carriages that are so popular with tourists.  It’s still a far cry from a farm, even with those sheep-sized sewer rats.

We never really did “pie” in my family.  Maybe it’s a cultural thing.  We had cakes made with rice flour, flans, sticky rice wrapped in banana leaves, stuff with coconut and cassava, mangoes, ensaymada cakes. . . but no pies.  Plus, on your birthday, you get a birthday cake, not a birthday pie!  At least that was my experience.  But pies really evoke that whole down-home farmy goodness that is pure and incorruptible and wholesome.  Pies can’t be pretentious the way cakes can be.  Have you seen some of those things?  And I do like pretentious cakes; that is what my business is based on, after all!  Maybe I should change the name to “Pretentious Cakes”.  But I think that cakes are always involved with the celebration of some milestone or special occasion.  Pies, on the other hand, are a celebration of everyday life.

So now to the pie.  June 9th is National Strawberry Rhubarb Pie Day all over this great land.  Rhubarb is actually a vegetable (kinda looks like red celery) so a Strawberry Rhubarb Pie is one way to get your serving of fruit and veggies in one dish!  I may be alone here, but I wouldn’t start trying to put together other fruit and veggie combos together just to see what they would taste like.  Blueberry-Cauliflower Pie doesn’t sound all that appetizing, although peaches and beets might be delicious.  Hell, if you can have a carrot salad with pineapple and raisins, why can’t peaches and beets go together?.  But berries and rhubarb always seem to go hand-in-hand.  You get the sweetness from the berries plus that tartness of the rhubarb.  Wrap that all up in a nice buttery, flaky pastry and you get one of the classic pie recipes.

This makes a 9″ pie.  Here’s what you need:

For the topping:

  • 3/4 c. flour
  • 1/2 c. sugar
  • 1/2 stick of butter, melted
  • 1/2 t. cinnamon
  • 1/4 t. salt

Stir together the dry ingredients to combine.  Drizzle over the melted butter.  Mix until the ingredients form a crumbly texture.  Set aside.

For the pie:

  • 1/2 pate brisee recipe (remember I told you to make extra and put it in the freezer!  just check to earlier post for the recipe)
  • 4 c. rhubarb, chopped into about 1/2 ” pieces
  • 2 c. strawberries, sliced to about 1/4″ pieces
  • 1 c. sugar
  • 1/4 c. cornstarch
  • 1/2 t. cinnamon
  • 1/4 t. galangal (it’s kinda like ginger, same family)
  • 1/4 t. salt

1.  On a lightly floured surface, roll out the crust to line a 9″ pie plate.  Transfer to the pie plate, being careful not to stretch the dough.  Trim off the edges.  Refrigerate until ready to use.

2.  Preheat the oven to 400 degrees F.  Place chopped rhubarb and sliced strawberries in a bowl.  Top with the sugar, cornstarch, cinnamon, galangal, and salt.  Toss to combine.  Fill the prepared pie shell with the fruit mixture.

3.  Sprinkle the topping over the fruit.  Bake in the preheated oven for 20 minutes on the bottom rack.  After the 20 minutes, lower the temperature to 325 and bake for another 35 – 45 minutes, until the filling is bubbly.  Allow to cool completely on a rack.

Notes — If the pie is browning too quickly, you can use some pie shields or cover the edges lightly with foil.

June Foodie Holidays

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Happy June everyone!  It’s a lovely day here in SEMI, especially since it was mid-nineties hot here for the past couple of days.  Just wanted to give everyone a little heads up on what we can celebrate this month.

This year, Father’s Day and Juneteenth are both on the 19th.  But culinarily speaking, June is:  National Candy Month (here’s a nice nutritional link from Kansas State University’s Dining Services),  National Dairy MonthNational Fresh Fruit and Veggies Month,  National Papaya Month (which is also in September for some reason), and  National Iced Tea Month to just name a few.  Here are some days of interest:

1 Hazelnut cake day

2 Rocky Road day

3 Chocolate Macaroon day

7 Chocolate Ice Cream day

9 Strawberry Rhubarb Pie day

12 Peanut Butter Cookie day

14 Strawberry Shortcake day

22 Chocolate Eclair day

26 Chocolate Pudding day

I will try to keep these in mind for this month’s postings.  I still have to post some things for National Hamburger Month and National Salad Month which was last month.  Maybe I’ll save them for next year.