In The Food Almanac, Tom Fitzmorris of The New Orleans Menu, notes food facts and sayings.
Annals of Spirits
Today in 1789 is supposed to be the day that a Baptist minister named Elijah Craig distilled the first whiskey made from corn mash. This was in Bourbon County, Ky. Craig was quite a businessman. It is not known, really, what year he started his distillery, let alone the day, but this date is traditional as the birthday of Bourbon. There's an expensive, 18-year-old, single-barrel Bourbon named for him that's pretty good.
Irish whiskey, n. — A high-alcohol (at least 80 proof) whiskey made from a variety of malted grains. It's usually compared with Scotch whisky, but it's different in several ways. First, the malt isn't dried over a smoky fire, which gives Scotch its distinctive flavor. Those who don't like Scotch for that reason may well like Irish whiskey. Second, Irish whiskey is usually distilled three times, making it less assertive in its flavor again. Third, Irish whiskey is a much smaller industry than Scotch. Finally, there's an "e" in "whiskey" when it's Irish. Irish whiskey is probably used more for making Irish coffee than any other purpose, but it's underrated for making cocktails. I like Manhattans made with Irish whiskey.
This is National Cappuccino Day. The combination of espresso coffee with foamed milk is often had after dinner, which is the wrong time. It's really a morning beverage, with the milk and all. It also works — if your system can stand the caffeine — as a late-night drink, in sort of the way we drink café au lait here in New Orleans.
Most cappuccinos are made with far too much foamed milk. It should form a layer, not a pile, as it does in the contemporary American coffeehouses. Here's my test for telling when the froth on a cappuccino is just right. Sprinkle two packets of sugar over a circular area an inch in diameter. It will sit there for awhile, then slowly start sinking, while at the same time moving toward the center. The sugar ultimately falls through a small hole, rather suddenly. If the sugar just sits there interminably, the froth is too thick. If the granules fall right through, the froth is too thin.
The name "cappuccino" is a reference to the Capuchin monks, whose hooded habits were the same color as that of a well-made cappuccino. However, an alternative explanation is that "cappuccino" means "out of order" in Italian. (The early machines often were.) But that's just a joke.
The Old Kitchen Sage Sez
Just as is true with wine, a coffee blended from several kinds of beans will always have more interesting flavors than one that's all from one kind.
This is the feast day of the Four Crowned Martyrs: Castorius, Claudius, Nicostratus, and Symphorian. They were stone carvers, but they're also patron saints of cattle for some reason.
Harvey Milk was elected to the San Francisco Board of Supervisors on this date in 1977. He was openly gay, which was a big deal back then . Today in 1990, Darryl Strawberry signed a five-year contract with the Dodgers . Alan Berger of the rock group Southside Johnny and the Asbury Jukes, was born today in 1949 . Frank Gouldsmith Speck was born today in 1881. He was an anthropologist who specialized in Eastern Native Americans. (Speck is smoked prosciutto.)
Words to Eat By
"The truffle is not a positive aphrodisiac, but it can upon occasion make women tenderer and men more apt to love." — Jean-Anthelme Brillat-Savarin, French culinary author and chef.
Words to Drink By
"A drink is shorter than a tale." — Unknown.
Check out other Food Almanac columns by Tom Fitzmorris.
Frank ashton original recipes/> Frank FRANK ASHTON CLASSIC ITALIAN AND ADDITIONAL RECIPES: My name is Frank Ashton and I live in the Cleveland Ohio area. I was a high school art teacher for 33 years. I love painting,especially Impressionism and traveling with my wife but my other love is for cooking. Over the years I have probably cooked for some 20,000 people. This includes cooking free for many groups to raise funds for worthy causes. Most of my recipes are original from me and some from my mother or my wife Dottie. This has led me to decide to share my original recipes with others. This site has 110 recipes to date! My goal is to be able to give real recipes that really are excellent. One should not expect anything exotic but I will guarantee they will impress anyone who loves to eat. FIRST GO TO GOOGLE AND PRINT IN THE WHITE BOX FRANK ASHTON ORIGINAL RECIPES AND CLICK ON THAT. Frank Ashton Original Recipes should come up. To print a recipe save it to favorites and then click on the recipe on favorites and you will then be able to print it. THERE ARE OVER 50 VEGETARIAN (MEAT FREE) RECIPES LOOK FOR THE ASTERISK * IN FRONT OF EACH RECIPE OR WORDS VEGETARIAN STYLE View my complete profile
Why is Thanksgiving on a Thursday?
Thanksgiving is one of the most beloved traditions in the United States that is celebrated every year with food, family and a break from busy schedules.
But, why does Thanksgiving fall on a Thursday? The answer requires a deep dive into history.
We don’t know much about the original “Thanksgiving” celebration held in 1621 with the Puritans and Womponoag. While it could have been on a Thursday, it likely lasted more than one day and may not have even taken place in November. What we do know that, according to the Farmer’s Almanac, Thursday did have some significance in the Puritan church, which is likely why Thanksgiving was held on Thursday for decades afterward.
President George Washington declared a day of thanksgiving and prayer on Nov. 25, 1789, but thereafter, the holiday wasn’t associated with one specific day of the week. In fact, states often celebrated on different dates and the holiday was largely unknown in the southern states.
After a push by famed writer Sarah Josepha Hale, it was President Abraham Lincoln who proclaimed that Thanksgiving be held on the last day of Thursday of November across the entire country in 1863. Lincoln issued the proclamation shortly after the Union successfully prevailed in the Civil War. It was seen as a day to be thankful for the war’s end.
“I do therefore invite my fellow citizens in every part of the United States, and also those who are at sea and those who are sojourning in foreign lands, to set apart and observe the last Thursday of November next as a day of thanksgiving and praise to our beneficent Father who dwelleth in the heavens,” Lincoln famously declared.
Thereafter, Thanksgiving was held on the last Thursday of November -- until 1939, when it happened to fall on Nov. 30.
It was the end of a tough decade, economically, and retailers complained that celebrating Thanksgiving on Nov. 30 did not leave consumers enough time to shop between Thanksgiving and Christmas. Businesses lobbied President Franklin D. Roosevelt, who relented and pushed Thanksgiving back one week to Nov. 23. Some states rejected the idea, keeping Thanksgiving on the 30th, while others agreed to the change. Roosevelt continued the idea of pushing the holiday back a week in 1940, which resulted in a couple years of scheduling chaos.
Finally, in December of 1941, Congress stepped in just weeks after the attack on Pearl Harbor, and passed a bill marking Thanksgiving on the fourth Thursday of November. Roosevelt signed the bill into law, and that has been the tradition ever since.
There's a new novelty cookbook hitting the shelves next week (Nov. 13), just in time for white elephant party season. Fifty Shades of Chicken is a clever parody of the scandalous triology written under the pseudonym F.L. Fowler. The book tells the story of a meek chicken ("Ms. Hen") and a sexy chef ("Mr. Blades") as they undergo a series of kitchen BDSM plays deftly woven into the recipe headnotes. But as much as the writer tries to imitate 50 Shades of Grey author E.L. James's clunky prose, his or her copy is crisp and shows a clear knowledge of the food world. Now the question is: Who is F.L. Fowler?
A September article in People magazine identifies Fowler as "an established food industry professional" who wants to remain anonymous. As the Fowler told People:
There are plenty of recipe developers in the world who aren't household names, but we're hoping it's someone famous who decided to do this for fun, someone like Ruth Reichl. Either way, we bet Ruth Bourdain knows.
To fully appreciate Fowler's new chicken cookbook, we're afraid you'll have to go back and read the original Fifty Shades of Grey, otherwise you might miss the finer nuances of recipes like "Plain Vanilla Chicken." Don't worry, we're sure you can borrow a copy from someone. And in the meantime, you can check out the steamy trailer for Fifty Shades of Chicken:
Last Minute News and Suggestions for the Bounty
Tomorrow might be the last Saturday of the summer that we will have Glenn mangos. Tomorrow's supply is good because the mangos still on the trees are all ripening at the same time.
Also plentiful are the very popular Carrie mangos.
The supply of Po Pyu Kalai (Lemon Meringue) mango is good, but we're nearing the end of its season.
We have a decent amount of Bailey's Marvel, and there are plenty still on the tree.
Also we should have some of the varieties listed on the previous post.
Again we will sell drops for half price. Most are from our large Haden mango trees.
One excellent use of imperfect fruit is for fruit leather. Put bruised parts and good flesh in a blender with Vitamin C (ascorbic acid to preserve freshness) until pureed, then spread on non-stick sheets and dehydrate at 110 degrees until done. Roll up the sheets of dried mango and cut with sharp knife.
You can mix many varieties of mango, but make sure some of the fruit is bruised and some has fiber. Also you can add other types of fruit to the mix. I've tried passion fruit, guava, carambola, and canistel.
Other uses include making Mango Bread and Mango Crisp (click on "Recipes"), making chutney, pureeing for mango juice (add water for desired thickness), and freezing for later in the year.
How can you help??
Thursday, November 8, 2012
– Create a post on your own blog sharing a comfort dish – something that you would make for someone in need, to help them feel at home. But more importantly, lets encourage everyone to donate to relief efforts. Feel free to grab the code for the badge below which links to the Red Cross disaster relief, and come back on Nov. 8th link up your post.
Don’t have a blog??
Please donate to help those in need. Who to donate to? Several organizations are dedicating themselves to helping the victims of hurricane Sandy. Some of the larger ones include:
- is providing food, shelter, and other forms of support to hurricane victims. You can donate directly to the Red Cross, you can also text the word “Redcross” to 90999 to make a $10 donation. is also focused on providing food, shelter, and support to victims, and takes donations to storm relief. is providing food, water and supplies to those who need it as part of their disaster relief program.
- For gluten free disaster victims, I’m afraid I’m not sure the best resources for hunger relief. However, others have provided links and suggestions in the comments to this post, so please check those out for ways to help. And if you have information, please feel free to add it in the comments below.
Follow hashtag #FBS4Sandy
to see everyone’s posts and encourage donations.
Grab the code below to add this badge to your post, which links to the Red Cross website to encourage donations. We’ll keep this up throughout November so feel free to join in even if you can’t participate on Nov. 8:
Pumpkin Pie Martini
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This pumpkin pie martini is a perfect example of one of the coolest things about being a food blogger: the endless opportunity for creativity. I’ve always had fun creating never-before-seen concoctions in my kitchen, and blogging kicked that creative process up to a whole new level. Sometimes I imagine the brain as a slot machine with an endless list of flavors on the left and dishes on the right. Hit the button … Pomegranate! White chocolate! and … pudding cake! Hit it again … Spaghetti squash! Cheddar! And … pancakes! (Well … not everything’s a winner).
This pumpkin pie martini is also a great example of one of the bummers of being a food blogger: learning that I’m really not as creative as I think I am. Usually, I’ve hardly had time to bask in the brilliance of an idea before I do the dreaded Google search and learn that many, many, many people before me have thought of it. Even Sandra frickin’ Lee, in this case! Argh!
Sometimes I’m all, fine! I won’t try to make a butternut squash slushie since Miss Brilliant Food Network Star over there thought of it two years ago!
And sometimes I’m already plenty attached to the idea, and it has to happen. Or I won’t be complete.
And so I created my own take on a pumpkin pie martini.
I started with the same syrup I make for my pumpkin spice iced coffee, then added whipped cream vodka (I, for one, like my pumpkin pie with lots of whipped cream). A good dose of half-and-half and a splash of both bourbon and vanilla add flavor to this festive fall drink a generous dollop of whipped cream and an even more generous sprinkling of freshly ground nutmeg make it perfect.
And hey, even if it’s not a trailblazing creation, it’s still a delicious one.
(And yes, I did just Google “butternut squash slushie.” It’s never been done! Yes!)
Butternut Squash, Goat Cheese, and Walnut Dip
Yield: 12 servings
1 medium butternut squash, (about 1.5 lbs)
1 head garlic
2 Tbsp lemon juice
1/2 tsp salt
3 oz goat cheese
1/4 cup walnuts, chopped
36 slices french bread baguette, 1/2 inch thick, toasted
Cut squash in 1/2 lengthwise, discard seeds.
Put squash cut side down on foil-lined jelly roll pan coated with cooking spray.
Remove papery skin from garlic but do not peel or separate cloves. wrap in foil. put on pan with squash. Bake at 400 for 30 min until squash is tender. scoop out pulp & discard skin. separate garlic cloves, squeeze to extract pulp, discard skins.
Place squash, garlic, salt & juice & cheese in food processor & process til smooth. spoon into bowl & sprinkle with nuts. serve with baguette slices.
November always marks the start of the busy season around here. Not only am I busy helping run the web business I run with my husband, the real kicker this time of year is my greeting card business. I’ve got holiday craft fairs to prepare for, wholesale orders to fill and etsy sales to take care of. No doubt it’s a lot of work, but it’s all part of the life I’ve created for myself: no boss, no commute, no 9-5. I have no real complaints – it’s a good life.
So when work life starts taking over, it’s good to have a deliciously quick meal as part of your repertoire. I made this for the first time last spring and thought it was fantastic and have made it a few times since. It uses all the ingredients I usually have on hand and it’s easy to put together. Busy days loves meals like this. I was inspired by a Mark Bittman dish that I had bookmarked ages ago from the New York Times but when it came down to it, I created something of my own making.
I use dried chickpeas here that I cook and then freeze for ease of use (they’re super budget friendly & taste better too), but 1 large can of drained chickpeas would be fine here. The fresh sausage I used was plenty spicy so I didn’t bother adding in extra spices besides the cumin which gives this dish a lovely earthiness. But if you want something hot & spicy, add in some dried chili peppers or a few shakes of sriracha. And certainly, you can leave out the sausage for a vegan/vegetarian dish – or throw in your favorite veggie sausage slices when you add in the kale.
elsewhere: Need another granola option? Head to Poppytalk this week for a crunchy maple granola. It’s got sesame seeds & coconut to round things out and it’s the perfect way to wake up in the mornings.
cumin toasted chickpeas with sausage & kale
2 T olive oil
1/2 onion, diced
4 cloves garlic, minced
2 c chickpeas, well drained
1 T ground cumin
3-4 spicy italian sausages
1 bunch of kale (about 6-8 leaves),tough stems removed and leaves thinly sliced
In a large skillet, pour in olive oil and heat over medium heat. Add garlic and onions and let everything sweat a bit until soft and fragrant – give it 5 minutes. Add in the chickpeas and the cumin, stirring well to combine. You want the chickpeas to get lightly toasted, dry-ish and slightly nutty, so stir occasionally and let them toast for 8-10 minutes or so. Meanwhile, slice the sausages length-wise to remove the casings. Crumble the sausage meat into the skillet and toss things around once in awhile until the sausage is half-way brown. Stir in the kale and let everything cook down for another 5 minutes or so. Serve over rice. Makes 4 hearty servings or 6 regular ones.
Hurray! After a long period of waiting, I am finally out from "maidless" day! So glad that at least I have some leisure times rather than busy all the way.
I cannot make any comment on this helper too early but so far so good, at least she is obedient type so my mil is happy with her. And she has more patience with the kids so I won't get to hear any high pitch voice like my previous helper. Most importantly, I am happy and stress-free to be at home all time since I won't get to hear any complaints and fights :D.
I didn't bake for a month plus, getting lazy after stop for a period lol. I have many backlog to clear and I wish to post some of the food that prepared for my little kicker birthday party but lazy to clean up the photos hahaha.
This cake was baked a few months ago when I had too many bananas sitting in my freezer (the bananas are accumulating again lol), so I decided to bake a banana cake. Well, although my heart was ready to go for my all time favourite banana cake but my mind telling me that I should give other recipe a try.
I first saw this banana sponge cake was when Wen submitted to Aspiring Baker : Fruity March 2011 hosted by me. As during that period, I was still glued tightly to my all time favourite, so didn't pay much attention on this recipe. When I decided to try other banana cake recipe and this recipe immediately caught my attention. Beside this is Wen's all time favourite, and also the 2 bloggers that I admire, HHB and Sonia given good review on it.
Recipe adapted from here which originated from Richard Goh Baking Class Stage 1.
3 eggs (medium)
200g banana (ripe & cut into small pcs)
150g cake flour
1/2 tsp baking powder
1/4 tsp baking soda
100g vegetable oil
1/8 tsp vanilla extract
1. Preheat oven to 160 degree C.
2. Grease and line a 8" round tin with paper.
3. Sieve flour, baking powder and soda together. Sieve twice and set aside.
4. Whisk eggs, sugar and banana at max. speed till stiff/ribbon stage. (For Kenwood Chef - approx 10-13mins)
5. Fold in flour and mix well. (Can use spatular or hand to mix)
6. Add in oil and mix well till batter is shiny and flowing.
7. Bake for 40 - 45mins