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May 9, 2013 / freeflyer204

Watercress Salad

Watercress (Nasturtium officinale), is a fast-growing, aquatic or semi-aquatic, perennial plant native to Europe and Asia, and one of the oldest known leaf vegetables consumed by humans. It is a member of the family Brassicaceae, botanically related to garden cress, mustard and radish — all noteworthy for a peppery, tangy flavour.

The hollow stems of watercress are floating, and the leaves are pinnately compound. Small, white and green flowers are produced in clusters.

Watercress has been grown in many locations around the world.

In the United Kingdom, watercress was first commercially cultivated in 1808 by the horticulturist William Bradbery, along the River Ebbsfleet in Kent. Watercress is now grown in a number of counties of the United Kingdom, most notably Hertfordshire, Hampshire, Wiltshire and Dorset. The town of Alresford, near Winchester, holds a Watercress Festival that brings in more than 15,000 visitors every year, and a preserved steam railway line has been named after the local crop. In recent years, watercress has become more widely available in the UK, at least in the southeast; it is stocked pre-packed in some supermarkets, as well as fresh by the bunch at farmers’ markets and greengrocers.

In the United States in the 1940s, Huntsville, Alabama was locally known as the “watercress capital of the world”. Today, Oviedo, Florida in the United States is known by that title, while Alresford in England is considered to be that nation’s watercress capital.

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Watercress Salad
Prep Time: 10 min.
Level: Easy
Servings: 4 Servings
 
Ingredients
1 large cucumber, peeled and diced
1 bunch of watercress, trimmed
1/2 cup chopped parsley
2 tablespoons honey
2 tablespoons white wine vinegar
Splash of water
Salt and freshly ground black pepper
1/4 cup extra-virgin olive oil

Directions
In a bowl, combine the cucumber, watercress and parsley.

In a separate bowl, combine the honey, vinegar, water and season. Whisk in the extra-virgin olive oil. Drizzle the dressing over the vegetables and toss to coat.

May 9, 2013 / freeflyer204

Fluffernutter

A Fluffernutter, also known as a Liberty Sandwich, is a sandwich made with peanut butter and marshmallow creme, usually served on white bread. Variations of the sandwich include the substitution of wheat bread and the addition of various sweet, salty and savory ingredients. The term fluffernutter can also be used to describe other food items, primarily desserts, that incorporate peanut butter and marshmallow creme.

he sandwich was first created in the early 20th century after marshmallow creme, a sweet marshmallow-like spread, was invented in the U.S. state of Massachusetts. Archibald Query of Somerville, Massachusetts, invented a product he called Marshmallow Creme in 1917, and Emma and Amory Curtis of Melrose, Massachusetts, invented Snowflake Marshmallow Creme in 1913.

The term Fluffernutter was created in 1960 by an advertising agency hired by Durkee-Mower to find a more effective way to market the peanut butter and marshmallow sandwich.

The sandwich is particularly popular in New England and has been proposed as the official state sandwich of Massachusetts. However, it has also sparked controversy because of its nutrition content and its possible contribution to childhood obesity.

May 9, 2013 / freeflyer204

Jell-O

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Jell-O is a brand name belonging to U.S.-based Kraft Foods for a number of gelatin desserts, including fruit gels, puddings and no-bake cream pies. The brand’s popularity has led to it being used as a generic term for gelatin dessert across the U.S. and Canada.

Jell-O is sold prepared (ready to eat) or in powder form, and is available in many different colors and flavors. The powder contains powdered gelatin and flavorings, including sugar or artificial sweeteners. It is dissolved in very hot water, then chilled and allowed to set. Fruit, vegetables, whipped cream, or other ingredients can be added to make elaborate snacks that can be molded into various shapes. Jell-O must be put in a refrigerator until served, and once set properly, it is normally eaten with a spoon.

There are also non-gelatin pudding and pie filling products under the Jell-O brand. To make pudding, these are cooked on stove top with milk, then either eaten warm or chilled until more firmly set. Jell-O also has an instant pudding product which is simply mixed with cold milk and then chilled. To make pie fillings, the same products are simply prepared with less liquid.

Although the word Jell-O is a brand name, it is commonly used in the United States as a generic and household name for any gelatin products.

In 1964, the slogan “There’s always room for Jell-O” was introduced, promoting the product as a “light dessert” that could easily be consumed even after a heavy meal.

Throughout the 1960s through the 1980s, Jell-O’s sales consistently decreased. Many Jell-O dishes, such as desserts and Jell-O salads, became special occasion foods rather than everyday items. Marketers blamed this decline on decreasing family sizes, a “fast-paced” lifestyle and women’s increasing employment. By 1986, a market study concluded that mothers with young children rarely purchased Jell-O.

To turn things around, Jell-O hired Dana Gioia to stop the decline. The marketing team revisited the Jell-O recipes that had been published in past cookbooks and rediscovered Jigglers, although the original recipe did not use that name. These are Jell-O snacks molded into fun shapes that can be eaten as finger food. Jell-O launched a massive marketing campaign, notable featuring Bill Cosby as a company spokesman. The campaign was a huge success, not only stopping the sales decline, but causing a significant gain.

Cosby became the company’s pudding spokesperson in 1974, and continued to serve as the voice of Jell-O for almost thirty years. Over the course of his tenure as the mouthpiece for the company, he would help introduce new products such as frozen Jell-O Pops (in both gelatin and pudding varieties); the new Sugar-Free Jell-O, which replaced D-Zerta in 1984 and was sweetened with NutraSweet; Jell-O Jigglers concentrated gummi snacks; and Sparkling Jell-O, a carbonated version of the dessert touted as the “Champagne of Jell-O.” In 2010, Cosby returned as Jell-O spokesperson in an on-line web series called “OBKB.”

In the 1980s, a Jell-O advertising campaign slogan reminded consumers, “Don’t forget–you have to remember to make it.”

In 1990, General Foods was merged into Kraft Foods by parent company Philip Morris (now the Altria Group). New flavors were continually introduced: watermelon, blueberry, cranberry, margarita and piña colada among others. In 2001, Jell-O was declared the “Official State Snack” of Utah, with Governor Michael O. Leavitt declaring an annual “Jell-O Week.” During the 2002 Winter Olympics in Salt Lake City, the souvenir pins included one depicting green Jell-O.

As of 2008, there are more than 158 products sold under the Jell-O brand name and about 300 million boxes of Jell-O gelatin sold in the United States each year.

Jell-O is also used as a substantial ingredient in a well-known dessert, a “Jell-O mold” the preparation of which requires a mold designed to hold gelatin, and the depositing of small quantities of chopped fruit, nuts, and other ingredients before it hardens and takes on its typical form. Fresh pineapple, papaya, kiwi, and ginger root cannot be used because they contain enzymes that prevent the gelatin from “setting.”

May 9, 2013 / freeflyer204

Stuffed Mushrooms

By Angie Gorkoff
Prep Time: 25 Minutes            Cook Time: 20 Minutes
Ready In: 45 Minutes              Servings: 12
 
Ingredients:
12 whole fresh mushrooms
1 tablespoon vegetable oil
1 tablespoon minced garlic
1 (8 ounce) package cream cheese,
softened
1/4 cup grated Parmesan cheese
1/4 teaspoon ground black pepper
1/4 teaspoon onion powder
1/4 teaspoon ground cayenne pepper
Directions:
1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees F (175 degrees C). Spray a baking sheet with cooking spray. Clean mushrooms with a damp paper towel. Carefully break off stems. Chop stems extremely fine, discarding tough end of stems.
2. Heat oil in a large skillet over medium heat. Add garlic and chopped mushroom stems to the skillet. Fry until any moisture has disappeared, taking care not to burn garlic. Set aside to cool.
3. When garlic and mushroom mixture is no longer hot, stir in cream cheese, Parmesan cheese, black pepper, onion powder and cayenne pepper. Mixture should be very thick. Using a little spoon, fill each mushroom cap with a generous amount of stuffing. Arrange the mushroom caps on prepared cookie sheet.
4. Bake for 20 minutes in the preheated oven, or until the mushrooms are piping hot and liquid starts to form under caps.
May 8, 2013 / freeflyer204

Chicken Tetrazzini

Tetrazzini is an American dish often made with diced fowl or seafood, mushrooms, and almonds in a butter/cream and parmesan sauce flavored with wine or sherry and stock vegetables such as onions, celery, and carrots. It is often served hot over spaghetti or some similarly thin pasta, garnished with lemon or parsley, and topped with additional almonds and/or Parmesan cheese. 

The dish is named after Italian opera star, Luisa Tetrazzini. 

It is widely believed to have been invented ca. 1908–1910 by Ernest Arbogast, then chef at the Palace Hotel in San Francisco, California, where Tetrazzini was a long-time resident. However, other sources attribute the origin to the Knickerbocker Hotel in New York City. 

The chicken tetrazzini was made famous by chef Louis Paquet. 

There is no universal standard for the dish, so various parts are missing or substituted in various recipes. For example, another kind of nut, or different hard cheese. The name is often expanded to describe the specific meat used (e.g. Chicken Tetrazzini, or Tuna Tetrazzini).

May 8, 2013 / freeflyer204

Deviled Eggs

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Deviled Eggs are hard-boiled eggs, shelled, cut in half and filled with the hard-boiled egg’s yolk mixed with other ingredients such as mayonnaise and mustard. Deviled eggs are usually served cold. They are served as a side dish, appetizer or a main course, and are a common holiday or party food.

The Deviled Egg came about when an Englishman by the name of William Underwood set up a small condiment business on Boston’s Russia Wharf in 1822. It did pretty well both developing and selling new condiment products. Around 1868, Underwood’s sons began experimenting with a new product created from ground ham blended with a mix of special seasonings. They introduced a product line of seasoned meat products including ham, turkey, chicken, lobster, and tongue. They called the seasoning process “deviling,” and the Underwood “red devil” was born.

Today many other foods, including eggs and crab, are served “deviled.” To be considered deviled, a food has to have a kick from something like Dijon mustard, hot sauce, cayenne pepper or chopped hot peppers.

Underwood’s Deviling process holds U.S. Patent Office trademark NO. 82, granted in 1870, the oldest existing food trademark still in use in the United States. The exact”deviling” recipe remains a company secret to this day.

March 26, 2013 / freeflyer204

Salisbury Steak

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Salisbury steak is a meat dish made by mixing lean ground beef with several ingredients before molding it into a patty and cooking it. From a distance, Salisbury steak does look sort of like a whole steak, although the resemblance is less obvious at close range. This dish is traditionally served with gravy, and it is a common offering in institutions and packaged meals, thanks to the relatively low cost of Salisbury steak when compared with all-meat dishes. It is also possible to make Salisbury steak from scratch at home, and some restaurants offer it, occasionally elevating it to a gourmet offering. 

In addition to ground beef, traditional Salisbury steak includes eggs, onions, milk, and bread crumbs, mixed together and pressed into a patty. The patty can be fried, broiled, or baked, depending on the taste of the cook. For accompanying gravy, the pan may be deglazed or the cook may use gravy from another cooking project, and ingredients such as grilled onions or mushrooms may be added to the Salisbury steak as a garnish. Parsley and other green garnishes are also not unheard of.

This dish is also sometimes referred to as hamburger steak. It was popularized in the 19th and 20th centuries as a cheap way to add protein to a meal, since the beef used is typically of low quality, and the mixture of ingredients stretches the meat. The name is a reference to James Henry Salisbury, an American physician who promoted the consumption of beef for the maintenance of general health. Well through the 1960s in America, Salisbury steak was a frequent offering on the dinner table.

Depending on how it is prepared, Salisbury steak can be moist, flavorful, and tender, or wizened and dry. People who have only accompanied this food in an institutional setting are sometimes surprised to learn that it can be quite interesting when prepared by a competent cook with high-quality ingredients, especially if the cook plays around with the basic recipe to add interesting flavors.

Still, Dr. Salisbury’s original “steak” recipe was very simple.

The Original Salisbury steak was basically lean ground beef, pressed together, and broiled. Dr. Salisbury suggested it be served with butter, salt, pepper, and Worcestershire sauce.