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The Food Almanac: Friday, May 24, 2013

The Food Almanac: Friday, May 24, 2013

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Food Calendar
Today is National Escargots Day. Snails were the foie gras of their day, the emblem of a gourmet restaurant. If it served them, it was one; if not, it wasn't. Escargots went out of vogue in the 1980s, mainly because fresh snails are almost unavailable and chefs swore to use only fresh product. Even in the heyday of escargots, they were always from a can. Now that they're making a comeback, they'restill strictly a canned item.

Although you can still buy Burgundy snails that really did grow in French vineyards, most snails we eat are petit gris snails that began their long journey in Turkey or Indonesia. Although some snails are raised in this country (mostly in California, where I was once served snails "with the basil on which they lived their entire lives,") live helix snails are illegal to possess in many places, including Louisiana. That was surprising news to the late Chef Jamie Shannon, who at Commander's Palace once brought them to my table still crawling around on a plate. (He then cooked them.)

The classic way of serving snails is in a baking dish (or the shells, if they can be found) with butter, garlic, and parsley. That accounts for much of the popularity of escargots: we like dipping bread in garlic butter. The comedian Orson Bean told Johnny Carson one night, "I hate snails, but I love the butter they serve them in. So I say, 'Bring me an order of escargots, but hold the slugs.'"

Gourmet Gazetteer
Apple Springs is a crossroads in the rolling countryside of east central Texas, 119 miles north of Houston. Most of the action involves cattle ranching now, but the first big business in the area was pine lumber. After World War I, Apple Springs became a center for bootleg whiskey, the quality of which is still remembered. The town was founded in the expansion and migration following the Civil War. Apple Springs was home to as many as 300 people in the 1960s, but the pull of the big cities has cut that by half now. The only restaurant in town is a Subway.

Deft Dining Rule #175
You may never need this skill, but if you're a real gourmet you should know how to use snail clamps (they hold the shell while you dig into it) and a snail fork (it has two long tines for extracting the snail from its shell).

Edible Dictionary
scamorza, Italian, n.--A variation of fresh-milk mozzarella, with the same kind of sour-milk background flavor. It has an odd shape, like that of a snowman. It gets that way by having a string tied around it a bit off center. It's hung up to cure for a few days. Because of its resemblance to a hanged man, this process is called "strangling" the cheese. The most distinctive scamorza is smoked after being strangled. If you own a pizza parlor, you could step ahead of your competitors by being the first to use scamorza.

Great Moments In Wine
This is the day in 1976 when a wine tasting in Paris turned the wine world upside down. In a blind tasting by a panel of traditional wine authorities, California wines went up against the best wines of Bordeaux. A Chardonnay from Chateau Montelena and a Cabernet Sauvignon from Stag's Leap Wine Cellars came in first. The experts praised both Napa wines being as obviously French. It was the beginning of a process that continues picking up speed, as the winemaking styles of California set the standards of taste for the rest of the world. A great account of the tasting can be read in George Taber's book, Judgment of Paris.

The Old Kitchen Sage Sez:
The problem with wine tastings is that wine is better with food than with other wines.

Dining Landmarks
The Brooklyn Bridge opened today in 1883. Only pedestrians and horse-drawn carts used it. On one of my most memorable trips to New York--for the first anniversary of 9/11--I dined in the River Cafe, on a barge almost underneath the Brooklyn Bridge. Locals consider it touristy. But a bunch of New Yorkers with me were impressed mightily by both the food and the scene. They were surprised. Why? Because they'd never been there before. New Yorkers never, ever buck trends.

Annals Of One-Hour Meals
Today in 1938, Carl McGee of Oklahoma City patented the parking meter. Thanks, Carl. We're stuck with them forever now. Many dining decisions are made according to the availability of parking meters. If I'm looking for dinner and see an open metered space in front of a good place, I eat there. I always carry a film container full of quarters and dollar coins for that purpose. But now we get to watch our credit cards not work in those new parking machines. Someday, I hope to meet someone who has made one of things work by phone, as signs say they will.

Food In The Movies
The Cocoanuts, the first Marx Brothers film, was released today in 1929.

Food Namesakes
Peaches and Herb had a Number One hit on this date in 1979,Reunited. . Rob Baker, the drummer for the major Canadian rock group Red Rider, is 55 today. .H. B. Reese, the man for whom the famous peanut-butter-filled chocolate cups were named (because he invented them), was born today in 1879.

Words To Eat By
"I don't like to eat snails. I prefer fast food."--Strange de Jim, San Francisco quipmeister.

Words To Drink By
"I'll stick with gin. Champagne is just ginger ale that knows somebody."--Hawkeye, in the television show M*A*S*H.

The Food Almanac: Friday, May 24, 2013 - Recipes

Very nice and interesting recipe :) I shall try out soon :)

Mango burfi looks fabulous.. Perfect dessert for mango season..

Love the usage of paneer in there!!

Wow,burfi looks tremendous and wish i get few squares rite now,irresistible.

sounds new to me.
burfi looks yummy :)

very delicious looking burfi, paneer seems like an interesting addiotion

Very new recipe. Looks very inviting. Another mango recipe to try. :)

That is really a yummy sweet. Love the combination of mango In burfi

Sounds very interesting..yet to make a burfi with mangoes. good one..

so tempting and picture perfect sweet. love mango deserts. Please send me the photo via email as the right click is disabled.. Thanks for sending this yummy recipe to my event.. Looking for more yummy recipes.

Mango burfi's are new to me. Adding Paneer to it is a good idea. Wish I could taste a couple of those squares

The Perfect Bloody Mary

Summer is the perfect time to get creative with cocktails. All the fresh, local ingredients are so inspiring.

One of my all-time favorites is the Bloody Mary. It's such a versatile cocktail. You can serve it for brunch or for late afternoon/early evening cocktails on the patio. Whatever time you have it and for whatever occasion, make no mistake, it's a crowd-pleaser.

Believe it or not, my kids love Bloody Marys so I usually make individual drinks using a small martini shaker and add vodka to individual glasses.

The Perfect Bloody Mary

Kosher salt and freshly ground pepper to taste
3 to 4 dashes hot sauce (I like Frank's)
2 ounces vodka (adjust to taste)
5 ounces tomato juice
1/2 tablespoon lemon juice

2. In a martini shaker, combine vodka, tomato juice, lemon juice, Worcestershire sauce, horseradish, and ground cayenne.

3. Place the lid on the shaker tightly and vigorously shake.

4. Pour contents of the shaker over the seasoned ice in the high ball glass. Stir.

5. Garnish with celery, olives, pickles. and/or lemon wedges.

Note: This recipe isn't overly spicy but has some kick to it. You can adjust any of the seasonings or sauces listed here to your liking.

Need a pitcher and some tall glasses for serving this delicious cocktail? Here are a few of my favorites:

The Food Almanac: Friday, May 24, 2013 - Recipes

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TAGON: It's Liz, right? Liz, this meal was way better than our usual chow. I have you to thank for it?

LIZ: Oh, no. Chef Ch'vorthq is a genius with complementary flavors, satiety, and nutrition.

His recipes are blowing my mind. I've only worked fast food.

TAGON: So.. all you did was serve us fast, before Ch'vorthq could deploy his whisk of ruin?

LIZ: *quietly* Please don't make me throw my new boss under the bus.

The Food Almanac: Friday, May 24, 2013 - Recipes

If you have ideas that would work with this kit or any other comments I would love for you to drop me a line. Thank you for stopping by!

Check out my latest marriage survival kits - Happy Camper CLICK HERE

***Some people have had issues accessing the tags (the lovely world of technology). If you have a problem please email me rather than leaving a comment about it. I do read my comments but not daily so if you are having problems and in a rush an email is the best way to get in touch with me.


What an adorable idea! You are so creative and I love gifts like this. Do you have a similar gift idea for a new baby?

Thanks for stopping by for a visit and commenting! Hope your gardening weather starts to improve, but it's sure nice to know we aren't the only ones with crazy weather :)

Thank you for your sweet comment! I do have a couple survival kits for babies - however - they were for moms who had children already so I geared the kits more for the mom. The one is called " A Mother Who Knows" survival kit which is on the spiritual side and The Busy Mom survival kit.

Cute idea, you are invited to share this with Show Your Stuff:

Thank you very much! I will see you at your blog :) Thanks for the invitation!!

I love it! I pinned this to my "Wedding Favors & Gifts" board. :)

is such a perfect combination for wedding party gift ideas!

What an adorable idea! You are so creative and I love gifts like this. Do you have a similar gift idea for a new baby? Thanks for stopping by for a visit and commenting! Hope your gardening weather starts to improve, but it's sure nice to know we aren't the only ones with crazy weather :)

Thanks for linking my blog!! I like your project and your blog. Hugs from Barcelona.

I love this idea. I am currently making it for my brother's upcoming wedding. I went to print out the tags, but noticed the tag for the food containers (fresh is best. ) was not included. Any way I can get that one as well so that they all match? Thanks!

I love this. I am currently making it for my brother's upcoming wedding. I was printing out the tags and noticed that the one for the food containers (fresh is best. ) was not included. Any way I can get that one as well so they all match? Thanks!

Hi Nicole! Sorry about that. Send me your email at [email protected] and I will send you the tag.

Hi Sue! I love, love this idea! Thank you soo much for sharing. I'm going to email you for the Fresh is Best tag also. Thanks for all your posts.

This is a great idea! The link for the tags and marriage advice doesn't seem to be working . Is there anyway you can re-post the link or provide the info?

I am trying to access the website to print off the labels and her blog is private. do you have a set you could send me via email?

I am wondering if you can also send me the tag for food containers so I can also match the others. Thanks for the awesome gift idea!

Hi Sue, your survival kits are awesome. The messages on the tags make them so special. Thank you so much for sharing!
I am going to give this to my daughter next weekend at a shower and noticed when getting everything together that the Fresh is Best tags that go with the food containers are not included. If possible, can you email to me at [email protected]
Thank you!

Hi Sue, your survival kits are great! I love the tags you have written for each item. I'm making the picnic basket for my daughter's shower next weekend and realized that the Fresh is Best tags for food containers are not included. If you could email those to me I would be so grateful. [email protected]
Thank you!

Love this but had trouble printing the tags.

Love this but had trouble printing the tags.

I second everyone else's comments. Amazing gift idea. I, too, could not find or didn't see the Fresh is Best tag. Is it possible for you to send it to me or repost it? Thank you!

Okay everyone, I finally got a new computer and can now load things on google drive again - yay! New file is up with all tags included.

Do you have any suggestions for a card attached to a bottle of wine I'm the kit??

would love for you to email me the missing tag for the food containers -- thank you.. Jan [email protected]

Hi Sue. I love your idea and am making it for a friend's wedding. I was hoping you could tell me how you made the tags as I would also like to include a bottle of champane with a tag that reads 'Let Love Bubble Over' and have them all match. Thanks

Love this idea! It's so fun and creative! Have you done a tag with one Make sure to "Spice Things up". Also, Have you ever done one for a bachelorette?

I tried making a spice one, but ended up with a baking one instead as it was easier. It is still one of my goals to make but need a lot of time putting the thinking/creative cap on. And no, I haven't done a bachelorette. Great idea though :) Thanks for stopping by. Maybe those will be on here one day.

I used your wonderful idea and added a bottle of wine with the saying, "NO WHINING, OPEN A BOTTLE AND CELEBRATE BEING WITH EACH OTHER."

Hi Sue! I have to check in and tell you how much I appreciate and love your blog. I made one for my niece yesterday for her bridal shower. Her fiance proposed to her while they were camping, so it was a perfect idea. Would love to attach a photo here if I can. I incorporated the tags from both "life is a picnic" and the "happy camper" posts. I added a hot dog roaster from the dollar store , can of chili, can of raisin bread, all-American trail mix, beef jerky, picnic pack cutlery, frisbee, blanket, and lastly some really cute metal skewers attached to smores items with a ribbon to secure all. You are awesome!

Absolutely love it! Thank you for your comment!

Just found your site! What GREAT ideas. I love this wedding gift idea. You are very creative! Thanks for sharing.

Just looked through all you survival kits and these are all FABULOUS! I hope to put one of these together one day, but secretly wish you assembled and sold them.

Thanks for the awesome idea and templates! I used the Thirty-one picnic tote and it turned out great

Ah, Dennis. . . .

I have a cat named Dennis. He loves water. He really loves water. When I grab a towel and get ready, he does this.

When water is filling the tub, he does this.

After water is in the tub, he stirs it. Sometimes he stirs it for 30 minutes. It's like having my own, one directional, whirlpool tub.

He loves food. He sleeps like this and chews in his sleep.

He NEVER tries to get the food I bring into the bathroom. I think this means he likes water more than food. He also gets in the shower with me.

I share these things because life is hilarious. Here is a photo of something I ate in the tub this week. Cottage Cheese. Yummy.

Also, sometimes I shave my legs, but not with cottage cheese.

About Me

TheMoonAndMe Hi! My name is Kelly. I'm just a girl who likes to make things. I have a full-time job that offers little in the way of creativity. so this is my creative outlet. I enjoy photography and DIY and pretty stuff. but I'm not perfect. I just make it up as I go along. View my complete profile

Fight Back Friday May 24th

Welcome to another Fight Back Friday! Today we are bringing together another collection of recipes, tips, anecdotes, and testimonies from members of the Real Food Revolution.

Who are they? Why, they’re the Food Renegades. You know who you are — lovers of SOLE (Sustainable, Organic, Local, and Ethical) food, traditional food, primal food, REAL food, the list goes on. I believe that by joining together, our influence can grow, and we can change the way America (and the industrialized world) eats!

If you want to participate but aren’t sure how, please read these guidelines for how Fight Back Fridays will work.

Please be courteous and use your BEST blog carnival manners! In the very least, that means remember the two most important things you can do:

  1. Share a relevant post from your blog with us using the McLinky Widget below (don’t just link to your blog’s home page).
  2. In your post, be sure to link back to this post (not the Food Renegade home page) so that your readers can have access to all the information and encouragement we’ll be sharing.

Please also feel free to make use of any of the banners below by saving the image to your desktop then uploading it to your own server. (You don’t have to use them, but they’re there for you!)

If you don’t have a blog but are interested in joining the conversation, you can leave your comments below!

The Best Summer Beers: Our Taste Test Results, 2013 (PHOTOS)

The weather's heating up, which means you're probably swapping out your mashed potatoes for potato salad and your meatloaf for burgers. That's all well and good, but don't forget about changing up your beer. The heavy ones you've been drinking all winter -- you know, like stouts and spicy dark ales -- are NOT going to do you any favors in the heat of the summer. On the flip side, summer beers are highly drinkable and born to be swiftly chugged. Usually defined as being light with a clean, hoppy or bitter flavor, they're the perfect complement to that juicy brat you're about to grill up.

Since most summer beers are only available for a limited time, get out there and find your favorite right now. We conducted a blind taste test, ranking them and publishing our notes for your convenience, in the slideshow below. Give them all a swig and let us know what you think.

As always, this taste test was in no way influenced or sponsored by the brands included.

This story appears in the special Summer Issue of our weekly iPad magazine, Huffington, in the iTunes App store, available Friday, May 24.

Bint Rhoda's Kitchen

Palestinian mansaf is not humble food, served just to your family, like mujjadara and fasoulia and shorabat addas. This is celebratory food, kill-the-fatted-lamb food, the centerpiece of a feast, and often served at weddings, graduations, or prepared for an honored guest.

And this meal is as ancient as the land. It tells a story of the land and how people used to eat long ago, how they preserved and cared for their foods.

Mansaf is boiled lamb, served in a rich sauce made of yogurt. Today, it is served over a bed of rice, but since rice is a relative newcomer to the Middle East, it was probably originally served with bread. It is often eaten by hand, served from a communal dish. What makes this dish distinctive is the sauce in which the lamb is simmered, a sauce made from a traditionally prepared hardened yogurt.

In ancient Palestine, "the land flowing with milk and honey," milk often came from sheep and goats. Milk was a valuable nourishment and was converted into yogurt, kefir, cheeses and clarified butter, also called ghee. Jameed, which means "hardened," was another way to preserve dairy. First milk is fermented into yogurt, then strained into labani, and then fermented and preserved a second time, by salting daily and continuing to strain with a cheesecloth to remove additional whey. Once it becomes firm enough, it is formed into balls and then set out to dry in the sun, until it is hard and dried to the center. In this way, gallons and gallons of raw milk are converted to a small pile of hardened balls of yogurt, or "rock cheese," which can then be rehydrated for a meal of mansaf anytime.

Today, this cheese is still made by Bedouins and villagers, and we would buy the hard lumps of yogurt from village women selling them on mats all throughout the West Bank and Jerusalem.

True mansaf has a strong flavor, and I think it is an acquired taste - the jameed is salty and pronounced. Someday, if I am brave enough, I will try to make jameed and post about it on here. In the meantime, here is an easier introduction to the meal - lamb (or chicken) cooked in a yogurt sauce. This dish is simple to prepare and and lovely introduction to traditional mansaf. These fork-tender pieces of lamb, fragrant with cardamom, allspice and cinnamon, cooked in a creamy but slightly tart yogurt, is really delicious with the crunch of nuts and the softly cooked rice. It reminds me a little of an exotic Indian curry.

A note about the recipe - this yogurt sauce is made just like a bechamel, or white sauce. You simple make a roux of butter and flour, and then add in yogurt, and bring it to a boil. If you have ever made homemade macaroni and cheese, then you can make this. If you blend your yogurt first, and bring it up to a boil for a two minutes, your sauce should not curdle, but if it does, don't worry too much. It will still taste delicious. Some Palestinian cooks swear by stirring the sauce in the same direction to prevent curdling - maybe that works? I tried to do that this time, and it did not curdle.

Lamb in Yogurt Sauce, or Mansaf

1 1/2 lb grass fed lamb, in large cubes, or pieces of chicken
Salt and pepper
1 tsp ground cardamom
1/2 tsp allspice
1/4 tsp cinnamon
2 bay leaves
3 tbsp butter
3 tbsp flour
4 cups whole plain yogurt
1-2 cloves garlic, pasted (optional)

1/3 cup pine nuts, toasted

1. Preheat oven to 350F. Season lamb with cardamom, allspice, cinnamon, salt and pepper. In a heavy oven-safe pot, with the flame on high, brown lamb in olive oil or ghee until caramelized on all sides.

2. Pour a cup of lamb broth or water over the lamb, and transfer the pot to the oven. Add bay leaves. Roast for an hour, or until tender. Alternatively, the traditional method is to gently braise your meat on your stove top until tender

3. Meanwhile, prepare the yogurt sauce. Break down your yogurt by running it in a blender or a food processor for two or three minutes.

4. In a sauce pot, over medium-high flame, melt three tablespoons of butter, and stir in three tablespoons of flour, and cook for a couple of minutes. Slowly add your beaten yogurt, adding in a little and stirring, and letting the mixture come to a boil, and then adding a little more yogurt. Continue to do this until you have added all of the yogurt. Take care to stir constantly, as yogurt can scorch easily. Bring it to a boil and, still stirring, let your sauce boil for a minute or two. Turn the heat down to low, and let it simmer for 10-15 minutes, adding pasted garlic cloves, if you desire.

4. When your lamb is tender, pull from heat. If you like, add a cup or so of the liquid from your lamb into your sauce.

5. To serve family style, arrange your rice (I like a turmeric vermicelli rice) on a platter, top with pieces of lamb, and pour the yogurt sauce on top. Top with toasted almonds and/or pine nuts, and a sprinkle of parsley.


  1. Shaktirg

    And the Swiss, and the reaper, and in general, fucked up. The most amazing thing about pop singers is that they sing with their mouths in the same way ... Fresh food, but it is hard to fight What you warm on your chest, it will sizzle all your life. It is very easy to make a woman happy. Only expensive. Nothing warms the soul like cold beer ...

  2. Petre

    Who knows.

  3. Gedaliah

    the Useful question

  4. Pandareos

    Sorry, I can't help you. But I am sure that you will find the right solution. Do not despair.

  5. Baird

    Admirable topic

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