Food Holiday

 

National Chocolate Chip Day

 

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May 14th is National Chocolate Chip Day.  Where would we be without chocolate chips, those little morsels of yumminess perfect for so many fabulous treats.  From muffins, to cakes, to cookies to an ice cream topping these little guys can do it all.  While chocolate has been around for many years, the idea of the chip was only invented in the 1930′s.  Ruth Graves Wakefield at her Toll House Inn in Whitman, Massachusetts, was going to cook chocolate cookies for her guests, but she ran out of baker’s chocolate. When she substituted chopped up semi-sweet chocolate bits for the baker’s chocolate, Ruth discovered that the bits did not melt into the dough as baker’s chocolate does, the chocolate chip cookie was born and so was chocolate chips.

Approximately 25 percent of the cookies baked in the United States today are chocolate chip cookies.  We have found the best chocolate chips at Trader Joe’s they are kosher and parve and about 55% cacao. Another great option is the Whole Foods 365 brand. To get up to the preferred 70% cacao Whole Foods sells parve chocolate chunks.  In addition to using them in cookies and cake etc.  where they retain their shape, they do also melt well, since they are all the same size there is less risk of burning when making chocolate dipped strawberries or pretzels for example.


 

National Fruit Cocktail Day

 

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May 13th is National fruit cocktail day.  When we think of fruit cocktail most of think of a canned mixture of pears, pineapple, grapes and peaches with something they call cherries, but don’t really resemble real cherries and drenched in a sugary syrup.  Often packed in kids lunches, thought of as healthy, but that was before people read food labels or understood how much added sugar was in there.

According to Wikipedia, fruit cocktail is often sold canned, but does not have to be.  The word cocktail refers to it being an appetizer made by combining pieces of food. It was often served as an appetizer for a luncheon or dinner to precede the soup course.


 

National Apple Pie Day

 

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It seems kind of odd timing to have National Apple Pie Day on May 13th.  Apples are so Fall and we are counting on Spring.   Oh, well, apples are available all year round and an apple a day keeps the doctor away.

Nothing seems more American than apple pie, but in fact it was invented in Europe sometime in the 14th century.  The first apple pie recipe recorded is from England and Dutch Apple Pie dates back to the late 15th century where they added a scoop of ice cream on top.


 

Eat What You Want Day

 

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Today’s food holiday is a little different.  Most of them are so specific, like Blueberry Pie Day and Cherry Cheesecake Day, but today it is all about you and what you want to eat.  Now, this doesn’t mean that you should eat as much as you want of lots of junky foods, but it is a day to reflect on what food you really want.

Most of the time we eat what is in front of us.  Food that are easy to make and readily available.  We follow diet regimens and budget restrictions and limit the foods we choose from.  Today, is the day to find something you have been missing and go ahead and enjoy it, even if it means changing your menu at the last minute.


 

National Butterscotch Brownie Day

 

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May 9th is national butterscotch brownie day, but what is a butterscotch brownie? It all starts with butterscotch a candy made from primarily brown sugar and butter and a few other things.  It is similar to toffee, but it only gets brought to a soft ball stage, meaning a lower temperature so that it doesn’t harden.  It is often turned into a syrup for ice cream.  The term butterscotch is used anytime brown sugar are mixed together, that is why Butterscotch Brownies are often called blondies, because theyare made similar to brownies, but are not brown.  Really they are more like a cookie bar often with added pecans and white chocoalte, but many people like to use milk or dark chocolate chips, really anything goes.  Most blondies we have don’t have that distinctive butterscoth taste, it might be that we use margarine.  To get the real deal we got to use butter today to make the Best Butterscoth Brownie otherwise known as Blondie.


 

Have a Coke and Empanada and Coconut Cream Pie Day

 

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Today’s food holiday is not clear.  Is it Have a Coke Day? Coconut Cream Pie Day? or National Empanda Day?  It seems like it might just be all three.  While we often just choose one on these occurrences, these foods actually go together quite well so it seemed a shame to leave any out. Now you know what to have for lunch today so get in the kitchen, we have some cooking to do.

Let’s start with Empanadas.  These are the Latin American Sandwich although they originate din Portugal.  Beginning with a delicate pastry outside and filled with your choice of fillings from meat, to cheese, to vegetable to even sweets like Dulce de Leche, they are the perfect on the go food.  They can be baked or fried and freeze well too.


 

National Crepe Suzette Day

 

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The French love to set things on fire and don’t we all love a spectacle.  It really feels worth going out when you get dinner and a show.  That is why people love these crepes.  Crêpe Suzette is a French dessert consisting of a crêpe with beurre Suzette, a sauce of caramelized sugar and butter, tangerine or orange juice, zest, and Grand Marnier or orange Curaçao liqueur on top, served flambé.  The most common way to make Crêpe Suzette is to pour the liquor on top of freshly cooked crepes with sugar and light it.  The alcohol burns off so this is safe for children (from a distance at least) and results in a thick caramelized sauce.

There is some controversy over the origins of this dish, but it does appear to be one of those times when an accident actually improves a dish.  Let’s face it, who would think to purposely set their dessert on fire?  Don’t be afraid to try this dish at home.  Just make sure to have a long match or lighter, you don’t want to get too close to the flame.


 

National Orange Juice Day

 

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Orange Juice is one of the most popular juices in the United States and it is also one of the healthiest.  It contains high amounts of Vitamin C, Folic Acid and Potassium.  Make sure to stick to 100% orange juice and not those fake orange drinks with added sugar. For taste, fresh squeezed is the way to go, but that is obviously a hard way to go unless you live in Florida and have your own orange tree.  For nutrition, not from concentrate, from concentrate etc.  is pretty much all the same, so get what you like.

Now they even have orange juices with other added nutrients, like calcium.  This is a great option for those looking to boost calcium and don’t like or can’t drink milk.  There are also Heart Health orange juice with added plant sterols that should help lower cholesterol.  But beware of our portion size.  1 cup of OJ has about 110 calories and will leave a nice coating of sugar on your teeth.  Stick to no more than 1 cup and drink it before you brush your teeth, we all know it doesn’t taste good after you brush.


 

National Raspberry Tart Day

 

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A tart is usually made up of flaky, crispy crust, a creamy filling and topped with fresh fruit.  Raspberries are the perfectly baaanced sweet and tart fruit that will be in full bloom in July (available in your freezer all year).  Today, May 3rd, we celebrate the Raspberry Tart. While tarts can be made savory with things like mushrooms and Gruyere or a multitude of fruits from other berries to apples and pear, today we celebrate them covered in raspberries.

Here is an easy to make Raspberry Almond Crumb Tart, a slight variation on the original with it’s crumb topping and lack of creamy center, but works extremely well with frozen raspberries.


 

National Truffle Day

 

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Today, May 2nd, we celebrate Truffles.  We are talking chocolates not fungus, we can save that for another time.  Chocolate truffles are traditionally made with a chocolate ganache center and coated in either a hard tempered chocolate shell or cocoa powder usually shaped into a round ball.  The ganache filling can be infused with an unlimited variation of flavors or replaced with cream, caramel, nuts, nougat, etc.  And according to wikipiedia chocolate truffles are actually named after the fungus truffle because they resemble them.

While most of you will probably just go out to your local Godiva to celebrate this day, there is nothing more satisfying or fun than making your own.  It is a really fun activity with your kids, just plan for a chocolate bath to end the night.  The most important thing to remember when making truffles is to use high quality chocolate.  If it doesn’t start out tasting good, it will not end up tasting good let alone great and if you choose properly you can even enjoy it in good health.


 

National Chocolate Parfait Day

 

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What does the word parfait conjure in your memory? Do you remember those Carvel parfaits, maybe they still have them, layers of ice cream with chocolate sauce in between and whipped cream and a cherry on top.  Oh, to be a kid again, enjoying one of those delicious treats without caring about how many calories was in it.  Today, May 1st is National Chocolate Parfait Day.

The word parfait originated in France and describes a frozen dessert made of sugar syrup, egg, and cream.  Basically it really just refers to layering and some people even make savory parfaits of mashed potatoes layered with gravy for example.  When it comes to ice cream it can be any combination of ice cream and syrups and fruits.  Parfaits are usually served in a tall narrow container with a long spoon to enjoy the lingering chocolate sauce that sits at the bottom. This is how it differs from a sundae in that the syrup topping can be enjoyed all the way though the ice cream and not just at the top, someone was wearing his thinking cap when he came up with this one.


 

National Raisin Day

 

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April 30th is National Raisin Day and we believe this undervalued fruit is due for a comeback.  Since the dawn of the Craisin in 1993, the raisin has been well, let’s just say swapped.  It seemed more exciting to make Oatmeal Craisin Cookies and Craisin Granola.  No doubt there is room in our world for both and recipe where the tartness from a craisin is needed, but juicy, plumped raisins deserve their day in the “sun” and here it is.

We all learned in Kindergarten that raisins are just dried grapes.  Sun or oven dried dark grapes get turned into our favorite dark raisins and small dark grapes get turned into the flavorful but miniature Currants.  To make the golden raisins, they add sulfur dioxide and flame dry the grapes, who knew? And there are even more varieties like green grapes in other parts of the world.


 

National Blueberry Pie Day

 

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Since today’s holiday does not work for us (shrimp scampi) and we missed yesterday’s much more enticing food holiday we figured we would feature Blueberry Pie, even if it is a day late.  National Bluebery Pie Day is April 29th.  Maybe not quite as classically American as Apple pie, but a close second.  This sweet luscious pie can be filled with fresh or frozen blueberries or even canned blueberry pie filling, but nothing compares to the fresh especially during peak blueberry season usually around July, although the season starts sometime in May and ends late Summer.  Blueberry pie has also morphed into many other pie like creations from tarts, to cobblers to buns, check out our recipes.

Lemon Yogurt Pies with Blueberries


 

National Prime Rib Day

 

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Friday April 27th, today, is national Prime Rib Day.  It is so wonderful when it falls on a Friday, so we can really celebrate by enjoying a fancy steak often reserved for our Shabbat dinner.  Often served at Jewish weddings and other fancy celebrations Prime Rib is a celebratory meat also called a Standing Rib Roast.  It is called “standing” because to cook it, you roast it on its rib bones in a roasting pan, no need for a rack.

Sharon Lurie, The Kosher Butcher’s Wife, shares some valuable information about Prime Rib.


 

National Pretzel Day

 

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April 26th is a fun one, National Pretzel Day!!  If you are a salty snacks kind of person this is the day for you.  Pretzels come in so many shapes and sizes and today is the day to celebrate them all.

Thick or thin? Straight or twisted? Crisp and crunchy, or soft? Salted, unsalted? Covered in sesame seeds or caraway seeds? Plain or flavored? The choices can go on and on.