Monday, December 21, 2009

Welcome Back me. Well hopefully. It has been a long time since I did any blogging. After the store closed and several other unexpected battles, I just didn't have it in me. I know it has been over a year since I made a post in here, but I have been tossing around some topics to cover over the last couple of weeks and that, coupled with my dad starting to blog again has gotten my juices flowing again.

If anyone sees this, I will try to get something up before or on Christmas.

Stay tuned!

Tuesday, June 17, 2008

Fun Food Facts

OK, been very busy as of late and haven't had a chance to do much here even though I really enjoy doing this.

So, let's get on to some fun food facts again.

An ear of corn always has an even number of rows because of the genetic formula which divides the cells. I think I have noticed this before. I always thought the corn just had OCD.

Although explorers brought potatoes back from the New World in the early 1500s, Europeans were afraid to eat them for fear that the spuds would give them leprosy. It wasn't until Louis XVI, who was looking for a cheap food source for his starving subjects, served them at the royal table that people were convinced potatoes were safe to eat. I don't find anything to support this, but the potato did have it's bad rep for a bit as it is a member of the nightshade family, so there is surely some thruth to this.

In the Middle Ages, chicken soup was believed to be an aphrodisiac. I see no mention of this, but chicken soup was used as a cure for the common cold as far back as ancient egypt.

Whole wheat bread has more iron, vitamins and dietary fiber than white bread. This one was easy. I just went out in the store and looked at some labels. True enough, but I didn't doubt it to begin with.

The average person ingests about a ton of food and drink each year. Well, let's evaluate this. Doing the math that equates to around 5 1/2 pounds a day of food and drink. Assuming you have 8 - 8oz glasses of water a day that is 4 pounds right there leaving you 1 1/2 pounds of food to consume. 3 half pound meals doesn't sound like much to me, but what do I know? I'm overweight. Most Americans do not drink just water or enough fluids according to studies so this is probably where the difference comes in and I'll bet that number is not too far off for the average young adult or middle aged American. I'll bet a new born doesn't come close to this number, nor do the elderly or all of those people living in third world countries. Just some thoughts on this stat, not really trying to go anywhere with it.

The strawberry is the only agricultural product that bears its seeds on the outside. Sounds good to me.

The above information comes from and the red remarks are my comments.

Monday, June 2, 2008

A Couple Apple Recipes

I haven't tried these but they sure do sound good. They both come from and have their original origin as well.

Title: Apple Cider Biscuits
2 c Flour
4 ts Baking powder
2 ts Sugar
1/2 ts Salt
1/3 c Butter; cut into chunks
3/4 c Apple cider
1/8 ts Cinnamon
Recipe by: Inn recipes Heat oven to 450 degrees Combine flour, baking powder, sugar and salt; cut in butter to make coarse crumbs. Sir in cider mix until soft dough forms. Turn dough onto lightly floured surface. Knead into small ball. Pat out to 1/2″ thick with floured cutter - cut biscuits. Place 1″ apart on ungreased sheet. Sprinkle with cinnamon. Bake 12-15 minutes. Cool on rack. Makes 8 2-1/2″ biscuits.JM. National Pike Inn New Market, Maryland

Title: Apple Johnnycakes -DOTTIE CROSS, TMPJ72B
6 tb Maple syrup
4 ts Unsalted butter; melted
2 lg Apples; peeled, cored and cut into 1/4″ slices
3/4 c Yellow or white cormeal preferably stone ground
3/4 c -All-purpose flour
1 ts Baking powder
1/2 ts -Salt
1/4 ts Baking soda
1 c Buttermilk
1 lg Egg; lightly beaten
1 tb Vegetable oil

Preheat oven to 375 degrees F. Heat 2 T. maple syrup and 1 tsp. butter in a heavy 10-inch ovenproof skillet over medium-high heat. Add apples and saute for about 5 minutes, or until slightly softened. Remove from heat. Using two spoons, arrange the slices, fanning them out from the center of the skillet. In a medium-sized mixing bowl, stir together cornmeal, flour, baking powder, salt and baking soda. In a small mixing bowl, beat together buttermilk, egg, remaining 1//4 cup maple syrup, remaining 1 T. melted butter and oil. Make a well in the center of the dry ingredients and pour in the buttermilk mixture. Stir with a wooden spoon until just combined. Spread the batter evenly over the apples and bake for 30 to 35 minutes, or until a toothpick inserted into the center comes out clean. Invert onto a platter, cut into wedges and serve immediately, topped with more syrup. Nutrition information: 197 calories per serving: 5 grams fat, 33 mg cholesterol, 263 mg sodium. 23% of calories are from fat. Source: Eating Well Magazine, February, 1992

Saturday, May 31, 2008

A Little Something About Apples

Who doesn't love an apple? Or a fresh baked apple pie? OK, I assume there are a few people that do not like apples, but since I like them I pretty much assume that most people do as well.
Growing up on a small farm, it wasn't uncommon to just grab one off of the tree while going by on the lawn mower, and eating it as we made the rounds in the unending battle to keep the lawn in check. We had a few types if I remember right as well as a pear tree. The mixture of types as well as throwing in some pears made some of the best cider I have ever had. (Mom, chime in if you know what we had for apples in the comments section please).
OK, so I mentioned apple pie, cider and just eating them by themselves. There are many, many other things that can be done with those apples. Apple crisp, apple sauce, apple cake, apple turnovers, carmel covered apples and apple jack just to name a few.
Apples hold a prominant place in history whether it be Greek, Roman, or Christianity. The only problem with this is, the word apple was used as a generic term covering most fruits as well as some nuts as late as the 17th century. This means that Adam and Eve's apple may well have been a fig or some other fruit and possibly even a nut. This however has no bearing in the story so there is really no need to examine that further.
God: Adam, don't eat that apple.
Adam: But it is a fig.
God: I don't care what it's called for crying out loud, just don't eat it!
See my point? The story is pretty much the same. One last thing about that, is that the Adam's apple is believed to be a term derived from a piece of the forbidden fruit being stuck in Adam's throat.
Data from 2005 puts China at the top of world apple production with 25,000,000 metric tons. The United States, while being the second in production falls far short of that lofty number with less than 5,000,000 metric tons. Third is Turkey with about 2,500,000 metric tons produced for that year. That is a lot of apples no matter where they come from.
If you would like to read more on the history, use and science of apples, here is the link to the Wikipedia apple page.
I was going to give some information on Johnny (Appleseed) Chapman, but found this information such a good read I will just link to it. He was a very interesting character to say the least. There is only one thing that I have a hard time believing about him. That tin pot on his head. I mean, come on. How uncomfortable would that be?
Adios! And remember, an apple a day keeps the doctor away.
EDIT: I can't believe that I forgot to mention dried apples. My mom made lots of these growing up and they were SOOOOOO good.

Tuesday, May 20, 2008

Gravys, Sauces, and Rouxs. Oh my!

Mmmmmm, gravy! Who doesn't love gravy? Well there is one person in town here that doesn't apparently, and even claims that we here at the store, we are addicted to gravy. How about that? Addicted to gravy. We offer out a home cooked reheat and eat meal to customers and there will be some gravy on the mashed potatoes. Occasionally, the main dish will be an open faced sandwich which is of course served with gravy. If we are offering a pasta as the dish that night, it could be argued by our Italian friends, that we are indeed serving gravy whether it be spaghetti or alfredo.

OK! Maybe we are addicted to gravy. What's wrong with that? Gravy gives a good down-home, meal made with love, mother's touch, make you feel warm all over finish to a home cooked meal. Thin, thick, lumpy, creamy, it is just good stuff.

What is gravy? Well the most basic form, also known as "God's gravy", is just the juices from whatever you cooked poured over your main dish or side. Or maybe you prefer to just sop it up with some bread off of the plate that the steaks were on.

Second would be a pan reduction gravy. This you make in the pan from cooking by deglazing the pan with a little wine or broth and reduce until it is the thickness that you are looking for.

Then we have your traditional gravy. It is thickened a bit with corn starch, flour or arrowroot. I say traditional because, it is the version that most people know and recognise. So much so that you can find bottled versions of it on the shelf at the grocery store. These will do in a pinch and I usually keep a couple jars on the shelf in case I end up with too little drippings to make gravy from.

Last, but certainly not least would be the roux. Which is more like a reverse process gravy. You start this in a pan with equal parts fat (butter, oil or renderings) and flour. Typically 2 tblspoons of each and one cup of liquid to equal one cup of finished product. Start with just the fat and flour and cook through and mix well for about 5 minutes to help cook off the flour flavor. Now you slowly add in your broth, cream or what have you until the desired consistancy is obtained. This is the best process to avoid a lumpy gravy unless of course you like a lumpy gravy. I don't mind a lump or two here and there with mine.

Alternate thickeners:

Wondra flour as seen here, makes a wonderful thickener regardless of the temperature. This is my preferred thickener.

Instant potato flakes will do in a pinch to thicken gravy, but go very slow with this. Both potato flakes and wondra flour are good "no lump" thickeners.

That is it for now, but I may have to bring this gravy topic up again. After all, I am addicted to it.

Fun Food Facts,

Just a couple. Very busy around here lately and I need to get down to some real blogging.

An apple tree is at its prime when its about 50 years old. The United States produces about 100 million barrels of apples a year. That's a lot of old trees. We are second in production to China

The first cookbook published in the United States was Compleat Housewife, or Accomplished Gentlewoman's Companion, printed in Williamsburg, VA in 1742. This seems to be true, however the first cookbook actually written BY an American for the american market wasn't published until 1796. The previous mentionged one was just a british cookbook reprinted in the U.S.

When potatoes were first introduced to Europe, people were skeptical and only ate the leaves, which made them sick. They would then throw away the rest, including the actual spud. I could not find anything to support this, and am thinking that it may be false.

The cashew nut in its natural state contains a poisonous oil. Roasting removes the oil and makes the nuts safe to eat. Apparently it has a skin irritant toxin that is the same as poison ivy.

The above comes from and the red comments are mine. Go spend some time there if you have some to kill.

Monday, May 12, 2008

Fun Food Facts

Apple pie was brought to England from France sometime around 1066 by William the Conqueror. It made it to America when the Pilgrims arrived. I was able to find a recipe dating back as far as 1381.

On average, every American consumes 109 pounds of beef a year. It takes eight pounds of grain to produce one pound of beef. Looks like beef consumption hit an all time high of 94.3 pounds in 76 and has declined ever since.

Dolley Madison is credited with inventing ice cream. Nancy Johnson, the wife of a naval officer, is credited for inventing the ice cream freezer. I see nothing to support this at all. Here is a good history in wiki that mentions nothing of Dolly Madison.

Before Columbus, Europe had never tasted cord, potatoes, tomatoes, red peppers, sweet potatoes, tapioca, chocolate, pumpkins, squash, coconuts, pineapples, strawberries, and much more. Why? All these food items are native to America. Sounds logical to me.

The citrus industry started in the United States in 1873 when two Riverside, CA ranchers obtained some orange saplings from the U.S. Department of Agriculture. Two years earlier, the government had secured a dozen saplings from Brazil. It appears that fFlorida had them beat by a few decades if you read the history section here.

The above comes from, my comments follow in red. Check out the sight if you have some time to kill. There is always some interesting stuff there.