December 31, 2016
National Champagne Day is observed annually on December 31st. While genuine champagne only comes from France’s Champagne region, there is plenty of bubbly available from Italy, California and even the South of France. Ringing in the New Year is the perfect opportunity each year to celebrate National Champagne Day.
Pop open a bottle of your favorite champagne. (Remember to always drink responsibly and never drink and drive.)
Today, of course, is also New Year’s Eve! Send your best wishes to loved ones near and far!
This special occasion is celebrated across the globe. Many cultures have fireworks displays and other festivities to celebrate the start of the New Year. In Mexico, people make a wish and eat a grape with each of the twelve chimes of the bell during the countdown to the New Year. In Brazil, they typically dress in white to bring good luck and peace for the year to come.
In the United States, New Year’s Eve is a major social holiday. Huge crowds gather in New York City to watch the ball drop in Times Square, a tradition that began in 1907 after firecrackers were outlawed. At midnight, it is customary to kiss a loved one, toast with champagne, and sing “Auld Lang Syne.”
Celebrate New Year’s Eve at home with your family or out on the town with your friends, and enjoy the countdown to midnight! And of course uncork (safely) your favorite Champagne.
Happy New Year from all of us at FoodiesUSA… Cheers!
December 30, 2016
There’s nothing in this world that doesn’t taste better with Bacon. Whether it’s chocolate covered bacon from the confectioners shop, bacon cheeseburgers, bacon wrapped tater tots, or even bacon covered chapstick, you can’t deny that it’s a delicious tasty treat that’s truly gotten it’s fingers in everywhere. Today is National Bacon Day!
The origins of Bacon stretches back into the middle ages, with the name originating in Middle English from the word “Bacoun”. Following it back you find it in France as Bako, Germany as Bakko, and old Teutonic as Backe. All of these words mean “back”, and what’s that tell us about Bacon? Piggy got back. But that’s not even the earliest example of bacon, the first bacon was known to come from the Romans, and was known as ‘Petaso’.
Bacon has been a popular method of preserving meat and adding a delicious flavor to it by soaking it in a specialized brine. There were even certain breeds that were specially bred for their copious back meat, and those were the Yorkshire and Tamworth. But it wasn’t always just the back meat that was referred to as Bacon, at one time it referenced any kind of preserved pork, but that usage fell out of practice in the 17th Century.
This is easily one of the tastiest holidays you can celebrate! The best way of celebrating this dedication to swine delicacies is by indulging in the delicious treats that come from our four hooved friends. You can start by going to an all you can eat breakfast place that has bacon on the menu, trust us, they exist! Then you can head on out to your favorite lunch stop and get your favorite bacony treat, we personally prefer cheeseburgers with extra bacon!
But there’s more to bacon than just meat on meat, bacon is an open-minded kind of food, and has already been known for being part of any of the three major meals of the day. But in recent days it has expanded even more! There’s bacon chocolate milkshakes, and bacon flavored lubes, bacon flavored chewing gum, and a million other variations!
To really get into the spirit of the holiday, you can get one of the hundreds of themed pieces of clothing there are. There’s bacon underwear and bras, pants and pajamas, hats and sunglasses, if you can wear it, it’s been made with bacon patterns applied to it! So get out there and celebrate Bacon Day, and have a delicious new year!
December 29, 2016
Today is National Pepper Pot Day! Pepper pot is a thick spicy soup first created on December 29, 1777. During the Revolutionary War, the Continental Army experienced an exceptionally harsh winter in Valley Forge. The soldiers were low on food because the farmers in the area sold all their supplies to the British Army for cash rather than the weak currency that the Continental soldiers could offer.
Christopher Ludwick, the baker general of the Continental Army, gathered whatever food he could find to feed the frail soldiers. The chef was able to find scraps of tripe, meat, and some peppercorn. He mixed the ingredients together with some other seasonings and created the hot spicy soup we now know as pepper pot. It became known as “the soup that won the war.”
To celebrate this historic dish, try making your own pepper pot soup today! It’s the perfect way to warm up on a chilly December day.
1 pound honeycomb tripe
5 slices bacon, diced
1/2 cup chopped onion
1/2 cup chopped celery
3 leeks, chopped
1 bunch fresh parsley, chopped
2 green bell peppers, diced
2 quarts beef stock
1/4 teaspoon dried thyme
1/2 teaspoon dried marjoram
1/2 teaspoon ground cloves (optional)
1/4 teaspoon crushed red pepper flakes
1 bay leaf
1 teaspoon ground black pepper
1 large potato, peeled and diced
2 large carrots, diced
4 tablespoons margarine
4 tablespoons all-purpose flour
Place the tripe or other meat that you have selected to use in a saucepan, and cover with water. Bring to a boil, and turn off the heat. Allow the meat to cool a bit in the water, and then drain and rinse. Cut into 1/4 inch pieces.
In a large heavy kettle, saute the bacon until clear. Add the onion, celery, leeks, parsley, and green peppers; saute until tender. Stir in beef stock, thyme, marjoram, cloves, red pepper flakes, bay leaf, and black pepper. Bring the kettle to a boil, and turn down to a simmer. Cook, covered, until meat is very tender, about 2 hours. Add the diced potato and carrots, and cook for an additional 20 minutes.
Prepare the roux by stirring the flour into the melted butter or margarine, and cooking for a moment on the stove. When the soup is done to your liking, stir in the roux. Simmer, stirring all the while, until the soup thickens a bit. Season to taste.
For more great recipes visit www.FoodiesUSA.com today.
December 28, 2016
It’s National Chocolate Candy Day! Chocolate candy is one of the most popular sweets in the world. It can be combined with everything from nuts and caramel to raisins and pretzels to make some of our favorite chocolate treats!
Did you know that during the Second World War, the U.S. Government commissioned Milton Hershey to create a candy bar to include in the soldiers’ rations? The recipe his company created is now the famous Hershey Milk Chocolate Bar.
Today, chocolate is still clearly an American favorite treat. Over 2.8 billion pounds are consumed annually. On average that means each person consumes over eleven pounds per year! To celebrate National Chocolate Candy Day, enjoy some of your favorite types of chocolate candy.
Or try making your own chocolate fudge to celebrate National Chocolate Candy Day!
1 (12 fluid ounce) can evaporated milk
5 cups white granulated sugar
1 cup (2 sticks) margarine (I like Blue Bonnet)
1 pound marshmallows
12 ounces semisweet chocolate chips
1 (4 ounce) unsweetened chocolate bar
1/4 cup classic white chips (optional)
2 tablespoons heavy cream (optional)
Pecan halves and/or candy coated candies (optional)
In a large, heavy bottom saucepan, mix milk, sugar, and margarine. Over medium-high heat, bring to a boil. Boil for exactly 6 minutes. Time this from the first sign of boiling. Stir constantly, but gently, to prevent scorching.
Remove from heat and add marshmallows, chips, and chocolate. Beat rapidly for 1 to 2 minutes. Pour into a greased pan and bring to room temperature. Refrigerate and cut when cold. Makes 5 pounds.
Decorating option: melt white chips in a microwave for 1 minute. Stir in heavy cream until well blended. Arrange pecans or candies on top of fudge and spoon chip/cream mixture over. Chill before serving. Makes about 5 pounds. For the complete recipe, visit www.FoodiesUSA.com today.
December 27, 2016
Today is National Fruitcake Day! Although fruit cakes are certainly a delicious treat to enjoy around the holidays, they are quite possibly the most popular item for re-gifting. A whopping 38% of people say they give fruitcakes away when they receive them!
Nevertheless, fruitcakes have remained popular for thousands of years. The Ancient Egyptians buried their loved ones with fruitcakes because they believed this particular food was essential for the journey to the afterlife. The Crusaders were known for eating fruitcakes during their campaigns. The small cakes could withstand long journeys without spoiling and were full of nutritious items like dried fruits and nuts.
To celebrate National Fruitcake Day, buy one of these holiday treats at your local grocery store to share with friends!
1/8 cup chopped dried cherries
1/8 cup chopped dried mango
1/4 cup dried cranberries
1/4 cup dried currants
2 tablespoons chopped candied citron
1/4 cup dark rum
1/2 cup butter
1/4 cup packed brown sugar
1/2 cup all-purpose flour
1/8 teaspoon baking soda
1/4 teaspoon salt
1/4 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1/4 cup unsulfured molasses
2 tablespoons milk
1/4 cup chopped pecans
1/4 cup dark rum, divided
Soak cherries, mango, cranberries, currants, and citron in 1/4 cup rum for at least 24 hours. Cover tightly, and store at room temperature.
Preheat oven to 325 degrees F (165 degrees C). Butter a 6×3-inch round pan or loaf pan and line it with parchment paper.
In a large bowl, cream together butter and brown sugar until fluffy. Beat in egg. Whisk together flour, baking soda, salt, and cinnamon; mix into butter and sugar in three batches, alternating with molasses and milk. Stir in soaked fruit and chopped nuts. Scrape batter into prepared pan. Bake in preheated oven for 40 to 45 minutes. Cool in the pan for 10 minutes, then sprinkle with 2 tablespoons rum.
Cut out one piece parchment paper and one piece cheesecloth, each large enough to wrap around the cake. Moisten cheesecloth with 1 tablespoon rum. Arrange cheesecloth on top of parchment paper, and unmold cake onto it. Sprinkle top and sides of cake with remaining rum. Wrap the cheesecloth closely to the surface of the cake, then wrap with paper. Place in an airtight tin, and age for at least 10 weeks. If storing longer, douse with additional rum for every 10 weeks of storage.
For more great recipes, visit www.FoodiesUSA.com today.
December 26, 2016
National Candy Cane Day is observed across the United States each year on December 26.
In 1844, a recipe for a straight peppermint candy stick, which was white with colored stripes, was published. However, some stories tell of all white candy sticks in much earlier times. There are folklore tales of the origin of the candy cane, yet there is no documented proof of its real beginning. It has been mentioned in literature since 1866 and was first known to be mentioned in association with Christmas in 1874. As early as 1882, candy canes have been hung on Christmas trees.
Continue celebrating the holidays and feature the candy cane in this terrific recipe!
8 ounces high-quality semisweet chocolate, broken into pieces
2 teaspoons canola oil, divided
1/2 teaspoon peppermint extract, divided
8 ounces high-quality white chocolate, broken into pieces
25 peppermint candies, crushed
Lightly grease a 9×9 inch pan and line with waxed paper, smoothing out wrinkles; set aside.
Place the semisweet chocolate and 1 teaspoon of the canola oil in the top of a double boiler over just barely simmering water, stirring frequently and scraping down the sides with a rubber spatula to avoid scorching. When the chocolate is melted, stir in 1/4 teaspoon of the peppermint extract. Pour the melted chocolate into the prepared pan, and spread evenly over the bottom of the pan. Sprinkle half of the crushed peppermints over the chocolate layer. Refrigerate until completely hardened, about 1 hour.
Place the white chocolate and the remaining 1 teaspoon canola oil in the top of a double boiler over just barely simmering water, stirring frequently and scraping down the sides with a rubber spatula to avoid scorching. When the chocolate is melted, stir in the remaining 1/4 teaspoon peppermint extract. Pour the white chocolate directly over the semisweet chocolate layer; spread evenly. Sprinkle the remaining crushed candy over the top and gently press in. Refrigerate until completely hardened. Remove from pan; break into small pieces to serve. For more great recipes, visit www.FoodiesUSA.com today.
December 25, 2016
National Pumpkin Pie Day celebrates the humble pumpkin pie, a national favourite in the USA. Pumpkin pie is a traditional North American sweet dessert, eaten during the fall and early winter, especially for Thanksgiving and Christmas. The pumpkin is a symbol of harvest time and featured also at Halloween.
The pie consists of a pumpkin-based custard, ranging in color from orange to brown, baked in a single pie shell, rarely with a top crust. The pie is generally flavored with nutmeg, cinnamon, cloves and ginger. This pie is often made from canned pumpkin or packaged pumpkin pie filling (spices included); this is a seasonal product available in bakeries and grocery stores, although it is possible to find year-round. Why not try your hand at making one for yourself?
2 cups all-purpose flour, plus more for flouring
1/4 teaspoon salt
2/3 cup (11 tablespoons) cold unsalted butter, cut into 1/2-inch pieces
One 14-ounce can sweetened condensed milk
1/2 cup whipping cream
2 tablespoons cornstarch
2 tablespoons molasses
2 tablespoons canola oil
1 tablespoon ground cinnamon
1 teaspoon ground ginger
1/4 teaspoon salt
3 large eggs
Preheat the oven to 375 degrees F. Remove the stem from the pumpkin and scrape out the insides, discarding the seeds. Cut the pumpkin in half and lay the pieces cut-side down on a rimmed baking sheet lined with aluminum foil. Rub canola oil all over the skin and bake until fork-tender, about 1 hour. Let cool.
While the pumpkin is cooking, make the crust. In a large bowl, combine the flour and salt. Add in the butter and work into the dough with a fork until the mixture is crumbly. Stir in just enough cold water (4 to 5 tablespoons) with a fork just until the flour is moistened. Divide the dough in half, shape each half into a ball and flatten slightly. Wrap one ball in plastic wrap and refrigerate for another use.
Roll out the remaining dough ball on a lightly floured surface to a 12-inch round. Transfer to a 9-inch-diameter glass pie dish. Fold the overhangs under and crimp decoratively. Pierce the dough all over with a fork. Chill in the refrigerator for 15 minutes.
Line the crust with foil, fill with dried beans or pie weights and bake until the sides are set, about 12 minutes. Remove the foil and beans. Reduce the oven temperature to 350 degrees F.
For the filling, scoop out the pulp from the roasted pumpkin and puree in a food processor until smooth (you should have about 4 cups). Add the condensed milk, cream, cornstarch, molasses, canola oil, cinnamon, ginger, salt and eggs and combine thoroughly. Pour the filling into the crust and bake until the filling is set in the center, about 1 hour. Transfer the pie to a rack and cool for 30 minutes. Serve at room temperature or chilled.
For more recipes, visit www.FoodiesUSA.com today.
December 24, 2016
Today is National Eggnog Day! Eggnog is one of the most popular beverages served during the holidays, so it is very appropriate that this occasion is celebrated on Christmas Eve!
The traditional recipe for eggnog is milk, cream, sugar, beaten eggs, spices, and sometimes alcohol. The type of alcohol depends on the country where it is made. In Europe, eggnog is traditionally made with white wine. Americans drink it with bourbon or rum while Peruvians use pomace brandy and Germans use beer.
There are a few theories about how eggnog actually got its name. One story claims that eggnog was first called “egg n’ grog,” which was eventually shortened to “eggnog.” According to other sources, the name comes from the Old English word for strong ale, “nog.” This theory suggests that the combination of the words “egg” and “nog” refers to any drink that contains both eggs and strong alcohol. Regardless of how eggnog got its name, it has been a favorite holiday beverage for centuries! Make some today to toast the holidays and celebrate National Eggnog Day!
Egg Nog Recipe:
5 whole cloves
1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract
1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
12 egg yolks
1 1/2 cups sugar
2 1/2 cups light rum
4 cups light cream
2 teaspoons vanilla extract
1/2 teaspoon ground nutmeg
Combine milk, cloves, 1/2 teaspoon vanilla, and cinnamon in a saucepan, and heat over lowest setting for 5 minutes. Slowly bring milk mixture to a boil.
In a large bowl, combine egg yolks and sugar. Whisk together until fluffy. Whisk hot milk mixture slowly into the eggs. Pour mixture into saucepan. Cook over medium heat, stirring constantly for 3 minutes, or until thick. Do not allow mixture to boil. Strain to remove cloves, and let cool for about an hour.
Stir in rum, cream, 2 teaspoon vanilla, and nutmeg. Refrigerate overnight before serving.
For more recipes, visit www.FoodiesUSA.com today.
December 23, 2016
December 23rd is reserved for this German spice cookie. It is National Pfeffernusse Day.
Very popular around the holidays, pfeffernusse are fluffy cookies made with ground nuts and spices and covered in powdered sugar.
Over time, many bakers have created their own pfeffernusse recipes. Traditional methods included various nuts such as almonds and walnuts. Some modern recipes exclude nuts altogether along with the black pepper, retaining only cinnamon, cloves, nutmeg, allspice and cardamom as flavoring. Molasses and honey are often used to sweeten the cookie.
Celebrate National Pfeffernusse Day by making a batch to share with those close to you this holiday season!
1/2 cup molasses
1/4 cup honey
1/2 cup unsalted butter
4 cups all-purpose flour
3/4 cup white sugar
1/2 cup brown sugar
2 teaspoons ground cinnamon
1 1/2 teaspoons baking soda
1 1/2 teaspoons ground cardamom
1 teaspoon ground allspice
1 teaspoon ground nutmeg
1 teaspoon ground cloves
1 teaspoon ground ginger
1 teaspoon ground black pepper (freshly ground is best)
1/2 teaspoon table salt
2 eggs, lightly beaten
2 teaspoons anise extract
1 cup confectioners’ sugar for dusting
In a heavy bottomed, nonreactive, 1 to 1-1/2 quart pot, combine the molasses, honey, and butter. Place the pot over low heat, stirring often until the butter has melted, all the ingredients are completely combined, and the mixture is creamy. Do not boil. Remove the pot from the heat, pour the mixture into a large bowl, and set aside and allow the mixture to cool to room temperature. Stir in the beaten eggs and the anise extract.
While the mixture is cooling, sift together the flour, white sugar, brown sugar, cinnamon, baking soda, cardamom, allspice, nutmeg, cloves, ginger, black pepper, and salt in a separate bowl. When the molasses mixture has reached room temperature, stir in the beaten eggs and the anise extract. With a large wooden spoon, gradually stir in the sifted dry ingredients until everything is thoroughly combined (the dough will be a stiff dough by this point). Chill the dough in the refrigerator for a minimum of 2 hours.
After the dough has chilled, preheat the oven to 325 degrees Fahrenheit. Grease several baking sheets. Roll the dough into small balls (about 1/2-inch in diameter). Place the balls on the greased baking sheets, spacing them at least 1 inch apart, as they will spread slightly.
Bake the cookies in the preheated oven for 12 to 15 minutes, until the cookies have lost their shiny look and are slightly firm to the touch (but still soft). The cookies may have some small cracks as well. Using a thin spatula to remove the cookies from the baking sheet, move them to a rack to cool. Once the cookies have cooled completely, roll each cookie in sifted confectioners’ sugar to coat thoroughly. Store in an airtight container with wax paper between the layers at room temperature. Allow the cookies to “age” at least 24 hours before serving (a few days to a week is even better). If desired, roll cookies in confectioners’ sugar to coat them once more before serving. For more recipes, visit www.FoodiesUSA.com today.
December 22, 2016
It’s National Date Nut Bread Day! Date nut bread is the perfect dish for the holiday season. It is delicious, healthy, and easy to make!
The first date nut bread recipe appeared in print in 1939, but dates are one of the world’s oldest fruits. Date seeds have been found in archaeology excavations of sub-tropical areas around the world. Historians believe that the ancient Moors brought the date to Spain and later introduced it to America.
Dates are notorious for their high sugar content, so it is no surprise that most date nut bread recipes do not call for any additional sweeteners. To celebrate National Date Nut Bread Day, try your hand at baking a homemade loaf of this festive treat! Don’t forget to top it off with a little cream cheese frosting!
1 cup pitted chopped dates
1 cup coarsely chopped walnuts
1 1/2 teaspoons baking soda
1/2 teaspoon salt
3 tablespoons vegetable shortening
3/4 cup boiling water
3/4 cup sugar
1/2 cup whole wheat flour
1 cup all-purpose flour
Preheat the oven to 350. Grease an 8 1/2 x 4 1/2 x 3 inch loaf pan.
Put the dates, walnuts, baking soda, salt and shortening in a bowl. Pour the boiling water over and stir. Let the mixture stand for 15 minutes.
Using a fork, beat the eggs and sugar together in a bowl. Add the flours and stir; the batter will be too stiff to mix well. Add the date mixture and mix briskly until the batter is well blended. Spoon into the loaf pan and bake 40 to 50 minutes. Check the loaf often; it is done when a few moist crumbs cling to a straw inserted in the middle of the loaf. The bread will continue to bake after it is removed from the oven. Do not overbake, or the loaf will be dry.
When the loaf is done, slide a knife around the edges of the pan and turn the loaf onto a rack to cool completely. For more recipes, visit www.FoodiesUSA.com today.