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Thursday, June 23, 2011

I’m tickled pink to announce that June 23rd is National Pink Day.

Who knew? How did I miss that memo? I did do a bit of research and

couldn’t find the origination of this fabulous day, but who cares?

I think we should all just celebrate this delightful day while basking in pink splendor! It’s easy to enjoy and celebrate this holiday. Think pink clothes, pink lipstick, pink toenails, pink lemonade, pink jello, Pink Floyd and of course, pink books!

Wednesday, June 22, 2011

Today the Doughnut was created!!!

The Story of the Doughnut
We all know what a doughtnut looks like, right? It's a baked item in the shape of a circle with a hole in the middle, right? Well, that's the picture of one that is made in America. But some doughnuts don't have holes, others aren't really circular, and still others look entirely different. A doughnut isn't the same everywhere. It is, however, a food that has a fascinating history.

Many historians credit the invention of the modern doughnut to a sailor, a Dutchman named Hanson Gregory. His mother, Elizabeth, was known to make a good olykoek, or "oily cake." She made some for him to take on one of his voyages, and she also sent along a recipe, so his cook could make some more. These cakes didn't have holes in them, however. One story says that the sea captain invented the donut by impaling one of the cakes on the ship's steering wheel, to keep his hands free in a sudden storm, on June 22, 1847. The spoke drove a hole through the wheel, naturally. Gregory discovered that he liked the cake better with a hole in the middle and ordered his cook to make them that way for the rest of the voyage.

This is only one story, of course. Others have been put forward. It's not always a given that one single incident signalled the beginning of something. The doughnut could have been "invented" by many people in many different ways in different lands. The Hanson Gregory one is mentioned more than any other, so many historians go with that one as the most likely.

Another version of the same story is that Elizabeth Gregory made those olykoeks originally of two things—dough and nuts. That's how it got the name, at least in English. The dough was circular, and a nut was in the middle. The dough cooked around the nut; it wasn't like the nut was just stuck in a hole in the middle. So, the story goes, that Hanson Gregory, Elizabeth's son, requested that the nuts be taken out of them.

Those who make doughnuts know, of course, that without anything in the middle, the doughnuts tend to cook faster and more evenly. So for the consumer, a doughnut with a hole is a good thing.

Doughnut is the English term. Similar creations in other countries include the following:

  • Aebelskiver, Danish doughnut look-alikes that have a slice of apple inside;
  • Beignet, a French version of the doughnut;
  • Berliners (or Bismarcks), German versions of doughnuts, usually filled with jelly;
  • Oliebollen, a Dutch treat that contains a slice of apple and usually raisins and is traditionally served to celebrate the New Year;
  • Zeppole, an Italian doughnut.

Doughnuts traditionally are circular and have a hole in the middle. However, other similar pastry items are called doughnuts as well. For instance, a doughnut that is thin and slender and has dough arranged in braids is called a cruller. Other kinds of pastries, like fritters, are also called doughnuts many times.

Doughnuts gained in popularity in the U.S. after World War I. A New York businessman named Adolph Levitt invented the doughnut machine, and the little circular pastry became an even bigger hit. Today, doughnuts can be purchased just about anywhere. Some brands, like Krispy Kreme and Winchell's, are more well-known. But just about every bakery and food store makes and sells its own doughnuts, as do many people at home.

Thursday, June 16, 2011

Today is National Hollerin' Contest Day

The National Hollerin’ Contest (1969-present)

Every year, on the third Saturday of June, in an otherwise sleepy borough of southeastern North Carolina known as Spivey’s Corner (population 49), some 5,000-10,000 folks gather from far and wide to take part in the festivities and entertainment in the day-long extravaganza known as the National Hollerin’ Contest.

You may have heard of the contest -- since its inception in 1969, the contest has garnered attention and fame throughout both the country and the world. The contest and its winners have been featured on television shows such as The Tonight Show and Late Night with David Letterman, in magazines with worldwide circulations such as Stars and Stripes and Sports Illustrated, and have even been the subject of documentary films, featured on The Voice of America, and mentioned in television sports commentaries.

Responsible for the publicity surrounding the unique event is one of the contest’s founders and self- described “master promoter,” Ermon H. Godwin. The contest began almost 30 years ago in 1969, when on a weekly radio broadcast with fellow contest founder and area resident John Thomas, Godwin jokingly suggested reviving the “lost art” of hollerin’ by holding a contest, the proceeds from which would benefit the Spivey’s Corner Volunteer Fire Department. The first contest flooded the town (then population 48) with participants and observers, including the mainstream press. The day’s events featured not only the promised hollerin’ contest, but other contests, pageants and games as well, such as a biggest bell pepper contest, a watermelon roll and a square-dancing jamboree. Over the years the publicity efforts surrounding the contest have been unusual, if not down-right wacky: past invitees to the contest include former US president Ronald Reagan, the Shah of Iran, the 1984 Olympic Festival, the 1985 Super Bowl, and the USS Midway Aircraft Carrier. (Godwin, Ermon and Oscar Bizzell, Hollerin’ Revived at Spivey’s Corner, 1993, p.68).

Since the first contest, the annual event has become a summer ritual for many. Contestants convene in Spivey’s Corner on the Midway High School football field from around the world, although only one hollerin’ champion has hailed from outside Sampson County (H.H. Oliver, ‘70 champion, who hails from neighboring Wayne County). Currently, the day’s events feature five contests: the Whistlin’ Contest, the Conch Shell and Fox Horn Blowin’ Contest, the Junior Hollerin’ Contest, the Ladies Callin’ Contest and, of course, the National Hollerin’ Contest. (A separate “calling contest” [wives called their husbands in from the fields] was created for women hollerers in 1976 so the main contest is a men-only event.)

Tuesday, June 7, 2011

National Chocolate Ice Cream Day

Chocolate Ice Cream Recipe:

2 cups (480 ml) half-and-half

1/3 cup plus 2 tablespoons (50 grams) unsweetened cocoa powder

1/2 vanilla bean or 1 1/2 teaspoons pure vanilla extract

2 ounces (55 grams) semisweet chocolate, chopped

4 large (80 grams) egg yolks

1/2 cup (100 grams) granulated white sugar

Note: Half and Half cream is a mixture of cream and whole milk and contains 10 - 12% butterfat.

In a small saucepan gradually whisk together the half and half and the cocoa powder until it is a smooth paste. Place over medium-high heat and bring the half-and-half cocoa mixture and the vanilla bean (if using) to the scalding point (the milk begins to foam up). Remove from heat, take out the vanilla bean and scrape the seeds from the bean with the back of a knife, and mix the seeds back into the half-and-half. Add the chopped chocolate and stir until the chocolate has completely melted and is smooth.

Meanwhile in a stainless steel bowl beat the egg yolks and sugar until light and fluffy (about two minutes). You can do this with a wire whisk or I like to use a hand mixer. Gradually pour the scalding half-and-half mixture into the whipped egg yolk mixture, making sure you keep whisking constantly so the eggs don't curdle. If any lumps do form, strain the mixture first before heating.

Place the bowl over a saucepan of simmering water and, stirring constantly with a wooden spoon, cook until the custard thickens enough that it coats the back of a spoon (170 degrees F) (77 degrees C). (The term 'coat a spoon' is a technique used mainly as a way to test when an egg-based custard or sauce is done. A spoon, usually wooden, is placed in the custard and, when the spoon is raised, the film of custard on the back of the spoon will stay in place even when you draw a line with your finger through the middle of the custard.)

Immediately remove the custard from the heat and continue to stir the custard for a few minutes so it does not overcook. At this point stir in the vanilla extract, if using. Cover and let cool to room temperature and then refrigerate the custard until it is completely cold (several hours but preferably overnight).

Transfer the cold custard to the container of your ice cream machine and process according to the manufacturer's instructions. Once made, transfer the ice cream to a chilled container and store in the freezer. If the ice cream becomes too hard place in the refrigerator to soften for about 30 minutes.

Preparation time 1 hour.

Friday, June 3, 2011

Friday Firday Friday

Hope you all have a GREAT weekend!

Get out and enjoy the weather with an ICE Cold Stinky Gringo Margarita!!!