November 3rd is ‘National Sandwich Day’. The Sandwich is a very popular and almost necessary food here in the United States. Its creation is usually credited to the ‘Earl of Sandwich’, John Montague. It is said that the Earl loved gambling so much so that he did not want to stop playing and that he requested the servers to bring him slices of meat between two slices of bread. Thus, the ‘Sandwich’ was born. Whether or not this is true, the legend lives on and the Sandwich itself has grown to mamoth proportions. Not necessarily in size, but certainly in variety.
Undoubtedly, the most popular sandwich in America today is the Hamburger. The history of the Hamburger is in itself another story. Our sandwiches can range from the humble Peanut Butter and Jelly Sandwich to the lately popular Panini which needs a special iron to be made. There are Breakfast Sandwiches consisting of Eggs and Bacon or Eggs, Sausage and Cheese. There are Cheese Sandwiches, Roast Beef Sandwiches, etc., etc.
The all popular deli sandwich from New York which has made its way completely across the country and then some would be a Hot Corned Beef or Pastrami Sandwich, consisting of so much meet on two slices of rye or inside a roll that it would actually feed two or more people. One could go on and on about sandwiches; the list is never-ending. Listed below are some popular sandwich fillings, their spreads and toppings.
FILLING: SPREAD: TOPPINGS:
Roast Beef Mayo & Mustard Lettuce & Tomatoes, Pickles
Ham Mayo & Mustard Cheese
Peanut Butter & Jelly
Cream Cheese & Lox
Egg & Bacon Mayo Tomato
Corned Beef Mustard Cole Slaw
Pastrami Mustard Swiss Cheese
Liverwurst Mayo Sliced Onion
Burgers Thousand Island Tomato & Lettuce
Cheeseburger Thousand Island Lettuce & Tomato, Onion
Grilled Cheese Butter (Jelly in some parts)
Tuna Salad Mayo Pickels & Lettuce
On and On we can go with no stopping in sight. What is your favorite sandwich? Or does it vary with the time of day and year? My all-Time favorite Sandwich is Lox and Cream Cheese on a Water Bagel. (From Western Bagel -no New York Bagels for me)
My next favorite sandwich would beRARE Roast Beefwith Mayo & Mustard and Lettuce, Tomato and Pickles. I also love good Cole Slaw with my sandwiches and Potato Chips with some.
Sandwiches can be made big or small, dainty or hearty. The dainty variety are usually Finger Sandwiches which are sometimes served for ‘Tea’ or for Bridal or Baby Showers.
Whichever way they are made or whichever is your favorite, the Sandwich is certainly here to stay as it affords a convenient and tasty way to eat. They are especially good in lunch boxes and on picnics.
So enjoy a Sandwich today on ‘National Sandwich Day’.
NATIONAL SHRIMP DAY
May 10th, 2012
May 10th is National Shrimp Day – yeah! Shrimp are one of my favorite foods. I love them almost any way they are cooked. What is a shrimp? Shrimp are shellfish that live in salt and fresh water and range in size from that of an insect to about 12 inches long. The larger shrimp mostly come from warmer waters and the smaller variety from colder waters.
Shrimp are also referred to as Prawns – usually in the larger size. The name will vary from country to country. In Britain, shrimp is usually used to refer to the smaller size and prawns to the larger size. In the US, shrimp is the term most frequently used. In France, Crevette is the name frequently given to shrimp.
Shrimp can be prepared in any number of given ways. They may be boiled or broiled, grilled or steamed, curried or fried. Shrimp are used in salads, cocktails, sandwiches, tacos, sauces and chowders. No matter which way they are cooked, they are usually good.
Since Shrimp cook up very quickly, one has to be careful not to overcook them as they will become tough. The rule of thumb is usually about 3 minutes or in the case of boiling, when they turn pink. Of course, size has a lot to do with it, with the smaller shrimp cooking up more quickly than the larger ones.
As a general rule, the larger the shrimp, the better they taste. The very small shrimp, often referred to as Bay Shrimp are good in salads or tacos. The medium to large shrimp are great for cocktails. For frying or grilling the larger shrimp are best. The really large shrimp or prawns are good for grilling and or in sauces. For a quick and easy Grilled Shrimp Recipe see: recipes/dinner/grilled-shrimp/
Shrimp can be purchased green (raw) or cooked and shelled. Shrimp contain a vein that runs down their backs which should be removed before being consumed. The cooked variety almost always has had the vein removed. Some of the green ones will also have had the vein removed, but you need to check them to be sure.
Listed below are some of the ways in which you can use Shrimp for your meals:
Shrimp Cocktails – Place in a pot large enough to hold the shrimp plus water to cover – add a bay leaf and half a lemon. Cover (the lid should be offset to avoid boiling over) and place over high heat. As soon as the water comes to a boil, shut off the heat – once the Shrimp turn pink immediately pour into a colander to drain and cover with ice to stop the cooking process. Blot dry with paper towels and serve with your favorite cocktail sauce or seafood-cocktail-sauce/
Salads – cook in the same way as for cocktails – use in your favorite salad or with other shellfish.
Grilled – devein the Shrimp but leave the shells on – to do this, slit the back of the shrimp with a small pair of kitchen shears or a paring knife. When you slit them, cut them about ¾ of the way through or Butterfly them. Wash out the vein under cold running water. Pat the shrimp dry and place in a large shallow dish such as a pie plate. (Either glass or ceramic – not metal as it will react with the marinade) Blend together crushed garlic, lemon juice or white wine, minced basil, a pinch of saffron or paprika and some olive oil. Pour over the shrimp and allow to marinate for 20 minutes but no longer than 30! Too long a marinating time will make the shrimp become mealy. Good tasting shrimp should have a firm texture but not mealy or tough. Heat a stove top grill over high heat (or use your BBQ). Cook the shrimp, turning frequently for 3-5 minutes or until the meat is no longer translucent. I usually cook them on each side for about a minute or until the shrimp turns pink then turn them cut side down to cook the inside for another minute. Serve immediately with Cocktail Sauce or Rémoulade or BBQ Sauce.
Fried – Shell and devein the shrimp; pat dry and then coat with a light tempura batter – fry in hot oil (350 – 360 degrees) until golden brown. Drain on a wire rack set over a cookie sheet. Serve with Cocktail Sauce or Wasabi Mayonnaise.
Curries – the type of Curry depends on the country it is from. Numerous recipes can be found in cookbooks or on the internet. Two of the countries that use curries are India and Thailand. The ingredients and flavors of the curries will vary from country to country and even fro household to household.
You really don’t need an excuse to eat Shrimp, but National Shrimp Day is certainly a good reason to.
Be careful when you purchase your shrimp. If you want wild caught, but sure that the package label says so, or if you purchase them loose at your market’s seafood counter, read the tag first to be sure where you shrimp are coming from. Most all shrimp are sold in the frozen state. If the shrimp in your market look thawed, be sure to ask how long they have been thawed for. It is better to purchase frozen ones and just thaw them out yourself under cold running water. This can usually be done in minutes.
Whichever way you prepare or eat your shrimp enjoy!
Even though meatloaf has long been a mainstay in the American diet, it has its origins in Europe. The Romans as early as the 5th Century had a version of meatloaf. Every European country as well as the Philippines seems to have its own version. Meatloaf is versatile, filling, nourishing and makes great sandwiches.
Meatloaf can be made from a variety of meats and can include a large number of other ingredients as well. The basic ingredients would be chopped or ground meat and depending on the origin this could include beef, pork, veal, lamb or venison. Today it is common to use ground turkey or chicken as well. A binder such as eggs is used to hold the meat together and usually a filler such as bread crumbs, matzoh meal or oatmeal is used. Salt, pepper, mustard and/or A-1 Sauce, tomato sauce, barbecue sauce or horseradish can also be used.
In addition to the meat, binder and filler, a variety of vegetables can also be used to give the meatloaf more interest and nutrition. For my meatloaf I use chopped onion, shredded carrot, diced celery, minced red & yellow bell peppers as well as parsley and garlic and sometimes basil. For the seasoning, I use salt, pepper and mustard. Some people like to use hard-cooked eggs baked into the loaf and this does allow for more interest, but the loaf is much easier to slice without the addition of th eggs. When I make meatloaf, I always make twice as much as we are going to need. One loaf is baked for dinner with enough left over for sandwiches and the other loaf is frozen for a later date. I always freeze it unbaked so that we have a freshly baked loaf when we get around to using the second one. Another thing you can do with the half batch to freeze is to shape the mixture into meatballs and use it for an entirely different different such as Spaghetti and Meatballs or Meatball Stroganoff.
Meatloaf can be baked in a loaf pan, but better results are obtained if the loaf is free formed and then put in a baking pan. This allows the juices and fat to be released without collecting on the sides of the loaf. If desired, when the meatloaf is finished baking, it can be transferred to a serving dish and then gravy can be made from the drippings. The meatloaf gravy can be used for another dinner for hot meatloaf sandwiches.
Our menu tonight included meatloaf, mashed potatoes and a green salad with a lemon/vinaigrette. The leftover meatloaf will be made into cold sandwiches with pickles, mustard, mayonnaise, lettuce, tomatoes, cucumbers and sprouts.
The next time you make meatloaf try using your imagination and pleasing your tastebuds. You can do just about anything you want. One variation is baking the meatloaf with strips of bacon on top. This will give an additional flavor boost if you like the taste of bacon. Youo can also try using soy sauce, cilantro and ginger for an Asian flavor. Cooked or minute rice can be used instead of the oatmeal or bread crumbs. Whichever way you do it, enjoy!