GETTING THE MOST OUT OF YOUR PRESSURE COOKER

Cooking under pressure requires much less liquid than conventional cooking methods since there is less evaporation. You can always use more liquid than recommended in a pressure cooker recipe, but never use less. The whole concept of pressure cookers is simple. Water or any cooking liquid comes to a boil at 212° at which point it produces steam. Steam is hotter than boiling water and can reach approximately 250°. Trapped steam builds up putting approximately 10 to 13 PSI (pounds per square inch) on food, making it cook by at least 25% faster. For this reason there are a few VERY important things to remember.

  • Begin cooking under pressure over a high heat.
  • Once the pressure cooker comes up to pressure, lower the heat to a low heat setting so that it maintains the pressure without exceeding it. If pressure appears to be dropping, raise the burner up slightly. This is easy when using a gas range, but if you are cooking with an electric range you will need to use two burners; one on high heat to get things going; the other on low to maintain the pressure.

Pressure cookers cook quickly since they use the pressure created from the built-up of the hot trapped steam in the pot. Because of this there are a few important things to remember.

  • Always use at least 1 cup of cooking liquid.
  • Never fill the pressure cooker more than half way full with liquid. You can always reduce liquid by boiling off excesses later until you reach your desired consistency.

Even though steam doesn’t weigh anything, it needs space in the pressure cooker to build up. For this reason always remember:

  • Never fill it more than two-thirds full with food.
  • Never fill it more than half full with liquid.

The key to cooking with a pressure cooker is timing.  Timing is as important as developing pressure. Once you have reduced pressure according to the recipe directions, be sure to set a digital kitchen timer for the recommended cooking time. Remember:

  • All cooking times are approximate and might be understated, but it’s always better to under cook something than overcook it.
  • If food needs to be cooked longer, do so in 1-5 minute intervals under pressure.
  • The harder (tougher) the food, the longer the additional time!

Size really does matter when it comes to recipe preparation. A few important things to remember are:

  • For consistent results, cut foods into pieces of uniform size to promote even cooking. Large pieces of meat take considerably longer to cook than say smaller cubed pieces as do pieces with bones.
  • When mixing foods, such as meat, potatoes, and vegetables, begin by cooking the meat, say halfway, release pressure then add the potatoes; cook then for 2/3 their recommended cooking time, and at last add the quicker cooking vegetables. You may need to follow this “stop and go” routine several times, but it’s important so that the food retains its texture as well as flavor.
  • For extra flavor, brown or sauté foods first just like you would when cooking with conventional cookware. For instance, brown the meat and vegetables for a stew, before adding other liquids and cooking under pressure. Be sure to deglaze the pot, scraping up any browned bits clinging to the bottom with a small amount of wine, broth or even water, so they are loosen, adding flavor to your food, as well as discouraging scorching.

Rapid or Natural Release? Unlike your great-grandmother’s pressure cooker, an important safety feature of today’s pressure cookers is that they can’t be opened until you completely release the pressure from the pot. 
Depending on what you’re making, you will release steam, and therefore pressure, from your pressure cooker by either using one of the two following methods:

The Natural Release Method: when cooking tough or large cuts of meat, remove the pressure cooker from the heat source and let the pressure dissipate on its own as the pressure cooker cools down. This can take up to 30 minutes.

Quick Release Method: when cooking most recipes that contain foods that are softer, read the owner’s manual and follow the manufacturer’s instructions on how to release pressure as soon as the food is done cooking. The easiest way to do so, is to move the pressure cooker from the stove to the sink and run cold water over the top side of the lid and pot until the all the pressure is released, taking less than a minute.

You can adapt your favorite recipes for the pressure cooker pretty simply. Even though the pressure cooker is best suited for cooking foods that require long cooking times such as soups, stews, and beans, you can cook almost anything in it. The following are a few hints for adapting conventional recipes to the pressure cooker:

  • Prep ingredients as called for in the conventional recipe.
  • Make sure you are using enough liquid to create steam (usually a minimum of 1 to 2 cups).
  • Try and match the conventional recipe to a similar pressure cooker version and adjust the ingredients and cooking time accordingly.
  • Cut back on the cooking time at least 25%, up to 50%. Remember, you can always go back and cook the food longer if need be, while overcooked mushy food cannot be saved!

Make sure you store your pressure cooker correctly. The most convenient and best way to store your pressure cooker after using it is to place the lid upside down, on top of the pot. Always wash the pot, lid and rubber gasket by hand with soapy, warm water; dry well before putting away. Make sure to check that the safety valves are clean and unobstructed and that the rubber gasket is always pliable and flexible before inserting it under the lid. DO NOT STORE IN A CLOSED SEALED POSITION.

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AMERICAN INDEPENDENCE – HAPPY 4TH OF JULY

Independence Day or 4th of July as we call it has only been a federal holiday since 1941, but of course the tradition dates back to 1776 when the Continental Congress voted on July 2nd in favor of Independence. Two days later delegates from all thirteen colonies adopted the Declaration of Independence, drafted by Thomas Jefferson, and celebrated their independence and the birth of a nation on July 4th.

Since July 4th falls in mid summer, the celebrations major focus usually includes leisure activities, parades, concerts, backyard barbecues, games, bonfires and family gatherings culminating in fireworks later at night.

When the Revolutionary War broke out back in 1775, a few colonists wanted complete independence from Great Britain. These colonists were considered to be the radicals of their time.

However, more and more colonists came to believe in favor of independence. Many because of Thomas Paine’s famous writing “Common Sense” which he published in early 1776.

In June 1776, Virginia delegate Richard Henry Lee introduced a motion that called for the colonies’ independence. A heated debate followed and Congress postponed the vote to his resolution. At that time they appointed a committee of five men, Thomas Jefferson (Virginia), John Adams (Massachusetts), Benjamin Franklin (Pennsylvania), Roger Sherman Connecticut) and Robert R, Livingston (New York) to draft a formal statement justifying the break from Great Britain.

On July 2nd, the Continental Congress voted in favor of Independence in a near unanimous vote. New York abstained, but later voted yes.

John Adams wrote to his wife that July 2 “will be celebrated, by succeeding Generations, as the great anniversary Festival” and that the celebration should include “Pomp and Parade…Games, Sports, Guns, Bells, Bonfires and Illuminations from one End of this Continent to the other.” He believed that the American Independence celebration should occur on July 2nd since that was the day of the vote to secure it and would reportedly turn down invitations to appear at July 4th events in protest.

Both John Adams and Thomas Jefferson dies on the 4th of July, 1826, the 50th anniversary of the Declaration of Independence.

Before the Revolutionary war, colonists would hold celebrations in honor of the king’s birthday. These celebrations included the ringing of bells, bonfires, parades and speeches. After the adoption of the Declaration of Independence these same colonists celebrated the birth of their independence by holding mock funerals for King George III as a symbol of the end of the British hold on America and a triumph to their new found liberty.
Philadelphia held the first annual commemoration of independence on July 4, 1777. Festivities including concerts, bonfires, parades and the firing of cannons and muskets usually accompanied the first public readings of the Declaration of Independence.

The war was still going on and George Washington issued double rations of rum to all his soldiers to mark the anniversary of independence in 1778, and in 1781, several months before the key American victory at Yorktown, Massachusetts became the first state to make July 4th an official state holiday.

After the Revolutionary War and to this day, Americans continue to commemorate Independence Day every year, in celebrations that allow the new nation’s emerging political leaders to address citizens and create a feeling of unity. The tradition of patriotic celebration became even more widespread after the War of 1812. In 1870, the U.S. Congress made July 4th a federal holiday. Over the years, the political importance of the holiday has declined somewhat, but IndepThe most common symbol of the holiday is the American flag, and a common musical accompaniment is “The Star-Spangled Banner,” the national anthem of the United States.

And did you know New York City has the biggest fireworks display in the United States and that three U.S. presidents died on July 4?

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CREAM SOUP SUBSTITUTES

Casseroles tend to call for a can of some form of “cream of” soup.  Since those soup tend to be full additives and preservatives I came up with some quick and easy substitutes that are homemade as you needed.

CREAM SOUP SUBSTITUTES

Do you hate buying canned soups for use in recipes? Do you want something healthier and less costly?  These recipes make perfect substitutes for 1 can of soup.

3 tablespoons butter
3 tablespoons flour
1/4 teaspoon salt
1 cup milk or other liquid (as specified in variations)

  • Melt the butter in heavy saucepan. 
  • Blend in flour and salt. Cook until bubbly. 
  • Remove from heat and gradually stir or whisk in liquid. 
  • Return to heat and cook, constantly stirring until smooth and thickened.

VARIATIONS

  • Cream of chicken: Use 1/2 c. milk and 1/2 c. chicken broth as the liquid. Add 1/4 tsp. poultry seasoning or sage.
  • Cream of celery: Saute´ 1/2 c. chopped celery and 1 T. finely chopped onion in the margarine before adding flour. Use milk for liquid.
  • Cream of mushroom: Saute´1/4 c. finely chopped mushrooms and 1 T. finely chopped onion in margarine before adding flour. Use milk for liquid.
  • Tomato: Use tomato juice as liquid. Add a dash each of garlic salt, onion salt, basil, and oregano.
  • Cheddar cheese: Use milk for liquid. Stir into the finished sauce 1/2 c. shredded sharp cheddar cheese and 1/4 tsp. dry mustard.
  • Cream of shrimp: Drain the liquid from a small can of tiny shrimp into a measuring cup. Fill cup with milk to measure 1 cup of liquid. Add a dash of pepper, onion salt, curry powder, and paprika to the finished sauce, and stir in the shrimp.

HAPPY HOMEMAKER & MENU PLAN MONDAY

I can’t believe it’s Monday again already! I had a cyber/virtual productive weekend cleaning up photo files and ridding my computer of unnecessary “space holders”.  But now it’s time to link up with Sandra over at Diary of a Stay at home mom and Laurie at I’m an Organizing Junkie for Happy Homemaker and Menu Plan Monday.

THE WEATHER OUTSIDE
THIS MORNING:
Just in time for spring, it’s cold and rainy here again.  I hate those false nice days that fool you into short sleeves and sunny days.

FOR THE WEEK:
Pretty much the same, but less and less promise of sun and more and more promise of dreary skies as the week progresses.

TO DO LIST
TODAY:

  • Dr. appt. and hospital prep for hubby’s upcoming surgery
  • errands
  • groceries

THIS WEEK:

  • Laundry
  • EBAY
  • Cleaning

CURRENTLY READING

TELEVISION & DVR

  • Perception
  • Vikings on the history channel (hubby has a thing for Norway)

but I’m still working off the DVR from last week.

  • Castle
  • Scandal
  • Justified

PLAY TIME (If I can find any)

LMBO at that possibility.

A few recipes from last week never got made so they are on this week’s menu again.
 Menu Plan Monday hosted by Laura at I’m an Organizing Junkie


BREAKFAST
DINNER
DESSERT
MONDAY
Oatmeal with Fruit
C.O.R.N. or Y.O.Y.O.
TUESDAY
Bagel & cream cheese
EXPERIMENT NIGHT
WEDNESDAY
Yogurt with Blueberries & Granola
Chicken Fricassee

THURSDAY
Scrambled Eggs with cheese & Toast
Moroccan Roast Chicken

FRIDAY
Yogurt with Blueberries & Granola
White Bean Gratin
Couch Potato Bars
SATURDAY
Bacon & Eggs
Coffee Meatballs & Noodles
SUNDAY
Pancakes French Quarter Pork & Beans


LAST WEEK’S RECIPE LINKS

NEW RECIPES I FOUND THIS WEEK TO TRY IN THE NEAR FUTURE

  • Pineapple Skirt Steak

MY FAVORITE PHOTO FROM LAST WEEK

Whiskey knows she’s not allowed in the kitchen while I’m cooking and tried to hide out under the table.

BLOGS TO CHECK OUT

I keep looking for new and inspiring blogs, but honestly so many have huge ad sections or pop ups nowadays that just annoy me!

HOMEMAKING TIP

A few hints for successful slow cooking in your crock pot:

  • Don’t stir unless a recipe specifically tells you to.  Removing the lid lets a significant amount of heat and moisture out which can change your cooking time.
  • Add dairy, seafood and fresh herbs at the end of your cooking time,  
  • Dairy products will break down and/or curdle if cooked too long.
  • Fresh herbs will turn black and lose their crispness if cooked too long.
  • Seafood is something you want to only cook until done or it will fall apart.
    • For best results browning beef before cooking in the crock pot makes for more even cooking.


    ON MY MIND LATELY

    WAY TOO MUCH!


    PRAYING FOR & INSPIRATION

    WAFFLED FRENCH TOAST

    How about a little Waffle history?

    Waffles have actually been around since the 9th century.  Waffle irons were first used to make communion wafers (waffle means wafer in Dutch).   Designs on waffles have been around since the 13th century, often using the family crest as the design.

    Thomas Jefferson spent time in France as the Ambassador and became enamored with waffles. He was said to have brought home a long handles waffle iron and held waffle parties in his home regulary.

    Belgiam waffles should actually be Brussels waffles, but the gentleman who first brought them to the New York World’s Fair in 1964 didn’t believe most people knew where Brussels was so he began calling the Belgium waffles.  Ironically what we know as Belgium waffles do not even resemble the yeast (we tend to use baking soda here in America) waffles made in Belgium.

    In another turn of irony, we owe the ice cream cone to a waffle maker at the 1904 St. Louis World’s Fair when he helped out the guy in the next booth selling ice cream who ran out of cups.  Hence the waffle cone was born.

    Here is a little bit of trivia about one of the most famous waffles, Froffles from 1953.  You may know them by their nickname, Eggos.  The nickname due to their eggy flavor stuck and they were re-branded in 1955 as EGGOS.

    WAFFLED FRENCH TOAST serves 8
    1 cup milk
    1 tablespoon sugar
    1 tablespoon butter, melted
    1 teaspoon PURE Vanilla
    1/2 teaspoon cinnamon
    2 large eggs
    16 half slices day old sourdough bread

    • Coat waffle iron with non-stick spray and pre-heat.
    • Whisk together the milk, sugar, butter, vanilla, cinnamon and eggs.
    •  Place bread pieces in a baking dish.
    • Pour egg mixture over top, turning pieces to coat. Let stand 5 minutes.
    • Places 4 pieces on hot waffle iron. Cook 3-5 minutes until golden.
    • Serve with Maple Syrup

    Making something out of nothing ~ A SOAP tutorial



    We’re all trying to cut a few corners these days and conserving all the scraps just makes sense.

    • Save up your old bars of soap, making sure they are dry slivers.
    • Use your grater or chopper to make small pieces. Or like me I eventually give up and use an old ziploc and a meat tenderizer.
    • Put them in a sauce pan with 8 ounces of water for every 1 1/2 cups grated slivers and bring to a boil, stirring constantly. They should blend together like a smooth pudding.
    • I added a hint of lemon extract and green food color also.
    • Pour into molds. I like to use an old ice cube tray for a smaller decorative soap for the guest bathroom or this should make about 3-4 medium-sized bars.
    • After they are set up, pop the bars out of the molds. If they don’t come out easily, stick them in the freezer for 4 hours or overnight, or until they feel dry when you touch them. Then they will pop out easily.
    • Air dry them without their touching each other for 2-3 days.

    SALT the finishing touch

    It’s not a question of whether to salt food, but when, how and what salt to use.  We are no longer forced into a plain iodized table salt world when we cook.  Keep in mind though that while these up and coming salts can add great flavor, they can also be quite expensive, but are great for those special dishes and needs to be used sparingly.

    Iodized salt (white table salt) that we were all raised on has its place, but is quite boring in today’s world.  Visit any spice shop and you will find at least a dozen other salt options.

    No matter the size and shape (fine crystals, coarse crystals or flakes) you use, the subtle differences are n the flavor and these differences depend on where the salt originated from and the minerals present  in the salt.

    Kosher salt is popular among chefs because it has no additives and dissolves very quickly despite its larger grain size. Kosher salt is very popular for rubs.

    Sea salt, made from evaporated seawater) is available in both grains and flakes and is quite often used as a finishing salt in the flake form.  Maldon flaked sea salt from the shores of Essex, England is quite popular and a great finishing salt for sea food.

    For me, salt “FLAVORS” are a personal thing.  I have my favorites like Hawaiian red and Black Sea Salts, Himalayan Pink, French Grey Sea saltShallot Salt or Makrut Lime Sea Salt, but am always looking for new infused flavors to try.

    SALT WORKS has a good guide to help you learn more about the individual salts and their uses.

    CHICKEN ala BAD DAY

    I was having one of those days with trying to get my aunt to a specific appointment at a specific time.  You know the type that she wasn’t (or wasn’t able to) cooperating, the weather was storming, it was hot and muggy and I was just plain getting worn out dealing with her.  We were supposed to have leftovers tonight, I had planned it that way knowing I would be gone dealing with her, but someone, who will remain nameless decided that it looked better for lunch.  So when I got home I rooted around the crisper and the pantry trying to throw together enough dinner for tonight and was pleasantly surprised at the outcome.  My uncle asked what I called this and I said Chicken ala Bad Day.  He asked if I would post it to my blog and I said yes, because guess what?  They want me to make it again and it turned out REALLY good.

    CHICKEN ala BAD DAY
    3 tablespoons butter
    2 pound boneless skinless chicken breasts
    1 large bunch green onions, sliced thin
    3 cloves garlic, minced
    1/4 cup champagne vinegar 
    1 tablespoon balsamic vinegar
    2 tablespoons molasses
    salt and pepper to taste 
    1/2 pound green beans, trimmed 
    1/4 pound mushrooms, sliced

    • Heat the butter in a large skillet over medium-high heat. 
    • Generously salt and pepper the chicken pieces.
    • Saute’ the onions and garlic until they soften and brown, about 5 minutes.
    • Add chicken pieces until golden brown on both sides. 
    • Pour in vinegars and molasses.
    • Reduce heat to medium-low, and simmer until chicken is well glazed.  I removed the chicken and then added mushrooms and green beans and sauteed them in the remaining sauce creating a great accompanying vegetable.
    I was going to use soy sauce when I discovered I was completely out and so I looked up substitutes.  I found this and it sounds like a great mix that I plan to try soon.
    Soy Sauce Alternatives
    If you are looking for a substitute for soy sauce which can be stored for sometime, here is a concoction which can be used for a month, if stored in the refrigerator.

    Prepare garlic vinegar
    5 garlic cloves
    ½ a quart of boiling white wine vinegar
    1½ tablespoons of peppercorns 

    1 tablespoon onion powder
    1/4 teaspoon ground ginger
    +/-5 tablespoons blackstrap molasses (a spiritous mixture of rum and molasses)

    • Add garlic and peppercorns to vinegar and  let it stand for 3 weeks.
    • After 3 weeks,  add onion powder and ground ginger to 1¾ cups of the strained garlic vinegar. 
    • Next add +/-5 tablespoons. Take care to add the blackstrap based on how sour or sweet you want it to be. 

    This soy sauce alternative is actually the best choice for those who are on a low sodium diet owing to blood pressure or cardiovascular issues and also makes way for the health benefits of blackstrap molasses which includes regularization of bowel movement, arthritic pain relief and restoration of color to graying hair.

    MUSHROOMS

    Mushrooms and Immunity
    In cold and flu season, it is important to eat a balanced diet, including foods that can naturally maintain the immune system. While the science on mushrooms and immunity continues to evolve, we already know mushrooms offer a variety of nutrients associated with immunity. Popular mushroom varieties are a rich source of selenium, a mineral that works as an antioxidant critical for the immune system; and also have ergothioneine, an antioxidant that may help protect the body’s cells.
    Mushrooms are low in calories, have no cholesterol and are virtually free of fat and sodium. Mushrooms also contain other essential minerals like Selenium, which works with Vitamin E to produce antioxidants that neutralize “free radicals” which can cause cell damage. Studies have suggested that selenium may reduce the risk of cancer, cardiovascular disease, may slow the progress of HIV disease and may aid in symptoms of rheumatoid arthritis, pancreatitis and asthma. Studies show men who eat selenium rich foods may lower their risk of prostate cancer. 

    Potassium (good for the heart) is also found in mushrooms. It has been suggested a diet with potassium may help to reduce the risk of high blood pressure and stroke. Copper is another essential mineral found in mushrooms. Copper aids iron (also found in mushrooms) in making red blood cells and delivers oxygen to the body. Mushrooms also contain three B-complex vitamins; riboflavin for healthy skin and vision, niacin aids the digestive and nervous systems, and pantothenic acid helps with the nervous system and hormone production. These vitamins are found in every cell and help to release energy from fat, protein and carbohydrates in food. Vegetarians should know that mushrooms are one of the best sources of niacin. The vitamin content of mushrooms is actually similar to the vitamin content found in meat.

    Early Greeks and Romans are thought to be among the first cultivators of mushrooms, using them in a wide array of dishes. Today there are literally thousands of varieties of this fleshy fungus. Sizes and shapes vary tremendously and colors can range from white to black with a full gamut of colors in between.

    The cap’s texture can be smooth, pitted, honeycombed or ruffled and flavors range from bland to rich, nutty and earthy. The cultivated mushroom is what’s commonly found in most U.S. Supermarkets today. However, those that more readily excite the palate are the more exotic wild mushrooms such as cepe, chanterelle, enoki, morel, puffball, shiitake and wood ear.
    Because so many wild mushrooms are poisonous, it’s vitally important to know which species are edible and which are not. Extreme caution should be taken when picking them yourself.
    Fresh mushrooms should be stored with cool air circulating around them. Therefore, they should be placed on a tray in a single layer, covered with a damp paper towel and refrigerated for up to 3 days. Before use, they should be wiped with a damp paper towel or, if necessary, rinsed with cold water and dried thoroughly.
    Alternatively, store mushrooms unwashed and covered with a damp paper towel, then place inside a brown paper bag.
    Mushrooms should never be soaked because they absorb water and will become mushy. Trim the stem ends and prepare according to directions.
    Canned mushrooms are available in several forms including whole, chopped, sliced and caps only. Frozen or freeze-dried mushrooms are also available. Dried mushrooms are available either whole or in slices, bits or pieces. They should be stored in a cool, dry place for up to 6 months. Mushrooms are one of nature’s most versatile foods and can be used in hundreds of ways and cooked in almost any way imaginable.
    Mushrooms are available all year round. They are best November through March. Caps should be closed around the stems. Avoid black or brown gills as this is a sign of old age. The tops are more tender than the stems. Refrigerate after purchase and use as soon as possible.
    Never immerse mushrooms in a pan of cold water when cleaning, since they will absorb too much water. This will also make it more difficult to cook them, without losing flavor.
    Mushrooms contain the same flavor enhancing substance found in MSG, glutamic acid.
    Mushrooms are 90 percent water and do contain some natural toxins. It is best not to eat too many raw ones; cooking tends to kill the toxins.
    There are 38,000 varieties of mushrooms, some edible, some very poisonous.
    Truffles grow underground, are an oak or hazel tree fungus and are found by pig or dog sniffing truffellors. There are two types, black and white. They have a distinctive taste and are prized by many chefs in France and Italy. They are very expensive.
    A chemical compound extracted from shiitake mushrooms has been approved as an anticancer drug in Japan after it was proven to repress cancer cells in laboratory studies.
    To keep mushrooms white and firm when sauteing them, add a teaspoon of lemon juice to each quarter pound of butter.
    If you are not sure of the safety of a mushroom, do not eat it regardless of the following test. However, the experts use the method of sprinkling salt on the spongy part, or the gills. If they turn yellow, they are poisonous, if they turn black they are safe.

    Fact: The first mushrooms were thought to be cultivated in Southeast Asia, but it is not known why for sure. It is possible that someone discovered that mushrooms grew by accident or perhaps there was a demand and someone sought out a growing method.*

    Fact: Whether mushrooms are wild or cultivated they continue to grow after they are picked. People sometimes mistake a thin white material called mycelium for mold, but rest assured it probably is the mycelium growing!

    Fact: French farmers grew garden beds in the 1700’s which ended up being too small and too expensive. They later moved their crops to caves created when the stone for building Paris was quarried – this is where the name champignon de Paris originated. American farmers followed the same method.*

    Fact: While mushrooms are canned, pickled and frozen, drying mushrooms is the oldest and most commonly used way to preserve mushrooms.

    Fact: Mushroom compost can range from being manure or wood based (sawdust, wood chips) to utilizing materials like cocoa bean or cotton seed hulls, brewers grains , even exotic items like banana leaves as substrate.

    Fact: One Portabella mushroom generally has more potassium than a banana.

    Fact: Mushrooms continue to gain popularity, especially the specialty mushrooms such as Portabella, wild Morels, Oysters and Shiitake. Mushrooms, particularly the Portbella are often used in place of meat in many dishes.

    Fact: Commercial mushroom farming began in the early 20th century. Pennsylvania and California are the largest mushroom producers.

    Fact: Mushroom “farms” are climate controlled buildings; airflow, temperature and light are all constantly monitored.

    Fact: Wild mushrooms can range in price for reasons such as taste, historical significance and availability. European truffles can sell for over $1,600 per pound!

    Fact: Wild mushrooms can be found in many wooded areas. If you do choose to harvest wild mushrooms, make certain you have a professional identify your pick. Many mushrooms may resemble safe mushrooms (they are called false mushrooms) and can be poisonous.

    *Facts from The Edible Mushroom A Gourmet Cook’s Guide by Margaret Leibenstein

    LEMONS

    The exact origin of the lemon has remained a mystery, though it is widely presumed that lemons first grew in India, northern Burma, and China. In South and South East Asia, lemons are known for its antiseptic properties and it was used as an antidote for various poisons.

    The lemon is a small evergreen tree (Citrus limon) originally native to Asia, and is also the name of the tree’s oval yellow fruit. The fruit is used for culinary and non-culinary purposes throughout the world – primarily for its juice, though the pulp and rind (zest) are also used, mainly in cooking and baking. Lemon juice is about 5% citric acid, which gives lemons a sour taste, and a low pH. This makes lemon juice an inexpensive, readily available acid for use in educational science experiments. Because of the sour flavor, many lemon-flavored drinks and candies are available, including lemonade.

    Culinary uses: Lemons are used to make lemonade and as a garnish for many drinks. Lemon zest has many uses. Many mixed drinks, soft drinks, iced tea, and water are often served with a wedge or slice of lemon in the glass or on the rim. The average lemon contains approximately 3 tablespoons of juice. Allowing lemons to come to room temperature before squeezing (or heating them briefly in a microwave) makes the juice easier to extract.

    Lemons left unrefrigerated for long periods of time are susceptible to mold.

    Fish are marinated in lemon juice to neutralize the odor.

    Lemon juice, alone or in combination with other ingredients, is used to marinate meat before cooking: the acid provided by the juice partially hydrolyzes the tough collagen fibers in the meat (tenderizing the meat), though the juice does not have any antibiotic effects.

    Lemons, alone or with oranges, are used to make marmalade. The grated rind of the lemon, called lemon zest, is used to add flavor to baked goods, puddings, rice and other dishes.

    Pickled lemons are a Moroccan delicacy. Numerous lemon liqueurs are made from lemon rind.

    When lemon juice is sprinkled on certain foods that tend to oxidize and turn brown after being sliced, such as apples, bananas and avocados, the acid acts as a short-term preservative by denaturing the enzymes that cause browning and degradation.

    VARIETIES

    ‘Armstrong’ (‘Armstrong Seedless’)–a sport discovered in a private grove at Riverside, California, about 1909. Patented in 1936 by Armstrong Nurseries. Resembles ‘Eureka’ except that it usually bears seedless or near-seedless fruits. If planted among other lemon trees will occasionally have a few seeds.
    ‘Avon’–first noticed as a budded tree in Arcadia, Florida. A budded tree propagated from the original specimen around 1934 was planted in the Alpine Grove in Avon Park; it produced heavy crops of fruits highly suitable for frozen concentrate. It, therefore, became the source of budwood for commercial propagation by Ward’s Nursery beginning in 1940.
    ‘Bearss’ (‘Sicily’, but not the original introduction by Gen. Sanford in 1875, which has disappeared)–a seedling believed to have been planted in 1892, discovered in the Bearss grove near Lutz, Florida, about 1952. Closely resembles ‘Lisbon’. It is highly susceptible to scab and greasy spot and oil spotting. The tree is vigorous and tends to produce too many water sprouts. Nevertheless, it has been propagated commercially by Libby, McNeill & Libby since 1953 because the peel is rich in oil. It constitutes 20% of Brazil’s lemon/lime crop. ,
    ‘Berna’ (‘Bernia’, ‘Vema’, ‘Vernia’)–oval to broad-elliptic, with pronounced nipple, short neck; peel somewhat rough, medium-thick, becoming thinner in summer, tightly clinging. Seeds generally few or absent. Ripens mostly in winter; fruits keep well on tree until summer but become too large. Tree is vigorous, large, prolific. This is the leading cultivar of Spain and important in Algeria and Morocco. It is too much like the ‘Lisbon’ to be of value in California. In Florida, it has been found deficient in acid, low in juice, and too subject to scab.
    ‘Eureka’–originated from seed taken from an Italian lemon (probably the ‘Lunario’) and planted in Los Angeles in 1858; selected in 1877 and budwood propagated by Thomas Garey who named it ‘Garey’s Eureka’. The fruit is elliptic to oblong or rarely obovate, with moderately protruding nipple at apex, a low collar at the base; peel yellow, longitudinally ridged, slightly rough because of sunken oil glands, medium-thick, tightly clinging; pulp greenish-yellow, in about 10 segments, fine-grained, tender, juicy, very acid. Fruits often borne in large terminal clusters unprotected by the foliage. Bears all year but mostly late winter, spring and early summer when the demand for lemons is high. Tree of medium size, almost thornless, early-bearing, prolific; not especially vigorous, cold-sensitive, not insect-resistant; relatively short-lived. Not suitable for Florida. Grown commercially in Israel. One of the 2 leading cultivars of California, though now being superseded by clonal selections with more vigor, e.g., ‘Allen’, ‘Cascade’, ‘Cook’, and ‘Ross’. ‘Lambert Eureka’ is a chance seedling found in 1940 on the property of Horace Lambert in New South Wales. It is vigorous and productive.
    ‘Femminello Ovale’–one of the oldest Italian varieties; short-elliptic with low, blunt nipple; slightly necked or rounded at base; of medium size; peel yellow, finely pitted, medium-smooth, medium-thick, tightly clinging; pulp in about 10 segments, tender, juicy, very acid, of excellent quality, with few, mostly undeveloped, seeds. Fruits all year but mainly in late winter and spring; ships and stores well. The tree is almost thornless, medium-to very-vigorous, but highly susceptible to mal secco disease. This is the leading cultivar in Italy, accounting for 3/4 of the total lemon production, and 1/5 of the crop is processed as single-strength juice.
    ‘Genoa’–introduced into California from Genoa, Italy, in 1875. Almost identical to ‘Eureka’; ovoid or ovate-oblong with blunt nipple at apex; base rounded or slightly narrowed; of medium size; peel yellow, medium-thick, tightly clinging; pulp in 10-12 segments, melting, medium-juicy, with 29 to 51 seeds which are light-brown within. Tree is shrubby, nearly trunk-less, spreading, very thorny, cold-hardy. Grown commercially in India, Chile and Argentina.
    ‘Harvey’–of unknown parentage; was found by Harvey Smith on the property of George James in Clearwater, Florida. Fruit much like ‘Eureka’. Tree highly cold-tolerant, compatible with several rootstocks. Commercially propagated by Glen St. Mary Nurseries Company, near Jacksonville, Florida, since 1943.
    ‘Interdonato’ (‘Special’)–a lemon X citron hybrid that originated on property of a Colonel Interdonato, Sicily, around 1875; oblong, cylindrical, with conical, pointed nipple at apex, short neck or collar at base; large; peel yellow, smooth, glossy, thin, tightly clinging; pulp greenish-yellow, in 8 or 9 segments, crisp, juicy, very acid, faintly bitter. Very few seeds. Earliest in season; mostly fall and early winter. Tree vigorous, usually thornless, medium-resistant to mal secco; of medium yield; accounts for 5% of Italy’s crop.
    ‘Lisbon’ (perhaps the same as ‘Portugal’ in Morocco and Algeria)–originated in Portugal, possibly as a selection of ‘Gallego’; reached Australia in 1824; first catalogued in Massachusetts in 1843; introduced into California about 1849 and catalogued there in 1853; introduced into California from Australia in 1874 and again in 1875. Fruit almost identical to ‘Eureka’; elliptical to oblong, prominently nippled at apex, base faintly necked; peel yellow, barely rough, faintly pitted, sometimes slightly ribbed, medium-thick, tightly clinging; pulp pale greenish-yellow, in about 10 segments, fine-grained, tender, juicy, very acid, with few or no seeds. Main crop in February, second crop in May. Fruit is borne inside the canopy, sheltered from extremes of heat and cold. Tree large, vigorous, thorny, prolific, resistant to cold, heat, wind. Not well adapted to Florida. It is low-yielding and short-lived in India. Surpasses ‘Eureka’ in California. Has given rise to a number of clonal selections, particularly ‘Frost’, originated by H. B. Frost at the Citrus Research Station, Riverside, California in .1917 and released about 1950; also ‘Prior Lisbon’ and the more vigorous ‘Monroe Lisbon’.
    ‘Meyer’–a hybrid, possibly lemon X mandarin orange; introduced into the United States as S.P.I. #23028, by the agricultural explorer, Frank N. Meyer, who found it growing as an ornamental pot-plant near Peking, China, in 1908; obovate, elliptical or oblong, round at the base, occasionally faintly necked and furrowed or lobed; apex rounded or with short nipple; of medium size, 2 1/4 to 3 in (5.7-7.5 cm) wide and 2 1/2 to 3 1/2 in (6.25-9 cm) high; peel light-orange with numerous small oil glands, 1/8 to 1/4 in (3-6 mm) thick; pulp pale orange-yellow, usually in 10 segments with tender walls, melting, juicy, moderately acid with medium lemon flavor; seeds small, 8 to 12. Tends to be everbearing but fruits mostly from December to April. Tree small, with few thorns, prolific, cold-resistant; produces few water sprouts, and is only moderately subject to greasy spot and oil spotting. It is easily and commonly grown from cuttings. Does well on sweet orange and rough lemon rootstocks; is not grafted onto sour orange because it is a carrier of a virulent strain of tristeza. Grown for home use in California; in Florida, both for home use and to some extent commercially for concentrate though the product must be enhanced by the addition of peel oil from true lemons, since that from ‘Meyer’ peel is deficient in flavoring properties. Has been fairly extensively planted in Texas and in Queensland, Australia, and New Zealand.
    ‘Monachello’ (Moscatello’)–suspected of being a lemon X citron hybrid; elliptical, with small nipple and no neck, merely tapered at apex and base; medium-small; peel yellow, smooth except for large, sunken oil glands, thin, clinging very tightly; pulp in 10 segments, tender, not very juicy, not sharply acid. Bears all year but mainly winter and spring. Tree not vigorous, slow-growing, almost thornless, with abundant, large leaves; bears medium-well, resistant to mal secco, and has been extensively planted in Italy in areas where the disease is common.
    ‘Nepali Oblong’ (Assam’, ‘Pat Nebu’)–originated in Assam; fruit resembles citron in some aspects; long-elliptic to oblong-obovate, with wide, short nipple; medium-large; peel greenish-yellow, smooth, glossy, medium-thick; pulp greenish-yellow in 11 segments, fine-grained, very juicy, of medium acidity, with few or no seeds. Everbearing. Tree large, vigorous, spreading, medium-thorny, prolific; foliage resembles that of the citron. Commercial in India.
    ‘Nepali Round’–of Indian origin; round, without distinct nipple; juicy; seedless. Tree large, vigorous, compact, nearly thornless, medium-prolific. Successfully cultivated in South India.
    ‘Perrine’–a Mexican lime X ‘Genoa’ lemon hybrid created by Dr. Walter Swingle and colleagues in 1909, but still a fairly typical lemon; it is lemon-shaped, with small nipple at apex, necked at base; of medium size; peel pale lemon-yellow, smooth, slightly ridged, thin, tough; pulp pale greenish-yellow, in 10 to 12 segments having thin walls; tender, very juicy, with slightly lime-like flavor but acidity more like lemon; seeds usually 4 to 6, occasionally as many as 12, long-pointed. Everbearing. Tree cold-sensitive but less so than the lime; resistant to wither tip and scab but prone to gummosis and other bark diseases. In the early 1930’s, was extensively planted in southern Florida on rough lemon rootstock, but no longer grown.
    ‘Ponderosa’ (‘Wonder’; ‘American Wonder’)–a chance seedling, possibly of lemon/citron parentage, grown by George Bowman, Hagerstown, Maryland around 1886 or 1887; appeared in nursery catalogs in 1900 and 1902; obovate, lumpy and faintly ribbed, slightly necked at base; large, 3 1/2 to 4 1/8 in (9-11 cm) wide, 3 1/2 to 4 3/4 in (9-12 cm) high; peel light orange-yellow, with medium-large oil glands, flush or slightly depressed; 3/8 to 1/2 in (1-1.25 cm) thick; pulp pale-green, in 10 to 13 segments with thick walls; juicy, acid; seeds of medium size, 30 to 40 or more, brown within. Everbearing. Tree small, moderately thorny; buds and flowers white or barely tinged with red-purple. More sensitive to cold than true lemons. Grown for home use and as a curiosity in California and Florida and in small-scale commercial plantings since 1948. Rather widely cultivated as an indoor potted plant in temperate regions.
    ‘Rosenberger’–a clone found in a grove of ‘Lisbon’ and ‘Villafranca’ trees at Upland, California; was planted in the Rosenberger orchard and gained recognition as a superior cultivar. Tree closely resembles that of ‘Villafranca’. Fruit is somewhat like ‘Lisbon’ but is shorter and broader and less tapered at base. Tree vigorous and prolific. Became popular in California in the 1960’s.
    ‘Rough Lemon’ (‘Florida Rough’; French’; ‘Mazoe’; Jamberi’)–perhaps a lemon X citron hybrid, but has been given the botanical name of C. jambhiri Lush. Believed to have originated in northern India, where it grows wild; carried in 1498 or later by Portuguese explorers to southeastern Africa where it became naturalized along the Mazoe River; soon taken to Europe, and brought by Spaniards to the New World; is naturalized in the West Indies and Florida; oblate, rounded or oval, base flat to distinctly necked, apex rounded with a more or less sunken nipple; of medium size, averaging 2 3/4 in,(7 cm) wide, 2 1/2 (6.25 cm) high; peel lemon-yellow to orange-yellow, rough and irregular, with large oil glands, often ribbed; 3/16 to 3/8 in (5-10 mm) thick; pulp lemon-yellow, usually in 10 segments, medium-juicy, medium-acid, with moderate lemon odor and flavor; seeds small, 10 to 15, brownish within. Reproduces true from seeds, which are 96% to 100% nucellar. Tree large, very thorny; new growth slightly tinged with red; buds and flowers with red-purple. The scant pulp and juice limit the rough lemon to home use. It is appreciated as a dooryard fruit tree in Hawaii and in other tropical and subtropical areas where better lemons are not available. The tree has been of great importance as a rootstock for the sweet orange, mandarin orange and grapefruit. It is not now used as a rootstock for lemon in Florida because of its susceptibility to “blight” (young tree decline). It is also prone to Alternaria leaf spot (A1ternaria citri) in the nursery, to foot rot (Phytophthora parasitica). Incidence varies with the clone and certain clones show significant resistance. In trials at Lake Alfred, 3 atypical clones showed immunity to leaf spot, while a typical rough lemon clone, ‘Nelspruit 15’, from South African seed, proved highly resistant to leaf spot and also extremely cold tolerant.
    ‘Santa Teresa’–an old tree discovered to be disease-free in a ‘Fermminello Ovale’ orchard in Italy that had been devastated by mal secco. Budded trees from the original specimen were being commonly planted in the 1960’s wherever the disease was prevalent in Italy.
    Sweet Lemon (C. limetta Risso)a general name for certain non-acid lemons or limettas, favored in the Mediterranean region, In India, they are grown in the Nilgiris, Malabar and other areas. The fruits are usually insipid, occasionally subacid or acid. The seeds are white within and the tree is large, resembling that of the orange. One cultivar, called ‘Dorshapo’ after the plant explorers, Dorsett, Shamel and Popenoe, who introduced it from Brazil in 1914, resembles the ‘Eureka’ in most respects except for the lack of acidity. Another, called ‘Millsweet’, apparently was introduced into California from Mexico and planted in a mission garden. It was reproduced at the old University of California Experiment Station at Pomona. Neither is of any commercial value.
    ‘Villafranca’–believed to have originated in Sicily; introduced into Sanford, Florida, from Europe around 1875 and later into California. Closely resembles ‘Eureka’; of medium size. Tree is more vigorous, larger, more densely foliaged, and more thorny than ‘Eureka’ but becomes thornless with age. One strain is everbearing; another fruits heavily in summer. This was the leading lemon cultivar in Florida for many years; is cultivated commercially in Israel; is low-yielding and short-lived in India. It is little grown in California but has given rise to certain selections that are of importance, particularly ‘Galligan Lisbon’ and ‘Corona Foothill Eureka’.

    ALL ABOUT CARIBBEAN FOOD

    Bahama Breeze has a great section, All about Caribbean Food that explains about the local cuisine and I have listed below for you as well as many wonderful menus. Go check out those menus for some new recipe ideas They’re awesome.

    WHAT IS CARIBBEAN FOOD?

    Caribbean food includes ALL of your favorites… seafood, chicken and steak… prepared with the flavorful and colorful ingredients of the islands. Some popular dishes are coconut shrimp, jerk chicken pasta, chicken kabobs, ribs with guava BBQ sauce and Key Lime Pie.

    ORIGINS OF CARIBBEAN FOOD
    Food plays a central role in family life and traditions in the islands. Cooks spend days preparing menu offerings for holidays, festivals, and special family gatherings. The cuisine of the Caribbean is like a cultural patchwork quilt. Each “patch” or dish represents the plentiful bounty of the islands’ lush tropical vegetation, combined with the one or more diverse groups of people that have lived there, including the original Carib and Arawak Indians, followed by the Spanish, British, French, and Dutch settlers, as well as Africans, who have had a profound influence on the food and cultural traditions of the islands. Later followed Indian and Chinese settlers, and travelers from the United States.
     
    CARIBBEAN FOOD GLOSSARY
    Here are some terms you might come across when perusing our menu. Each part makes up the whole of the delicious Caribbean culinary adventure:

    Ackee This reddish-yellow fruit of an evergreen tree was introduced into Jamaica from West Africa. Ackee, aptly named “vegetable brains”, lies inside the innermost chamber of the exotic red fruit. The yellow flesh tastes like scrambled eggs, and is popular served with saltfish, hot peppers and onions.
    Asopao Means “soupy” in Spanish. Very popular in Puerto Rico, asopao is a soupy stew which contains chicken, meat or seafood and rice, plus ingredients such as tomato, onion, bell pepper, ham, peas, olives, and capers.
    Boniato A white semi-sweet potato.
    Calabaza A sweet, pumpkin-like squash, somewhat like butternut squash. It is often used in the Caribbean as the base for pumpkin soups and in vegetable dishes.
    Carambola Known as the “star fruit” because of it’s shape when cut cross-ways. It is crisp, juicy and golden in color, and is used in desserts or salads.
    Ceviche Seafood “cooked” by the acids of citrus juices, seasoned with onions and fresh herbs.
    Chayote A member of the squash and melon families, it is also known as Cho-cho or Christophene. It is a green pear-shaped fruit used as a vegetable in salads or cooked in a variety of ways.
    Chutney A blend of cooked tropical fruits and vegetables flavored with peppers and spices. Mango chutney is a traditional accompaniment to curries.
    Coconut A fresh coconut has liquid inside, so shake it before you buy it! To open a coconut, puncture two of its “eyes” – the darker dots on one end – with a small sharp knife or an ice pick. Drain all the liquid from the coconut, then tap the whole surface of the shell lightly with a hammer. Now give the shell a sharp blow with the hammer. This will open the coconut, and the meat will now come away from the shell.
    Curry Curries are highly seasoned gravy-based dishes originating from India. They are prevalent on islands such as Jamaica, Trinidad, and Tobago, where indentured servants from India settled in the mid-19th century. Many Caribbean cooks use prepared spice mixtures that include coriander, cumin, turmeric, black and cayenne peppers, and fenugreek, among others. Caribbean cooks also commonly add allspice to their curries.
    Escabeche Also called Escovitch by the Jamaicans. Seafood that has been pan fried or poached, then marinated in citrus (or vinegar) and herbs.
    Guava A bright orange to red tropical fruit about the size of a small lemon. Used in compotes, pastes and jellies. Guava pastes from the Hispanic islands are intensely flavored and are delicious served with cream cheese and spread on cassava or other crisp breads or crackers.
    Jerk The words “Jerk” and “jerky” originally referred to the process of rubbing spices and acidic hot peppers onto strips of meat in order to tenderize and preserve them. In Jamaica, Trindidad, Barbados and Tobago, an entire culinary art grew up around “jerk”. There are many jerk seasoning combination in the Islands, most of which call for scallions, thyme, allspice, hot peppers, onions and garlic. Some jerks use citrus juice or vinegar to add tartness, or molasses to add sweetness. Typically used on chicken or pork, jerk also complements fish dishes.
    Jicama A root vegetable that looks like a large brown turnip with white sweet crisp flesh.
    Mango A tropical fruit with thick skin varying in color from green to bright red. Its flesh is yellow, firm and sweet, and can be eaten raw or as part of many marinades, sauces, ice creams and sorbets. Green mangoes are a main constituent of the best chutneys and are used in down-island stews as a vegetable.
    Mauby (or Mawby) Mauby is the bark of a tropical tree. It is boiled with spices to make a Caribbean drink of the same name, reputed to lower blood cholesterol.
    Mojito Cuban cocktail made with rum, lime and soda water.
    Okra This green pod-like fruit was introduced to the Caribbean region by African slaves, and is cooked as a vegetable on the islands. Often used as a thickening agent in soups and stews.
    Paella Of Spanish origin, paella generally consists of rice topped with chicken, pork, chorizo sausage, shrimp, clams, mussels, and peas in a chicken saffron stock. However, paellas do not have a set list of ingredients, and are as varied as the chefs who create them.
    Papaya Also known as PawPaw, this is a large melon with sweet yellow-orange flesh. It can range in weight from 8 ounces to 20 pounds, and ranges in shape from round to pear-like to long and thin. Very popular ingredient in drinks, salads, and desserts.
    Pick-a-Peppa Sauce A mango-tamarind based spicy pepper sauce from Jamaica.
    Plantain Plantains, or cooking bananas, are a staple across the Caribbean. They must be cooked to be edible; however, they need not be ripe. Green plantains and ripe plantains are often sliced, cooked in a seasoned batter and deep fried for fritters. Ripe plantains taste like a cross between a sweet potato and a banana. Tostones are green plantains sliced and fried, pounded flat and refried to form crispy chips.
    Ropa Vieja Shredded beef in a spicy sauce. Means “old clothes” in Spanish.
    Roti Exemplifies the heavy influence Indian cuisine has had on Caribbean cuisine. It begins with a round, Indian flat bread called a “roti” or “paratha” that is wrapped around a big dollop of curried goat, chicken, shrimp, pork or vegetables.
    Salsas Intensely flavored “little dishes” halfway between a condiment and a side dish. These varied combinations of fruits, vegetables, spices, herbs and chili peppers add an intense flavor “kick” to any meal, and are simply and healthfully prepared.
    Saltfish Saltwater fish which is salted and dried. Most often it is made with cod, but can be made with mackerel, herring or haddock. Served with Ackee as a specialty in Jamaica. Referred to as Bacalao on the Spanish-speaking islands, and Morue on the French-speaking islands. Bujol is a salted codfish salad made with onions and peppers.
    Sofrito The basic components of this seasoning mixture are cilantro, bell peppers, onion, garlic, tomato, and sometimes chilies, additional herbs and salt pork colored with annatto. Sofrito is an important component of Asopao and numerous other Puerto Rican soups, stews and vegetable dishes.
    Sorrel A tropical flower grown throughout the islands, it is boiled with other ingredients such as cloves, orange zest, and ginger, and then sweetened to make drinks, jams and jellies. The spicy-tart beverage is a beautiful raspberry-grape color, and is a Christmas tradition throughout the English-speaking islands.
    Soursop A large, dark green heart-shaped fruit covered with soft spines. Widely grown on the islands for its refreshing sour juice used in drinks, sorbets and ice creams.
    Stamp and Go Codfish patties fried in heavy batter which has been flavored with onions, annatto, and chiles. Popular in Jamaica. “Stamp and Go” was a command given to 17th century English sailors when they had a task to do, like pulling on a rope.
    Tamarind The fruit of a very large tree, it is a brown pod about 3-4 inches long which grows in bunches. Used in chutneys, curries and Worcestershire sauce.
    Yuca Also known as cassava, or manioc, it can be eaten boiled, baked or fried. It is a long, slim tuber (like a long potato) with bark-like skin and very starchy flesh that becomes nearly translucent when cooked. It is used to make casareep, a bittersweet syrup, and tapioca, a common thickening agent. It is also ground into meal to make bread.

    ANGEL FOOD CAKE & LEMON CAKE SQUARES with ITALIAN BUTTERCREAM & ROASTED COCONUT

    I think grams got this recipe originally from the side of a Swan’s Down cake flour bag.
    ANGEL FOOD CAKE
    1 1/4 cups sifted Swans Down cake flour
    1/2 cup + 1 1/3 cups sugar sifted sugar
    1 1/2 cups +/- 12 room temperature egg whites,
    1/4 teaspoon salt
    1 1/4 teaspoon cream of tartar
    1 teaspoon PURE vanilla
    1/4 teaspoon almond extract

    NOTE:For chocolate angel food, substitute 1/4 cup cocoa for 1/4 cup cake flour and omit for chocolate angel food

    • Sift flour* once, measure and add 1/2 cup sugar and sift together several more times.
    • Combine egg whites, salt, cream of tartar, and flavorings in large mixing bowl. Whisk continuously until the whites form soft peaks that are moist and glossy.
    • Then add the rest of the sugar very gradually over the whites and beating until sugar is blended, about 25 beating strokes per time.
    • Add flour and sugar mixture very gradually, sifting it over the egg whites. Fold in each addition turning bowl gradually. Use 15 complete fold over strokes each time. After last addition. use 10 to 12 additional fold over strokes.
    • Gently pour into a 10″ ungreased tube pan.
    • Bake at 375 degrees for about 35 to 40 minutes.
    • Frost and sprinkle with toasted coconut.

    *and cocoa when making chocolate angel food

    LEMON SPONGE CAKE
    6 eggs
    1 cup sugar
    2 tablespoons freshly squeezed lemon juice + rind of 1 lemon
    1 cup flour
    1/4 teaspoon salt
    1/2 cup chopped walnuts, optional

    • Preheat oven to 325 degrees.
    • Beat yolks of eggs until thick and lemon colored.
    • Whisk egg whites until stiff peaks form. Set aside.
    • Gradually beat in the sugar, grated lemon rind, and juice.
    • Fold in half of the stiffly beaten egg whites.
    • Cut in sifted flour and salt, add nuts if desired, and remaining egg whites.
    • Bake in a slow oven for about one hour or until toothpick inserted in center of cake comes out nearly clean.
    • Frost and sprinkle with toasted coconut.
    • Chill overnight or several hours.

    ITALIAN BUTTERCREAM
    3/4 cup white sugar
    1/3 cup corn syrup
    1/3 cup water
    3 egg whites
    1 1/2 cups unsalted butter, chilled and cubed
    2 teaspoons vanilla extract

    • In a saucepan, combine the sugar, corn syrup and water.
    • Bring to a boil over medium-high heat, stirring just enough to dissolve the sugar. Heat to between 223 and 234 degrees F., or until a small amount of syrup dripped from a spoon forms a soft thread. It should take 1 or 2 minutes.
    • When the sugar mixture has reached the thread stage, remove it from the heat and set aside to cool.
    • Whip the egg whites in a large bowl with an electric mixer. When the whites can hold a stiff peak, pour in the sugar syrup in a thin stream while continuing to whip at medium speed. Be careful not to pour too quickly, or it will all just end up at the bottom of the bowl. When the syrup is incorporated, continue to mix for 10 more minutes to allow it to cool. The egg whites will be fluffy and glossy.
    • Add pieces of cold butter one at a time to the egg whites and continue to whip at medium or low speed.

    TOASTED COCONUT
    1 16 ounce bag coconut
    4 tablespoons butter melted

    • Preheat oven to 350 degrees.
    • Toss coconut in melted butter until well coated.
    • Spread evenly on a jelly roll pan.
    • Bake for fifteen minutes and then flip coconut and bake another 15 minutes until golden brown.

    Another wonderful use for my new brownie pan! Individual cakes for the BBQ.

     
    We had a casualty that the dogs loved!

    I think grams got this recipe originally from the side of a Swan’s Down cake flour bag.
    ANGEL FOOD CAKE

    1 1/4 cups sifted Swans Down cake flour
    1/2 cup + 1 1/3 cups sugar sifted sugar
    1 1/2 cups +/- 12 room temperature egg whites,
    1/4 teaspoon salt
    1 1/4 teaspoon cream of tartar
    1 teaspoon PURE vanilla
    1/4 teaspoon almond extract

    NOTE:For chocolate angel food, substitute 1/4 cup cocoa for 1/4 cup cake flour and omit for chocolate angel food

    • Sift flour* once, measure and add 1/2 cup sugar and sift together several more times.
    • Combine egg whites, salt, cream of tartar, and flavorings in large mixing bowl. Whisk continuously until the whites form soft peaks that are moist and glossy.
    • Then add the rest of the sugar very gradually over the whites and beating until sugar is blended, about 25 beating strokes per time.
    • Add flour and sugar mixture very gradually, sifting it over the egg whites. Fold in each addition turning bowl gradually. Use 15 complete fold over strokes each time. After last addition. use 10 to 12 additional fold over strokes.
    • Gently pour into a 10″ ungreased tube pan.
    • Bake at 375 degrees for about 35 to 40 minutes.
    • Frost and sprinkle with toasted coconut.

    *and cocoa when making chocolate angel food

    LEMON SPONGE CAKE
    6 eggs
    1 cup sugar
    2 tablespoons freshly squeezed lemon juice + rind of 1 lemon
    1 cup flour
    1/4 teaspoon salt
    1/2 cup chopped walnuts, optional

    • Preheat oven to 325 degrees.
    • Beat yolks of eggs until thick and lemon colored.
    • Whisk egg whites until stiff peaks form. Set aside.
    • Gradually beat in the sugar, grated lemon rind, and juice.
    • Fold in half of the stiffly beaten egg whites.
    • Cut in sifted flour and salt, add nuts if desired, and remaining egg whites.
    • Bake in a slow oven for about one hour or until toothpick inserted in center of cake comes out nearly clean.
    • Frost and sprinkle with toasted coconut.
    • Chill overnight or several hours.

    ITALIAN BUTTERCREAM
    3/4 cup white sugar
    1/3 cup corn syrup
    1/3 cup water
    3 egg whites
    1 1/2 cups unsalted butter, chilled and cubed
    2 teaspoons vanilla extract

    • In a saucepan, combine the sugar, corn syrup and water.
    • Bring to a boil over medium-high heat, stirring just enough to dissolve the sugar. Heat to between 223 and 234 degrees F., or until a small amount of syrup dripped from a spoon forms a soft thread. It should take 1 or 2 minutes.
    • When the sugar mixture has reached the thread stage, remove it from the heat and set aside to cool.
    • Whip the egg whites in a large bowl with an electric mixer. When the whites can hold a stiff peak, pour in the sugar syrup in a thin stream while continuing to whip at medium speed. Be careful not to pour too quickly, or it will all just end up at the bottom of the bowl. When the syrup is incorporated, continue to mix for 10 more minutes to allow it to cool. The egg whites will be fluffy and glossy.
    • Add pieces of cold butter one at a time to the egg whites and continue to whip at medium or low speed.

    TOASTED COCONUT
    1 16 ounce bag coconut
    4 tablespoons butter melted

    • Preheat oven to 350 degrees.
    • Toss coconut in melted butter until well coated.
    • Spread evenly on a jelly roll pan.
    • Bake for fifteen minutes and then flip coconut and bake another 15 minutes until golden brown.