National Fried Chicken day was earlier in July and what better time to celebrate the meal and take a look at this dish. According to ThePoultrySite it actually is Malaysia that leads in domestic per capita consumption of chicken at 32 kg per person. It is popular and inexpensive and available, with fried chicken leading the way. Fried chicken that has been coated, breaded and deep fried is criticized for being the unhealthiest but continues to be very popular.
Past and present chicken has been a popular meat. Before refrigeration a flock of chickens could provide eggs and meat and, unlike a beef animal or hog, a chicken could be cleared off with one meal without needing refrigeration or ice.
Southern fried chicken was adapted through Scottish people who settled in the south, more apt to fry rather than baking or boiling as English natives did. As Africans were brought to the south they brought with them spices that were added to the flour or batter. In time poor families, prevented from keeping larger stock, were allowed to keep chickens it allowed gatherings of the black communities when segregation eliminated them eating at restaurants. The meal is commonly thought of as southern without regard to race.
As far back as 1828 a simple recipe of cut up chicken, dredged in flour, seasoned and fried in hot oil appeared in books. There are many variations from removing the skin to double dipping to the type of grease used to cook. Some call for milk or buttermilk batter while others keep it much more simple.
Accompanying a full meal of picnic fare is biscuits, cole slaw and corn on the cob.
An American favorite – there’s thousands of recipe variations for fried chicken available online and off. The amount of dietary fat varies widely with this depending on the recipe and if the skin is used. Skinless drops the calories far down below the battered skin on which is also good but one pays for later! Another option for many is frying just enough to put a crust on then baking to cook thoroughly.
The breading keeps the juices in but the fat is absorbed as well. Faster cooking can be achieved with pressure frying. With a long history tied to the American culture fried chicken is here to stay.
Gift baskets can be a great idea but if giving edible food make sure you know your recipient. I recall some years ago someone sent my boss a beautiful cheese and meat basket with summer sausage and yummy cheeses…not knowing he was a vegetarian. The company staff was treated to the basket, but probably not the result the giver had in mind. Equally an error can be giving a nut basket to someone allergic to nuts. If you aren’t absolutely sure stick with gourmet non-food items in gift baskets.
Here’s some ideas for baskets for the people on your list. For the creative don’t overlook making these up yourself which can save a great deal of money and give a bigger gift basket!
1.If a woman is the recipient and you need a non-food solution, many women say their ideal stocking stuffer is a day at the spa. The closest to that in gift basket form is a spa gift basket. Country Gourmet Gift Baskets has an Essential Healing Spa Luxuries gift basket that can be a spa right in her own home. NASCAR lovers will enjoy a special gift box for that interest.
2. Is there an adventurous eater or grillmaster on your list? Check out AmericanGourmet.net for their bison gift packs. From sirloin and bison filet mignon to a burger and brat pack it’s made with all natural bison meat. You can also get elk, ostrich, emu and American lamb. There’s even bison bones for man’s best friend.
3.For a sweeter and healthier start to the year a gourmet raw honey gift set is an economical and naturally pure gift that can be used on biscuits or muffins, in tea or in many other ways. At under $30 for three 8 ounce jars this is not heated or filtered. The bees provide pollination on organic farms in Maryland, and this is just one of several honey gift baskets at the LocalHarvest site.
4. Gourmet cheese baskets are another popular item and artisan cheeses such as smoked salmon cheddar cheese are among those in gift baskets of various sizes. There are also other featured tastes in the gourmet gift basket world such as coffee baskets, tea baskets, fruits, nuts, chocolate baskets and those that cater to particular interests or sports. There’s even sugar free and heart healthy baskets for those with health issues.
5. If you like these ideas but think you can put a basket together cheaper you possibly can. This makes the homemade gift basket among the most special not only for the value of the giver but the time and thought to personalizing it makes it special to the receiver.
Gourmet gift baskets can serve many tastes -find the one for your favorite person!
The variety and amount of snack items today would amaze those from 40 years ago. We have prepackaged 100 calorie snack packs of a wide range of products that we don’t have to think about. As premeasured we know they’re 100 calories and for those watching calories that makes a difference.
Of course not all are calorie conscious. Some are more concerned with salt, or perhaps food allergies mean anything with peanuts or soy becomes a life threatening situation. Health considerations should always be considered but you can also plan ahead and make your own healthy snacks.
For many this means getting a good quality food dehydrator. One with the ability to set the temperature is good for a variety of things. An example of this is the Excalibur. The temperature factor insures a higher level of safety when working with meats.
Some examples of snacks you can make to have on hand include dried banana chips, apple chips, fruit rollups and beef jerky. You can also experiment with salmon jerky, turkey jerky and a wide range of fruits and vegetables for snacking as well as meals. For an on the go snack package them in individual containers and have one available in your desk or backpack or purse. This may not be a great deal cheaper than store bought overall but it does offer the knowing what is in it. It also is much fresher than those prepackaged store bought items.
You can also, with a little research, package your own snack packs from healthy snack choices. Perhaps this might be cubed cheese with pretzels or oatmeal cookies or granola. Remember with many snacks it’s not just what it is but how much. If you’re one who can sit down to a whole bag of chocolate chip cookies then regret it change your bag! Each food has nutritional information including serving size on the bag. If a serving size is six cookies, or a cup of pretzels then measure that out and bag it. You know now how much that will be in calories and other nutritional information.
For example, a general search online shows yogurt covered pretzels are 8 pieces for 190 calories. This same 190 calories was listed for Austin toasty crackers with peanut butter in a six pack.
For those with refrigeration available, yogurt or fruit may be an option. Whatever your snacking choices, be it homemade or prepackaged look at cost as well as nutritional information for your life!
July is National Ice Cream month and not by chance ice cream consumption is highest in July and August. The north central states have the highest consumption per capita, with Portland, St. Louis and Seattle leading the cities. The average American consumes 23.2 quarts of ice cream, sherbet and other frozen dairy treats per year.
Ice cream is easier to make homemade than ever before, with appliances that do much of the work for you. There is still available hand cranked makers for those who really want to work up an appetite for the ice cream they’re making.
According to the International Ice Cream Association the top 10 flavors of ice cream are vanilla, chocolate, butter pecan, strawberry, Neapolitan, chocolate chip, French vanilla, cookies & cream, vanilla fudge ripple and praline pecan. By flavor vanilla makes up 28% of sales, fruit flavors 15% and nut flavors 13.5%.
Chocolate syrup remains the favorite topping and premium ice cream gathers 41.4% of the dollar of sales. Retail ice cream is big business – $11 billion and the first ice cream parlor in the US was in New York City in 1776.
Today ice cream comes in snack sized cups, bars, even small balls dipped in chocolate as well as cones and the larger containers that have been popular for years.
For many nothing quite compares to homemade so try these recipes:
The cream is naturally produced in milk. It takes about 25 gallons of milk to make 9 gallons of ice cream (or 25 pounds of cheese or 11 pounds of butter). Cattle with good care can produce 25-50 pounds of milk (8.6 pounds is a gallon) per milking.
There are six main breeds of dairy cattle, although the most popular for volume is the common black and white Holstein, followed by the Jersey. Other breeds include Ayrshire, Brown Swiss, Guernsey and Milking Shorthorn, as well as rare breeds such as the milking Devon that are not common in commercial herds. There are about 65,000 dairy farms in the USA, most smaller farms with under 200 cows, that produce the milk which becomes one of several dairy products including ice cream.
Ice cream is an ideal dessert for any time of year, but homemade with a variety of fresh ingredients is ideal on a hot July day. Although most ice cream is purchased on Sunday you can buy it at any time and serve with or without toppings.
Selection of fresh blueberries is important with firm, plump berries that have a silvery cast to the surface. Most people think of blueberries and it’s in pie, muffins or occasionally ice cream but this is a versatile item that can be served in many ways. Just a few of them include desserts, snacks and breakfast.
Blueberry buckle, lemon blueberry cake, banana-blueberry bread and baked blueberry-pecan French toast with blueberry syrup are just a few ways to enjoy blueberries during the month
Here’s a dozen more ways to celebrate the taste of the season!
6. blueberry muffins
12. blueberry syrup
The best and tastiest way to celebrate blueberry month of course is trying some regularly! They can also be dried in a food dehydrator for adding to cereal, homemade granola and other treats. Additionally try a berry mix and can it for ice cream topping or for use in winter baking projects.
Blueberries can be grown an a well run blueberry patch can involve 1000 to 1200 plants per acre, and if properly managed the third year will produce 400-800 pounds of blueberries per acre. With proper care and soil these plants can live 15-20 years.
Of course most need far less than a commercial grower. Blueberries require soil that is rich in organic matter due to their shallow root system. Water pooling around the roots can damage the plants as well as getting too dry.
Another factor for blueberries is they require a lower pH to the soil, which means a soil test is needed to determine if needed.
Whether you purchase them, grow them or shop at farmers markets or U-pick operations, celebrate the blueberry!
Without question beef, pork and chicken are most popular when it comes to grilling. However there’s another level of grilling that awaits with your grill! It’s more challenging, but the rewards are delicious. This is an ideal way to stretch the options of taste with your grill.
Using your grill for more meals makes sense! Consider the variety! There are challenges and tastes you may not have thought of. Lamb, rabbit, elk, bison, salmon and a wide range of other meats are ideal for the grill.
Some of these you can find or purchase locally while others are available in specialty markets online and off.
Your possibilities for variety are greatly expanded. Take alligator fillets, dot with butter and season with onion powder and garlic salt – wrap in foil and grill on medium for 15-20 minutes, turning half way through.
Or try elk, cooked to about 130 Fahrenheit. Chops or sausages are just two options for elk dinner, which is often domestically raised. Bison is another option that is leaner than beef. Due to less fat in the meat these cuts must be cooked a shorter time to insure the best taste.
Still another option is Alaskan salmon. Both fillets and steaks are wonderful on the grill! Smoked salmon is a meal that is good and good for you. Halibut and black cod offer other varieties for fish – wrap in foil, dot with garlic butter and cook to oh-so-yummy treats from the grill!
Grilled lamb and rabbit can be used many ways including in fajitas, lamb chops, rabbit enchiladas and many other tasty treats. Slow, moist cooking does well with these lean meats. Think packets of moist seasoning in foil. Your grill offers options to help get just the right result from even these lean meats.
Don’t overlook stuffed peppers, grilled corn on the cob, grilled onions and a host of other foods to complete your meal. Baked potatoes are easy but there are many more options to use on your grill. Don’t forget dessert!
Place peach halves in foil with a little butter, brown sugar and dash of cinnamon. Wrap up and grill to heat – the grill provides new tastes again!
An ultimate appliance for an ultimate taste experience…light a fire tonight!