The Food Almanac: Tuesday, February 5, 2013

The Food Almanac: Tuesday, February 5, 2013

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In The Food Almanac, Tom Fitzmorris of the online newsletter The New Orleans Menu notes food facts and sayings.

Days Until. .
Mardi Gras--7
Valentine's Day--9

Great Local Restaurateurs

Ruth Ann Udstad Fertel was born in New Orleans today in 1927. She is the Ruth of Ruth's Chris Steakhouse, the restaurant she bought for $18,000 from Chris Matulich in 1965. By the time she was finished with it, she was the most successful female restaurateur in the world, with nearly 100 locations of the top-end steakhouse, in every city that mattered. An overachiever all her life, she skipped grades in school and started college in her mid-teens, majoring in chemistry and physics. She was working as a researcher at Tulane University when she saw an ad to sell Chris Steak House. Even in 1965, it was recognized as one of the two or three best places to get a steak in New Orleans, with prime beef sizzling in butter. She mortgaged her house and used her savings to buy it. Chris took the money and left her to figure it all out on her own.

Figure it out she did. Her principal idea was that her customers could have anything they wanted all the time. You didn't have to find your waitress to ask; anybody on the staff (including Ruth herself) would fetch you more butter. She charged you well for this, but long before Outback claimed it, there were no rules at Ruth's Chris. It became far more than just a steakhouse. The Ruth's Chris on Broad Street was for decades the meeting place of the alpha males of the community. Ruth sold her restaurant chain--the biggest of its kind in America--in 1999. In the three years left in her life, she became a philanthropist, underwriting among other things a culinary arts center at Nicholls State University. She died in 2002.

I lunched with Ruth a few times. She was a fascinating person. In our first meeting, she chewed me out for some things I said in a review. My complaint was that the au gratin dishes had too much cheese. "We give them what they want!" she retorted. "You wouldn't believe how many people ask for extra cheese! Some people want cheese on a steak, and you know that's crazy. But we give it to them!" The next time--and every time thereafter--she was as friendly as can be. Inside dope: she always said that her best steak was not the best-selling filet mignon, but the sirloin strip. No question about that. She also said that her own favorite dish on her menu was the veal chop.

Dining On Wheels
Today in 1883, the second transcontinental railroad in America was completed, creating a continuous line from New Orleans to San Francisco. The Southern Pacific's Sunset Route is the southernmost of the transcons, and the one that crosses the least mountainous terrain. The last rail was spiked down (with a silver spike) just west of the Pecos River near Langtry, Texas. The new line helped move California produce to the rest of America. Millions of bottles of wine traveled the Sunset Route. You can still ride the whole thing on its namesake train, the Sunset Limited, the oldest passenger train name in America. Some of my most memorable train rides have been on that train. I remember in particular an unexpectedly superb prime rib in its dining car in the summer of 1978, somewhere in Arizona.

Food Calendar
In honor of Ruth Fertel, today isSirloin Strip Steak Day. For my money, it's the best standard steak there is. That's appropriate because today is the earliest possible date for Mardi Gras, which celebrates a farewell to beef before Lent.

Gourmet Gazetteer
The Strip District is an old industrial neighborhood just outside the central business district in Pittsburgh. It's a strip of land along the Allegheny River, just upstream from its confluence with the Monongahela to form the Ohio. Factories have been there since the 1820s, and to serve the many people who worked in them fresh food markets and casual restaurants sprang up. After the factories moved out, it became a chic district with a lot of ethnic restaurants, galleries, theatres, and apartments. If you order a sirloin strip here, it seems clear that it must be served Pittsburgh style: black and crusty exterior, cool rare center. Yum. The place to go for this is the Firehouse Lounge, right there in the Strip.

The Old Kitchen Sage Sez:
The thicker the steak, the better it cooks.

Deft Dining Rule #782:
If a restaurant's steak selection doesn't include a sirloin strip, the place is not seriously a steak specialist.

Edible Dictionary
short loin, n.--The short loin is just below the spine of the beef, just in back of the ribs. It includes many of the most prized steak cuts: the porterhouse, the T-bone, the tenderloin, and the sirloin strip. The latter two are parts of the former two. It is the nature of the short loin that each steak cut from it is a bit different in shape and flavor from the ones in front or in back of it. But only the most inquisitive steak connoisseurs know enough about this to request specifics. And only slightly more steakhouses know enough to give it to them.

Annals Of Food Research
Lafayette Benedict Mendel was born today in 1872. He spent most of his career discovering which elements of food made it nutritious. He was one of the discoverers ofVitamins A and B. Today in 1850 Gail Borden--who would make his fortune a few years later by inventing condensed milk--created a meat-enhanced biscuitthat carried a lot of protein to the eater. He had the military man in mind. His biscuits lasted for a long time without losing goodness. It could also be used to make soup. Why does this suggest dog biscuits?

World Food Records
The biggest bowl of Jell-O ever made--7700 gallons--was completed in Brisbane, Australia today in 1981. The flavor was watermelon. It cost $14,000, but it made Guinness.

Food In Literature
William S. Burroughs was born today in 1914. He was one of the Beat Generation's favorite writers, and his novels were shocking in their time. The one with the food title was Naked Lunch, but it is more about drugs than an underdressed good midday meal.

Food Namesakes
Robert Peel, who established the London police force, was born today in 1788. The British cops are still called "bobbies" for him. Actress Barbara Hershey was born today in 1948. Today in 2001, William D. Baker ran amok at a diesel engine factory and killed four people, then himself. . Sugar Ray Leonard won his first pro fight today in 1977. . Diego Serrano, a TV soap opera actor, was born today in 1973. Olympic rower Pete "Chip" Cipollonepaddled out into the world today in 1971. Canadian hockey commentator and former pro hockey player Don Cherry was born today in 1934. His nickname is also edible: Grapes.

Words To Eat By
"Soup does its loyal best, no matter what undignified conditions are imposed upon it. You don't catch steak hanging around when you're poor and sick, do you?"--Judith Martin (Miss Manners).

Food Endeavours of the Blue Apocalypse

I got an experience of this conundrum myself last year when I volunteered to help out with the Beaufort Street Festival cookbook “Recipes & Ramblings: A Food Journey from Beaufort Street and Beyond”. Recipe submissions were received from restaurants, businesses and community members who lived on and around Beaufort Street, and then tested and rated. The best recipes were compiled into the very first Beaufort Street community cookbook.

We were working towards a very tight deadline and at times I doubted if we could finish the cookbook in time for the festival in November, but we got everything done by the publishing deadline. About six weeks out from the launch of the cookbook we did the photo shoot over a weekend at Taste Budds cooking studio for over 50 recipes. The project manager gave me the responsibility for being in command of the kitchen and the cooking of the dishes while she oversaw the photography. I enjoyed overseeing the kitchen and would jokingly tell people that I was head chef and all the volunteer cooks were my sous chefs. Not that what we did would even remotely compare to what happens in a restaurant but it was a little taste. For the first time in my life, I was on my feet the whole day prepping and cooking food. I went in thinking that it would be fun and I would get to EAT ALL THE FOODS!

But I didn't eat much food at all.

Taste Budds Kitchen

Photography Area
Photography Area
I had created a timetable which scheduled when dishes would be cooked and photographed. The kitchen and photography areas would work like a tag team. We started at 8am to get as much daylight as possible for the photo shoot. But of course nothing went as planned.

The kitchen couldn’t keep up with the photography for a number of reasons.

Things were a bit disorganized, especially on the first day. It was everyone’s first time doing anything like this so we were all learning along the way and getting into the groove of things.

The cooking times for recipes are LIES! You think you need X amount of time to cook something and the reality is you need XYZ time.

It’s not easy buying all the ingredients needed to cook 50 recipes over a weekend. Trying to somehow calculate how many cartons of eggs, bags of flour, blocks of butter, kilos of rice, meat, seafood, grams of nuts, bulbs of garlic etc. is needed in the most economical fashion. We had a shopping list and thought that we had bought everything we needed in the morning but there would always be missing ingredients, so a few more shopping trips had to be made over the weekend. For one thing, there never seemed to be enough chocolate no matter how many blocks we bought!

Food shopping for photo shoot
Working in an unfamiliar kitchen was also challenging at times. We were burning things in the oven as we were not accustomed to using it and it was hard finding the tools we needed to cook with. I was trying to make vegetable patties at one stage but I couldn’t find a masher so I ended up mashing with a whisk, fork, anything sharp…

Kitchen Madness
Washing. Nobody likes washing. We had the luxury of being in a cooking studio with an endless supply of dishes, pots, pans, spoons, knives, forks to use so we would only wash when we need to reuse a pot or something. Everything else just piled up in the sinks out the back with no one to look after them. Everyone in the kitchen would try to wash a bit here and there when they had a moment to spare throughout the day, but in the end a lot of the washing was done at the end of the day with people staying back to help out. The dishwashers at restaurants must be the most underappreciated person in the kitchen but they are one of the most important!

Oh and I cut my finger on the first day while opening a can (!) but I found one of those blue waterproof bandaids in the first aid kit and I thought, this is what it’s like on TV, these blue bandaids exist in real life!

So the kitchen team was not pumping out dishes as fast as I thought we would.

One of the volunteers in the kitchen with me on Saturday told me that she thought I was hilarious because I was running around all the time, unnecessarily so. I seemed to run rather than walk as I moved between the kitchen to the big fridge in the second room and the washing sinks out the back. I was trying to be fast I guess. Tip: Running around does not make your food cook faster.

As dishes were finished, I would be proud and relieved to send it out to the stylists and photographers to work their magic. I couldn’t eat any of the food until it had been photographed and by then it was cold, the stylists and photographers had already had their dibs so I’m left picking at the remaining uncontaminated bits… you don’t want the bits that had been manhandled for the shoot….

Even then I was too busy getting the next dish ready to be scouting out the food.

At the end of the first day, overseeing a kitchen of 4 volunteers cooks, including myself for the past 10 hours (8 hours cooking, 2 hours washing/cleaning), putting out 25 recipes, I was famished. I went home that Saturday night too tired to cook anything but luckily I had a container of pho in my freezer, so I boiled some noodles, heated up the broth and ate my first proper meal for the day. I didn’t have breakfast in the morning as I thought that there would be lots of food to eat and I didn’t want to fill up (rookie error!). I went to bed early that night and got up early the next morning to do it all again. Sunday was a little better, just.

From the cookbook photo shoot, I gained a new found respect for my dad and chefs for the hard work they do in the kitchen, even more so when it became evident to me how little time you have to eat which seems a little ironic, don’t you think?

For chefs, I imagine that the most important meal of the day would be the time of the day when all the staff get together for family meal.

Every Monday night (the night my dad’s restaurant is closed) I go over to my parents for dinner and sometimes my dad will show me a new staff meal that he recently cooked. My dad told me that a lot of Chinese dishes involve stuffing things and deep frying, and this mushroom dish derives from that concept. It involves stuffing mushrooms with prawns and frying them in a pan until cooked. It’s very simple and requires few ingredients, and because it’s fried rather than deep fried it’s healthier )

I really enjoyed this dish the first time my dad cooked it for me. I was actually surprised at how good it tasted because I wasn’t expecting much due to the use of button mushrooms. I may be a little prejudiced towards button mushrooms as they are the least exciting mushrooms but their blandness suits this dish. Using only prawns in the stuffing means that it cooks fast and there is minimal seasoning so you get the pure taste of the prawn. Encasing the prawn inside the mushroom prevents it from overcooking. The oyster sauce compliments the stuffed mushrooms and it’s that classic oyster sauce based on a good chicken stock that often goes with Chinese dishes.

This is one of the things that I like to cook when I am tired as it’s quick and tastes great.

Stuffed Mushrooms with Prawn Filling and Oyster Sauce

(An original recipe Blue Apocalypse learnt from her dad)

• 11 buttons mushrooms
• 11 prawns, shelled and deveined, roughly chopped
• salt and pepper
• vegetable oil
(You can have as many mushrooms as you want, each mushroom requires about 1 prawn for filling)
• 1 garlic clove, finely chopped
• 1 ½ cup of chicken stock
• 1 ½ tablespoons of oyster sauce
• 1 teaspoon light soy sauce
• salt to taste
• ½ cup of chopped spring onion.
• 1-1½ teaspoons of cornflour


Clean the mushrooms (wipe with a wet paper towel) and remove the stems.

Put the prawns into a processor, add in a little salt and pepper, and process until it forms a paste.

Using a teaspoon, fill the inside of each mushroom with prawn paste, pressing to spread the prawn stuffing evenly.

Heat some oil in a frying pan and add the mushrooms into the pan, prawn side down and cook for 1-2 minutes until it’s changes colour and is slightly golden.

Turn the mushrooms over and cook for a further 3-4 minutes until the mushrooms are cooked through.

Arrange the mushrooms on a plate.

In the same frying pan, add in the garlic and fry for 30-60 seconds until fragrant. Add in the stock and bring to boil, then add in the oyster sauce, light soy sauce and salt to taste. Add in the spring onions and fry for a few seconds until it softens. Put some cornflour in a bowl and mix with a little water, then add into the pan a little at a time, stirring in to thicken sauce to desired consistency.

The Food Almanac: Tuesday, February 5, 2013 - Recipes

Many years ago, at a small neighborhood restaurant in San Francisco, a young cook got to do his very first menu “special.” It featured pulled chicken, Cajun sausage, and peppers stewed in a rich, spicy gravy and was served over grilled French bread.

Not sure what to call it, the inexperienced, but handsome cook described it as a, “sort of Cajun ragout of chicken,” which made it on to the specials board as, “Cajun Chicken Ragu.”


Looks great :-) But, as an avid fan of your recipe for gumbo. How is this different tastewise from the chicken gumbo without the okra? Surely, the addition of the bacon (fat) and difference in roux preparation can't make that much of a difference. ) Or are you gonna challenge me to prepare this dish and judge for myself? Yeah. I figured that :P

Handsome. I bet your wife would agree with that. 0)

Handsome. I bet your wife would agree with that. 0)

How do you say "very tres bon" in French? )

This may very well be one of the best recipes you've ever posted, Chef John. And so presentable!

Please keep the Cajun goodness coming — it's a great warmup to Mardis Gras proper!

How do you say "very tres bon" in French? )

This may very well be one of the best recipes you've ever posted, Chef John. And so presentable!

Please keep the Cajun goodness coming — it's a great warmup to Mardis Gras proper!

Question Chef John - how much of a time difference does using non-stick versus aluminum/stainless steel cookware is there? I ask because all of my cookware is non-stick and your times and my times rarely match. I can, and do, make adjustments on the fly,of course, but just curious if there's a semi-standard "add one extra minute/five minutes"-difference.
As always, very much appreciate the effort and time you take in making your recipes. Cheers!

I was just going through the freezer last night and noticing that I squirreled away a lot of meat stock over the holidays which hasn't been getting used and trying to figure out what might be a nice stew or soup to do. Then today I saw okra on sale (yes I know there is no okra in the dish but there could be.) This looks like just the ticket as I wanted something a bit different. Great timing. Think I'll make use of the pork stock.

That's interesting, I lived in Vegas for a few years and turns out I'm also allergic to drunk tourists!

tadees, the type of metal really should effect cooking times! Too many variables to give you a simple answer. The size, thickenss of metal, your burners, etc. all effect. I have pro burners, so going to be faster for me to heat a pan for example.

Chef John,
Another marvelous dish sir! I had to work with the groceries on hand though. I did not have the sausage. So, I used sliced pepperoni that I diced up. LOL! It worked great! I omitted the bacon due to that too but yet used bacon grease for the trinity. Always keep bacon grease in the fridge. I too like others kept wanting to add okra to this but all I had was some breaded okra for frying in the freezer. That would have been great on the side and will do that with the leftovers. My husband added cashew halves on top of his on his plate. It looked so good I had to do the same. The cashews were excellent on top.

And a note to those thinking it's going to be like gumbo like I thought too, it really does not taste anything like gumbo.

Yes, thanks! While similar on the surface, this really tastes different than gumbo!

I did make this dish tonight using chicken leg/thigh pieces I roasted for the occasion, some excellent andouille, my own bacon, pork stock and. fresh okra that I decided to deep fry and use as garnish. So @lisa0116 I can safely say that great minds think alike. I laughed to see your post about the breaded okra. Though I just did mine rolled in flour as I wanted it crispy but not breaded.

Chef Jhon,
Your recipes are really good n food taste very yummy when it made using your recipes

Chef John,
Have you ever been deep into the Amazonian rainforest to take ayahusca with a local shaman? I have. You will see, feel and hear the spirits which inhabit those parts. You will be able to communicate with plants, animals and a superior intelligence which looks over us with infinite compassion and love. The story of the universe will be explained to you. You will step into a different dimension but which is very real and exists.
But I digress.
Long live Chef John and his cooking videos! Hip hip hooray :) Bravo Chef John and bon appétit !

Made this a couple days ago and like everything else you make it was delicious! Tonight I added more broth and seasonings dumped in some rice and ate it as soup, equally delicious! Thanks Chef John.

Made this for Sunday Supper today. Perfect for a cold, damp, blustery day here in Indiana. So good!

And you know what works really good with this recipe? Chef John's perfect white rice. Yep. A match made in heaven.

Made this for Sunday supper. perfect for a cold, damp, blustery day.

And you know what goes perfectly with this dish? Chef John's perfect white rice. Match made in heaven!

As usual - I totally enjoyed!

Yes salt! It's mentioned in video and twice in ingredient list! )

Made this for dinner last week - another winner! Any time I make something new, my husband will ask "Is this a Chef John recipe?" before taking a bite. It's like a quality seal for him. Ha!

Wow! I made this last night and didn't change a thing (which is pretty rare when I cook) It was so delicious! The consistency of the ragu over rice was just perfect. My boyfriend ate 2.5 servings (and he's not a big guy) I had just enough to save for lunch today. I can't wait!

We had this for supper tonight. Another fantastic Chef John recipe. (And yes, I posted our supper menu on my facebook face and got plenty of "likes".) My husband too asks, "Is this a Chef John recipe?" His opinion of your culinary advice is so high that I think I could serve him boxed Cornflakes and he'd be delighted if I told him "Chef John says you'll love these."

Tonight was the third time I've made this in the past few months. The family LOVES it. I replaced 1/4 cup of the chicken stock with chilled zinfandel wine to deglaze, then stir in the stock. Another hit in this house, Chef John. Thanks! <3

I made this last night for my wife. My differences were that I had to use Polska Kielbasa (no andouille around). I browned the sausage first, then cooked the bacon. Also used a yellow pepper in place of the green - my wife despises green peppers - boo! But it was good last night, and incredibly awesome today as the flavors sank in overnight. Awesome dish - I love it! Oh, do you think my Kielbasa instead of Andouille thwarted a little of the cajun-ness of this? Because it didn't have as much cajuny taste as I expected.

I'm sure it did, is that sausage has a much different flavor!

Made this last night for dinner. Only thing I did different was to brown the sausage slices fist. It was delish. Also made your pita bread recipe to go with it, those are always a hit. Thanks for the great recipes Chef John.

Chef John,
What can I substitute for the andouille sausage?

I've made this several times and it has always been great. I made it tonight and added a half cup of Merlot with the stock. It is now on another level.

Salad, by Dumas.

Today, February 20th …

Alexandre Dumas gave us The Count of Monte Cristo, The Three Musketeers, and The Man in the Iron Mask – some of the greatest adventure novels ever written. His real labour of love however was his Grand Dictionnaire de Cuisine, although he never saw it published. Dumas died on December 5th 1870 while Paris was under siege by the Prussians, and his great dictionary was not published until 1873, after the end of the Franco-Prussian war.

On this day in 1865, Dumas was at a dinner for twenty hosted by his friend Doctor Jobert de Lamballe.

Croûtes au pot.

Purée de perdreaux à la Beaufort.

Crépinettes de gibier.

Petits vol-au-vent à la Monglas

Carpe du Rhin à la Chambord.

Dinde truffée à la périgourdine.

Filets de perdreaux à la Richelieu.

Poulardes truffées

Cardons à la moelle.

The Grand Dictionnaire de Cuisine is a truly monumental work – an encyclopedia with recipes, covering everything from ‘Abaisse’ to ‘Zuchetti’ and written ‘to be read by worldly people and used by professionals’. Dumas was not just a gourmet (it is said that his love of food was equalled only by his love of women), he was an excellent practical cook at a time when men were either professional cooks, or kept right out of the kitchen. He was particularly proud of his salad, and he explained its story in detail in a letter to his old friend Jules Janin. He is talking about his legendary Wednesday evening suppers.

‘… Finally, I made a salad that satisfied my guests so well that when Ronconi, one of my most regular guests, could not come, he sent for his share of the salad, which was taken to him under a great umbrella when it rained so that no foreign matter might spoil it.

“How” you will ask me, my dear Janin … “how could you make a salad one of the important dishes for your supper?”

It is because my salad was not just like any other salad.’

Dumas goes on to give his secret away:

‘It was a salad of great imagination, composite order, with five principal ingredients:
Slices of beet, half-moons of celery, minced truffles, rampion with its leaves, and boiled potatoes.

… First I put the ingredients into the salad bowl, then overturn them onto a platter. Into the empty bowl I put one hard boiled egg yolk for each two persons – six for a dozen guests. These I mash with oil to form a paste, to which I add cherviel , crushed tuna, macerated anchovies, Maille mustard, a large spoonful of soya, chopped gherkins, and the chopped white of the eggs. I thin this mixture by stirring in the finest vinegar obtainable. Finally I put the salad back in the bowl, and my servant tosses it [Dumas has earlier mentioned that this should be done an hour before it is to be served, and the salad should be turned over three or four times during that hour.] On the tossed salad I sprinkle a pinch of paprika, which is the Hungarian red pepper.

And there you have the salad that so fascinated poor Ronconi.’

[From: The Dictionary of Cuisine, edited, abridged, and translated by Louis Colman.]

Tomorrow’s Story …

A Previous Story for this Day …

The Milk shake was the topic of our story last year on this day.

Quotation for the Day …

Wine is the intellectual part of a meal. Alexandre Dumas, Le Grand Dictionnaire de Cuisine.

The Food Almanac: Tuesday, February 5, 2013 - Recipes

If I might suggest maybe a little lemon zest in the custard?

How does this compare to your Crème Caramel recipe? That recipe has been one of my favorite and most used recipes of all time!

You are, after all, the Chef John of your flan.

Hey Chef. Not sure if all-recipes.us is a part of allrecipes.com which you feature in your YT description. But since they cut out the intro and outro from your Video and haven't left any other credit to your work i thought i might let you know that they are using your work. Hit me up if you want a direct link to it.

We’re is the instructions on how to make it.

I am just made this with your instruction s and just love this. thanks a lot for sharing.

Cheesecake looking . yum Thanks for sharing a such a good and tasty recipe, keep sharing such a new and interesting recipes.
Indian recipes

Chef John,
I love your recipes!! Could I make this the day before? Thanks!

Chef John. I'm trying to be the Obi-Wan of this Cheesecake Flan.

Is there any way to make this as a "full-size" cheesecake, instead of doing it in ramekins? I'm just trying to be a rame-can, not a rame-can't. How would you adjust the cook times/amounts?

Hello! My son and I were just having a debate last night about flan. Personally, I think they are gross, even though I do like custardy things. I think this may be a 'must try' for us. I have recently tried a few of your recipes and we have watched several of your videos. Our family loves you! I am originally from Upstate NY (Erie Co) so that is a bonus.
I saw your video interview from last June and was curious if you have found out what a kolache is? Czech, by the way, my in-laws are nuts about foods from the 'old country', and his aunt makes them and sells them around the holidays.
Thanks for helping me figure out what to make for dinner at those times I am at a loss for something and don't want to make the same old thing!

The Sequim Food Guy

1 small onion, finely chopped
1 tablespoon vegetable oil
2/3 lb lean ground beef
1/3 lb ground lean pork
1/2 cup breadcrumbs
1 cup milk
1 egg, lightly beaten
1 teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon black pepper
1/4 teaspoon ground allspice
1 tablespoon vegetable oil (for frying)
1 (10 ounce) can beef gravy
1/2 cup 10% cream

Saute onions in first tablespoon of oil until translucent. Set aside and let cool.
Combine breadcrumbs and milk, let soak for 10 minutes.
In a large bowl, combine onions, breadcrumbs, milk egg, meat and seasonings. Mix thoroughly. Form tablespoon of the meat mixture into balls.
Over medium heat, fry meatballs in second tablespoon of oil until brown on all sides.
In a small saucepan, combine gravy and cream heat through but do not boil.
Serve meatballs with gravy, boiled potatoes and lingonberry preserves.

Malaysian Deep-fried Curry Puffs

Malaysian Deep-fried Curry Puffs
(makes about 15)

2 cups cubed (5 mm) potatoes
2 tbsp vegetable oil
2 inch cinnamon stick
3 cloves
1/2 star anise
1 large onion, finely chopped with a blender
2 cloves garlic, chopped
2 tbsp Malaysian curry powder, mixed with 3 tbsp water to form a paste
2-3 tsp chilli powder/chilli flakes (add this to the curry powder)
250g chicken, roughly chopped/minced
1 sprig curry leaves
1/2 tbsp fish sauce
1 tsp soy sauce
1/2 tbsp sugar (or to taste)
1 tbsp ketchup
1/2 cup water
Salt, to taste

2 2/3 cup (400g) plain flour
1/2 tsp salt
3/4 cup (180g) butter, cut into tiny cubes
1/2 cup cold water (approx)

You will need to prepare the curry puff filling a day ahead.

Place cubed potatoes in a microwave safe bowl with 3 tbsp hot water, and cover loosely with a lid. Microwave on high for 2-3 minutes until cooked, stirring once in between. When cooked, drain off the excess liquid and set aside.

Heat the vegetable oil in a wok. Add cinnamon stick, cloves, star anise, onions and garlic. Fry for 2-3 minutes until onions are translucent, then add curry powder and chilli paste mixrture. Fry for 2-3 minutes until the oil separates. Add chicken and fry until cooked. Add curry leaves, the cooked potatoes, fish sauce, soy sauce, sugar and ketchup. Toss to mix evenly. Add 1/2 cup water and mix again. Bring to a boil and let it simmer until potatoes are soft and has absorbed all the flavours. Add salt to taste. Fry until the curry is thick and almost dry. Dish out and let it cool before refrigerating.

Making the pastry and puffs:

Place flour and salt in a large bowl and mix well. Add cubed butter and rub into the flour until it resembles breadcrumbs. Alternatively, use a pastry cutter or food processor to do this. Drizzle water into the mixture and stir around with the round tipped knife until the dough starts to come together. Bring the dough together with your hands, adding a little more water if it's too dry and crumbly. Do not overknead the dough as it may cause the pastry to be "tough/chewy" when fried. Place the ball of dough on a floured surface and roll out into a disc. Use a round cutter and cut out small discs (makes about 15 pieces). Roll out each disc into a flat oval shape (about 1/8 inch thick). Place 2 tbsp of curry filling in the centre, fold in half and pinch the edges to enclose. Use thumb and forefinger to pinch the edges to form fluted edges.

Heat sufficient oil in a wok/pan for deep-frying. Fry the curry puffs in batches on medium-high heat for 5-7 minutes until golden brown. Move the curry puffs around in the oil so that they brown evenly all over. Remove and drain and kitchen paper. Caution: Filling is hot! Enjoy!

Note: Alternatively, you can bake these in the oven instead of deep-frying. Preheat oven to 200C (400F). Place curry puffs on a lined baking tray and brush the tops with egg wash (beaten egg + 1 tbsp water). Bake for 20 minutes or until lightly golden and crisp.

Fail Proof Less Sugar Mini Fruit Tarts - HIGHLY RECOMMENDED.

I'm proud to say that I'm a hardworking mum. I work 5 days a week. Full-on, 8am to 4pm with minimal break on most work days. After work, I have to rush back home to cook dinners. I cook at least 5 times a week. Plus the laundry, grocery shopping, cleaning and etc. If you are a mum like me, you would know how I feel. You're right. I'm exhausted!

Do I get any help? No and yes. No because it is only me, my husband and my son living in Melbourne and we don't have any other family members living with or near us. Yes because my husband helps me a lot. He is a hardworking dad. He does all the dirty dishes, weekly cleaning and spends most of his home time teaching my son school work.

Perhaps I'm a tough person but I reckon having a hobby and also a life goal is essential. For me, watching my son growing has been my biggest motivation. I always feel a great sense of achievement whenever my son thanks and praises me for the food that I cook and bake for him. And the good thing is he is always so sweet and appreciative.

Apart from being appreciated, I like to say it is important for me to differentiate if my cooking is real good or it is just a thank you food. For instance, if my son told me to cook or bake the food again, I can tell it is real good. I know that I can use this recipe again and share it at my blog. If my son just simply thank me for my cooking, I will know that it is an average thank you food. Most likely, I won't cook this food again and won't share the recipe at my blog. If my son fight with my husband for the food that I cook, I know that he is hungry. LOL. and I MUST share this recipe at my blog!

Here, I'm sharing a fail-proof fruit tart recipe.

My Mini Fruit Tarts
. made by a Fail-Proof recipe with Less Added Sugar.
Each tart contains only 4g of added sugar and they taste so perfectly sweetened!
What can I say?

Wanna bake these tarts? I promise you that this recipe is not as complicated as you think. Please watch my video to see how I made mine.

Although the recipe appear to be tedious with lengthy steps, the steps are actually quite easy to follow. Plus, it is easier to achieve if the frozen pastry and the chilled pastry cream are made one day in advance. Bake the pastry on the next day. Assemble the pastry tarts with custard and fruits. Then, enjoy. Sounds easy? See. I'm so busy and yet I can bake these tarts. ^-^

Sorry for being extra naggy but please allow me to summarize my preferred schedule.

Day one:
1. Prepare pastry and chill it for 1 hr.
2. Roll and cut pastry. Mould the pastry into tart pans and freeze overnight.
3. Make pastry cream and chill overnight.

Day two:
1. Bake pastry. Allow baked pastry to cool to room temperature.
2. Assemble pastry cream with cream and vanilla.
3. Assemble tarts with pastry, pastry cream and fruits.

Sound easy? Please don't say no! ^-^

Like my recipes? It will be really nice if you can support a hardworking blogging mum like me. Please LIKE, SHARE and FOLLOW me at either my Facebook at here or here or my Instagram @zoebakeforhappykids because every LIKE, SHARE and FOLLOW from you indicates that I'm in the right track. And I will try my best to bake and share more. Thank you.

Here's the recipe that is adapted from the book, The Weekend Baker by Abigail Johnson Dodge

For the pâte sucrée:
130g plain / all-purpose flour
30g icing sugar
1/8 tsp salt
90g butter cold unsalted butter, cut into small pieces
1 large egg yolk, about 17g, cold

extra plain / all purpose flour for dusting and rolling

Sift flour, sugar and salt into a large mixing bowl. Add butter and use a pastry blender or your fingertips to rub butter into the flour mixture until mixture resembles coarse crumbs. Add egg yolk into flour mixture and use your hands to gather the crumbs until mixture comes together to form a dough. Do not knead or over-work dough. Wrap the dough in a cling wrap and refrigerate for about 1 hrs before rolling. Do not chill the dough for too long as the over-chilled dough will become too hard and brittle to roll.

On a lightly floured surface, use a rolling pin to roll dough to 3-4 mm thick. Use a large round cutter to cut the pastry into rounds. Transfer and mould the pastry into tart pans. Trim off any excess pastry draping off the edges. Line each pastry with one small piece of baking paper or baking paper cups and stack them up without pressing them. Then, place them in a freezer for at least 1 hr or overnight until ready to use.

Preheat oven to 400°F / 200°C.

Line frozen pastries with foil including their edges. Fill lined pastries with pie weights and bake for 15 mins. Remove pie weights and foil and continue to bake for about 5-6 mins or until the crust is golden brown.

Remove tarts from the oven and allow them to cool slightly for about 15 mins before using a toothpick to pick and remove them from the tart pans. Set aside on a wire rack to cool completely.

For the pastry cream:
150g milk
30g yolks, from 2 eggs but please use exact weight
20g caster sugar
10g plain / all-purpose flour
1/8 tsp salt
2 tbsp whipping cream with 35% fat
1/2 tsp vanilla paste or extract or scrape the seeds from half of a vanilla pod

fresh fruits such strawberries, blueberries, cherries, raspberries, sliced kiwi

In a small saucepan, bring milk to simmer. In a small mixing bowl, whisk egg yolks, sugar, flour and salt until pale and combined. Add hot milk slowly into the mixing bowl and whisk vigorously while adding the milk. Pour mixture back into the saucepan. Cook with medium low heat and constant whisking until mixture is thickened. Scrape pastry cream into a medium bowl and cover the surface of the cream with a cling wrap to prevent a skin forming on the cream. Refrigerate until cold.

To assemble, whip cream and vanilla paste until soft peaks form. Use a hand whisk to whisk whipped cream into the pastry cream until smooth and combined. Pipe a dollop of pastry cream into each tart. Top the tarts with your favourite fruits. Serve immediately.

These tarts must be consumed on the day when they are assembly. Please be aware that on the next day, the pastry of the assembled tarts won't be nice being soft and soggy.

The Food Almanac: Tuesday, February 5, 2013 - Recipes


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February 16, 2021 Volume 67 Issue 27

The Andrew W. Mellon Foundation awarded the University of Pennsylvania a grant to support Dispossessions in the Americas: The Extraction of Bodies, Land, and Heritage from La Conquista to the Present, a project directed by Tulia Falleti, Class of 1965 Endowed Term Professor of Political Science. The $5 million grant is part of Mellon&rsquos Just Futures Initiative.

Dispossessions in the Americas is an interdisciplinary project that aims to document territorial, embodied, and cultural heritage dispossessions in the Americas from 1492 to the present, and to outline how the restoration of land, embodiments, and cultural values can recover histories and promote restorative justice.

The grant will allow Dr. Falleti and collaborators to create a multilingual website, an art catalog, and two coedited volumes host conferences publish journal articles develop arts and performance events and participate in the design of cultural heritage museums in Mexico and Belize.

&ldquoDispossessions in the Americas exemplifies the important cross-disciplinary research that Penn is distinctively positioned to advance,&rdquo said Penn President Amy Gutmann. &ldquoBy examining disparate perspectives from history, anthropology, medicine, and Latin American and Latinx studies, this project will provide new ways to assess our cultural heritage, in order to help us better understand and address the enormous challenges of social injustice. We thank the Mellon Foundation for their support and dedication to shaping a better future for our society.&rdquo

Dr. Falleti, also director of the Latin American and Latinx Studies program, said that the project is particularly urgent.

&ldquoThe killing of George Floyd and the pandemic revealed entrenched issues of systemic racism and inequalities like never before,&rdquo said Dr. Falleti. &ldquoIt&rsquos very important to highlight the historic nature of many of these structural inequities and to put forward proposals that can restore hope and justice. Dispossessions in the Americas is not only about documenting what was lost, but also about decolonizing the way we research and working with communities to propose measures for healing.&rdquo

Steven J. Fluharty, Dean of SAS and Thomas S. Gates, Jr. Professor of Psychology, Pharmacology, and Neuroscience, said, &ldquoThe Mellon grant provides a tremendous opportunity to create research and community partnerships that shift the way we understand our world. This is the power of the liberal arts in action. Tulia and the team she has assembled have an ambitious plan and I am looking forward to seeing the results of this vital work.&rdquo

Dispossessions in the Americas will partner with over 40 institutions and community groups across the Americas, including local collaborations with the Barnes Foundation, the African American Museum in Philadelphia, and the Latinx community of the Center for Culture, Art, Training, and Education (CCATE) of Norristown.

At Penn, collaborators include faculty, curators, undergraduate and graduate students, and postdoctoral fellows from the department of Africana studies, the Latin American and Latinx studies program, the Native American and Indigenous studies program, the gender, sexuality, and women&rsquos studies program, the Penn Cultural Heritage Center of the Penn Museum, and the department of biostatistics, epidemiology, and informatics in the Perelman School of Medicine.Co-investigators include Margaret Bruchac, associate professor of anthropology Ricardo Castillo-Neyra, assistant professor of biostatistics and epidemiology Ann Farnsworth-Alvear, associate professor of history Michael Hanchard, chair and Gustave C. Kuemmerle Professor of Africana Studies Jonathan D. Katz, associate professor of practice of history of art and gender, sexuality, and women&rsquos studies Richard M. Leventhal, professor of anthropology and Michael Z. Levy, associate professor of epidemiology.

Roderick Gilbert: Chief Diversity, Equity and Inclusion Officer, Penn Vet

Roderick J. Gilbert has been appointed Penn&rsquos School of Veterinary Medicine&rsquos first Chief Diversity, Equity and Inclusion Officer. In this new role, Mr. Gilbert will be responsible for shaping Penn Vet&rsquos diversity, equity and inclusion strategy for students and staff establishing relationships with diversity leaders from across the University and within the veterinary profession to build awareness of Penn Vet&rsquos inclusion activities and building upon the School&rsquos foundation of allyship. The appointment of Mr. Gilbert will accelerate Penn Vet&rsquos efforts to embed diversity, equity and inclusion across the School&rsquos teaching, healthcare, and research missions.

Mr. Gilbert will serve on the School&rsquos leadership council, reporting to Andrew Hoffman, the Gilbert S. Kahn Dean of Veterinary Medicine. He will also work with Associate Dean of Faculty Affairs Olena Jacenko to implement Penn Vet&rsquos Plan for Faculty Excellence Through Diversity.

&ldquoEstablishing the Chief Diversity, Equity and Inclusion Officer role is a vital step in our efforts to strengthen and advance Penn Vet&rsquos vision for diversity representation and to cultivate a distinct sense of belonging and community,&rdquo said Dean Hoffman. &ldquoAdding this position to the School&rsquos leadership team reflects our commitment to a culture that reflects our values of diversity, inclusion, and opportunity. His role­&mdashconnecting our students and staff to resources at Penn, to our alumni, and to organized medicine&mdashwill bolster these goals. Roderick is an extraordinary and accomplished leader in organizational diversity and I am thrilled to have him on our team.&rdquo

Prior to assuming the role of Chief Diversity, Equity and Inclusion Officer, Mr. Gilbert served as director of Diversity Pipeline Programs and Outreach for the College of Medicine at the Pennsylvania State University (PSU), where he established a series of academic pathway programs for students underrepresented in academic medical sciences. Before joining PSU in 2017, Mr. Gilbert served as the director for Inclusion and Diversity Strategy for the University of Mississippi Medical Center (UMMC), where he led the development and implementation of the institution&rsquos first comprehensive institutional strategic diversity plan while also increasing the representation of minority medical residents. He was co-chair of UMMC&rsquos Healthcare Disparities Council and chair of the education subcommittee. Prior to that, Mr. Gilbert was the Minority Physician Program Director at Boston University Medical Center, where he more than doubled the number of minority residents and had marked success recruiting minority faculty over the course of four years.

&ldquoI am very excited to join the University of Pennsylvania&rsquos School of Veterinary Medicine as Chief Diversity, Equity and Inclusion Officer,&rdquo said Mr. Gilbert. &ldquoIt is clear to me that Penn Vet&rsquos students, staff and faculty have an unwavering passion for each other, and for the communities they serve. I look forward to harnessing the School&rsquos collective energy to support our next generation of veterinarians and to build an equitable and sustainable world.&rdquo

Herman Beavers: Julie Beren Platt and Marc E. Platt President’s Distinguished Professor of English and Africana Studies

Herman Beavers, professor of English and Africana studies, has been appointed the Julie Beren Platt and Marc E. Platt President&rsquos Distinguished Professor of English and Africana Studies. Dr. Beavers is a distinguished poet and a widely published scholar of 20th-century American and African American literature, especially the novels of Toni Morrison, the traditions of jazz and jazz writing, and the work of 20th-century southern writers. His chapbook, Obsidian Blues, was published in 2017 and a second chapbook, The Vernell Poems, was published in 2019. His latest monograph, Geography and the Political Imaginary in the Novels of Toni Morrison, was published in 2018 by Palgrave Macmillan.

Dr. Beavers received the School of Arts & Sciences Dean&rsquos Award for Mentoring Undergraduate Research in 2017, and he has served in many roles at Penn, including graduate and undergraduate chair of Africana studies and director of the English Department Honors Program. He was recently appointed faculty director of Civic House and the Civic Scholars Program (Almanac June 2, 2020).

Julie Beren Platt, C&rsquo79 and Marc E. Platt, C&rsquo79, parents, established the Julie Beren Platt and Marc E. Platt President&rsquos Distinguished Professorship in 2019. Julie Beren Platt is a University of Pennsylvania Trustee and past president of the Penn Alumni Board of Directors. She is also a member of the Board of Advisors of the Annenberg Center for the Performing Arts and the Trustees&rsquo Council of Penn Women. Her husband, Marc, is a film, theatre, and tv producer. At Penn, Marc served on the Board of Advisors at the Katz Center, and both Marc and Julie serve on the Parent Leadership Committee. Three of their five children are Penn graduates (Samantha C&rsquo05, Jonah C&rsquo08, and Hannah C&rsquo12). Their son, Henry, is a member of the College Class of 2021. They generously support initiatives at Penn, including establishing the Platt Student Performing Arts House and the Julie Beren Platt and Marc Platt Rehearsal Room in Houston Hall, along with endowed undergraduate scholarships, professorships, and the Katz Center.

Marc Henschel: Director, Penn Dental Medicine Advanced Education in General Dentistry Program

Penn Dental Medicine has named Marc Henschel to lead its new Advanced Education in General Dentistry (AEGD) program. Dr. Henschel&rsquos appointment as AEGD Program Director and Associate Professor of Clinical Community Oral Health took effect on January 1, 2021.

&ldquoDr. Henschel brings a passion for working with students as an experienced educator and devoted mentor and also has a strong commitment to serving patients as a compassionate clinician,&rdquo said Morton Amsterdam Dean Mark Wolff. &ldquoWe are pleased to welcome him to Penn Dental Medicine.&rdquo

Dr. Henschel comes to Penn Dental Medicine from the New York University (NYU) College of Dentistry, where he has been part of the full-time faculty since 2015, serving as clinical assistant professor in the department of oral maxillofacial pathology, radiology, and medicine. During this time, he led the NYU Oral Health Center for People with Disabilities as director and was course director for Clinical Management of Patients with Special Needs and the honors program in Clinical Management of Patients with Special Needs. Dr. Henschel started teaching at NYU in 1987. Dr. Henschel earned his DDS from the State University of New York at Buffalo and completed a General Practice Residency at Buffalo Veterans Administration Center.

Penn Dental Medicine&rsquos new AEGD program will be designed to educate AEGD residents in the care of vulnerable and underserved patients. Dental residents will complete clinical dental care within the Personalized Care Suite of the recently opened Care Center for Persons with Disabilities, in the School&rsquos clinical care program for Survivors of Torture in partnership with Philadelphia&rsquos Nationalities Service Center, and in several of the School&rsquos community-based care centers.

In 2020, Penn Dental was awarded a $2.1 million grant over five years from the Health Resources and Services Administration in support of the new AEGD program (Almanac November 10, 2020). Over the next year, the school will develop the program and apply for approval from the Commission on Dental Accreditation. It is anticipated that the inaugural class of residents will begin their studies in July 2022.

Penn Dental Medicine LGBTQ+ Fund

With a major gift from a Penn Dental Medicine alumnus, the school has established the LGBTQ+ Fund with the goal of identifying anti-LGBTQ+ biases in the dental profession and ways to dispel them. The $50,000 leadership gift launches the Fund with the goal of eventually endowing it to support research and programs in perpetuity.

&ldquoA central tenet of Penn Dental Medicine&rsquos mission statement is a commitment to fostering a humanistic environment where all individuals and their integrity are valued, respected, and empowered,&rdquo said Penn Dental Medicine&rsquos Morton Amsterdam Dean Mark Wolff. &ldquoAs an academic community, understanding the root of homophobia, transphobia, and bias related to actual or perceived sexual orientation and/or gender identity requires intentional study.&rdquo

A top priority of the fund will be to explore research and programming that can lead to best-practice models and suggest policy recommendations that can have profession-wide impact through scholarly publications. Types of activities may include internal climate surveys of the Penn Dental Medicine community data collection, analysis, and dissemination of results of attitudinal surveys about comfort levels and concerns development of enduring resources to support current and future students research opportunities to work collaboratively with other offices at the University to explore LGBTQ+ issues more broadly training programs exploring sexual orientation and gender identity bias and offering guidance for managing difficult conversations invited speakers and conferences/symposia focusing on topics related to the LGBTQ+ community and providing resources for education and advocacy so all Penn Dental Medicine community members, regardless of gender identity and sexual orientation, are supported to live authentically.

2021 CDKL5 Program of Excellence Pilot Grant Request for Applications

The Orphan Disease Center (ODC) at the University of Pennsylvania in collaboration with the Loulou Foundation, is pleased to announce the 2021 CDKL5 Program of Excellence Pilot Grant Program. CDKL5 Deficiency Disorder (CDD) is a monogenic, neurodevelopmental disorder characterized by treatment-resistant epilepsy and severe neurodevelopmental delay. The disease is driven by the loss of a kinase called CDKL5 which is responsible for normal neuronal development, synapse formation and signal transmission. The mechanisms by which loss of CDKL5 expression leads to this CNS disorder remain unclear. The gene encoding this protein is located on the X chromosome, with heterozygous females primarily affected. The disease does not exhibit neurodegeneration, and animal models strongly suggest the potential for reversibility. There are no approved therapies and the current standard of care is not effective at managing seizures or improving neurodevelopmental or motor deficits.

ODC and the Loulou Foundation are seeking grant applications that catalyze the discovery or development of treatments and/or a cure for CDKL5 Deficiency Disorder. ODC recognizes, however, that many gaps exist in the basic understanding of CDKL5 and its role in neurological development. Therefore, basic science projects that address these gaps are welcome, provided that they are tethered to the development of a potential therapy. While the RFA is broad in scope, priority will be given to grants that cover the following areas:

Watch the video: Nightly Business Report - Wednesday, April 17, 2013 (July 2022).


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