[FHCx91] National Oranges and Lemons Day/National Tater Day/National Clams on the Half Shell Day

Rang the bells…

IT’S NATIONAL ORANGES AND LEMONS DAY AND NATIONAL TATER DAY AND NATIONAL CLAMS ON THE HALFSHELL DAY!

It’s not like citrus is special right now. I’m not even sure if the holiday actually has to do with the fruits, so much as it does the English Nursery Rhyme. Public executions, child sacrifice, Henry VIII’s many wives… Right? So much sense being made here. Well since we are referencing bells, we took our business to a new local joint, from the makers of one of our favorites (Butcher and the Boar), called 4 Bells!

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For Oranges and Lemons, SP‘s favorite cocktail, the Sidecar. Cognac, Grand Marnier, and Lemon Juice.

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Heroes on a half shell, clam power!

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AK got the Fried Chicken Cobb Salad. Mmmmm.

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SP ordered the Whole Fried Snapper, and made it through less than half of it. It was so good. Asian-y chili glaze and black beans and ughhhh so good.

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Oh hey it’s tater day!

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For dessert: Chocolate Bourbon Pecan Pie. Thankfully it wasn’t that boozey, but it tasted like a Cinnamon Roll had a baby with Pecan Pie. Amazing. Would order again.

Who would have thought that one restaurant could have all 3 of the holidays, and thematically be appropriate as well?? Thanks, 4 Bells! We had an awesome time.

Tomorrow is National Sourdough Day.

-SPAK

[FHCx90] National Turkey Neck Soup Day

The neck?

TODAY IS NATIONAL TURKEY NECK SOUP DAY!

Alright. 90 days in and we’re getting pretty damn specific. Can’t just be “soup” or even “meat soup” or even “turkey soup.” Has to be the neck. Fine.

So let’s say you roast a turkey. Big family function, huge bird, everyone’s happy. Well if you started from a whole bird, it means you’ve got a lot of giblets to take care of. Gizzards, livers, neck bits. It’s a bunch of meat that you can’t really assemble together without something to provide cohesion. So you take that, you take the bones, and you make yourself a soup! In this case, SPad made the soup for us.

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Made with barley and carrots and mushrooms… mmm… It’s an especially good soup for a cold, drizzly, gloomy day like today. Hunker down and have some soup!

Tomorrow is a biggie: Clams on the Half Shell Day, Tater Day, and Oranges and Lemons Day.

-SPAK

[FHCx89] National Lemon Chiffon Cake Day

Phew, finding this one was a struggle!

IT’S NATIONAL LEMON CHIFFON CAKE DAY!

We had a few issues trying to secure a slice of lemon chiffon cake. Neither of us were familiar with what made a cake specifically chiffon’d, so we had to look it up. The gist of it is that a chiffon cake is a combination of a batter-type cake and a foam/sponge-type cake. So wait, that will make it airy and fluffy, as well as moist and hearty? Count us in! But there’s more! According to wikipedia (which we all can trust, right?), “Chiffon cakes tend to be lower in saturated fat than butter cakes, potentially making them healthier than their butter-heavy counterparts.” Boom!

The next difficult part was finding a place that has a lemon chiffon cake. Everywhere we looked, there was lemon cake, chiffon cake, lemon chiffon pie… no LCC! What gives? Our first real lead was a local upstart cupcakery/cakery by the name of Amy’s Cupcake Shoppe. She makes a beautiful-sounding Lemon Chiffon Cupcake. And even though we didn’t get one of hers, we have to give this shout-out because in our attempt to contact her, she was very prompt and very sweet! Problem? She was out of town! I’m sure that someday we will definitely turn to Amy’s for some goods.

Our other lead was the Highland Cafe and Bakery. Though the cake isn’t listed on their site, someone made mention of it in a Yelp review, and one thing led to another. They confirmed for us that they had the cake and all we had to do was pick up a slice! And here it is:

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Exactly as the hype led us to believe. Dreamy creamy, still fluffy and slightly spongey, moist throughout. Awesome notes of citrus without being overpowering. Hooray!

Tomorrow is Turkey Neck Soup Day.

 

…yep.

-SPAK

[FHCx88] National Black Forest Cake Day/Something On A Stick Day

TODAY IS SOMETHING ON A STICK DAY AND NATIONAL BLACK FOREST CAKE DAY!

There’s lots of foods to have on a stick. Corn dogs, cotton candy, pickles, or frankly anything at the State Fair. Today, to celebrate our wooden cylindrical utensil friends, we had some fruit on a stick!

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Mmmmm. Tasty fruit servings…

For Black Forest Cake, we couldn’t travel all the way to the Schwarzwald. Then again, the cake isn’t even really named after the region, so much as it is named after the liquor that’s named after the region, the Schwarzwalder Kirschwasser. It’s basically cherry shnapps. It’s hard to say no to any kind of chocolate cake/kuchen/torte. We decided on having dinner at the Black Forest Inn in Minneapolis where we could enjoy some schnitzel and cake. Look upon the beauty!

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Veal Schnitzel

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Cherry chocolate!

It’s not the kind of cake that turns you into a lederhosen-wearing beer swiller, but it is up there as far as flavor sensations. The cake and the cream go so well together, and the cherry bits add little bits of pop to the texture. It’s also a little boozey, which can be fun for some.

Tomorrow is another cake day, Lemon Chiffon Cake!

-SPAK

[FHCx87] National Baked Ham with Pineapple Day/National Spanish Paella Day

No bunnies and eggs…

IT’S NATIONAL BAKED HAM WITH PINEAPPLE DAY AND NATIONAL SPANISH PAELLA DAY!

There’s something about the time of Easter that coincides with a spike in Ham sales. If there’s one dish that should celebrate the resurrection of one’s deity-person, wouldn’t you think that you would pick something that isn’t blatantly against that deity-person’s religion? Well the Christians are at it again, picking holidays to celebrate with seemingly randomly decided foods.

We got our baked ham from Honeybaked Ham. They have a storefront pretty close to our house, so SP waited in line patiently for a pound of meat. On Friday, that line was out the door with people gearing up for their Sunday holiday. And while it was just a Sunday for us, it was still tasty. AK peeled, cored, and chopped the pineapple for us and we had a quaint lunch.

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Nothing says sacred like this combo, am I right?

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Just look at how well this resembles the Easter holiday!

Well in another area where there’s a wealth of Christianity, there was another dish that was decided for March 27th completely unrelated to Easter. Spanish Paella, invented by the Valencians, is basically a Spanish Jambalaya. Or maybe Jambalaya is the Creole Paella. Rice, saffron, and some sort of meat. Apparently it takes you back to your childhood. It’s really hard to go wrong with that combination, especially when SPom offered to make it for today’s holiday.

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Recipe was courtesy of my cousin’s wife’s father.

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Look at this beautiful Paella pan!

It was just so good. AK pretty much melted. It’s got the multitude of textures between chicken and shrimp, creamy rice, peppers… Every bite you get a whole bunch of flavor and your mouth initially just POPS. As you chew down, your tastebuds start to decode what is going on. That saffron smell that floats into your nostrils and the heartiness of the Spanish rice… Man! We want more! Thanks, SPom.

Tomorrow is Something-on-a-Stick Day and Black Forest Cake Day!

-SPAK

[FHCx86] National Nougat Day/National Spinach Day

One of these things is good for you…

IT’S NATIONAL NOUGAT DAY AND NATIONAL SPINACH DAY!

AK and I have a concert to go to this evening: Alan Cumming at the MN Orchestra. So while we are downtown we figured we’d hammer out these two holidays. And with the candy-related, our minds often go to Candyland. 

Well we walked in and found that they had nothing with nougat! Chocolate and nuts as far as the eye could see, but no creamy nougat to be had. We left, dejected, and turned to an old friend: the vending machine. And we got one of the most classic nougat candy bars!

  
Mmmmm caramely nougat goodness. After our treat we decided to check out the Macy’s Flower Show. Very pretty and very smelly. 

  
For dinner before our show, we ate at The News Room. AK was in charge of the Popeyeing and ordered a beautiful steak and spinach salad. SP ordered a pork tenderloin. We should have drawn anchors on our biceps. 

  
  
There was an old story that said that the reason that spinach was chosen as Popeye’s power food was an error in place value for the amount of iron in the green. A scientist supposedly made the mistake of noting 10 times as much iron as there actually was! Well recently the story was disproven. It was cute while it lasted. But it still gave us power! Eat your veggies!

Tomorrow is Baked Ham with Pineapple Day as well as Spanish Paella Day! Talk about effort. 

-SPAK

 

[FHCx85] International (Swedish) Waffle Day/National Lobster Newburg Day!

TODAY IS INTERNATIONAL WAFFLE DAY AND NATIONAL LOBSTER NEWBURG DAY!

In the US, Waffle Day happens in August, on the anniversary of the patent of the Waffle Iron. So we’ll see you guys in 5 months on that.

However, in Sweden, they celebrate the Feast of the Annunciation by eating waffles. I guess similar to the whole Candlemas thing, Mardi Gras whatnot. We aren’t Catholic, but we’re assuming that most religions are just as much about food as we are. And as SP had the day off from school, we had some waffles at Brunch using our favorite Kodiak mix. As usual, the mix provides an amazing fluffy golden waffle while packing a huge protein punch and limiting calories from fat and sugar.

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The other part of today was Lobster Newburg. Our guess is that if you live on the East coast, you already know what this is. Invented by a sea captain in New York, this dish is based on the premise that lobster meat needs more butter and cream than you could possibly dip it in. It involves cooking a sauce from cream, butter, eggs, and sherry, and mixing lobster meat in it. We used this recipe to get ourselves a lobster fix.

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This is the goop.

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The goop plus some (extremely expensive in the Midwest) real lobster meat

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Served on toasted buns!

It’s really, really good. It has a nice kick from the cayenne pepper and a milky creaminess that mixes well with the tenderness of the lobster. Were it not for the inaccessibility of lobster in the area, and the massive caloric punch to the gut of using 1/2 cup of cream, we’d probably make this one more often. But as many of the food holidays so far have done for us, it was an interesting experiment into a food neither of us had heard of, let alone eaten before.

Tomorrow is National Nougat Day and National Spinach Day!

-SPAK

[FHCx84] National Chocolate Covered Raisin Day

A respite from the double-duty days this week:

IT’S NATIONAL CHOCOLATE COVERED RAISIN DAY!

SP has always been a fan of raisins. Soft, chewy, sugary lumps of purple… But some people, like SPam and AK, are not so much fans. Across the world, even, people don’t like raisins. What gives?

Well that’s when companies like Nestle or Brach’s come along and say “HEY! We never shoulda fired George Newman! Let’s cover raisins with chocolate!” And there you have it. Add chocolate and suddenly we’re cool.

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Mmmmm.

Tomorrow is Waffle Day (thanks to Sweden, as the US Waffle Day is 8/24) and Lobster Newburg day!

-SPAK

[FHCx83] National Chip and Dip Day/National Melba Toast Day

It’s a chip and dip!

TODAY IS NATIONAL CHIP AND DIP DAY AND NATIONAL MELBA TOAST DAY!

Oh boy are we excited for today! Chips are awesome. Dips are awesome. Let’s make a mash-up (and we’ll throw some Melba Toast in to help with the dip!).

We present: The SPAK Chip and Dip Experience, March 2016:

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Three dips represented: AK‘s Beautiful Bruschetta, SPad’s Excellent Eggplant Dip, and SPom’s Outstanding Onion Dip

Alright alright, here are the recipes…

AK‘s Beautiful Bruschetta:

  • 5 Roma Tomatoes, chopped
  • 2 Garlic cloves, chopped
  • 4 oz fresh mozzarella, chopped
  • 6 leaves basil, chopped fine
  • 2 Tbsp Olive oil
  • 1 Tbsp Vinegar
  • Salt and Black Pepper, to taste

Basically you just mix it all up once everything is chopped. It’s HEAVENLY. We could eat Bruschetta day in and day out, despite the fact that neither SP nor AK typically enjoy raw tomatoes! That’s the power of this dish.

SPad’s Excellent Eggplant Dip (made by SPad himself for the holiday, thanks SPad!):

  • 3 large eggplants, halved lengthwise
  • 1 large green bell pepper, chopped fine
  • 1 bunch scallions, minced
  • 1/2 tsp Liquid Smoke
  • 3 Tbsp Vegetable Oil
  • Salt and Pepper, to taste

First you have to “overcook” the eggplants in the microwave after drizzling with oil. Make sure to cover it in wax paper first! Alternatively you can roast or grill them in foil. Once softened and fully cooked, scoop the flesh out of the skin and let it cool. Then you can finely chop/mince the flesh of the eggplant. Blend in the remaining ingredients and let it chill in the refrigerator at least overnight.

This dish has been a hallmark of holiday hors d’oeuvres in the SPamily household. Thanksgiving, Passover, you name it, this eggplant dip is there. The recipe, handed down in SP‘s paternal family, will make you love the eggplant more than any other dish. Serve it with crackers or chips or melba toast. This dip is on point.

SPom’s Outstanding Onion Dip (made by SP for the holiday. Sorry SPom.):

  • 8 oz light sour cream
  • 5.33 oz non-fat plain greek yogurt (We used Chobani)
  • Goodman’s Onion Soup Mix – alternatively, the Lipton one is also amazing because it has bigger onion bits in it.

This is the smallest recipe represented here today, but it’s the most popular dip for chips around these parts. Whenever there are cold cuts dinners, this dip is often found sitting next to some Old Dutch Rip-L chips. It’s really up to you how much of the onion soup mix you want to put in but in this house we like to lay it on there (AK, excitedly: “Whole thing! Whole thing! Whole thing!”). Make sure you’ve got some water on hand to help counteract the saltiness of the soup mix! This dip is creamy and flavorful and leaves the most amazing taste in your mouth. Stop reading this and go make some!!

Tomorrow is National Chocolate Covered Raisins Day, much to AK‘s displeasure.

SPAK

[FHCx82] World Water Day/National Bavarian Crepes Day

Drink up!

WORLD WATER DAY AND NATIONAL BAVARIAN CREPE DAY ARE TODAY APPARENTLY!

If you do a Google image search of “Bavarian crepe day,” a slew of pictures come up (including one that is just a TV screen that says “DIABETES”…?) The internet sure does seem to insist that Bavarian crepes are a thing, but we had a hard time pinning down what exactly makes a crepe “Bavarian.” When AK asked the single Bavarian person she knows for tips, they had no idea what she was talking about. Wikipedia claims that palatschinken are “Austro-Bavarian,” so we drew some inspiration from that. Ultimately we took a bit of creative license and made a conglomeration of various internet sources.

Since we still don’t have proper crepe-making apparatus, it was time again to turn to the pre-packaged crepe wrappers from our local produce section. We already had homemade jam on hand from some SPamily friends (the same ones we get our honey from! Thanks again, if you’re reading this!) so the only thing left was to make some “Bavarian” cream.

SPom kindly located for us a recipe from the Sprinkled With Jules blog, wherein the blogger admits that this recipe is kind of cheating:

                   “Normally bavarian cream is made with lots of eggs, and involves heating the mixture.                                       Who’s got time for that? No thanks!” – Blog lady who gets us

First, the cream!

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Beaten until stiff peaks form. MAD PROPZ TO LOYAL READER AND FRIEND OF AK, ALI, FOR THE HOUSEWARMING MIXER! Our house is now warm and our un-fatigued arms thank you.

It took several minutes on the highest speed, but it thickened up nicely. Then we added the sugar-free pudding mix and, subsequently, milk.

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The plot, and also the cream, thickens!

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Finished cream. Also pictured: various jams/jellies. This time, we stuck with the red currant.

And now, assembly! We had different philosophies on this one.

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SP put both jam and cream on the inside and wrapped it into a dessert burrito of sorts.

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AK spread only jam on the inside, rolled it up tightly, and dolloped some cream on top.

Rather delicious.

Oh yeah — it’s Water Day, too!

SP is experiencing stomach buggyness again, which undoubtedly means AK is next, so water is currently even more important to us than usual. Drink it plain, put tea in it, mix in your strange powders… whatever it takes! Just drink it!

Also, in the wake of the water problems in Flint, we are extra grateful to have access to potable water. Here’s an article detailing various ways you can help. Or, I suppose you can just donate to the Clean Water Initiative.

We’ll be here tomorrow to celebrate Chip and Dip/Melba Toast!

-SPAK