[FHCx152] National Macaroon Day

‘Aroooooooooooon!

IT’S NATIONAL MACAROON DAY!

Our sources are unreliable this time around. And spelling differences between French and English don’t make this easier. Some swear that a macaroon is that coconutty ball held together by sugar and other tasty stuff. They’re popular with Jewish people on passover because they are one of the few treats that does not require leavening of flour.

Others say that the only real thing that can be called a macaroon is the French Macaron, the meringue-based cookie thing. On the one hand, wikipedia insists that a macaron is not to be confused with a macaroon. But according to John Murrel’s A Daily Exercise for Ladies and Gentlewomen, written in 1617, these are referred to as “French Macaroones.”

Tomato, to-mah-to? Whatever. We wanted to play it safe so we handled both.

Exhibit A: Patrick’s Bakery‘s caramel macaroon. Yes, they spell it with two Os. We picked this one up from Patrick’s when we were there for Coq Au Vin day. A great macaron has a very light crust to it, that comes from the meringue, followed by a delightful center that is typically chewy and pasty. And they do just as good a job with these macarons as they did with their food. Well worth heading in and picking some up! Plus, they’re much bigger than the usual, but it doesn’t sacrifice any flavor.

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Exhibit B: The best coconut macaroon known to humankind. It comes from Salty Tart bakery at the Midtown Global Market in Minneapolis. SP and SPom discovered these amazing macaroons at the Minnesota State Fair at a produce stand several years ago. Since then, we’ve frequently made trips to the MGM for dinner (often at The Rabbit Hole) and made sure to pick up a pack of these amazing things.

Then, as it turned out, Andrew Zimmern talked about them on one of our favorite shows, Best Thing I Ever Ate.

http://www.foodnetwork.com/videos/salty-tarts-coconut-macaroons-0172780.embed.html

We love them. They’re to die for. I mean, look at this.

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Ugh, mouth watering again. So whether you are of the Macaroon Mobsters or of the Macaron Musketeers, today is the day for you!

Anyway, tomorrow is National Hazelnut Cake Day and National Olive Day!

-SPAK

[FHCx151] National Mint Julep Day

Happy Memorial Day!

IT’S NATIONAL MINT JULEP DAY!

Mint Julep was one of those alcoholic beverages that we knew very little about. Hey! I see you there, judging us! Stop thinking that we’re party-poopers just because we aren’t alcoholics!

AK figured that it was basically lemonade but mint instead of lemon. SP thought it involved gin of some sort and that old, rich people in the South drank it. They’re kind of right. Basically, it’s a mojito with bourbon instead of rum. Hooray, Kentucky. We used Wikipedia’s Recipe.

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Powdered sugar, spearmint, water, and bourbon

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1 tsp of sugar, 2 tsp water, and four mint leaves.

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Muddling.

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Crushed ice!

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Add 4 tbsp of bourbon and stir.

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Garnish with a mint leaf!

Big surprise: it wasn’t our favorite. We’re sure you bourbon-lovers out there would really enjoy it, though!

Tomorrow is National Macaroon Day. Macaron? Macaroon?

-SPAK

 

[FHCx150] National Coq Au Vin Day

Chicken! Bwaaaak!

IT’S NATIONAL COQ AU VIN DAY!

Another French cuisine holiday doesn’t faze us at all. We’re in it to win it. This time we chowed down at Patrick’s Bakery in Edina/Richfield and it was terrific. This place is an amazing bistro with an unbelievable bakery. And since we didn’t get enough French food at Salut last Tuesday, we wanted to get something different.

Coq Au Vin is one of those important standards. It’s also one which helped solidify the popularity of Julia Child as one of her breakout recipes in 1961. The dish is more than just chicken/hen and red wine. We’re talking mushrooms, bacon, and all the fixings. No more paragraphs. Pictures of our dinner:

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French Onion Soup sans gratin. It was great.

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The Coq Au Vin

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Beef Bourguignon

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The Sarah Cake: Pistachio and Chocolate Mousse with a dark chocolate ganache. So good.

Tomorrow is National Mint Julep Day!

-SPAK

[FHCx149] National Brisket Day/National Hamburger Day

Somebody had barbecue on the brain…

TODAY IS NATIONAL BRISKET DAY AND NATIONAL HAMBURGER DAY!

It’s Memorial Day Weekend! Most of the people around here are probably out on their annual 3-day bender for no reason other than a Monday off work. And usually what goes along with warmer weather and time off is grilling, smoking, and barbecuing. We’ll see barbecue day on Monday, but today honors two very special meats.

Brisket. And this time around, we don’t mean Jewish-style oven-baked brisket. We mean fall-apart, super-smoky, spice-rubbed meat. Brisket is one of the best parts of cow to eat because it’s got the awesome layer of fat called the point. You smoke it point-side up so that the fat renders down into the muscley meat, called the flat. Thanks to the process of rubbing and smoking, it makes this beautiful red ring at the edge of the meat, just before the bark – the blackened outside from the caramelization of the spices on the outside. If you’re lucky, you’ll be able to score the burnt ends, the chef’s secret of cooking brisket. In short, it’s cut up chunks of the point that aren’t served as part of the brisket. Brisket is magical.

We got our meats today from Famous Dave’s, as Dave Anderson is one of our favorite now-local people of the Twin Cities. He is a suuuuuper nice guy, and he makes great food. Yes, we could have gone to local BBQ favorites like Rack Shack or Aesop’s Table, but we chose Dave for today. The others will get theirs!

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Two-meat platter to share!

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Look at that beautiful smoke ring! Tender and juicy and BBQy.

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The Dave’s Burger. BBQ Sauce on burgers is amazing.

So happy meat-filled meat day to us!

Tomorrow is National Coq Au Vin Day.

-SPAK

[FHCx148] National Grape Popsicle Day

Pop goes the sicle?

IT’S NATIONAL GRAPE POPSICLE DAY!

Mad Men – Popsicle Pitch from Paulo Silva on Vimeo.

You know that you’re reaching summer when you first get that taste of popsicle. Whether you froze it yourself from some juice or you got a store-bought brand, there is something very transcendent about the sensation of a popsicle. For many people, it’s a reminder of a time long, long ago. Summer meant freedom and ice cream and play time. And as it’s getting significantly hotter here, we were happy to enjoy the popsicle.

Wait a sec, Popsicle is the name of the brand? Oh how genericization has let us forget. Yes, just like Crock-Pot and Kleenex, Popsicle is just a trademarked name for an ice pop. But still, many people try to attempt their own kind of popsicle. For example, Snapple tried to beat the world record for popsicle size, and uh… disaster struck. My favorite part of that story is that firefighters hosed away the melted goo while people fled to higher ground. Entertaining, to say the least.

We celebrated with the official brand.

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Refreshing! A good way to cool off without blasting too much AC.

Tomorrow is National Brisket Day and National Hamburger Day!

-SPAK

[FHCx147] National Blueberry Cheesecake Day/National Cherry Dessert Day

Fruity!

IT’S NATIONAL BLUEBERRY CHEESECAKE DAY AND CHERRY DESSERT DAY!

Reading through the food holidays is like listening to Bubba in Forrest Gump. You could probably make a whole calendar of cheesecake days. White Chocolate Cheesecake, Cherry Cheesecake, Blueberry Cheesecake (today), Regular Cheesecake (July 30th), Pumpkin Cheesecake (October 21st)… It’s kind of cheating, don’t you think? Like, hooray for us, I guess, eating all this cheesecake in 2016, but what happened to the slightly more creative ideas?

Regardless, we picked up an itty bitty cheesecake to share, and topped it with some cherry pie filling and some blueberries. A nice little treat without buying a whole cheesecake sampler and going to town on it.

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It was as tasty as it was pretty. And we got to share it! So happy yet-another-cheesecake-day and we’ll see you at the next one.

Tomorrow is National Grape Popsicle Day!

-SPAK

[FHCx146] National Wine Day

Quit your wining!

TODAY IS NATIONAL WINE DAY!

It wasn’t enough to have a Drink Wine Day. But the boozeaholics at the food holiday creation institute (not a real thing) just needed more excuses to drink wine. And not like Moscato day where we can celebrate one particular wine, but just wine in general. Sigh.

Here’s your wine!

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We also enjoyed some steak. The steak was better.

Tomorrow is National Blueberry Cheesecake Day and National Cherry Dessert Day! Apparently [fruit]+[dessert] days garnered disproportionate representation as well.

-SPAK

[FHCx145] National Escargot Day

From France with slug!

IT’S NATIONAL ESCARGOT DAY!

Neither of us are even slightly grossed out by eating snails. That’s kind of a wonder in itself. SP used to eat basically only chicken fingers when he was a kid, but he grew out of that level of pickiness. AK, well… Spaghetti.

Well what these things have in common with today’s holiday is that while the item itself is tasty, it is in fact the vehicle for even more tasty things. In this case, garlicky butter. And lots of it. And something else you may not know – usually the snails are taken out of their shells and cooked, and then placed back into their shells for the presentation. It’s like Lobster Thermidor! We took a trip to Salut Bar Americain in St. Paul for their escargot bourguignonne.

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A true French-style is to give you these tong thingies with which to grab the shells.

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Look at all that parsley-garlic-butter!

The texture of a snail is similar to that of an oyster or mussel. And like oysters and mussels, there’s a lot of slurping that goes on with escargot. Don’t be grossed out; it’s really, really good.

Tomorrow is National Wine Day! Not to be confused with National Drink Wine Day. I guess every day is wine day now…

-SPAK

[FHCx144] National Taffy Day

Today is a Gross day!

IT’S NATIONAL TAFFY DAY!

No, not that taffy is gross. C’mon. We’re talking about a gross.

We managed to tear ourselves away from our 3rd game of Innovation to have some taffy and write this blog before bed. Taffy used to be such a huge thing for SP, especially around the time of the Minnesota State Fair. Over the years, the quality of taffy has seemed to drop (in his mind) until we’re left with the hard, crunchy – yes, crunchy – bits of chalk that people say is taffy.

Taffy should be chewy and delicious. It should explode with juicy deliciousness!

But we settled for some bulk-bought grocery store taffy anyway.

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Assorted flavors!

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The many faces of chewing taffy.

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Your dentist is already getting excited.

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Almost there…

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Final push! Get those molars running!

So happy taffy day!

Tomorrow is National Escargot Day!

-SPAK

[FHCx143] National Vanilla Pudding Day

Vanilla.

IT’S NATIONAL VANILLA PUDDING DAY!

Why is vanilla so commonly overlooked? Since when was it the “default” flavor for things? It’s an exciting flavor. Not as exciting as chocolate, mind you, but can hold its own nonetheless. We’re pretty happy with vanilla.

So we had some friends over (AK insists on calling them SPitney and SPent) and had some dinner with some pudding for dessert.

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Turned out awfully yellow, didn’t it?

Hooray for a sweet treat!

Tomorrow is National Taffy Day.

-SPAK