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Heirloom tomato salsa

Salsa is the Italian and Spanish term for sauce, and in English-speaking countries usually refers to the sauces typical of Mexican cuisine known as salsa picante, particularly those used as dips.

Salsa is often a tomato based sauce or dip which is heterogeneous and includes additional components such as (but not limited to) onions, peppers, beans, corn, and various spices. They are typically piquant, ranging from mild to extremely hot.

Most jarred, canned, and bottled salsa and picante sauces sold in the United States in grocery stores are forms of salsa cruda or pico de gallo, and typically have a semi-liquid texture. To increase their shelf lives, these salsas have been cooked to a temperature of 175 °F (79 °C). Some have added vinegar, and some use pickled peppers instead of fresh ones. Tomatoes are strongly acidic by nature, which, along with the heat processing, is enough to stabilize the product for grocery distribution.

Picante sauce of the American type is often thinner in consistency than what is labelled as “salsa”. Picante is a Spanish adjective meaning “piquant”, which derives from picar (“to sting”), referring to the feeling caused by salsas on one’s tongue.

Many grocery stores in the United States and Canada also sell “fresh” refrigerated salsa, usually in plastic containers. Fresh salsa is usually more expensive and has a shorter shelf life than canned or jarred salsa. It may or may not contain vinegar.

Taco sauce is a condiment sold in American grocery stores and fast food Tex-Mex outlets. Taco sauce is similar to its Mexican counterpart in that it is smoothly blended, having the consistency of thin ketchup. It is made from tomato paste instead of whole tomatoes and lacks the seeds and chunks of vegetables found in picante sauce.

While some salsa fans do not consider jarred products to be real salsa cruda, their widespread availability and long shelf life have been credited with much of salsa’s enormous popularity in states outside of the southwest, especially in areas where salsa is not a traditional part of the cuisine. In 1992, the dollar total of salsa sales in the United States exceeded those of tomato ketchup.

From Wikipedia.

Almond lemon cookies

In the United States and Canada a cookie is a small, flat, sweet baked treat, usually containing flour, eggs, sugar, and either butter, cooking oil or another oil or fat, and often including ingredients such as raisins, oats, chocolate chips or nuts. Cookies may be mass-produced, made in small bakeries or home-made. Cookie variants include using two thin cookies with a creme filling (e.g., Oreos) and dipping the cookie in chocolate or another sweet coating. Cookies are often served with beverages such as milk, coffee or tea.

In most other English-speaking countries cookies are called biscuits.

Chip Cookies – In most English-speaking countries outside North America, including the United Kingdom, the most common word for this type of treat is biscuit and the term cookie is often used to describe only certain types of biscuits. However, in many regions both terms are used.In Scotland the term cookie is sometimes used to describe a plain bun.

According to the Scottish National Dictionary, its Scottish name derives from the diminutive form (+ suffix -ie) of the word cook, giving the Middle Scots cookie, cooky or cu(c)kie. It also gives an alternative etymology, from the Dutch word koekje, the diminutive of koek, a cake. There was much trade and cultural contact across the North Sea between the Low Countries and Scotland during the Middle Ages, which can also be seen in the history of curling and, perhaps, golf.

A dish full of cookies – Cookies are most commonly baked until crisp or just long enough that they remain soft, but some kinds of cookies are not baked at all. Cookies are made in a wide variety of styles, using an array of ingredients including sugars, spices, chocolate, butter, peanut butter, nuts, or dried fruits. The softness of the cookie may depend on how long it is baked.

A general theory of cookies may be formulated this way. Despite its descent from cakes and other sweetened breads, the cookie in almost all its forms has abandoned water as a medium for cohesion. Water in cakes serves to make the base (in the case of cakes called “batter”) as thin as possible, which allows the bubbles – responsible for a cake’s fluffiness – to better form. In the cookie, the agent of cohesion has become some form of oil. Oils, whether they be in the form of butter, egg yolks, vegetable oils, or lard, are much more viscous than water and evaporate freely at a much higher temperature than water. Thus a cake made with butter or eggs instead of water is far denser after removal from the oven.

Oils in baked cakes do not behave as soda tends to in the finished result. Rather than evaporating and thickening the mixture, they remain, saturating the bubbles of escaped gases from what little water there might have been in the eggs, if added, and the carbon dioxide released by heating the baking powder. This saturation produces the most texturally attractive feature of the cookie, and indeed all fried foods: crispness saturated with a moisture (namely oil) that does not sink into it.

From Wikipedia.

Five new sandwiches to try

A sandwich is a food item consisting of one or more types of food, such as vegetables, sliced cheese or meat, placed on or between slices of bread, or more generally any dish wherein two or more pieces of bread serve as a container or wrapper for some other food. The sandwich was originally a portable food item or finger food which began to be popular in the Western World. Today sandwiches in various versions are found worldwide.

Sandwiches are a popular type of lunch food, taken to work, school, or picnics to be eaten as part of a packed lunch. The bread can be used plain, or it can be coated with one or more condiments such as mayonnaise or mustard to enhance the flavours and texture. As well as being homemade, sandwiches are also widely sold in restaurants and cafes, and are sometimes served hot as well as cold. There are both savoury sandwiches, such as deli meat sandwiches, and sweet sandwiches, such as a peanut butter and jelly sandwich.

The sandwich is considered to be the namesake of John Montagu, 4th Earl of Sandwich, because of the claim that he was the eponymous inventor of this food combination. The Wall Street Journal has described it as Britain’s “biggest contribution to gastronomy”.

Making and drying pasta

Pasta is a staple food of traditional Italian cuisine, with the first reference dating to 1154 in Sicily. It is also commonly used to refer to the variety of pasta dishes. Typically, pasta is a noodle made from an unleavened dough of a durum wheat flour mixed with water or egg and formed into sheets or various shapes, then cooked and served in any number of dishes. It can be made with flour from other cereals or grains, and eggs may be used instead of water. Pastas may be divided into two broad categories, dried (pasta secca) and fresh (pasta fresca).

Most dried pasta is commercially produced via an extrusion process. Fresh pasta was traditionally produced by hand, sometimes with the aid of simple machines, but today many varieties of fresh pasta are also commercially produced by large-scale machines, and the products are widely available in supermarkets.

Both dried and fresh pasta come in a number of shapes and varieties, with 310 specific forms known variably by over 1300 names having been documented.In Italy the names of specific pasta shapes or types often vary with locale. For example, the form cavatelli is known by 28 different names depending on region and town. Common forms of pasta include long shapes, short shapes, tubes, flat shapes and sheets, miniature soup shapes, filled or stuffed, and specialty or decorative shapes.

As a category in Italian cuisine, both fresh and dried pastas are classically used in one of three kinds of prepared dishes. As pasta asciutta (or pastasciutta) cooked pasta is plated and served with a complementary sauce or condiment. A second classification of pasta dishes is pasta in brodo in which the pasta is part of a soup-type dish. A third category is pasta al forno in which the pasta incorporated into a dish that is subsequently baked.

Pasta is generally a simple dish, but comes in large varieties because it is a versatile food item. Some pasta dishes are served as a first course in Italy because the portion sizes are small and simple. Pasta is also prepared in light lunches, such as salads or large portion sizes for dinner. It can be prepared by hand or food processor and served hot or cold. Pasta sauces vary in taste, color and texture. When choosing which type of pasta and sauce to serve together, there is a general rule regarding compatibility.

Simple sauces like pesto are ideal for long and thin strands of pasta while tomato sauce combines well with thicker pastas. Thicker and chunkier sauces have the better ability to cling onto the holes and cuts of short, tubular, twisted pastas. The ratio of sauce to pasta varies according to taste and texture, however traditionally the sauce should not be excessive as the pasta itself should still be tasted. The extra sauce left on the plate after all of the pasta is eaten is often mopped up with a piece of bread.

A brief history of waffles

A waffle is a leavened batter or dough cooked between two plates, patterned to give a characteristic size, shape and surface impression. There are many variations based on the type of waffle iron and recipe used. Waffles are eaten throughout the world, particularly in Belgium, France, Netherlands, Germany, Poland, Hungary, Scandinavia, United States, with over a dozen regional varieties in Belgium alone.

The word “waffle” first appears in the English language in 1725: “Waffles. Take flower, cream…” It is directly derived from the Dutch wafel, which itself derives from the Middle Dutch wafele.

While the Middle Dutch wafele is first attested to at the end of the 13th century, it is preceded by the French walfre in 1185; both are considered to share the same Frankish etymological root wafla. Depending on the context of the use ofwafla, it either means honeycomb or cake.

Alternate spellings throughout contemporary and medieval Europe include waffe, wafre, wafer, wâfel, waufre, iauffe, gaufre, goffre, gauffre, wafe, waffel, wåfe, wāfel, wafe, vaffel, and våffla.

Waffles are preceded, in the early Middle Ages, around the period of the 9th–10th centuries, with the simultaneous emergence of fer à hosties / hostieijzers (communion wafer irons) and moule à oublies(wafer irons).While the communion wafer irons typically depicted imagery of Jesus and his crucifixion, the moule à oublies featured more trivial Biblical scenes or simple, emblematic designs. The format of the iron itself was almost always round and considerably larger than those used for communion.

The oublie was, in its basic form, composed only of grain flour and water – just as was the communion wafer. It took until the 11th century, as a product of The Crusades bringing new culinary ingredients to Western Europe, for flavorings such as orange blossom water to be added to the oublies; however, locally sourced honey and other flavorings may have already been in use before that time.

Oublies, not formally named as such until ca. 1200, spread throughout northwestern continental Europe, eventually leading to the formation of the oublieurs guild in 1270. These oublieurs/obloyers were responsible for not only producing the oublies but also for a number of other contemporaneous and subsequent pâtisseries légères (light pastries), including the waffles that were soon to arise.

From Wikipeda.

Best tomato sauce recipe

Tomato sauce refers to any of a very large number of sauces made primarily from tomatoes, usually to be served as part of a dish (rather than as a condiment). Tomato sauces are common for meat and vegetables, but they are perhaps best known as sauces for pasta dishes.

Tomatoes have a rich flavor, high liquid content, very soft flesh which breaks down easily, and the right composition to thicken into a sauce when they are cooked (without the need of thickeners such as roux). All of these qualities make them ideal for simple and appealing sauces. The simplest tomato sauces consist just of chopped tomato flesh cooked in a little olive oil and simmered until it loses its raw flavor, and seasoned with salt.

Optionally tomato skins may be scalded and peeled according to texture (especially thicker pelati paste varieties) and tomato seeds may be removed to avoid their bitterness.

Water (or another, more flavorful liquid such as stock or wine) is sometimes added to keep it from drying out too much. Onion and garlic are almost always sweated or sautéed at the beginning before the tomato is added. Other seasonings typically include basil, oregano, parsley, and possibly some spicy red pepper or black pepper. Ground or chopped meat is also common. In countries such as Australia, New Zealand, South Africa and the United Kingdom, the term “tomato sauce” is used to describe a condiment type table sauce similar to that known in the United States as “ketchup.” In some of these countries, both terms are used for the condiment.

The use of tomato sauce with pasta appears for the first time in the Italian cookbook L’Apicio moderno, by Roman chef Francesco Leonardi, edited in 1790.

Favourite fresh recipes

Lox is a fillet of brined salmon. Traditionally, lox is served on a bagel with cream cheese, and is usually garnished with tomato, sliced red onion, and sometimes capers.

The American English word lox is derived from the German word for Salmon, “Lachs”, which may ultimately derive from the Indo-European word for salmon, *laks-. The word lox has cognates in numerous European languages that also derive from one of the Indo-European languages. For example, cured salmon in Scotland and Scandinavian countries is known by different versions of the name Gravlax or gravad laks.

  • Nova or Nova Scotia salmon, sometimes called Nova lox, is cured with a milder brine and then cold-smoked. The name dates from a time when much of the salmon in New York City came from Nova Scotia. Today, however, the name refers to the milder brining, as compared to regular lox (or belly lox), and the fish may come from other waters or even be raised on farms.
  • Scotch or Scottish-style salmon. A mixture of salt and sometimes sugars, spices, and other flavorings is applied directly to the meat of the fish; this is called “dry-brining” or “Scottish-style.” The brine mixture is then rinsed off, and the fish is cold-smoked.
  • Nordic-style smoked salmon. The fish is salt-cured and cold-smoked.
  • Gravad lax or gravlax. This is a traditional Nordic means of preparing salmon. The salmon is coated with a spice mixture, which often includes dill, sugars, salt, and spices like juniper berry. It is often served with a sweet mustard-dill sauce.

Other similar brined and smoked fish products are also popular in delis and fish stores, particularly in Chicago and the New York City boroughs, such as chubs, sable (smoked cod), smoked sturgeon, smoked whitefish, and kippered herring.