America is a melting pot that was formed by the hard-working people who migrated here from lands as far east as China and Japan, as far north as Russia and Europe. They utilized American supplies and prepared them in ways that they had prepared them in their homeland. True American food is a collection of these culinary traditions passed down from generation to generation”.Each culture brought its cooking methods, food, and spices to America. They farmed the soil, hunted game, and incorporated their ways into the food of America.
The earliest known reference to French toast is found in the Apicius, a collection of recipes dating to the 1st century, where the dish is described as simply “aliter dulcia” (“another sweet dish”. The recipe says to “Break [slice] fine white bread, crust removed, into rather large pieces which soak in milk [and beaten eggs] fry in oil, cover with honey and serve”.The usual French name is pain perdu.It may also be called pain doré, “golden bread”.
An Austrian and Bavarian term is pafese or pofese, from zuppa pavese, referring to Pavia, Italy.The word “soup” in the dish’s name refers to bread soaked in a liquid, a sop. In Hungary, it is commonly called bundáskenyér (lit. “furry bread”)
French toast was served in railroad dining cars in the early and mid-20th century. Santa Fe was especially known for its French toast.
So, if the French did not invent this breakfast treat, who did? According to some, it was a man named Joseph French. He created the dish in 1724 and advertised it as “French Toast” because he forgot to add the apostrophe to his name.
Still, others say that there are recipes from the early 5th century AD and the dish we now know as French toast existed as early as the Roman Empire/ Romans would soak bread in a milk and egg mixture, then fry it in oil or butter.
Others believe that French toast was created by medieval European cooks who needed to use every bit of food they could find to feed their families. They knew day-old bread could be revived when moistened and heated. They added the eggs for additional moisture and protein.
The phrase “French Toast” first appeared in print in the Encyclopedia of American Food and Drink in 1871. But it is known by a variety of names including German toast, eggy bread, French-fried bread, gypsy toast, Poor Knights of Windsor, Spanish toast, nun’s toast, and pain perdu which means “lost bread” in French.
Miss baking your favorite foods because flour and other pantry items are in short supply due to the virus crisis? Have you thought about baking with alternative flours in place of all-purpose flour, such as whole wheat flour, grain flour, bean flour, nut flour, rice flour or coconut flour to name just a few? Any number of them will work as a thickener for gravy and nut flours make delicious pie crusts. Grain flours such as millet, amaranth, quinoa, and teft are high in nutrition and are excellent in muffin, pancake, crepes, cookies and brownie recipes. Coconut flour is excellent for cakes and quick breads. Coconut flour requires more liquid and eggs in a recipe than you may usually use in your all-purpose flour recipes. In the weeks to come, I will be sharing some of my alternative flour recipes with you.
Lemon Pound Cake
6 large eggs, at room temperature
1 cup sugar or granular sugar substitute
1 cup coconut flour
2 tablespoons vegetable oil
2 tablespoons lemon juice
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/4 teaspoon baking powder
1/4 teaspoon baking soda
Lemon syrup, recipe below
Preheat the oven to 350°F (177°C). Line one 9 x 5-inch loaf pan with parchment paper.
In a large mixing bowl, whisk together all the ingredients.
Pour all of the batter into the loaf pan and place it in the oven.
Bake for 45-50 minutes, until the top, is firm to the touch and a toothpick inserted in the middle of the loaf and comes out clean. Place the pan on a wire rack and let the loaf cool completely in the pan.
Once completely cool, about two hours later, place the cake on a plate and poke a few holes in the top with a cake tester or fork.
Drizzle the lemon syrup over the top of the cake.
Store pound cake in a container in the refrigerator for up to 7 days.
1/2 cup granulated sugar or sugar substitute
1/4 cup of water
Zest of 1 lemon
1/4 cup fresh lemon juice
Bring to a boil the sugar, water, and zest in a small saucepan. Add the fresh lemon juice. Let cool to room temperature and pour over cake
4 large eggs at room temperature
1 cup coconut milk, unsweetened
2 tablespoon vegetable oil
1/2 cup granulated sugar or sugar substitute
1 tablespoon vanilla extract
3/4 cup coconut flour
1/4 teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon baking soda
1 cup chopped fresh strawberries
Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F. Spray 12 muffin cups with cooking spray.
In a medium bowl, beat the eggs using a hand whisk. Whisk in the remaining ingredients one by one., adding the strawberries last.
Using a 4-tablespoon ice cream scoop, transfer the batter to the prepared muffin cups, filling them 3/4 full.
Bake until the muffins are set and a toothpick inserted in their center comes out clean, about 20 minutes.
Cool the muffins 5 minutes in the pan on a cooling rack, then transfer the muffins directly to the cooling rack to cool 10 more minutes before serving.
Banana Walnut Pancakes
1 cup store-bought gluten-free pancake mix
Or make your own:
Gluten-Free Pancakes Dry Mix 1 1/2 cups (210 g) basic gluten-free flour 9any kind), (140 grams superfine white rice flour + 45 grams potato starch + 25 grams tapioca starch/flour) 1 1/2 teaspoons baking powder, 1/4 teaspoon baking soda, 1/2 teaspoon kosher salt
2 tablespoons brown sugar
¼ teaspoon cinnamon
1 cup milk or buttermilk
1 tablespoon vegetable oil
3 ripe bananas, mashed
1/2 cup chopped walnuts, toasted
Maple syrup for serving
In a medium bowl, combine pancake mix sugar, and cinnamon.
Stir in egg, milk, oil, bananas, and walnuts; until well combined (batter will be slightly lumpy).
Heat lightly oiled grill or frying pan over medium heat. Pour batter onto the griddle, using approximately 1/4 cup for each pancake. Cook until pancakes are golden brown on both sides; serve hot with maple syrup.
2 tablespoon extra-virgin olive oil, divided
1 – 4 oz carton unsweetened applesauce
2 cups thinly sliced red cabbage
1 small red onion, thinly sliced
2 teaspoons minced fresh thyme, or 1/2 teaspoon dried
2 tablespoons pure maple syrup
4 – 1/2-inch-thick center-cut boneless pork loin chops, (about 1 pound), trimmed of all fat
¼ teaspoon salt
¼ teaspoon freshly ground pepper, plus more to taste
⅓ cup flour
1 large egg, lightly beaten
2 tablespoons Dijon mustard
1 1/2 cups panko breadcrumbs
Preheat oven to 475 degrees F. Set a wire rack on a foil-lined baking sheet and coat with cooking spray.
Heat 1 tablespoon oil in a large nonstick skillet over medium-high heat. Add applesauce, cabbage, onion and thyme, and cook, stirring occasionally, until the mixture begins to soften, 6 to 8 minutes. Stir in maple syrup. Reduce heat to low and cook until the cabbage is tender, about 5 minutes more. Remove from heat, cover and keep warm.
Meanwhile, place each pork chop between 2 pieces of plastic wrap. Pound with the smooth side of a meat mallet or a heavy saucepan until 1/4 inch thick. Season the pork on both sides with salt and pepper. Place flour on a large plate. Whisk egg and mustard in a shallow dish. Mix panko and 1 tablespoon oil in another shallow dish. Dredge the pork in the flour, dip in the egg mixture, then dredge in the panko. Place on the wire rack. Coat both sides with cooking spray.
Bake until the pork is cooked through and the breadcrumbs are just beginning to brown, about 10 minutes. Season the cabbage mixture with pepper and serve with the cutlets.
Seasoned Baked Rutabaga Wedges
1 rutabaga, peeled and sliced into wedges
1 tablespoon olive oil
Kosher salt and coarse black pepper
1 teaspoon garlic powder
1 teaspoon paprika
1 teaspoon onion powder
Preheat oven to 450 °F. Soak the rutabaga wedges in cold water for several hours. Drain and dry on paper towels.
Cover a sheet pan with foil and coat with cooking spray. In a large ziplock bag, mix the garlic powder, paprika, onion powder, salt, and pepper and shake to combine. Place the rutabaga wedges in the bag and shake to evenly coat them. Add the oil and shake again.
Arrange the wedges on the prepared sheet pan so they are not touching.
Bake about 20 min and turn the wedges over. Bake another15-20 minutes or until they are brown and crispy
Modern-day Native American cuisine encompasses all the traditional foods of long ago, such as cornbread, turkey, cranberries, blueberries, hominy, and mush and many of these recipes have been adopted into the cuisine of the United States. The most important native American crops include corn, beans, squash, pumpkins, sunflowers, wild rice, sweet potatoes, tomatoes, peppers, peanuts, avocados, papayas, potatoes, and chocolate. North American native cuisine can differ somewhat from Southwestern and Mexican cuisine due to its inclusion of ramps, wild ginger, miner’s’ lettuce, and juniper berries that add subtle flavors to the cuisine.
Staple foods of the Eastern Woodlands Native Americans were corn (also known as maize), beans, and squash. This combination is referred to as the “Three Sisters” because they were planted interdependently: The beans grew up the tall stalks of the maize, while the squash spread out at the base of the three plants and provided protection and support for the root systems. A number of other domesticated crops were also popular during some time periods in the Eastern Woodlands, including a variety of amaranth, sumpweed (marsh elder), little barley, maygrass, and sunflowers. Maple syrup is another example of an essential food staple of the Woodland Indigenous peoples whereby tree sap was collected from sugar maple trees at the beginning of springtime.
Southeastern Native American cuisine forms the cornerstone of Southern cuisine from its origins right up to present times. From Southeastern Native Americans came one of the main staples of the Southern diet: corn (maize), either ground into meal or limed with an alkaline salt to make hominy. Corn was used for cornbread, grits, and liquors such as whiskey, which were important trade items. Though a lesser staple, the potato was also adopted from the Native Americans and used in many ways similar to corn. Native Americans introduced Southerners to many other vegetables still familiar on southern tables, such as squash, pumpkin, many types of beans, tomatoes, many types of peppers, sassafras and many other wild berries.
Indigenous peoples of the Great Plains relied heavily on American bison (American buffalo) as a food source. The meat was cut in thin slices and dried, either over a slow fire or in the hot sun until it was hard and brittle. Since it could last for months, it was the main ingredient to be combined with other foods, or eaten on its own. Other foods included pemmican, a concentrated mixture of fat, protein, and fruits such as cranberries, Saskatoon berries, blueberries, cherries, chokeberries, chokecherries, and currants. Staple foods also included turnips, wild berries, potatoes, squash, dried meats (venison, buffalo, jackrabbit, pheasant, and prairie chicken), and wild rice. Great Plains Indians also consumed deer and antelope.
In the Northwest Native Americans used salmon and other types of fish, mushrooms, berries, and meats such as deer, duck, and rabbit. The generally mild climate meant they did not need to develop an economy based upon agriculture but instead could rely year-round on the abundant food supplies of their region. Acorns were ground into a flour that was the principal foodstuff for about 75 percent of the population, and dried meats were prepared during the season when drying was possible.
Puebloans lived in southeastern Utah, northeastern Arizona, northwestern New Mexico, and southwestern Colorado and practiced subsistence agriculture by cultivating maize, beans, squash, and sunflower seeds. They utilized locally available wild resources such as pine nuts from the pinyon pine and hunted game including deer, hare, rabbits, and squirrel. They were also known for their basketry and pottery to hold agricultural surplus that needed to be carried and stored, as well as clay pot cooking. Grinding stones were used to grind maize into meal for cooking.
Recently, The James Beard Foundation (JBF) announced that Sean Sherman, a member of the Oglala Lakota Sioux tribe from the Pine Ridge Indian Reservation in South Dakota would receive a Leadership Award for his work in helping Native Americans reclaim historic food and agricultural systems. The award acknowledges Sherman’s efforts to recognize the Native American diet and revitalize traditional indigenous food systems in North America.
A Native American Dinner
Grilled Wild Salmon
The foil packets may also be baked in a 375-degree F oven for 15 minutes.
3 whole juniper berries
1/2 teaspoon yellow mustard seeds
Top greens from 1 bunch scallions, cut into one-inch pieces
2 wild caught salmon fillets, skin on (about 12 oz total)
1/4 cup Pure Maple Syrup
Preheat an outdoor grill.
Cut two pieces of foil big enough to hold the fish with a couple of inches overlapping all around the fish. Divide the scallion tops in half and place them on each piece of foil. Place the salmon fillets on top, skin side down.
Sprinkle each with salt and pepper.
Finely crush the juniper berries and mustard seeds in a mortar.
Brush each fillet with 2 tablespoons of maple syrup and sprinkle the top of each fillet with the crushed seeds.
Close the foil and seal the ends. Place foil packets on the grill and cover the grill. Cook for 12 to 15 minutes.
Use tongs or a metal spatula to remove foil packet from the grill and set it on a plate or cutting board. Allow it to cool enough to handle, then unwrap the foil.
Wild Rice Blend
The blend is a combination of Long Grain Brown Rice, Sweet Brown Rice, Wild Rice, Whole Grain Wehani® Rice, Whole Grain Black Japonica™ Rice.
1 cup (Lundberg) wild rice blend
1 3/4 cups water
1 teaspoon salt
1 tablespoon butter
Combine rice, water, salt, and butter in a pot and bring to a boil.
Cover with a tight-fitting lid, reduce heat to low-simmer, and cook 45 minutes.
Remove the pot from heat (with the lid on!) and steam for 10 minutes. Fluff with a fork and serve.
One 1 lb butternut or acorn squash
2 tablespoons soft butter
Salt and black pepper to taste
5 sage leaves minced
1 long chive leaf, minced
Halve the squash lengthwise and remove the seeds and strings. Rub the insides with the butter; season with salt and pepper. Place on a roasting pan, skin side down. Bake in a preheated 350-degree F oven for 30 to 40 minutes or until fork tender. Remove the squash from the oven, scoop out the flesh and place in a food processor or blender and process until smooth; or mash the squash in a large bowl using the back of a wooden spoon or a potato masher. Season with salt and pepper and sprinkle with minced sage and chives.