It’s National Croissant Day! Although it is most likely just a myth, the history of the croissant is a colorful tale full of adventure. In 1683, the Turkish Empire laid siege on Vienna, Austria. The Turks made several attempts to enter the city by force, but were unsuccessful, so decided to dig an underground tunnel. The bakers of Vienna, who worked in the basement storerooms, heard the sound of digging and alerted the army.
The bakers received high honors and thanks for their assistance in outwitting the Turks. In celebration, they baked their bread in the shape of a crescent moon—the symbol of the Ottoman Empire. After the Turks were defeated, it became custom to serve morning coffee with the crescent-shaped pastry!
The legend goes on to say that over a hundred years later, Marie Antoinette (an Austrian Princess who married Louis XVI) introduced the pastry to the French who dubbed it a “croissant.”
Parisian Steak and Cheese Croissant Sandwiches by Giada De Laurentiis
4 (4-ounce) beef fillet steaks
Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper
2 tablespoons unsalted butter, at room temperature
6 ounces Brie cheese, cut into 1/2-inch slices, at room temperature
2 cups arugula
1 cup (about 4 ounces) jarred roasted red bell peppers, thinly sliced
Season the steaks with salt and pepper. In a medium skillet, melt the butter over medium-high heat. Cook the steaks for about 5 minutes each side for medium-rare. Set aside for 5 minutes before slicing. Slice the steak, across the grain, into 1/4 to 1/2-inch thick slices.
Heat a large nonstick skillet or griddle over medium heat. Using a serrated knife, slice the croissants in half lengthwise. In 2 batches, place the croissant halves, cut side down in the skillet and cook for 30 seconds to 1 minute until lightly toasted. Lay the Brie slices over the toasted croissant halves. Place about 1/4 cup of the arugula on the bottom halves of the croissants. Add the sliced steak. Arrange the red bell pepper on top of the steak. Top with the remaining arugula and add the top of the croissant. Serve immediately.
Credit: Punchbowl & Food Network
Todd’s Famous Blueberry Pancakes
1 1/4 cups all-purpose flour
- 1/2 teaspoon salt
- 1 tablespoon baking powder
- 1 1/4 teaspoons white sugar
- 1 egg
- 1 cup milk
- 1/2 tablespoon butter, melted
- 1/2 cup frozen blueberries, thawed
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- PREP 10 mins
- COOK 15 mins
- READY IN 1 hr 15 mins
- In a large bowl, sift together flour, salt, baking powder and sugar. In a small bowl, beat together egg and milk. Stir milk and egg into flour mixture. Mix in the butter and fold in the blueberries. Set aside for 1 hour.
Heat a lightly oiled griddle or frying pan over medium high heat. Pour or scoop the batter onto the griddle, using approximately 1/4 cup for each pancake. Brown on both sides and serve hot.
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Heart Health – Pistachios have been shown to reduce LDL (“bad”) cholesterol and increase the good HDL cholesterol after only a short period of regular consumption. High in antioxidants such as vitamins A and E, they fight inflammation, protecting blood vessels and reducing risk of heart disease. Even a moderate intake of pistachios has been shown to increase levels of lutein, an antioxidant well known for protecting against oxidized LDL, reducing heart disease.
Diabetes Help – Eating pistachios may help to prevent Type 2 diabetes. 60 percent of the recommended daily value of the mineral phosphorous is contained in just one cup of pistachios. As well as breaking down proteins into amino acids, phosphorous aids glucose tolerance.
Healthy Blood – Pistachios are an incredibly rich source of vitamin B6. Vitamin B6 is essential to make hemoglobin, the protein responsible for carrying oxygen through the blood stream to cells, and is also shown to increase the amount of oxygen carried.
Nervous System – The vitamin B6 so abundant in pistachios has wide-ranging effects on the nervous system. Messaging molecules called amines require amino acids to develop, which in turn rely on vitamin B6 for their creation. Furthermore, B6 plays a crucial role in the formation of myelin, the insulating sheath around nerve ﬁbers that allows optimal messaging between nerves. Furthermore, vitamin B6 contributes to the synthesis of serotonin, melatonin, epinephrine and gamma-aminobutyric acid, or GABA, an amino acid that calms the transmission of nerve impulses throughout the nervous system.
Eye Health – Pistachios contain two carotenoids not found in most nuts. These carotenoids, called lutein and zeaxanthin, function as protective antioxidants, defending tissues from damage from free radicals. They have been linked with a decrease in the risk for developing age-related macular degeneration, which is the leading cause of visual impairments and acquired blindness in the United States.
Immune System – A healthy immune system requires adequate intake of vitamin B6, which pistachios abound in. A surfeit of vitamin B6 can retard brain activity as well as decrease the effectiveness of the immune system for fighting infections. Vitamin B6 found in pistachios also helps the body make healthy red blood cells, and helps maintain the health of lymphoid glands, such as the thymus, spleen and lymph nodes, ensuring the production of white blood cells that defend the body from infections.
Skin Health – Pistachios are a great source of vitamin E, a powerful fat-soluble antioxidant, essential for maintaining the integrity of cell membranes and often recommended for healthy and beautiful skin. Vitamin E does an excellent job protecting the skin from UV damage, providing daily defense against premature aging and skin cancer.
It’s National Peanut Butter Day! Peanut butter is a staple in over 90% of American households and the average person consumes more than six pounds of peanut products each year. Women and children prefer creamy peanut butter, while most men go for the chunky variety.
George Bayle, a St. Louis snack food maker, started making peanut butter in the 1890s. For many years, manufacturers struggled with the oil separating from the grainy solids of the peaut butter. In 1923 Heinz became the first company to homogenize the peanuts into the spreadable butter we know and love today. Before long peanut butter was a classic American food.
Did you know that it takes 550 peanuts to make a 12 ounce jar of peanut butter? Peanuts are cholesterol free and an excellent source of protein. In fact, it’s the high protein content that causes peanut butter to stick to the roof of your mouth.
To celebrate National Peanut Butter Day, bake some peanut butter cookies, spread some tasty peanut butter on toast, or enjoy a spoonful right out of the jar!
It’s National Pie Day! Pies have a long and illustrious history, but the sweet filled treats we enjoy today are a relatively recent innovation. The Greeks and Romans made some of the first pies in history. People filled pastry shells with different kinds of meat or seafood, flavored them with a variety of spices, and served them as part of the sweet course of the meal.
When the Pilgrims made their voyage to the New World in the late 1600s they arrived with English pie recipes for beef, lamb, duck, or pigeon. It wasn’t until the late 1800s that the first sweet pies emerged. These featured the ingredients we’re accustomed to today, and by the 1940s, pie had become the iconic American dessert.
Whether you prefer apple, berry, pumpkin, or sweet potato, bake your favorite pie recipe tonight in honor of National Pie Day!
2 tablespoons unsalted butter
1 medium onion, finely diced
2 celery stalks (reserve tender leaves) trimmed, quartered lengthwise, then sliced into 1/4-inch pieces
3 tablespoons all-purpose flour
2 cups chicken or vegetable stock
2 (10-ounce) cans chopped clams in juice
1 cup heavy cream
2 bay leaves
1 pound Idaho potatoes, cut into 1/2- inch cubes
Salt and freshly ground black pepper
Pan Toasted Croutons:
2 to 3 tablespoons unsalted butter
1/2 baguette, cut into 1-inch cubes
3 tablespoons freshly chopped flat-leaf parsley
Salt and freshly ground black pepper
Pan Toasted Croutons:
Heat the butter in a large pot over medium-high heat. Add the onion and celery and saute until softened, mixing often. Stir in the flour to distribute evenly. Add the stock, juice from 2 cans of chopped clams (reserve clams), cream, bay leaves, and potatoes and stir to combine. Bring to a simmer, stirring consistently (the mixture will thicken), then reduce the heat to medium-low and cook 20 minutes, stirring often, until the potatoes are nice and tender. Then add clams and season to taste with salt and pepper, cook until clams are just firm, another 2 minutes.
For the Pan Toasted Croutons:
Melt the butter in a large skillet and toss the bread cubes in the butter until browned and toasted, about 2 to 3 minutes. Add parsley and season with salt and pepper.