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Friday, March 16, 2012

“Special Menus Index, Pt. XLI: ‘St. Patrick’s Day Menu 2012, Pt. VI—Classic Quickbreads and Muffins—“Irish Soda Bread” and Cranberry Scones—the Breads for your St. Patrick’s Day Feast’ by Chef Charles “the Chuckster” Smithenstein”



As with the past twelve days, we’ve been presenting the Doors to you for your listening enjoyment and now that we’ve completed their official albums, we enter the realm of the long-lost live treasure trove of albums that was always said not to exist when suddenly, they started coming out!  Their TWENTY-SEVENTH album—“Bright Midnight Live in America”—was also released in 2001 and was another great retrospective live album by one of rock’s greatest bands ever!  You’ll definitely want to buy this one NOW!  [Unfortunately, the link may no longer be possible due to the fact that the Amazon.com Associates’ Program’s status is up in the air due to the fact that our home base is in California—you can still go there and BUY it!] Thank you, the Elemental News of the Day.



                                                                                    




Here's the countdown to December 21, 2012: from today, we have 281 days to go until the End of Days, the End of Time, Armageddon, and the End of the Mayan Calendar!  Everybody, beware!






HAPPY ST. PATRICKS DAY 2012!


                                                                                      

STINKBUG 2012


                                                                                  






Chef Charles “the Chuckster” Smithenstein

END Commentary 03-17-2012

Copyright © 2012 by MHB Productions

Word Count: 2,500.



CULINARY POLITICS



ELEMENTALNEWSOFTHEDAY.BLOGSPOT.COM-STINKBUG—THE HEADLINES

Elemental News of the Day Commentary-Opinion-Sports-Foodservice for Saturday, March 17, 2012 by Chef Charles “the Chuckster” Smithenstein

SPECIAL MENUS INDEX, PT. XLI

Special Menus Index, Pt. XLI: ‘St. Patrick’s Day Menu 2012, Pt. VI—Classic Quickbreads and Muffins—“Irish Soda Bread” and Cranberry Scones—the Breads for your St. Patrick’s Day Feast’ by Chef Charles “the Chuckster” Smithenstein



Bakersfield, CA, 03-17-2012 S: Today is the day we celebrate St. Patrick’s birthday in Ireland, a big Catholic holiday on the schedule, not like Easter or Christmas of course but along the lines of Columbus Day which is a Catholic holiday of sorts as are many other days like Ash Wednesday and Good Friday and Holy Saturday and the such.  This holiday has been co-opted as the merchandisers are always on the lookout for days they can market stuff for and greeting card companies can sell cards for.  As mentioned in the preceding days, the owners of bars and of breweries, wines, and spirits see the potential of a big day on which they can sell tons of booze and if ever there was a holiday along the lines of Cinco de Mayo (a totally fabricated holiday as Mexicans don’t celebrate it in Mexico!) St. Patrick’s is it!  I mean, who doesn’t get into the “wearing of green or get pinched” or eating corned beef and cabbage which we’ve made earlier this week or drinking green beer?  No one that I know of!  And if the restaurant or pub owner is smart enough to put on a promotion to bring business in to his or her establishment, all power to them!  We make big money on this day and in America, in its present circumstances, there’s still nothing wrong with making a profit and doing business—yet.   

Okay, so now, the Chuckster has moved into political commentary, something we can do around here within reasonable limits due to Stinkbug’s restrictions on political speech but if we’re going to survive as a nation, we’re going to need to do something in November.  I believe in capitalism, that it is what has made America the nation it is/was and that everyone has a shot at the good life if they apply themselves, work hard, and manage their finances accordingly.  The way things are now, I’d be crazy to hire a new employee even though I desperately need to do so because I have no idea what it’s going to cost me.  I can’t even bring in a new dishwasher or potwasher due to the fact that the Affordable Healthcare Act and all of the taxes associated with it are going to break my budget and may even force me to close my doors and layoff more than 50 people by 2014.  We are not a socialist nation but are fast-becoming one and that is simply what is not good for America.  Do your homework, make the correct decision in November and save the nation—it’s up to you!

Enough of that! We are going to make Irish Soda Bread today and Cranberry Scones, two classic treats from the British Isles.  Unfortunately, my recipe for soda bread is not true Irish, it’s more an Irish Soda Cake and worse, since it has raisins in it, and it’s not considered to be the “real deal” by true Irish folks.  But much like many Mexican foods have been corrupted by places like Taco Bell and other fine-dining establishments; it is what it is, to borrow one of Stinky’s favorite phrases.  Food is in a constant evolution as it’s taken from one group and transformed by another.  My soda bread might be laughed at in Ireland but over here, it generally generates a great deal of praise and in the end, that’s all that matters to me. 

The scones on the other hand are more true to form because what a scone is, it’s an enriched biscuit of sorts.  It is similar in the dough but has eggs in it which makes the finished product more bread-like than biscuit. They’re made in practically the same way, the only exception being in how they’re cut: they’re not cut with a biscuit cutter but are cut into long strips and then the strips are cut into triangles, brushed with eggwash, and baked in a hot oven.  They’re also sprinkled with granulated sugar which gives them a sweeter taste and believe me, they’re very good.  Let’s do it:  

Here’s our menu:

ST. PATRICKS DAY 2012 DINNER MENU

I.                  Colcannon

II.               Lamb Salad

III.           Corned Beef and Chicken Chowder

IV.           Irish Lamb Soup

V.               Corned Beef and Cabbage

VI.           Braised Lamb with Cinnamon-Rhubarb Sauce

VII.        Roasted New Potatoes

VIII.    Buttered Red Potatoes and Rutabagas

IX.           Carrots and Parsnips

X.               Turnips and Peas

XI.           Irish Soda Bread

XII.        Cranberry Scones

XIII.    Apple-Pear Shortbread

XIV.    Bailey’s Irish Cream Cheesecake

******

The first recipe of the day is for my Soda Bread, sure, it’s not the real thing but it works.  One thing we do in the professional foodservice industry many times is to adapt existing products to what is needed NOW.  I mean if I have something that is similar to what it is I need to make for a certain night, I will adapt it to fit my needs and in so doing, transform it into something completely new.  This helps me do a couple of things: it makes it easier for me to accomplish my task and it shortens my work time involved with making it because I already know what I am doing.  My soda bread was adapted from—of all things!—a recipe for baked brown bread! It works so why feel bad about it, eh? Let’s make it:

(#1317) IRISH SODA BREAD





Yield:  one 10” x 6” loaf pan  / Mis-en-place: 1.5-1.75 hours:




Qty.
Measure
Item
Other
1
Cup
Cake flour

2
Cups
All-purpose flour

2
Teaspoons
Baking soda

1
Teaspoon
Baking powder

.75
Teaspoon
Salt

2
Each
Large AAA eggs

1
Cup
Granulated sugar

.25
Cup
Vegetable oil

1.5
Cups
Buttermilk

1
Teaspoon
Vanilla extract

1
Cup
Black raisins

.5
Cup
Currants

Powdered sugar




Method:

1.      Mis-en-place: have everything ready with which to work!  Preheat your standard oven to 400°F or your convection oven—fan in the “on” position—to 350°F.  Use only an aluminum or stainless steel loaf pan so as to reflect the heat away rather than to absorb it as dark pans do.  This is important for the finished product: it won’t be brown around the crust nor hard but rather, soft, tender, and light, attractive to say the least.  Spray the pan with PAM or some such other food release spray and then line it with a wax paper baking cup or with regular wax paper.  Spray the paper with PAM, too, so it will peel away easily from the finished product.

2.      Double-sift the first FIVE ingredients together and set aside. 

3.      Using an electric mixer equipped with a paddle attachment, beat the eggs till frothy and then add and cream in the sugar.  When it’s creamed, beat in the oil and then add the milk and vanilla extract. 

4.      Add the raisins and currants to the dry mix and then fold the DRY mix into the WET using the least amount of strokes necessary to accomplish this task.  Rotate the paddle on low speed until the dry ingredients are moistened and you have a batter before you. 

5.      Scrape the batter into the prepared pan and insert inside your preheated oven.  Bake for 15 minutes at the higher temperature and then drop it by 25°F and continue baking for another 55-65 minutes or until a paring knife inserted into the middle of the bread withdraws clean.  Should it begin to brown too much on top, tent it with a piece of PAM-sprayed foil with which to protect it.  This generally will speed up the baking process as it traps the steam within the bread and finishes it quickly.

6.      When the bread’s done, remove it from the oven and place it upon a cooling rack to cool and to finish baking which is what it will do for another 4-5 minutes in the pan.  When fairly cool, remove it from the pan and continue the cooling process.  When totally cool, remove the wax paper from it and dust it heavily with powdered sugar.

7.      Cut with a serrated-edge knife when cool to serve and be sure to serve it with plenty of soft butter, preserves, and marmalade.  When totally cool, it can be wrapped in plastic wrap and then foil to preserve freshness and either refrigerated or frozen for use at a later date.  It will remain totally fresh at room temperature for about ONE day. 

This is an old recipe given to me by my grandmother on the maternal side of the family and is really a “cake” and not a “bread.” True Irish soda bread is made without eggs, raisins, currants, baking powder, and sugar; the Irish didn’t have or use these ingredients so this is a glorified version of it.  Also, the raisins would make it “Spotted Dog” which is totally different from true Irish Soda Bread but this is the recipe I’ve used and served for many decades and I still call it “Soda Bread.” To each their own!

Now, we’ll make our scones.  Be sure to find some dried cranberries, Craisins will work perfectly! You can even use the orange-or-cherry-flavored ones!

(#61) CRANBERRY SCONES





Yield:  24 scones  / Mis-en-place: 30-45 minutes:




Qty.
Measure
Item
Other
3.5
Cups
All-purpose flour

4.5
Teaspoons
Baking powder

1
Teaspoon
Salt

.5
Teaspoon
Ground nutmeg

4
Each
Large AAA eggs

3
Tablespoons
Granulated sugar

.5
Cup
Softened shortening

2/3
Cup
Heavy cream

1
Cup
Dried cranberries 

2
Teaspoons
Vanilla extract

1
Each
Large AAA egg

.25
Cup
Milk

Granulated sugar

.5
Cup
Melted butter




Method:

1.      Mis-en-place: have everything ready with which to work! Preheat standard oven to 425°F or a convection oven—fan in the “on” position—to 375°F.  Spray a sheet pan with PAM or some such other food release spray and then line it with wax paper.  Spray the paper with food release spray, too.

2.      Double-sift the first FOUR ingredients together and set aside.  Set up your electric mixer and equip it with a paddle attachment.  Making scones is somewhat similar to making enriched biscuits so you will knead the dough but don’t overdo it.

3.      Beat the eggs with the sugar and shortening until light and smooth.  Add the heavy cream, cranberries, and vanilla extract and again blend well.  Then, fold the DRY ingredients into the WET using the least amount of strokes necessary to do so as this dough needs the gluten to be as un-developed as possible; otherwise, they’ll come out chewy.

4.      When the dough’s formed, scrape it out of the mixing bowl onto a lightly dusted work surface and quickly knead it into a dough like that of biscuit as mentioned.  Leave it about one-quarter-of-an-inch thick and then cut it into long strips.  Then, cut the strips into triangles and then place each triangle onto the baking sheet.

5.      Beat the last egg with the milk to form an eggwash.  Brush each scone with the wash and then dust them with granulated sugar.  Place them inside your preheated oven and bake for about 15 minutes or until they’re raised and lightly browned.  Test for doneness by cutting one to see the inside: if it’s similar to a cooked biscuit, it’s done and if not, bake a short while longer and then remove and place onto a cooling rack.

6.      Brush them several times with melted butter as they cool and then serve them.  Leftovers can be wrapped in plastic wrap and kept in the refrigerator for a day or frozen for use at a later time.  Try to use them when they’re fresh for best results.

This is a great recipe that you’ll enjoy making, let alone eating.  It’s an “English” biscuit of sorts but is used throughout the United Kingdom so it’s great for holidays like St. Patrick’s or any other like an Easter of Mother’s Day Sunday brunch!

                                      ---------------------------------------------                                     

As always, we have a great time around here and that is why we want all of you to become a part of the organization by submitting articles to us for inspection and full-credit.  It is a great thing if you would do this as it’s a symbiotic relationship: we give you the space to share your recipes and in return, you send us more and more people who will hopefully become dedicated followers of the END.  In this day and age of multi-diversity across the Internet, it is important that the voices of more and more people from all walks of the foodservice profession are heard—join us. We urge our readership to write to us and leave comments and if there are any of you, who would care to write an article for us, please get in touch via Magnolia Hilltop Brewers, P.O. Box 20669, Bakersfield, CA 93390-0669.  We obviously don’t pay anything but you will be given a full byline and that’s worth its weight in gold.  We want as many people who want to write to be able to do so and we believe that by presenting a forum for our fellow chefs, we are doing something for our beloved industry.  We love diversity and hope to add new and different authors to our pantheon of chefs, food and beverage directors, and culinary professionals.  Come on and join us, it’ll be fun! Expect that when all of us have run through our cycle, we will be introducing some brand-new talent or so I’m told.

Please remember to avoid doing business with AARC Technology in Bakersfield, CA.  These people don’t care about the small customer anymore but instead put all of their attentions onto their corporate customers. It’s sad to not remember why one has the success they do or from where it came.

Wow! Day Six has come and gone and that means that after tomorrow, I won’t be back until sometime in August, possibly even September of this year! And then, I won’t be back—(if I come back!)—until after the dreaded December 21, 2012 date looming on the calendar.  Yeah, I know, Stinkbug is the one traumatized by it, I am a bit skeptical regarding what is going to happen but if something does, I hope to have a ringside seat!  What is the point in running around afraid and selling one’s furniture? What the hell do I need money for if the world is going to come to an end? I don’t really believe it but I guess we’ll wait and see, anyhow, we’ve managed to make it through six days and tomorrow, the day after St. Patrick’s Day, we’ll make our desserts.  You’ll have them for next year—if there is one! Yes, I’m LOL!      

 Anyhow, let us close with this impassioned plea—please leave some comments and/or become a follower and why not spend some money and purchase an album by the DOORS and/or buy a cookbook from Amazon.com—we want to make some money here so help us out by buying something!  We are allied with them and are pleased to market their merchandise! See you next time around! Bye!  

Thank you!

Charles “the Chuckster” Smithenstein

The Chuckster
Restaurant Manager, Mixologist, Foodserver, and Cook


This is a photo of me back in 1973 while being the Food and Beverage Director at one of the hotels in Bakersfield, CA, located on Union Avenue. I was in my late 30's at the time. I am still working at one of the local hotels in the nearby town of Delano, CA, a place that’s been my home for the past 10 years. Our city has experienced marvelous growth and is fast-becoming a player in county politics.

---30---

The END Commentary for Saturday, March 17, 2012 by Chef Charles “the Chuckster” Smithenstein



Please note that everyone who writes for the Elemental News of the Day is their own person entitled to their own opinions, attitudes, and insanity so does not necessarily speak for all of us.  Thanks, Stinkbug.

REFERENCES:

This original essay was written by the one-and-only Chef Charles “the Chuckster” Smithenstein.



Recipe created by Chef Charles “the Chuckster” Smithenstein on March 17, 1969 in Bakersfield, CA.

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STINKBUG AT THE COUNTDOWN TO THE END DAYS

                                                                                      
                                                                        
                                                                                  
This is #1392 a 20” x 24" original oil painting by Beverly Carrick entitled, “Cinderella and Friends.’" It's among her more beautiful works and is available for sale. You can see much more of her work at her Website, located at http://www.beverlycarrick.com or at Brian Carrick's Facebook page. At her Website, you will see not only more original oil paintings but also lithographs, giclees, prints, miniatures, photographs, and even her award-winning instructional video entitled, "Painting the Southwest with Beverly Carrick." Beverly has been painting for more than 60 years and is known around the world. Her work hangs in private and public galleries and is followed by a great many fans that circle the globe. We urge you to go to her Website NOW and view her work. It's possible that you will find something you like and will want to buy it for yourself, a friend, a loved one, or a neighbor! You will not be disappointed so please: do yourself a favor and go there IMMEDIATELY! Thank you, the Elemental News of the Day!

Web Pictures VII
                                                                                   
TODAY IS ST. PATRICK’S DAY!



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