What Does National Food Day really mean?

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Today May 15th, is National Chocolate Chip Day and Saturday, May 16th, is National Coquilles Saint Jaques Day.  On National Chocolate Chip Day, you can eat and make many things while paying respect to the chocolate chip, such as cookies, ice cream, pancakes, waffles etc. But on Saturday, even though Coquilles means scallop in French, this is a celebrations of a particular French dish that became popular in the United States in the late 1950’s in NY.  This dish was a starter for a gourmet meal.  I even made this dish so much I thought about it in my sleep when I was an apprentice at Oakmont Country Club in Oakmont PA.  Coquilles Saint Jacques is a poached scallop in white wine.  The scallop is placed on top of a mushroom puree that is in the scallop shell. The dish is then topped with a cream sauce made from the poaching liquid and buttered bread crumbs and placed under the broiler to brown.

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I feel national food days have their place in saving classic dishes from extinction and promote history and tradition.  But let’s not fool ourselves, national food days are the greatest marketing tool ever!  Doughnuts alone are celebrated four times throughout the year, twice in the month of June.

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We may find some of these days ridiculous or even silly. However, they create community with festivals, sharing a pie on PI day, going out with friends on Cinco de Mayo, and yes everyone is Irish on March 17. Nations food days not only bring the world to you, but they inspire us to try something different or to create something new.

I have included a list of just a few items that are celebrated throughout the year and recipes that celebrate May 15th, National Chocolate Chip Day and May 16th, National Coquilles Saint Jacques.

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January: Bloody Mary, Glazed Doughnut, Irish Coffee

February: Tatar Tot, Margarita Day World Nutella Day

March: PI Day, International Waffle Day, Sloppy Joe’s

April: Grilled Cheese, Beer Day, Malbec, Picnic

May: Cinco de Mayo, Chocolate Custard Mint Julep

June: Doughnut, Jelly Doughnut, Chocolate Ice Cream         Cooked_Bacon

July: Cheese Cake, Junk Food

August: Bacon Lovers, Whiskey Sours

September: Cream Filled Doughnuts, Beer Lovers, Hot Dogs, I Love Food Day   images

October: Tacos, Pumpkin, Mushrooms, Kale, Red wine

November: Espresso, Cranberry, National Doughnut Day, Cappuccino

December: Brownie, Lager Day, Biscuit, Hamburger, Pastry, Fried Shrimp/clams

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I hope you have found this bit of history interesting, and enjoy the recipes below.

K. K. Ultimate Chocolate Chip Cookies baked at 350 F or !80 C

Ingredients

2 cups of Cake flour minus 2 tablespoons

1 2/3 cups Bread Flour

1 1/4 teaspoon Baking soda

1 1/2 teaspoon Baking powder

1 1/2 teaspoon Kosher Salt

11/4 cups unsalted butter soften

1 1/4 cups of Sugar in the Raw or Evaporated Cain Juice sugar

2 teaspoons natural vanilla

2 large eggs room temperature

2 1/2 cups Ghirardellie bittersweet 60% chocolate chips

11/4 cups of Ghirardelli milk chocolate chips

Procedure: Sift dry ingredients together and set aside.  Use a mixer (I use the paddle attachment) to cream the butter and sugar together until very light, about 5 minutes.  Add eggs one at a time, mixing well after each addition, add vanilla.  Reduce speed to low, add dry ingredients and mix until combined. ( do not over mix) Next stir in chocolate by hand. Cover dough with plastic wrap and refrigerate for 24 hours.  Place cookies on parchment lined baking sheets 1” apart. Bake 18-20 minutes. When you take them out othe the oven, let them resto on the cookie sheet for 2 minuts and the remove them onto a cooling rack.

Note: If you mix the dough up in the morning and refrigerate, you can bake them that evening if needed.  I like to divide the cookie dough into four even logs wrap in plastic wrap, refrigerate 24 hours slice and bake.  You can also freeze the dough logs or make balls and pull them out of the freezer and have fresh cookies anytime.

I know you are saying to yourself refrigerate 24 hours, but is it worth it?  Yes, because your cookies will be soft, chewy and delicious.  I have taken the best of many recipes and made my own Chocolate Chip cookie and sharing it with you!

Easy Coquilles St. Jacques by Karen Komarinski 1998

Ingredients:

1/2 lb small shrimp
1/2 lb bay scallops
3 tablespoons unsalted butter
1 tablespoon of extra virgin olive oil
3 tablespoons flour
1 clove minced garlic
1 minced shallot
1 cup of minced mushrooms
1 cup heavy cream
1/2 cup white wine
1 tablespoon fresh lemon juice
1/4 teaspoon thyme
1/8 teaspoon grated nutmeg
1/4 teaspoon fresh cracked pepper
1/8 teaspoon kosher salt
1/4 cup grated Parmesan (Reggiano)
1/2 cup of bread crumbs
Fresh parsley to garnish

6 scallop Shells or you can use crocks.

Procedure: Melt butter and extra virgin olive oil in sauté pan over medium/low heat. Cook the shallots, garlic, and mushrooms. When the liquid is reduced by half, add the shrimp, scallops and remaining seasonings. Sauté for about 1 minute, remove the seafood then add the flour. Once the mushrooms are coated slowly add the wine and lemon juice, blend everything well. Reduce heat to low, and slowly add the cup of cream and cheese. Add the seafood back in, cook for about 3 minutes stirring the whole time. The mixture should be fairly thick, and flour should be cooked out. Now adjust salt and pepper if needed.

Divide mixture into the scallop shells or crocks, top with bread crumbs, and broil until brown. (place on cookie sheet to broil)

Note: You can make this a day ahead. Put the mixture in the shells or crocks, cover and place in refrigerator. When ready to bake, top with bread crumbs, place cookie sheet on middle rack and bake at 400 F or 205 C for 15-20 minutes or until bubbling.

Light Coquilles St. Jacques from the Seattle Times Newspaper Feb 1996
4 servings
1 cup water
1/2 cup dry white wine
2 large shallots, peeled and minced
1 clove garlic, peeled and minced
1 bay leaf
1/2 teaspoon fennel seeds, lightly crushed
1/4 teaspoon dried thyme, crushed
3 teaspoons fresh lemon juice, divided
1/2 pound mushrooms, trimmed, cleaned and thinly sliced
1 pound large scallops, each cut in half
1/2 cup 2 percent low-fat milk
1 tablespoon plus 2 teaspoons flour
1/4 teaspoon salt
1/8 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
Pinch of freshly grated nutmeg
1 tablespoon minced fresh parsley
1 teaspoon Dijon mustard
1/2 cup grated Swedish low-cholesterol cheese (or other low-fat white cheese)
1/4 cup fresh bread crumbs
1 teaspoon safflower margarine

1. In a large saucepan, combine the water, wine, shallots, garlic, bay leaf, fennel seeds, thyme and 1 teaspoon of the lemon juice. Bring to a boil, reduce the heat to medium and cook for 3 minutes.
2. Add the mushrooms and simmer for 2 minutes; add the scallops and simmer for 2 minutes. Remove the mushrooms and scallops with a slotted spoon to a large plate. Refrigerate while preparing the sauce.

3. Bring the cooking liquid to a boil and continue at a low boil for 5 minutes to concentrate the flavor. Strain and measure 1/2 cup of the broth.

4. Combine the broth and low-fat milk in a medium saucepan; bring to a simmer. Sift the flour over the liquid and whisk to avoid lumps. Reduce the heat, add the salt, pepper and nutmeg and simmer for 5 minutes, stirring often to prevent scorching. Remove from the heat and stir in the parsley, mustard and remaining lemon juice.

5. In a medium-size bowl, combine the mushrooms, scallops and sauce. Transfer to a shallow 1-quart baking dish; sprinkle with the cheese and then the bread crumbs. Dot with the margarine.

6. Broil 6 inches from the heat source for 5 minutes, or until the bread crumbs are lightly browned.

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