Wednesday, May 25, 2016

SPANISH AND FRENCH: Basque Country - Part 2 Intro (Spanish Basque) Basque VIDEOS and The Txoko or Gastronomic Society Culture


The Basque Country is made up of seven provinces, three of which are in southwestern France and four in northwestern Spain.  Since the French Basque area is smaller (300,000 Basques) than the Spanish Basque area (2,000,000 Basques), the French Basques are more into the French culture rather than touting the Basque culture.   

The French Basque Country villages seem stuck in time. Agrarian customs are alive and well, and more people speak Euskara (in Basque, the name of the language is officially Euskara).  In French, the language is normally called Basque, though in recent times Euskara has become  a more common name. 

Spanish has a greater variety of names for the language such as el vasco, la lengua vasca, or el euskera than they do along the cosmopolitan coast. At the end of the 18th century, the Basque language had waned, stigmatized as the preserve of peasants. Today, it’s not without controversy. In November, thousands of people protested the closing of a primary school in Ciboure where the language was taught. While the number of Basque speakers is on the rise in Spain — Basque became the co-official language in the region after Franco’s death — it’s falling on the French side.

The main languages are French, Spanish and Basque, but since the 1980s, as a consequence of its considerable economic prosperity, the Basque Country has received an increasing number of immigrants, mostly from Eastern Europe, North Africa, Latin America, Sub-Saharan Africa (middle and southern Africa), South Asia, and China, settling mostly in the major urban areas. Nevertheless, foreign immigrant population is surprisingly lower in the Basque country than in Madrid and Catalonia, despite having similar GDP per capita and significantly lower levels of unemployment.  This immigration of cultures and foreign languages will, of course, change the face of the Basque country as all immigration changes countries

The French and Spanish Basques have nothing in common. The Spanish Basque men are big-boned, broad-shouldered, stout eaters, hearty drinkers and lusty singers. It is the men who have kept the Spanish Basque cooking alive and famous.  In the towns of San Sebastian, Bilbao, etc. there are gastronomic societies with their own choirs, charities that they support charities but the main goal is to feature Basque cuisine, culture and create new recipes. San Sebastian is widely considered one of the world’s premier culinary destinations. But as regular tourists clog the Old Town, eating and drinking their way through its narrow streets, another world lies hidden in plain sight. 

The Txoko (gastronomic society) is a private club (until recently women weren’t allowed) and all members have their own keys and meet often in the evening during the week between 7-10 for food and drinks.  The men eat and cook enormous banquets especially on Saturdays.  The first Txoko (pronounced cho-ko) was founded in 1870 so these societies have become an integral part of Spanish Basque society.  There are many of Txokos with members numbering from 40 to 200.  (There are txokos in non-Basque countries also.) Each locale has a dining room with long wooden tables seating 12-20, a kitchen with numerous burners and ovens, larders, a wine cellar, a cold storage room, plates, glasses, linens and all the other things needed in a restaurant. 
The atmosphere is informal.  Each user makes out his own bill and leaves the money in the kitty (always extra money left over) for what he uses and turns in the money (staples like wine, cider, coffee, liqueurs are kept in stock).  

What is known as “Basque Cuisine” of north Spain didn’t become known as that until the 19th century.

The Spanish Basques love food and drink and do so with so much gusto. They are extremely particular about the seasons and the origins of foods.  They show restraint in seasoning.   The most common sauces are red or green (red with tomatoes; green with parsley and also asparagus tips and/or peas. Because the hills are lush and grassy the cows graze and produce creamy milk but unlike the other side of the Pyrenees the Spanish Basques use cream only in desserts. 


Friday, May 20, 2016

The Preakness at Pimlico 5 21 2016 PART 2

Maryland fried chicken 



Owners' Box Asparagus

Lots of Games
Best Hat Contest and then
Post Time @ 6:25 PM for the Preakness Race
Dinner Buffet will be available in the Dining Room following the Race
On the Back Stretch-Strawberry Short Cake available a la carte

Want to have a Preakness Party?
    Marty's Maryland Crabcakes
    Marty's Cool Cole Slaw
    Corn on the Cob
    Warm Honey Dijon Potato Salad
    Honey Baked Ham or Smoked Turkey Breast
    corn bread or biscuits
    Melon Ambrosia and lemon wafers
    The ideal meal for this fest, would be boiled blue crab. That depends on your situation. If you can have your party outdoors, you may want to consider this option. Just go to your local seafood market, buy a few pounds of crab and boil them up. What has to be considered is the mess. I for one, would not want shells all over the house when hosting a crowd and you should provide bibs and plenty of napkins for your guests. I'm going to stick with Marty's crab cakes. The reason I've added the ham or turkey is, because not everyone eats fish. I know if I invite ten friends, at least four do not eat fish, so you'll want to have something else on hand. And now for our recipes.

    Marty's Maryland Crab Cakes 
    2 lbs. crab meat
    3 tbs. minced scallions
    1 egg
    1 1/2 tsp. dry mustard
    2 tbs. finely chopped parsley
    2 tsps. hot sauce
    cayenne pepper
    1/2 c. mayonnaise
    1/2 bread crumbs

    Combine the ingredients and use your own judgement with the cayenne pepper. Add cayenne pepper to taste. There is a spicy sauce that goes along with this dish, so I'll go light on the cayenne. Those who like spicier, can use the sauce.
    Measure 1/2 cup of mixture for each patty, and fry in peanut oil. Drain. This should yield about 15 crab cakes.
    Marty's Sauce Especiale
    1 bottle of Thousand Island or Russian Dressing
    2 1/2 tsps. curry powder
    4 dashes of hot sauce or tabasco
    Mix ingredients together and serve on the side.
    Marty's Cool Cole Slaw
    1 bag of slaw mix from the produce section of your market
    1 1/2 cups of Hellman's Mayonnaise
    1 tsp. cider vinegar
    honey or maple syrup
    salt & pepper
    This recipe can be modified by using low fat or no fat dressing and mayonnaise.
    Mix first 3 ingredients together, add salt,pepper and honey to taste. I think next year..the party's at Marty's! :0)
    Warm Potato Salad with Honey Dijon Dressing
    3 lbs of red Bliss potatoes cut into chunks
    1 small red onion diced
    1/2 c. salad oil
    1 1/4 c. balsamic vinegar
    1/4 c. honey mustard
    2 tsp. basil
    1/4 tsp. oregano
    one clove of garlic,peeled and grated or pressed
    salt & pepper to taste
    Boil the potatoes so that you can easily pierce them with a not allow to get flaky. Drain potatos and set aside, allowing to cool to room temperature. Combine all the ingredients for the dressing. In a large bowl combine potatoes with onion. Heat the dressing for 2 minutes on high in the microwave. Pour over potatoes and toss well.
    This recipe can also be modified by simply heating 3/4 of a bottle of Kraft Fat Free Honey Dijon Salad Dressing, pour over pototoes and onions and toss well. Half the time and zero fat...and delish!

    We all know how to boil up the water for the corn on the cob. Corn bread can be easily made from packaged quik-mixes or serve up some hungry jack biscuits.
    Melon Ambrosia
    2 bags frozen melon balls
    2 oranges, sectioned
    2 banana sliced
    4 oz. strawberries
    4 oz. red seedless grapes
    1 bag sliced frozen peaches
    2 tbs. sugar
    1 oz. shredded coconut
    juice of one lemon
    1/2 cup dark spiced rum
    Combine all the ingredients, except the coconut and chill. Sprinkle with cococnut before serving. Place lemon wafers on a plate on the side. Quite often, guests will bring some sort of pastry or candy. Variety is the spice of life! I always put everything out on the table for a dessert buffet.

More about the Preakness?     Preakness Index

Have fun!!!

The Preakness at Pimlico 5 21 2016 - PART 1

The Preakness will be run at Pimlico on May 21 2016. Schedule of events:

Links about the Preakness:

Preakness Link 1

Preakness Link 2

There's a cool timeline at this site

Preakness Time Line


Preakness Official Cocktail at this link:
Ingredients: Whiskey, Vodka, OJ, sweet & sour mix and garnish

Preakness Cocktail - Official Black Eyed Susan

Photo above at Preakness Cocktail - Official Black Eyed Susan link 


Maryland Crab Cakes - 3 different Recipes

Maryland Crab Cakes 1

Maryland Crab Cakes 2

Maryland Crab Cakes 3

Friday, May 13, 2016

International food blog: SPANISH & FRENCH: Basque Country Part 1 INTRO wit...

International food blog: SPANISH & FRENCH: Basque Country Part 1 INTRO wit...: In Basque: Euskal Herriko Part 1 Food etortzen Translation:  Basque Country Part 1 Food to come ----------------------------------...

SPANISH & FRENCH: Basque Country Part 1 INTRO with VIDEOS

In Basque:  Euskal Herriko Part 1 Food etortzen
Translation:    Basque Country Part 1 Food to come


  • Northern Basque Country is situated within the western part of the Pyrénées-Atlantiques of France (main language spoken is French)
  • Southern Basque Country is the autonomous region of Spain including Navarre (main language spoken is Spanish)
  • There are several ancient dialects spoken in tiny local areas also one of them being an ancient Basque dialect.  Both Spain and France have tried to suppress the use of many of the dialects but they still live on. 
  • When the map lines for Europe were drawn the Basque Country was left out and divided in half. 

Below are maps of the showing the Basque area/country.

In the third photo you can see the Basque flag.  
Below is the Basque Coat of Arms

Thursday, May 12, 2016

International food blog: FRENCH-AMERICAN: Chicken Francese vs Chicken Franc...

International food blog: FRENCH-AMERICAN: Chicken Francese vs Chicken Franc...: Mr. Food highlighted Chicken Francese on his segment on Channel 2 CBS Greensboro, NC, Chicken Francese (Chicken French) (Francese is the I...

FRENCH-AMERICAN: Chicken Francese vs Chicken Francaise

Mr. Food highlighted Chicken Francese on his segment on Channel 2 CBS Greensboro, NC,

Chicken Francese (Chicken French) (Francese is the Italian translation for French)

  • 1/2 cup all-purpose flour
  • 1 tablespoon chopped fresh parsley
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 3 eggs
  • 4 tablespoons (1/2 stick) butter, divided
  • 6 boneless, skinless chicken breast halves (1-1/2 to 2 pounds total), pounded to 1/4-inch thickness
  • 2/3 cup white wine or dry vermouth
  • 4 tablespoons lemon juice

Read more at  Mr. Food recipe link

  • 1 egg, beaten
  • 1/2 lemon, juiced
  • 1 cup all-purpose flour
  • 1 pinch garlic powder
  • 1 pinch paprika
  • 6 skinless, boneless chicken breast halves
  • 2 tablespoons butter
  • 1 (14.5 ounce) can chicken broth
  • 1 lemon, juiced
  • 6 slices lemon, for garnish
  • 2 sprigs fresh parsley, for garnish

Quotes from Wiki: Chicken French is a French chicken entree that uses a breaded, egg-dipped and sauteed chicken breast, with a sauce created from sherry, butter, chicken stock, and lemon. The dish is popular in the region surrounding Rochester New York to the point where some have suggested the dish be called "Chicken Rochester". When Italian immigrants arrived in Rochester, they brought their recipes with them, including veal francese except they substituted chicken for the more expensive veal. (NOTE: Italian Veal Piccata aka Veal Francaise)

Another source says that Veal Francese had been popular in the region since the 1950s, but when consumers boycotted veal in the 1970s, area chefs like a James Cianciola successfully substituted chicken. Cianciola credits chefs Tony Mammano and Joe Cairo with bringing the dish from New York City.

Veal Piccata aka Veal Francaise (Italians substituted chicken because it was cheaper.) This is a modern day recipe from LINK FOR VEAL PICCATA/VEAL FRANCAISE

2 tablespoons olive oil
2 tablespoons butter
8 veal scallopini
Flour, mixed with salt & pepper (for dredging)
2 eggs and 2 tablespoons water, whisked
1 cup chicken broth (MY NOTE: I would use low sodium chicken broth)
1 lemon, juiced
1 lemon, sliced for garnish
fresh parsley (to garnish)
2 tablespoons butter

Chicken Francese isn't as popular as it was in the 1970's and later but here is a link for a restaurant menu in Pittsburgh that has it on the menu

Facebook post below with some interesting info on Chicken Francese   FACEBOOK POST

Friday, May 6, 2016

International food blog: AMERICAN: Kentucky Derby Party Planning Guide and...

International food blog: AMERICAN: Kentucky Derby Party Planning Guide and...:                     AMERICAN:  Kentucky Derby Party Planning Guide and Checklist REPOST - QUICK LINK




AMERICAN: Kentucky Derby Drink Menu Recipes QUICK LINK