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In This Issue:

Eating Your Way Through Louisiana
Oktoberfest Is Here! Let's Party!
Let's Get the Skinny on the Atkins Diet
Oops, Now You're Famous!
Amorous Almonds? . . . Promised Potency! reprinted in Click2Asia

Chef Carlo J. Morelli
Photo of the Week

Austin Models Photography ~
A Showcase of Model, Acting, and Photography Talent

You Can Look at the World
as a Cheeseburger

Did you know that your local fast food joint is an International Laboratory and Museum. . . . No silly, I don't mean the guy that on the drive-through speaker that attempts to take your order in a combination of English and early Mesopotamian. I mean the food!

Almost nothing found in a cheeseburger was originally from our neighborhood, or our state, not even close. Nothing in a burger, or on it, started out on this continent!

Very few of the foods that we eat originated in North America. Well, then how did these foods arrive here? I'm glad you asked, because a lot of work went into this . . . so pay attention, there may be a test!

It may take a bit of a history lesson to get the lowdown on your dinner. Many of the food products we eat originated in the Middle East and Asia, having been introduced into Europe during prehistoric times.

Food products that were consumed by the ancient civilizations like the Egyptians, Greeks and Romans included bread (wheat), cheese, lettuce, pickle (cucumber), beef, vinegar, chicken eggs, olive oil, and mustard, often being traded like money.

The pepper and most of the spices we use are grown only in India and Southeast Asia, and are still imported into the United States.

As Europeans colonized the New World during the 16th century, these products were imported into what is today the United States. None of these products were found in the New World prior to European colonization. Today, almost all are now grown in the United States, with the exception of specialty items which are still imported. So when you say, hold the pickles, you could be causing a heartburn in New Guinea.

Another way in which new food were introduced to the United States was through the Caribbean. Sugarcane originated in Southeast Asia, and was introduced into India 2,500 years ago. From India, sugar was introduced to Persia (today known as Iran) by 600 BC. Arabs then introduced sugar into the Mediterranean region and to southern Italy and Spain. Europeans introduced sugarcane to the Atlantic Islands, and European explorers, beginning with Columbus, brought sugar into the Caribbean.

Other products came from Africa. The kola nut (Would ya like a Coke with your Fries?) for instance, was introduced from Africa to the Caribbean during the 19th century. There still is no production of kola nuts in the US, therefore all kola nuts or related products are imported from Africa or the Caribbean. Other African foods shipped into the United States include the watermelon and okra, a major component in gumbo. YIKES, NO GUMBO? What if they've lost on their way here?

Still other products originated in South America and Mesoamerica. Not messwithAmerica, Mesoamerica, meaning southern Mexico, central and the mainland coastal Caribbean. Those tomatoes on the hamburger or in the ketchup originated in South America, but were domesticated in Mesoamerica.

We believe it was the Spanish that first introduced tomatoes into what is today the United States in their colonies in St. Augustine (Florida), Santa Fe (New Mexico), and California. Tomatoes were later also introduced by immigrants from France, the United Kingdom, Ireland, and by traders from the Caribbean. Potatoes originated and were cultivated in South America, then were introduced by the Spanish to Europe. Then back from Europe, to the British colonies in North America. So, when you order fries and it takes a long time to get, this may be why!. . . . Whew, what a trip, just so you can super sized you fries.

Other important New World foods stuff including corn (maize), squash, beans, and turkey, staple food sources for many Native Americans, were introduced to the pilgrims . . .and finally on your plate!

Salt the only thing you are trying to use less of, may be the only truly American product. Salt is technically not a food, but it is necessary for human survival. Salt was mined and traded in prehistoric times and was important for the preservation of food and later for manufacturing gun powder. Salt was here when the earliest folks arrived, and was and is still mined in several locations in the United States. Many salting operations were launched using salt water from the ocean. Salt is a lot of the taste in your fries, condiments, and that cheeseburgers.

Soooo, now when you stop for a quick snack at your local fast food establishment, you can tell your folks you stopped for a history lesson, and ended up trading in International Commerce... :)

Eating Your Way Through Louisiana!
Chef Carlo Hits the Road

Ever wonder where a Master Chef plans a vacation, or where he eats when on vacation? Well no matter your answer, I’m going to tell you anyway. My 14-year old son, Matthew, and I follow our noses to the best places in the universe to find great food, and one of the best places on earth is Louisiana.

New Orleans is a great destination for anyone, but a real treat for a Chef and his family hoping for a culinary adventure. I have had the pleasure of visiting the Bayou state many times, and with the array of food variations within the state, each time is a new culinary experience.
We planned our trip from Houston to New Orleans via the most direct route, Hwy. I-10, a 370 mile journey, and with our typical five stops for food, about an 8 hour trip!!

First let me warn you, the only 3 directions you will ever get if you ask any Cajun where to find something is, “Down da Bayou,” “Up da Bayou,” and “‘cross da Bayou.” Strangely, it always got us where we were going and in the fastest time!

Let me give you a little history of Louisiana, similarly called, The Pelican State, The Bayou State, Sportsman’s Paradise, The Sugar State, The Creole State, The Jazz Capital, and best of all, Cajun Country.

Louisiana is a southern state that lies on the Gulf of Mexico at the mouth of the Mississippi River. Robert Cavelier, Sieur de la Salle, an explorer, claimed the Mississippi Valley in 1682 and named it Louisiana in honor of Louis XIV of France. The early French and Spanish settlers became known as Creoles. Groups of Acadians settled in Louisiana after the late 1760s, after they were driven from their homes in Acadia (Nova Scotia Canada). Acadians are often called Cajuns. Baton Rouge is the capital, and New Orleans is the largest city. Many of the people have French ancestors; and French and variations of the French language is still spoken in many regions today. Descendants of the Acadians still live in the bayou country.

Louisiana is also known as The Bayou State for it’s hundreds of sluggish streams called bayous. They wind through the marshes and lowlands of the southern section. Tangled marsh grasses and cypress trees draped with Spanish moss grown between the bayous and lakes. Large crops of cotton, rice, and sweet potatoes come from its plantations and farms. Louisiana won the nickname The Sugar State because it grows so much sugar cane. Lonely fur trappers of the swamps and woodlands gather more fur bearing animals than those of any other state or Canadian providence. Louisiana fishermen catch the nation’s largest haul of shrimp. Vast supplies of petroleum formed the basis of a great industrial boom that began during WWII.

People from all parts of the United States and the world travel to New Orleans for the city’s great carnival, Mardi Gras, in February or March. Tourists enjoy listening to New Orleans style jazz in cafes along Bourbon Street, the area that is often called the Cradle of Jazz. The stately plantation homes stand amid fields of cotton or sugar cane in several sections.

Southern Louisiana has a well deserved and distinguished reputation for the finest food. Favorite soups include bisque, a thick soup made with shellfish; gumbo, a soup thickened with okra; and a kind of fish soup called bouillabaisse. The people often add chicory when preparing their strong black coffee.


Let's Get the Skinny on the Atkins Diet
Because of a doctor named Atkins and his hypothesis of weight loss and diet, everything that was UP is now DOWN, and everything that was FAT is now getting a great deal THINNER.

The Atkins diet is basically the polar opposite of the prevailing knowledge we have been taught about healthy eating since the word "calorie" was brought into vogue some 50 years ago.

For the past 30 plus years, however, this controversial diet has never been far from the spotlight, nor the bestseller list. Celebrities loved it. Health experts hated it. More than a few high profile, "beautiful people," support the Atkins theory of weight loss, not just in theory, but full frontal. And even more, they stand behind it.

What made the Dr. Atkins Diet so difficult for the medical and nutritional establishment to swallow, was his almost total repudiation of their unanimous conclusions on weight, health, fitness, and diet. After the years that the medical community spent building a solid consensus and the acceptance of the food pyramid, Atkins had the audacity to blame them for the failing physical health of the American people.

Atkins suggested that people who follow his diet should eat foods like cheese, steak, and sausages—which are high in fat—but avoid that are high in carbohydrate, like pasta, breads, and cereals.

OUTRAGEOUS, claimed the so-called experts, DANGEROUS, was the clarion cry, and some went so far to suggest FATAL, could be the result. That was decades ago.

Legions of people say the fine doctor was right, and the so-called pros were WRONG!

Well, who is right, and which one needs to eat their words. Here are some facts that cannot be disputed.


Hot Off the Grill Portobellos

    1/2 cup olive oil
    3 Tbls. juice from 1 lemon
    6 medium garlic cloves, minced fine (about 2 tablespoons)
    1/4 tsp. salt
    4 5- to 6-inch Portobello mushrooms (about 6 ounces each), stems removed and discarded, wipe caps.

1. Combine oil, lemon juice, garlic, and salt in large bowl. Add mushrooms, gently stir to coat mushrooms with marinade. Seal with plastic wrap. Let stand at room temperature until seasoned, about 1 hour.
2. Meanwhile, cut four 12- by 12-inch foil squares (or six 9- by 9-inch foil squares, if using smaller mushrooms); begin building medium-hot fire.
3. Remove mushrooms from marinade. Lay a foil square on work surface and set mushroom on top, gill-side up; fold foil edges over to enclose mushroom and seal edges.
4. Spread coals evenly over grill bottom. Grill mushrooms, sealed-side of foil packet facing up, until juicy and tender, 10 to 12 minutes.
5. With tongs, unwrap mushrooms and discard foil; set unwrapped mushrooms gill-side up directly on grill rack and grill until grill-marked, 30 to 60 seconds. Remove from grill.

Oops, Now You're Famous!
Have you have ever screwed up in the kitchen, and ended up as a giant in history? Well if you have, you are in very good company.

Frank Epperson was only 11 years old when he invented the Epsicle in 1905. He did what most kids do that gets them into trouble, and ended up an adolescent icon. He left his fruit flavored drink outside on the porch with a stir stick in it. That particularly frigid evening, his drink froze to the stick, and well . . . it tasted great!

Some 18 years later, in 1923, Epperson applied for and received a patent for "frozen ice on a stick" that he called the "Epsicle Ice Pop", which his contemporaries later re-named it, "The Popsicle".

Coca-Cola, was the result of another tasty trick that treated. In 1886, a druggist named John Pemberton cooked up a batch of syrup he hoped would solve problems such as nervousness, fatigue, and toothaches. In that large brass kettle, slung over an open fire, he stirred up the beverage industry forever . . . Gulp!

To add insult to instant fame, Pemberton and his assistant mixed their concoction with ice water, sipped it, and proclaimed it, well . . . fabulous. It gets worse, or you could say better. When the boys wanted a little more, the assistant, who's name escaped notoriety, accidentally used carbonated water to mix the second batch and instead of medicine, these medicinal misfits created a bubbly beverage that is now known in every corner of the world.

A former Toll collector's corner, would never have counted on making it into the history books by sheer coincidence, but it did. An innkeeper by the name of Ruth Wakefield was baking her favorite Butter Drop Do cookies one bright day in the 1930. She was using a recipe that dated back to colonial times.

Ruth, as a typical woman, in an effort to put chocolate into everything, cut up a chocolate bar putting the chunks in the batter. She expected them to melt, but much to her surprise and to the delight of mankind, she reached into the oven and pulled out the first Chocolate Chip Cookie. That mistake became one of the most famous cookies of all time. She named her miraculous mistake after her Inn . . . THE TOLL HOUSE COOKIE

Henry Ford, as we all know invented the gas-powered FORD MOTOR CAR, and the assembly line. He accomplished these revolutionary feats, as far as we can tell, with little or no help from his famous friends. But, in 1920, it took this automotive genius and the assistance of another living legend, Thomas Edison, to cook up the Charcoal Briquette.

Ford and Edison, in a joint effort to develop a higher quality combustible gasoline, accidentally created the Charcoal Briquette in his kitchen using wood scraps and sawdust from his car factory floor.

E.G. Kingsford scooped up the invention and burned up the commercial production market with these hot selling gems.

So the next time you nearly burn down your house while watching Peoples Court, instead of your stove. Test the burnt offerings in the court of public opinion to see if history will treat you better than your insurance company.

Chewy Toll House Cookies

1 1/4 cups (2 1/2 sticks) butter or margarine
2 cups sugar
2 eggs
2 tsp vanilla extract
2 cups all-purpose flour
3/4 cup unsweetened cocoa powder
1 tsp baking soda
1/2 tsp salt
10 oz chocolate chips

1. Using a hand mixer, cream the butter and sugar until light and fluffy.
2. Add the eggs and vanilla and beat well.
3. Using a sifter, combine the flour, cocoa powder, baking soda, and salt.
4. Carefully, add the flour mixture to the butter mixture, do it gradually, beating until it is well incorporated.
5. Stir in the chocolate chips and drop rounded teaspoonfuls onto an ungreased baking sheet.

Bake in a preheated 350F (180C) oven for 8 to 9 minutes, until the cookies have puffed up (they will flatten as they cool).
Cool slightly before removing to a wire rack to cool completely.
Makes 4 to 5 dozen

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