Posts Tagged weird holidays

National Fritters Day

Today was one of those super-long days. I had to go to work early and then I had my technical college course this evening. My original plan was to just pick up some fritters from some Madison hole-in-the-wall, but after some Googling, I realized that would actually be pretty tricky. Other than a possible corn fritter-like dish at a Caribbean place, I wasn’t finding a great fritter source.

I refused to sit this one out, though, since I’ve never actually eaten a fritter. I knew I had to hang in there at the end of the day and make some. I didn’t have time for a grocery store stop, so I had to make do with what I already had in the kitchen. No cornmeal or canned corn, so corn fritters were out. I’m still well-stocked in apple bars and apple hash, so apple fritters weren’t that appealing. I had apricot preserves (for the upcoming Sachre torte Day), but no apricots proper, so, well, you get the picture.

What I did have was a fresh, crisp red pepper. I was determined to make it work.

After checking my Pillsbury and striking out, I found a red pepper fritter recipe from the U.K. Times. I truly love the Internet, by the way. The recipe called for ham, but all I have is some really old deli-style turkey slices, so I kept my fritters vegetarian.

Remembering my hard-learned lessons about frying during Homemade Bread Day, I right away pulled out the cast iron rather than an aluminum pot. I also learned how to peak egg whites while making the fritter batter. All by myself. It was the most gorgeous foam ala poultry product ever.

The batter recipe was super simple: flour, baking powder and cayenne. As usual, I had to improvise a bit and went with paprika, which I happened to have. I also had to convert some of the measurements from metrics. Just so you know, 100 grams of all purpose flour comes out to between 3/4 to one cup. And 50 grams of Parmesan cheese is touch more than a half cup.

Red pepper fritters

The recipe calls for only a tablespoon of vegetable oil, but this must be a typo, or else those British folk have a very different conception of fried food than we do in the Midwest. Either way, most other fritter recipes are deep-fried, so I just did that. After playing around the amount of time these buggers needed to cook, I figured it out and came up with a plate of them.

Overall, they weren’t bad. A bit bland, though, so I’d probably add some sugar or go much heavier on the spices. G used hot sauce on his, and I went for honey. The only hitch was it was so late by the time I made them that I didn’t have the energy to make anything else, so fritters pretty much made up my entire dinner tonight, which isn’t really something I recommend. But whatever, I’m just so freakin’ proud of the fact that I was able to successfully fry something!

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Eat a Red Apple Day

I cannot believe it’s already been a year since I’ve last posted. Holy jeepers.

But yes, it has been a year, and even though many things have changed, some haven’t. I’m still in Wisconsin, I still can’t cook, G still is my daily hero and Koda still eats, well, everything.

And on that note, it’s time to get at it.

McIntosh apple

Eat a Red Apple Day seemed like a straightforward way to jump back into holidaying. An apple a day, a holiday a day–seemed like a nice symmetry. Today the first snow of the season fell here in Madison, and though it was light, it was noticeable, and I remembered how utterly cranky winter makes me. It doesn’t help that I’m surrounded by folks at work who have either recently survived the stomach flu or are on the brink of it. So an excuse to ingest some extra antioxidants wasn’t something I was going to complain about. (Random factoid of the day: In the average apple, there’s only about 8 mg of vitamin C. A medium orange has 70 mg.)

After scheming briefly about whipping up some apple burgers or apple pasta, I decided to keep it simple. Tucked in the back of my cupboard were a couple of packages of Kari Lee’s caramel apple mix. My mom gave them to me forever ago, but I’m generally not a big apple eater, so I just never got around to picking up some fruit and making the bars. Tonight was the perfect occasion, so I braved the ridiculous cold and went to the grocery store for some McIntosh apples. After a careful reading of the five directions and a little help from G with the mixer, I produced some genuinely decent bars! I keep picking at the pan, and after a little Googling, I found out I better savor them: It doesn’t look like Ms. Lee is selling this particular mix anymore.

Even though I made dessert first, I also wanted to incorporate apples into an actual dish tonight. Again, I considered the burgers, but again, I chickened out. I could probably handle making a breadcrumb coating, but a breadcrumb and oatmeal coating? That could get way too tricky for this gal.

Rachael Ray came to the rescue on this one. After searching for “weird apple recipes” for awhile, I just went to the Food Network and found Ray’s recipe for apple hash. Sounded unique enough for a holiday dish, so I went for it.

Perhaps I’m smarter than I was last year. Simple recipes seemed to work out really well tonight. For the hash, I baked some potatoes, cooked some apples and onions in olive oil, threw it all together and there it was. Apple hash. It’s an interesting mix of textures, with crispy apples and soft potatoes. The big surprise to me was how well the apples and onions went together. It’s a combination worth remembering, actually.

So overall, a simple fruit gave me a simple start to my holiday season. Can’t complain, but I’m still cold.

 

Caramel apple bars and apple hash

Caramel apple bars and apple hash

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Welcome to The Holidaze

The Holidaze is a blog dedicated to celebrating life’s less obvious occasions. As colder weather and darker days set in (The Holidaze is based in Madison, WI), what better way to stave off winter blues than to have a party, even a small one, every single day. Yup. Every day.

Why? Well, conveniently, there is a reason to celebrate every day because November, like most months, is full of holidays, both official and unofficial, traditional and decidedly wacky.

Official holidays are the ones we’ve been able to recite since childhood: New Year’s Day, Martin Luther King, Jr. Day, Washington’s Birthday, Memorial Day, Independence Day, Labor Day, Columbus Day, Veteran’s Day, Thanksgiving, Christmas. Most of these mean no school or work for public (and many private) employees. Okay, fine.

Unofficial holidays are where things get interesting. These occasions, which are celebrated by either many people or a few, have not been sanctioned by Congress as an official holiday, meaning schools don’t close and people still trudge to their cubicles. Halloween, St. Patrick’s Day, Valentine’s Day–these are a few of the big ones that are heavily commercialized and celebrated.

But there are literally hundreds more unofficial holidays that most people are unaware of or choose to ignore. These holidays, like Cookie Monster Day and National Chicken Lady Day, are created by random people, organizations or even corporations. They are marketed to a niche audience, usually to build awareness for a particular cause, like National Diabetes Awareness Month, or just for the helluva it, like Plan Your Epitaph Day.

Some of these obscure unofficial holidays have a solid following, like National Novel Writing Month, and others likely have few or no celebrants on any given year (though as a woman, I am heavily interested in the expansion of the National Men Make Dinner Day). So I’ve decided to highlight lesser-known holidays, and some pretty well-known ones too, in a crusade to find daily happiness. If nothing else, these holidays will give me something to look forward to, and I don’t mind the cheesiness or kitzshy-ness—-after all, what is a holiday but an excuse to do something and feel something for a particular reason on a particular day?

I won’t claim that this blog will be comprehensive; there are far too many unofficial holidays for me to write about each of them. But I will post every day through November (and we’ll see beyond that) and I’ll post multiple times a day to cover as many holidays as possible.

So what exactly will I post? I will try to include some background to the days I highlight, but info won’t always be available, and what I’m more interested in highlighting are my personal experiences celebrating these holidays. I’m going to tell you how I celebrated Vegan Awareness Month (I am a very carnivorous person usually, I’m afraid) and what Married to a Scorpion Support Day has meant to me.

I’ll admit, most of my “research” on these holidays has come from random websites, since I haven’t yet come across an official text about unofficial holidays. But I’ll link to sources and you can determine for yourself whether I’ve chosen legit holidays or not. Either way, I hope to have a blast, and feel free to leave comments suggesting holidays or sharing your own experiences.

Cheers!
S.K.

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