Friday, January 6, 2012

January 6 - Shortbread Day, Bean Day and Three Kings Day

January 6th is Shortbread Day, Bean Day, and Three Kings Day.  Okay, okay... so Three Kings Day really isn't a food holiday, but there are so many food traditions to it that I had to give it a shout out.  I love the tradition of a King's Cake (link to recipe at AllRecipes), even though finding the "prize" really isn't a reward since it means you're responsible for hosting the next Three Kings Day party and providing the cake.  It's still a fun tradition and a reason to party. Every country (and some regsions/states/cites) has it's own tradition for Three Kings Day, but I'm most familiar with King's Cake.

January 6th = Shortbread Day. 

I have a particular fondness for Trefoils, the Girl Scout shortbread cookie.  (Not my favorite GS cookie by a long shot, but still good!)  My mom has a shortbread recipe that I really need to get from her.  She cuts hers into shapes using cookie cutters, but shortbread cookie molds always draw my eye.  I can't justify buying one, though - I just don't make shortbread often enough.  Instead of using a mold, I just cut it into triangles. 

Shortbread is pretty basic and easy to make.  Traditionally, shortbread is just butter, sugar, and flour.  Food Network Magazine has a pretty good, basic recipe for shortbread.   Whether you cut it into triangles, use molds, or just buy the cookies from the grocery store, shortbread cookies are pretty darn tasty.

Bean Day

Beans, beans, the musical fruit!  The more you eat, the more you toot! The more you toot, the better you feel.  Let's eat beans for every meal!

Are you familiar with that children's refrain?  Maybe you've heard a different version of it?  Well, even if this is the first time you've come accross that little ditty, you're probably aware that beans are really a fruit - they're legumes.  The USDA has a nice little explanation about why beans are a unique food, counting as both protein and vegetables.

In honor of Bean Day, I convinced one of my really good friends to share her bean salad recipe.  If you're missing a can of beans, you can always double up on another type.  As for the seasoning, she typically just uses McCormick's Italian Seasoning, but she's found that any Italian seasoning works, and will sometimes use Tuscan Sunset from Penzey's Spices.  She eats this just plain, but I think it pairs well with a slice of whole wheat toast. She also just drains her beans, but I prefer to rinse any canned beans.  This recipe is also vegan.

Sharon's Bean Salad
1 can garbanzo beans, drained and rinsed
1 can wax beans, drained and rinsed
1 can kidney beans, drained and rinsed
1 can green beans, drained and rinsed
1 can of black olives, drained
1/4 cup vegetable oil
1/4 cup sugar
1/2 cup vinegar
1/2 tsp pepper
1 pinch salt
Italian seasoning to taste

Mix all together in a bowl.  Chill for at least 30 minutes before serving.

The original recipe calls for chopped red onion (1/2 cup) but she really dislikes onion and never eats it.  I like to add it back in and I like to add pepperocinis for a little extra kick.

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