Tag Archives: Summer Olympics 2012

Rio

The 2012 London Summer Olympics are down to the Closing Ceremonies (which are underway in London as I write this post, but won’t be aired on tv for a few hours here).  All 302 victory ceremonies have taken place, with the last gold medal of these Games being awarded to Laura Asadauskaite of Lithuania in the modern pentathalon.  At the close of these Olympics, Team USA lead the overall medal count, winning 104 medals with forty-six of them gold.  China followed with thirty-eight gold medals (eighty-seven medals in total), and Great Britain followed China with sixty-five total medals (twenty-nine of them gold).

As these Games come to a close, there will be a nod to the next Summer Olympics, which will be hosted in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil.  Following tradition, tonight’s Closing Ceremonies will see the mayor of Great Britain hand over the Olympic flag to the mayor of Rio, and Rio’s Olympic Organizing Committee has designed approximately eight minutes of tonight’s festivities to show the world what they can look forward to in Rio.  The Rio Games will be the first held in South America, and only the third held in the southern hemisphere (the only time this has been done other than two previous Games in Australia).  Windsurfing will be removed from the 2016 Games and replaced by kitesurfing.  In addition, rugby sevens and golf will be added to the events, replacing baseball and softball (which were removed in 2005).

I figured it was only fitting to celebrate Rio and the end of this series with a drink.  Enter the caipirinha, a drink made with cachaca, lime, sugar and ice.  Cachaca is possibly the most popular distilled beverage in Brazil, and is mainly produced there.  It is made from fermented sugarcane juice and shares attributes in common with rum (except rum is typically made from molasses).  The caipirinha is simple to make, if you can get your hands on the cachaca.  Only about one per-cent of what is made in Brazil is exported from Brazil, and most of that typically goes to Germany.  Lane found a bottle at Stew Leonard’s as they were featuring drinks from around the world in honor of the Olympics.  A well-stocked liquor store should carry it, or there’s the option of mail order.  If none of these are an option, rum can be substituted, but the drink won’t be exactly the same.  The recipe below is for one drink.  It’s easy to make a pitcher full for a crowd, just multiply how many drinks you’ll need and follow the same instructions.

Caipirinha

Ingredients:

  • 1 lime
  • 2 oz. cachaca
  • ice (crushed is preferable, I used cubes)
  • 2 tsp. sugar

Directions:

Cut the lime into eight wedges.

Place four of the wedges into a rocks glass, pulp side up, and sprinkle the sugar over them.

Using a muddler or the end of a wooden spoon, smash the limes and sugar together for about fifteen seconds.

Fill the glass with ice.

Pour the cachaca over the ice and drink cold.

Makes 1 serving.

Source: Maria-Brazil

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Survival

In Olympic news yesterday, the USA women’s relay team took the 4x100m relay gold medal, setting a new world record of 40.82 seconds.  The Russian synchronized swimming team held onto their title, winning gold in that event.  The US men’s basketball team will face Spain for the gold medal round, having defeated Argentina yesterday.  Columbia’s Maria Pajon took gold in women’s BMX racing, Columbia’s second gold medal ever.

Today’s post in the 2012 Summer Olympics series features this year’s London Summer Games.  At current count, the US is leading the overall medal count with 102 medals, forty-four of them are gold.  By the time the Closing Ceremonies happen tomorrow, over 10,000 athletes from 204 countries will have competed in these Games.  Women’s boxing was a new event added this year, and mixed doubles tennis returned as an event.  The Closing Ceremonies, scheduled for tomorrow night, are promising a mixture of British musical acts and even greater use of the “pixel” lights that were used at the Opening Ceremonies.  London will hand off the Olympic flag to the organizers of the Rio 2016 Summer Games and the Olympic flame will be extinguished.

For the London Games, there was really no dish I considered making other than fish and chips.  I’m sure I’m not alone in this, especially considering that various food sites I follow started posting recipes for fish and chips as soon as the Opening Ceremonies started.  Overdone or not, you can’t beat good fish and chips.  If you’ve mastered a few basics of frying (like getting and keeping the oil hot), they’re not complicated to make at all.  I did receive a fryer from my step-father, and it did make this a little easier.  If you don’t have a fryer, use a heavy pot and a frying thermometer.  Frying the chips twice did initially seem like overkill to me, but it really made all the difference.  When they were done, I had steak fries that were crispy outside and mealy inside, perfect!  The batter for the fish is three ingredients, I’m not sure it gets much simpler than this.  A word about the batter- as with all other recipes that call for alcohol of any kind, use something you would drink on its own.  You do taste the beer in this slightly, so this is the place for a good quality beer.

Fish and Chips

Ingredients:

  • 1 lb. fresh cod fillets, cut into approximately 4 oz. portions
  • 1/2 tsp. salt
  • 1 tsp. freshly ground black pepper
  • 1 C. flour, plus more for dusting
  • 1 heaping Tbsp. baking powder
  • 8-12 oz. good cold beer
  • 4 medium Russet or baking potato, washed and skins left on
  • vegetable or canola oil, for frying

Directions:

In a fryer or heavy bottomed pot, heat about 3 inches of oil to 350 degrees.

While the oil is heating, cut the potatoes into 3/4 inch wedges by cutting the potato in half lengthwise, cutting each half in half lengthwise again (leaving you with 4 wedges), and then cutting each wedge into 3/4 inch slices.

Dry the potato wedges with a paper towel or clean kitchen towel, and then add them to the hot oil.

The oil will lose temperature once the potatoes are added, this is okay.

Fry the potatoes for ten minutes, and then remove from the hot oil to drain on paper towels.

Let the potatoes rest for ten minutes and return the oil to 350 degrees.

Once potatoes have rested, add them back into the oil for 5-10 minutes, until they are golden brown and crispy on the outside.

Remove the fries to drain on paper towels for a few minutes.

Turn the oven to “warm,” or 200 degrees.

Place the fries on a baking sheet, sprinkle with some kosher salt if desired, and place the baking sheet into the oven to keep the fries warm while you make the fish.

Return the oil to a temperature of 350 degrees.

To make the fish, sprinkle the fish with the kosher salt and ground pepper.

Combine the flour, baking powder, and beer in a large bowl, whisking until the mixture resembles semi-whipped cream and coats the whisk.

Dredge both sides of the fish in flour, shaking off excess flour.

Dip the fish pieces into the batter, and hold the fish over the bowl for a few seconds to allow the excess batter to drip off.

Carefully drop the fish into the hot oil.  Depending on the size of your fryer or pot, you may have to make the fish in batches (I put 2 pieces at a time into my fryer).

Fry for four minutes, until the batter is golden or crisp.  Repeat until all fish pieces have been fried.

Remove from the hot oil and place on a paper towel lined plate to drain.

Serve hot, with malt vinegar (if desired).

Serves 4.

Source: fish, Jamie Oliver;  chips,  Tracey’s Culinary Adventures

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Beijing Welcomes You

In Olympic news yesterday, the US women’s football (soccer) team defeated Japan to win their third consecutive Olympic gold medal.  Jamaican runner Usain Bolt took gold in the 200m sprint event, just days after winning his third consecutive gold in the men’s 100m event.  Bolt is now the first man to ever win the sprint double back to back.   The US women’s water polo team won their first gold medal , beating Spain 8-5.  Jade Jones won Great Britain’s first ever Taekwondo gold medal, and Chen Ruolin from China won gold in the women’s 10mm platform diving event.

Most people remember the 2008 Beijing Summer Olympics, with the spectacular Opening Ceremony, and Michael Phelps winning a record-breaking eight gold medals.  The Beijing Summer Games had the largest television audience in history.  Nine new events, including open water swimming and BMX, were added.  There was a controversy over the ages of China’s women gymnastics team members, with critics arguing that the gymnasts appeared to be too young to compete (and, in some cases, did not provide proper documentation to the contrary).  All accused gymnasts were exonerated and went on to win the team all-around gold medal.

Jiao zi are a dumpling popular in Northern China.  Some call them a “Peking ravioli,” and it’s easy to see why.  These are pretty simple to make, even considering the time it takes to fill and press the wrappers.  A simple filling of pork and cabbage really goes a long way, these were very flavorful.  The original recipe did call for round wrappers, which I’m sure are the more authentic way to go.  Authenticity be damned, my local stores only seemed to have square wrappers, so I made them work.  Whatever shape wrapper you use, make sure you seal them tightly before boiling.  I served these with some rice and a dipping sauce made from mixing sriracha and soy sauce and this was a great dinner.  If you don’t need to make 32 dumplings, I advise making 32 dumplings anyway, boiling what you’re going to serve, and freezing the rest individually on a wax paper lined baking sheet.  Once frozen, store them in resealable bags.

Peking Dumplings

Ingredients:

  • 1 lb. napa cabbage
  • 1 ½ tsp. salt, divided
  • ¾ lb. ground pork
  • 1 ½ Tbsp. dark soy sauce
  • 1 Tbsp. dry sherry
  • ½ tsp. sugar
  • 1 Tbsp. vegetable oil
  • 1 Tbsp.  sesame seed oil
  • 1 pound round (or square . . .) dumpling wrappers

Directions:

Wash and drain cabbage and chop very fine, sprinkle 1 teaspoon of the salt over the cabbage as you chop.

Place the chopped cabbage in a cloth bag or on a clean dish towel, squeeze to remove water (you want roughly one cup of water), and discard the water.

Put all ingredients, except the wrappers, into a large bowl and add the cabbage.

Mix well (I used my hands and found this to work best).

Cover and refrigerate until ready to use.

To assemble the dumplings, place a heaping teaspoon of the filling in the center of a wrapper.

Fold the wrapper in half and brush the edges with a little water and pinch edges together to seal tightly.

Place formed dumplings on a floured plate until ready to cook, keeping them covered with a damp cloth to prevent them from drying out.

To cook the dumplings, bring 5 quarts of water to a boil in a stock pot.

Gently place the dumplings into the boiling water, being sure there is enough room for them to move around freely.

Cover and cook over medium high heat until water boils again, watching the pot because it can boil over and foam up quickly.

As soon as the water returns to a boil, add a cup of cold water, cover and continue cooking over medium heat.

When the water comes to a boil a third time remove the pot from the heat and let stand, covered, for 2 – 3 minutes, until the mixture inside the wrapper is completely cooked through.

Remove dumplings with a wire strainer and drain in a colander.

Transfer to a plate or shallow platter and serve immediately.

Makes 32 dumplings.

Source: Helen Chen

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Oceania

In Olympics news yesterday, the US won seven medals in track and field events. Highlights from those events include Allyson Felix’s win in the women’s 200m event and Aries Merrit’s world record setting win in the men’s 110m hurdles. Britney Reese took gold in the women’s long jump, the first time the US has taken gold in this event since Jackie Joyner-Kersee’s 1988 win. Gold wasn’t limited to track events, with US women’s beach volleyball pair May and Trainer-Walsh taking gold for the third Olympics in a row, defeating fellow Americans Kessy and Ross who took silver in their Olympic debut.

Today’s post features the 2004 Summer Olympics in Athens, when the Games returned to their birthplace. The Athens Summer Games saw Michael Phelps win six gold medals and eight medals in total, becoming the first Olympian to do so in a non-boycotted Games. Argentina won the men’s football gold without giving up a single goal, and canoeist Birgit Fischer became the first Olympian to win two medals in each of five Olympic Games.

I call the recipe I chose for Athens “Greek minestrone,” but it’s better known as fasolada. This is such a simple soup to put together and it yields delicious comfort food quality results. Soaking the beans and simmering the soup do take a considerable amount of time so be sure to plan ahead in order to make this. It also makes a huge amount, so plan on feeding a crowd or freezing some for another day.

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Fasolada

Ingredients:

  • 1 lb. dried navy beans
  • 12 C. water (you may need more)
  • 1 1/2 C. canned crushed tomatoes
  • 3-4 bay leaves
  • 1 Tbsp. oregano
  • pinch of red pepper flakes
  • ground pepper
  • 1/2 C. chopped parsley
  • 3 carrots, sliced
  • 3 celery ribs, sliced
  • 1-2 onions (depending on size), chopped
  • 4 cloves garlic, minced
  • salt, to taste

Directions:

Rinse and pick over the beans, then put them in a pot and add enough water to cover the beans by three inches.

Soak overnight, then drain.

Add enough water to the pot to cover the beans by a few inches again and bring to a boil.

Cook the beans for 5-10 minutes and drain.

Pour 12 cups of water into a large pot.

Add beans and all of the remaining ingredients except the salt to the pot and bring to a boil.

Cover, reduce the heat to a simmer and cook for an hour and a half.

Remove the lid and continue to cook another 30 minutes or until the beans are tender and the soup has thickened, adding more water if needed.

Season to taste with salt (you may need a considerable amount due to the large amount of soup).

Source: Elly Says Opa

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Dare to Dream

Today’s post honors the 2000 Sydney Australia Summer Olympics. The Sydney Games, dubbed “the safest games ever,” saw 199 nations compete, with eighty of them taking home a medal. The triathlon and taekwondo were new sports, and women’s events were added in the modern pentathlon and weight lifting. Some may remember the scandal concerning the age of some Chinese gymnasts, who were later determined to have misrepresented their ages in order to compete. Dong Fangxio was determined to have been fourteen at the time, and the minimum age to compete is sixteen. Her scores were later cancelled, stripping the Chinese team of their bronze medal, which was then awarded to the US gymnastics team ten years after the incident.

For the 2000 Sydney Summer Olympics, I made Tim-Tams, commercially made by Arnott’s in Australia.  Tim-Tams are the amazingness that happens when two malted wafer cookies sandwich a chocolate cream filling and then get covered in chocolate.  Between this and the lamingtons, I think Australia might be my next vacation spot.  These cookies are a little bit of work, but the end result is worth it.  It was over ninety degrees here, so I decided to add in the steps of freezing the cookies for a few minutes before and after they’re dipped in chocolate.  I think that made the dipping easier and the setting faster.  Next time, I’d probably add a little more malted milk powder so the cookies had a more obvious malted taste, but I’ve never had a Tim-Tam so I can’t comment on how this compares to the original.

Homemade Tim-Tam Cookies

Ingredients:

for the wafer cookie:

  • 2 1/4 C. flour
  • 1/4 C. cornstarch
  • 5 tsp. unsweetened cocoa powder
  • 1 tsp. malted milk powder
  • 1/2 tsp. salt
  • 1 C. sugar
  • 1/2 C. butter, softened
  • 1/3 C. milk
  • 1 tsp. vanilla extract

for the filling:

  • 1 C. heavy cream
  • 1/2 C. confectioner’s sugar
  • 1/4 C. unsweetened cocoa powder

for the chocolate coating:

  • 1o oz. semi-sweet chocolate chips
  • 1/2 C. butter, softened

Directions:

In a small bowl, whisk together the flour, malted milk powder, corn starch, cocoa powder and salt and set aside.

In a large mixer bowl, cream the butter and sugar together.

With the mixer on low speed, add in the milk and the vanilla. Mixture will look curdled.

Gradually, add in the flour mixture, mixing after each addition until fully incorporated.

Divide the dough in half and shape each half of the dough into a rectangular log, about 1 1/2 inches across.

Wrap in plastic wrap and freeze for at least 1 hour, until dough is very firm.

Heat oven to 375 degrees.

Slice the dough into 1/4 inch thick slices (if they are too thick, they will not be crisp).

Place the slices on a parchment lined baking sheet.  Cookies do not spread much, so they can be placed close together.

Bake for 13-15 minutes until crispy.

Remove to wire cooling rack to cool completely before filling and dipping.

To make the chocolate filling, combine the heavy cream, cocoa powder and confectioner’s sugar in a large chilled bowl.

Beat on low to mix ingredients, then turn mixer up to high and beat until the mixture holds a peak.

Spread 1-2 tsp. of the filling mixture onto the flat side of one cookie, top with another cookie flat-side-down, and use a spoon to clean up the edges where the filling was “smooshed” out.

Place the filled cookies on a wax paper lined tray or plate and repeat until all cookies have been used.

Place into the freezer for 1/2 hour before dipping.

To make the chocolate coating, place the softened butter and chocolate chips in a microwave safe bowl.  Heat in 45 second increments, stirring after each increment, until chocolate is smooth and melted.

Dip each cold cookie into the chocolate and return to the waxed paper lined tray.

Freeze for 1/2 hour before serving, and keep cookies chilled until ready to serve.

Makes approximately 3 dozen cookies (complete Tim-Tams)

Source:  Better Recipies

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Reach

Yesterday’s Olympic events saw Russian gymnast Aliya Mustafina win a gold medal in the women’s uneven bars. US all-around gold medal winner Gabby Douglas missed an element of her routine, bringing her score too low to make the podium for this event. Great Britain took another equestrian gold, in the team jumping event. Ukrainian weight lifter Oleksiy Torokhtiy won the first weightlifting gold medal of the 2012 London Games, and Grenada won its first medal ever when Kirani James won gold in the men’s 400m track event.

The 1996 Summer Olympics in Atlanta, Georgia, were the first games where all 179 National Olympic Committees were represented. Softball, lightweight rowing, mountain biking, and beach volleyball were introduced. Many people remember the Opening Ceremonies, where Muhammad Ali lit the Olympic Flame and received a gold medal to replace the one he threw away upon his return to the United States following the 1960 Summer Olympics as a reaction to the way African-Americans were being treated in the US at the time. Another memorable moment was when gymnast Kerri Strugg landed her second vault on one foot after breaking her ankle on her first vault in an effort to help the United States win a team all-around gold in women’s gymnastics. The team did win the first United States team gold medal for the event, but it was later discovered that Strugg’s second vault wasn’t needed in order to do so.

I checked with my youngest sister to ask what food I should make to represent Atlanta in this series. I knew there were a lot of possibilities for this but I wasn’t shocked when peach hand pies from The Varsity were mentioned. The Varsity is something of an Atlanta institution, boasting up to 30,000 customers at times and the world’s largest drive-in. I’ve never been there, so I can’t comment on how close these fried peach hand pies are to the original, but my sister noted that the glaze is what makes the ones at The Varsity so addictive. I found a recipe that claimed to be an original, but it called for using canned biscuit dough as the crust. I found that hard to believe when The Varsity’s website indicates that the original owner insisted on three to six deliveries a day in order to offer customers the freshest ingredients and that 5000 fried pies are made from scratch daily. I decided to use The Pastry Queen’s recipe and I wasn’t disappointed.

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Fried Peach Hand Pies

Ingredients:

for pies:

  • 1/3 C. very cold butter
  • 2 peaches
  • 3 Tbsp. sugar, divided
  • 2 C. flour
  • 1 1/2 tsp. baking soda
  • 1 tsp. salt
  • 1/2 C. ice water
  • Vegetable oil, for frying

for glaze:

  • 1/3 cup powdered sugar
  • 2 tsp milk
  • 1/4 tsp vanilla extract

Directions:

Heat 2 inches of oil in a large pan to 375 degrees.

Cut peaches into 1/2 inch cubes.

Toss peaches and 1 Tbsp. of the sugar in a bowl and set aside.

Using the grater blade of a food processor, grate the butter.

Switch to the dough blade and add the flour, baking soda, salt, and remaining 2 Tbsp. of sugar.

Pulse a few times to combine, then turn the food processor on and stream the ice water into the mixture.

Process just until the dough forms a ball and turn out onto a floured surface.

Roll the dough out to 1/16 of an inch thick, then cut into approximately 5 inch rounds. Re-roll the scraps and continue until all dough has been used (I made 6 hand pies).

Place a heaping tablespoon of peach mixture into the center of each round, then, using a finger, wet the edge of one half of the dough round.

Fold the dough over to make a half circle, pressing the edges to seal. Use a fork dipped in flour to crimp the edges.

Carefully put the pies in the hot oil and fry them for 2 minutes on each side, until golden brown. You may have to do this in batches depending on the size of the pan. If this is the case, fry a batch, then wait for the oil to return to 375 degrees in between each batch.

Remove the pies from the oil using a slotted spoon or spatula and place them on a paper towel lined plate.

To make the glaze, whisk together the powdered sugar, milk, and vanilla then brush over the warm pies.

Makes 6 hand pies.

Source: adapted from Confections of a Foodie Bride, originally from The Pastry Queen

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