With a national beer as thickly colored as liquid chocolate, do you really think any true Irish imbiber would tint his or her beer green this Sunday, St. Patrick's Day? Just say no to cabbage-colored brews this weekend. But before you break out the shamrocks, let's dish.
Pies for Pi Day. While the rest of the world is going round and round about St. Patrick's Day, here in the Orlando Sentinel test kitchen we decided that we would tack an "e" onto Thursday's national Pi Day and use it as an excuse to muse about important slices of pie history. With the Great American Pie Festival set for April 27 and 28 in Celebration, we are practically the center of the pie universe. Here are a few fun facts from Pillsbury and the American Pie Council:
•French Silk Chocolate Pie was created in 1951 by Betty Cooper, a contestant in the third Pillsbury Bake-Off. The Maryland woman won $1,000 for her "best of class" recipe. The dessert was inducted into the Bake-Off Contest Hall of Fame in 1999.
•The wet bottom molasses pie, called shoo-fly pie, was used to attract flies away from the kitchen.
•Pumpkin pie was first introduced to the holiday table at the pilgrim's second Thanksgiving in 1623.
•Boston Cream Pie is a cake, not a pie.
•Key lime pie was adopted as the official pie of Florida in 2006.
Today at OrlandoSentinel.com/thedish check out our favorite pie recipes.
Cooking for dollars. The newly redesigned 46th Pillsbury Bake-Off Contest (BakeOff.com) has nearly $1.1 million in cash, prizes and trips up for grabs. For the first time in its 64-year history there is an online vote to determine all 100 recipes that will compete for the $1 million grand prize in November.
The nation's premier cooking competition features three recipe categories with separate entry periods:
•Amazing Doable Dinners, simple main dishes that are weeknight wows. Examples include pizzas, calzones, sandwiches, casseroles, chilies and savory pies. The category stopped accepting entries Feb. 7 and voting is open Thursday-March 28.
•Simple Sweets and Starters, those creations that are the hit of any party. Think cookies, bars, pies, tarts, bite-size appetizers, tartlets, pinwheels, puffs, bruschetta and focaccia. Entry period is April 4-May 9. Voting is June 13- 27.
•Quick Rise and Shine Breakfasts, recipes that make mornings rock. Consider sweet rolls, pastries, breakfast breads, egg dishes or breakfast sandwiches. Entry period is July 4-Aug. 8. Voting is Sept. 12-26.
Voters will determine 33 finalists in each division.
Submissions must include no more than seven ingredients, not including salt, pepper and water, and take 30 minutes or less to prepare, not including baking or cooling time. The finals will be Nov. 10-12 in Las Vegas.
Shopping alerts. An Aldi supermarket opens at 9 a.m. Thursday at 1636 E. Semoran Blvd. in Apopka.
Fresh 24, at 2816 Corrine Drive in Orlando, specializes in local produce that is in the store within 24 hours of being picked. The shop, which opened Nov. 16, supports hydroponic, organic and conventional farming.
Heather McPherson can be reached at 407-420-5498, Twitter@OS_thedish and firstname.lastname@example.org. Follow daily food news at OrlandoSentinel.com/thedish.
Get the dish
Check out the Morning Mix with Scott McKenzie recipe of the week, Rustic Corned Beef & Potato Bake, at OrlandoSentinel.com/thedish.