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Thursday, February 2, 2012

Groundhog


Happy Groundhog day everyone.  When I left the house this morning it was still dark and as I pulled into the parking lot, I could see that it was a cloudy morning on Long Island.  There are a few special Groundhogs in the northeast, but none more famous than Phil.  Phil hails from Punxsutawney Pennsylvania, Mel from Malverne New York (Nassau County), and Hal from Holtsville New York (Suffolk County).

Just to clarify things, most rodents don’t know a thing about meteorology, and have been known to only supply an accuracy of 39% when it comes to predicting future weather.  A tall order for not having gone to college, and if you ask me , they are nearly as accurate as some of the high cost meteorologists we rely on.

Groundhog Day is a day celebrated on February 2. According to folklore, if it is cloudy when a groundhog emerges from its burrow on this day, then spring will come early. If it is sunny, the groundhog will supposedly see its shadow and retreat back into its burrow, and the winter weather will continue for six more weeks.

This year was a split decision.

Punxsutawney Phil and Malverne Mel both saw their shadows and advised that it was downright rude to take them out of their warm burrows, and that we will have 6 more weeks of winter. 

On the other paw, Hal did not see his shadow and forecasts an early spring.  There is no truth to the rumor that Holtsville Hal emerged from his burrow Thursday morning in a tropical shirt and sunglasses, declaring spring's early arrival.

Given Hal's lineage and experience, the prognosticating groundhog -- specie Marmota monax -- would never allow himself to be influenced or fooled by an unseasonably warm and virtually snow-free Long Island winter, his closest confidants...

So, who are you going to believe ?  I think we will have an early spring, and if the rest of the winter is the way the first half played out, it will be fine with me.

The ritual comes from an old German superstition that says if an animal who’s been hibernating does not cast a shadow on Feb. 2, which is the Christian holiday of Candlemas, then spring will arrive early.

This day in history "
On this day in 1887, Groundhog Day, featuring a rodent meteorologist, is celebrated for the first time at Gobbler's Knob in Punxsutawney, Pennsylvania. According to tradition, if a groundhog comes out of its hole on this day and sees its shadow, there will be six more weeks of winter weather; no shadow means an early spring."

Let me tell you, there is a lot of groundhog information on the internet.  I couldn’t help but notice that amongst all the interesting facts, there were some really good recipes.  I sure hope the other less famous ground hogs are not endangered or anything cause with the price of chicken, beef, pork, fish, and fowl, it may not be a bad idea to try one of the plumper critters.

Oriental Groundhog:
Ingredients:
1.1 groundhog
2. 2 quarts water
3. ¼ cup salt
4. ½ cup soy sauce
5. 2 whole cloves garlic
6. 1 whole pepper
7. ¼ onion
8. 2 tablespoon mild chile powder
9. ¼ bunch whole parsley
10. 4 beef bouillon cubes
11. ¼ teaspoon freshly-ground white pepper
12. 1 cup beef or chicken broth
13. Teriyaki glaze

Instructions:
Cut meat into pieces and let soak in 1 quart water and salt for three hours. Transfer groundhog to 1 quart fresh water and soak 4 hours. Drain and dry meat. Place meat in a baking pan with broth, soy sauce, garlic cloves, pepper, onion, Chile powder, parsley, bullion cubes, and white pepper. Cover and bake at 350 degrees for an hour to an hour and a half. Baste frequently and finish with teriyaki glaze.

I know some of you are getting grossed out, but if you take ingredient10 and 12, and use beef bouillon and broth, it will taste like beef I guess.  Use some chicken bouillon and broth, and you guessed it, “tastes like chicken”

I may try the recipe one day, and substitute ingredient 1- 1 groundhog , for a chicken, or maybe a handful of Cornish hens.

Photo of the day “Groundhog”


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