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Archive for September, 2009

TIP OF THE DAY: Truffle Oil Treat

 

Truffle oil is an inexpensive way to get the flavor of truffle into foods. But when you buy a bottle, make it “truffle season” in your house. The aroma dissipates quickly after opening, so use up the oil within a few months. Fortunately, it works almost everywhere—as a bread-dipper, in salads or on meat, fish, eggs, chicken, corn and other vegetables. Just don’t cook with truffle oil—the scent evaporates when the oil is heated. Instead, brush it onto the food when it comes off the flame, or drizzle it into soups. Truffle oil’s “companion,” truffle vinegar, can be used to deglaze, but vinegar is not the ideal form in which to enjoy a hint of the fungus. Most truffle oil and vinegar are not made with real truffles, but are synthetic approximations. Some are much better than others.

  • Read all about truffles—and see some beautiful truffle photos.

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    FREEBIE: Gift With Purchase From Edible Arrangements

    SpongeBob-edible-arrangements

    Eat more fruit, give more fruit gifts!
    Photo courtesy of Edible Arrangements.

    Through Sunday, September 26, Edible Arrangements is holding a Customer Appreciation Week in stores across the country. With a purchase of $50.00 or more at your local store, you’ll receive a free box of six gourmet, hand-dipped chocolate-covered strawberries. You can add the strawberries to a gift delivery or keep them for yourself; you can take an order with you or place one for future delivery.

    We love Edible Arrangements’ artistically-sculpted fresh fruit baskets and topical displays. (Read our review.) They’re:

    • Great gifts for calorie counters and healthy eaters.
    • A welcome hostess gift.
    • A terrific way to get kids excited about eating fruit.

    In addition to sophisticated presentations for grown-ups, there’s a broad selection of kid-themed fruit containers, from Mickey Mouse and the Disney Princesses to Sponge Bob, footballs and a Halloween pumpkin. Find the store nearest you at EdibleArrangements.com.

     

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    TOP PICK OF THE WEEK: Field Roast Grain Meat

    We have something to introduce today that may seem out-of-the-box for THE NIBBLE. Let us assure you: It’s so delicious we keep buying more and more. If you’re looking for a healthy hot dog solution, a delicious vegan dish or a way to help the planet reduce greenhouse gases (more about that in the main review), Field Roast Grain Meat is it!

    If you’re not a vegetarian or vegan, you may have enjoyed a few jokes about Tofurkey or Veat vegetarian meat substitutes. Even some vegetarians we know turn their noses up at “fake meat” on principle. But at THE NIBBLE, we’re only in it for food, glorious food.

    We’ve tried our fair share of vegetarian meats. Some we hope will never cross our plate again. Others, like the tempeh bacon served in a “TLT” sandwich (tempeh bacon, lettuce and tomato) with Nasoya’s Nayonaise (delicious!) at a local eatery, are a delight (“I can’t believe it isn’t bacon!”). We’re not vegetarian; we’re an omnivore. We eat anything that tastes good.

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    This meatloaf is 100% meatless comfort food. Photo by Hannah Kaminsky | THE NIBBLE.

    So when we first tasted a variety of products from the Field Roast Grain Meat Co., we couldn’t believe it wasn’t meat. Not knowing what “grain meat” was, we thought it might be a mixture of grain and meat. Whatever it was, we loved it. When we found out it was 100% vegetarian and vegan, we knew we’d found our next favorite culinary magician.

    Whether you’re vegetarian, looking to give up meat a day or two a week to help the environment or your health, or simply looking for a new and delicious food, meet this great “new meat,” Field Roast grain meat.

     

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    TIP OF THE DAY: Wonderful White Chocolate

     

    Today is White Chocolate Day, but did you know that is only since 2002 that the FDA classified this ivory delight as chocolate? Because white chocolate contains no cocoa solids, it used to be classified with the chalk-white product called “confectionary coating,” which is made with cheaper vegetable oil instead of cocoa butter—and in our opinion, doesn’t taste so terrific. (If you think you don’t like white chocolate, you may have been eating confectionary coating.) The FDA finally agreed that the cocoa butter qualified it as true chocolate (the other components are milk, sweetener such as sugar and vanilla, plus a dab of lecithin as an emulsifier).

  • See our review of the best white chocolate brands.
  • Try white hot chocolate: Vosges Haut Chocolat’s Bianca.
  • Have some White Chocolate With Strawberries ice cream from Green & Black’s.

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    RECIPE: Cherries Jubilee

    Cherries Jubilee

    Cherries Flambe

    [[1] A modern take on Cherries Jubilee, originally created by Escoffier for Queen Victoria. Photo courtesy Victoria Glavin | Tiny New York Kitchen. Check out her recipe, too. [2] Queen Victoria ate Cherries Jubilee from crystal bowls, but you can use whatever dishes you like (photo courtesy Williams-Sonoma). [3] The cherries are flambéed in a pan and spooned over dishes of ice cream (photo courtesy ClaireJustineoxox.com).

     

    September 24th is National Cherries Jubilee Day.

    Cherries Jubilee is an easy flambéed dessert that is presented with much fanfare. A sauce is made of cooked, pitted cherries and cherry liqueur (Kirschwasser—brandy can be substituted), which is flambéed in a chafing dish and ladled over a dish of vanilla ice cream at the table.

    It’s great entertainment for guests, many of whom have never had flambéed food.

    You can elaborate on the dish by serving the flaming sauce over an ice cream and angel food cake, pound cake or sponge cake, or over custard or puddings. Cherries and chocolate or lemon pudding are a delicious combination.

    Famed chef Auguste Escoffier created the dish for Queen Victoria: Either for her Golden Jubilee celebration in 1887, her 50th anniversary as queen, or her Diamond Jubilee (1897). Hence the name, Jubilee.

    Was it the Golden or the Diamond? Were the cherries flambéed with brandy or kirschwasser (cherry eau de vie)? The record isn’t clear.

    But you can serve this queenly dish at home, or “jubilee” other any cooked fruit using any 80-proof spirit. It’s an impressive yet easy to make dessert.

    While Escoffier’s team pitted and cooked fresh cherries and made the ice cream from scratch, you can elect to save time with canned cherries. We used Oregon Fruit Pitted Red Tart Cherries in Water.

    You can elect to flambé the dish or not. Tip: If guests ask to help, put them on flambé duty.

    When you serve it to guests, tell them the Escoffier-Queen Victoria story.
     
    RECIPE: CHERRIES JUBILEE

    Ingredients For 6 Servings

  • 1 can (16 ounces) best-quality pitted bing cherries
  • 1 tablespoon sugar
  • 1 tablespoon cornstarch
  • 1/4 cup Kirschwasser or brandy
  • Premium vanilla ice cream
  • Optional garnish: 1/2 cup slivered almonds
  •  
    Preparation

    1. DRAIN. Drain cherries, reserving the juice.

    2. MIX. Combine sugar and cornstarch; mix in the juice, a little at a time.

    3. WARM. Warm the Kirschwasser or brandy, in a sauce pan on the stove or in the microwave in a flame-proof dish.

    5. IGNITE. Ignite with a long kitchen match. Scoop a serving in a ladle; let flame burn out and ladle over ice cream.

     
    PREPARATION TIPS

    Tip #1: To keep the ice cream from melting, it helps to pre-scoop the balls and let keep them in the coldest area of the freezer. If you have room in the freezer, chill the dishes, too.

    Bring the ice cream and the pan of cherries to the table, ready to flame and pour immediately. If you don’t have an attractive pan, place the cherries in your vessel of choice before lighting the flame.

    Tip #2: You can make your Cherries Jubilee even easier with a jar of Chukar Cherries’ Cherry Jubilee sauce, but at $9.75 for 14 ounces, it’s best for 2-4 servings..
     
    WHERE DID CHERRIES ORIGINATE?

    You may be surprised. Check out our Cherry Facts for the history of cherries.

    How many types of sweet and tart cherries can you name?

    Check that out, too.

      

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