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Archive for August, 2010

TIP OF THE DAY: Ice Cream Cone Tips

A marshmallow in the tip means no drip.
Photo by Agg | Dreamstime.

To keep an ice cream cone from dripping, stuff a miniature marshmallow or two into the bottom of the cone. It will plug up the tip so that ice cream doesn’t drip through.

Want to make fancy dipped ice cream cones, like the ones sold at ice cream shops?

DIPPED ICE CREAM CONE RECIPE

Ingredients

  • 8 old-fashioned sugar cones
  • 9 ounces semisweet chocolate, chopped
  • 2 tablespoons solid vegetable shortening
  • Decoration: chocolate chips, shredded coconut, sprinkles, chopped nuts, miniature candies, etc.
Preparation
1. Set out 8 glasses to hold the cones until they set. Place decorations on a small plate (you’ll be dipping the cone into them).
2. Add chocolate and shortening to a medium bowl or double boiler. Set over a saucepan of simmering water. Stir until melted and smooth.
3. Remove bowl from water pan. Let chocolate stand until cool enough to work with, about 5 minutes.
4. Dip wide end of ice cream cone into chocolate. Rotate to create a 1/4-inch chocolate rim. Hold cone upside-down until the chocolate is almost set (about 10 seconds).
5. Roll chocolate into the decoration, pressing gently as needed to adhere.
6. Place cone into glass to set.

Makes 8 cones. The cones can be prepared a week in advance; wrap each cone individually with plastic to maintain crispness. If possible, store in an airtight container.

 

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FOOD FACTS: For Mayonnaise Lovers

Unlike mustard, pickles and other condiments that are essentially the same as at the time of their invention, mayonnaise evolved into something quite different.

The “original” mayonnaise was a sauce served at a banquet following the 1756 Battle of Mahón, a city on the island of Minorca in the Mediterranean. The new recipe was named “sauce Mahónnaise” by the chef, in honor of the French victory.

Over the years, the sauce underwent an evolution. The mayonnaise we know was developed by the great French chef Marie-Antoine Carême, founder of the concept of haute cuisine. If not for Carême, the sandwich spread and binder for the tuna salad and potato salad that we love might not exist.

The brilliant Carême also developed the “mother sauce” system of French cuisine; mille-feuille pastry used to make napoleon pastry; éclairs; meringue cookies; and charlottes, among other contributions.

Can’t live without mayo? Give thanks to
Marie-Antoine Carême. Photo by © Robyn Mac | Fotolia.

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NEWS: Bottled Tea Can Be Low On Antioxidants

A good choice: Snapple shows the milligrams
of tea polyphenols on its bottle labels. They
are equivalent to a cup of home-brewed tea.
Photo courtesy Snapple.

Bottled tea is a $1 billion industry in the United States. In the past decade, many people have switched to it from soft drinks because of the antioxidant-generated health benefits. (The antioxidants are in black, green and white tea. Red tea—rooibos—and other herbal teas don’t contain them.)

Yet a new study has found that the majority of bottled teas bought at the supermarket contain far lower levels of tea polyphenols (the specific antioxidants) than tea that is brewed at home.

In fact, says the study, some bottled tea brands contain such small amounts of polyphenols that one would have to drink 20 bottles to get an amount equal to the polyphenols found in one cup of home-brewed tea. (Learn more about polyphenols in our Antioxidant Glossary.)

The statement was released on Sunday at the national meeting of the American Chemical Society. The study was conducted by researchers Shiming Li and Chi-Tang Ho of WellGen, Inc., a biotechnology company in North Brunswick, New Jersey. The brands were not identified in the statement, but publication of the full study is anticipated.

The six teas analyzed contained 81, 43, 40, 13, 4, and 3 milligrams of polyphenols per 16-ounce bottle. One average cup of home-brewed green or black tea contains 50-150 milligrams of polyphenols. The teas below that threshhold contain amounts so small, the researchers say, that they likely offer little or no health benefits.

Senior scientist Li stated that “there is a huge gap between the perception that tea consumption is healthy and the actual amount of the healthful nutrients—polyphenols—found in bottled tea beverages. Our analysis of tea beverages found that the polyphenol content is extremely low.”

Li added that consumers buying commercially bottled teas may actually be spending money on substances detrimental to health, including sugar and high fructose corn syrup.

Will this lead to consumer demand that the polyphenols be printed on the nutrition labels? We hope so! Snapple justifies its claim, “Made from the best stuff on earth,” by displaying the polyphenol count on each bottle. Most of its teas have more than 50 mg per serving, and quite a few have 71 mg—nicely into the range of home-brewed tea.

After water, tea is the world’s most highly-consumed beverage.

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TIP OF THE DAY: Easy Dessert Sauce

When you need a quick topping for cake, pie or bread pudding, melt a pint of premium French vanilla ice cream (made with egg yolks).

  • Melt a pint (2 cups) of ice cream at room temperature or in the refrigerator.
  • Stir in 2 ounces (jiggers) of bourbon.
  • Serve cold, at room temperature or slightly warmed.

 

Coffee and chocolate ice cream also work as sauces, and you can match coffee liqueur, chocolate liqueur, rum or other spirit that picks up accents in your dessert.

You also can serve these sumptuous sauces in liqueur glasses as part of the dessert courses:

Add a glass to the dessert plate, serve as “chasers” to the dessert or right before coffee.

French-style ice cream does double duty
as a sauce. Photo courtesy Haagen-Dazs.

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PRODUCT: Gourmet Hot Sauce

Dixie Heat is one of our new favorite hot
sauce brands. Photo by Katharine Pollak |
THE NIBBLE.

If you enjoy enjoy Tabasco as a food condiment, you should try some of the small-batch, artisan hot sauces on the market.

We try dozens of hot sauces each year. Some are just hot (or scorching!), others have so much flavor that they are astonishing.

We never thought we’d be happy with a product called Louisiana Swamp Scum, but its combination of heat, smoke and vinegar is something special.

The other hot sauces have very different flavor profiles, but similarly colorful names: Dixie Delight, Dixie Heat and Happy Dogs Hot Sauce (the label features a homey photo montage of the creator’s dogs).

Put these inexpensive hot-and-tasty sauces on your gift list. The small bottles have big impact.

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