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Archive for July 15, 2011

COOKING VIDEO: Giada Di Laurentiis Makes Affogato, An Italian Sundae


Italians love their gelato. And they love their espresso. They combine both into an affogato (ah-foe-GOT-toe).

Affogato is a coffee lover’s delight. It’s a scoop (or more) of vanilla gelato, topped with a shot of hot espresso. In Italian, the word means “drowned.” You can drown the gelato further with a flavored syrup or a shot of liqueur.

Depending on how you make it, affogato can be a beverage—think iced espresso with a scoop of gelato—or a dessert.

In this cooking video, Giada Di Laurentiis makes the dessert version. She tops vanilla gelato with homemade sugar syrup flavored with gingerbread spices and hazelnut liqueur, then adds the hot espresso.

  • Instead of gingerbread-spiced syrup with cinnamon, cloves, ginger and hazelnut liqueur, you can use any favorite spices and/or liqueur—amaretto, chocolate or coffee liqueur, for example.
  • You can use ready-made syrups—the type served in coffee bars—from producers like DaVinci, Monin, Torani and Sonoma Syrups. If you can’t find them locally, try It’s far more cost effective, though, to make the syrup from scratch—and much more delicious.
  • Instead of a syrup with liqueur, you can substitute a shot of hazelnut liqueur, or experiment with other liqueur flavors. Those who don’t like sweet syrup will prefer it, and you’ll save the sugar calories from the syrup.
  • Instead of vanilla gelato or ice cream, try chocolate or coffee gelato—or a scoop of all three!
    What’s the difference between gelato and ice cream? Find out!



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    RECIPE: Creamy Tapioca Pudding

    Cassava Root

    [1] Tapioca pudding (photo © J. Java | Fotolia). [2] Cassava root, the source of tapioca (photo David Monniaux | Wikipedia ).


    July 15th is National Tapioca Pudding Day, honoring a dessert so creamy, it was once known as tapioca cream (there’s also a National Tapioca Day on June 28th, which can honor other tapioca recipes, from bubble tea to flatbread). Tapioca pudding used to be as popular as rice pudding and was served in school lunchrooms. While its popularity began to wane some 50 years ago, it’s still popular with people who like creamy puddings.

    Modern processing of tapioca began in the second half of the 19th century. As an easily digestible starch, tapioca pudding was often prescribed for children, the elderly and the infirm.

    So what is tapioca pudding?

    Tapioca is made from the root of the cassava (pronounced kuh-SAH-vuh, also called manioc, arrowroot and yuca—not yucca), a woody shrub native to South America that is cultivated for its starchy, tuberous root (a major food source, cooked like potatoes).

    Tapioca is also a thickener. Add a tablespoon of arrowroot (dried ground cassava) or two tablespoons of quick-cooking tapioca pearls to berry pies or other pie recipes known to be runny. The arrowroot or tapioca will “thicken the sauce” as the pie bakes.

    In the Tupi-Guarani* language, the processed cassava is called tipioca. Tipi means residue and ok (not O.K.) means to squeeze out. This describes how the starch is produced—by steeping the crushed root fibers in water and squeezing out the liquid. Spanish and Portuguese traders transposed the word to tapioca. TRIVIA: The milky, bitter liquid (yare) squeezed out of the pulp is poisonous, and was used to make poisonous darts.

    *The Tupi-Guarani are one of the main indigenous ethnic groups of Brazil. It is believed that they first settled in the Amazon rainforest, but spread southward beginning about 2,900 years ago to gradually occupy the Atlantic coast of what is now Brazil.


    This recipe couldn’t be easier. Just bring the ingredients to a boil and let stand for 15 minutes. The recipe, made by our mom, is adapted from The Fanny Farmer Cookbook.


  • 1 egg
  • 2 tablespoons quick-cooking tapioca
  • 1/4 cup white or brown sugar
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt
  • 2 cups whole milk
  • 1/2 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
  • For chocolate tapioca: add 1/4 cup cocoa powder and 1 tablespoon butter to Step 2
  • For coconut tapioca: add 1/4 cup shredded coconut to Step 2
  • For coffee tapioca: add 2 teaspoons instant coffee to Step 2
  • Optional garnish: berries, whipped cream or a dab of jelly or preserves

    1. BREAK the egg into a medium saucepan and beat with a fork (just enough to blend the white and yolk).

    2. ADD the tapioca, sugar, salt and milk. Stir over moderate heat until the pudding boils.

    3. REMOVE from heat; let stand 15 minutes. The pudding stiffens as it cools.

    4. STIR IN the vanilla and pour the pudding into serving bowl or individual ramekins or goblets. Refrigerate for several hours or until ready to serve.

  • For a fluffier tapioca pudding, separate the egg and cook the yolk with the pudding. Beat the white until stiff, beat in 1 tablespoon of sugar and fold into the finished pudding.
  • Tapioca pudding can be baked. Add 1 tablespoon butter to Step 2, pour into a buttered baking dish and bake for 45 minutes at 325°F.
    FIND MORE PUDDING RECIPES IN OUR GOURMET DESSERTS SECTION ON THENIBBLE.COM, and use the pull-down Gourmet Foods menu at top right to find dessert recipes on this blog.


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    RECIPE: Make An Iced Matcha Latte

    Matcha is the Japanese ceremonial tea. It’s shade-grown green tea. The leaf is deveined and then stone ground into a fine powder. The bright green powder is whipped into water that is heated to just before boiling. The result: a smooth, vegetal sweetness with no astringency.

    Matcha is the type of green tea used to make the popular green tea latte. You can purchase it at most tea shops and tea departments of fine food stores, or online.

    You can enjoy your matcha latte hot or iced. Given the weather, let’s start with the iced. Thanks to The Republic of Tea for this recipe. You’ll find a link to a hot green tea latte recipe at the end of this post.

    If you hold the whipped cream, you’ve got a healthy drink: antioxidants from the tea, protein and calcium from the milk and sweetness from agave nectar, a low-glycemic yet delicious sweetener (our favorite).


    Ingredients For One Drink

  • 1 teaspoon matcha powder
  • 1/4 cup warm water
  • 3 teaspoons agave nectar
  • 1/2 cup milk or milk alternative
  • 1 cup ice cubes
  • Optional: whipped cream

    Hold the whipped cream and you’ve got a
    healthful drink. Photo courtesy The Republic Of Tea.


    1. In a bowl, whisk matcha powder with warm water. Stir until completely dissolved.
    2. Stir in the agave nectar.
    3. Add milk and stir.
    4. Pour into blender. Add ice cubes and blend until smooth.
    5. Pour into a tall glass, a martini glass or other interesting glass shape. Serve.

    Here’s the recipe for a hot matcha latte (green tea latte).


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    TIP OF THE DAY: Make Pickled Vegetables Or Fruits

    Serve a beautiful pickled vegetable tray or use the veggies as plate garnishes. Photo courtesy The National | NYC.


    Have you ever made pickled vegetables? This tip isn’t about “putting up” vegetables for winter in sterilized jars. Just a few days of aging in the fridge will give you delicious snacks and and garnishes to use on sandwiches, main dishes and cocktails.

    Paul Corsentino, Executive Chef at The National in New York City, is a huge fan of pickling. Here are his tips on how to pickle vegetables.

  • You can pickle just about any vegetable. Try anything and everything from baby carrots and cucumbers to summer squash, spring onions and jalapeños (great on burgers!). You can also pickle grapes and sliced fruits (apples, pineapple, stone fruits, etc.).
  • Use your favorite spices in the brine (he uses vinegar to brine; you can use half vinegar and half salted water).
  • Cut fresh, uncooked vegetables to the size you want, place them in a jar and make sure that the brine covers the tops.
  • You can add sugar and or salt to the brine; but make a batch without them first. It’s healthier, and it will let the flavor of the spices shine through.
  • You can pickle fruits as well, to use on sandwiches, salads, or as cheese condiments. Don’t hesitate to mix in onions or chiles.
  • Pickles will be ready in just two hours; although you can keep them in the fridge for a few weeks (trust us, they will eaten quickly).

  • Bland vegetables, such as summer squash and cucumbers, need stronger spices. Try cinnamon, coriander and garlic in a white balsamic vinegar.
  • Vegetables with stronger flavors, like onions and jalapeños, need more subtle spices, such as cumin, dill seed and ginger, plus lemon juice.
    Chef Corsentino also chooses a different brining liquid depending on the vegetable. For example:

  • For red pearl onions, try red wine vinegar with star anise, cinnamon, sugar and salt.
  • For ramps and jalapeños, try rice wine vinegar, coriander and cardamom.
  • For summer squash, alternate the white balsamic vinegar mentioned above with oak-aged Banyuls red wine vinegar (or sherry vinegar) with cloves, star anise or other favorite spices and rings of your favorite chile.
    Look at your spices for inspiration: allspice, bay leaf, crushed red peppers, dill seed, juniper berries, mace, mustard seed, and peppercorns are all contenders. Pickled vegetables never met a spice they didn’t like.

    Since these pickled vegetables aren’t sterilized in a water bath, they need to go right into the fridge to age. Eat them within two weeks (more likely, they’ll be gone in two days).

    If you’re excited about pickling, pick up a book on the topic. The Joy Of Pickling, first published in 1999, is now in its second edition.

    You may find yourself making classic bread-and-butter and dill pickles, pickled beets and kimchi.

  • Check out our Pickle Glossary for the different types of pickles.

  • Here are our favorite gourmet pickle brands.

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