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Archive for October 26, 2011

TOP PICK OF THE WEEK: The Amazing Rice Cube

From hors d’oeuvre to sushi to snacks,
Rice Cube turns out dazzling food in minutes.

 

Faster than most recipes. More powerful than many kitchen utensils. Able to turn out dazzling foods in a single bound.

It’s our latest super gadget find, the Rice Cube.

This handy gadget will help you turn out impressive foods for just about any purpose—from hors d’oeuvre and sides to snacks and desserts.

And it’s so easy, even the kids can help out, or create their own kid-flavored snacks: carrots and peas rice cubes, peanut butter and raisin rice cubes…the combinations are infinite, and include everything from BBQ pork to smoked salmon to a “rice pudding” cube.

Rice Cube also helps you make sushi at home without having to master the rolling mat.

Check out this amazing little gadget.

Good things come in small packages. Consider the Rice Cube for holiday gifts for friends who love to cook and entertain.

Perhaps your first social event of the new year can be a cube-off competition.

 

Rice Cube can “cube” other foods, as well. Read the full review.

RICE 101

There’s more to rice than “white” and “brown.” Take a look at our glamorous Rice Glossary for gourmet rices that are begging to be cubed.

  

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TIP OF THE DAY: The Sugar To Agave Conversion

Agave nectar, also called agave syrup, is a wonder food. It has a natural sweetness that’s more elegant than table sugar—never cloying or “sugary.” Its glycemic index is 32, half that of sugar (GI 60-65) and more than 40% less than honey (GI 58) and pure maple syrup (GI 54). It’s diabetes-friendly.

A teaspoon of agave has 20 calories; sugar has 16 calories and honey has 22 calories. But since agave is 1.4 to 1.5 times sweeter than sugar, you don’t need to use as much.

It follows that when you’re cooking or baking with agave, you need to use less. Agave is also 20% moisture, so you also have to reduce the moisture when baking.

  • Substitute 2/3 cup agave per 1 cup sugar.
  • Reduce other liquids by 1 fluid ounce per 2/3 cup agave nectar.
  • Reduce oven temperature by 25°F and baking time by 5%.
  •  
    The best conversion, of course, would be to have a book of favorite recipes converted and tested with agave.

     

    Agave nectar is one of our favorite
    products. Photo by Hannah Kaminsky | THE NIBBLE.

     

    Alas, there’s no one great book of agave recipes (publishers take note!). Those that exist have as many critics as fans. Here’s one to take a look at: Baking with Agave Nectar: Over 100 Recipes Using Nature’s Ultimate Sweetener.

    More Agave to Sweetener Conversions

  • Brown Sugar: For each cup of brown sugar, substitute 2/3 cup agave; reduce other liquids by 1/4 cup. Because the moisture content of brown sugar is higher than that of white sugar, liquids may not have to be reduced as much.
  • Brown Rice Syrup: Use 1/2 to 1/3 as much agave; increase other liquids in the recipe by up to 1/2 cup.
  • Corn Syrup: Use 1/2 as much agave; increase other liquids by up to 1/3 cup.
  • Honey: Replace each cup of honey with 1 cup of agave syrup.
  • Maple Syrup: Replace each cup of maple syrup with 1 cup of agave syrup.
  • White Table Sugar: For each cup of white sugar, substitute 2/3 cup agave; reduce other liquids by 1/4 to 1/3 cup. This substitution also works for demerara sugar, evaporated cane juice, Sucanat and turbinado sugar.
  •  
    Find more information at AllAboutAgave.com.

    All About Agave

    Here’s everything you need to know about agave nectar.

      

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    HALLOWEEN: Make These Meringue Ghost Cookies

    Melt-in-your-mouth meringue ghosts.
    Photo © Michael Klashman |
    ButterFlourEggs.com.

     

    We loved this idea from Michael Klashman of ButterFlourEggs.com so much that we signed up for all of his blog feeds.

    Meringues are gluten-free, cholesterol-free airy bites. Airy ghosts are perfect Halloween fare.

    This recipe makes about 24 ghosts, each 2- to 3-inches: crunchy on the outside and slightly gooey on the inside.

    Serve them on a tray, use them as cake or cupcake toppers or make a ghostly sundae.

    MERINGUE GHOST COOKIES RECIPE

    Ingredients

  • 5 egg whites
  • 1½ cup superfine sugar (you can grind regular
    table sugar into superfine)
  • Pinch salt
  • ¼ teaspoon cream of tartar
  • 1 teaspoon real vanilla extract
  • Small black or silver dragées* for the eyes
  •  

    Preparation

    1. PREHEAT the oven to 225°F. (Always use an oven thermometer—you can’t trust the calibration, even on the finest oven.) Prepare two cookie sheets by lining with parchment paper.

    2. BEAT the egg whites in the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with the whisk attachment, at medium-high speed just until frothy (about a minute).

    3. ADD the salt and cream of tartar. Continue beating and very slowly add the sugar. Continue beating until the whites have become very thick (although not dry) and glossy. The whites should hold their peak when the beater is pulled out of the bowl.

    4. ADD the vanilla extract, and continue beating for another fifteen or twenty seconds, just until it has been absorbed into the meringue.

    5. TRANSFER the meringue to a large piping bag fitted with a plain, wide tip (for example, Ateco #808). Pipe ghost shapes onto the lined cookie sheets. Using a pair of tweezers, set the dragée “eyes” into the ghosts. This is the painstaking part of recipe, so be patient and have fun. You can use the back of the tweezers or other implement to draw an optional smile. (We used an straightened-out paper clip.)

    6. BAKE for fifteen minutes, checking frequently to make sure the meringues do not brown. After fifteen minutes, turn the oven off and leave the meringues inside for 3-4 hours to dry.

    Then, WATCH those ghosts disappear!

    *Dragée, pronounced drah-ZHAY in French, refers to various types of hard, sugar-based confections. Jordan almonds, for example, are called dragées in France. In the U.S., the term most often refers to a tiny ball of colored sugar, commonly 3-4 millimeters in diameter, used to decorate cookies and cakes. In comparison, the dragées on nonpareils candies are 2 millimeters in diameter. The word derives from the Greek tragêmata, meaning sweets or treats. According to Wikipedia, the dragée was originally a spiced lump of sugar eaten after meals as a digestive.
      

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