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Archive for September, 2012

RECIPE: Mango Gazpacho With Fromage Blanc Sorbet

Our bad: We forgot to publish this delicious mango gazpacho recipe in the height of summer gazpacho season.

But it’s still warm out; and this recipe from Vermont Creamery, served with fromage blanc sorbet, is worth your attention.

MANGO GAZPACHO RECIPE

Ingredients

  • 1 cup cold water
  • 1 cup tomato juice
  • 8 large tomatoes, peeled, seeded, and diced
  • 1 large mango,* peeled, seeded, and diced
  • ¼ cup red onion, minced
  • 1 clove garlic, minced
  • 1 cucumber, peeled and diced
  • 1 green bell pepper, seeded and minced
  • 4 scallions, chopped fine
  • 1 orange, juiced (set zest aside for the sorbet)
  • ¼ cup fresh lime juice
  • ¼ cup cilantro, chopped
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 1 teaspoon freshly ground pepper
  • ½ teaspoon cayenne pepper
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    Mmm, mmm, mango gazpacho. Photo courtesy Vermont Creamery.

     

    *Add 2 teaspoons sugar if the mango and tomato are not quite ripe.
     
    Ingredients For Sorbet

  • 8 ounces fromage blanc
  • 1/8 cup fresh lime juice
  • 1 tablespoon orange zest
  • Zest of 1 lime
  • 1 teaspoon sugar
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    Preparation

    1. GAZPACHO: Place all ingredients except the orange zest in a large bowl or container overnight. Adjust seasonings in the morning. If the mixture is too chunky, pulse half of it with an immersion blender or a hand mixer.

    2. SORBET: Mix all ingredients together in a bowl and put in freezer 2 hours before serving. Use a small melon baller or sorbet scoop. Place sorbet on top of gazpacho.

     
    Find more of our favorite soup recipes.

      

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    TIP OF THE DAY: 12 Delicious Ways To Use Grapes

    Grilled fish with grape relish. Photo courtesy
    California Table Grape Commission.

     

    Grapes are an easily portable snack and energy food, high in fiber, potassium and vitamin C. Composed 80% of water, they’re also a help with hydration.

    Yet beyond snacking, versatile, popular grapes demand to be incorporated into recipes.

    What kind of grapes? Many different subspecies are grown: Popular varieties include Thompson seedless. an early, green grape; red seedless. an early, red grape; Tokay and Cardinal, early, bright-red, seeded grapes; and Emperor, late, deep-red, seeded grapes.

    But the grocery store typically doesn’t provide the details. It boils down to black, green and red grapes. You can do a taste test among them; we enjoy mixing up the colors in our recipes.

    Seeded versus seedless grapes? Again, do a taste test. Seedless grapes are certainly more convenient, but you may prefer the flavor of the seeded varieties.

     

    BUYING & STORING GRAPES

  • BUYING. According to the Consumer Information Center, you should look for well-colored, plump grapes firmly attached to the stem. Green grapes are sweetest when the color has a yellowish cast or straw color, with a tinge of amber. Red varieties are better when good red predominates on all or most of the berries. Bunches are more likely to hold together if the stems are predominantly green and pliable. Avoid doft or wrinkled grapes, or bunches with stems that are brown and brittle; these are the effects of freezing or drying. Also avoid grapes with bleached areas around the stem ends and leaking berries.
  • STORING. Grapes can keep in a bag or covered bowl in the refrigerator for up to a week. If you have more than you can use, freeze the grapes, unwashed. Rinse them under lukewarm water prior to using; the water will help to defrost them.
  • SERVING. Use a small scissors to remove small clusters of grapes, instead of pulling off individual grapes and leaving unattractive stem tips. In decades past, refined households had a specialty grape shears for this purpose (we have our grandmother’s pair, silver and gold with a grape cluster motif). Here are contemporary small grape scissors that do the trick.
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    12 EASY WAYS TO ADD GRAPES TO YOUR RECIPES

    Make grape jelly can be a challenge, but here are 12 easy ways to enjoy grapes.

    1. Freeze the grapes as snacks. Just pull them off the stems and place them on a cookie sheet in a single layer to freeze; then store them in a plastic bag. You get a grape sorbet effect without added sugar.

    2. Freeze the grapes as snacks. Make grape sorbet.

    3. Use frozen grapes as ice cubes. Add them to soft drinks or sweet cocktails.

    4. Make grape Margaritas. This frozen grape Margarita recipe is delish.

     

    Serve with cocktails: Blue Cheese & Walnut Dusted Grapes. Photo courtesy Whole Foods Market. Get the recipe.

     

    5. Make grape hors d’oeuvre. Skewer them with cubes of cheese or mozzarella balls, wrap them in prosciutto, or make this divine recipe (photo above) for Blue Cheese & Walnut Dusted Grapes appetizer pops.

    6. Add grapes to a salad. Take a look at this recipe for Curried Chicken Salad With Grapes, Pecans & Pomegranate Vinaigrette or this recipe. Or add them to a radicchio salad.

    7. Make a Waldorf Salad. This retro dish, created for ladies who lunched at the Waldorf Astoria Hotel in New York City, consists of chopped apples, grapes and walnuts dressed with mayonnaise, on a bed of lettuce. The original recipe, with neither grapes nor walnuts, was created for a charity ball in 1893. Here’s the recipe and more history.

    8. Add grapes to fish and seafood. We love this recipe for Grilled Whole Fish With Minted Grape Relish.

    9. Serve grapes with cheese. We love grapes with blue cheese. Or, serve them with a slice of this savory blue cheese cheesecake.

    10. Use grapes to garnish. You can garnish just about any dish with grapes. For desserts, roll them in confectioners sugar for “frosted” grapes.

    11. Pickle them. Serve pickled grapes with sandwiches, seafood and poultry. Here’s an easy pickling recipe.

    12. Make a dessert soup. Purée the grapes with some grape juice (we prefer Knudsen’s) and mint; sweeten to taste. Garnish with frozen grapes!

    Find more recipe inspiration from the California Table Grape Commission.

      

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    COOKING VIDEO: Chocolate Black Russian “Cocktail” Recipe

     

    Our Top Pick Of The Week is Adult Chocolate Milk: a pour-and-serve combination that tastes like chocolate milk with a shot of vodka. It rocks!

    What if you’re jonesing for a shot or two, but don’t have Adult Chocolate Milk?

    If you have chocolate ice cream, coffee liqueur and vodka, you can make this Chocolate Black Russian, a cross between a cocktail and a milkshake.

    Serve it for dessert. You can vary the recipe with flavored vodka: cherry, coffee, orange, raspberry and vanilla vodkas work well in this recipe.

    Your next “ice cream social” will be a lot more social when you serve this!

       

       

    Find more of our favorite cocktail and ice cream recipes.

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    TOP PICK OF THE WEEK: Adult Chocolate Milk

    A glass of chocolate milk evokes the pleasures of childhood. A glass of Adult Chocolate Milk shows how the sweet children’s drink can be elevated to please grown ups.

    And it’s not just chocolate milk. The Adult Beverage Company also makes Adult Strawberry Milk for the enjoyment of deserving [adult] boys and girls.

    We love it: a sophisticated hit of chocolate (or strawberry) for a relaxing moment at home, a delight for guests and a great gift idea.

    At $17.99 for a 750ml retro-chic bottle, it’s also a yummy gift.

    Read the full review and lay in a stock.

    If you have an immediate need for a glass of Adult Chocolate Milk but can’t get to the store, here’s a Chocolate Black Russian—a cross between a cocktail and a milkshake—that you can make with chocolate ice cream, coffee liqueur and vodka.

    It’s become one of our favorite desserts!

     

    Adult Chocolate Milk, and the “Neapolitan” cocktail made with Adult Chocolate Milk and Adult Strawberry Milk. Photo courtesy Adult Beverage Company.

     

      

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    TIP OF THE DAY: Quark Cheese

    Quark can be eaten like yogurt or used as a
    bread spread and in recipes. Photo courtesy
    Vermont Creamery

     

    If you like yogurt—or even if you don’t—try quark. It’s smooth and creamy like Greek yogurt or sour cream. In fact, quark has approximately the same amount of calories, but a richer flavor, than lowfat sour cream. So it’s a real find for your baked potato and chili.

    What is quark?

    It’s a soft, unripened (fresh) cow’s milk cheese. In North America, the recipe is almost identical to fromage blanc, except that fromage blanc is totally fat free.

    Quark is so popular in Germany that it accounts for almost half of that country’s total cheese production: The average German eats about 10 pounds of quark a year. You can find it in every market. But it’s a different style of quark (details below). In other parts of Europe, quark is also known as koarg, kwark, qwark, quarg, twarog, saurmilchquark, speisequark and fromage frais.

    In the U.S. and Canada, quark has yet to catch on. It’s only made by artisan dairies, and some dairies make 2% and fat-free versions in addition to full-fat quark. The next time you see it, take it home and see how it enriches your daily dining. If you can’t find it locally, you can buy it online.

     

    THE CONFUSION OVER QUARK: OLD WORLD VS. NEW WORLD STYLES

    Quark is the German word for curds; curds are coagulated milk. Some definitions translate it as “cottage cheese”; however, neither American nor European quark resembles what Americans know as cottage cheese, with recognizable curds. With quark, the curd consistency is smooth, like curdled milk (see photo below).

     

    In Europe, some or most of the whey is removed by hanging the quark in cheesecloth and letting the whey drip off, to achieve the desired thickness. This gives artisan (handmade) European quark its distinctive shape of a wedge with rounded edges. In commercial production it is formed into blocks with the consistency of ricotta or pot cheese.

    In the United States and Canada, quark is a somewhat different product, most often sold in plastic tubs with most or all of the whey. This creates a style that has the texture of yogurt or sour cream: a denser, more spreadable consistency. The texture of domestic quarks varies by the preference of the producer.

    HOW TO ENJOY QUARK

    Both European and American styles are eaten the same way.

    Quark can be eaten like yogurt, plain or blended with fruit or jam. In Germany it is mixed with chives as a bread spread.

    Use it to top a baked potato or chili, as a soup garnish or anywhere you’d like a hit of yogurt or sour cream. Use it to make a creamy sauce: Unlike yogurt, heat won’t curdle it.

    On the sweet side, quark is a popular ingredient in filled pastries, sweet sauces, soufflés, cheesecakes and mousses.

     

    American style, creamy quark from Vermont Creamery. Photo by Claire Freierman | THE NIBBLE.

     

    Scientific-oriented people may wonder why a cheese is named after subatomic particles. We explain that in the footnote below.

    More about quark and other fresh cheeses, including crème fraîche, fromage blanc, labné, mascarpone and queso fresco.
     
    *In German, Quark and Topfen, the names of cheeses, are also used to mean “nonsense.” This latter usage is believed to be an inspiration for the passage written by James Joyce in his fanciful novel, Finnegan’s Wake: “Three quarks for Muster Mark!/Sure he hasn’t got much of a bark/And sure any he has it’s all beside the mark.” This excerpt is from a 13-line poem directed against King Mark, the cuckolded husband in the Tristan and Isolde legend. Use of the word “quark” to describe elementary particles of matter was taken from this poem by Murray Gell-Mann, the physicist who received the 1969 Nobel Prize for his work in classifying quarks. The allusion to three quarks seemed perfect to him, since originally there were only three subatomic quarks.

      

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