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Archive for August 2, 2013

FOOD FUN: A New Type Of Ice Cream Sandwich—On Brioche, Croissants & More

Aside from a constant stream of delicious things to eat, the nice thing about working in the specialty food space is that the “discoveries” never end.

Just in time for National Ice Cream Sandwich Day (August 2nd), we came across something new at Dolce Gelateria in Greenwich Village (33 Barrow Street, just east of Seventh Avenue).

In addition to 24 appealing flavors of gelato (the cantaloupe is the hands-down winner in a tasty field), Dolce Gelateria introduced us to the gelato ice cream sandwich—on a brioche roll.

Proprietor Salvatore Potestio says that’s how ice cream sandwiches have always been served in his native Sicily. He scoops what seems more than a half pint of gelato—your choice of two flavors—onto a hamburger-size brioche roll.

We ate ours like an overstuffed sandwich, without the colorful little gelato spoon. As large as the portion was, we soldiered on, finishing every last crumb.

Then we went home and tried it with almond croissants, chocolate croissants, plain croissants and King’s Hawaiian Bread. It works with all of t hem!

 

Serve an ice cream sandwich on brioche. Photo courtesy Dolce Gelateria | New York City.

 
Dolce Gelateria always has 24 flavors on hand. There are the classic Italian flavors—caramel, chocolate, coconut, coffee, mango, mint chip, mixed berry, olive oil (made with oil from the Potestio family groves in Sicily), pistachio, stracciatella (chocolate chip) and strawberry, plus seasonal fruits (currently including blackberry and the celestial cantaloupe).

They are joined by “American” flavors that Salvatore created to acknowledge his kids, American college students: in Almond Joy, Butter Pecan, Nutella*, Rice Pudding and a constantly growing roster.

House-made waffle cones are about eight inches tall—the NBA of ice cream cones. We preferred them to the equally tall imported Italian cones, which are still an improvement over the wafer-like American cake cones, which have less flavor and body than a sugar cone or a waffle cone.
 
*While Nutella is an Italian bread spread, finding many more ways to use it seems to be an American pursuit.

 

There’s a King’s Hawaiian roll for every
purpose—including ice cream sandwiches.
Photo courtesy King’s Hawaiian.

 

BACK TO THE BRIOCHE ICE CREAM SANDWICH

Wait a minute. What is brioche, that most buttery and eggy of French breads, doing in Sicily?

Salvatore references the Norman conquest of southern Italy, including the island of Sicily, which spanned most of the 11th and 12th centuries. With the conquerors came the bakers, and ultimately the brioche.

The first recorded use of “brioche” in French dates from 1404, the very beginning of the 13th century. So on the great food timeline, the reference works.

Given the random survival of printed records (destruction by fire, earthquake, war, general decay, etc.), foods and any items and practices can be in use for decades before a printed reference appears.

It should also be noted that, while fruit juice-flavored ices have been around since about 2000 B.C.E., gelato was invented in the 14th century. (Here’s the history of ice cream.)

 
HOW TO IMPROVE ON THE SICILIAN ICE CREAM SANDWICH

Switch the brioche for King’s Hawaiian, a line of breads based on a Portuguese sweet bread recipe. They’re made in a variety of ever-so-delicious styles: burger, dinner, hot dog, mini sub and sandwich buns and rolls, plus loaves and sliced bread.

Founded in Hawaii in the late 1950s, the company now has a bakery on each coast and national distribution. Look for them at your retailer, or ask the store manager to bring them in.

Our whole family has fallen for King’s Hawaiian, a recent Top Pick Of The Week.

King’s Hawaiian and any flavor from Dolce Gelateria (or your favorite ice cream or frozen yogurt) are a match made in heaven. Enjoy them on National Ice Cream Sandwich Day.

  

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PRODUCT: Nonni’s THINaddictives Biscotti

What we think of as delicious Italian biscotti began life thousands of years ago—not as a sweet treat but as a convenience food for travelers (here’s the history of biscotti).

Biscotti means “twice cooked.” The unleavened, finger-shaped wafers were baked first to cook them, then baked a second time to completely dry them out. This made them durable nourishment for for travel and a staple food of the Roman Legions. The Roman author and military commander Pliny boasted that they would be edible for centuries.

Today we enjoy biscotti for the pleasure. They’re crunchy and delicious with coffee and tea, and made in so many varieties that the prospect never gets dull (chocolate-dipped biscotti, anyone?).

But they can be so hard, you might worry that a pleasurable nibble could turn into a whopping dentist bill.

Nonni’s has addressed the concern with THINaddictives, turning dense biscotti into delicate thins. Crunch away: no harm will befall those pearly whites.

 

Very thin biscotti are easy on the teeth. Shown: Cranberry Almond. Photo by Elvira Kalviste | THE NIBBLE.

 

Keep them at home and at work for coffee
breaks. Photo by Elvira Kalviste | THE
NIBBLE.

 

The kids took mom’s recipe and have recreated it to look “as if it just came out of her warm loving oven itself.” Enjoy them in:

  • Cinnamon Raisin
  • Cranberry Almond
  • Pistachio
  •  
    While we liked all three flavors, the Cinnamon Raisin, inexplicably, had less depth of flavor than the other two. It could have been the batch.

    You can enjoy all flavors with anything from cheese to yogurt to ice cream.

    The “skinny biscotti” are cello-wrapped in two-piece portions. That’s good, because as the name says, they can be addictive.

    The line is certified kosher (parve) by MK, a Montreal certifier (the product is made in Canada). Look for THINaddictives at your retailer, or click the links above to buy online.

    And the next time someone invites you over for a cup of coffee, bring a box.

     

      

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    TIP OF THE DAY: Soup With Salad Garnish

    Here’s a new approach to “soup and salad”: a chilled soup with a salad garnish.

    We were inspired by this concept from Chef Scott Conant of Scarpetta restaurants in Beverly Hills, Las Vegas, Miami and New York City.

    The idea is to create a substantial garnish that contributes eye appeal and compatible flavors to the bowl of soup. The photo shows microgreens, herbs and flowers atop tomato gazpacho. The greens are not dressed.

    It‘s a summer idea: a new way to serve a bowl of refreshing chilled soup.

    You’ll be eating the salad garnish with a spoon, so anything that can’t be easily scooped up should be diced, shredded or torn into navigable pieces.

    You’ve got a lot of opportunity to mix and match. Pick three or four ingredients with different shapes and colors. A starter list of suggestions:

     


    Soup garnished with salad. Photo courtesy Scott Conant | Scarpetta.

     

    Salad garnishes for your soup. Photo
    courtesy Burpee.com.

     
  • Arugula
  • Beet greens
  • Bell peppers, diced
  • Bok choy
  • Cabbage
  • Celery
  • Herbs
  • Endive
  • Fennel
  • Flower petals
  • Frisée
  • Grape tomatoes, halved
  • Kale
  • Mache
  • Mesclun*
  • Radicchio
  • Romaine
  • Spinach
  • Tatsoi
  • Watercress
  •  

    MORE SOUP GARNISH IDEAS

    Whether your recipe is hot or chilled, check out all of these options for soup garnishes.

    *We‘ve heard people call this “mescaline,” pronounced MESS-kuh-leen, which is a psychedelic drug. Mesclun lettuce mix is pronounced MESS-klin. The term comes from the French verb mescler, to mix, and refers to a mix of tender young salad greens.

      

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