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Archive for March 15, 2014

FOOD FUN: Leprechaun Gingerbread Men

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Leprechaun gingerbread men. Photo courtesy
Grandma’s Molasses and Brown Eyed Baker.

 

Alas, leprechauns don’t deliver treats on St. Patrick’s Day (they could take a tip from the Easter Bunny). You’ll have to bake your own leprechaun gingerbread men.

Make your own gingerbread cookie recipe or use this one from Brown Eyed Baker for Grandma’s Molasses:

RECIPE: GINGERBREAD MEN

Ingredients For 30 Cookies

  • 3 cups all-purpose flour
  • 3/4 cup dark brown sugar
  • 1 tablespoon ground cinnamon
  • 1 tablespoon ground ginger
  • 1/2 teaspoon ground cloves
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 3/4 teaspoon. baking soda
  • 3/4 cup (6 ounces) unsalted butter, cut into 12
    pieces and softened slightly
  • 3/4 cup molasses
  • 2 tablespoons milk
  •  
    PREPARATION

    1. USE a food processor fitted with steel blade. In the workbowl process flour, sugar, cinnamon, ginger, cloves, salt and baking soda until combined, about 10 seconds.

    2. SCATTER butter pieces over flour mixture and process until mixture is sandy and resembles very fine meal, about 15 seconds. With machine running, gradually add molasses and milk; process until dough is evenly moistened and forms soft mass, about 10 seconds. (Alternatively, in the bowl of a standing mixer fitted with paddle attachment, stir together flour, sugar, cinnamon, ginger, cloves, salt and baking soda at low speed until combined, about 30 seconds. Stop mixer and add butter pieces; mix at medium-low speed until mixture is sandy and resembles fine meal, about 1½ minutes. Reduce speed to low and, with mixer running, gradually add molasses and milk; mix until dough is evenly moistened, about 20 seconds. Increase speed to medium and mix until thoroughly combined, about 10 seconds.)

    3. SCRAPE dough onto work surface; divide in half. Working with one portion of dough at a time, roll ¼-inch thick between two large sheets of parchment paper. Leaving dough sandwiched between parchment layers, stack on cookie sheet and freeze until firm, 15 to 20 minutes. (Alternatively, refrigerate dough 2 hours or overnight.)

    4. PREHEAT oven to 350°F. Line two cookie sheets with parchment paper.

    5. REMOVE one dough sheet from freezer; place on work surface. Peel off top parchment sheet and lay it back in place. Flip dough over; peel off and discard second parchment layer. Cut dough into gingerbread people or round cookies, transferring shapes to parchment-line cookie sheets with a wide metal spatula, spacing them ¾-inch apart. Repeat with remaining dough until cookie sheets are full.

    6. BAKE cookies until set in centers and dough barely retains imprint when touched very gently with fingertip, 8 to 11 minutes, rotating cookie sheet from front to back halfway through baking time. Do not overbake. Cool cookies on sheets 2 minutes, then remove with wide metal spatula to wire rack; cool to room temperature.

    7. GATHER scraps; repeat rolling, cutting and baking in steps 3 and 5. Repeat with remaining dough until all dough is used.

    6. DECORATE with royal icing once cookies are cool. Store in an airtight container at room temperature for up to 1 week.

     
    ROYAL ICING RECIPE

    Ingredients

  • 6 cups confectioners’ sugar
  • 1/2 teaspoon cream of tartar
  • 4 egg whites, beaten
  • Optional: food color (for gingerbread, green and yellow)
  •  
    Preparation

    1. SIFT together sugar and cream of tartar.

    2. BEAT in 4 beaten egg whites with an electric mixer. Beat for about 5 minutes or until the mixture is thick enough to hold its shape.

    3. TINT with food color as desired.

      

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    RECIPE: Corned Beef & Shamrock Appetizers

    What a great accompaniment to a pre-dinner beer on St. Patrick’s Day! The “shamrock” is made with a shamrock cookie cutter and sliced avocado.

    Who’d have thought to pair corned beef and avocado? The California Avocado Commission!

    RECIPE: SHAMROCK AVOCADO & CORNED BEEF BITES

    Ingredients

  • 1 ripe avocado
  • 2 sweet gherkin pickles, diced
  • 16 rye, multigrain or water crackers
  • 32 squares (about the same size as the crackers) cooked
    corned beef
  • Small shamrock cookie cutter
  •  

    shamrock-avocado-bites-calavocado-230

    Cute appetizers for St. Patrick’s Day. Photo courtesy California Avocado Commission.

     

    Preparation

    1. MAKE shamrocks. With the peel still on, slice four slices (¼-inch thick) from the sides of the whole avocado. Remove seed from center section and slice the avocado in half lengthwise. Peel slices. Using a small shamrock-shaped cookie cutter, cut shamrock-shaped avocado pieces for each cracker. Cover surface with plastic wrap so avocado doesn’t discolor; set aside.

    2. PLACE remaining avocado in a small bowl and stir in pickles. Spread avocado mixture on each cracker.

    3. TOP with two squares of corned beef, then an avocado shamrock. Serve.

     
    MORE IRISH-STYLE RECIPES

  • Lucky Irish Twice Baked Potatoes: recipe
  • Corned Beef & Killarney Avocado Slaw Sandwich: recipe
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    PRODUCT: Turkey Realsticks

    turkey-realsticks-honeymustard-vtsmokeandcure-230

    New Honey Mustard Turkey Realsticks. Photo
    courtesy Vermont Smoke and Cure.

     

    Vermont Smoke and Cure has added three new turkey flavors to its award-winning RealSticks collection.

    Made from all-natural, humanely raised turkey, the new RealSticks flavors include Turkey Ancho, Turkey Honey Mustard and Turkey Uncured Pepperoni. They join BBQ, Chipotle, Cracked Pepper and Original.

    For those who want an all natural, grab-and-go meat snack, the one-ounce sticks are easy to carry and easy to eat—no mess. They provide a boost of long-lasting energy for just 70 calories per stick, and 0-2 carbs depending on flavor. The products are gluten free and have no unpopular additives: no antibiotics, no hormones, no sodium nitrite, no preservatives, no soy and no MSG.

    The snacks meet USDA school snack sodium guidelines, with 75% less fat and 50% less salt than leading brands.

    RealSticks retail for $1.69 per 1-ounce stick or $29.95 per box of 24 sticks. You can find them at natural foods stores, select Whole Foods Markets, specialty outdoor retailers, and online at VtSmokeAndCure.com.

     

      

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    RECIPE: Avocado & Sour Cream On Toast

    Avocado and sour cream on toast is a favorite breakfast of Chef Lorena Garcia.

    It looks like poached eggs, but it’s sour cream atop the chopped avocado.

    And while it’s a south-of-the-border concept, it’s a great green dish for St. Patrick’s Day. Not everything has to be corned beef, cabbage and soda bread.

    RECIPE: AVOCADO ON TOAST

    Ingredients

  • Toasted peasant bread or rye bread
  • Avocado, sliced, cubed or otherwise cut up
  • Sour cream
  • Garnish: minced chives, chile flakes
  •  
    Preparation

    1. TOAST bread. Top with avocado slices.

     

    avocado-toast-cheflorenagarcia-230

    Delicious anytime, try it for breakfast on St. Patrick’s Day. Photo courtesy Chef Lorena Garcia.

     

    2. GARNISH with sour cream, minced chives and chili flakes.

      

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    TIP OF THE DAY: Deconstruct Your Favorite Foods

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    Deconstructed carbonara. Here’s the recipe.
    Photo courtesy Christopher Hirsheimer and
    Melissa Hamilton.

     

    Today’s tip is to have fun deconstructing a favorite family dish.

    Deconstruction is an avant-garde culinary trend of the last 15 years or so, championed by the famed Catalan chef Ferran Adrià, who has referred to his cooking as “deconstructivist.”

    Hervé This, the “father of molecular gastronomy,” reintroduced the concept in 2004 as “culinary constructivism.” Essentially, all of the components and flavors of a classic dish are taken apart and presented in a new shape or form.

    The idea is art plus fun, and the deconstruction must taste as good as the original. For example:

  • Deconstructed pecan pie could be brown sugar custard [emulating the filling], with crumbled shortbread cookies [for the crust] and a side of caramelized pecans.
  • Deconstructed key lime pie could be the key lime filling in a Martini glass, topped with graham cracker crumbs.
  • Deconstructed stuffed cabbage: our favorite way to make stuffed cabbage. We’ve done this for some 25 years—who knew we were so avant garde of culinary deconstruction? We slice the cabbage and cook it in the tomato sauce along with rice-filled meatballs. It saves hours of blanching cabbage leaves, filling them with chopped meat and rice, rolling and cooking. All the flavors are there, and it’s also easier to eat (you often need a steak knife to saw through those blanched cabbage leaves).
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    18 MORE DECONSTRUCTED RECIPES

  • Deconstructed Banana Split: recipe
  • Deconstructed Bloody Mary: recipe
  • Deconstructed Blueberry Pie: recipe
  • Deconstructed Buffalo Wings: recipe
  • Deconstructed Caesar Salad: recipe
  • Deconstructed Caprese Salad: recipe
  • Deconstructed Cannoli: recipe
  • Deconstructed Cheesecake & Pecan Pie: recipes
  • Deconstructed Ceviche: recipe
  • Deconstructed Crab Cake: recipe
  • Deconstructed Eggs Benedict: recipe
  • Deconstructed Enchilada Salad: recipe
  • Deconstructed Fruit Loops Cereal: recipe
  • Deconstructed Guacamole: recipe
  • Deconstructed Margarita: recipe
  • Deconstructed Ratatouille: recipe
  • Deconstructed Shrimp Cocktail: recipe
  • Deconstructed Spring Roll: recipe
  •  
    When you’ve finished your own deconstructed dish, send us a photo.

     

    deconstructed-cheesecake-garretkern-230

    Deconstructed cheesecake maintains the flavors and textures of the original. Photo courtesy Garret Kern. See more.

     

      

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