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Archive for April 11, 2014

RECIPE: Lobster Grilled Cheese Sandwich

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Add lobster to your grilled cheese sandwich.
Photo courtesy T-Fal.

 

April is National Grilled Cheese Month and April 12th is National Grilled Cheese Day. So it’s time to get out the bread and cheese, and turn on the stove.

There are many wonderful grilled cheese recipes. But perhaps the most luxurious is lobster grilled cheese.

T-fal “commissioned” the sandwich recipe below from Iron Chef Marc Forgione to launch its Mini Grilled Cheese Griddle. It’s a small, handled griddle that cooks a single, perfect grilled cheese sandwich.

The small, non-stick pan heats up more quickly than larger pans; the flat griddle base ensures even heat distribution for perfect melting. It’s $5.29 at Amazon.com.

Of course, you can use whatever pan you have; but a flat griddle of any size is best for uniform heating.

Chef Forgione obviously likes heat; we’re not sure we like the extra sriracha sauce as a condiment on the side because the lobster is so delicate. But try it and see for yourself.

 

RECIPE: LOBSTER GRILLED CHEESE SANDWICH

Ingredients For 4 Whole Sandwiches

For the Chili Lobster

  • 2 cups lobster stock (if you can’t find lobster stock at a fish store, get generic seafood stock)
  • 4 one-and-one-half pound lobsters, claws removed (we used the claw meat as well as the tails)
  • ¼ cup sriracha
  • 2 tablespoons low-sodium soy sauce
  • Juice of 2 limes
  • 6 ounces (12 tablespoons) unsalted butter, divided
  • 4 tablespoons canola oil
  • Kosher salt
  • Freshly ground black pepper
  • 2 tablespoons chopped fresh tarragon
  • 8 slices of Gruyère or fontina cheese (we prefer truffle cheese)
  • 4 slices Pullman Loaf or other high-quality thick sliced white bread, 1” thick (we used brioche)
  • Melted butter for brushing
  •  

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    We used the claw meat in the sandwiches, but you can enjoy it separately. Photo courtesy Hancock Lobster.

     

    Preparation

    1. CUT the tails off the lobster bodies, and into 1-inch pieces while the tails are still in their shells

    2. BRING the lobster stock to a simmer and add the sriracha, soy sauce and lime juice. Piece by piece, whisk in 6 tablespoons of butter until emulsified. Reduce the remaining sauce until it slightly thickens, about 2 minutes.

    3. TOSS the lobster tail pieces in oil with salt and pepper and cook for 1-2 minutes or until cooked through. Place the lobster pieces in a bowl and transfer to the fridge until cooled. When the lobster pieces have cooled, pop the meat out of the tails and set aside.

    4. TAKE two slices of bread per sandwich. Place one slice of cheese on top of the first slice, cover the cheese with some lobster meat, sprinkle ½ tablespoon of tarragon, cover with a second slice of cheese, and then top with the second piece of bread.

    5. BRUSH the outer sides of each slice of bread with melted butter and season with salt. Grill the sandwich on the T-fal Mini Grilled Cheese Griddle and serve with an optional small bowl of sriracha sauce on the side.

      

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    BOOK: Brassicas, Cooking The World’s Healthiest Vegetables

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    Eat your vegetables—make that, eat your Brassicas. Get your copy here (photo courtesy Ten Speed Press).

     

    Frequent readers of THE NIBBLE know of our devotion to cruciferous vegetables, also known as brassicas, from their Latin name in taxonomy*.

    The cruciferous group includes arugula, bok choy, broccoli, Brussels sprouts, cauliflower, cabbage, collard greens, cress, horseradish, kale, kohlrabi, mizuna, radish, rapini (broccoli rabe), rutabaga, tatsoi, turnip and wasabi, a type of horseradish.

    For a long time, brassicas have had a mixed reputation. People who know how to cook them adore them. Beyond the deliciousness, brassicas are superfoods—nutritional powerhouses packed with potent, cancer-fighting phytonutrients (antioxidants).

    But anyone who has been served overcooked brassicas—when the sulfur compounds top the mushy texture with an unpleasant aroma—might just concur with George H.W. Bush, whose mom, we’re betting, didn’t cook the broccoli al dente.

    Brassicas get the respect they deserve in a new book, Brassicas: Cooking the World’s Healthiest Vegetables: Kale, Cauliflower, Broccoli, Brussels Sprouts and More by Laura B. Russell, published this week in hardcover and Kindle editions.

     
    One word is missing from that title: delicious. “Healthy vegetables” sounds too much like an admonition from mom or grandma. “Healthy and delicious” is a win-win.

    And that’s what you’ll get in this cookbook. It showcases 80 recipes for broccoli, Brussels sprouts, cabbage, cauliflower, kale and leafy greens such as arugula and watercress. Recipes are easily tailored to accommodate special diets such as gluten-free, dairy-free, vegetarian and vegan.

    The recipes prove that brassicas can taste delicious when properly prepared in ways that let the flavors shine through (no blanket of cheese sauce is required—or desired). When roasted, for example, Brussels sprouts, a food avoided by many, reveal their inherent sweetness that other preparation techniques take away. Caramelizing cauliflower in the sauté pan makes it so lovely that each individual will want to consumer the entire caramelized head.

    This is a book for people who love their brassicas, and for people who don’t love them yet. Give copies as Mother’s Day and Father’s Day gifts, and to anybody who should eat more veggies.

    The handsome hardcover volume is $17.04 on Amazon.com. The Kindle version is $10.99.
    ________________
    *Kingdom Plantae, Order Brassicales, Family Brassicaceae, Genus Brassica.

      

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    TIP OF THE DAY: Chocolate Matzoh Crunch (Bark) For Passover

    Passover begins on the evening of Monday, April 14th and ends on the evening of Tuesday, April 22nd. During that week, observant Jews refrain from bread and other food made with leavened grain.

    Matzoh replaces conventional bread.

    Passover is the story of the exodus of the Jews from slavery in Egypt. The Bible relates that the Israelites left Egypt in such haste that they could not wait for their bread dough to rise; the result, when baked, was matzoh (Exodus 12:39).

    We can argue over how to spell matzoh: matza, matzah and matzo are common variations (not to mention the plural forms, beginning with matzoth). But we won’t argue about how good chocolate-covered matzoh is, turning the humble unleaved bread into a crunchy chocolate confection.

    You can buy chocolate-covered matzoh, or you can make your own. Here’s a recipe from Golden Blossom, which makes honey that is kosher for Passover.

    You can make the recipe with dark, milk or white chocolate, and with different nuts (we like pistachios).

     

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    Matzoh crunch, chocolate “bark” made with crunchy matzoh. Photo courtesy Golden Blossom Honey.

     

    The recipe has a variety of names; among others, chocolate matzoh, matzoh bark, matzoh buttercrunch, matzoh cookie, matzoh crunch, matzoh toffee, and even the questionable matzoh crack.

    Here’s a second “recipe from Marcy Goldman, who calls it “matzo toffee.”

     

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    Burdick Chocolate and others dip whole
    boards of matzoh in chocolate, and scatter
    nuts, dried fruits or other ingredients on top.
    It is available from BurdickChocolate.com from
    April 7th through April 22nd, and is not
    kosher for Passover.

     

    RECIPE: HONEY ALMOND MATZOH CRUNCH
    (A.K.A. MATZO BARK)

    Active preparation time is 20 minutes; total time is 2 hours. Note that the recipe below produces “just” two boards of matzoh. The 16 pieces won’t last very long!

    Ingredients For About 16 Pieces

  • 1/2 cup honey
  • 1/2 cup unsalted butter, cut into cubes
  • 1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 2 matzohs, coarsely crumbled (about 1 cup
    crumbled)
  • 1/3 cup sliced almonds, lightly toasted
  • 1 cup chocolate chips
  • Large flake sea salt (such as Maldon), for sprinkling
  • Optional: dried cherries or cranberries, dessicated or flaked coconut
  •  

    Preparation

    1. LINE an 8-by-8-inch baking pan with parchment paper or aluminum foil. If using foil, generously butter the foil (parchment paper is naturally nonstick). Set aside.

    2. COMBINE honey and butter in a 2-3 quart heavy-bottomed saucepan. Stir over medium heat until butter is melted and mixture begins to boil. Insert a candy thermometer into the bubbling mixture and continue to cook, swirling the pan occasionally to prevent scorching, until it is deep amber in color and measures 275°-285ºF, about 8 minutes.

    3. REMOVE from heat and add vanilla extract (be careful as it will spatter). Stir in crumbled matzo pieces, slivered almonds and optional dried cherries until evenly coated. Pour into prepared baking pan and spread into an even layer.

    4. SPRINKLE chocolate chips evenly over top of hot candy. Let sit for 5 minutes, then spread into an even layer using an offset spatula. Sprinkle with sea salt. Let cool for 1 to 2 hours or until set, then cut or break into bite size pieces to serve. Store in an airtight container.

      

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    GIFT: Bird’s Nest Cheesecake

    This cheesecake gift from Harry & David is inspired by the chirping birds of spring, who decorate the top with a “nest” of premium chocolate shavings that holds a few bright blue candy almond robin’s eggs.

    The creamy cheesecakes also feature a chocolate cookie crust and a chocolate ganache layer on top.

    The two New York style cheesecake cheesecakes are 5.5 inches in diameter, enough for four people or a big piece for two.

    A delicious gift for a cheesecake lover or a special occasion dessert, the Bird’s Nest Cheesecakes duo is $29.95 at HarryAndDavid.com.
     
    BAKE YOUR OWN

    Here are some of our favorite cheesecake recipes.

     

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    Cheesecakes for springtime. Photo courtesy Harry & David.

     

      

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