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Archive for May 27, 2014

FOOD FUN: Popcorn Fudge

This popcorn fudge recipe was a hit at our Memorial Day festivities.

A fun recipe from Betty Crocker, it incorporates a dulce de leche fudge layer, salted caramel and caramel popcorn. Be sure to use caramel popcorn that is really well coated to prevent your popcorn from getting soggy.

Prep time is 15 minutes, total time is 1 hour 40 minutes.

RECIPE: TRIPLE CARAMEL POPCORN FUDGE

Ingredients For 64 Pieces

Fudge Layer

  • 1 can (14 ounces) dulce de leche (caramelized sweetened condensed milk)
  • 1 bag (12 ounces) semisweet chocolate chips (2 cups)
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla
  • 2 cups caramel popcorn
  •  
    Caramel Layer

  • 25 caramels, unwrapped
  • 2 tablespoons whipping cream
  • 1/4 teaspoon kosher (coarse) salt
  • 1-1/2 cups caramel popcorn
  •  

    caramel-popcorn-fudge-bettycrocker-230r

    A three-in-one treat: chocolate, caramel and popcorn. Photo courtesy Betty Crocker.

     

    Preparation

    1. LINE bottom and sides of 8-inch square pan with foil, leaving edges of foil hanging over 2 sides of pan for easy removal later; spray foil with cooking spray.

    2. HEAT dulce de leche and chocolate chips in 2-quart saucepan over low heat, stirring constantly, until chocolate is melted and mixture is smooth (mixture will be very thick); remove from heat. Quickly stir in vanilla. Stir in 2 cups caramel popcorn. Spread in pan.

    3. MICROWAVE caramels and cream uncovered in a medium microwavable bowl, on High for 2 minutes. Stir every 30 seconds, until melted and smooth. Very slowly pour caramel mixture over fudge layer, and gently spread to cover. Sprinkle with salt and 1 1/2 cups caramel popcorn; press gently so it sticks.

    4. REFRIGERATE until firm, about 2 hours. Cut into 1-inch squares (8 rows by 8 rows). Store covered in refrigerator.

      

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    TRENDS: How America Likes To Grill

    beef-kabobs-artichokes-SLT-230

    Tip: Skewer kabobs with sprigs of rosemary
    for instead of conventional skewers. Photo
    courtesy Sur La Table.

     

    To capture consumer trends around grilling and barbecuing, the Hearth, Patio & Barbecue Association (HPBA) conducts the biannual HPBA Barbecue Lifestyle, Usage & Attitude Study. Here are highlights from the 2014 State of the Barbecue Industry Report, which are based on data gathered in August 2013.

    Reigniting the Spark: Outdoor Cooking Still Hot

  • Eighty percent of households own an outdoor barbecue, grill or smoker.
  • Nearly all (97%) of grill owners used their grill in the past year.
  • The majority of grill owners (60%) use their grills year-round.
  • Sixty-one percent of households own a grill own a gas grill, followed by charcoal (41%) and electric (10%).
  • Nearly half (45%) of grill purchasers bought a replacement grill last year, with 29% buying an additional grill.
  •  
    Grill Usage: Consumers Loves to Grill Year-Round

  • The major summer holidays top the list of the most popular grilling days: the Fourth of July (68%), Memorial Day (52%) and Labor Day (51%).
  • Winter holidays saw an increase in grilling over 2011: Super Bowl Sunday (31%), Easter (18%), Thanksgiving (15%) and New Year’s Eve/Day (15%). Grilling Thanksgiving meals outdoors is increasingly popular.
  • Nearly half (49%) of grill owners see their outdoor grilling area as a functional cooking area of their home; more than a quarter (30%) see it as entertainment area and 21% see it as a place to rest and relax.
  • Thirty-seven percent of consumers have a large, moveable grill system on a modest patio/deck, with some outdoor furniture and an informal place to eat.
  • Consumers say an easy ignition system (49%) and large grilling surface (39%) are the most important features of a gas grill, followed by ease of cleaning (35%), quality of construction (32%) and ability to heat up quickly (29%).
  •  

  • Owners of gas (42%) and charcoal (34%) grills view the color of the grill as a major purchasing factor, a 38% increase from 2011.
  • When entertaining using a barbecue grill, gas grill owners use their grill an average of 12 times a year, electric grill owners 12 times a year and charcoal grill owners 11 times a year.
  •  
    Tasty Trends: It’s All About the Meat

  • Meats, including hot dogs (72%), steak (71%), burgers (69%), and chicken parts (64%), top the list of the most popular foods prepared using a grill.
  • Grill owners believe that food cooked on their grills rather than their ovens is more healthful (38%), while 57% believe it is just as healthful.
  • Nearly three out of four consumers (74%) who cook on a gas grill normally use barbecue sauce for basting during cooking.
  • Dry meat rubs remain popular among consumers, with 33% using them more often than not.
  •  

    chicken-grill-tongs-SLT-230

    Treat yourself to extra-long tongs. These are from Sur La Table.

     

    Household Roles: Male or Female, Everybody Grills

  • The male head most often makes the decision to cook (62%), lights the grill (73%) and does the cooking (68%).
  • Whether male or female, nearly 78% of consumers cooking on the grill consider themselves to be “extremely proficient” or “proficient in most situations.”
  • Across the board, males are most likely to make the decision to purchase a grill (66%).
  •   

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    TIP OF THE DAY: Don’t Use Olive Oil When Grilling

    demedici-beaker-230

    When grilling, trade the olive oil for a high
    smoke point oil. Photo courtesy
    DeMedici.com.

     

    Do you use olive oil when grilling? Perhaps you shouldn’t. Olive oil has a lower smoke point than other oils, so it will burn faster.

    Each fat (including butter, lard, oil and shortening) has a particular smoke point, which is the temperature at which the fat begins to break down. At this point, both the flavor and the nutritional value of the fat begin to degrade; and the fat will eventually smoke and burn if kept on the heat.

    The higher the cooking heat, the higher smoke point your fat must be. That’s why grapeseed oil (485°F), soybean oil (490°F) and safflower oil (510°F) are so popular for deep fat frying, the highest heat of stovetop cooking.

    While extra virgin olive oil has a smoke point of 440°F, few people would use this pricey oil for grilling. Much of the regular olive oil has a smoke point of just 320°F.

    Here are some comparative smoke points:

    440°F:
    Peanut Oil
    Sunflower Oil

     

    450°F:
    Corn Oil (Refined)
    High-Oleic Sunflower Oil (Refined)
    Palm Oil
    Peanut Oil (Refined)
    Safflower Oil (Refined)
    Sesame Oil (Semi-Refined)
    Soybean Oil (Refined)
    Sunflower Oil (Semi-refined, Refined, High Oleic, Refined)
    Vegetable Shortening

    468°F:
    Olive Oil, Extra Light

    485+:
    485°F: Grapeseed Oil
    485°F: Tea Seed Oil
    490°F: Rice Bran Oil
    495°F: Soybean Oil
    510°F: Safflower Oil
    520°F: Avocado Oil (Refined)

     

    salmon-chicken802078_SXCSlavomirUlicny

    Use a high smoke point oil for grilling, regardless of what you’re grilling. Photo by Slavomir Ulicny | SXC.

     

    MORE ABOUT THE SMOKE POINT

    Why your fats smoke and burn, or not: What’s the smoke point?

     
    CHART OF SMOKE POINTS OF OILS

    Different oils have different uses in smoke points. Here are the comparative smoke points of most oils.

      

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    RECIPE: Three Pea Salad

    pea-and-pea-sprouts-hannahkaminsky-230

    Three-pea salad. Photo © Hannah Kaminsky
    | Bittersweet Blog.

     

    Before spring turns into summer, try this delicious spring pea salad from Hannah Kaminsky. Spring peas, also known as English peas, are a seasonal delight that can we enjoy as a side, in salads, and in soup.

    Says Hannah:

    “Spring is on my mind, driving me to the point of distraction. Longer, brighter days captivate me while simultaneously throwing of my finely tuned rhythm, and the influx of fresh, vibrant produce easily overwhelms my senses. What to eat first? Where to go, what to do?”

    The best cure for seasonal disorientation is immersion, so let’s jump right in and celebrate the other reason for my pea-brained state: Peas! In all their green glory, this simple salad combines snow peas, pea shoots, and English peas to showcase their myriad textures, flavors, and shapes. The rather silly, rhyming title doesn’t do this combination fully justice, but was unavoidable thanks to the matcha tea-infused dressing, lending equal parts bitterness and sweetness to the blend.

     
    In case you’re suffering from an equally pea-brained daze, a heaping helping of this bright, fresh homage to the humble pea might just be the antidote.”

     

    RECIPE: THREE PEA SALAD WITH MATCHA TEA DRESSING

    Ingredients For 3-4 Servings

  • 6 ounces snow peas, thinly sliced on the diagonal
  • 4 ounces pea shoots
  • 8 ounces raw English peas
  •  
    Green Tea Dressing

  • 2 scallions, thinly sliced
  • 1 tablespoon yellow miso paste
  • 1 tablespoon fresh lemon juice
  • 1 tablespoon rice Vinegar
  • 1 tablespoon mirin
  • 1/2 teaspoon matcha powder
  • 2 tablespoons olive oil
  • Salt and ground black pepper, to taste
  •  

    RSVPea-230

    Fresh spring peas are a delight. Photo courtesy RSVPea.

     

    Preparation

    1. TOSS the sliced snow peas, pea shoots and English peas together in a large bowl.

    2. WHISK together in a small bowl all of the ingredients for the green tea dressing. Beat the mixture thoroughly until smooth.

    3. POUR dressing over the vegetables, tossing to coat. Season with salt and pepper to taste. Serve immediately.

      

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