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Archive for July 7, 2014

RECIPE: Vietnamese Summer Rolls

Headed to the New York theatre district? Haru, a popular modern Japanese restaurant with several locations in Manhattan (and one in Boston), has opened a new restaurant there.

Haru recently moved its theatre district location, Haru Broadway, to Haru Times Square. It’s located in the Times Square Building, the former headquarters of the New York Times (229 West 43rd Street).

In addition to lunch and dinner, there’s a happy hour from 3 p.m. to 6 p.m. (scoot from the matinee to enjoy drinks and light bites), and a private room that holds up to 15.

One of our favorite items on the menu is the Trio Of Fish Tacos, a fusion dish that uses taco shells made from wonton dough. Three full-size tacos are filled with three different sashimi blends: tuna with cherry tomato salsa, salmon with avocado and striped bass with apple yuzu ceviche sauce.

Here’s the recipe if you want to try it at home.

Another recipe that can be made by any home cook is summer rolls. Summer rolls, a Vietnamese specialty, are never fried but served in an uncooked rice noodle wrap. Here’s the recipe, with an explanation below about the differences among summer rolls, spring rolls and egg rolls.

   

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Our favorite dish: Three Fish Tacos. Photo courtesy Haru.

 

 

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An overhead view of summer rolls you can
make at home with this recipe. Photo courtesy Haru.

 

SPRING ROLLS VS. SUMMER ROLLS VS. EGG ROLLS

  • Summer rolls are never fried, but made of cooked and raw ingredients wrapped in rice paper. Summer rolls are typically filled with pork and/or shrimp, rice vermicelli (noodles) and fresh herbs such as basil, cilantro or mint. Summer rolls are served with a dipping sauce made of hoisin sauce and peanut butter, flavored with garlic; or a sweet and hot red chili sauce (served by Haru); or a ginger shallot sauce.
  • Spring rolls, on the other hand, are always fried. Spring rolls are also made of rice flour dough and filled with pork and/or shrimp, plus bean thread vermicelli and shredded cabbage. They are often much narrower than summer rolls. In the U.S., you’ll also find vegetarian summer rolls, filled with mango and cucumber or other choices. The dipping sauce for spring rolls is typically a blend of rice wine vinegar and soy sauce (or tamari) with minced scallions and a splash of toasted sesame oil.
  • Egg rolls are fried, like spring rolls, but the dough is different. It’s a wheat dough that contains eggs, hence the name. The filling varies by the chef: chopped shrimp, ground beef, ground chicken or turkey, matchstick-sliced pork or Chinese sausage. Minced cabbage, carrots, garlic, ginger and mushrooms round out popular recipes.
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    FOOD HOLIDAY: National Strawberry Sundae Day

    Strawberry sundaes have gone out of style. As each new generation comes up with favorite flavors (Cookie Dough, Peanut Butter Cup, Red Velvet Cake), strawberry, an “original” ice cream flavor, has receded into the shadows. When was the last time you saw, much less ordered, a strawberry sundae?

    Today, National Strawberry Sundae Day, is the time to give this classic its due.

    You can make it with vanilla or strawberry ice cream—or both. You can use frozen yogurt instead of ice cream. You can combine a scoop of strawberry ice cream with a scoop of strawberry sorbet. You can even go Creamsicle-style by combining strawberry sorbet with vanilla ice cream.

    Since lush summer strawberries beckon, there’s no need to buy a cloying, HFCS-laden strawberry syrup. Here’s all you need to do.

     

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    A strawberry sundae with vanilla ice cream. Photo courtesy Bonne Maman.

     
    RECIPE: STRAWBERRY SUNDAE

    Ingredients

  • Strawberry ice cream or sorbet and/or vanilla ice cream
  • Strawberry jam or preserves
  • 1 squeeze fresh lemon juice
  • Orange liqueur (e.g. Grand Marnier) or spirit of choice (e.g. scotch or vodka)
  • Fresh strawberries, cleaned, hulled and sliced
  • Optional: whipped cream
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    Preparation

    1. CHOOSE a dish. You don’t need sundae or parfait dishes: A bowl, glass or wine glass will do. (The photo above uses a rocks glass.)

    2. PREPARE the strawberry sauce. Dilute strawberry jam with orange liqueur to taste. Add lemon juice to taste. Add a tablespoon or more of warm water to achieve desired consistency.

    3. SCOOP ice cream/sorbet into dish. Top with strawberry sauce, sliced strawberries and optional whipped cream. Dig in.

      

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    RECIPE: BLT Pasta Salad

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    Like BLTs? Here’s a BLT Pasta Salad. Photo
    courtesy QVC.

     

    “Everyone needs a good pasta salad recipe for the summer,” says QVC chef David Venable. Here’s a fun pasta salad: a BLT Pasta Salad with Arugula, Bacon & Feta Cheese.

    It deconstructs a BLT sandwich, using baby arugula for the lettuce and adding cheese and chicken so it has the protein to serve as a luncheon or dinner salad.

    But, you can leave out the cheese and chicken and serve it as a side salad.

    David advises, “If you want to serve it as a side salad, this recipe is a flavor-packed side dish that would pair perfectly with anything from ribs to grilled salmon.”

    Add optional croutons for a fully deconstructed BLT sandwich.

     
    RECIPE: BLT PASTA SALAD

    Ingredients For 6 Servings

  • 16-ounce box farfalle (bow tie) pasta
  • 1/2 pound bacon, cooked and crumbled
  • 1/4 cup green onions, thinly sliced
  • 1 pint cherry tomatoes, halved
  • 1/2-3/4 pound baby arugula
  • 4 ounces feta cheese, crumbled (substitute goat or blue cheese)
  • 1 cup cooked or grilled chicken pieces (optional)
  • 1/2 cup extra virgin olive oil
  • 1/4 cup balsamic vinegar
  • 1 teaspoon lemon rind, grated
  • 1 teaspoon Dijon mustard
  • Salt and pepper, to taste
  • Optional: homemade garlic croutons
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    Preparation

    1. COOK the pasta according to the package directions. Drain well.

    2. TRANSFER the pasta to a large serving bowl. Add the bacon, green onions, cherry tomatoes, and arugula to the warm pasta. Add feta cheese and optional chicken and toss.

    3. WHISK together the balsamic vinegar, lemon rind and mustard in a small bowl. Gradually add the olive oil in a slow, steady stream, whisking until blended. Whisk in the salt and pepper, to taste.

    4. POUR the vinaigrette into the pasta salad and toss until well coated. Serve warm.

     
    Find more of David Venable’s recipes at QVC.com.
     
      

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    TIP OF THE DAY: Gourmet Ice Cream Sandwiches

    Is there anything more wonderful than a favorite comfort food in the hands of a great chef?

    We worshipped Parisian pâtissier Pierre Hermé, a fourth generation pastry chef from Alsace, even before we saw these ice cream sandwiches. As his Star Chefs bio says, “Pierre Hermé didn’t just carry on the family tradition; he rocketed it into the stratosphere.”

    Hermé began his career at age 14 as an apprentice to Gaston Lenôtre, was a full-fledged pastry chef by 20 at Fauchon, and established Pierre Hermé Paris since 1996.

    Unable to get to Paris, we set to work recreating the ice cream sandwiches.

    Hermé, the master of macarons, makes rectangular meringue cookies to sandwich his ice cream sandwiches. By all means, try it if you’re up to the challenge. Unschooled in the technique, we couldn’t get ours out of the pan and evenly sliced without a lot of breakage; but the pieces tasted fine.

    Otherwise, you can use any base, from cookies to cake slices. We really liked pound cake, pre-toasted and cooled before the ice cream was added.

       

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    The prettiest ice cream sandwiches, on meringues. Photo courtesy Pierre Hermé.

     

    PIERRE HERMÉ ICE CREAM SANDWICHES

    Ingredients

  • 2 complementary flavors of ice cream and/or sorbet
  • Optional inclusions: berries, chips, nuts, etc.
  • Sandwich base of choice (cookies, cake)
  •  
    While all combinations we tried were delicious, we especially loved vanilla ice cream with raspberry sorbet or passionfruit sorbet.

     

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    He also makes dual flavor soft serve. Photo
    courtesy Pierre Hermé.

     

    Preparation

    1. LINE a loaf pan with plastic wrap, allowing a border of wrap to hang over the sides so you can pull out the frozen loaf of ice cream.

    2. LAYER the two flavors of ice cream/sorbet, one on top of the other. Sprinkle any inclusions over the first layer.

    3. LET the ice cream soften until you can take a firm spatula or the handle of a wooden spoon and swirl it through the layers. This will create the marbled design. Freeze until hard.

    4. ASSEMBLE by removing the loaf of ice cream, slicing it and adding the sandwich component.
     
    If you want to drool over desserts that are an ocean away, head to PierreHerme.com.

    And if you’re inspired to fly to Paris to enjoy them firsthand, remember: There’s always a line at the shop at 72 rue Bonaparte, in the Saint Germain des Prés district.

     

      

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    PRODUCT: Lavender Tea

    We wonder if the people who approved the name “Breakfast In Paris” for lavender tea have been to France.

    If they had, they’d know that lavender-accented foods do not abound in Paris. You’ll find them way south in Provence, where the lavender is grown.

    Perhaps the namers knew that, but felt that “Breakfast in Provence” wasn’t as fetching a title?

    Folks, it’s better to be accurate than slapdash.

    But that doesn’t stop us from liking Stash’s new Breakfast In Paris, subtly accented with lavender. We have often steeped dried lavender* into tea for iced tea. We love both the lavender aroma and the alluring flavor.

    Breakfast In Paris simplifies the process. There’s no need to strain out and toss dripping springs of lavender.

    Stash blends black tea with aromatic, floral lavender and a touch of citrusy bergamot oil. The result is pleasurable with or without milk, hot or iced. The ingredients are all natural; the line is certified kosher by KOF-K.

    Stash calls it a breakfast tea†, but you can enjoy it anytime.

     

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    Breakfast in Paris: lavender-flavored black tea. Photo courtesy Stash Tea.

     
    It pays to price shop. On Amazon you can pay from 19¢ to 72¢ per foil-wrapped tea bag:

  • A single box of 18 bags, $12.97/72¢ per bag
  • A six-pack of boxes, 18 bags each/108 bags, $23.95/22¢ per bag with free shipping
  • A bulk cardboard box of 100 bags, $19.09/19¢ per bag
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    Our recommendation: Buy the six-pack. It takes four bags to brew a quart of iced tea, and you can always give extra boxes as gifts.

     
    FUN FACT FROM STASH

    In earlier centuries, tea was a valuable commodity, transported all the way form China by clipper ship. The ship’s captain often was presented with some of the finest teas for his personal use.

    This supply was his private reserve, or stash, a term that still denote anything put away carefully because of its preciousness.
     
    *Only cook with culinary-grade lavender, roses, etc. They’re grown without chemical pesticides.

    †Breakfast teas are strong black tea blends made to accompany a hearty, English-style morning meal and to go well with milk. Examples include Chai (flavored with Indian spices), Earl Grey (flavored with bergamot orange), English Breakfast (Keemun and other black teas), Irish Breakfast (a malty Assam blend) and Orange Pekoe (Ceylon black tea). Breakfast teas are more robust than afternoon tea blends. However, these distinctions descend from an old British tea-drinking tradition. Feel free to enjoy whatever tea you like, whatever time of the day.

      

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