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Archive for January 8, 2015

RECIPE: Tunisian Chickpea Soup (Leblebi)

This recipe came to us from our friends at Rancho Gordo, a great purveyor of heirloom beans.

In Tunisia, chickpea soup is a street food, served as a hearty breakfast to men on their way to work. But you can garnish it and serve it at any meal.

Middle Eastern cookbook author Aglaia Kremezi’s advises:

“Leblebi is yet another ingenious combination of legumes and all kinds of readily available vegetables, herbs, and spices that create an irresistibly satisfying dish. Slowly cooking the chickpeas in the oven, inside a clay pot, as Paula Wolfert suggests, makes a wonderfully flavored, silky base. But precooked frozen chickpeas, simmered briefly with garlic in their broth, will make excellent leblebi, flavored with homemade h’rous and sprinkled with Aegean herb and hot pepper mix.”

Take a look at Aglaia Kremezi’s Mediterranean Vegetarian Feasts.

RECIPE: TUNISIAN CHICKPEA SOUP (LEBLEBI)

A note about the chickpeas: Don’t use them from a can, as easy as it is. Cooking them from scratch makes a huge difference. You can make them ahead of time, refrigerate, and reheat them when you want to serve your soup.

Ingredients For 6-8 Servings

   

tunisian-chickpea-soup-leblebi-MediterraneanVegetarianFeasts-abrams-230r-r

Eat more beans and legumes for the new year. They’re high quality, inexpensive protein. Photo courtesy Stewart, Tabori and Chang.

  • ½ pound (225 g) chickpeas (garbanzo beans), soaked overnight in water to cover with a pinch of baking soda added
  • 2 cups (480 ml) vegetable broth or water, plus more as needed
  • 4 cloves garlic
  • 3 tablespoons olive oil
  • Salt
  • Freshly ground black pepper
  •  
    Toppings Per Person

  • 1 poached egg*
  • ½ cup (about 50 g) cubed day-old, whole-wheat bread
  • 1 tablespoon harissa, thinned with some water
  • 1 sun-dried tomato, soaked in warm water for 30 minutes and drained
  • Diced roasted red or green bell peppers (optional)
  • 1 pinch of ground cumin
  • Freshly ground black pepper
  • 4 to 5 black olives, preferably Kalamata
  • 1 tablespoon capers, rinsed
  • Good, fruity olive oil
  • 1 lemon wedge
  •  
    *If you don’t like runny poached eggs, substitute chopped or sliced hard-boiled eggs.

     

    Mediterranean-Vegetarian-Feasts-230

    More ways to eat the better-for-you Mediterranean diet. Photo courtesy Stewart, Tabori and Chang.

     

    GARNISHES

    Let people customize their soup garnishes. Select a variety from the following, and place them in ramekins or small bowls:

  • Canned tuna fish, flaked
  • Coarse sea salt or flaked salt
  • Croutons/crostini
  • Fresh cilantro, chopped
  • Fresh parsley, chopped
  • Fresh tomatoes, chopped
  • Green and red bell peppers, chopped
  • Lemon wedges
  • Pickled turnips
  • Preserved lemons, sliced
  • Scallions, thinly sliced
  •  

    Preparation

    1. PREHEAT the oven to 225°F (110°C). Drain the soaked chickpeas and place them in a clay casserole with a lid (a Dutch oven will work, too). Add the broth, garlic, olive oil, and salt and pepper to taste, and extra broth as needed to cover the chickpeas by 1 inch (2.5 cm). Bring to a boil over medium heat, cover, and place in the oven for at least 3 hours, until the chickpeas are soft and silky. (Note from Rancho Gordo: “Our chickpeas are so fresh, it may not take anywhere near this long to cook. Check frequently after about an hour.”)

    You can make the soup up to this point and store it in the refrigerator for up to 3 days. When you are ready to serve…

    2. REHEAT the chickpeas in their liquid while you poach the eggs. You should have one egg for each bowl of soup.

    3. POACH the eggs with this method from Paula Wolfert: Fill a bowl with ice water. In a pan of boiling water, add the eggs, still in their shells. Cover with the lid and turn off the heat. After 6 minutes, slip the eggs into the ice water to cool. Once they are cool, peel them carefully.

    4. PLACE a few cubes of bread in the bottom of a bowl and cover with some of the chickpeas and their cooking liquid. Set an egg on top and cut it so that the yolk runs. Drizzle some harissa over the top, add sun-dried tomato and roasted pepper (if using), and sprinkle with the cumin and black pepper. Top with olives and capers. Drizzle good, fruity olive oil on top and squeeze the lemon wedge over the soup. Repeat for each serving.

      

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    RECIPE: Elvis Burger

    January 8th marks the birthday of “The King,” Elvis Presley. Today he’d have been 80 years old.

    Loyal fans celebrate the day with Elvis’s favorite sandwich: a fried peanut butter sandwich with sliced bananas and bacon. (The recipe: Make a PB sandwich on white bread, with sliced bananas and fried bacon. Brush the outsides with softened butter and fry until golden brown.)

    Elvis was a big cheeseburger fan, too, so here’s an Elvis Cheeseburger recipe.

    But Helen Graves of FoodStories.com put her own spin on an “Elvis Burger”, topping a burger with bacon and peanut butter. She contributed the recipe to the wealth of PB recipes on ILovePeanutButter.com.

    Unlike the Elvis Sandwich, banana slices don’t work here. But a side of fried plantains, related to bananas and substituting for French fries, works just fine. See the recipe below.

    RECIPE: ELVIS BURGER

    Prep time is 5 minutes, cook time is 20 minutes.

    Ingredients For 4 Servings

  • 1 pound grams ground beef
  • 8 slices smoked bacon
  • 1 thumb-sized piece of ginger, peeled and grated
  • 1 clove garlic, crushed
  • 1 tablespoon chipotle chili flakes
  • 4 tablespoons Old Fashioned Smooth peanut butter
  • ¼ iceberg lettuce, shredded
  • ½ red onion, thinly sliced
  • 4 burger buns
  •  
    There’s no banana, but we can recommend a side of plantain chips, a crunchy alternative to potato chips.

       

    Peanut-Butter-Elvis-Burger-helengraves-foodstories-230

    The Elvis Burger, with bacon and peanut butter. Photo courtesy Helen Graves | Food Stories.

     

    Preparation

    1. DIVIDE the ground beef into 4 equally sized balls, then flatten into patties and set aside. Grill the bacon rasher until crisp, then chop into smallish pieces and set aside.

    2. HEAT a pan until very hot. Season the burger patties with salt and pepper and cook for 2 minutes each side, or to taste. While the burgers are cooking…

    3. MAKEe the peanut butter sauce by heating a tablespoon of oil in a pan and gently softening the ginger and garlic for a couple of minutes, stirring. Add the chipotle flakes for a further minute, then take the pan off the heat and add the peanut butter, along with a tablespoon of hot water (don’t use cold water). Mix well. When the burgers and sauce are ready…

    4. PLACE some iceberg lettuce on each bun, followed by some onion, a burger, then some of the peanut butter sauce. Top with crispy bacon pieces and the top half of the bun. Eat immediately.

    See more prep photos at ILovePeanutButter.com.

     

    Peanut-Butter-Elvis-Burger-toppings-helengraves-foodstories-230

    The Elvis Burger, topless. Photo courtesy Helen Graves | Food Stories.

     

    RECIPE: FRIED PLANTAINS

    Plantains are cousins of bananas, a staple in most Latin American cuisines. Plantains are larger and green; they don’t ripen to yellow. They are firm and served cooked like a vegetable, not eaten as a raw fruit.

    Ingredients

  • Fresh plantains
  • Cooking oil
  • Salt
  •  
    Preparation

    1. PREHEAT oil in a large, deep skillet over medium high heat.

     
    2. PEEL the plantains and cut them into round slices (coins) or vertical slices (slice in half lengthwise and then into halves again to desired thickness). halves lengthwise into thin pieces.

    3. FRY the pieces until browned and tender. Drain excess oil on paper towels. Season with salt as desired.
     
    Here’s a recipe for tostones, double-fried plantains that are popular in Puerto Rico.

     
    MORE ELVIS TRIBUTE DISHES

  • Elvis Presley Birthday Sundae Recipe
  • Elvis Cheeseburger Recipe
  • Peanut Butter Banana Cake Recipe
  • Peanut Butter & Banana Quesadilla Recipe
  •  
    How about an Elvis portrait made from toast?

      

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    TIP OF THE DAY: Try A New Soup & The History Of Soup

    It’s well below freezing in much of the country today: a good day to focus on soup.

    Every culture makes soup. It’s easy, filling and nutritious, and can be inexpensive. In much of the world it’s eaten for breakfast, lunch and dinner.

    January is National Soup Month. Rather than fall back on your favorites today, discover something new. Start with our delicious Soup Glossary, featuring many different types of soups.

    Then, check out our soup garnishes: ways to add flavor and excitement to your soup.

    A BRIEF HISTORY OF SOUP

    Mankind is up to 200,000 years old. For the majority of our existence, we have had no soup.

    The earliest humans had no cookware—nothing to boil water (or anything else) in. Boiling was not easy to do until the invention of waterproof containers, probably pouches made of clay or animal skin, about 9,000 years ago. We can date the first types of soups to about 6,000 B.C.E., some 8,000 years ago.

    Our word soup comes from French soupe, which derived from Vulgar Latin suppa, from the post-classical Latin verb suppare, to soak. This indicated bread soaked in broth, or a liquid poured onto a piece of bread. The bread added heft to the meal.

       

    Choabani

    Since its beginnings, soup was a poor man’s
    dinner. The name of the meal evolved to
    souper, than supper. Red lentil soup from
    Chobani | Soho.

     

    reggiano-soup-230

    Soup gets its name from “sop,” the piece of bread regularly added to sop up the soup. Photo courtesy ParmigianoReggiano.com.

     

    In Germanic languages, the word sop referred to a piece of bread used to soak up soup or stew. The word entered the English language in the seventeenth century exactly as that: soup pored over “sops” of bread or toast (which evolved into croutons). Prior to then, soups were called broth or pottage. The bread or toast served as an alternative to using a spoon.

    Today’s soup croutons evolved from sops.

    While the rich enjoyed elaborate soups, basic soup was a poor man’s dinner. Until recent times, the evening meal was the lighter of the two meals of the day; a soup or sop would be a typical evening dish. The name of the meal evolved to souper, than supper.

    It began to be fashionable to serve the liquid broth without the sop (bread), and in the early eighteenth century, soup became a first course.
     

    EATING VS. DRINKING SOUP

    Since it’s a liquid, why do we “eat” soup rather than “drink” soup?

    Because it’s served in a dish. If you consume it from a mug or cup, then you can be deemed to be drinking your soup.

     

      

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