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Archive for 2015

TIP OF THE DAY: Lettuce Wraps

We love to start the new year with lettuce wraps instead of bread-based sandwiches.

  • If you use the right lettuce—a soft variety like butter or bibb lettuce—you can roll the filling like a burrito.
  • If you prefer a crunchier lettuce like romaine, you can fill the leaves boat-style; or you can create a lettuce cup and serve the filling salad-style.
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    Here are two variations on a similar recipe—Asian turkey wraps—from Jennie-O, a specialist in turkey products from ground to whole to burgers and bacon.

    You can substitute your meat of choice (it’s a great way to use up leftovers) or create vegetarian versions.

    The first recipe is simpler in flavor profile, and uses ground turkey cooked from scratch. The second recipe is more complex in flavor, and uses leftover roast turkey.

    RECIPE: CHINESE LETTUCE WRAPS

  • 1 package (20 ounces) lean ground turkey
  • 1 tablespoon canola oil
  • 1 onion, chopped
  • ½ cup sweet and spicy hot pepper sauce*
  • 1 tablespoon hoisin sauce
  • 1 tablespoon soy sauce
  • 1 cucumber, peeled and chopped
  • 12 butter lettuce leaves
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    Chinese lettuce wraps with turkey, flavored with hoisin sauce, soy sauce and hot sauce. Photo courtesy Jennie-O.

     
    *Tabasco makes a sweet and spicy version of its original hot sauce. It’s much milder than original Tabasco: (100-600 on the Scoville Heat Scale as opposed to 2500-5000 for original Tabasco. There are other brands of “sweet heat,” including Sweet Sunshine, a NIBBLE Top Pick Of The Week.
     

    Preparation

    1. COOK the turkey as specified on the package. (Always cook turkey to well-done, 165°F, as measured by a meat thermometer.)

    1. HEAT the oil in a skillet over medium-high heat. Add the onions and sauté for 3 minutes or until they begin to brown. Mix in the turkey, sweet and spicy pepper sauce, hoisin sauce, soy sauce and cucumber. Heat through.

    3. MAKE the wraps: Spoon the turkey mixture onto lettuce leaves and the wrap leaves around filling.

     

    thai-turkey-lettuce-wraps-cup-jennie-o-230

    Turkey wraps with the filling spooned into a lettuce cup, salad style. Photo courtesy Jennie-O.

     

    RECIPE: THAI LETTUCE WRAPS

    This recipe uses leftover cooked turkey, although you can cook raw, ground turkey as in the previous recipe. There are more ingredients, resulting in more authentic, complex flavors.

    The reason this is a “Thai” wrap instead of a “Chinese” wrap is the Thai cuisine ingredients and seasonings: lime juice, grated ginger, fresh mint and cilantro, shredded carrots, fish sauce and sweet chili sauce.

    Prep time is less than 15 minutes; total time is less than 30 minutes.

    Ingredients For 4 Servings

  • ½ cup thinly sliced red onion
  • ¼ cup lime juice
  • 2 teaspoons canola oil
  • 2 teaspoons finely grated ginger
  • 4 garlic cloves, minced
  • 2½ cups shredded leftover cooked turkey
  • 3 tablespoons chopped fresh mint
  • 3 tablespoons chopped fresh cilantro
  • 3 tablespoons sweet chili sauce (here’s an easy recipe if you don’t want to buy it)
  • 1 tablespoon hoisin sauce
  • 1 tablespoon fish sauce
  • ¾ cup coarsely shredded carrot
  • 8 large butter lettuce leaves
  • ¼ cup peanuts, toasted and coarsely chopped
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    Preparation

    1. COMBINE the onion and lime juice in small bowl; let stand 15 minutes.

    2. HEAT a large, non-stick skillet over medium-high heat. Add the oil, ginger and garlic. Cook 1 minute or until fragrant. Remove the skillet from the heat.

    3. COMBINE the onion mixture, turkey, mint, cilantro, sauces and carrot in large bowl. Spoon the turkey mixture into each lettuce leaf and sprinkle with peanuts.
     
    WHAT IS HOISIN SAUCE?

    Hoisin sauce is a thick, sweet-and-pungent condiment that’s used in Asia much the way we use barbecue sauce (but the taste is completely different). It can be used to coat meat and poultry prior to cooking, it can be stirred into dishes and, as in the case of Peking Duck, it can be used as the principal condiment—a very elegant “ketchup.”

    The flavor of hoisin sauce has always seemed pruny-plummy to us (in the sense of a sweet fruitiness of roasted plums). In fact, recipes for a hoisin sauce substitute can include prunes.

    However, there’s no fruit in traditional hoisin sauce; unless you count a touch of chiles, which are, by botanical definition, fruits. The base of hoisin sauce is soybean paste, which is flavored with garlic, vinegar and sometimes some other spices. The resulting sweet-and-spicy paste is extremely flavorful and may overwhelm people who try it the first time. But keep trying; you’ll learn to love it.

      

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    FOOD FUN: Muffin Pan Meat Loaf

    These fun individual meat loaves from McCormick.com cook in less than 30 minutes—perfect for an easy weeknight dinner with built-in portion control.

    The grated carrots and zucchini in the meat loaf mixture add moisture and are a tasty way to eat more veggies.

    RECIPE: MUFFIN PAN MEAT LOAF

    Ingredients For 12 Servings

    For The Meat Loaf

  • 2 pounds lean ground beef
  • 1/2 cup grated carrots
  • 1/2 cup grated zucchini
  • 2 eggs, lightly beaten
  • 1/2 cup milk
  • 1/4 cup dry bread crumbs
  • 2 teaspoons garlic and herb seasoning
  • 1 teaspoon basil leaves
  • 1/2 teaspoon oregano leaves
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    For The Sauce

  • 2 cups tomato sauce
  • 1 teaspoon oregano leaves
  • 1/2 teaspoon garlic powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon crushed red pepper
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    Muffin_Pan_Meat_Loaf_mccormick-230

    Turn your muffin pan into a meat loaf maker. Photo courtesy Caroline Edwards | Chocolate and Carrots.

     
    Preparation

    1. PREHEAT the oven to 350°F. Mix all meat loaf ingredients in large bowl until well blended. Divide the mixture into 12 balls. Place each ball into a muffin cup.

    2. BAKE for 25 minutes or until cooked through. Let stand 5 minutes before serving. While the meat loaves are baking…

    3. MAKE the sauce. Place all the sauce ingredients in a medium saucepan. Cook on medium heat until heated through, stirring occasionally. Serve with the meat loaf.

      

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    FOOD HOLIDAY: National Bloody Mary Day

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    Thank bartender Fernand Petiot for today’s Bloody Mary. Photo courtesy St. Regis Hotel | NYC.

     

    January 1st is National Bloody Mary Day; 2015 marks the 81st anniversary of the drink, originally known as the Red Snapper Cocktail.

    In 1934, a seminal cocktail event took place at the King Cole Bar, an elegant watering hole in the storied St. Regis hotel in New York City. Bartender Fernand Petiot introduced the Red Snapper, a cocktail that would later be renamed the Bloody Mary.

    A simple cocktail called the Bloody Mary—gin and tomato juice—originated in the 1920s at a Parisian bar called The New Yorker. Petiot had served the drink at Harry’s Bar in Paris.

    After moving to the St. Regis, Petiot spiced up a tomato juice and vodka libation with celery salt, pepper, cayenne, lemon and Worcestershire sauce.

    RECIPE: THE ORIGINAL RED SNAPPER COCKTAIL FROM THE KING COLE BAR

    Ingredients

  • 2 ounces tomato juice
  • 1 dash lemon juice
  • 2 dashes celery salt
  • 2 dashes black pepper
  • 2 dashes cayenne pepper
  • 3 dashes of Worcestershire sauce
  • 1 ounce vodka
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    The vodka-based drink became known as the Bloody Mary, and the gin-based equivalent became know as the Red Snapper. Over time, hot sauce replaced the cayenne pepper and a celery stick garnish appeared.

    And the name switched: The Red Snapper became a cocktail like the vodka-based Bloody Mary, but with gin instead.

    If you’re a Bloody Mary fan, try a Red Snapper instead and see what the more flavorful gin does for the drink, as opposed to the neutral flavor of vodka.

     

    MORE BLOODY MARY HISTORY

    The St. Regis Hotel was opened 1904, built by one of the wealthiest men in America, John Jacob Astor IV, as a companion to the Waldorf-Astoria Hotel.

    Eight years later, John Jacob Astor IV perished in the sinking of the RMS Titanic. His son Vincent Astor inherited the hotel.

    In 1932, the “Old King Cole” mural by Maxfield Parrish, which had been created for Astor’s defunct Knickerbocker Hotel, was moved to the St. Regis and made the centerpiece of a new bar, the King Cole Bar. In 1934, Vincent Astor recruited French bartender Fernand “Pete” Petiot, who had moved to New York from Paris-based Harry’s New York Bar in the 1920s, as the head bartender.

    At Harry’s, Petiot was famed for a tomato juice and vodka drink that was named the Bloody Mary, as the story goes, after a customer named Mary.

    When he brought the drink to New York, Petiot had to swap out the vodka, which was hard to come by in the U.S. (until the 1960s), for gin. Then, the Astor family deemed the name Bloody Mary too déclassé for their society clientele. So the Red Snapper was born.

     

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    The Bloody Mary was originally called the Red Snapper. Photo courtesy St. Regis Hotel | NYC.

     

    In 1934, Prince Serge Obolensky, a well known man about town whose penchant for vodka was in keeping with his aristocratic Russian background, asked Petiot to make the vodka cocktail he had in Paris.

    According to FoodRepublic.com, Petiot spiced up the Parisian Bloody Mary—originally just vodka and tomato juice—with salt, pepper, lemon and Worcestershire Sauce. Since “Bloody Mary” was deemed too vulgar for the hotel’s elegant King Cole Bar, the drink was rechristened the “Red Snapper.” While the name may not have endured, the spicy drink most certainly has; over the years it has become the signature cocktail of the King Cole Bar. Sometime in the mid-1930s the name reverted to Bloody Mary—a better, spicy Mary, to be sure.

      

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    TIP OF THE DAY: Try Something From This Healthy Food “Hot List”

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    A tuna salad with quinoa. Photo courtesy Bumble Bee.

     

    How many trending foods did you try—or adopt—in 2014?

    Acccording to MyFitnessPal, a calorie counter app, the food trends sought by its users last year are predicative of what will continue to be hot and healthful in 2015.

    Their data showed that it was not the year of kale, as much as it was the year of Brussels sprouts—with food entries up a whopping 224% in 2014.

    Here are the top trending foods going into the new year, based on what the app users logged in 2014 over 2013:

  • Brussels sprouts: up 224%. More about Brussels sprouts.
  • Matcha green tea: up 66%
  • Chia seeds: up 52%. More about chia.
  • Kale: up 50%. More about kale.
  • Kombucha tea: 38%. More about kombucha.
  • Quinoa: up 30%. More about quinoa.
  • Coconut water: up 17%. More about coconut water.
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    So make this food resolution: Whatever you haven’t yet tried on the list, do so before the end of January.

     
      

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    TOP PICK OF THE WEEK: Blue Isle Mediterranean Yogurt Spread

    Following on the heels of the burgeoning Greek yogurt market, ready-to-eat yogurt dips and spreads are finally raising their hands.

    While some people like to putter over dips and spreads, making their favorite recipe or seeing what new flavors they can add to cream cheese, Greek yogurt or sour cream, others like to grab and something already made. We belong to both groups, depending on how hungry we are at the moment.

    For the latter group, Blue Isle Mediterranean Yogurt Spreads will be welcome. The product’s stated goal is “to raise the bar in the retail cream cheese category with superior flavors, functionality and nutrition.”

    The brand differentiates itself by promoting its healthy probiotics (or “good bacteria”) and their calcium-rich yogurt spreads as “the new cream cheese.”

    It is spreadable, like cream cheese. It’s also dippable.

    Compared to the leading cream cheese (that’s you, Philadelphia), Blue Isle has nearly 40% fewer calories and fat, with only 60 calories and 6g of fat per two-tablespoon serving. Like Philadelphia, it is certified kosher by OU. The company says that Blue Isle contains 180% less sodium per serving than the leading cream cheese. Who knew cream cheese was salty?

    Blue Isle is available in savory and sweet flavors:

  • Blueberry
  • French Onion
  • Honey
  • Original
  • Spicy Vegetable
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    The new spread in town, made from probiotic Greek yogurt. Photo courtesy Karoun Dairies.

     

    In its debut year, Blue Isle Original won the 1st Place award from the American Cheese Society in the Labneh, Greek Style Yogurt, and Other Strained Yogurt Products category. It is made by family-owned Karoun Dairies.

     

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    While developed as a spread, Blue Isle is easily dippable. Photo courtesy Karoun Dairies.

     

    We enjoyed all of the flavors, alternately spreading them on bagels and using them to dip crudités. The sweet and savory flavors—a opposed to the plain Original—were equally beguiling. We look forward to experimenting with canapés and dessert canapes (using our Stackable Appetizer Maker device, loaf cakes with Honey Blue Isle and raspberry jam were a good start).

    Made from rBST-free California milk, you can:

  • Spread it on bagels, flatbread and toast
  • Blend it into deviled eggs and mashed potatoes
  • Thicken or garnish soup
  • Use it as a sandwich condiment
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    The line is available at better supermarkets and natural food stores nationwide (partial list: Central Market, Fiesta Mart, Fred Meyer, The Fresh Market, Harmon’s, H-E-B, Jon’s Marketplace, Lucky’s, Mollie Stones, New Seasons, QFC, Strack and Van Til).

    The suggested retail price is $3.29 for an 8-ounce tub.

    Discover more at BlueIsleSpread.com.

     

      

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