THE NIBBLE BLOG: Products, Recipes & Trends In Specialty Foods
Also visit our main website, TheNibble.com.

Archive for February, 2016

RECIPE: Cajun Chicken Salad

/home/content/p3pnexwpnas01_data02/07/2891007/html/wp content/uploads/cajun chicken salad potatorolls.com 230

Chunky Chicken Salad

Top: Cajun Chicken Salad on a Martin’s
potato roll. Bottom: Martin prefers a
food-processor blended chicken salad, which
is so creamy it can be used as a spread. We
prefer chunky chicken salad.

 

Our favorite chicken salad recipe includes sliced grapes and almonds and dried cherries or cranberries in a curry mayonnaise.

But we headed south (metaphorically speaking to try this recipe, from Martin’s Famous Pastry, a spicy, meaty departure from our sweeter recipe.

This Cajun Chicken Salad adds popular Creole ingredients like spicy andouille sausage, onions, celery, sundried tomatoes, and seasoning, to minced chicken to create a dish full of flavor.

Martin’s, which sells potato rolls, used their product for a sandwich. We couldn’t get hold odf the rolls, so we put the chicken salad on a bed of mesclun.

 
RECIPE: CAJUN CHICKEN SALAD SANDWICH

Ingredients For 4 Sandwiches

  • 3-4 cups cooked chicken, minced into small pieces
  • 1/3 pound smoked andouille sausage
  • 1/2 cup onions, finely chopped
  • 1 tablespoon butter
  • 4 green onion tops, finely chopped
  • 1 stalk celery, finely chopped
  • 1/3 cup apple, finely chopped
  • 1 handful sundried tomatoes, chopped small
  • 1 lemon, juiced
  • 1 cup sour cream
  • 1/4 cup mayonnaise
  • Salt and pepper, to taste
  • Creole seasoning, to taste (recipe below)
  • 4 Martin’s Sandwich Potato Rolls or other roll/bread
  • Butter lettuce or other pliable lettuce
  • Optional: Provolone cheese slices
  • Optional: Dijon or other spicy mustard
  • Optional: mesclun or other greens (instead of the bread)
  • Preparation

    1. SAUTÉ the chopped onions and sausage in butter until the onions are soft and translucent.

    2. COMBINE the chopped chicken, sausage and sautéed onions in a food processor and blend to the desired consistency; or simply combine them in a mixing bowl. Add the other ingredients and then season to taste.

    3. SERVE on a roll with lettuce, cheese and mustard on the side; or on a bed of greens.
     
    RECIPE: CREOLE SEASONING

    If you don’t have Creole seasoning, it’s easy to make your own. This recipe makes much more than you need for the chicken salad, but you can cut it down or use the extra in other recipes, from eggs to burgers.
     
    Ingredients

  • 1/3 cup paprika
  • 3 tablespoons dried oregano
  • 3 tablespoons ground black pepper
  • 2 tablespoons dried basil
  • 2 tablespoons salt
  • 1 tablespoon cayenne pepper
  • 1 tablespoon granulated onion
  • 4 teaspoons dried thyme
  • 4 teaspoons granulated garlic
  •  
    Preparation

    1. COMBINE all the spices in a bowl, and stir to combine.

    2. STORE in an airtight container away from light and heat, but use as quickly as possible.

     

    WHAT IS ANDOUILLE SAUSAGE?

    Andouille (pronounced on-DOO-wee) is a smoked, spicy pork sausage, originally from France. It was brought to Louisiana by the French immigrants and Acadian (French Canadian) exiles, whose cuisines would merge to create much of Louisiana Creole fare.

    The sausage is made using coarsely-ground pork from a smoked Boston shoulder roast, along with garlic, pepper, onions, wine, and other seasonings. Once the casing is stuffed, the sausage is smoked again.

    FOOD TRIVIA: Like the word ganache, which means imbecile in French (here’s the story), the word andouille also designates an imbecile.
     
    CAJUN VS. CREOLE: THE DIFFERENCE

    Cajun and Creole are not the same, although people removed from Louisiana often use them without distinction.

  • Creole referred to people who were born to settlers in French Colonial Louisiana, specifically in New Orleans. In the 18th century, Creoles were the descendants of the French and Spanish upper class that ruled the city.
  •  

    /home/content/p3pnexwpnas01_data02/07/2891007/html/wp content/uploads/Andouille beauty wiki 230

    Andouille sausage joins the chicken in this chicken salad recipe (photo Eva K | Wikimedia).

  • Cajuns, on the other hand, emigrated from the Acadia region of Canada, which consisted of present-day New Brunswick, Prince Edward Island and Nova Scotia. They settled in the swampy region of Louisiana that is today known as Acadiana; their name in French, les Acadians, became shortened in the vernacular as Cajun.
  •  
    Some people think of Creole cuisine as “city food” and Cajun cuisine as “country food.” But to eyeball the dish and tell its provenance, here’s a simple trick:

    Creole cuisine uses tomatoes and Cajun food typically does not. That’s how to quickly distinguish a Cajun gumbo or jambalaya from a Creole gumbo or jambalaya.

      

    Comments off

    FOOD FUN: Three Crusts In One

    3 in 1 Pie Crust

    Why not make your pie or cheesecake with three crusts, with this idea from Reynolds Kitchns?

     

    Can’t decide which type of crust you want on your pie or cheesecake?

    Use two or three different crusts!

    This idea is from Reynolds Kitchens, which used gingersnap, chocolate wafer and vanilla wafer crumbs in one crust: something for everyone.

    Whenever you have a recipe with a cookie crust, try it with your own two or three favorite cookie types.

    We did, and decided we like chocolate cookie crust with a plain cheesecake (and even with a fruit topping), and gingersnap crust with a pumpkin cheesecake.

    That’s the way the cookie crumbles.

    Don’t you just love food fun?

     

     
      

    Comments off

    RECIPE: Surf & Turf Bloody Mary

    We found this Fully Loaded Bloody Mary at The Wayfarer, in the heart of New York City.

    Because it features both bacon and shrimp garnishes, and because February 29th is National Surf & Turf Day (January 1st is National Bloody Mary Day), we’ve renamed it the Surf & Turf Bloody Mary. There are so many nibbles in the drink that it could also be called the Appetizer Mary.

    To add even more taste consider flavored vodka: bacon, cucumber, lemon or lime. We also use chipotle hot sauce instead of the standard heat.

    If you prefer other clear spirits to vodka, make a Bloody Caesar with gin or a Bloody Maria with tequila.

    And, you can vary the surf and turf: Instead of the bacon strip and “appetizer” cocktail pick, substitute a cocktail pick of steak cubes. Any other meat or poultry from the “turf” also works.

    We have quite a few additional options below.

    THE SURF & TURF BLOODY MARY

    Ingredients Per Drink

  • 2/3 cup Bloody Mary mix (our own recipe is below)
  • 2-3 ounces vodka
  • Celery stalk, green onion (scallion) or fennel stalk
  • Dill pickle or cucumber spear, halved
  • Cooked shrimp
  • Crisp bacon strip
  • Cocktail pick: olive, cocktail onion, cheese cube, etc.
  •  
    THE NIBBLE’s Bloody Mary Mix Ingredients

  • 2/3 cup top-quality tomato juice (our favorite is Knudsen’s)
  • 1 teaspoon prepared horseradish
  • 6 shakes hot sauce (or chipotle hot sauce)
  • 1 teaspoon Worcestershire sauce
  • Juice of 1/2 large lime or medium lemon (about 1 tablespoon)
  • 1/8 teaspoon celery salt*
  • 1/8 teaspoon freshly-ground black pepper
  • Optional: fresh dill
  •  
    Ingredients For Cocktail Pick

    Go to the nearest olive bar for the olives and cocktail onions. It may also have gherkins and peppadews.

  • Cheddar cube (we use Beecher’s Flagship (aged Cheddar)
  • Cocktail onion
  • Mini gherkin
  • Olive
  • Pepppadew
  • ____________________
    *If you only have celery seed, you can make your own celery salt with the recipe that follows.
     
    RECIPE: CELERY SALT

    You can buy celery salt, but homemade, without the caking agents, is so much better. We use celery seed far more often than celery salt, so it’s also fresher than a pre-ground, pre-bottled version. And it’s so easy.

     

    /home/content/p3pnexwpnas01_data02/07/2891007/html/wp content/uploads/fully garnished thewayfererNYC 230

    Surf & Turf

    Crab Legs Surf & Turf

    Shrimp Surf & Turf

    Top: The Surf & Turf Bloody Mary at The Wayfarer | NYC. Second: The classic lobster tail and fillet mignon from Mackenzie Ltd. Third and Fourth: Switching the lobster for crab legs or shrimp at Ruth’s Chris Steak House.

     
    Ingredients

  • 2 tablespoons ground celery seed (or grind whole celery seed)
  • 2 tablespoons sea salt or kosher salt
  •  
    Preparation

    1. SIFT the celery seed and salt together, into a bowl. Add the combined seasoning to a food processor or spice grinder. You can use a coffee grinder, but first grind white rice in it to eliminate the coffee particles.

    2. STORE the remainder in an airtight container.
     
    MORE INTERPRETATIONS OF SURF & TURF

  • Surf & Turf History Plus Combinations Beyond Steak and Lobster
  • For Breakfast Or Lunch: Surf & Turf Eggs Benedict Recipe
  • The New Surf & Turf, Including Surf & Turf Sushi Roll, Lobster Roll or Clam Roll With Bacon, and 15 More
  • Beef Carpaccio or Steak Tartare Surf & Turf Recipe
  •   

    Comments off

    TIP OF THE DAY: 21st Century Uses For Ball Jars

    Blue Mason Jar

    Ball Jar Clear Lid

    Ball Drinking Mason Jar

    /home/content/p3pnexwpnas01 data02/07/2891007/html/wp content/uploads/drinking jar straw lid blue 230s

    Ball Jar With Salad

    Top: Ball jar in the new blue color. Second: A blue lid band enlivens clear Ball jars. Third: The jar gets a handle to make drinking hot and cold beverages easier. Fourth: A Sip & Straw lid addition for the jars. Bottom: A layered salad in a quart-size jar (here’s the recipe). Photos courtesy Ball.

     

    Whether you call them Ball jars, Kerr jars, Mason jars or some other name, canning jars, a 19th century product, have been repurposed in the 21st. (See the history below.)

    First, there’s a color version—blue—in both the three sizes of jars, and color-banded lids. The blue jars join the limited edition green and purple jars. Both products—jars and lids—are sold separately.

    They join other recent product innovations:

  • Ball Drinking Mason Jars, with a handle to make holding the a hot or cold beverage much easier. They can be used with Sip & Straw Lids, the Infuser, or any Ball lid (third photo).
  • Ball Sip & Straw Lids for regular or wide mouth Ball jars, for easy sipping. They come with a reusable straw that is wide enough for sipping smoothies and milkshakes (fourth photo).
  •  
    See the entire line at FreshPreservingStore.com.
     
    OTHER USES FOR BALL JARS

    Fans have come up with the most ingenious uses to repurpose Mason jars, from liquid soap dispensers to smartphone speakers. After-market hardware is manufactured to create them—that’s how many people repurpose Mason jars.
     
    We’ve also seen these clever applications: blender jar, night lights and party string lights, salt and pepper shakers, sewing kit, terrarium and twine dispenser. Take a look at these.

    But for us everyday folks, beyond canning there are:

    Food Uses

  • Airtight canisters for coffee, crackers, nuts, spices, tea, trail mix, etc.
  • Baking vessel for individual mini cheesecakes, muffins, pies, etc.
  • Cake-in-a-jar
  • Gift packaging for candy, cookie, etc.
  • Leftovers
  • Refrigerator storage (olives, pickles, etc.)
  • Serving individual portions of anything (cereal, cobbler, muffin, salad, etc.)
  •  
    Non-Food Uses

  • Airtight jar for paint, etc.
  • Desk organizers, from crayons to paper clips
  • Tea candle holders or homemade candles
  • Vase
  •  
    What’s your favorite use?

     
    THE HISTORY OF CANNING

    The first can was a glass jar.

    We take canned food for granted, but it is a relatively recent invention—and we owe it to Napoleon Bonaparte. In his time (1769-1821), food preservation was limited to salting, drying and pickling, techniques that had existed for thousands of years.

    Needing a better solution for his troops, in 1795 the French general, known for declaring that “an army marches on its stomach,” got the French government to offer 12,000 francs to anyone who invented a new way to preserve food.

    The prize was ultimately won by Nicholas Appert, a chef, confectioner and distiller, who began experimenting when the award was announced and finally submitted his invention 14 years later, in 1809.

    Appert hermetically sealed food in airtight glass jars and heated them—a method similar to today’s home preserving in Mason jars. Appert thought that driving the air out of the containers prevented the spoilage, but 100 years later, Louis Pasteur showed that it was the elimination of bacteria through sterilization that did the trick.

    Napoleon tried to keep the new process a secret so that enemy armies would not have the advantage, but the word leaked out. Appert’s method was so easy that it quickly became widespread. Appert, who also invented the bouillon cube, became known as the “father of canning.”

    The following year another Frenchman, Pierre Durand, patented a method using a tin container. The lighter, breakage-proof tin cans would become the norm for commercial use, although homemakers, lacking canning equipment, continued to use the jars. In 1812, an English company purchased both patents and began producing canned preserves.

    While canning crossed the ocean to America and canneries began to preserve seasonal foods and perishables, most Americans still cooked with fresh and dried staples—plus whatever they “put away” in Mason jars. Canned food did not become the everyday food delivery system we rely on until the beginning of the 20th century.

     
    The Invention Of The Mason Jar

    In 1858, the first Mason jar was designed and patented. Philadelphia tinsmith John Landis Mason developed the jar specifically to withstand the high temperatures necessary for sterilizing pickles. He received a patent in 1858, but ultimately sold his rights and never enjoyed the financial rewards of his invention.
     
    The jars also became known as Ball jars after an early producer, Ball Brothers Glass Manufacturing Company. In 1903, Alexander H. Kerr founded the Hermetic Fruit Jar Company and created the Kerr brand, including the first wide-mouth jars (easier to fill) and jars with a metal lid that had a permanently-attached gasket.
     
    This made the lids easy to use and inexpensive. Kerr subsequently invented the threaded metal ring that held the lid down during the hot water processing and allowed re-use of canning jars: the two-part lid on the jar we know today.

    Today the Ball and Kerr brands are manufactured in the U.S. by Jarden Corp. Here’s a more detailed history.

    Currently, the history of the Mason jar ends with the wane of home canning. The growth of the artisan food movement helped sales, but on a small scale.

    Ball pursued expanding the use of the jars for 21st-century consumers. The result: today’s fashion of serving drinks and food in the jars—and jars and lids adapted for those purposes.

    What’s next? We eagerly await the news.

     
      

    Comments off

    RECIPE: Eggplant & Tomatoes With Indian Seasonings

    Eggplant and tomato dishes have found their way into world cuisines: ratatouille and tian in France; caponata from Sicily; Middle Eastern eggplant, tomato and chickpea casserole; among so many others.

    In this recipe, Maya Kaimal, the doyenne of fine prepared Indian foods in the U.S., adds layers of flavor with Indian spices. Slices of fried eggplant are folded into a spicy tomato sauce. Use a nonstick skillet to minimize the amount of oil needed for frying.

    You don’t have to wait until tomato season to enjoy this recipe. You can use canned tomatoes, and fresh in the summer. (We use diced canned San Marzano tomatoes in the off season.)

    Find more of Maya’s authentic recipes at MayaKaimal.com.

    RECIPE: EGGPLANT & TOMATOES WITH INDIAN SPICES

    Use a heart-healthy oil (coconut oil, olive oil, Malaysian palm oil) and this is a “good for you” way to eat your veggies. Prep time is 40 minutes.

    Ingredients For 4 Servings

  • 4 thin Japanese* eggplants cut into ¼-inch rounds (about 4 cups)
  • Vegetable oil for frying
  • ¼ teaspoon brown mustard seeds
  • ½ teaspoon fennel seeds
  • 1 tablespoon vegetable oil
  • 2 cups chopped tomatoes, fresh or canned, drained
  • 2 teaspoons finely minced ginger
  • 2 teaspoons finely minced garlic
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • Water as needed
  •  
    For The Spice Mixture

  • 2 teaspoons ground coriander
  • 1 teaspoon ground cumin
  • ¼ teaspoon ground red pepper (cayenne)
  • ¼ teaspoon ground turmeric
  • ____________________
    *You can substitute a standard Italian eggplant, cut into ¾-inch chunks.
     
    Preparation

    1. HEAT 2 to 3 teaspoons of oil in a large nonstick frying pan over medium to medium-high heat. Add enough eggplant to cover the pan in a single layer. Fry on both sides until golden brown. Remove and drain on paper towels. Repeat with the remaining eggplant, adding more oil as needed for each batch to prevent sticking.

     

    Eggplant & Tomato Recipe

    Brown Mustard Seeds

    Fennel Seeds

    Top: Eggplant in a spicy tomato sauce. Photo courtesy Maya Kaimal. Center: Brown mustard seeds from Maille. Bottom: Fennel seeds from SilkRoadSpices.ca.

     
    2. WIPE the pan clean. Over medium-high heat, heat the mustard and fennel seeds in 1 tablespoon oil until the mustard seeds begin to pop. Add the tomatoes, ginger, garlic, salt and spice mixture. Continue frying over medium-high heat, stirring frequently, until the tomatoes turn orange and pieces break down to form a soft paste, about 5 minutes.

    3. ADD the reserved eggplant and stir very gently to combine with the tomato mixture. Cover and cook over medium-low heat until the eggplant is cooked through, adding water in small amounts if the mixture becomes too dry. Taste and add salt as desired.

      

    Comments off



    © Copyright 2005-2016 Lifestyle Direct, Inc. All rights reserved. All images are copyrighted to their respective owners.