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Archive for March 25, 2016

RECIPE: Easter Salad

Easter Salad

Gold Beets

Top: Pastel beet salad for Easter, from the Oyster Club. Middle: Gold beets is the name given to the orange varieties. Bottom: Chioggia beets, pronounced KYO-jah, sometimes called candy cane beets. Beet photos from Good Eggs.

 

We adapted this charming salad concept from the Oyster Club in Mystic, Connecticut, as our Easter salad. Look in specialty produce stores or farmers markets for the beets.

RECIPE: EASTER SALAD

Ingredients

  • Chioggia, orange [a.k.a. gold], pink, red and/or yellow beets
  • Mesclun or frisée
  • Blood orange or mandarin segments, peeled
  • Fresh orange for orange vinaigrette (Step 5, below)
  • Extra virgin olive oil
  • Garnish: toasted pine nuts or chopped pistachio nuts
  • Optional garnish: dyed hard-boiled quail eggs, ideally two in different colors for each person
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    Preparation

    The first three steps can be done a day in advance.

    1. ROAST the beets and cut into batons, approximately 1/2 inch x 1/2 inch x 2-1/2 inches.

    2. TOAST the pine nuts. Pistachios, which we personally prefer, don’t need to be chopped.

    3. BOIL and dye the optional quail eggs.

    4. SUPRÊME the orange. Suprême (soo-PREHM) is a technique that removes the membrane from citrus fruit segments* so they can be served in slices. Slice off the top and bottom of the orange with a very sharp knife. Set the fruit on one of the flat ends and carefully cut the skin from the flesh, beginning at the top and following the curves down.

     
    Carefully cut out each section of the fruit by inserting the blade of the knife between the flesh and the membrane on both sides. The wedges should come out easily. Be sure to capture the juice. It may be enough for the vinaigrette. Here’s a video.

    5. MAKE the vinaigrette, in the proportion of three tablespoons of extra-virgin olive oil to 1 tablespoon of orange juice. Using fresh-squeezed orange juice is noticeably better. When ready to assemble:

    6. WASH and pat dry the greens. Place the beets and orange segments in an arrangement as shown, with a plume of greens. With a tablespoon, spoon the vinaigrette in a circle around the plate. Garnish with nuts. If using quail eggs, tuck them under the other ingredients, peeking out. Serve.

     
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    *In French cooking, suprême refers to the best part of the food. In the case of citrus, you’re removing the peel, pith and membranes to get to the best part—the juicy segments.

     
      

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    FOOD FUN: Easter Popcorn Recipe

    For an Easter weekend snack, how about some “Easter” popcorn?

    Just combine plain popcorn with an Easter-theme confection: pastel sprinkles, mini pastel jelly beans or baking chips. We use pastel mint chips from Guittard, but a trip to the nearest candy store will yield other choices.

    You can go one step further and make white chocolate popcorn bark with an Easter candy garnish. Because the candies adhere to the chocolate, you can use pastel M&Ms and other heavier confections (without the chocolate they’ll sink to the bottom of the bowl). This recipe is from Popcorn.org.

     
    RECIPE: WHITE CHOCOLATE POPCORN BARK

    Ingredients For 1 Pound (Twelve 3-Inch Squares)

  • 5 cups popped popcorn (purchased or home-popped)
  • 12 ounces white chocolate baking chips, chopped white chocolate or white candy coating*
  • 1 cup pastel candy (less for sprinkles)
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    *We use Guittard white chocolate chips or chop Green & Black’s or Lindt white chocolate bars. We avoid white candy coating because it substitutes vegetable oil for the cocoa butter in real chocolate (and that’s the reason many people dislike “white chocolate,” as they’re actually eating white candy coating).

     

    popcorn-rainbow-sprinkles-urbanaccents-230

    Easter popcorn. This batch is made with white chocolate and pastel sprinkles. Photo courtesy Popcorn.org.

     
    Preparation

    1. COVER a baking pan with foil or wax paper; set aside. Place the popcorn in a large bowl; set aside.

    2. MELT the chocolate in a double boiler over barely simmering water, stirring until smooth. When the chocolate is melted, stir in the candy.

    3. POUR the chocolate mixture over the popcorn and stir to coat. Spread the popcorn onto the prepared pan and allow to cool completely. When chocolate is cooled and set…

    4. BREAK into chunks for serving. Store in an airtight container at room temperature.

      

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    TIP OF THE DAY: Easter Egg Dessert Pizza Or Fruit Platter

    fruit-pizza-easter-egg-sugarhero-230

    This Easter egg “dessert pizza” is glazed fruit atop baked cookie dough. Photo courtesy Elizabeth LaBau | Sugar Hero.

     

    Pastry chef Elizabeth LaBau of the blog SugarHero.com decided back in 2013 to create an egg-shaped dessert “pizza” for Easter: a cookie dough base topped with glazed fruit.

    Looks delicious, doesn’t it? Here’s the recipe.

    We always bake a cake with Easter decorations, and also serve a fruit salad. So three years ago, we adapted the “pizza” idea to a fruit platter.

  • Year 1: We took a tray and piped royal icing in an Easter egg shape, a border to contain the fruit. You could arrange the fruit without one, but as guests serve themselves, the border keeps the shape of the egg (not to mention, it keeps the grapes from rolling away).
  • Year 2: We had an inspiration to go back to the original recipe’s cookie dough, but use it raw to build the border. Unless you have a very steady hand, it’s much easier to shape strips of cookie dough into an egg than to pipe the shape. We used a tube of egg-free sugar cookie dough. Some people nibbled on the dough, some didn’t.
  • Year 3: We used chocolate chip cookie dough. Not surprisingly, most of it was nibbled up.
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  • Year 4: This year, we’re using cream cheese frosting for the border. It’s easier to pipe and tweak (fix the shape) than royal icing. A recipe is below.
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    Truth to tell, even with three years of practice, Ms. LaBau’s work is still far lovelier than ours. But we never claimed to be a professional pastry chef—just a professional pastry eater.

    RECIPE: CREAM CHEESE FROSTiNG

    Ingredients

  • 8 ounces cream cheese, room temperature
  • 1/3 cup strawberry jam, room temperature
  • 1-1/2 cups powdered sugar
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    Note: To frost a cake, you need a larger amount of icing. For vanilla cream cheese frosting, combine: 16 ounces cream cheese, 2 sticks (1 cup) softened butter, 1-1/3 cups confectioners’ sugar (sifted after measuring) and 1 tablespoon pure vanilla extract.
     
    Preparation

    1. COMBINE the ingredients and place in a piping bag and pipe an Easter egg shape.

    2. TIP: If you don’t want to pipe freehand, cut an egg shape from foil or parchment and use it as a guide. The trick is to fold the foil in half and cut half an Easter egg, so the halves will be perfectly symmetrical when you unfold it.

      

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