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Archive for July, 2016

RECIPE: No-Bake Raspberry-White Chocolate Cheesecake

Raspberry White Chocolate Cheesecake

Raspberries Growing

[1] Raspberry-White Chocolate Cheesecake. [2] A half-pint of raspberries (photos courtesy Driscoll’s). [3] Raspberries growing on the bush (photo courtesy Answers.com).

 

July 31st is National Raspberry Cake day. Time to get out the cake pans and make a selection. With these recipes, the choices are tough!

You can make:

  • Chocolate-Raspberry Bundt Cake
  • Chocolate-Raspberry Cheesecake
  • Greek Yogurt-Coconut Milk Cake With Raspberries
  • Hazelnut Raspberry Cream Cake
  • Raspberry Ombre Cake
  • Raspberry Heart Cake
  • Raspberry Ice Cream Cake
  • White Chocolate Raspberry Cheesecake (recipe below)
  • White Layer Cake With Raspberry Cheesecake Middle Layer
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    And the easiest options of all: pound cake topped with:

  • Raspberry ice cream or sorbet
  • Vanilla ice cream and raspberries
  • Whipped cream and raspberries
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    RECIPE: NO-BAKE RASPBERRY WHITE CHOCOLATE CHEESECAKE WITH ALMOND CRUST (GLUTEN-FREE!)

    These recipe is from Driscoll’s, which supplied most of the recipes above to show off their delectable raspberries.

    It uses an almond flour crust, which is wonderful and happens to be gluten-free. However, if you don’t want nut flour, use your favorite cheesecake crust.

    Prep time is 40 minutes plus 6 or more hours chilling time.

    Ingredients For 16 Serving)

    For The Filling

  • 2 packages (6 ounces each) Driscoll’s raspberries
  • 8 ounces white chocolate chips or white chocolate bar, chopped
  • 1/2 cup cold water
  • 1 package unflavored gelatin
  • 3 packages (8 ounces each) cream cheese, at room temperature
  • 1/2 cup sugar
  • 1 cup heavy cream
  • For The Crust

  • 13/4 cups almond flour
  • 1/3 cup sugar
  • 1 tablespoon cocoa powder
  • 4 tablespoons unsalted butter, melted
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    For The Garnish

  • 1 bar white chocolate, shaved
  •  
    Plus

  • 9″ springform pan
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    Preparation

    1. MAKE the crust: Combine the almond flour, sugar, cocoa, and melted butter in a bowl until evenly blended. Press mixture into bottom of a 9-inch springform pan and refrigerate.

    2. PLACE the chocolate in a double boiler or a metal bowl set over a saucepot of simmering water to melt chocolate. Stir constantly and be careful not to let any water or steam get into the chocolate. Set aside and let cool as you complete the next steps.

    3. COMBINE the cold water and gelatin in a small saucepan and heat over low, stirring just until gelatin is dissolved.

    4. BEAT the cream cheese, sugar and dissolved gelatin in the bowl of an electric mixer on medium, until evenly blended.

    5. CHECK the temperature of both the cream cheese mixture and melted chocolate. They should be the same temperature to continue. Then, mix a few tablespoons of the cream cheese mixture into the melted white chocolate until it looks shiny and smooth. Gradually add the white chocolate chocolate mixture to the remaining cream cheese mixture, mixing until blended. Divide the mixture evenly into 2 bowls.

    6. BEAT the heavy cream in a separate bowl, to stiff peaks. Fold the whipped cream into one of the bowls of the cream cheese mixture.

    7. PURÉE 1 package of raspberries in a blender or food processor. Strain (sieve) and discard the seeds; you should have about 1/2 cup purée. Stir the purée into the second bowl of cream cheese mixture, until evenly blended.

    8. POUR the whipped cream mixture into the cake pan and spread evenly. Spoon the raspberry mixture on top of the whipped cream mixture and gently spread evenly. Cover pan with plastic wrap and refrigerate at least 6 hours or overnight.

    9. UNMOLD: Briefly wrap a warm, wet kitchen towel around the pan for a short while before opening the latch. This prevents the cake from sticking to the sides. A hairdryer also works.

    10. USE a vegetable peeler to make white chocolate curls from chocolate bar. Place on top of the cheesecake with the remaining raspberries.

     
      

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    TIP OF THE DAY: Make A Summer Panzanella (Bread Salad)

    Bread salad, like French toast and croutons, is one of those delicious foods invented by necessity: Poor people needed to get another meal from leftover bread that had gone stale.

    Large croutons are a main ingredient of the salad, rather than the small American-style croutons used as garnish.

    Panzanella, the Italian word for bread salad, is a Tuscan-style bread salad made with a loaf of day-old (or older) bread, cubed into large croutons and tossed with vinaigrette or other dressing to soften it. Chopped salad vegetables are then added.

    The translation we have found for panzanella is “bread in a swamp,” the swamp being the vinaigrette or water in which it was soaked. While crusty Italian loaves were used in the original, you can use any bread from baguette to challah to semolina raisin to sourdough.

    While today’s recipes can be rich in ingredients, the peasants who originally made it foraged to pull together vegetables from the garden—cucumber, onion and tomato—and possibly purslane, a salad green that grows wild.

    Early recipes were heavy on the onions, the cheapest ingredient to pair with the bread. When there wasn’t enough oil to spare, the bread was moistened in water.

    Today, this peasant dish is a popular first course for all in Italy. It doesn’t appear often on menus of U.S.-based Italian restaurants. That’s too bad, because it’s a dish worth knowing.

    So today’s tip is: Make a panzanella. As long as you have vinaigrette- and bread, you can create the salad from anything. It‘s a great way to use up anything in the pantry or fridge, including leftovers.
     
    MIX & MATCH PANZANELLA INGREDIENTS

  • Bell peppers, celery, carrots, cucumbers, onions, tomatoes, zucchini
  • Anchovies, beans, chicken, hard boiled eggs, mozzarella or other cheese, tuna
  • Lettuce and other salad greens (we especially like the bite of arugula or radish)
  • Fresh herbs (basil is great here)
  • Capers, olives, pickled vegetables
  • Rice and other grains, boiled potatoes
  • Fruit: apple, berries, grapefruit, orange, stone fruit, watermelon
  • Bread of choice
  • Vinaigrette of choice (consider an infused oil or vinegar)
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    RECIPE: SIMPLE PANZANELLA SALAD

    In our home, summer isn’t summer without lots of panzanella salad. Made with the season’s produce bounty, it‘s a refreshing summer dish that takes just minutes to whip up.

    This recipe from Sunset Growers represents the original, simple salad, made glorious by the freshest ingredients.

    It’s been made better-for-you by substituting the standard rustic bread for a whole wheat loaf.

    Ingredients

  • 5-6 cups whole wheat bread cut into 1 inch cubes, about 1 rustic loaf
  • 5 tablespoons olive oil
  • 1 clove garlic, finely chopped and mashed
  • 3 kumato* tomatoes, standard cut into 1 inch pieces or cherry cut in half
  • 3 yellow tomatoes, standard cut into 1 inch pieces or cherry cut in half
  • 1 English cucumber, cut into 1 inch pieces
  • 1 red bell pepper, diced
  • 1/2 medium red onion, thinly sliced
  • 1 teaspoon coarse salt
  • 1-1/2 teaspoons Dijon mustard
  • 1-1/2 tablespoons apple cider vinegar
  • 1/2 teaspoon ground black pepper
  • 1/2 cup thinly sliced basil leaves
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    *Trader Joe’s sells these reddish brown-green tomatoes (see photo at right). The idea is to provide color contrast as well as flavor.

       

    Panzanella (Bread Salad)

    Octopus Panzanella Recipe

    Kale Panzanella Salad

    Kumato Tomatoes

    [1] In panzanella, Tuscan bread salad, croutons are a main ingredient, not a garnish (photo courtesy Sunset Growers). [2] A truly sophisticated take from Beauty & Essex restaurant in New York City: Croutons like fat piano keys are lined up and topped with salad and octopus. [3] Half kale, half croutons, with accents of apple and bacon (the recipe from FoodFaithFitness.com). [4] Kumato tomatoes (photo by River Soma | THE NIBBLE).

     

    Chicken Panzanella (Bread Salad)

    Panzanella salad with added chicken (photo courtesy Go Bold With Butter).

     

    Preparation

    1. PREHEAT the oven to 350°F. Place the bread cubes and 2 tablespoons of olive oil in a large bowl. Toss to fully coat the cubes. Place the cubes onto an ungreased baking sheet and toast until crispy (about 15-20 minutes), tossing every 5 minutes. When the bread is done…

    2. COOL slightly and then return it to the large bowl with the crushed garlic. Toss gently to distribute garlic evenly. Set aside.

    3. STIR together in a large salad bowl the cut tomatoes, cucumber, bell pepper, onion and half of the salt.

    4. MAKE the dressing: Whisk together the mustard, vinegar, black pepper and remaining salt until fully combined. Continue to whisk briskly while slowly drizzling in the remaining 3 tablespoons of olive oil.

    4. ADD the bread to the salad bowl and toss the vegetables lightly. Add all of the dressing and toss again to coat all ingredients. Set aside for 10-12 minutes, tossing occasionally. Add the basil and toss lightly to distribute it evenly before serving.

     

    MORE PANZANELLA RECIPES

  • Basic Panzanella Salad (basil, cucumbers, onions, tomatoes)
  • Chicken Panzanella Salad
  • Panzanella & Fruit Salad
  • Zucchini & Bell Pepper Panzanella
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    RECIPE: Blueberry Cheesecake Bars For National Cheesecake Day

    Whip up cheesecake bars for National Cheesecake Day, July 30th.

    These were developed for the U.S. High bush Blueberry Council by Emily Hobbs of Ozark, Missouri. There are many more great blueberry recipes on the website.

    A layer of crunchy crust, followed by fluffy whipped cheesecake topped with toasted almonds and blueberries? Say no more – I’m yours! These Lemon Blueberry Cheesecake Bars are so good you’ll be licking your fingers for every last bit. Because you cut them into squares, Lemon Blueberry Cheesecake Bars are great to pack for a picnic, dinner at a friend’s, or a family road trip.

     
    RECIPE: BLUEBERRY CHEESECAKE BARS

    Ingredients For 24 Bars

  • ½ cup plus 6 tablespoons butter
  • ¾ cup granulated sugar
  • 2¾ cups all purpose flour
  • 1 teaspoon baking powder
  • ¾ teaspoon salt
  • 12 ounces cream cheese (1½ packages), softened
  • 2½ teaspoons lemon zest
  • 3 tablespoons lemon juice
  • 1 teaspoon almond extract
  • 2 large eggs
  • ¾ cup packed light brown sugar
  • ¾ teaspoon ground cinnamon
  • ½ cup sliced blanched almonds
  • 1 cup fresh blueberries
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    Blueberry Cheesecake Bars Recipe

    Highbush Blueberries

    [1] A stack of cheesecake bars. [2] Fresh-picked blueberries (photox courtesy U.S Highbush Blueberry Council).

    Preparation

    1. PREHEAT the oven to 350°F. Grease a 13-by 9-inch baking pan.

    2. SOFTEN ½ cup of the butter and combine it with ½ cup granulated sugar in the bowl of an electric mixer. Beat until fluffy. Add 2 cups of flour, the baking powder and ½ teaspoon salt. Beat until crumbly.

    3. TRANSFER the crumbs to the baking pan and pat to make an even layer. Bake for 10 minutes until the surface is dry but not browned. Meanwhile, in the same mixer bowl…

    4. BEAT the cream cheese, the remaining ¼ cup granulated sugar, lemon zest and juice, and almond extract until fluffy. Beat in the eggs until combined. When the crust has baked…

    5. SPREAD spread the cheesecake mixture evenly over the top and bake 20 minutes until the cheesecake has set.

    6. STIR together the brown sugar, remaining ¾ cup flour, cinnamon and ¼ teaspoon salt in a medium bowl. Cut the remaining 6 tablespoons of butter into ½-inch pieces and add to the brown sugar mixture. Work the butter into the mixture with a pastry blender or your fingers until uniform crumbs have formed. Stir in the almonds.

    When the cheesecake layer has baked…

    7. SPRINKLE the blueberries and crumb mixture over it and bake 20 minutes until the crumbs have browned. Cool to room temperature and refrigerate at least 2 hours until the cheesecake is firm, before cutting into 24 bars.
     
    THE TWO TYPES OF BLUEBERRIES

  • Highbush blueberries (Vaccinium corymbosum) grow on tall bushes; some cultivars reach a height of 6 to 8 feet. The berries are larger and more abundant than lowbush blueberries, although their flavor may be somewhat less intense and sweet.
  • Lowbush blueberries (Vaccinium angustifolium), also referred to as wild blueberries, grow in Maine and the colder regions of eastern North America. The shrubs grow no taller than two feet and may be smaller, depending on soil and climate, and produce small, exceptionally sweet bluish-black berries. If you want to plant a bush or two, these are hardy plants that do well in all soils, even poor, rocky types, providing the drainage is good.
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    TIP OF THE DAY: Summer Cheeses

    Yellow Tomato Caprese Salad

    Arty Caprese Salad

    Watermelon Caprese Salad

    [1] Yellow tomato Caprese Salad (photo courtesy Elegant Affairs Caterers | FB. [2] Artistic Caprese Salad (photo courtesy Great Performances | FB). [3] Watermelon Caprese Salad. You can also use mango and other stone fruits (photo courtesy Watermelon.org).

     

    On the hot days of summer, lighten up on your cheeses. Switch the heavier blues, cheddars and washed rind cheeses for delicate, creamy ones.

    Even fresh year-round cheeses like chèvre, feta, mozzarella and ricotta taste better in the summer.

    Here’s the 411 on cheese:

  • Cheeses are seasonal based on the feed and milk availability. Goats and sheep, for example, cease producing milk over the winter, when they have bred, until they give birth.in spring.
  • With modern freezing techniques to preserve the curds, goat’s and sheep’s milk curds, previously available only in spring when the animals give birth, are available year-round.
  • In the spring and summer, the animals from artisan cheesemakers graze in the field, eating grass and clover. The seasonal diet gives more dimension to their milk, with floral and grassy notes.
  • Fresh curds + richer milk = the best cheese of the year.
  •  
    No one will stop you from getting your fill of aged Gouda, Roquefort or Stilton, but we prefer to save them for the cooler months.

    There are many semisoft, semihard and hard cheeses at peak for summer. Your cheesemonger can guide you to the best semi-hard and hard summer cheeses in the store. On the soft, fresh side, here are our favorite widely-available cheeses:
     
    FOUR FAVORITE SUMMER CHEESES

    All pair with burgers, pizza, green salads and fruit salads.

    Mozzarella

    Pay a bit more for artisan mozzarella. As opposed to rubbery factory mozzarella, it’s freshly made, and has a delightfully different texture from the standard “pizza mozzarella.”

    Pair it with its soul mates, fresh basil and summer tomatoes; then:

  • Tuck it into omelets.
  • Make grilled cheese sandwiches or panini.
  • Toss with pasta and salads (ciliegine and perlini, bite-size mozzarella balls, work better here).
  • For appetizers and the summer “cheese course,” combine ciliegine with cherry tomatoes and other vegetables, cubed meats or rolled proscuitto. Use skewers or an artistic plating.
  • For dessert, do the same with fruit.
  •  
    And get your fill of perhaps the most famous summer mozzarella dish, Caprese Salad.

  • You can substitute mango, stone fruit or watermelon for the the tomatoes.
  • You can substitute feta, goat cheese, ricotta, even tofu for the mozzarella.
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    Best Fresh Herb Pairing: basil.

    Feta

    Feta—crumbled, cubed or sliced—pairs with almost every summer fruit and vegetable. Tip: Some feta is very salty. Go to the cheese counter and ask to taste it first, or get a recommendation for a packaged brand with less salt.

  • In omelets.
  • In Watermelon-Feta Salad or crumbled over green salad.
  • On skewers—appetizer and dessert.
  • With grilled lamb, pork or poultry (turn it into a side with good olive oil, cherry tomatoes and fresh herbs).
  • On burgers: beef, turkey and especially lamb.
  • On pizza, anchovies, capers, olives and onion slices.
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    Best Fresh Herb Pairing: cilantro or dill.

     

    Fresh Goat Cheese

    Fresh goat cheese is soft and creamy, with a bit of tang. Along with ricotta, it spreads easily on bread.

    As with mozzarella, fresh goat cheese loves summer tomatoes. Try it:

  • On crusty baguette, with tomatoes or grilled vegetables.
  • In omelets.
  • With green salads (slice a log into rounds and place on top of the greens.
  • Ditto with fruit salads or a fresh fruit plate.
  •  
    Best Fresh Herb Pairing: basil or mint.
     
    Ricotta

    Soft and creamy ricotta is can be called “Italian cottage cheese,” and can be used in the same ways.

    You can mix in any seasonings and use the flavored cheese in even more ways. Ricotta loves a drizzle of honey.

  • Spread on toast and bagels, with optional honey or berries.
  • DIY ricotta bowls for breakfast or dessert (see photo #4).
  • Substitute for mozzarella in a Caprese Salad.
  • Pair with fresh fruit and optional yogurt.
  • Sweeten for cookie sandwiches or dips.
  • Whip with sweetener and a touch of cinnamon for “cannoli cream.”
  • Use the cannoli cream instead of whipped cream to top fruit, puddings and other desserts.
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    Best Fresh Herb Pairing: chives.
     
    HOW MUCH DO YOU KNOW ABOUT CHEESE?

    Test your knowledge—or build it up—with our Cheese Glossary: the different types of cheese, categories, techniques, etc.

     

    Ricotta Caprese Salad

    Ricotta Toppings

    [1] Top a salad with a spoonful or two of plain or flavored ricotta (photo courtesy Del Posto | NYC). [2] DIY ricotta bowls are customized to whatever you want: fruit, seeds, even chocolate (photo courtesy Good Eggs | SF).

     

      

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    RECIPE: No-Bake Cheesecake In A Jar

    No Bake Cheesecake

    Lemon Curd Tart

    [1] A quick summer cheesecake (photo courtesy EatWisconsinCheese.com). [2] An even easier dessert: Fill tart shells with lemon curd. You can add mascarpone underneath the curd, or as a garnish (photo by Hannah Kaminsky | THE NIBBLE).

     

    Want a cheesecake experience without turning on the oven?

    Here’s a recipe we adapted from Eat Wisconsin Cheese, that combines the old and the new.

  • The old: Before the invention of cream cheese in New York State in the late-1800s (see history below), cheesecakes were made of mascarpone, ricotta or other soft cheese, including goat cheese.
  • The new: Over the past decade, Mason jars have gone from uses for canning and packaging for artisan jams to containers for cocktails, desserts, layered salads, and so on.
  •  
    You can also use parfait glasses, wine goblets or anything else you have.

    You can also substitute any flavor of curd for the lemon.
     
    RECIPE: NO BAKE LEMON CHEESECAKE

    Ingredients For 4-6 Servings

  • 1/2 cup lemon curd (buy it or make it)
  • 1 tablespoon honey
  • 1 cup whipping [heavy] cream
  • 1 container (8 ounces) mascarpone cheese
  • 1-1/2 cups (about 28) crisp gingersnap cookies, crushed into crumbs (substitute graham crackers)
  • 1 cup/8 ounces strawberries, washed, hulled and sliced
  • Optional garnishes: candied lemon peel (recipe), citrus zest, pomegranate arils, skewered berries and/or mixed color grapes, sliced star fruit
  •  
    Preparation

    1. BEAT the lemon curd and honey in a mixing bowl with electric beaters, until smooth and creamy.

    2. BEAT the cream into curd mixture until smooth. Add the mascarpone and beat just until thickened. Do not overbeat.

    3. ASSEMBLE: Layer the cookie crumbs, lemon mascarpone cream and strawberries in individual parfait glasses. Repeat the layers until all ingredients are used.

    4. REFRIGERATE for at least 2 hours, garnish and serve.

     
    THE HISTORY OF MASCARPONE

    Mascarpone, the Italian version of crème fraîche, but thicker and sweeter. It’s hard not to sit down with the entire container and a spoon. (Here’s the difference between mascarpone, crème fraîche, and sour cream).

    It used to be that all mascarpone was imported from Italy. American artisan cheesemakers make an even better product than what gets imported. Our favorite domestic mascarpone brands are Crave Brothers and Bel Gioioso, both in Wisconsin, and Vermont Creamery.

    Mascarpone is often refer to as Italian cream cheese; but please, don’t think of this rich, lush, soft fresh cheese as anything resembling a brick of foil-wrapped soft cheese filled with gum.

    Made from cream, not milk, mascarpone is the richest fresh cheese, ranging in butterfat content from 70% to 75%. It has a subtle natural sweetness, but can be used in savory recipes and toppings as well.

    As points of reference: A French double-crème Brie or Camembert has 60% to 75% butterfat. French triple-crème cheeses must have a butterfat content of 75% or more. Butter has a minimum of 80% fat in the U.S., 82% in France; going up to 86% for premium butters.

    In the U.S., mascarpone is most often associated with desserts, especially the classic tiramisu or as a topping for berries. But it can be used in savory recipes as well—pasta sauce, savory tarts/tartlets, stuffed chicken and tortas, among others.

    The name likely derives from “mascarpia,” the local dialect term for ricotta, because both ricotta and mascarpone are made by very similar processes. Mascarpone could have been a glorious accident in the preparation of ricotta.

    No cheese starter or rennet is used in its production; the moisture is drained from heavy cream using a small amount of citric acid and finely woven cloth. You can make it at home. Here’s a recipe.

     

    PRONOUNCE IT CORRECTLY!

    Mascarpone may have the distinction of being the most misspelled and mispronounced cheese.

    Too many Americans call it “marscapone,” mar-sca-PON-neh, trespassing the consonants. The correct pronunciation is mas-car-POH-neh.

    The cheese is believed to have originated in the Lombardy region of Italy, in the late 1500s or early 1600s. Lombardy, in the northern part of the country (it includes the cities of Brescia, Cremona, Mantova, Milano and Sondrio), has a rich agricultural and dairy heritage.

     
    THE HISTORY OF CREAM CHEESE

    In the 1870s, New York State farmers farmers began to make a soft, unripened cheese modeled after the French Neufchâtel cheese. Within a few decades, a recipe for “cream cheese” appeared, made by mixing cream into the Neufchâtel curd.

    The new soft cheese was molded into small wood block forms. Because the city of Philadelphia had a reputation for fine food, a New York-based manufacturer, Phenix Cheese Company, named its product Philadelphia Brand Cream Cheese.

    It was the leading brand then as now. J.L. Kraft and Bros., established in 1909, acquired Phenix Cheese Company in 1930. The company is now called Kraft Foods Group.

     
    WHAT IS CURD?

    Fruit curd is a creamy spread made with sugar, eggs and butter, generally flavored with citrus juice and zest. Lemon curd is the classic variety, but lime curd and blood orange curd can be found, as can other fruit curds such as the strawberry.

    A citrus curd is refreshingly tart, as opposed to more sugary jams and preserves. Unlike lemon custard, for example, lemon curd contains more lemon juice and zest, which gives it a more piquant flavor. The butter creates a smoother and creamier texture than jam.

    Curd also can be used to fill tart shells, and as a garnish. Here’s the comparison of curd to the jelly, jam, marmalade, preserves, etc.

     

    Mascarpone & Fruit

    Mascarpone & Strawberries

    [1] Mascarpone, plain or flavored, can be used as a dip for fruit or cookies. The top bowl is flavored with coffee liqueur, like tiramisu (photo courtesy East Wisconsin Cheese). [2] Mascarpone has many uses. Here it’s an easy topping, piped onto fresh strawberries (photo courtesy Giant Eagle). It’s also delicious with dates.

     

      

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