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

Archive for October 3, 2016

FOOD FUN: Vertical Pear Salad

Jessica, from The Novice Chef Blog, isn’t such a novice. She designed this elegant pear salad that is easy in its execution, yet dazzling on the table.

You can vary the filling, the color of the pear, and/or the vinaigrette.

If you prefer, you can make candied nuts instead of simply toasting them.

For more vertical salads, see our vertical veggie ideas.
 
RECIPE: VERTICAL PEAR SALAD

Ingredients For 4 Servings

  • 4 smooth skinned pears)
  • 2-3 cups watercress, arugula or baby spinach
  • 1/2 cup toasted almond, pecan or walnut halves (how to toast nuts)
  • 1/4 cup crumbled blue cheese (substitute blue or goat cheese)
  • Lemon juice
  • Vinaigrette dressing
  • Optional plate garnish: pomegranate arils
  •  
    For The Vinaigrette

     

    Pear & Blue Cheese

    So elegant, so easy: a vertical pear salad from The Novice Chef Blog.

     
    This salad begs for a sweeter vinaigrette. Use champagne, raspberry, sherry or white balsamic vinegars. Walnut oil is heavenly in this type of vinaigrette, but good olive oil is fine.

    Another option is to add a tablespoon of honey or maple syrup (a nice fall touch) to your usual vinaigrette.

    Whichever you choose, choose a ratio of 3 parts oil to 1 part vinegar.

    Here’s the best technique to make a vinaigrette that holds together without separating.
     
    Preparation

    1. SLICE the pears horizontally into 3 or 4 slices depending on the size. Leave the stem on the top piece.

    2. USE a paring knife to remove the cores, creating a “donut hole” in the middle. Brush the cut sides with lemon juice to keep them from browning. When you’re ready to serve…

    3. MOISTEN the watercress, pecans and blue cheese with the vinaigrette and toss to coat.

    4. ASSEMBLE the pears on individual plates, with the watercress salad in between each slice.

    5. DRIZZLE the vinaigrette on the plate around the pear, and serve.
     
     
    Thanks, Jessica: You rock!

      

    Comments off

    TIP OF THE DAY: Stack Your Vegetables

    Vegetable Stacks

    Stacked Fritters

    Stacked In Rocks Glasses

    [1] Stacked vegetables as short or tall as you like (photo courtesy Citrine World Bistro, late of Redwood City). [2] Stack polenta or fritters, like these from Like It Short (website no longer up). [3] If you don’t want to deal with ring molds, stack your veggies in rocks glasses (photo courtesy The Whole Gang.

     

    These look fancy, don’t they?

    But you can easily make vegetable stacks at home, even with leftovers.

    While many people currently are focused on stacked salads in mason jars, we’re freeing the veggies from the jar today, and serving them cooked as well as raw. Even those who don’t like their vegetables will be happy.

  • Serve stacked veggies as a first course, with the cheese course. You can add wedges of cheese to the plate, or slice layers into the stack (blue, brie, chèvre, feta, mozzarella, etc).
  • Serve them as a luncheon or dinner salad with a layer of protein (chicken, fish, protein salads [egg, crab, tuna, etc.], tartare, tofu, veggie burgers, etc.)
  •  
    HOW TO STACK THE VEGETABLES

  • In ring molds. You want 3-4 inch rings, as tall as you can find so they can be used for short and tall stacks.
  • In rocks glasses.
  • In repurposed food cans, tops and bottoms removed*.
  • In lengths of PVC† plumbing pipes, cut to order at the hardware store.
  •  
    ________________
    *Don’t worry about PVC leaching into your food. You’re not cooking/heating the rings, and you’re only using them for a couple of minutes to assemble, as opposed to plastic bottles that can hold water for months or years.

    †One of the problems with using the time-honored empty can for stacking is that many cans now have “formed” bottoms that stack more easily, but can’t be removed with a can opener. So don’t throw away expired canned food without checking to see if you can use the empty can! Also, look for the older can bottoms with foods from Mexico and Asia, from packing plants that still use the old technology.
     
    RECIPE: VEGETABLE STACKS

    Ingredients

    Ingredients can be whatever you want or already have, and in whatever form: cooked, puréed, raw.

    Be sure to vary the colors (you don’t want a stack of beige ingredients) and include pops of color.

  • Canned: beets, corn, water chestnuts
  • Color: red, yellow or orange bell peppers, tomatoes and all of these
  • Eggs: hard-cooked or Japanese omelet (tamago)
  • Fruit: sliced or diced (apple, mango, pineapple, etc.)
  • Garnishes: fresh herbs (try a dill or rosemary plume), chip, spiraled beets
  • Grains and starches: polenta slices, potato (diced, mashed, sliced), rice, quinoa, etc.
  • Greens: arugula, avocado, cress, spinach, spinach, zucchini, etc.
  • Plate garnish: chopped nuts, infused olive oil, seeds, microgreens
  • Sides: gourmet chips or crackers, toasted baguette slices
  •  
    Pinterest has a page of lovely stacked vegetable ideas.

     
    For The Dressing

    You need just a light sauce on the side: ramekins of balsamic vinegar, a vinaigrette, infused oil‡ or a vegetable oil blended with dark sesame oil (a little goes a long way).

    Also consider dipping sauces from Asia, such as chili sauce or ponzu. Both can be purchased or made at home.

    We also love a yuzu vinaigrette.
     
    Preparation

    1. CHOOSE your ingredients. Try for contrasting colors and plan your layers. Stack heavier items at the bottom.

    2. SPRAY the inside of the molds, if using, so the food slides out more easily.

    3. SET each stack on a serving plate, and garnish the plate with droplets of olive oil (especially flavored oil!).
     
    ________________
    ‡A delicious alternative to a vinaigrette, infused oils are available in a score of flavors: basil, blood orange, chile (ancho, habanero, jalapeño), dill, garlic, Meyer lemon, lemon pepper, oregano, rosemary, truffle, scallion, wasabi, etc.

      

    Comments off



    © Copyright 2005-2017 Lifestyle Direct, Inc. All rights reserved. All images are copyrighted to their respective owners.