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Archive for January 8, 2017

TIP OF THE DAY: Balsamic Glaze

If you reduce balsamic vinegar into a syrup, you get balsamic glaze: a luscious condiment for drizzling over savory or sweet dishes. If you haven’t had it, we promise: You’ll be converted.

With its complex flavors—sweet, sour, fruity—at its simplest use it can enhance anything grilled or roasted, including panini and other grilled sandwiches. It’s also called creme balsamica (balsamic cream) and

While its origin is in Greek and Italian cuisines, it works with everything from French baked Brie to good old American fried chicken, roasts, chops and grilled fish.

for marinating, dressing, or finishing any dish. Drizzle it over grilled meats, fish, and poultry. Serve with aged cheeses like parmesan or fresh ones like creamy goat. It’s a delicious surprise over fruits like strawberries or (our personal favorite) figs wrapped in prosciutto.

USES FOR BALSAMIC GLAZE

AS A CONDIMENT

  • Glaze meats—ham/pork, lamb, duck or other poultry—by mixing balsamic glaze with preserves (blackberry, currant)
  • Mix with mustard instead of honey mustard
  • Grilled vegetables
  • Dress a caprese salad when tomatoes aren’t at peak (it adds sweetness)
  • Glaze vegetables (especially root vegetables)
  •  
    WITH APPETIZERS & FIRST COURSES

    Drizzle over:

  • Baked Brie (with or without other toppings)
  • Bruschetta
  • Crudités
  • Flatbread
  • Glazed goat cheese tart or goat cheese cheesecake (sweet or savory)
  • Stuffed mushrooms
  • Salads: bitter greens (arugula, endive, radicchio, radishes, watercress), with or without quartered figs and crumbled goat cheese
  •  
    WITH MAINS

    Drizzle over:

  • Pizza with caramelized onions and smoked gouda; fig and proscuitto
  • Glazed salmon
  • Glazed pork ribs (try a spicy dry rub)
  • Glazed flat iron steak
  • White fish or salmon
  •  
    Use the glaze anywhere you’d use honey as a glaze or seasoning; and with more sophisticated sauces, such as port sauce over beef.
     
    SIDES

    Stir into:

  • Stir into cranberry sauce
  • Glaze onions or brussels sprouts
  • Sautéed greens and other cooked vegetables
  •  
    WITH DESSERTS

    Drizzle over:

  • Angel cake, cheese cake, pound cake
  • Greek yogurt
  • Ice Cream and sorbet
  • Cheese, from fresh cheeses to the oldest Parmesans
  • Fresh, grilled or poached fruit: berries, pears, stone fruit, etc.
  • Frosted cakes
  • Panacotta
  •  
    RECIPE #1: BALSAMIC GLAZE

    It’s easy to make balsamic glaze, and a good idea if you find yourself with too much balsamic on hand. But don’t go out and buy a gallon of the cheapest stuff at a club store. Get something moderately priced: Output = input. Recipe below.

    But buying it is a time saver.

    This recipe makes enough for quite some time. If you want just enough for your current recipe, use the proportions in the brackets

    Ingredients

  • 1 bottle balsamic vinegar [1/2 cup balsamic]
  • 1/4 cup brown sugar* [1 tablespoon brown sugar]
  •  
    Preparation

    1. MIX the balsamic vinegar with the sugar in a saucepan over medium heat. Stir constantly until the sugar has dissolved.

    2. BRING to a boil, reduce the heat to low and simmer until the glaze is reduced by half, about 20 minutes. The glaze should coat the back of a spoon.

    3. COOL and pour into a lidded ja. Store in the fridge.

       

    Salad With Balsamic Glaze

    Pizza With Balsamic Glaze

    Balsamic Chicken Caprese

    Balsamic Glaze Salmon

    Balsamic Pork Tenderloin

    [1] Use balsamic glaze on bitter greens (photo courtesy A Couple Cooks). [2] Glaze your pizza (photo courtesy For The Love Of Cooking). [3] Whether grilled simply or in a casserole, chicken and balsamic are a match made in heaven (here’s the recipe from Cafe Delites). [4] Salmon and other sturdy fish love a balsamic glaze (here’s the recipe from Cooking Classy). [5] Pork roast with balsamic strawberries (here’s the recipe from Southern Living).

     
    ________________
    *You can substitute agave for lower glycemic; or honey if you prefer it. For a lighter version, substitute apple juice.
    ________________
     
    RECIPE #2: BALSAMIC GLAZE NACHOS

    We love this take on nachos from Half Baked Harvest (photo #5, below).

    Toasted baguette slices substitute for corn chips, tomato and basil for the salsa, mozzarella for the jack or cheddar cheese.

    Prep time is 10 minutes, cook time is 10 minutes.

     

    Caprese Nachos

    Berries With Balsamic Glaze

    Gaea Grape Glaze

    [5] Mediterranean “nachos”: baguett, tomatoes, mozzarella, olive oil…and balsamic glaze (photo courtesy Half Baked Harvest). [6] Strawberries with balsamic glaze are a classic Italian dessert (photo courtesy DeLallo). [7] This balsamic glaze from Gaea is made with honey instead of sugar (photo courtesy Gaea).

     

     
    Ingredients For 4 Servings

  • 1 baguette, sliced into thin 1/4 inch slices
  • 2 tablespoons olive oil
  • 1 pint grape tomatoes
  • 1 tablespoon honey
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1/2 teaspoon pepper
  • 8 ounces fresh mozzarella, sliced
  • 10 fresh basil leaves, julienned
  • Optional: minced chives or thin-sliced green onions
  •  
    For The Balsamic Glaze

  • 1/2 cup balsamic vinegar
  • 1 tablespoon brown sugar
  •  
    Preparation

    1. MAKE the balsamic glaze: Add the balsamic vinegar and brown sugar to small sauce pan and simmer until reduced by half. This should take about 10 to 15 minutes. Remove from the heat and set aside until ready to use.

    2. PREHEAT the grill to high heat, or preheat the oven to 450°F.

    3. ADD the tomatoes to a bowl and toss with 1 teaspoon olive oil, honey, salt and pepper. If the grape tomates are small enough to fit through the gates of the grill, thread them on skewers. Or you can also roast them in the oven for 10 minutes until lightly charred.

    4. PLACE the baguette slices on a greased baking sheet and brush each side with a bit of olive oil. Sprinkle the tops with salt and pepper.

    5. GRILL the tomatoes for 8 to 10 minutes and the baguette slices for about 3 minutes per side. Or, you can toast the baguette slices in the oven on a baking sheet for about 5 minutes and the tomatoes in the oven for 10 minutes.

    6. PREHEAT the broiler to high. In ove-safe dishes or on a pan or baking sheet, place a few slices of toasted bread, then a few slices of fresh mozzarella and then a handful of tomatoes. Repeat so you make about three layers. Broil for 1 minute or until the cheese is melty.

    7. SPRINKLE with the basil and optional chives/scallions. Enjoy hot with a cold beer!
     
    RECIPE #3: MIXED BERRRIES WITH BALSAMIC GLAZE

    It doesn’t get easier than this—or more good-for-you than this dessert from DeLallo (photo #6, above), using their own balsamic glaze.

    The velvety rich, deep sweetness of balsamic glaze is a classic Italian way to top fresh berries. So simple, but so good.

    Take it to the next level with a base of gelato, panna cotta or plain Greek yogurt.
     
    RECIPE #3: MIXED BERRRIES WITH BALSAMIC GLAZE

  • Fresh berries of choice
  • Balsamic Glaze
  •  
    Preparation

    1. PLACE the berries in individual serving dishes. If you’re using a base (ice cream, panna cotta, yogurt), add it first.

    2. DRIZZLE with balsamic glaze.
     
    MORE!

    ABOUT BALSAMIC VINEGAR

    THE DIFFERENT TYPES OF VINEGAR

     
    ABOUT GAEA

    In Greek mythology, Gaia or Gaea (GUY-yuh), from the word for land or earth, is the Mother Earth goddess. Gaia is the ancestral mother of all life.

    In Greece, Gaea is the mother of all things delicious in olive oil: EVOO, olives isn jars and snack packs, spreads, glazes, vinaigrettes, etc.

    Discover more at GaeaUS.com.

      

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    ELVIS RECIPE: Graceland Cupcakes

    Elvis would be 82 today; “The King” was born January 8, 1935.

    While Elvis Presley is not exactly known for being a foodie, we, along with millions of fans worldwide, like to celebrate his birthday with a few hours of Elvis tunes and his favorite snack food: a fried sandwich filled with peanut butter, sliced banana and bacon (photo #1: here’s the recipe).

    This recipe was developed in honor of Elvis, whose favorite sandwich was PB, bacon and banana.

    Past celebrations at THE NIBBLE have included an:

  • Elvis Burger
  • Elvis Sandwich
  • Elvis Sundae
  •  
    Inspired by the king of rock and roll, these cupcakes are packed to the core with peanut butter. Top them off with candied bacon for a royally delectable dessert.

    RECIPE: GRACELAND MINI CUPCAKES
    (BANANA CUPCAKES WITH PEANUT BUTTER & BACON)

    You can use lowfat versions of the sour cream and cream cheese; but why bother? These are mini cupcakes, after all (photo #3).

    Instead, have one with the diet version of one of his favorite soft drinks: Pepsi Cola, Nesbitt’s Orange and Shasta Black Cherry.

    For The Cupcakes

  • 2 cups all-purpose flour
  • 2 teaspoons baking powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 4 ripe bananas, the browner the better
  • 1/2 cup lite sour cream
  • 4 tablespoons unsalted butter at room temperature
  • 2 tablespoons canola oil
  • 3/4 cups sugar
  • 2 large eggs at room temperature
  • 1 large egg white at room temperature
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  •  
    Peanut Butter Filling

  • Approximately 1/4 cup creamy peanut butter
  •  
    Bacon Topping

  • 4 slices bacon
  • 1/2 cup brown sugar
  •  
    Frosting

  • 8 ounces low fat cream cheese
  • 1/2 cup butter
  • 1/2 cup creamy peanut butter
  • 2 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 3/4 cups confectioners’ sugar
  •  

    PB Banana Sandwich

    Elvis Burger

    Elvis Cupcakes

    [1] Don’t want an Elvis sandwich (recipe and photo from Hipsubwg | Blogspot). Have some [2] If Elvis had only thought of it, he’d have liked this The Elvis Burger, with bacon and peanut butter sauce (photo courtesy Helen Graves | Food Stories. [3] Graceland Cupcakes (photo and recipe courtesy Peanut Butter Lovers).

     

    Preparation

    1. HEAT the oven to 350°F. Line cupcake tins with paper liners and lightly spray with cooking spray. Line a baking sheet with foil.

    2. MAKE the batter. In a medium size bowl combine the flour, baking powder and salt. Stir until blended.

    3. MASH the bananas and add sour cream in small bowl. Mix well and set aside.

    4. BEAT until incorporated, with an electric hand mixer, the butter, oil and sugar (3-5 minutes). Add the eggs, egg white and vanilla. Mix until combined. Slowly add half of the dry ingredients and mix until almost incorporated. Add the sour cream and banana mixture and gently fold into the batter. Add the rest of the dry ingredients until combined. Spoon the batter into lined cupcake pans.

    5. BAKE for 18 to 20 minutes and let cool (do not turn off the oven). Once cool (about 30-45 minutes), use a paring knife to cut a small circle in the middle of the top of the cupcakes and remove the plug, creating a well about halfway down the cupcake. Using a piping bag, pipe the peanut butter to fill each hole. Set aside.

    6. PLACE brown sugar in medium size bowl and dredge the bacon slices on both sides. Place them on the baking sheet and bake for 10 minutes. Flip bacon and bake for another 6-8 minutes. Remove bacon from oven and place on plate to cool. Do not put bacon on paper towels: It will stick. Once cool, chop the bacon and set aside.

    7. MAKE the frosting. In a large bowl combine the cream cheese, butter, peanut butter and vanilla extract. Mix until combined. Add the confectioners’ sugar and mix until well combined. Add to a piping bag. Pipe a dollop of frosting onto each cupcake and sprinkle with the candied bacon pieces.

      

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