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Archive for June 12, 2017

FOOD FUN: Lumberjack Cake

This impressive Lumberjack Cake was created by Elizabeth Marek of Artisan Cake Company of Portland, Oregon, and author of Visual Guide to Cake Decorating.

Another of her works of art is the Lumberjack Cake, inspired by her husband, who chopped down their Christmas tree in a lumberjack jacket.

Jenny Keller of Jenny Cookies Bakeshop in Lake Stevens, Washington took up the cause and created an entire lumberjack party.

Every part of the cake is edible: The bark is made from chocolate, the axe is made from fondant.

To both artists: Thank you for this most enjoyable bit of food fun.

If you want to try your hand at honoring your favorite lumberjack, you can buy the tutorial ($15). Also scroll down that page to see the lumberjack wedding cake.

For more cake pleasure, take a look at our Cake Glossary: the different types of cake, beginning with a brief history of cake.

You may also enjoy the history of cake pans.

And let’s not forget the history of the oven, and give thanks to all the bakers who labored under challenging conditions to create cakes that were attractive and delicious.

 

Lumberjack Cake

We don’t know any lumberjacks, but we want this cake! Photo courtesy Jenny Keller | Jenny Cookies Bakeshop.

 
Now how did they keep the bottoms of the cakes from sticking and burning, in the many centuries before the invention of the cake pan and the temperature-controlled oven—and long before silicone oven gloves?

  

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TIP OF THE DAY: Circular Plating, Trending With Chefs

Often, what makes the familiar exciting again is presentation. We love this circular plating trend, exemplified by these three salads and a main course.

You can use the technique for any course that goes onto a plate.

For the past couple of years, we’ve noticed the trend creeping up among creative restaurant chefs. It’s not just salad, but seafood, vegetable plates, meats and desserts.

You, too can think outside the middle of the plate. It just takes a few minutes more to arrange food around the periphery, as opposed to putting it in the center.

So what’s in the center of the plate?

It could be cheese, croutons, dressing, sauce, spices, whipped cream…or nothing.

Start today with your dinner salad!
 
 
DESIGNING A CIRCULAR SALAD

For salad, there’s always a choice of greens; but look to contrasting shades and textures. Don’t be afraid to add fresh herbs.

Add at least two color elements, red (beets, berries, cherry tomatoes, grapes, radishes) and yellow or orange (beets, bell peppers, cherry tomatoes, egg quarters, mango).

Use an interesting vinaigrette, i.e., made with infused olive oil or vinegar.

Serve the salad with plain crostini or garlic bread (crostini with garlic butter).

If you want to serve a monotone salad, like Caesar salad, use a bright-colored plate.

Take the same approach with non-salad courses.
 
 
RECIPE #1: EAST MEETS WEST SALAD

This circle of flavor from Pakpao Thai in Dallas combines east (mint leaves and dressing) and west. It’s hard to see, but the white in the center is whipped mozzarella. We didn’t have time to practice froth it to perfection, so we used whipped ricotta.
 
Ingredients For The Salad

  • Asparagus
  • Baby radishes
  • Red onion
  • Mint leaves
  • Watercress
  • Wheat berries
  •  
    For The Mint Vinaigrette (6 Servings)

  • ¼ cup chopped fresh mint
  • 3 tablespoons lemon juice
  • 1/3 cup extra-virgin olive oil
  • 2 tablespoons red or white wine vinegar
  • 1/2 to 1 teaspoon honey
  • ½ teaspoon kosher salt
  •  
    For The Cheese

  • 1 ball buffalo mozzarella*
  • 1 cup of half-and-half or light cream*
  • 1 teaspoon lemon zest
  • Salt and pepper to taste
  •  
    For The Crostini

  • 1 baguette, cut into 1/4″ slices
  • 3/4 cup olive oil
  • Salt and pepper
  • Other seasonings as desired (garlic salt, dried herbs)
  • ________________

    *Substitute 1 pint ricotta for the mozzarella and cream.
    ________________
     
    Preparation

    1. MAKE the crostini. Preheat oven to 350°F. Arrange the baguette slices on two baking sheets; brush both sides with oil. Season with salt and pepper and other seasonings as desired. Bake until golden, 15 to 20 minutes, rotating the baking sheets halfway through until both sides are golden brown. Let cool on baking sheets.

    2. MAKE the vinaigrette. Combine the mint and lemon juice in a small saucepan. Bring to a boil and remove from the heat. Let steep for 10 minutes; then strain into a large bowl, pressing on the leaves to extract all the liquid. You should have about 3 tablespoons of liquid after straining. Add the oil, vinegar, honey and salt; whisk until well combined. Refrigerate it for up to 3 days in a container with a lid, so you can shake it prior to dressing the salad.

    3. PREPARE the salad ingredients: Wash and trim as desired. Arrange on individual plates. Place the whipped cheese in the center of the plate (we used ramekins).

    4. DICE the mozzarella and place it in the bowl of a blender or food processor; or use a deep mixing bowl with an immersion blender. Blend into a froth and mix in the zest. Add the lemon zest at this stage.

    5. SHAKE and drizzle the dressing over the salad. Serve with the crostini.
     
     
    RECIPE #2: SPRING TO SUMMER SALAD

    This recipe comes from one of our favorite creative chefs, Eric B. LeVine. Here, the classic salad made with frisée, blue or goat cheese, apples or pears, and walnuts or lardons is plated in a circle.

     

    Circular Salad

    Circular Salad Plating

    Avocado Mango Circular Salad

    Plain Crostini

    Braised Chicken

    Strawberry Sorbet

    Pumpkin Custard

    [1] Recipe #1: a fusion salad from Pakpao Thai in Dallas. [2] Recipe #2: a frisée, apple and blue cheese salad from Chef Eric B. Levine. [3] An avocado-mango salad from Chef Eric B. Levine, with frisée, onion, tomato, yellow split peas (chana dal) and lemon oil dressing. [4] Crostini from Martha Stewart). [5] Braised chicken and eggplant with garlic chips, from Chef Eric B. Levine. [6] You could put sorbet, fresh fruit, fruit sauce and bits of tuille in a bowl, or you could plate it like this dessert from The Art Of Plating. [7] Pumpkin custard topped with a wreath of meringues, two types of cake crumbles, whipped cream and droplets of pumpkin seed oil, by Chris Ford| The Art Of Plating” target=”_blank”

     
    When stone fruits come into season, switch from apples and pears to nectarines, peaches or plums.

    We wanted some bitterness, so we added baby arugula.

    Ingredients

  • Apples or stone fruits, sliced
  • Red or purple grapes, cherries or strawberries
  • Blue or goat cheese
  • Frisée
  • Optional: baby arugula or watercress
  • Chile almonds (toast whole almonds with chili powder)
  • Apple vinaigrette
  •  
    For The Apple Vinaigrette

  • 1/2 cup flat leaf parsley, chopped
  • 1/4 cup apple cider vinegar
  • 1/4 cup extra virgin olive oil
  • 1/4 cup apple juice
  • 3 fresh basil leaves
  • 2 teaspoons honey
  • 3/4 teaspoon salt
  • Salt and black pepper to taste
  •  
    Preparation

    1. COMBINE the vinaigrette ingredients and set aside.

    2. PREPARE and arrange the salad ingredients. Drizzle with vinaigrette and serve.

      

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