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

Archive for 2017

TIP OF THE DAY: Salad In A Wine Glass

Tumbler Salad

Riedel O Red Wine Tumbler

Yogurt Parfaits

Classic Layered Salad

Avocado Layered Salad

[1] A beautiful layered salad in a wine tumbler (photo courtesy Riedel Japan). [2] Riedel’s O series tumbler for red wine (photo courtesy Riedel). [3] How many different ways can you use them? See our list below (photo Riedel | Facebook). [4] A classic layered salad (photo courtesy Kraft). [5] The most recent layered salad trend: in a Mason jar (here’s the recipe from the California Avocado Commission).

 

Yesterday’s tip was to use salad as a soup garnish.

Today we’re taking a slightly different turn.

Serve an elegant layered salad in (photo #1) a wine tumbler, like Riedel’s O Red Wine Tumbler (photo #2).

In fact, when you’re not drinking wine from the tumblers, you can variously use them:
 
At Breakfast

  • Fruit Salad
  • Juice or milk
  • Scrambled eggs
  • Yogurt and granola
  •  
    At Lunch

  • Salad
  • Soup
  • Dessert
  •  
    At Dinner

  • First course
  • Sides
  • Dessert
  •  
     
    WHAT’S THE DIFFERENCE BETWEEN A WINE TUMBLER & A WINE GLASS?

    Like its entire line of fine glassware for wine and spirits, Riedel’s wine tumblers are sophisticated glassware engineered for different grape varietals, to deliver the maximum flavors and aromas. The shape of the bowl and mouth direct the wine to different areas of the palate.

    Now, to the stemmed wine glass that has been around for many centuries. It is meant to be held by the stem, not by the bowl.

    Stemware was created for elegance, so the heat from one’s hand didn’t warm the wine in the bowl, and so one’s sticky fingers didn’t leave grease marks on the glass.

    But, with the increasing casual that has developed over the last 30 years, few people know or care about etiquette, and most people hold their stemware by the bowl.

    If you can’t lick ‘em, join ‘em; so Riedel, the world’s greatest wine glass maker, decided to give people what they want: a bowl with no stem.

    The O Stemless Tumblers line did so well, that Riedel has added lines with etched designs and colored bottoms.

    They’re an affordable gift. Check out the choices at Amazon.

    THE HISTORY OF LAYERED SALAD

    Try as we did, we couldn’t find a detailed reference to layered salad before the 1970s. A 2000 article in the South Florida Sun-Sentinel refers to a seven layer salad as a fat-laden salad that “helped give salads of the 1950s a bad name” [source].

    Ingredients are layered in a glass bowl, with the varied layer colors and textures providing eye appeal. Made for barbecues, parties, picnics, potlucks, it was/is assembled ahead of time and is easy to transport. It can feed a crowd, and was very popular with said crowd.

    The layers—as few or as many as the cook desires—commonly include:

  • Bacon or ham
  • Bell peppers
  • Cucumbers
  • Hard-boiled eggs
  • Iceberg lettuce
  • Green or red onions
  • Peas
  • Sharp cheddar cheese, grated
  • Tomatoes
  •  
    The original dressing may have been mayonnaise-based or a mayo-sour cream combination. Depending on the cook, bottled Italian or ranch dressing can be employed.

    Personally, we skip the shredded cheddar and use a mayo-sour cream-chunky blue cheese dressing.

     

     
      

    Comments

    TIP OF THE DAY: The New Soup & Salad

    Part of our job entails keeping on top of culinary innovations around the world, to see might be interesting for the home cook.

    While a soup-topped salad may not sound like an innovation, we don’t come across it often. Usually it’s in the form of a small vegetable garnish.

    Today’s tip was inspired by Botanica, a new vegetarian-focused restaurant in Los Angeles (photo #3).

    Take your favorite chunky soup and add the salad on top, lightly dressed with oil plus vinegar, lemon, lime or orange juice.

    What kind of salad?

    Whatever you like, as long as its lightweight. Tomatoes or anything heavy will sink, and only work with a very shallow bowl of soup.

    Here’s our list:

  • Baby greens
  • Fresh herbs (we like basil, chives, dill, sage—whatever complements the soup)
  • Something for color: bell pepper (small dice), corn kernels, radish slices
  • Croutons
  •  
    Leave off the other logical contenders—broccoli florets, cheese, pepitas, e.g., and make this topping about the salad.
     
     
    THE HISTORY OF SOUP

    The history of soup is almost as old as the history of cooking. First: discover fire. You can place raw food over flames or on the hot embers. Then, invent a vessel in which to cook a liquid.

    Add water to the container, toss in whatever vegetables you’ve foraged, cook it over the fire, and voilà, soup: a hot, nutritious meal.

    The first containers for cooking over the fire were cleaned out animal hides. By the Neolithic era, rough pottery had appeared; but the pots could not withstand the direct heat of the fire. Instead, heated stones were tossed in to raise the temperature of the water and cook the food.

    By then Bronze age, at metal cauldrons appeared in the Mediterranean, and spread. This was a tipping point:

  • The round shape enabled the flames to curl up around the sides, so the food cooked faster.
  • The level of heat was controlled by how close to the fire the pot was placed. Food could be boiled rapidly over a high fire or simmered slowly in the hot ashes at the edge of the hearth.
     
    Here’s more on the evolution in cookware.

    Even in the evolved Greco-Roman times, travelers could not be certain of finding food. All travelers, including soldiers, had to carry their own dried ingredients to boiled into soups. Biscotti—twice-baked, dry rusks,—were invented in Roman times to add convenience and variety to the on-the-road fare.

    The very concept of the modern restaurant is based on soup. Restoratifs—meaning something that restores health, strength or a feeling of well-being, and in this case a hearty bowl of soup, is the basis of “restaurant.” Public restaurants with tables and menus first emerged in 18th century Paris, adding to the choice of fare from food stands and public markets.

    The word soup is itself the basis for supper, and the verb “to sup.” Soup derives from the post-classical Latin verb suppare, to soak in a liquid.

  •  

    Salad Topped Soup

    Salad-Topped Gazpacho

    Salad-Topped Soup

    Soup With Salad Garnish

    [1] A nice garnish, but hardly a salad. Here’s the recipe from Sunset magazine. [2] Clear gazpacho topped with salad, a twist from the creative chef Scott Conant. [3] Go big or go home with those greens: a “real” salad atop the soup at Botanica Restaurant in LA. Everything on the menu is equally wonderful. [4] This handsome labor of love is from Apples And Butter. Here’s the recipe.

     
    Poor Man’s Dinner

    Soup was the evening meal of the less affluent, who poured broth onto yesterday’s bread (the ancestor of modern soup croutons) and added whatever else they had.

    The affluent had soup, too, but they didn’t need it to make stale bread palatable. It began to be fashionable to serve the liquid broth on its own (consommé), and many different types of soup began to evolve. By the early 18th century, a bowl of soup assumed its present-day role as the first course of a meal. [source]

    Soup evolved into the categories of soup we know today (the chef Escoffier was first to categorized all French soups).

    The 19th century saw portable soups: canned or dehydrated, soups. These supplied cowboy chuck wagons, the military, wagon trains and other travelers, as well as the home pantry.

    The late 20th century brought us microwave-ready soup in disposable containers. One can only guess what science will produce going forward.

    Whatever it is, it needs a garnish!
     
    MORE ON SOUP GARNISHES

  • Garnishes For 20 Favorite Soups
  • Garnish Glamour
  • Leftover Grains As Soup Garnish
  • Seafood Soup Garnishes
  • Drizzled Soup Garnishes
  •  
    Also check out the different types of soup in our Soup Glossary.

      

    Comments

    RECIPE: Strawberry Balsamic Pie

    Strawberry Balsamic Pie

    Balsamic Vinegar

    [1] Strawberry balamic pie. [2] Balsamic vinegar (photo Pompeian | Facebook).

     

    In Italy, strawberries are often served for dessert with balsamic vinegar. Some of the most expensive, aged balsamics are served this way, with a few precious droplets bringing more excitement between the two ingredients (the whole is greater than the sum of its parts).

    Fine balsamic is also served with aged Parmigiano-Reggiano cheese, so sophisticated foodies should consider some crumbles as a plate garnish (crumble your own from a wedge-don’t buy crumbled parmesan).

    One of our favorite bakers, Audra, The Baker Chick, sent us this recipe for If you like to bake, or simply look at beautiful cakes and pies, sign up for her emails.

    “The original recipe for this beauty comes from Four and Twenty Blackbirds, a wonderful pie shop in Brooklyn that I used to get to enjoy back in the day. I didn’t follow it exactly, partly because of what I had on hand and partly because of my own pie-making experience; but it was pretty darn amazing either way.

    “When it comes to thickening berry pies, I’m an instant tapioca girl. I really believe nothing works better. I love a juicy pie, but not a soupy one and tapioca really is the best. Happy Spring—now go make this lovely pie!”

    It’s lovely for Mother’s Day, and all through the summer.
     
    RECIPE: STRAWBERRY BALSAMIC PIE

    Ingredients

  • 2 layers pie crust
  • 3 tablespoons white sugar
  • 2 lb fresh strawberries, quartered
  • 1 small baking apple, peeled and grated
  • 2 tbsp balsamic vinegar
  • ¾ cup brown sugar
  • 2 tablespoons instant tapioca
  • 2 grinds fresh black pepper
  • ½ tsp kosher salt
  • Egg wash (1 large egg whisked with 1 tsp water and a pinch of salt)
  • Coarse sugar for sprinkling (it gives a nice crunch.)
  • Optional for serving: vanilla or strawberry ice cream…or a bit of each
  •  
    Preparation

    1. MAKE the crust with your favorite recipe. Audra added ¼ cup cider vinegar to the ice water and thinks it made the crust extra flaky. While the crust is chilling, prepare the filling.

    2. PLACE the strawberries in a large bowl, sprinkle with the sugar and toss gently. Let sit for about 20 minutes; then stir in the apple, balsamic, brown sugar, tapioca, pepper and salt. Toss to combine and allow flavors to sit and get juicy.

    3. ROLL out one of the chilled pie crusts and drape it over the bottom of the pie pan. Pop it into the freezer for a few minutes while you roll out the second crust. If you want to try a lattice crust, use a straight edge to cut the strips.

    4. POUR the filling into the chilled crust and add the top crust. Trim and crimp the edges of the crust and pop it into the fridge or freezer while you preheat the oven to 425°F, with a rack positioned in the middle. When oven is ready…

    5. BRUSH the crust with the egg wash and sprinkle it with sugar. Line a cookie sheet with foil and place the pie on top. Place the cookie sheet on the middle rack.

    6. BAKE for 20-25 minutes or until the crust is beginning to turn golden. Then, reduce the heat to 375°F and bake for another 35 to 40 minutes, or until the crust is golden brown and the pie is juicy and bubbly.

     
      

    Comments

    TRIVIA: National Egg Month

    May is National Egg Month, a time for some consciousness-raising.

    We look for Certified Humane eggs and don’t mind paying the premium for them. You’ve no doubt heard the horror stories of mass egg production.

    We buy from Pete and Gerry’s whenever we can: eggs produced on small family farms with a commitment to the humane treatment of the chickens.

    Pete & Gerry’s eggs are also USDA Organic, OU kosher and B-Corporation Certified: committed to sustainability.

    They shared these fowl facts with us:

  • There’s no nutritional difference between brown and white eggs. The color of the egg is actually determined by the color of the hen!
  • Young hens produce smaller eggs. The medium-size eggs come from pullets, hens that are less than a year old.
  • The smaller the egg, the thicker the shell. This makes them easier to crack (no fragments to fish out) and, for hard-boiled eggs, easier to peel.
  • What creates a double yolk? In a young hen that is just learning how to lay eggs, two eggs merged before the shell was formed.
  • All eggs aren’t equally flavorful. Aside from freshness (e.g., farmers market eggs), the tastiest eggs come from free-range hens they have real access to grass, where they can peck for worms and other insects that contribute to the flavor.
  • Fresh water, the space to roost and access to earth so they can dust-bathe are also essential. Cage-free and conventional hens spend their lives crammed together indoors. Cage-free hens aren’t confined to sit in a tiny cage, but are crammed onto the floor of a building with no room to move.
  • What’s the deal with cholesterol? In the 1980s, news warned against the consumption of eggs for people with high cholesterol. But the new news is, research has returned to the side of egg consumption. Don’t steer clear of eggs because of cholesterol. (If you have an issue, consult with your healthcare provider).
  •  
    That’s good news, because…

  • The egg is a nutritional powerhouse, with 7 grams of high-quality protein, iron, vitamins, minerals and carotenoids, including the disease-fighting antioxidants lutein and zeaxanthin and the macro-ingredient choline. Yes, there are 5 grams of fat, but only 1.6 grams are saturated fat (types of fat). And all for just 75-78 calories per large egg.
  •  
    Now for the fun trivia:

     

    Natural Hens' Eggs Colors

    Tufted Araucana Chicken

    These eggs are all natural in color. The colors come from different breeds of hens. Those breeds don’t produce eggs as economically as breeds that produce white and brown eggs, so they are not sold commercially, except by some farmstands (photo courtesy The Egg Farm). [2] This tufted arcauna chicken, originally from South America, lays pale blue eggs (photo courtesy Awesome Araucana.

  • Why are eggs sold by the dozen? In England and other European countries from as early as the 700s and continuing until around 1960, the Imperial Unit System was used. There were twelve pennies to a shilling, which meant that an egg could be sold for a penny, or a dozen eggs could be sold for a shilling, with no change-making required.
  • By the Elizabethan period (1550-1600), selling eggs by the dozen was the standard practice. The English who emigrated to North America brought the system with them. Other countries have their own standards.
  •  
    TIPS

  • To crack an egg: The best technique is to tap it on the counter, not on the rim of the bowl. You’ll avoid fragments, splinters, or whatever you call those exasperating little pieces that drop into the bowl.
  • To check if an egg is fresh or stale, raw or hard boiled: Just spin the egg on the counter. If it wobbles, it’s raw. If it spins easily, it’s hard boiled. A fresh egg will sink in water, a stale one will float.
  • Egg sandwiches: A fried egg sandwich with bacon was popular in our youth. These days, one of our go-to quick meals for breakfast, lunch or light dinner is a sliced hard-boiled egg sandwich on rye toast. We buy the eggs pre-boiled and peeled (a great time saver!) and use an ever-changing variety of seasonal fixings (a favorite: roasted red pepper (pimento) with baby arugula) and mayo flavors. For weekend brunch: a slice of smoked salmon.
  •  
    THE DIFFERENT TYPES OF EGGS

    If you think of eggs as either white or brown, check out the different types of eggs in our Egg Glossary. There are 10 choices in chicken eggs alone!
     
    SOME EGG-CELLENT LINKS

  • Egg Salad Recipes & The History Of Egg Salad
  • How To Make The Perfect Hard-Boiled Egg
  • Egg Nutrition
  • Quail Egg Recipes
  •   

    Comments

    RECIPE: Shrimp, Corn & Zucchini Flatbread

    Shrimp Flatbread

    Arugula Pizza

    [1] Shrimp flatbread from SeaPak. [2] No matter what type of pizza or flatbread, we toss fresh baby arugula on top when it emerges from the oven (photo courtesy Purple Carrot).

     

    Shrimp is America’s favorite in the fish and shellfish category. Of the 15.5 pounds consumed by Americans each year, shrimp accounts for 4 pounds.

    (Dudes: 15.5 pounds per capita per year is way too low. Americans eat nearly 50 billion burgers a year, which translates to three burgers a week for every single person. That’s a lot of beef.!)

    For National Shrimp Day, May 10th, we whipped up this easy shrimp flatbread using frozen Shrimp Scampi from SeaPak.

    Nicely seasoned in a butter, garlic and red pepper sauce, you don’t need to add any more flavor to the shrimp.

    One way to enjoy shrimp, more often, and more affordably, is to look to the freezer section.

    While we always buy fresh shrimp for, say, a shrimp cocktail or plateau de fruits de mer.

    But in a multi-ingredient dish—like this flatbread, coconut beer batter shrimp, shrimp fra diavolo, shrimp pad thai, shrimp salad sandwich, and so on—where the shrimp is integrated with other flavors—the frozen shrimp can do just as nicely.

    RECIPE: SHRIMP, CORN AND ZUCCHINI FLATBREAD

    Prep time is 15 minutes; cook time is 15 minutes.

    Ingredients For 6 Snack Servings Or Two Lunches/Dinners

  • 1 12-ounce package of SeaPak Shrimp Scampi
  • ½ cup frozen or canned corn kernels
  • 1 small zucchini, sliced
  • Bench flour*
  • 1 16-ounce ball of pizza dough (fresh or frozen/thawed)
  • Cooking spray
  • ½ cup shredded parmesan cheese
  • Optional: ½ cup shredded mozzarella
  • 1 lemon
  • Optional garnish: baby arugula, fresh basil
  •  
    ________________

    *Bench flour is simply flour sprinkled on the work surface (once upon a time called a work bench).

     
    Preparation

    1. PREHEAT the oven to 450°F. Prepare the frozen scampi according to package instructions (7 minutes in a skillet). Add the corn and zucchini to the pan and stir occasionally.

    2. LIGHTLY flour a work surface and press the dough into a large rectangle.

    3. TURN a baking sheet upside down (so the bottom is facing up) and spray with non-stick cooking spray. Transfer dough to the bottom (sprayed side) of the baking sheet. Use some of the sauce from the scampi to brush over the top of the dough, and pierce the dough with a fork to avoid large air bubbles.

    4. BAKE for 12-15 minutes. In the last 5 minutes of baking, remove the pan from the oven, cover with the optional mozzarella, and use a slotted spoon to drain the shrimp mixture, reserving the scampi sauce in the pot. Spread the mixture over the flatbread. Top with the shredded parmesan cheese and return to the oven. Bake until cheese begins to melt.

    5. SLICE the lemon and squeeze half into the scampi sauce. Pour into a small bowl to use for a flatbread drizzle, dipping sauce or even a salad dressing.

    6. TOP the pizza with the arugula or basil and bring to the table.

     
      

    Comments



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