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    THE NIBBLE’s Gourmet News & Views

    Trends, Products & Items Of Note In The World Of Specialty Foods

    This is the blog section of THE NIBBLE. Read all of our content on TheNibble.com,
    the online magazine about gourmet and specialty food.

Archive for Father’s Day

FATHER’S DAY RECIPE: Potato Chip & Beer Pancakes

“Mancakes” are made with beer and potato
chips. Photo courtesy SurLaTable.com.

 

This Father’s Day, treat Dad to a breakfast featuring some not-so-traditional pancakes, made with BBQ potato chips and beer.

Created by Chef David Burke (one of our favorite creative culinary artists) for Samuel Adams Boston Lager, these easy-to-make “mancakes” may become an annual tradition in your family.

RECIPE:

Ingredients

  • 4 ounces crushed BBQ potato chips
  • 2 cups all-purpose flour
  • 1 tablespoon baking soda
  • 1 cup of Samuel Adams Boston Lager
  • 2 eggs
  •  
    Preparation

    1. MIX flour, baking soda, Boston Lager and eggs in a large mixing bowl

    2. HEAT a skillet on medium and pour batter into large circles. Let bubble.

    3. SPRINKLE potato chips on top of pancakes and flip. Cook until lightly browned

    5. SERVE with bacon or sausage and maple syrup.

     

    WE’VE TESTED HUNDREDS OF PANCAKE MIXES. HERE ARE OUR
    FAVORITE MULTIGRAIN & WHOLE GRAIN PANCAKE MIXES.

      

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    FATHER’S DAY: Dad-Themed Cupcakes

    Dad may have a favorite pie, cake or cookie that he really wants to enjoy on Father’s Day. If not, let Father’s Day cupcakes be the hit of the party.

    At Crumbs Bakery, Father’s Day cupcakes are garnished with chocolate moustaches. If you want to do the same at home, anchor the chocolate with a toothpick.

    Seeking additional inspiration, we looked at different themes for Father’s Day cupcakes and found cupcakes:

  • Covered with neckties of candy, icing or marzipan
  • Shaped like hamburgers
  • With “Gone Fishing” themes (you can decorate cupcakes with Swedish Fish)
  • With chocolate golf balls or entire golf greens
  •  

    Father’s Day cupcake. Photo courtesy CrumbsBakery.com.

  • Sports cupcakes with tops decorated to look like the baseballs, billiard balls, footballs, soccer balls, etc. (Crumbs has a selection of these as well).
  • With stars—icing, marzipan, candy, etc.—and “DAD” lettering
  •  
    You can bake from scratch or buy cupcakes and decorate them. A stroll through a candy store will give you more ideas; or head to your browser and type in “Father’s Day Cupcakes.”

      

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    TIP OF THE DAY: Reinvent Eggs Benedict With These Variations

    Since it was invented in the 1860s, Eggs Benedict has been a posh addition to the breakfast-lunch-brunch menu. It was created by the chef at a tony New York restaurant, Delmonico’s, for a wealthy customer, Mrs. LeGrand Benedict (here’s the history of Eggs Benedict).

    The original recipe topped two toasted English muffin halves with round-cut slices of ham, poached eggs; and Hollandaise sauce. Over the years, the more conveniently-shaped Canadian bacon replaced the trimmed ham.

    The ham substitutions continued, gaining momentum among creative chefs in modern times. Why not create your own reinvention of Eggs Benedict for Mother’s Day or other special occasion? Select your options from these categories of ingredients:

    English Muffin Substitute

  • Buttermilk biscuits
  • Corn cakes
  • Croissants
  • Crumpets
  • Potato pancakes
  • Rustic country bread
  • Whole wheat English muffins
  •  

    Classic Eggs Benedict. Photo courtesy American Egg Board.

     

    Note: You need a type of bread that will soak up the egg yolk. Pita, for example, doesn’t work here. Steer clear of regular pancakes and waffles. They take what should be an elegant dish to McGriddles territory.

    Ham/Bacon Substitute

  • Artichoke hearts, asparagus, avocado, broccoli rabe, grilled portabella mushrooms (recipe), grilled tomato slice, creamed or wilted spinach
  • Corned beef hash (recipe)
  • Crab cakes
  • Lobster tail, shrimp, scallops (alone or in combination)
  • Pâté de foie gras
  • Poached chicken
  • Poached salmon
  • Prosciutto or serrano ham
  • Smoked salmon or gravlax
  • Steak tartare
  •  
    What about everyday bacon strips? Eggs Benedict should be a special dish. By all means serve poached eggs with bacon—just not on an English muffin with Hollandaise sauce.

    Similarly, fried eggs, sausage and gravy should remain their fine casual selves, and not be adapted into a Benedict-style variation.

     

    Portabella Eggs Benedict, a vegetarian
    option. Photo courtesy Mushroom Council.

     

    Hollandaise Sauce Substitute

  • Béchamel Sauce, a white sauce that can be flavored with just about anything (recipe)
  • Dill Sauce (béchamel with dill or other herb/herb mix)
  • Mornay Sauce (béchamel with cheese)
  • Mushroom Sauce
  • Sriracha-Accented Hollandaise Sauce (spicy)
  • Truffled Hollandaise Sauce
  •  
    Consider how you can flavor a basic béchamel to match the ham substitute. For example, add dill to the sauce for lobster, horseradish and lemon zest for crab cakes.
     
    Garnish

  • Baby arugula
  • Basil, chiffonade
  • Caviar
  • Chives, snipped
  • Microgreens
  •  

    FOOD TRIVIA: THE HISTORY OF BRUNCH

    The term, a combination of breakfast and lunch, was coined in the U.K. in 1895 to describe “a Sunday meal for Saturday-night carousers.” This first reference in print was an article in Hunter’s Weekly (source).

    Brunch eliminated the need to rise early for breakfast. Instead of the conventional post-church early Sunday dinner, the new meal, served around noon, started with a course of toast, marmalade, tea. coffee and other breakfast foods before moving on to some heartier fare.

    And the rest is delicious history.

      

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    TIP OF THE DAY & BOOK: The Art Of Beef Cutting

    If you love beef, you can save money (and
    perhaps discover a new hobby) by butchering primal cuts. Photo courtesy Wiley.

     

    Our tip of the day is to beef lovers: savor the rib-eye cap (more about that below). You’ll learn about it in this new book on butchering beef at home. Of all members of THE NIBBLE team, we weren’t surprised when chef Johnny Gnall raised his hand at the opportunity to interview expert butcher Kari Underly and read her new book. Here is his review, along with his thumbs up for giving the book as a Father’s Day gift to a beef-besotted dad. If you have questions or suggestions for tips, email Chef Johnny.

    Kari Underly has been cutting meat for over 30 years. Even with a grandmother, a grandfather, and a father who all worked as butchers, this is a significant accomplishment in a mostly male-dominated field.

    But Underly is the proof in the proverbial pudding (blood pudding, perhaps?) that there is no room for sexism around the butcher block. She completed a three-year apprenticeship at age 21 to become a journeyman meat cutter (well, perhaps the title is sexist).

    Since then, Underly has established herself time and again as an authority in all things meat, from marketing and merchandising to education; and now, publishing.

     

    Her new book, The Art of Beef Cutting: A Meat Professional’s Guide to Butchering and Merchandising, showcases just how extensive her knowledge and expertise are. The book includes, among other things, a step-by-step, photo-illustrated set of instructions for breaking down each primal cut in a side of beef.

    What that means, in layman’s terms, is that you could, theoretically, start with an entire steer, and with patience, care, and “The Art of Beef Cutting,” break it all down and turn every bit of it into dinner.

    In fact, some restaurant chefs do just that, butchering their own lamb, pig and steer. Certain parts of the book explore more advanced butchery, and the appendices are staggeringly thorough. It does, however, begin with the basics, including knife sharpening, tool selection and cutting technique. So it’s appropriate for butchery beginners, or home cooks with a curiosity they’d like to explore.

     

    I had an opportunity to speak with Underly about her book, and about beef in general. There are a number of things she shared that a home cook can do to save time and money when buying and preparing beef; and, of course, when cooking it. But you have to start at the beginning, and that means choosing the right cut.

    THE RIGHT CUTS

    The two cuts that Underly came back to time and again for home cooks were top sirloin and chuck roast, extolling both their comparative value and their versatility.

  • Cuts from the chuck tend to be flavorful and well-marbled, and they’re great for braising, low and slow.
  • Sirloin is leaner, quite easy to cut, and arguably the most versatile cut on the cow; to quote Underly, “Go sirloin!”
  •  

    Underly at work. She’ll inspire you to unleash your inner butcher. Image courtesy Vimeo.

     

    Beyond these two subprimals (short for subprimal cuts), the one other cut that got Underly really excited was the ribeye cap, which she calls the best steak in the whole carcass. You could almost hear her mouth watering as she described grilling rib-eye cap steaks; and if there’s anyone to trust on such a suggestion, it’s Kari Underly.

    Once you’ve chosen your cut of beef, “The Art of Beef Cutting” can assist you in prepping it for dinner and getting it cooked to its highest potential.

  • Trussing: The book explores trussing (tying roasts with butchers twine to achieve even and optimal cooking), which Underly counsels is mastered only by repetition. “Don’t worry about making it pretty,” she advises.
  • Marinating: The book also has a chapter on marinades, and it highlights the often overlooked distinction between different kinds of marinating: for flavor versus for tenderizing.
  • Methods: Undery suggests ideal cooking methods to use for certain cuts of beef, and even drops hints on how to get perfect browning on your beef.

    Essentially, “The Art of Beef Cutting” is a kitchen-ready sidekick for anyone interested in getting a bit more familiar with his or her beef. There is no question in my mind that the more love you give it, the more the food benefits. Extending your knowledge and expertise with butchery will allow you to love your food that much more. Not to mention the fact that buying larger cuts and breaking them down yourself saves you money, and allows you greater versatility with how you cut and serve your beef.

    Underly’s last piece of advice to home cooks looking to up their butchery quotient? “Be adventurous.” This may be the perfect time to pick up your cleaver and get to know your beef a bit better.

    But first, pick up a copy of the the book.

      

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    FATHER’S DAY GIFT: Custom-Engraved Johnnie Walker Scotch

    Engrave your Father’s Day message on a bottle of Johnnie Walker Blue Label. Photo courtesy Johnnie Walker.

     

    If the dads on your Father’s Day gift list drink Scotch, they’d be very happy to receive a bottle of Johnnie Walker Blue Label.

    There are nine expressions of Johnnie Walker, including the more prevalent (and more affordable) Black Label and Red Label bottlings. Blue Label is the distiller’s top Scotch, a premium 80 proof blend that recreates the authentic character and taste of 19th century Johnnie Walker blends. The flavor is rich, peaty, malty and smooth.

    As a top-of-the-line expression, each blue-hued bottle has a serial number and a certificate of authenticity, and is packaged in a silk-lined box.

    As part of the mystique, there is no official age declaration for Blue Label. The youngest whiskey in the blend is rumored to be 28 years old. The blend contains more than 20 rare single malts and superior grain whiskies (by comparison, Black Label’s youngest Scotch is aged for 12 years).

     

    As one of the most expensive blended Scotches on the market, you can expect to pay some $225 a bottle, $525.00 for a 1.5-liter bottle.

    FREE BOTTLE ENGRAVING

    For a “keeper” of a gift, Johnnie Walker Blue Label offers a complimentary bottle engraving service. It transforms an already rare bottle of whiskey into something memorable.

    Whether it’s a simple “Happy Father’s Day” or a more personal “I Love You,” head to the website to order your bottle(s).

      

    Comments

    FATHER’S DAY GIFT: Homemade Pork Rinds Kit

    Love pork rinds? Make your own. Photo
    courtesy Rudolph Foods.

     

    For the next 10 days or so, we’ll be featuring ideas for Father’s Day gifting. Some, like this “Make Your Own Pork Rinds” kit, are certain to be long remembered.

    Rudolph Foods, the world’s largest manufacturer of pork rinds, has put together a “make your own” gift kit that contains everything Dad needs to make 30 servings of fresh-popped pork rinds.

    The kit is packaged in a metal orb that can be used as a bank, snack bowl or general decor (in a choice of designs—baseball, bowling ball, world globe). Inside are:

  • 2 pounds of pork rind pellets*
  • Sweet barbecue seasoning
  • Hot and spicy seasoning
  • A t-shirt that says “I Voted For Pork Rinds” (does it say something that the shirt sizes go up to 4x?).
  •  

    So, for the pork-rind-loving dad, you’ve got Father’s Day covered. Get yours here.
     
    *Pellets are unseasoned raw pork rinds. Part of the fun is getting to add your favorite seasonings.

      

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    PRODUCT: Personalized Beer Labels

    Personalize a six-pack: a great gift idea. Photo courtesy Pinhole Press.

     

    Give your favorite beer lover a memorable six-pack: one with custom, personalized beer labels. If you’re looking for something different for college graduation or Father’s Day gifts, this could be it!

    Pinhole Press, which specializes in gift items customized with your photos (calendars, journals, magnets and the like), has a beer label option that’s sure to make an occasion more festive.

    You simply upload your photo and text and get 15 labels in return ($11.99). Add the cost of a six-pack, and you’ve created a memorable yet affordable gift.

    Order yours at PinholePress.com.

    Prefer Wine To Beer?

    Custom wine bottle labels are available in a broad selection of designs, including some for baby showers, weddings and other celebratory occasions (9 labels, $9.99).

    Cheers!

     

      

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    TIP OF THE DAY: More Affordable Champagne Cocktails

    A yummy Prosecco cocktail that can be
    adapted for kids. Photo courtesy
    Harvard Common Press.

     

    Champagne cocktails make any occasion more festive. And they don’t require Champagne, per se, but can use more affordable bubblies such as Prosecco and Asti Spumante from Italy, Cava from Spain and Sekt from Germany. You can also substitute red bubblies such as Italian Brachetto and Lambrusco, sparkling Shiraz and the many American sparklers.

    These alternatives work just as well in a “Champagne cocktail,” in which the mixers cover up much of the complex Champagne flavors for which one pays so much more.

    We’ve been working our way through a whole book of bubbly recipes—Champagne Cocktails: 50 Cork-Popping Concoctions & Scintillating Sparklers by A.J. Rathbun—that we enjoy giving as a gift, along with a bottle of Prosecco or Cava.

    Here’s a recipe from the book: the Tiziano cocktail, a “cousin” of the Bellini* that uses grape juice and Prosecco instead of peach purée and Asti Spumante. It’s easy to make an alcohol-free version by substituting ginger ale for the Prosecco.

    The grape juice-ginger ale cocktail with frozen grapes is very popular with kids!

     

    *Both cocktails are named for great artists. Giovanni Bellini was acclaimed as the greatest Venetian painter of the fifteenth century. Fifty years later, his former student, Titian (Tiziano Vecelli), was acclaimed as the greatest Venetian painter of the sixteenth century and the father of modern painting. We’re not sure if the Rossini cocktail, below, is named for the great 19th century Italian composer Gioachino Rossini or the 20th century Polish painter, Nicolaus Rossini.

    TIZIANO COCKTAIL RECIPE

    Ingredients For 4 Drinks

  • 6 ounces white grape juice (not grape juice cocktail)
  • Chilled Prosecco
  • Frozen green and/or red grapes
  • Champagne flutes
  •  
    Preparation

    1. Add three or four frozen grapes to each flute glass.

    2. Pour 1½ ounces of grape juice into each flute.

    3. Fill the glasses almost to the top with Prosecco. Serve.

    Variation: Change the white grape juice to strawberry juice or strawberry purée and garnish with a strawberry (not frozen) instead of a grape. This drink is known as a Rossini.

    Find more of our favorite cocktail recipes.

      

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    FATHER’S DAY GIFT IDEA: Gourmet Gift Certificate

    No decisions required: Send Dad a gourmet
    gift certificate.

     

    It’s getting close!

    If you haven’t figured out what to get your favorite dad(s) for Father’s Day—or you don’t have time to run out and buy it—we have a delicious solution:

    A gift certificate to The Nibble Gourmet Market.

    We created our gourmet marketplace to make it easy to find our favorite foods, most of which have been NIBBLE Top Picks Of The Week (the rest are future Top Picks). So many readers write to ask what to give their girlfriends, grandmothers, kid’s teachers and so forth. The Nibble Gourmet Market makes it easy.

    And what makes it even easier is a gift certificate. It gets emailed as soon as as your order is processed, so if you can’t get around to it until Father’s Day, this Sunday, it will still arrive “on time.”

     

    Those who don’t get around to it can always send a belated gift certificate on Monday.

    A gift certificate also eliminates the decision making: Does Dad want our favorite whoopie pies, artisan salame, fresh-picked oysters or single malt chocolates, for example. Let him decide!

    Visit TheNibbleGourmetMarket.com. There’s a link for Gift Certificates at the top of the page.

      

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    FATHER’S DAY GIFT IDEA: Blended Scotch Whisky

    Last night we learned how to blend Scotch, courtesy of America’s best-selling Scotch brand, Dewar’s.

    A few decades ago, when single malt Scotch became all the rage, we became a snooty single malt drinker and hadn’t drunk a blended Scotch until now.

    We were missing out!

    Single malt versus blended Scotch is purely a matter of preference, and one can prefer several different styles.

  • A single malt Scotch is made entirely by a single producer at a single site. The flavors and aromas are distinctive to the terroir* of the area. Each of the different regions of Scotland produces whisky with flavors and aromas unique to its climate, water and so forth. For example, over the years of aging, barrels on Islay, an island region, pick up a hint of saltiness from the sea.
  •  

    The four expressions of Dewar’s blended
    Scotch whisky. From left: White Label,
    12 Years, 18 Years and Signature. Photo courtesy Dewar’s.

     

    *Terroir, a French word pronounced tur-WAH, is the unique combination of geographic location, climate and microclimate, soil and temperature that creates the individual personality of an agricultural product. As in the growing of grapes for wine or beans for coffee, terroir dramatically affects the flavor profiles of the product.

  • A blended Scotch is created by mixing the distillations (Scotches) from multiple single malt producers. By selecting particular single malts, the blender can achieve the exact flavor combination desired, with more balance and complexity. Examples include honey and floral flavors from Highland Scotches, fruity flavors from Speyside, vanilla flavors from Lowland Scotches and peaty flavors from Islay. Dewar’s blends can contain up to 40 different single malts and grain whiskys (a whisky that contains some grains other than malted barley, such as corn, rye or wheat) to attain the perfection the blender seeks.
  •  
    If you don’t know a drinker’s preference and select a single malt, it may not be the profile the recipient prefers. With a fine blended Scotch, the balance and harmony are generally enjoyed by anyone.

    The proper glass† to “nose” Scotch is a sherry copita, also called a single malt whisky glass. It resembles a tulip, and can be used for any fine whisky. The lip turns outward to catch the aromas of the whisky.

    †Professionals and connoisseurs use different shaped glasses to fully enhance the flavors and aromas of fine wines and spirits. It really does make a difference!

    Why is it there so often a gap between our preferences and our pocketbook?

    While all of the Dewar’s expressions are very fine, we fell in love with the masterpiece of the portfolio, Dewar‘s Signature (upwards of $200). The nose burst with aromas of luscious Seville orange and a touch of peat. On the palate, orange and chocolate notes were accented with honey, vanilla, toffee and caramel overtones. It was dessert in a glass, and a real treat.

    For everyday, we’re going back to the very affordable Dewar’s 12 Years—which, by the way, is also made in a kosher expression: Dewar’s 12 Year Old Special Reserve.

    THE DIFFERENCE BETWEEN “WHISKY” & “WHISKEY”
     
    Which spelling is correct?

    In Ireland and the United States, the word “whiskey” is spelled with an “e.” The British, Scots and Canadians spell it “whisky.” To be perfectly correct, you’d use “whiskey” when referring to an Irish or American product; and “whisky” when referring to the others. But most people in the U.S. use the spellings interchangeably.

    Etymologists don’t know why the variations exist. The best explanation is that the Irish had whiskey first, and when the Scots started to make it, they left out the “e” to point out the difference between their spirit and Irish whiskey.

    We’ll drink to that!

  • The Different Types Of Whiskey: How many types of whiskey are there? This article explains it all.
  •   

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