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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

TIP OF THE DAY: Waffle Bar

Hold the maple syrup: This Mexican Sunrise
Waffle is topped with a fried egg and salsa.
Photo courtesy Peach Valley Cafe.

 

Father’s Day excitement: Turn brunch into a design-your-own waffle bar.

We adapted this idea from Peach Valley Cafe, which has a variety of tasty waffles on the menu.

Make your favorite waffles (we go for whole grain) and decide on your toppings, sweet or savory:

SAVORY WAFFLE TOPPINGS

  • Chopped fresh herbs (basil, chives, dill, parsley)
  • Chopped green onions (scallions)
  • Grilled vegetable strips
  • Hot sauce
  • Salsa
  • Sautéed cherry tomatoes
  • Sour cream, Greek yogurt or crème fraîche
  •  

    PROTEIN TOPPINGS FOR SAVORY WAFFLES

  • Bacon
  • Cheese: crumbled blue cheese or goat cheese, shredded Cheddar or mozzarella
  • Chicken/turkey
  • Chili
  • Eggs: fried, hard cooked/sliced, poached, scrambled
  • Grilled shrimp
  • Ham
  •  

    SWEET TOPPINGS

  • Candies: chocolate chips, mini marshmallows, M&Ms, Reese’s Pieces, toffee bits
  • Cottage cheese flavored with cinnamon sugar
  • Crème fraîche, mascarpone, whipped cream
  • Crumbled Oreos or chocolate wafer cookies
  • Cooked fruit: cinnamon apple slices, peaches, chopped oranges
  • Dried fruit: blueberries, cherries, cranberries
  • Fresh fruit: berries
  • Ice cream
  • Marinated fruit: fresh or dried fruit marinated in Grand Marnier or other orange liqueur
  • Nuts: almonds, pecans, pistachios, walnuts
  •  

    OMG: an Oreo waffle. Dad may pass on it, but kids will love it. Photo courtesy Peach Valley Cafe.

     
    MAPLE SYRUP ALTERNATIVES FOR SWEET WAFFLES

  • Brown sugar
  • Caramel and/or chocolate sauce
  • Chutney
  • Maple syrup and/or fruit syrup
  • Preserves
  •  
    Of course, you need to make a selection from all of these options. But if you have more to add to the list, let us know!

      

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    FATHER’S DAY: Fun Dessert For Dad

    These cuties were created by pastry chef Dominique Ansel, proprietor of the Dominique Ansel Bakery in the SoHo neighborhood of New York City.

    The chef fills éclairs with a bourbon-chocolate creme, tops them with caramel glaze and decorates with a mini chocolate moustache and bow tie.

    You can melt chocolate and hand-pipe moustaches and bow ties onto wax paper; then use your chocolate art to decorate store-bought eclairs.

    Make extra chocolate decorations so you can decorate Father’s Day cupcakes, too.

     

    Decorate éclairs for a memorable Father’s Day dessert. Photo courtesy Dominique Ansel Bakery.

     
    THE HISTORY OF ÉCLAIRS

    The éclair is a finger-shaped pastry made of pâte à choux, filled with custard or whipped cream and topped with a glacé icing. It is known to have originated in France around the turn of the 19th century. Many food historians speculate that éclairs were first made by the great Marie-Antoine Carême (1874-1833), the first “celebrity chef,” considered the founder and architect of French haute cuisine. He is credited with the inventions of croquantes, hot soufflés and numerous other creations.

    “Éclair” is the French word for lightning. It is suggested that the pastry received its name because it glistens when coated with confectioner’s glaze. (We would suggest that it is because they are so popular, they disappear as quickly as lightning.)

    The Oxford English Dictionary traces the term “éclair” in the English language to 1861. The first known printed recipe for éclairs appears in the 1884 edition of the Boston Cooking-School Cook Book edited by Mrs. D.A. Lincoln.

      

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    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
  • Portabello mushrooms (recipe)
  • 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).

      

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    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!

     

      

    Comments

    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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