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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,
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Archive for July 4th

TIP OF THE DAY: Best Burger Buns

Beefburger on a bun with assorted dips.

A brioche roll adds a gourmet touch to any type of burger. Photo © Craig Holmes | BSP.

 

Gearing up for a Labor Day cookout? Go beyond the traditional burger bun and generate excitement with a selection of specialty burger buns (also, a selection of burgers—beef, bison, turkey, veggie, etc.). Here are our favorite options:

  • Bakery Rolls. Check your local bakery. Those that make good bread often make delicious hamburger rolls.
  • Batard. Wider than a baguette and pronounced buh-TARD, this crusty French bread can be pre-sliced into burger-size. Here are the different types of baguette-like breads.
  • Biscuits. You can turn refrigerated biscuit dough into homemade burger rolls. See the recipe below.
  • Brioche Buns or Challah Buns. Our personal favorite! Eggy yeast breads with rich with a soft, fluffy texture, both deliver rich flavor. They are best for smaller patties and lighter ingredients, so the bun absorbs the juices, but doesn’t fall apart. The difference between challah and brioche: Brioche is made with lots of butter and is richer; challah, which is made to be kosher parve with all meals, has no dairy ingredient.
  • Gluten Free Buns. All health-conscious people, including those with this option, will appreciate tis option. Gluten-free rolls from Rudi’s and Udi’s are so delicious, you can’t tell that they’re gluten free..
  • Potato Rolls. Typically made with mashed potatoes, these rolls are characteristically soft and light, yet durable.
  •  

  • Pita. We have a fondness for lamb burgers in pita, but look for a thick variety since the pita can break.
  • Portuguese Sweet Rolls. A refreshing burst of sweetness against roasty meat. Look for the King’s Hawaiian brand, which makes hamburger and hotdog rolls in addition to dinner rolls and other styles.
  • Pretzel Rolls. A sturdier bun, pretzel rolls are ideal for meaty burgers topped with many ingredients.
  • Skinny Buns. Those watching their carbs will appreciate this lighter replacement option. These are sold under different names. Skinny Buns is one brand; among others, Pepperidge Farm makes Deli Flats.
  • Whole Wheat Buns. Those watching their carbs will appreciate this lighter replacement option.
  •  
    LIGHTER BURGER OPTIONS

    If you’re hosting a crowd of calorie counters, Chef Leo from Grecian Delights, maker of Skinny Buns, shares his three favorite “lighter burger” recipes:

  • The Kickn’ Cow. Beef burgers made with lean beef, stacked with shredded lettuce, tomato and Zesty Greek Yogurt Feta Dip on a toasted 100% Whole Wheat Skinny Bun.
  • The Swiss Bird. A turkey burger topped with Swiss cheese, lettuce and tomato on a toasted 100% Whole Wheat Skinny Bun.
  • The Ultra Vegetarian: A veggie burger layered with hummus, lettuce, tomato, red peppers, green peppers and red onion on a toasted Multigrain Skinny Bun.
  •  
    Switch the sweet ketchup for a spicy salsa, avoiding the high fructose corn syrup or other sweetener.

     

    RECIPE: BURGER ON A BISCUIT

    Make your own burger biscuits with refrigerated biscuit dough. This recipe is from Pillsbury, and there’s also a hot and spicy version with jalapeño, Jack cheese and chipotle mayonnaise.

    Prep time is 10 minutes, total time is 30 minutes.

    Ingredients For 8 Burgers

  • 2 pounds lean (at least 80%) ground beef
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 1/2 teaspoon pepper
  • 8 slices American, Cheddar, Swiss or other cheese
  • 1 can (16.3 ounces) Pillsbury Grands Homestyle refrigerated original biscuits
  • Cooking spray
  •  

    biscuit-burger-pillsbury-230

    Make your own burger rolls from refrigerated biscuit dough. Photo courtesyPillsbury.

  • Toppings: lettuce, tomato slices, onion slices, pickles, ketchup and mustard
  •  

    Preparation

    1. HEAT gas or charcoal grill. In medium bowl, mix beef, salt and pepper; shape into 8 patties.

    2. PLACE patties on grill over medium heat. Cover grill; cook 10 to 12 minutes, turning once, until meat thermometer inserted in center of patties reads 160°F. Place cheese slices on patties to melt. Keep warm; reduce heat to medium-low.

    3. SEPARATE dough into 8 biscuits. Spray both sides with cooking spray. Place biscuits on double thickness of heavy-duty foil. Place foil on grill over indirect heat. Cover grill; cook 4 minutes; turn. Cook 2 to 4 minutes longer or until biscuits are golden brown.

    4. SPLIT biscuits in half. Place burgers on one half of each biscuit; top with desired toppings and remaining biscuit half.

      

    Comments

    RECIPE: White Cosmopolitan

    Hey there, Carrie Bradshaw: How about a White Cosmopolitan?

    This recipe, from Grey Goose Vodka, uses white cranberry juice instead of red cranberry juice, plus Grey Goose L’Orange vodka.

    (A bonus: spill it and it doesn’t stain like a Red Cosmo.)

    RECIPE: WHITE COSMOPOLITAN

    Ingredients For 1 Drink

  • 3 parts orange-flavored vodka
  • 1/2 part premium orange liqueur
  • Splash of white cranberry juice
  • Squeeze of fresh lime
  • Garnish: orange peel
  •  

    Preparation

     

    white-cosmo-grey-goose-230

    A White Cosmo. Photo courtesy Grey Goose.

     
    1. SHAKE all ingredients in a cocktail shaker filled with ice. Strain into a Martini glass.

    2. GARNISH with an orange peel.
     

    A White Cosmopolitan is appropriate any time of the year. It looks like it belongs at the beach, for sure.

    But imagine a holiday tray of both Red Cosmos and White Cosmos, perhaps with a tiny mint leaf or a sprig evergreen-like rosemary floating atop for garnish.

    Or, go red, white and blue by adding a bit of blue food color to part of the White Cosmo recipe.

      

    Comments

    RECIPE: Blackberry Mojito

    Enhance the celebration of National Mojito Day, July 11th.

    There’s enough red, white and blue here for Independence Day; but take advantage of summer’s lush blackberries to whip them up all season long.

    The Mojito (pronounced moe-hee-toe) is Cuba’s most famous cocktail. This variation adds fresh fruit to the original recipe.

    It is important that the blackberries and mint are gently muddled—never crushed—to release their flavors but not release harsh or bitter tannins into the beverage. A wooden spoon or a firm silicone spatula can be used in place of a muddler.

    RECIPE: BLACKBERRY MOJITO

    Ingredients For 2 Drinks

  • 12 blackberries
  • 12 large mint leaves
  • 4 teaspoons sugar
  • 1 tablespoon fresh lemon juice
  • 1 tablespoon fresh lime juice
  • 1/2 cup seltzer water
  • 1/4 cups vodka or rum
  • 6 to 8 ice cubes
  • Garnish: fresh blackberry and lime wedge
  •    

    blackberry-mojito-driscolls-230

    Beautiful and delicious: a Blackberry Mojito. Photo courtesy Driscoll’s.

     

     

    http://www.dreamstime.com/stock-photography-ripe-blackberries-bowl-food-close-up-image33432102

    A bodacious bowl of blackberries. Photo ©
    Olha Afanasieva | Dreamstime.

     

    Preparation

    1. MUDDLE blackberries, mint leaves, sugar, lemon juice and lime juice in a tall glass until berries are mostly crushed.

    2. ADD seltzer, vodka, and ice. Stir well and serve.

     
    WHAT’S A MOJITO?

    The mojito (mo-HEE-toe) is a quintessential Cuban cocktail. The name derives from the African voodoo term mojo, to cast a small spell.

    According to Bacardi Rum, the drink can be traced to 1586, when Sir Francis Drake and his pirates unsuccessfully attempted to sack Havana for its gold. His associate, Richard Drake, was said to have invented a Mojito-like cocktail known as El Draque that was made with aguardiente, a crude forerunner of rum, sugar, lime and mint.

    Around the mid-1800s, when the Bacardi Company was established, rum was substituted and the cocktail became known as a Mojito. Here’s the original Mojito recipe.

    Always popular in Cuba, the drink made a short journey to Key West, and then into American cocktail society. Under the radar for many years as wine apéritifs topped cocktails in popularity, the Mojito has enjoyed a renaissance in the last 20 years thanks to the growing popularity of Latin American cuisine.

     
    MORE MOJITO RECIPES

  • Beet Mojito Recipe
  • Cranberry Mojito Recipe
  • Pomegranate Mojito Recipe
  • Strawberry Mojito and Coconut Mojito Recipes
  •   

    Comments

    RECIPE: Tequila Watermelon Ice Pops

    We’ve got watermelon left over from July 4th, so today we’re juicing it and transforming it into ice pops—with tequila, thanks to this recipe from LoveAndOliveOil.com.

    Here’s the whole story. Check out the site’s many beautiful recipes.

    RECIPE: TEQUILA WATERMELON ICE POPS

    Ingredients For 6 Pops

  • 1/4 cup water
  • 1/4 cup granulated sugar
  • 1 cup watermelon juice (from about 1/2 a small watermelon)
  • 1 lime, zested and juiced
  • 2 tablespoons tequila
  • Ice pop molds
  •  
    For a red, white and blue theme, toss in some blueberries.

     

    tequila-watermelon-popsicles-loveandoliveoil-230

    Frosty, beautiful and spiked with tequila. Photo courtesy Love And Olive Oil.

     

    Preparation

    1. COMBINE water and sugar in a microwave safe container or glass measuring cup. Heat on high for 30 seconds to 1 minute and stir until sugar is dissolved and mixture is clear. Set aside to cool.

    2. MAKE the watermelon juice: Roughly chop the watermelon. You’ll need about 3 cups of chopped melon to produce about a cup of juice. Run the melon through a food mill if you have one, or crush and then strain through a fine mesh sieve.

    3. COMBINE watermelon juice, sugar syrup, lime juice and zest, and tequila in a small bowl or pitcher. Pour into ice pop molds. Insert sticks and freeze until solid.
     
    MORE GOURMET ICE POP RECIPES

    Beyond the simple treats of childhood, ice pops have been elevated to gourmet treats. Consider adding some of these recipe books to your repertoire:

  • Ice Pops: Recipes for Fresh and Flavorful Frozen Treats: Recipes include chocolate ice pops swirled with vanilla or layered with raspberries, custard-based cheesecake and caramel pops and green tea with pomegranate.
  • Irresistible Ice Pops: Learn to stripe, swirl, and layer flavors within pops to create new flavor combinations.
  • Perfect Pops: The 50 Best Classic & Cool Treats: Beyond fruit and juice, creative, of-the-moment flavors.
  •   

    Comments

    JULY 4TH: Red, White & Blue Ice Pops

    We received this perfect July 4th ice pop recipe from Zulka, producers of sugars that are minimally processed and come straight from freshly-harvested sugar cane. There‘s more about the company below.

    The vivid colors come from berries, strawberries and coconut milk. The berry purées can be made using either fresh or frozen berries. Simply de-stem, wash and pat dry the fruits; then purée in the food processor.

    RECIPE: RED, WHITE & BLUE ICE POPS

    Ingredients For 10 Ice Pops

  • 1 cup strawberry purée, cold
  • 1 cup coconut milk, cold
  • 1 cup blueberry purée, cold
  • ½ cup sugar
  • ½ cup water
  • 10 compartment ice pop mold (or equivalent molds that will make 10 pops)
  • 10 wood sticks (if molds don’t have individual handles)
  •    

    red-white-blue-popsicles-zulkasugar-230

    Great-looking ice pops for July 4th. Photo courtesy Zulka.

     

    Preparation

    1. MAKE the simple syrup: Bring water and sugar to a simmer in a small saucepan. Stir until sugar is dissolved and let cool.

    2. ADD 1 tablespoon of simple syrup to each of the purées and coconut milk. Stir well. Fill molds 1/3 of the way with the strawberry purée. Place the lid on the mold and and the wood sticks, letting them protrude about 1/2 inch above the top. Let freeze 40-50 minutes or until somewhat firm.

    3. REMOVE the lid of the mold and fill compartments another third of the way with the coconut milk mixture. Replace the lid, making sure all of the sticks are in place; freeze another 40-50 minutes.

    4. REMOVE the lid and fill the compartments with the blueberry purée. Replace the lid and freeze completely, at least 8 hours or overnight. When ready to serve…

    5. RUN cool water over the sides of the mold and carefully loosen each pop by gently pulling on the handle or the stick. Remove all pops. If not serving immediately, wrap individually in plastic wrap and store in a freezer bag.

     

    zulka-morena-cane-sugar-2-230

    High quality sugar that’s superior to
    commodity brands. Photo courtesy Zulka.

     

    ICE POP VS. POPSICLE

    Popsicle® is a trademarked name owned by Unilever’s Good Humor Division (here’s the history of the Popsicle and the Creamsicle®).

    Everything else should be called by the generic “ice pop.”
     

    ABOUT ZULKA

    More than 100 years ago, the Zulka family built mills among the lush sugar fields of Mexico, in a tropical area ideal for sugar cane farming. They remain a family-run company, continually investing and modernizing so that these same facilities can process more than six million tons of fresh-cut sugarcane each year.

    All of the sugar cane they process comes from local small family farms, owned by hard-working people who are dedicated to producing top quality sugar cane. “We are proud of our workers, partners, and product,” says Zulka.

    With most sugar coming from enormous, soul-less companies, it’s a great mission to support. Check the store locator to see where you can buy Zulka products.

     

    You can also find them on Amazon.com in white sugar, brown sugar and individual white sugar packets.

    The company will soon be introducing powdered sugar and chili sugar, with a touch of chili spice.

    Find more delicious recipes on Zulka.com.

      

    Comments

    JULY 4TH RECIPE: Oreo Cookie Balls

    oreo-cookie-balls-230

    July 4th Oreo Cookie Balls. Photo courtesy
    Kraft.

     

    This no-bake recipe for Oreo Cookie Balls is fun to bring to a July 4th event. It’s easy enough so that you can delgate it to younger members of the household, who may just discover a love of making their own desserts.

    Just by changing the garnish, it can be customized for Chanukah, Christmas, St. Patrick’s Day, Thanksgiving and Valentine’s Day. There are also links below to recipes that add specific touches for different special occasions.

    RECIPE: OREO COOKIE BALLS

    Recipe For 48 Pieces

  • 1 package (8 ounces) Philadelphia cream cheese, softened
  • 36 OREO cookies, finely crushed
  • 3 packages (4 ounces each) white chocolate, broken into pieces, melted
  • 1 tablespoon red, white and blue multi-colored sprinkles (or other colors to match the season or occasion
  • Preparation

    1. MIX cream cheese and cookie crumbs until blended.

    2. SHAPE into 48 (1-inch) balls. Freeze 10 min. Dip in melted chocolate (see dipping tip below); place on waxed paper-covered rimmed baking sheet. Top with sprinkles.

    3. REFRIGERATE 1 hour or until firm.

     

    How to Easily Dip Cookie Balls

    To easily coat cookie balls with the melted chocolate, add the balls, in batches, to bowl of melted chocolate.

  • Use 2 forks to roll the balls in chocolate until evenly coated.
  • Remove the balls with forks, letting excess chocolate drip back into bowl.
  • Place the balls on a prepared baking sheet; let stand until chocolate coating is firm.
  • Store extras in a tightly covered container in the refrigerator.
  •  

    oreos-melting-snowmen-kraft-230

    Melting Snowmen Oreo Cookie Balls. Here’s the recipe. Photo courtesy Kraft.

     
    MORE OREO COOKIE BALLS RECIPES

  • For Anytime: Oreo Raspberry Cookie Balls and Triple Double Oreo Tartufo
  • For Chocolaholics: all chocolate Oreo Cookie Balls
  • For Christmas: Peppermint Oreo Cookie Balls
  • For Glamour: paint with edible gold dust and top with a chocolate-covered coffee bean
  • For Halloween: tint the white chocolate coating orange, paint the jack o’lantern face with melted chocolate or gels and use bits of pretzel thins for the stems
  • For St. Patrick’s Day: Oreo Mint Cookie Balls
  • For Valentine’s Day: Oreo Cherry Cookie Balls
  • For Winter: Melting Snowmen Oreo Cookie Balls
  •   

    Comments

    JULY 4TH FOOD FUN: American Flag Cookies

    We love food “craft projects.” Here, turn graham crackers into flag cookies with this fun family recipe from Pillsbury. In fact, as part of your Fourth of July celebration, let your kids make this easy snack craft.

    Prep time is just five minutes.

    RECIPE: AMERICAN FLAG COOKIES

    Ingredients

  • 1 double graham cracker (5 x 2-1/2 inches)
  • 1 tablespoon fluffy white frosting
  • 1/2 roll strawberry Fruit Roll-Ups or other red fruit leather
  • 4 Fruit Gushers blue fruit flavored snacks or fresh blueberries
  •  
    Preparation

    1. SPREAD one side of graham cracker with frosting.

     

    A food craft project for kids. Photo courtesy Pillsbury.

     
    2. UNROLL Fruit Roll-Ups; remove paper. With kitchen scissors, cut 4 strips from fruit flavored snack, 5 x 1/4 inch each.
     
    3. ARRANGE strips on frosted cracker to form 4 evenly spaced horizontal strips. Arrange Fruit Gushers or blueberries in the left top corner for stars on the flag.

      

    Comments

    JULY 4th: American Flag Cake

    A tasty flag! Photo courtesy SecretLifeOfAChefsWife.com.

     

    What a great dessert surprise for July 4th!

    This flag cake originated on 17andBak­ing.com, and was reposted on SecretLifeOfAChefsWife.com.

    Elissa, who posted the recipe at age 17 (she’s now 21), said at the time:

    “While I wish I could claim credit for it, the idea of a flag cake was completely my father’s. It was all a bit of an experiment and when I finally cut the cake open, revealing the familiar red white and blue, I was so surprised to see that it worked.”

    You can use any recipe for a three layer white cake. Elissa deliberately made the cake completely white on the outside, with a cream cheese frosting flavored with lime zest. Cutting into a plain cake makes the flag motif an even bigger surprise.

    Are you dying to make it? Here’s the recipe.

     

     
      

    Comments

    FOOD FUN: Stars & Stripes Jell-O Shots

    Perfect for a July 4th celebration: red, white and blue Jell-O shots.

    All you need is a mini star silicon mold, like this one from Wilton. You can probably pick one up locally, where July 4th-themed housewares or are sold (or a good baking supplies department).

    Then, just follow this recipe on GoodCocktails.com.

    And plan ahead for red, green and white Jello-O shots for Christmas, using lime Jell-O instead of Berry Blue.

    Jell-O shots are made by substituting approximately one third to one half of the second cup of liquid added to Jell-O powder (the first cup is the boiling water that dissolves the gelatin.

    Vodka or rum are popular (flavored vodkas add another flavor dimension), but the shots can be made with any alcohol. Note that the alcohol blended into the Jell-O is absorbed much more slowly than in a cocktail, resulting in abject drunkenness on the part of those who underestimate how much alcohol they have consumed.

     

    star-jello-shots-goodcocktail-230sq

    Mix up some fireworks with these patriotic Jell-O shots. Photo courtesy GoodCocktail.com.

     

    WHO INVENTED THE JELL-O SHOT?

    No, the Jell-O shot was not invented by American singer-songwriter Tom Lehrer in the 1950s. He is well known for writing about it, making the recipe as a subterfuge to consume alcohol on the alcohol-restricted Army base where he was stationed.

    Jell-O shots seem like a modern concept, but Jell-O itself (flavored, sweetened gelatin) was invented in 1897. Beginning in the 1400s, gelatin (protein produced from collagen extracted from boiled animal bones and connective tissues) had been used to make desserts.

    In 1862, the first modern cocktail recipe book was published in the U.S.: Jerry Thomas’ Bartenders Guide. You can still buy it (reprinted) on Amazon.com.

    Thanks to some pretty crafty sleuthing on the part of JelloShotRecipe.Blogspot.com, you can see a photocopy of the first known recipe for a molded gelatin-alcohol combination.

    Jerry Thomas advises: “The strength of the punch is so artfully concealed by its admixture with the gelatine, that many persons, particularly of the softer sex, have been tempted to partake so plentifully of it as to render them somewhat unfit for waltzing or quadrilling after supper.”

    That sounds so much more charming than “abject drunkenness.”

      

    Comments

    TIP OF THE DAY: Red, White & Blue Soft Drinks & Cocktails

    red-white-blue-berries-herradura-230

    Drink red, white and blue for July 4th. Photo
    courtesy Herradura Tequila.

     

    You can turn any clear drink into a July 4th cocktail or mocktail, as Herradura Tequila has done with its “Red, White & Blueberries” Cocktail.

    Just start with a clear spirit or mixer, layer on other flavors (clear liqueurs, coconut water, etc.)

  • Club Soda
  • Mineral Water
  • Seven-Up/Lemon Lime Soda
  • Tonic Water
  • Gin, Tequila or Vodka
  •  
    RECIPE: TEQUILA RED, WHITE & BLUE

    Ingredients For 1 Drink

  • 1½ ounces silver/blanco tequila
  • 2½ ounces coconut water
  • ¼ ounce agave nectar
  • ½ ounce lime juice
  • Ice cubes
  • Optional: crushed ice
  •  
    For Garnish

  • Blueberries and raspberries
  •  

    Preparation

    1. PLACE berries and crushed ice in the glass.

    2. COMBINE drink ingredients in a cocktail shaker. Shake and strain into the glass.
     

    Find more cocktail recipes at Herradura.com.
     
      

    Comments

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