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Archive for St. Patrick’s Day

TIP OF THE DAY: Slow Cooker Corned Beef & Cabbage Recipe

Growing up, we had plenty of corned beef and cabbage. It was one of Mom’s favorites; she made it once a month or so in a big iron Dutch oven.

These days we only get homemade corned beef and cabbage when we make it ourself. Unlike Mom, we can’t hang around the kitchen and watch the pot.

Fortunately, McCormick sent us this slow cooker recipe. We toss the ingredients into the cooker, turn it on and come back in eight hours. Slow cooking lacks the glamour of aroma wafting from the big iron pot, but it does the job.

WHAT IS CORNED BEEF?

Corning refers to curing or pickling the meat in a seasoned brine. The word refers to the “corns” or grains of rock salt (today, kosher salt) that is mixed with water to make the brine.

Typically, brisket is used to make corned beef; the dish has many regional variations and seasonings. Smoking a corned beef, and adding extra spices, produces pastrami.

Corned beef was a staple in middle-European Jewish cuisine. Irish immigrants learned about corned beef on New York’s Lower East Side from their Jewish neighbors, and adopted it as a cheaper alternative to Irish bacon. Bacon and cabbage is a popular Irish dish. (Irish bacon is a lean, smoked pork loin similar to Canadian bacon. Here are the different types of bacon.)

Cattle in Ireland were not used for meat but for dairy products. Pork, an inexpensive meat in Ireland, was a dinner table staple.

But in the U.S., pork was much more expensive than the American staple meat, beef; and brisket, which required several hours of cooking to tenderize, was an affordable cut. Irish-Americans substituted corned beef for the bacon, and and Corned Beef & Cabbage was born.

Trivia: The first St. Patrick’s Day parade originated in New York City, in 1762.

   

Corned Beef & Cabbage

Uncooked Brisket

Top: Slow cooker Corned Beef & Cabbage from McCormick. Bottom: Uncooked brisket from Double R Ranch, available from Williams-Sonoma.

 

Pickling Spice Recipe

Crock Pot Slow Cooker

Top: If you don’t have pickling spice, you can make your own from spices you do have (photo Taste Of Home). Bottom: Toss everything into the slow cooker and come back at dinner time (photo Rival).

 

RECIPE: SLOW COOKER CORNED BEEF & CABBAGE

Conventional Corned Beef & Cabbage simmers for about three hours on the stove top. Here’s a classic recipe with a twist: a touch of Guinness.

But toss the ingredients into a slow cooker and come back in eight hours to dish out perfectly cooked corned beef and cabbage. Prep time is 10 minutes, cook time is 8 hours.

Ingredients For 12 Servings

  • 8 small red potatoes
  • 2 cups baby carrots
  • 1 small onion, quartered
  • 1 pre-brined corned beef brisket (4 pounds), rinsed and trimmed
  • 2 tablespoons pickling spice (recipe below)
  • 1 teaspoon minced garlic or 1-2 cloves fresh garlic
  • 1/2 head cabbage, cored and cut into wedges
  •  
    Preparation

    1. PLACE the potatoes, carrots and onion in a 6-quart slow cooker; place the brisket on top of the vegetables. Sprinkle with pickling spice and minced garlic. Add enough water (about 8 cups) to just cover the meat. Add the lid. For best results, do not remove the cover during cooking, except to add the cabbage in Step 2.

    2. COOK for 7 hours on HIGH, then add the cabbage and cook for 1 to 2 hours on HIGH or until cabbage is tender but still crisp (not soggy).

    3. REMOVE the corned beef to a serving platter and slice thinly across the grain. Serve with the vegetables.

     

    FOOD TRIVIA

    The original slow cooker was the Crock Pot, introduced in 1971 by the Rival Company. It was developed as an electric bean cooker, and was originally called the Beanery. Earlier, the Rival Company had introduced the electric can opener. Thanks, Rival!
     
    RECIPE: PICKLING SPICE

    If you don’t have pickling spice, you can make your own with this recipe from Taste of Home:

  • 2 tablespoons mustard seed
  • 1 tablespoon whole allspice
  • 2 teaspoons coriander seeds
  • 2 whole cloves
  • 1 teaspoon ground ginger
  • 1 teaspoon crushed red pepper flakes
  • 1 bay leaf, crumbled
  • 1 cinnamon stick (2 inches)
  •  
    Preparation

    1. COMBINE all ingredients. Store in an airtight jar in a cool dark place (i.e., not next to the stove or oven).

      

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    ST. PATRICK’S DAY: Caraway Cheese Spread With A Caraway Stout Cocktail

    Caraway seed, from a member of the carrot family*, is a popular seasoning in Irish cuisine. Here’s a great way to start St. Patrick’s Day dinner: with Caraway Cheese Spread and a Caraway Stout Cocktail.

    RECIPE: CARAWAY CHEESE SPREAD

    This cheese spread from McCormick is so easy to prepare—it takes just five minutes when you start with a prepared Cheddar cheese spread. Make it ahead of time, refrigerate, and let it warm up on the counter for a few minutes prior to serving.
     
    Ingredients For 1-1/4 Cups (10 Servings)

  • 1 container (12 ounces) Cheddar cheese spread, at room temperature
  • 2 teaspoons minced onions
  • 1-1/2 teaspoons caraway seed
  • 1/2 teaspoon Lawry’s® Seasoned Salt (or substitute†)
  •  
    For Serving

  • Crudités
  • Crackers
  • Baguette slices
  •    

    Cheese Spread

    Caraway Cheese Spread from McCormick. You can make it in 5 minutes.

     
    ____________________
    *Apiaceae, commonly known as the carrot, celery or parsley family, is a family of mostly aromatic plants with hollow stems.

    †Here’s how to blend your own seasoned salt.

     
    Preparation

    1. MIX the cheese spread and seasonings in medium bowl. Cover.

    2. REFRIGERATE at least 2 hours to blend flavors.

     

    Stout Cocktail

    Caraway Stout Cocktail from McCormick: stout plus Irish whiskey!

     

    RECIPE: CARAWAY STOUT COCKTAIL

    Celebrate St. Patrick’s Day with this cocktail that features Irish whiskey, Guinness Extra Stout and licorice flavor notes from caraway seeds. It uses homemade caraway simple syrup—easy to make in 10 minutes.
     
    Ingredients Per Drink

     
    For The Caraway Simple Syrup (Enough For 6 Cocktails)

  • 1/2 cup sugar
  • 1/2 cup water
  • 1 teaspoon caraway seed, coarsely crushed‡
  •  
    For The Caraway Stout Cocktail

  • 2 tablespoons caraway simple syrup (recipe below)
  • 1 ounce Irish whiskey
  • 1 bottle (12 ounces) Guinness Extra Stout or substitute, chilled
  •  
    Preparation

    1. MAKE the simple syrup: Coarsely crush the caraway seeds (see footnote†). Bring the sugar, water and caraway seeds to boil in small saucepan over medium heat, stirring to dissolve the sugar. Remove from the heat and let stand 1 hour. Strain the caraway seeds and refrigerate the syrup until ready to serve.

    2. MIX the cocktails: Combine the caraway simple syrup and the whiskey in tall glass. Pour the beer into glass. Serve immediately.

     
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    ‡How to crush caraway seeds: Coarsely crush seeds with a mortar and pestle. Or, place seeds in a small resealable plastic bag. Close tightly. Pound with a rolling pin, mallet or heavy skillet until coarsely crushed.

      

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    TIP OF THE DAY: Irish Soda Bread, Sweet Or Savory

    Irish Soda Bread is irresistible any time. But St. Patrick’s Day provides an extra excuse to bake up a batch and treat family and friends.

    Soda bread is a chemically-leavened quick bread made with baking soda* (the compound sodium bicarbonate, also called bicarbonate of soda) instead of yeast. Baking soda produces a lighter, airy crumb. The term “quick bread” means fast rising. Read more about the different types of bread in our Bread Glossary.

    Irish Soda Bread History: Irish Soda Bread dates back to around 1840, when bicarbonate of soda was introduced to Ireland. It reacted better with the soft wheat grown in Ireland’s climate, and replaced yeast as the leavening agent.

    When should you serve Irish soda bread? Anytime! As a slightly sweet bread, it’s a breakfast and tea time favorite; but it also disappears quickly in the bread basket at lunch and dinner.
     
    RECIPE: IRISH SODA BREAD WITH RAISINS

    Irish Soda Bread is one of the easiest breads to make. This recipe from McCormick requires just 10 minutes of prep time. Cook time is 50 minutes. The loaf yields 12 slices.

    Muffin variation: Divide the dough among 12 greased muffin cups. Bake 20 to 25 minutes or until a toothpick inserted in center comes out clean.

    Ingredients

  • 2 1/2 cups flour
  • 1/2 cup sugar
  • 2 teaspoons caraway seed
  • 1-1/2 teaspoons baking powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1/2 cup raisins or currants
  • 1-1/4 cups buttermilk (see substitute†)
  • 2 eggs
  • 1/2 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
  • For serving: butter and jam
  •    

    Irish Soda Bread Recipe

    Dried Zante Currants

    Top: Classic Irish soda bread is made with currants or raisins. Photo courtesy Hot Bread Kitchen. Bottom: Dried Zante currants are also dried grapes, but a much smaller variety than those used for raisins. Photo courtesy BrokeAndBeautiful.com. Check out her Grandma’s Irish Soda Bread Recipe.

     
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    *The difference between baking soda and baking powder.

    †Substitutes for buttermilk: (a) 1 tablespoon of white vinegar or lemon juice plus enough milk to measure 1 cup. Stir, then let stand for 5 minutes. (b) 1 cup of plain yogurt or 1-3/4 teaspoons cream of tartar, plus 1 cup of milk.
     

    Preparation

    1. PREHEAT the oven to 350°F. Lightly grease a 9-inch round cake pan.

    2. MIX the flour, sugar, caraway seed, baking powder, baking soda, cinnamon and salt in large bowl. Stir in the raisins. Mix the buttermilk, eggs and vanilla in medium bowl; stir into the dry ingredients. Spread the dough in prepared pan.

    3. BAKE 45 to 50 minutes or until a toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean. Cool in the pan on a wire rack for 10 minutes. Remove from pan. Cool completely on wire rack.

     

    Savory Irish Soda Bread Recipe With Cheddar

    Cayenne Pepper

    Top: Savory Irish Soda Bread is typically made with Irish Cheddar. Photo courtesy Hot Bread Kitchen. Bottom: Cayenne, ground red pepper. Photo courtesy Silk Road Spices.

     

    RECIPE: SAVORY IRISH SODA BREAD WITH CHEDDAR

    This savory version of Irish Soda Bread from McCormick adds Irish Cheddar cheese and garlic powder instead of raisins and cinnamon. It yields 12 slices.

    Prep time is 10 minutes, cook time is 40 minutes.

    Muffin variation: Divide the dough among 12 greased muffin cups. Bake for 20 to 25 minutes or until toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean.
     
    Ingredients

  • 2-1/2 cups flour
  • 1/2 cup sugar (we used 2 tablespoons—this is a savory bread)
  • 1-1/2 teaspoons baking powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 2 teaspoons caraway seed
  • 1 teaspoon garlic powder
  • Optional: 1 tablespoon herbs de Provence, rosemary or other herb
  • 1/4 teaspoon ground red pepper (cayenne‡)
  • 1/2-1 cup shredded Irish Cheddar (use more for cheesier bread—substitute sharp Cheddar)
  • 2 eggs
  • 1-1/4 cups buttermilk
  •  
    _______________________________
    ‡Cayenne, ground red pepper, is the ripened, dried pod of the Capsicum frutescens, one of the two main species of chile peppers (the other is Capsicum annuum). It is the same chile that is made into crushed chile flakes. Members of the species include piri piri (African Bird’s Eye, Malagueta, Tabasco and less-known (in the U.S.) chiles.

    Preparation

    1. PREHEAT the oven to 350°F. Lightly grease a 9-inch round cake pan.

    2. MIX the flour, sugar, baking powder, baking soda, salt and seasonings in large bowl. Stir in the cheese and set aside.

    3. MIX the eggs and buttermilk in a medium bowl. Add to the dry ingredients; stir until well blended. Spread the dough in the prepared cake pan.

    4. BAKE for 30 to 40 minutes or until a toothpick inserted in center comes out clean. Cool the bread in the pan on wire rack for 10 minutes. Remove from the pan. Cool completely on a wire rack.

      

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    ST. PATRICK’S DAY: Rainbow Bundt Cake

    There’s a surprise in this Bundt cake: a rainbow of colors. For St. Patrick’s Day, garnish the cake platter with gold foil chocolate coins—the ones in the pot at the end of the rainbow. (We filled the center of the Bundt with the coins.)

    In this recipe from McCormick, prep time is 30 minutes, cook time is 35 minutes. The cake yields 12 servings.

    RAINBOW BUNDT CAKE

    Ingredients

  • 1 package (2-layer size) white cake mix
  • 1 teaspoon pure orange extract
  • Food colors: blue, green, red and yellow
  • 1-1/2 cups confectioners’ sugar
  • 2 tablespoons water
  • 1/2 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
  • Garnish: whipped cream
  •  
    For The Whipped Cream

  • 1 cup heavy cream
  • 1/4 cup confectioners’ sugar
  • 1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
  • Optional: 1 tablespoon Irish Cream liqueur*
  •  
    Preparation

    1. PREHEAT the oven to 350°F. Grease and flour a 12-cup Bundt pan.

    2. PREPARE the cake mix per package directions, stirring in the orange extract. Divide the batter evenly among 4 bowls. Tint each bowl a different color. Stir 50 drops (about 1/2 teaspoon) of red, green or blue food color into each of 3 of the bowls. Stir 25 drops (about 1/4 teaspoon) of yellow food color into the last bowl.

    3. POUR the red batter, followed by the yellow, green and blue batters, into the Bundt pan. Pour each color batter gently into the pan so that each batter is layered over, instead of mixed into, the previous one.

    4. BAKE for 30 to 35 minutes or until a toothpick inserted into the center comes out clean. Cool in pan 10 minutes. Invert cake onto wire rack. Cool completely. Meanwhile…

    5. MIX the confectioners’ sugar, water and vanilla until smooth. Drizzle the glaze over the cooled cake. Prior to serving…

    6. MAKE the whipped cream. Combine the ingredients in a medium bowl with electric mixer on high speed until stiff peaks form.

     

    Rainbow Bundt Cake

    McCormick Food Color

    Chocolate Coins

    Rainbow Bundt and food color from McCormick. The chocolate coins from SweetGourmet.

     
    BUNDT CAKE HISTORY

    What does “Bundt” mean? Who invented the shape of the cake?

    Check out the history of the Bundt cake (scroll down below the recipe for the Apple Streusel Bundt).
     
     
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    *If using liqueur in the whipped cream, reduce the vanilla extract to 1/2 teaspoon.

      

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    TIP OF THE DAY: Make Green Ketchup For St. Patrick’s Day

    Green Ketchup Recipe

    Heinz Green Ketchup

    Homemade green ketchup, and the gone-but-not-forgotten version from Heinz. Top photo courtesy This Mama Cooks, bottom photo courtesy The Kraft Heinz Company.

     

    Ketchup is one of the most familiar condiments in America. Even in our big melting pot, is there a demographic group that hasn’t tried it?

    Ketchup has many uses beyond eating, including polishing silverware and removing the green tinge in bleached blonde hair (no kidding—check out these non-food uses for ketchup).

    But given all its food uses, why not make a big batch of green ketchup for St. Patrick’s Day meals and gifting?
     
    THE RECENT HISTORY OF GREEN KETCHUP

    Housewives have been making green tomato sauce since…well, probably since there were green tomatoes.

    But back in 2000, ketchup giant H.J. Heinz decided to bring red ketchup flavor to green ketchup*. Targeted to kids, their Blastin’ Green ketchup, created as a promotion in tandem with the first Shrek movie, was a smash. It engendered additional colors for the E-Z Squirt line: Awesome Orange, Funky Purple, Passion Pink, Stellar Blue and Totally Teal.

    Alas for its fans, although 25 million units were sold, the novelty lost steam and the colors were discontinued in 2006.

    There was a brief revival in 2012. Heinz created green ketchup packets for a Burger King St. Patrick’s Day promotion; but that idea didn’t fly past 2012. [Source]

    Don’t be daunted by the lack of green ketchup on store shelves. You can make your own green ketchup with green tomatoes. There are many recipes online, from sweet to spicy.

    This green ketchup recipe from ThisMamaCooks.com is made with the low glycemic, better-than-sugar sweetener, agave nectar (a.k.a. agave syrup).

    It’s easy to flavor your homemade ketchup, with variations such as Cranberry, Curry, Horseradish and Hot Chile (Chipotle, Jalapeño, Sriracha, etc.)
     
    USES FOR GREEN KETCHUP

    Green ketchup has the same uses as red ketchup, of course. And if you only use ketchup with burgers and fries, or with breakfast eggs, you’re not giving it its full props.

    Use your green ketchup to make green condiments for St. Patrick’s Day.

  • Add mayo, sour cream or yogurt to create a dipping sauce.
  • Use it as the base fr green barbecue sauce.
  • Combine it with mayonnaise to make Russian Dressing.
  • Add some pickle relish to Russian Dressing for Thousand Island Dressing.
  •  
     
    THE ORIGINAL KETCHUP WAS NEITHER RED NOR TOMATO-BASED

    In fact, it was brown and the precursor of modern Worcestershire sauce.

    The first known recipe for ketchup in English was published in 1727 by one Eliza Smith (you can still buy it). Part of a volume entitled Compleat Housewife; or, Accomplished Gentlewoman’s Companion, the condiment was spelled as “kachop,” a transliteration of the Asian fish sauce after which it was fashioned.

    Ingredients included anchovies, shallots, white wine vinegar, two types of white wine, mace, ginger, cloves, whole peppers, a whole nutmeg, lemon peel and horseradish.

    Check out the history of ketchup.

     
    *Making ketchup in colors required re-engineering of the ketchup product. The red color had to be stripped out and food coloring was added. The flavor was tweaked to taste like the original. [Source]

     
      

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    ST. PATRICK’S DAY RECIPES: Irish Spuds & Green Dip With Green Beer

    Green Beer & Fries

    Green Food Color

    St. Pat’s snack: wedge fries, green dip and a green beer. You can color any light-hued food green. Photos courtesy McCormick.

     

    For St. Patrick’s Day you’ll be able to buy green-tinted bagels, beer, donuts, and more; but you can also plan to color your own foods.

    Chocolate chip cookies? Mashed potatoes? Milk? Oatmeal? Pancakes? With a bottle of green food color you can have a blast/

    Here are three recipes from McCormick, maker of that green food color, to add to the collection: Irish Spuds With Green Ranch Dip, Green Beer and Leprechaun Lemonade.

    For St. Patrick’s Day fun, color your food green.

    Here, roasted potato wedges and crudites are dipped in a green-tinted ranch dressing and served with green beer or “Leprechaun Lemonade.”

     
    RECIPE: IRISH SPUDS WITH GREEN RANCH DIP

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

    Ingredients For 6 Servings

  • 2 pounds russet* baking potatoes
  • 2 tablespoons olive oil
  • 1 teaspoon chili powder
  • Optional: 1 teaspoon dried parsley or other green herb
  • 1 teaspoon kosher salt
  • 1 cup ranch dressing†
  • 1/4 teaspoon green food color (20 to 25 drops)
  • Crudités: 2-3 varieties of raw vegetables
  •  
    Preparation

    1. PREHEAT the oven to 450°F. Cut the potatoes into 3-1/2-inch wedges and place them in a large bowl. Add the oil and toss to coat well.

    2. MIX the chili powder, optional parsley and salt. Sprinkle over the potatoes and toss to coat evenly. Arrange the potatoes in a single layer in foil-lined 15x10x1-inch baking pan.

    3. BAKE for 30 minutes or until potatoes are tender and golden brown. While the potatoes are baking, slice the crudités.

    4. MIX the ranch dressing and food color in medium bowl until well blended. Serve it as a dip with the potato wedges and crudités.
    _______________________________
    *Idaho is a brand name for russet potatoes grown in Idaho.
    †If you want to make your own dressing, here’s a ranch dressing recipe.

     
    RECIPE: GREEN BEER

    Ingredients Per 12-Ounce Beer

  • 1 can (12 ounces) light-colored beer (Pale Ale, Pilsner or other Pale Lager, Wheat Beer)
  • 5 to 6 drops green food color
  •  
    Preparation

    1. PLACE the food color in a glass. Add the beer and stir gently until evenly tinted.

     

    RECIPE: LEPRECHAUN LEMONADE

    Ingredients For 4 Servings

  • 4 cups lemonade‡
  • 1/2 teaspoon raspberry extract
  • 15 drops green food color
  • Ice cubes
  •  
    Preparation

    1. MIX all ingredients in a pitcher. Pour into ice-filled glasses.
     
    Variations

  • For Strawberry Leprechaun Lemonade, use replace the raspberry extract with strawberry extract.
  • For an adult version, stir in 1/2 cup Limoncello or a clear spirit (cachaça, gin, rum, tequila, vodka); or 1/4 cup of each.
  •  

    Green Lemonade Recipe

    Leprechaun Lemonade can be turned into a cocktail with Limoncello and/or a clear spirit. Photo courtesy McCormick.

     
    __________________________
    ‡Here’s a recipe for homemade lemonade.

      

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    RECIPE: Green Candy Apples

    Green Chocolate Apple

    For St. Patrick’s Day, make chocolate-covered apples with green-tinted white chocolate. Photo courtesy Aiya Matcha.

     

    We received a recipe from Aiya Matcha, for Matcha White Chocolate Candy Apples. The matcha tea powder colors the chocolate green. Voilà: a snack for St. Patrick’s Day.

    We whipped up a batch. Matcha imparts a sophisticated flavor to the chocolate, but not all tasters were fans of green tea. For them, we went to Plan B, using green food color instead of matcha. Depending on how many drops of food color you use, you can get a much deeper green hue.

    Whichever you prefer,
     
    RECIPE: GREEN CHOCOLATE APPLES

    Ingredients For 6 Apples

  • 6 small granny smith apples
  • 6-8 ounces white chocolate chips (we use Guittard)
  • 1 teaspoon matcha tea or green food color
  • Choice of garnishes: chopped nuts, coconut, mini chips, sprinkles, or the St. Patrick’s garnishes below
  • Ice pop sticks or substitute (check out these bright green sticks)
  •  
    St. Patrick’s Day Theme Garnishes

  • Green Sanding Sugar
  • Green Sprinkles
  • Shamrock sprinkles
  • St. Patrick’s Nonpareils
  •  
    Preparation

    1. REMOVE the stems and wash the apples. Pierce the sticks into the stem end.

    2. PLACE 6-8 ounces (about ½ bag) of white chocolate chips into a microwavable bowl. Microwave for 30 seconds, stir, then microwave for 30 more seconds. If the chocolate chips are not yet melted, microwave in 10 second intervals, stirring in-between.

    3. SIFT the matcha over the melted chocolate, or add green food color drop by drop to the desired hue. Stir with a spoon until blended.

    4. DIP and coat the apples with white chocolate mixture (it may be helpful to use a spatula to smooth the chocolate mixture over the apple). Roll or dip the bottom third of the apple in the garnish. Place onto parchment or wax paper to dry.

     
      

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    RECIPE: Tricolor Jello Fingers For St. Pat’s, July 4th, Halloween, Christmas & More

    Green Jello Squares

    Jell-O Treats

    Tricolor Jello Mold

    Top: St. Patrick’s Day themed Jell-O from TheModernRoost.com used food color to create the darkest green layer. Center: The recipe for this Halloween Jell-O from SomethingNewForDinner.com. Bottom: Christmas Jell-O from Due Forni | Las Vegas.

     

    You’re never to old to enjoy a fancy Jell-O dish. Call it retro, call it Jell-O art; just call it to the table.

    Multi-layer jello finger food (no fork or spoon required), called finger Jell-O, ribbon Jell-O or Jell-O squares, is the type of food fun that the family can look forward to with each holiday. Simply match the colors to the occasion.

    You can make as many layers, and as many colors, as you like. The Pioneer Woman makes an even snazzier version. So does the Brown-Eyed Baker.

    You can slice this into what is known as “finger Jello,” because you can pick it up and eat it with your fingers. Extra gelatin is added to the Jell-O to create a firm texture.

    You can make it in any colors; for example:

  • Green and white for St. Patrick’s Day (one layer of Lime Jell-O, one layer of Melon Jell-O)
  • Red white and blue for Memorial Day and Independence Day
  • Blue and white for Chanukah
  • Orange and Peach or Black Cherry for Halloween
  • Black Cherry red and Raspberry red for Valentine’s Day
  • Team colors for the Super Bowl (use food color to tint as needed)
  •  
    Check out the different flavors and colors of Jell-O.
     
    You can make a diet version with sugar-free Jell-O, and swap the sweetened condensed milk for evaporated milk that you sweeten with a non-caloric sweetener.

    RECIPE: JELL-O SQUARES

    In this recipe, adapted from Taste Of Home, the Jell-O is firmed into “finger Jell-O” or “Jell-O squares” with the addition of extra gelatin. Prep time is 30 minutes, plus 90 minutes chilling/firming time.

    Make the recipe on a day when you can let each mixture come to room temperature at its own pace, and firm up each layer in the fridge for more than 30 minutes. Don’t skimp on the cooling and firming times, or you won’t be pleased with the results.
     
    Ingredients For 32 Pieces

  • 1 box (6 ounces) Lime Jell-O
  • 1 box (6 ounces) Melon Fusion Jell-O
  • 4 envelopes unflavored gelatin
  • 1 can (14 ounces) sweetened condensed milk
  • Boiling water, cold water
  • Preparation

    1. SPRAY a 9×13-inch baking pan (ideally Pyrex) with nonstick spray.

    2. MAKE the bottom layer: In a medium bowl, mix the green Jell-O with 1 envelope of the unflavored gelatin. Add 2 cups boiling water and stir to dissolve. Cool to room temperature and pour into the pan. Refrigerate for 30 minutes or longer, until firm.

    3. MAKE the center layer: In a clean bowl, mix the sweetened condensed milk with 1 cup boiling water. In a separate small bowl, sprinkle 2 envelopes of unflavored gelatin over ½ cup cold water. Let the gelatin stand for 4 minutes and then add ½ cup boiling water to dissolve it. Add to the condensed milk mixture and stir to combine. Cool to room temperature and pour over the bottom layer. Refrigerate for 30 minutes or longer, until firm.

    5. MAKE the top layer. In a medium bowl, mix the red Jell-O with 1 envelope of the unflavored gelatin. Add 2 cups boiling water and stir to dissolve. Cool to room temperature and pour over the middle layer. Refrigerate for 30 minutes or longer, until firm.

    6. SLICE into individual pieces, plate and serve.

     

    THE HISTORY OF JELL-O

    Gelatin (also spelled gelatine) has been made since ancient times by boiling animal and fish bones. Aspic, a savory, gelatin-like food made from meat or fish stock, was a French specialty centuries before the dawn of commercial gelatin. It was very difficult to prepare, relying only on the natural gelatin found in the meat to make the aspic set.

    Powdered gelatin was invented in 1682 by Denis Papin. But the concept of cooking it with sugar to make dessert dates to 1845 and an American inventor named Peter Cooper. Cooper patented a dessert product that was set with gelatin, but it didn’t take off.

    In 1897, Pearle Wait, a carpenter in Le Roy, New York (Genesee County), experimented with gelatin and developed a fruit flavored dessert which his wife May named Jell-O. The first four flavors were orange, lemon, strawberry and raspberry.

    Wait tried to market his product but lacked the capital and experience. In 1899 he sold his formula to a townsman and manufacturer of proprietary medicines, Orator Frank Woodward, for $450. The Jell-O itself was manufactured by Andrew Samuel Nico of Lyons, New York.

    Alas, sales were slow and one day, Wait sold Sam Nico the business for $35. In 1900, the Genesee Pure Food Company promoted Jell-O in a successful advertising campaign, and by 1902 sales were $250,000. In 1923 the owners created the Jell-O Company, Inc., which replaced the Genesee Pure Foods Company. The purpose was to protect the Jell-O trade name and to keep it from becoming a generic term.

    That same year, the Jell-O Company was sold to the Postum Cereal Company, the first subsidiary of a large merger that would eventually become General Foods Corporation. Lime Jell-O was introduced in 1930.

     

    Old Strawberry Jello Box

    Strawberry Jello Box

    Top: A box of strawberry Jell-O from the 1890s, courtesy eBaumsWorld.com. Bottom: Strawberry Jell-O today. Photo courtesy Kraft Foods.

     

    Today Jell-O is manufactured by Kraft Foods, a subsidiary of Phillip Morris, which acquired both Kraft and General Foods in the 1980s and ultimately merged the two companies. There’s a Jell-O Gallery Museum in Le Roy, New York.

      

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    TIP OF THE DAY: Flavored Whipped Cream

    While classic whipped cream is a festive topping on everything from shortcakes to ice cream sundaes, flavored whipped cream tends to be memorable. While Reddi-Wip makes chocolate whipped cream, usually the only way to experience flavored whipped cream is to make your own.

    It’s not a new idea! By the end of the 19th century, the industrial revolution had enabled centrifuge-separated, high-fat cream. Cooks could buy the cream and whip it directly, without tedious hours spent skimming it from the top of milk.

    Pastry chefs went to town making a myriad of whipped cream desserts, shaped in molds, flavored with chocolate, coffee, fruits and liqueurs. Here’s the history of whipped cream.

    Today, it’s not surprising that you can buy Baileys Irish Cream Whipped Cream in Ireland. But you can make your own as quickly as making a trip to the store.
     
    RECIPE: WHIPPED CREAM WITH IRISH CREAM LIQUEUR

    How about some whipped cream for St. Patrick’s Day that’s flavored with Irish Cream liqueur? Use it on brownies, pound cake, in your coffee or hot chocolate, and anywhere you can: It’s delicious!

    If you’d like a mint-flavored whipped cream (delicious with anything chocolate), substitute green Creme de Menthe liqueur. A deep green color, it will tint the whipped cream green.
     
    Ingredients

  • 2 cup heavy whipping cream chilled
  • 1/3 cup Irish Cream liqueur chilled
  • 1/4 cup powdered sugar
  • Optional: green food color
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    Preparation

    1. CHILL the heavy cream thoroughly so it will whip better. Put the cream and the liqueur in the freezer for 20 minutes prior to whipping.

    2. ADD the ingredients to a stand mixer or a large bowl (if using a hand mixer). Beat on high until stiff peaks form, about 5-7 minutes. It’s ready to serve!
     
    Tips

  • If you want to make the whipped cream an hour in advance, under-whip it; then give it a final whip by hand to right before serving.
  • If you want your whipped cream to keep its shape and not deflate, stabilized whipped cream, which has added gelatin, will keep the whipped cream stiff for days. Here’s a recipe.
  •  
    MORE FLAVORED WHIPPED CREAM RECIPES

  • Bourbon, Five Spice, Holiday Spice, Lavender, Rum & Salty Caramel Whipped Cream
  • Candy Cane Whipped Cream
  • Chocolate Whipped Cream
  • Frangelico Whipped Cream (substitute any liqueur)
  • Savory Whipped Cream Infused With Herbs Or Spices
  •  
    What do you do with savory whipped cream?

    First, you ditch the sugar and vanilla extract in favor of savory flavors. Then, you garnish a bowl of soup, top a baked potato, garnish a plate of asparagus.

    Add lemon zest to whipped cream for fish and seafood (including smoked salmon); bourbon for grilled meats; grated Parmesan cheese for soup, meats and fish; horseradish for beef; herbs or spices with vegetables.

    You’ll love how flavored whipped cream adds new life to recipes.

     

    Brownie With Whipped Cream

    Making Whipped Cream

    Pouring Baileys Irish Cream

    Pudding Parfaits

    Top photo: A brownie with a side of Irish Cream whipped cream (Piyato | Dreamstime). Second: Whipping the cream (Kuhn-Rikon photo). Third: For St. Patrick’s Day, make your flavor Irish Cream Liqueur (photo Diageo). Bottom: Whipped Cream tinted green in this cookie parfait recipe from Yummly.

     

      

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    TIP OF THE DAY: Plan Something Special For St. Patrick’s Day (45+ Recipes!)

    It’s March first, and that means one thing in our home: Do we want to have a St. Patrick’s Day party?

    If so, should it be dinner for eight of classic Irish dishes or very modern ones (corned beef and cabbage egg rolls and tacos, Guinnesss Stout floats); an after-work cocktail hour with green cocktails; an Irish beer or Irish whiskey tasting with Irish cheeses; or Irish-themed desserts for our sweet-toothed friends, served with coffee, Irish tea and Irish Coffee?

    Note that “Irish-themed” comprises any authentic Irish food, or anything colored green, from Appletinis and Broccoli Salad to Chocolate Mint ice cream, to a anything containing Irish spirits: Guinness and other Irish beers, Irish cream liqueur and Irish whiskey.

    While we mull it over, we sorted through these recipes. As you peruse them, think of what you might like to do.

    IRISH-THEMED BREAKFAST

  • Avocado & Sour Cream On Toast
  • Corned Beef Hash (With Poached Eggs)
  • Irish Breakfast Tea
  • Irish Soda Bread
  • Irish Soda Muffins
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    IRISH-THEMED COCKTAILS

  • Absinthe, The “Green Beast”
  • Appletini
  • Champagne & Oysters
  • Emerald Isle With Pressed Green Juice
  • Irish Coffee Shots
  • Peppermint Paddy Martini
  • Pot O’ Goldtini
  • The Shamrocker (Bright Green)
  • The White Irishman (A White Russian Variation)
  •  
    IRISH-THEMED LUNCH & DINNER RECIPES

  • Avocado Potato Salad
  • Broccoli Salad
  • Corned Beef & Cabbage Egg Rolls
  • Corned Beef & Cabbage Potato Salad
  • Green Deviled Eggs
  • Green Lasagna Or Any Pasta With Pesto
  • Guinness Fish & Chips
  • Guinness-Marinated Corned Beef & Cabbage
  • Lamb Kabobs With Guinness Marinade
  • Leafy Greens
  • Potato-Rosemary Rolls
  • Slow Cooker Beef Stew
  • Warm Spinach Mascarpone Dip
  •  
    IRISH-THEMED DESSERTS

  • Green Cheese With Green Fruits (Granny Smith Apples, Grapes, Green Pears, Kiwi)
  • Grasshopper Pie
  • Green Macarons
  • Green Mint Cheesecake Bars
  • Green Ombre Layer Cake
  • Green Velvet Cupcakes
  • Guinness Chocolate Cupcakes
  • Guinness Chocolate Mousse
  • Irish Cheese Plate
  • Irish Cream Liqueur Cheesecake
  • Irish Cream Swirl Brownies
  • Upside-Down Irish Whiskey Cake
  • Shamrock Cupcakes With Green Jelly Beans
  •  
    IRISH-THEMED SNACKS

  • Apple Leprechaun For Kids
  • Cheddar & Bacon Guacamole
  • Green Marshmallows
  • Green Mint Milkshake
  • Leprechaun Gingerbread Men
  • Matcha Shortbread Cookies
  • Microwave Kale Chips
  • Shamrock Cookies
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    Green Deviled Eggs

    Irish Soda Bread

    Irish Cheddar

    Guinness Float

    Corned Beef & Cabbage

    Green Ombre Cake

    See captions and photo credits at the left, below.

    _______________________________
    PHOTO CAPTIONS
  • Top: Green Deviled Eggs from the California Avocado Commission.
  • Second: Irish Soda Bread Recipe from The Baker Chick.
  • Third: Irish Cheddar from Murray’s Cheese.
  • Fourth: Guinness Float from R Lounge | Times Square.
  • Fifth: Guinness-Marinated Corned Beef & Cabbage from Justin O’Connor | Guinness Storehouse | Dublin.
  • Bottom: Green Ombre Layer Cake from McCormick.
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