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TIP OF THE DAY: How To Cook Octopus

Raw Octopus

Ceviche With Octopus

Grilled Octopus

Octopus Salad With Beans

Fancy Grilled Octopus

Octopus Tostadas

[1] Cleaned, frozen, thawed and ready to cook (photo courtesy EuroUSA). [2] Ceviche with marinated (not grilled) octopus (photo courtesy Lola | Denver). [3] Seared and ready to plate (photo courtesy Scarpetta | NYC). [4] A classic first course or luncheon salad: grilled octopus and fancy greens atop a bean salad vinaigrette (photo courtesy l’Amico | NYC). [5] An easy yet fancy main (photo courtesy Gardenia | NYC). [6] Octopus tostadas (photo courtesy


Over the past 10 years, charred/seared or grilled octopus has become de rigueur at just about every restaurant we patronize.

That’s great news, because we love grilled octopus with a drizzle of olive oil. It doesn’t get more delicious than that.

Yet, simple as it is to grill seafood, we never tried it at home. One reason: We typically don’t see mature octopus at fish markets (in mainstream markets, it’s often a special order); and we personally don’t like the miniature size (not as meaty, not as tender, etc.).

So this past weekend, we happened upon frozen octopus at a Latin American grocer. It was tentacles only, which means we didn’t have to remove the head and beak. What could we do but buy it and give it a shot?

It turns out that frozen octopus is actually more tender than fresh. Freezing and then thawing the tentacles helps to tenderize the meat. White wine, often used as a braising liquid to slow-cook the tentacles, is a second tenderizer.

Octopus, first braised/poached and then charred/seared or grilled, is incredibly versatile and can take on any aromatics. The classic Mediterranean preparation is poached in white wine with garlic and oregano, served with gigante beans and/or some combination of capers, lemon, olives and tomatoes.

But you can make anything from octopus tostadas to tandoori octopus; or go beyond the popular octopus and bean salad with a salad of fennel, mint, orange slices and red onion in a sherry vinaigrette.

You can cut the cooked octopus into kabob chunks, serve it thinly sliced on a flatbread pizza. We made a hero sandwich with sliced octopus, roasted red peppers and giardiniera.

Perhaps the most difficult step with octopus is he first step: deciding how you want to serve it, with so many delectable options. Some of our favorites are shown in the photos—at least, the ones we’re capable of making. Also take a look at pulpo a la gallega, an octopus and potato torta from Spain; and octopus terrine, which can be turned into octopus pastrami.


Here’s an important note before you start: As with bacon, onions and other foods, what looks like a lot of cooks down to far less. Estimate 3/4 to 1 pound per person as a first course.

Ingredients For 6 First Courses

  • 1/4 cup plus extra-virgin olive oil
  • 3 pounds octopus, thawed overnight in the fridge
  • 6 garlic cloves, peeled
  • 1 tablespoon plus 1 teaspoon crushed red pepper, oregano, or both
  • 1 bottle dry white wine (e.g. Pinot Grigio, Sauvignon Blanc)
  • 2 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
  • Salt

    1. REMOVE the beak from the octopus. Place a plastic cutting board in the sink, slice off the head, and flip the octopus to remove the beak, which is in the middle of the tentacles. With a paring knife, slice around the beak and pushing it through, as if coring a pear or tomato. It will to pop out the other side.

    2. HEAT 2 tablespoons of the olive oil in a large enameled cast-iron casserole or dutch oven. Add the octopus and cook over moderately high heat, turning until lightly browned (2 to 3 minutes). Transfer the octopus to a plate or bowl. Add the garlic cloves to the casserole and cook over moderate heat, stirring until lightly browned, about 2 minutes. Add the crushed red pepper and cook, stirring, until fragrant, about 20 seconds.

    3. ADD the white wine gently, and bring the braising liquid to a boil. Here’s a tip from every Italian nonna: When slow-cooking in wine, put the actual wine cork in the braising liquid to cook along with the octopus. It’s one of those tricks that no one can explain. But simple slow cooking (braising) also creates tender tentacles, so don’t go crazy looking for “the secret.” There is one tip we’ll pass along from Bon Appetit: If you want the tentacles to curl, dip them in the hot poaching broth three times before submerging.

    4. RETURN the octopus to the casserole, add up to 1 cup of water or broth if necessary, to cover the octopus. Cover the casserole and braise over moderately low heat until very tender, about 1 hour and 30 minutes. Remove from the heat and let the octopus completely in the braising liquid, another technique that keeps the flesh tender.”

    5. REMOVE the red skin by rubbing it with a paper towel, taking care to leave the on suckers, which are the parts that get crispy when grilled. Plus, removing them will dry out the cooked octopus. If the suckers start to come off when rubbing, it means the octopus has been cooked it too long. It isn’t ruined, but do your best to keep the remainder intact for the aforementioned reasons.

    6. FINISH the octopus by searing in a large skillet with 2 tablespoons of olive oil, creating a deep char on the outside. We prefer to sear the tentacles whole, about 8 minutes per side (we like ours very crispy). The flesh and suckers will caramelize nicely; (you can also thinly slice the tentacles and grill cut side down over moderately high heat, for about 1 minute; then and cook for 20 seconds. We cook the octopus in long lengths, and prefer to serve it two meaty 6-inch or four 3-inch pieces. Cut the head into 1-1/2-inch pieces. We use them in green salads or as a garnish for fish.

    7. PLACE on a platter lined with paper towels to absorb any excess olive oil. Season lightly with salt. Transfer the octopus to plates. Fill the radicchio leaves with the Italian salad and set beside the octopus. Garnish with fennel fronds and serve.
    Variation: You can also roast the octopus, but we haven’t tried it.

    The octopus (plural octopuses, octopodes or octopi) is a cephalopod mollusc in the phylum Mollusca (class Cephalopoda, order Octopoda, family Octopodidae, genus Octopus, species vulgarism, plus more than 100 total species, representing one-third of all cephalopods.

    The octopus has two eyes and four pairs of arms (tentacles) and a beak mouth at the center underside of its tentacles. An invertebrate, it has no vertebral column [backbone or spine) and no other skeleton. It most intelligent of the invertebrates.



    TIP OF THE DAY: Add Cauliflower To Mashed Potatoes

    If you’re working on a special mashed potatoes recipe for the holidays—or simply enjoy them on a regular basis—we present this mashup: a blend of mashed potatoes and cauliflower.

    This combination has long been recommended for better family eating. Cauliflower adds moisture to mashed potatoes, so they can be rewarmed on the stove without drying out. Thus, you can prepare the dish completely in advance and then warm it up on the stovetop.

    The added moisture enables us to reduce the amount of butter and cream typically needed for mashed potatoes.

    Not to mention, the cruciferous superstar has more nutrition and fewer calories than potatoes.

    The crispy fried tarragon is a garnish you can save for special occasions, or cook up in five minutes for any occasion. It’s a delicious garnish for any starch or grain recipe.


    This recipe was developed by the Williams-Sonoma Test Kitchen. Prep time is 25 minutes, cook time is 25 minutes. You can make it a day in advance.
    Ingredients For 6 Servings

    For The Fried Tarragon

  • Vegetable oil for frying
  • 4 to 6 fresh tarragon sprigs (substitute basil or sage leaves)
    For The Mash

  • Kosher salt and freshly ground pepper
  • 2 pounds Yukon gold potatoes, peeled and quartered
  • 1 head cauliflower, cored and coarsely chopped, a few florets reserved for roasting
  • 1 tablespoon extra-virgin olive oil
  • 4 tablespoons (1/2 stick) (2 oz./60 g) unsalted butter
  • 1/3 cup heavy cream
  • Optional garnish: aleppo pepper flakes or red chile flakes

    1. PREHEAT the oven to 400°F.

    2. FRY the tarragon. Add the vegetable oil to a large, wide pan over medium-high heat, to depth of about 1/2 inch. Heat the oil to 350°F on a deep-frying thermometer. Add the tarragon sprigs and fry until the bubbling diminishes, about 30 seconds. Take care, as the oil will splatter.
    Using a slotted spoon, transfer to a paper towel–lined plate and sprinkle with salt. Let cool completely.

    3. MAKE the mash. Combine the potatoes and cauliflower in a large saucepan, add cold water to cover by 2 inches, and salt the water. Bring to a boil over medium-high heat; then reduce the heat to medium and simmer until the vegetables are very tender, about 20 minutes. Drain well.

    4. RICE the vegetables: Working in batches, pass the vegetables through a potato ricer into a large bowl. Alternatively, mash with a potato masher. Meanwhile…


    Mashed Potatoes & Cauliflower Recipe

    Mashed Potatoes

    Colored Cauliflower

    Fresh Tarragon

    [1] Mashup: mashed potatoes and cauliflower (photo courtesy Williams-Sonoma). [2] Classic mashed potatoes (photo courtesy U.S. Potato Commission). [3] Cauliflower in your choice of colors. You can use green, orange or purple cauliflower to add a tinge of color to your mash (photo courtesy Melissas). [4] Tarragon: a perfect herb pairing (photo courtesy Good Eggs).

    5. TOSS the reserved cauliflower florets in a bowl with the olive oil and a generous pinch of salt and pepper. Transfer to a baking sheet and roast until tender and golden brown, about 15 minutes. Remove from the oven and cover with aluminum foil to keep warm.

    6. USE the same saucepan from cooking the vegetables, and combine the butter and cream. Heat over medium heat until the butter melts and the cream just begins to simmer. Return the potato mixture to the pan, stirring it into the butter mixture. Season with salt and pepper.

    7. TRANSFER the potato mixture to a serving bowl. Garnish with the tarragon sprigs and roasted cauliflower and sprinkle with chile flakes.

  • Beet Mashed Potatoes, a vivid burgundy color for fall, Halloween and Valentine’s Day
  • Blue Cheese Mashed Potatoes
  • Creamy Low-Fat Or Non-Fat Mashed Potatoes
  • Low-Calorie Cauliflower Mashed Potatoes & Chives, with yogurt substituting for the butter and cream
  • Mashed Potato “Martini”
  • Portabella Stuffed With Mashed Potatoes & Bacon
    Halloween Mashed Potatoes

  • Mummy Mashed Potatoes
  • Spooky Shepherd’s Pie


    FOOD FUN: Marshmallow Cream Halloween Cupcakes

    Ghost Cupcake

    Marshmallow Fluff Cupcake

    Orange Ghoul Cupcake

    [1] Pipe ghost tops onto cupcakes. You can use any flavor cupcake you like. The recipe above, from California Strawberries, has an extra surprise: strawberries in the cake. [2] Another approach: a bed of marshmallow topped with Halloween candy (photo courtesy Paper Chef). [3] This orange ghoul was created by Food Network. You can tint the frosting, meringue or marshmallow any color you like.


    Ready for more Halloween food fun?

    You can make these cupcakes with a piping bag and frosting or meringue powder.

    Or you can use a jar of marshmallow cream (Fluff, Jet-Puffed, RiceMellow, Solo, etc.), or homemade marshmallow cream.

    The only challenge with the latter is that marshmallow cream won’t hold its shape over time. It needs to be refrigerated so it doesn’t collapse;

  • You need to first first chill the marshmallow in the fridge (place it in the plastic piping bag first).
  • When ready to pipe, cut a nickel-size corner off the plastic bag and pipe away.
  • Keep the cupcakes in the fridge until ready to serve, so the marshmallow doesn’t soften.
    For The Eyes

  • Use mini chocolate chips for the eyes. If you want a mouth, use a regular or large chip.
  • Insert the chips top side in, so the flat (bottom) side is on the surface of the ghost.

    Marshmallow dates back to ancient Egypt. The marsh mallow plant that was plentiful along the banks of the Nile has a slippery sap that forms a gel when mixed with water. The Egyptians mixed the “juice” with honey to make a confection, reserved for the wealthy and the gods.

    The Roman scholar Pliny the Elder credited the sap with curing all sorts of diseases, and encouraged people to drink the juice daily, although it wasn’t very palatable (what happened to the honey?). Still, for centuries the sap was used to treat sore throats, skin conditions and other maladies.
    Modern Marshmallow

    In the mid-19th century, a pharmacist in Paris came up with the idea of whipping the sap with sugar and egg whites into a light, sweet, fluffy throat remedy. A variation soon became popular as marshmallow candy.

    By the late 19th century, confectioners had determined how to mass-produce marshmallows, which included eliminating the sap entirely and replacing it with gelatin. (Prepared gelatin was patented in 1845; prior to then it was laborious to render and clarify gelatin from cattle and pig bones, skin, tendons and ligaments; and in addition to setting aspics, it was desirable as glue, a use that dates back to ancient Egypt.).

    Marshmallow sauces were popular in the early 20th century (see Marshmallow History). But to make marshmallow sauce or frosting required that the cook first make marshmallow cream. It was a two-step process: make a sugar syrup, melt marshmallow candy in a double boiler, and combine them with the syrup.

    In 1910 a marshmallow cream called Marshmallow Fluff was sold to ice cream parlors by Limpert Brothers, a company that still exists in New Jersey. You can see the original packaging on their website. Snowflake Marshmallow Creme was available around 1914.


    The first commercially successful, shelf-stable marshmallow cream, it was produced by the Curtis Marshmallow Factory of Melrose, Massachusetts. They ultimately bought the Marshmallow Fluff brand from the Lippert Brothers (details).

    While Marshmallow Fluff wasn’t the first marshmallow cream, it’s the one that endured: 94 years later, the brand is still around, with a host of me-too brands.

    Unlike conventional marshmallows, which require gelatin (an animal product) or a seaweed equivalent to set, marshmallow cream is a kosher product made from corn syrup, sugar, water, egg whites, artificial flavor, cream of tartar, xanthan gum and artificial color.

    Marshmallow Fluff is OU Kosher, Kraft Jet-Puffed Marshmallow Creme is OK Kosher. Ricemellow Creme, manufactured by Suzanne’s Specialties, Inc., is a vegan equivalent.

    Some brands call it marshmallow cream, others marshmallow creme. What’s the difference between cream and creme?

    In the U.S., it’s just the spelling. Creme is an Americanization of the French word for cream, crème (pronounced KREHM).

    When you have a perfectly good English word, why appropriate a word from another language, then mis-spell and mis-pronounce it?

    [Insert your answer here.]



    TIP OF THE DAY: A Hard Cider Party For Halloween

    Still looking for a Halloween activity?

    How about a hard cider party? It’s adult, it’s fun, and it’s an opportunity to taste and compare more hard ciders than most of us get to do.

    While in the U.S. and parts of Canada, the term “apple cider” is interchangeable with apple juice, in Europe a glass of cider is not kid stuff. It’s an alcoholic drink that that many prefer to beer—and if you look at the explosive sales figures, Americans are also discovering its charms: It’s the fastest-growing alcohol category.

    When apples are pressed and bottled, you have apple juice—also called apple cider in the U.S., although in other countries apple cider refers to hard cider.

    Hard cider is made from fermented apple juice; over a few months, the sugars in the juice turn into alcohol. As with craft beer, each brand has a distinct flavor profile and alcoholic content, generally from 3% ABV (alcohol by volume) or less to 8.5% or more.

  • Hard cider uses a different blend of apples than apple juice. In fact, many more apple varieties are used to create a fine cider. The import Magners Irish Cider is made from 17 varieties of apples!
  • Pears are also turned into cider, called perry in the U.K.
  • The juice ferments for eight weeks after the apples are pressed. The cider then matures or several months, and afterward is blended, filtered and carbonated. The result is a drink with the carbonation and alcohol of beer and the flavor of apples.
  • Many cider apples are sour, and can’t substitute for eating apples.
  • Like wine, cider it has a relatively high concentration of antioxidants; it’s naturally gluten-free and is less filling than beer.

    Beyond Halloween, you can also have a cider tasting during Thanksgiving cocktail hour, for Mother’s Day, Father’s Day, and other celebrations.

    1. INVITE friends today: Halloween is eight days away.

    2. PLAN the number of ciders based on the number of people. If you’re serving 8 or more different ciders, estimate one bottle per four proper.

    3. PARE the list. There are many different styles of cider, and ciders from different countries (England, France, Ireland, Spain and others). Each country has its own preferred style, as you’ll see in the Top Artisan Ciders section below. You can’t try them all in one night—but you can have subsequent tastings to try the rest.

  • We recommend sticking with American cider brands for the first event. You want to try a good representation of artisan ciders. There are so many different types of local cider: dry , sweet, barrel-aged, At the next event, you can taste the winners against the Europeans.
  • Similarly, save the barrel-aged, flavored ciders (apple pie, cherry, honey, raspberry, orange, etc.), ice cider (like ice wine, it’s pressed from naturally frozen fruit), perry and spiced ciders for next time.
  • Look for Angry Orchard, Crispin, Strongbow and Woodchuck, for starters; they’re national brands. You can create an entire tasting just by gathering up the different expressions of each brand. For example, Angry Orchard features Apple Ginger, Crisp Apple, Green Apple, Hop’n Mad Apple, Stone Dry, plus a fall seasonal cider, Cinn-Full Apple.
  • Artisan ciders tend to be distributed in the limited area where they are produced—not just because small companies lack sales and marketing heft, but because each brand needs to go through approval of each state liquor authority. It’s daunting, but we’ve listed some highly-rated ciders below.
  • Do not mistakenly pick up a flavored apple beer, like Redd’s Apple Cider. These beverages are artificially flavored, and don’t belong on the same table as cider, an all-natural drink.
  • Do have some apple cider (apple juice) for designated drivers. If you buy a few different kinds, they can have their own “tasting.”
    4. PLAN the eats. You can serve hard cider with any snack or food you’d serve with beer, but the sweetness of cider allows you to serve it with desserts, too.

  • For snacks: charcuterie and hearty cheeses.

    Angry Orchard Cider

    Crispin Cider

    Woodchuck Hard Cider

    Strongbow Cider

    [1] Angry Orchard, owned by Boston Brewing Company (parent of Samuel Adams beer), is the nation’s #1 cider brand (photo courtesy Boston Brewing). [2] Crispin makes a variety of styles, as well as perry (pear cider) under the Fox Barrel brand (photo courtesy Crispin Hard Cider Co.). [3] Woodchuck, another popular national brand (photo courtesy Fletcher6 | Wikipedia). [4] Strongbow cider is produced by Heineken (photo courtesy Heineken USA).

  • For main courses: chicken, pork, sausages, soups, stews, fondue (you can substitute hard cider for wine in most recipes and drink rest of the cider along with the meal).
  • For dessert: Apple desserts pair beautifully. We like bread pudding, cobbler or crisp (the difference), pie and apple-topped cheesecake.

    Here are some of the nation’s top-rated artisan ciders: Brand, variety and style. “Crisp/Dry” is the most common style. “Funky” refers to a style popular in France, with [what we really enjoy] barnardy aromas. They can also be crisp and dry. Off Dry/Semi-Dry is the classic English style: sweetness of fruit followed by a dry finish.

    Dessert ciders are sweet, like dessert wine; although off dry/semi-dry and crisp ciders can also be paired with desserts.

  • CALIFORNIA: Bonny Doon, Querry (sweet)
  • MASSACHUSETTS: Bantam, Wunderkind (off dry/semi-dry)
  • MICHIGAN: Virtue Cider, Lapinette (funky style)
  • NEW HAMPSHIRE: Farnum Hill, Extra Dry (crisp/dry style)
  • NEW YORK: Bellwether Hard Cider, King Baldwin (crisp/dry style), Doc’s Draft, Original Hard Apple Cider (off dry/semi-dry), Eve’s Cidery, Darling Creek (off dry/semi-dry), Redbyrd Orchard, Starblossom (funky style), Wölffer Estate, 139 Dry Rosé Cider (off dry/semi-dry)(
  • OREGON: E.Z. Orchards, Cidre Dry (funky style), Reverend Nat’s, Revival Hard Apple (crisp/dry), Traditions Ciderworks, Riverwood (off dry/semi-dry)
  • TEXAS: Argus Cidery, 2013 Perennial (funky style), Austin Eastciders, Gold Top (funky style)
  • VERMONT: Eden, Sparkling Cider, Dry (off dry/semi-dry
  • VIRGINIA: Foggy Ridge Cider, First Fruit (crisp/dry style)
  • WASHINGTON: Snowdrift Cider Co., Orchard Select (crisp/dry style)
  • WISCONSIN: AeppelTreow, Appely Brut; Bellwether Hard Cider, King Baldwin (crisp/dry style)


    FOOD FUN: “Eyeball” Meatball Sandwiches Or Subs

    Eyeball Meatball Sandwich Recipe

    French Rolls Recipe

    [1] Here’s looking at you! Eyeball meatball sandwich from BBQ Bob Trudnak | BBQ Guru. [2] French rolls are crusty on the outside, with an elegant crumb on the inside. They can be round dinner rolls, oblong or square sandwich rolls; the artisan versions have a dusting of flour. They’re easy to make at home with this recipe from


    You don’t need a grill to make these captivating eyeball meatball sandwiches from “BBQ Bob” Trudnak.

    We made them in a skillet on the stove top. Everyone—children and adults alike—wanted more.

    We love nouvelle surf and turf ideas of any kind. So to this recipe from “BBQ Bob” Trudnak, we added some “gourmet” flavor lists:

  • Anchovies (we had stocked up on cans from Cento).
  • substituted the more flavorful puttanesca sauce for the marina sauce.
  • Exchanged the blander Italian rolls with crusty French rolls (you can substitute lengths of a baguette instead).
  • Added some arugula we had on hand, which gave the sandwich a bite of “bite,” along with some fresh basil leaves (refreshing!).

    Ingredients For 4 Sandwiches

  • 2 pounds ground meatloaf mix (veal, pork, beef) or your preferred blend
  • 1/2 cup of grated romano or parmesan cheese
  • 1½ cups Italian bread crumbs
  • 2 eggs
  • 3 cloves of garlic minced
  • 1 tablespoon dried oregano
  • 1 tablespoon Dried basil
  • ¾ cup cold water
  • Kosher salt and cracked black pepper
  • Sliced black olives
  • Deli-sliced provolone cheese
  • Fresh short Italian rolls or substitute (we used the crisper French rolls)
  • 1 tablespoon butter
  • 2 cups marinara sauce
  • Optional: anchovies, fresh herbs, arugula, roasted red peppers
  • Optional: salad or crudités
  • Optional: beer for the adults, soft drinks for the kids

    1. HEAT the grill to 300°F direct; or for stovetop cooking, heat a skillet when ready to cook the meatballs.

    2. MIX the ground meat, eggs, bread crumbs, herbs, spices and water by hand in a bowl until well blended. Add ¼ cup of grated cheese and mix once more. Divide into 8 equal portions and oll the meatballs to the size of golf balls and set aside on wax paper.

    3. SET the meatballs in the fridge for 30 minutes while the grill comes up to temperature or the skillet heats. (a) Grill the meats balls over a direct fire turning them to brown all sides and take them to an internal temp of 165°F, or (b) similarly cook them join the stovetop. While they cook…

    4. WARM the marinara sauce. When the meatballs are done, remove them from the heat.

    5. LIGHTLY BUTTER each roll, and toast for a minute over the coals on the grill (we toasted ours plain in the toaster oven, then buttered them.

    6. ASSEMBLE: Place 2 meatballs on each roll and pour a little warm marinara sauce over them. Lay out two slices of provolone over the meatballs and place the sandwiches back on the grill in a pan to allow the cheese to melt. Place a sliced black olive on the top of each meatball so they look like eyeballs, then drizzle a little more marinara sauce between the meatballs.

    If using the arugula, anchovies, etc.: We put the on the arugula and basil on bottom half of the roll and the anchovies on top of the cheese, creating some nicely creep “hairy eyeballs.”

    WATCH THE PROCESS with this video:


    Robert “BBQ Bob” Trudnak of Lansdale, Pennsylvania has been grilling and smoking barbecue professionally for more than 13 years. He has amassed over 200 awards and prizes at national and international competitions. An entrepreneur and inventor, he helped launch the world’s first BBQ temperature control devices for the company BBQ Guru, which develops and sells high-tech cooker accessories.



    TIP OF THE DAY: Make Sorbet With Fruit Juice

    If you’re switching your menus to fall vegetables and fruits, you can still a variety of seasonal ice creams and sorbets.

    In this easy recipe, you don’t even need fruit: You use the bottled juice. Apple, blood orange, grapefruit, pear and pomegranate are delicious fall sorbet flavors.

    You can set out different garnishes and let everyone style their own dessert or snack.

    This sorbet recipe comes to us from US Apple, which has many recipes and apple-cooking and -baking tips.


  • 2 cups fresh apple cider (or other juice)
  • 1-1/4 cup pomegranate juice (or other juice)
  • 2/3 cup granulated sugar
  • 1 cinnamon stick
  • Pinch salt
  • 1 tablespoon freshly squeezed lemon juice
  • Optional garnish: dried apple chips, fresh apple slices*, pickled apple slices (recipe below), pomegranate arils

    1. STIR together the juices, sugar, cinnamon and salt in a medium saucepan over high heat. Boil for 5 minutes; then transfer to a large bowl, stir in the lemon juice, add the cinnamon stick, cover and chill in the fridge until cold.

    2. FREEZE the mixture in an ice-cream maker according to manufacturer’s instructions.
    *Leave the skin on—it’s more attractive. Be sure to dip the sliced apples in acidulated water to prevent browning: 2 tablespoons lemon juice, lime juice or wine per quart of water.
    in our Ice Cream & Sorbet Glossary.



    Apple Pomegranate Sorbet

    Natalie's Pumpkin Apple Juice

    [1] Easy apple-pomegranate sorbet, served with a fresh apple slice (photo and recipe courtesy [2] Use your favorite juice. Two of our fall favorites from Natalie’s: Pumpkin Apple and Orange Cranberry (photo courtesy


    Make your own pickled apples. In addition to a sorbet garnish, you can use them on sandwiches, slaws, sides with grilled meats and seafood, baked ham and any fat-laden recipe that needs a slightly tart counterpoint.

    This recipe makes a quart or more, depending on the apple size. If you want to test the recipe, halve it, taste and adjust accordingly. If you make the recipe but have more than you’ll use in a month, you can send some home with guests.

    Note that these are not sterilized, shelf-stable pickles. You can keep them in the fridge for up to a month. The flavors will intensify for a week.

    If you don’t like the “pumpkin pie spices,” substitute black peppercorns, cardamom, coriander seeds or other favorite.

    Make extra for gifting!


    Pomegranate Arils

    Pickled Apple Slices Recipe

    [3] Pomegranate arils are colorful and easy garnish (photo courtesy Good Eggs | SF). We buy the arils-only in plastic bags. [4] Pickled apple slices, featured in the Apple Lovers Cookbook by Amy Traverse. Here’s her recipe.




  • 1/2 cup tap water
  • 1/2 cup ice water
  • 1 cup cider or white wine vinegar
  • 1 cup sugar
  • 1 tablespoon whole allspice berries
  • 1 tablespoon whole cloves
  • 1 tablespoon ground nutmeg
  • 1 tablespoon ground ginger
  • 6 apples
  • Optional: 1/8 cup liqueur (apple or elderflower liqueur, schnaps [the difference])

  • 1-2 one-quart jars or other containers.

    1. PLACE the tap water, vinegar, sugar and spices into a small pan (for convenience, you can put the spices in a spice ball or cheesecloth). Bring to a simmer over medium-high heat, stirring until the sugar dissolves. Then add the ice water to cool the brine. Meanwhile…

    2. PEEL, core and slice them 1/2- or 3/4-inch-thick (we used a mandoline for even slices). Immediately place into the pickling containers and cover with the brine.

    3. KEEP the open jars on the counter until cool. Then cover with the lid and place in the refrigerator. Let infuse for at least 60 minutes. For the first week, the apples will continue to pick up flavor from the brine.

    Quick Pickling Variation

    We use this recipe to pickle fruits and vegetables when we have only an hour or so.

    For cooking or baking, here’s an apple conversion guide from Kercher’s Orchard:

  • 1 large apple (3″ to 3-3/4″ diameter) yields 2 cups sliced
  • 1 medium apple (2-3/4″) yields 1-1/3 cups
  • 1 small apple (2-1/4″) yields 3/4 cup


    RECIPE: Pumpkin Cinnamon Streusel Cake

    For Thanksgiving, everyone focuses on the dessert pies: pumpkin pie, pecan pie, apple pie.

    But what about the rest of the week—or the entire months of October and November—when you want something a bit lighter than pie?

    King Arthur Flour solved our dilemma with their delicious Pumpkin Streusel Cake Mix. We stocked up last year after Thanksgiving, when it was half price; but it’s $9.95 full price at is still worth it.

    Why pay triple the price of a supermarket cake mix? It’s all in the quality of the ingredients.

    The King Arthur mix is made with real pumpkin and Vietnamese cinnamon. Even the flour in the mix—the highest grade milled—is better, as fans of King Arthur Flour can tell you.

    The mix includes a packet of cinnamon-streusel filling to make the swirl in the cake. You add butter, eggs, sour cream and water.

  • In addition to the instructions on the box, which can be used to make layer cakes or cupcakes, mix ½ teaspoon of baking soda into the dry cake mix.
  • Beat for just 30-60 seconds once all the ingredients are incorporated into the bowl.

    As an alternative, you can turn the mix into a pumpkin streusel coffee cake (photo #3).

  • Instead of using a bundt pan, spread the batter in a 9″ x 13″ baking pan. Sprinkle the streusel on top of the batter
  • Bake in an oven preheated to 350°F for 34 to 38 minutes, until a cake tester comes out clean.
  • Let the cake cool and keep it in the pan. To serve, cut into rectangles. Only cut as many rectangles as you need; the air that seeps into the cut surfaces will take away some freshness.
    To Make The Cake From Scratch

    Here’s a recipe.


    Pumpkin Streusel Bundt Cake

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    [1] A pumpkin cinnamon streusel bundt cake, glazed (photo courtesy King Arthur Flour). [2] The cake made in a Heritage bundt pan, also called a swirl bundt pan from Nordicware.


    Streusel is a crumb topping made from butter, flour and sugar. It can also contain chopped nuts or rolled oats.

    It’s used on cakes and pies alike.

    Pronounced SHTROY-zul, the word derives from the German “streuen,” meaning to sprinkle or scatter. The American mis-pronunciation “STROO sul?” Fuggedaboudit.

    Streusel is used as a topping for a variety of pies, fruit crisps, cakes and pastries, most notably coffee cakes. A pie with a streusel topping is sometimes referred to as a “crumble pie.”

    Some people like big streusel crumbs, others prefer fine crumbs. The choice is yours as you pinch the crumbs together.


    Pumpkin Streusel Coffee Cake

    Pumpkin Streusel Cake Mix

    [3] Pumpkin Streusel Coffee Cake made from this [4] Pumpkin Streusel Cake Mix (photos courtesy King Arthur Flour).




  • 1 cup all-purpose flour
  • 1/3 cup light brown sugar
  • 6 tablespoons unsalted butter, room temperature
  • 1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt

    1. COMBINE the flour, sugar, cinnamon and salt in a medium bowl. With a pastry blender or fork, cut in the butter until fine crumbs form.

    2. USE your fingers to squeeze the fine crumbs into large clumps (or smaller as desired—we like large crumbs). Sprinkle over the top of the pie and bake per the recipe instructions. That’s it!

    First, there was the Austrian kugelhopf, a sweet yeast bread similar to brioche and panettone, made in a pan shaped like a chef’s hat or a turban.

    A Viennese specialty, it was a favorite of the Austrian Archduchess Marie Antoinette, who became the wife of King Louis XVI of France in 1770.

    Fast forward 180 years: Some Jewish ladies in Minneapolis couldn’t find any kugelhopf pans in the U.S., pans with pleated folds that their families had in the Old Country. They turned to a local manufacturer and convinced him to create a version of it. The bundt cake was born.

    The name bundt is a derivation of the German word for a gathering of people—exactly what you’ll have when there’s a bundt cake to be enjoyed.

    Here’s the history of the bundt cake.




    RECIPES: Halloween Cocktail Party

    No plans for Halloween? You can still invite the gang for a Halloween cocktail party with these special cocktails:

    There’s still time to invite friends to a Halloween cocktail party—costumes optional. Create your cocktail menu from these cocktail recipes:

  • Bloody Eyeball Martini
  • Bloody Vampire Martini
  • Brandy-Based Cocktails
  • Drunken Pumpkin Pie
  • Candy Corn Cocktail
  • Gin-Based Cocktails: Bloody Scream, Satan’s Whiskers, Swamp Demon, Witch’s Brew
  • Harvest Moon Cocktail
  • Kahlúa-Based Cocktails
  • Pumpkin Divine Martini
  • Smoking Blood Orange Mimosa
  • Spider Bite With Frangelico, dripping with “blood”
  • Vampire Cocktail With Fangs
  • Vodka-Based Cocktails
  • Toffee Apple Martini
  • Vampire Elixir

    1. SEND out the invite. Costumes optional?

    2. DEVELOP the menu: 4 or 5 cocktail options, plus a mocktail and soft drinks for the designated drivers.

    3. CHOOSE some recipes that can be made in advance, and make multiple quantities in pitchers.

    The easiest: a mix of apple cider, pomegranate juice and club soda, with an optional candy pumpkin, notched to fit on the glass rim, or a lime wheel.

    Mix the juices in a pitcher, and add club soda to the glass after pouring. Vary the proportions as you prefer, starting with a 2:1 or 3:1 proportion of juice to soda.

    Alternatively, there are hundreds of Halloween cocktail recipes online.


    Vampire Martini

    Bloody Eyeball Martini

    [1] Vampire Martini (photo courtesy Betty Crocker). [2] Bloody Eyeball Martini (photo courtesy Kim Plaszek).




    FOOD HOLIDAY: Celebrate World Egg Day With Something Different

    Egg Stuffed Peppers

    Eggs Benedict On Croissant

    Fried Egg Sandwich

    [1] Try baked eggs in bell pepper halves (photo courtesy Foodie Crush | Go Bold With Butter). [2] Eggs Benedict on a croissant instead of the classic English Muffin (photo courtesy Peach Valley Cafe). [3] A fried egg sandwich, elevated with a whole grain seeded roll (photo courtesy National Pasteurized Eggs).


    World Egg Day is October 21st.

    Most of us have grown up with the incredible, edible egg; and we are egg-static to celebrate this little protein powerhouse.

    With over 6 grams of high-quality protein, nine essential amino acids and only 70 calories, , it’s one of the least egg-spensive sources of high-quality protein per serving.

    It’s a staple food as well as an indulgence (caramel custard, French ice cream, hollandaise sauce, mousse…).


    Options from breakfast, lunch and dinner through dessert.
    Breakfast & Brunch Eggs

  • Best Scrambled Eggs recipe from Chef Wylie Dufresne. It has both butter and cream cheese!
  • Eggs Benedict in your signature style (recipe) (photo #2)
  • Eggs On Hash recipe
  • Egg-Stuffed Peppers (recipe) (photo #1)
  • Shakshouka, Spicy Poached & Baked Eggs (recipe)
    Brunch, Lunch & Dinner Eggs

  • Chinese Egg Drop Soup (recipe) (photo #4)
  • Croque Madame Sandwich, a grilled ham and cheese sandwich topped with a fried egg
  • Egg Salad, 25 Ways (recipes) (photo #3)
  • Fried Eggs On Rice Or Other Grain (recipe)
  • Frittata (recipe)
  • Lyonnaise Salad With Bacon & Eggs (recipe)
  • Poached Eggs With Lentils & Arugula (recipe)
  • Pork Strata (recipe)
  • Steak & Eggs, in your signature style (recipe)
  • Torta Española, Spanish Omelet (recipe)
    Egg Cetera

  • Deviled eggs (recipes; for Halloween check out the Deviled Eyeballs)
  • Green Eggs & Ham (recipe)
  • Soufflé Omelet With Balsamic Strawberries (recipe)
    Next, a recipe that is new to us: Huevos Divorciados, a Mexican breakfast dish that means “divorced eggs.” (We’ve also made it for lunch and a light dinner.)

    Sunnyside-up fried eggs are dressed up in different ways and separated on the plate, “each going its own way” (photo #4, below).

    The typical direction uses two different salsas: a spicy red salsa for one egg and a cooling tomatillo (green) salsa with the other. The salsa and eggs are set upon two crispy corn tortillas.

    But you can use different salsas, toppings and underpinnings, and come up with your signature style.

    We adapted this recipe from one by Chef Jeffrey Clark for Davidson’s Eggs.


    As is our won’t at THE NIBBLE, we like to push the boundaries of the original dish and find fun ways to customize it. For Huevos Divorciados, you can separate the two eggs and their different salsas with:

  • Bacon strips
  • Black beans or refried beans
  • Chopped cilantro
  • Crumbled cotija or queso fresco
  • Drizzled cream: crema, sour cream, yogurt
  • Fried plantains or plantain chips
  • Gringo food: cherry tomato/onion salad in vinaigrette, grilled vegetables, grits, toast fingers, wilted greens (asparagus, broccolini, collards, kale, spinach, etc.)
  • Guacamole or avocado, sliced or diced
  • Potatoes: papas bravas, papas fritas or American potato tots
  • Refried beans
  • Rolled flour tortilla
  • Sausage
  • Sliced jalapeños
  • Tortilla chips

    Ingredients For 2 Servings

  • 4 six-inch corn or flour tortillas
  • Olive oil
  • 2 tablespoons butter
  • 4 eggs
  • 12 tablespoons roasted fresh tomato salsa heated, divided
  • 12 tablespoons roasted tomatillo salsa, heated, divided
  • 1/4 cup crumbled queso fresco or shredded Monterey Jack cheese
  • 1/4 cup minced fresh cilantro
  • 4 thin slices red onion, separated
  • 2 lime wedges
  • 4 tablespoons guacamole
  • Serve with: breakfast potatoes, black or refried beans

    1. BRUSH both sides of the tortillas with olive oil. Place in baking pan and bake at 400°F for 6 minutes or until crisp. Meanwhile…

    2. PREPARE the sunny side-up eggs. Heat 1 tablespoon butter in a large nonstick skillet over medium-low heat until melted. Gently slide 2 eggs into the skillet. Cook 1 to 2 minutes or until the whites are set and opaque, and the yolks begin to firm. Gently remove from skillet; repeat with the remaining butter and eggs.

    3. PLACE two tortillas side by side on dinner plates. Place one egg on each tortilla. On each plate, ladle 6 tablespoons of the red salsa around one egg and 6 tablespoons of the salsa verde around the second egg.

    4. SPRINKLE eggs with equal amounts of cheese and cilantro. Garnish with onion slices, a lime wedge and guacamole. Serve with breakfast potatoes, refried beans, or black beans, if desired.

    It’s a view of the different types of eggs, from blue hen eggs to ostrich eggs.

    How many of these types have you had?

    The French have the ouef, the Italians and Spanish have uovo and ovo from the Latin ovum. The Greeks have oon, the Germans have Ei.

    How did we get egg?

    Egge appeared in the the mid-14th century northern England dialect, derived mostly from Old Norse and Proto-Germanic ajja, possibly derived from root awi, bird.


    Huevos Divorciados

    Chinese Egg Drop Soup

    [4] Huevos Divorciados from OiYouFood. Here’s the recipe. [5] It’s easy to make egg drop soup at home with this recipe (photo courtesy Good Eggs).

    This Norse-derived northern word vied in Middle English with cognates* eye, eai and the Old English æg, until egg finally displaced the others sometime after 1500. It appears in print in the description of a man at a public house on the Thames who asked for eggs [source].
    *Cognates are words with common etymological origins.



    TIP OF THE DAY: Caramel Apple Dip With Apples & More

    Caramel Apple Dip

    Rainbow Baby Carrots

    [1] Caramel apple dip (photo courtesy Eat Wisconsin Cheese). [2] Rainbow baby carrots (photo Elvira Kalviste | THE NIBBLE).


    If you’ll be home on Halloween—either dispensing candy or hunkering down—you need a Halloween treat that isn’t candy.

    Thanks to our friends at for this recipe.

    It’s easy to make with purchased caramel sauce (or if you’re hard core, your homemade sauce).

    The caramel dip is a bit indulgent, but you can:

  • Substitute plain or vanilla Greek yogurt for the cream and cream cheese.
  • Serve the lowest-calorie dippers: apple slices, carrots, celery and pretzel sticks.

    You can use this as a dip or a spread, a snack or a dessert.

    Ingredients For 8 Servings

  • 1/2 cup heavy whipping cream
  • 1/2 teaspoon apple pie spice
  • 1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • Pinch of salt
  • 1/4 cup prepared caramel sauce
  • 4 ounces cream cheese, softened
  • 1/2 cup apple, peeled, cored and finely diced
  • Lemon juice

  • Apple slices or dried apple chips
  • Carrot and celery; sticks
  • Ginger snaps or graham crackers
  • Potato chips or pretzels

    1. BEAT the heavy cream in a medium bowl with an electric mixer, until stiff peaks begin to form (about 2-3 minutes).

    2. ADD the apple pie spice, vanilla extract, salt and caramel sauce. Mix until combined, scraping the sides of the bowl to ensure even mixing.

    3. ADD the cream cheese and mix until just incorporated. Add the diced apple and mix until evenly combined. Cover and refrigerate at least 1 hour. Serve with fruit and/or graham crackers, gingersnaps or other cookies. When ready to serve…

    4. TOSS the diced apple in lemon juice to prevent browning. Here are other ways to prevent browning.



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