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    THE NIBBLE’s Gourmet News & Views

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

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

Archive for The Nibble

RECIPE: Margarita Chile Cheesecake Bars

You can make this recipe in a baking pan and cut traditional bars, or make them in individual glass ramekins, jars or custard cups for an especially nice presentation.

The recipe is from Melissa’s The Great Pepper Cookbook, the ultimate guide to choosing and cooking with peppers.

RECIPE: MARGARITA CHILE CHEESECAKE BARS

Ingredients For 16 Bars Or 8 Four-Ounce Custard Cups/Jars

  • 2 cups graham cracker crumbs
  • 4 tablespoons (1/4 cup) salted butter, chopped
  • 6 dried cascabel chile peppers (about 1/2 cup), stems and seeds removed, ground
  • 3/4 cup non-alcoholic Margarita cocktail mix
  • 1/2 cup plus 1 tablespoon granulated sugar
  • 2 1/2 tablespoons cornstarch
  • 3 tablespoons lime zest
  • 2 8-ounce packages cream cheese, softened
  • 2 large eggs
  • Garnishes: whipped cream, lime wheels or peel curls, dash of ground cascabel chile
  •    

    margarita-cheesecake-cups-melissas-230

    Margarita Chile Cheesecake for Cinco de MayoPhoto courtesy Melissa’s.

     

    Preparation

    1. PREHEAT the oven to 350°F. Place the graham cracker crumbs, butter and chile in a food processor; pulse until coarse and crumbly, about 2 minutes.

    2. TRANSFER the graham cracker mixture to a 13 x 9-inch baking dish and press to evenly cover the bottom of dish. Bake until golden brown, about 12-15 minutes. Cool.

    3. COMBINE the Margarita mix in a bowl combine with the sugar, cornstarch, zest and cream cheese. Whisk in the eggs until completely incorporated. Pour over the crust; bake until top browns slightly, about 30 minutes.

    4. COOL completely in the pan and cut into 16 bars, Top with whipped cream, lime wheels or peel curls and extra ground chile.

    To Make In Ramekins Or Jars

    You can make eight individual four-ounce portions.

    1. MAKE the crust as instructed above. Place 1 and 1/2 tablespoons of crust in each jar and press down. Do not pre-bake.

    2. MAKE the filling as instructed above, but fill each jar leaving a 1/2 inch space from the top.

    3. PLACE the jars on a cookie sheet and bake for 20-25 minutes, or until set. Remove from the oven, cool completely and top with the garnishes.

     

    cascabel-230

    Cascabel chiles. Photo courtesy Angelina’s Gourmet.

     

    ABOUT CASCABEL CHILES

    Cascabels are large round chiles, which ripen to a bright red, dark red or brownish red. It has moderate heat.

    The name means “rattle,” which refers to the sound the seeds make when a dried chile is shaken, as well as the round shape.

    You can substitue ancho, chipotle or guajillo chiles.

    Check out the different chile types in our Chile Glossary

     

      

    Comments

    TIP OF THE DAY: Know Your Orange Liqueur

    Do you know your Gran Gala from your Grand Marnier?

    Orange liqueur is a popular ingredient in cocktails, from classics like the Margarita and Sidecar to the contemporary Cosmopolitan. It’s also used in foods from chicken to mousse.

    Orange liqueurs are made from the peel of bitter oranges—generally varieties that are too bitter to enjoy as a fruit.

    Does it make a difference which one you buy? Name brands like Cointreau, Grand Marnier and Grand Gala are generally better products than generics like Curaçao and triple sec, even if those products are made by well-known producers.

    Some will be sweeter, some more bitter, some more complex. What you can do is hit your favorite bar with some friends, order shots of all their orange liqueurs, and decide which you like the best.

    Here’s a primer.

    TYPES OF ORANGE LIQUEUR

    Just search for “orange liqueur” in Google Images and you’ll find scores of brands you’ve never heard of. But in the U.S., these cool the roost:

       

    cointreau_beauty-wiki-230

    The original Margarita recipe was made with Cointreau. Photo | Wikimedia.

     

  • Cointreau is a brand of triple sec, a finer product than products simply labeled “triple sec.” It was first produced in 1875 Edouard Cointreau in his family’s distillery in Angers, France. It is stronger-flavored and more complex than most triple secs.
  • Curaçao is a style of liqueur made from the dried peels of the laraha citrus fruit, grown on the island of Curaçao in the Netherlands Antilles (southeast of the Virgin Islands in the Caribbean). The name is generic. The laraha developed from the sweet Valencia orange planted by Spanish explorers. The orange would not grow successfully in the climate of Curaçao; the fruits produced were small, bitter and inedible. However, the peel remained aromatic and true to the Valencia varietal, and made a delicious liqueur. The trees were bred into the current laraha species, still inedible. Some brands are colored blue or bright orange; the color adds no flavor.
  •  

    grand-marnier-bkgd-230

    Grand Marnier. Photo | Wikimedia.

     
  • Grand Marnier is a Cognac-based brand of orange liqueur, generally considered to be the finest quality of the orange liqueurs. It is made by blending macerated bitter orange skins in neutral alcohol with Cognac, and aging this spirit in oak barrels.It was created by Louis-Alexandre and first sold in 1880 as Curaçao Marnier. It became referred to as a “Grand Curaçao” because of the power of the Cognac.
  • Gran Gala is the Italian competitor to Grand Marnier, made by Stock Spirits of Trieste in Italy since 1884. It suffers from a lack of advertising awareness: The spirit is as fine as Grand Marnier; a side-by-side tasting shows it to be more assertive and more complex. Because of the layers of flavor in both Grand Marnier and Gran Gala, neither gives as pure an orange flavor as Cointreau.
  • Triple sec is a generic name for an orange-flavored liqueur made from the dried peel of oranges; the name means triple distilled. It is made from the same bitter oranges grown on the island of Curaçao as the liqueur Curaçao; the difference is that triple sec is about 1/3 as sweet as Curaçao. The orange skins are macerated (steeped) in alcohol and then distilled. Some brands names you may encounter include Bols, Combier, DeKuyper and Marie Brizard. Some sources claim that Triple Sec was invented in 1834 by Jean-Baptiste Combier in Saumur, France.
  •  
    When you taste different orange liqueurs, keep tasting notes. You may prefer one for sipping, another for mixed drinks.

      

    Comments

    TOP PICK OF THE WEEK: Sigggi’s Skyr, Icelandic Yogurt

    We remember when Siggi Hilmarsson’s skyr (pronounced SKEER), Icelandic-style strained yogurt, first appeared on the shelves of Murray’s Cheese in Greenwich Village.

    Hailing from Iceland, the transplanted New Yorker found the yogurts in the U.S. too sweet and not thick enough—even the Greek-style yogurts. So in 2004 he started to make his own, in his kitchen. Today, Siggi’s skyr is available nationally, to the delight of many.

    This is not bargain yogurt. It’s even pricier than Greek brands—and it’s thicker than Greek yogurt as well. The reason is, more milk is required to produce the same quantity. You get what you pay for.

    Greek-style yogurt is thicker than American-style yogurt because more water is strained out of the whey—it’s triple strained. But skyr is drained even more. Think of it as quadruple-strained yogurt. One cup of Siggi’s skyr requires four times more milk than a typical American brand.

    The result is so thick that a spoon stands up straight in the cup; yet it has 0% fat (some flavors are lowfat, 2%). The concentration of milk also delivers more calcium and protein.

     

    bowl-w-arils-230r

    A bowl of Siggi’s skyr with pomegranate arils. Photo courtesy Siggi’s Dairy.

     
    IS SKYR YOGURT OR CHEESE?

    In Iceland, skyr is typically fat-free because all the cream is been removed to make butter.

    If you look for information on skyr, you may find it referred to as a cheese. So is it yogurt or cheese? It depends on the recipe of the individual producer.

    The recipe arrived in Iceland from Norway in the Middle Ages. It most likely was originally made as a cheese, with rennet. These days, some ism some isn’t. Siggi’s is yogurt.

    The difference between a cultured dairy product, such as sour cream or yogurt, and a fresh cheese that looks just like it, such as fromage blanc or quark, is the addition of a coagulant, such as rennet.

    With cottage cheese and ricotta, you can see the curds. With fromage blanc and quark (and most other cheeses), you can’t, because of the particular recipe. You also can’t tell the difference by tasting it. The textures of sour cream, yogurt, fromage blanc and quark are very similar.

    Don’t confuse these fresh cheeses with yogurt cheese like labneh.
     
    THE DIFFERENCE IN YOGURT

  • Regular yogurt is made by combining milk with live cultures. It is available plain and flavored, made from whole milk (5% fat), lowfat (1%) and fat-free (0%).
  • Greek yogurt follows the same recipe, but is triple strained, removing a portion of by the whey. This creates a thicker yogurt that is higher in protein. It may or may not be tangier than regular yogurt, depending on the processes of the particular brand.
  • Skyr, Icelandic yogurt, is even thicker than Greek yogurt. Think of it as quadruple-strained. It is made from skim milk (0%)—the cream is skimmed off to make butter. In Iceland it is often made from raw milk, which is not legal in the U.S. for fresh dairy products.
  • The more concentrated (strained) a style of yogurt is, the costlier it will be because it contains more milk and less water.

    Check out our Yogurt Glossary for much more on the different types of yogurt.

     

    coconut-w-toastedcoco-pumpkinseeds-230

    Siggi’s coconut yogurt topped with toasted coconut and pumpkin seeds from the pantry. Photo courtesy Siggi’s Dairy.

     

    SIGGI’S FLAVORS

    In addition to its much thicker body, Siggi’s flavors have far less sugar. Mainstream flavored yogurts can have up to 25 grams of sugar per serving. Siggi’s varieties have 9-11 grams, resulting in 10-20 calories less than brands like Chobani and FAGE. While that doesn’t mean a lot for one portion, for frequent yogurt eaters it adds up.

    The products are made with rBST-free milk that comes from family farms in New York State and Wisconsin, and are sweetened with fruit and a touch of agave nectar or cane sugar, instead of fruit preserves. The result is a more elegant flavor
     
    FLAVORS WITH 0% FAT

  • Blueberry
  • Mixed Berries & Açai
  • Orange & Ginger
  • Peach
  • Plain
  • Pomegranate & Passion Fruit
  • Raspberry
  • Strawberry
  • Vanilla
  •  
    FLAVORS WITH 2% FAT

  • Coconut
  • Mango & Jalapeño
  • Plain
  • Pumpkin & Spice
  • Vanilla
  •  
    The company also makes squeezable yogurt tubes in Raspberry and Strawberry, and filmjölk—Swedish-style drinkable yogurt—in Plain, Raspberry, Strawberry and Vanilla.

    The brand is all natural, certified gluten-free and certified kosher by OU.

    Siggi’s is eco-friendly. The front of the label tells you the grams of sugar, protein and calories. The label itself is paper, and can be easily detached ffrom the plastic carton for separate recycling.

    For a store locator visit SiggisDairy.com.

     
    MOTHER’S DAY GIFTING

    For a yogurt lover, pick up one or two containers of each flavor and tuck them into an Easter basket or a nice serving bowl.

      

    Comments

    TIP OF THE DAY: Plate Decorations

    If you admire the fancy plate decoration done by fine chefs, here’s a tip: It’s easy to makes everyday food look quite spectacular!

    There are three easy steps:
    1. Consider placing a bright-colored sauce or purée atop the plate, under the food. If you’re not using a sauce, try a circular or zig-zag drizzle.

    2. Add a garnish/garnishes around the rim of a plate.

    3. Top with herbs (chiffonade, leaves or sprigs), microgreens or sprouts.

    Just decide on what you want to garnish your plate. Choose from:

    RIM GARNISHES

  • Capers/caperberries
  • Caviar/roe: lumpfish, salmon roe, whitefish (plain or flavor-infused)
  • Citrus zest
  • Cress, microgreens or sprouts
  • Pomegranate arils
  • Minced herbs
  • Spices—chili flakes, mustard seeds, pink peppercorns
  •  
    DRIZZLES & DROPLETS

  • Balsamic or flavored vinegar
  • Flavored or plain olive oil
  • Gourmet mustard
  •    

    grilled-fish-rockcentercafe-230

    Grilled fish garnished with a bit of everything: balsamic droplets, pomegranate arils. Photo courtesy Rock Center Café | NYC.

  • Seasoned mayonnaise or aïoli
  • Vegetable or fruit purée
  •  

    lamb-loin-tatsoi-pomwonderful-230

    A simpler version: roast lamb on a bed of sunchoke purée with red sorrel and tatsoi. Photo courtesy Pom Wonderful.

     

    BEDS FOR PROTEINS

  • Chopped or diced vegetables, raw or cooked
  • Sauces or coulis (strained purée)
  • Grains and legumes (look for color: red rice, yellow lentils, e.g.)
  • Grain and legume/vegetable blends (rice and beans, succotash)
  • Mashed or puréed vegetables
  •  
     
    MORE GARNISH TIPS

    Collect photos and keep them in a file in the kitchen.

    Check out our many garnish ideas for both sweet and savory dishes, and a separate article on soup garnishes.

     

     

      

    Comments

    PRODUCT: Easier Homemade Pretzels

    Here’s help if you want to make homemade pretzels (see the recipe below): the Silpat baking sheet for that Perfect Pretzel Baking Sheet.

    Just lay the dough over the outlines for uniform-shaped pretzels every time.

    The sheet is 16.5 inches x 11.6 inches.

    While the first group of pretzels is cooling down, put the next batch in…and count the moments until you can bite into a warm pretzel.

     

    pretzel-mat-230-amz

    Turn out uniform shapes. Photo courtesy Silpat.

     

      

    Comments

    RECIPE: Homemade Soft Pretzels

    homemade-pretzels-ws-230

    Bake a batch for National Pretzel Day. Photo courtesy Williams-Sonoma.

     

    April 26th is National Pretzel Day. Bake a batch of delicious soft pretzels and serve with grainy mustard and beer.

    This recipe is courtesy Williams-Sonoma. See more photos of the process.

    Find more delicious recipes at WilliamsSonoma.com.
     
    RECIPE: SOFT PRETZELS

    Ingredients For 12 Large Pretzels

  • 1 cup warm water (110°F)
  • 1 package (2-1/4 teaspoons) active dry yeast
  • 1 tablespoon sugar
  • 3 tablespoons olive oil, plus more if needed
  • 3-1/4 cups (16 1/2 ounces) all-purpose flour
  • 1 teaspoon kosher salt
  • 1/3 cup (2-1/2 ounces) baking soda
  • Coarse salt for sprinkling
  • Grainy mustard for serving (you can substitute Dijon)
  •  
    Preparation

    1. STIR together in the bowl of a stand mixer the warm water, yeast and sugar. Let stand until foamy, about 10 minutes.

    2. ADD the olive oil, flour and salt. Attach the dough hook and knead the dough on medium-low speed until smooth, about 10 minutes. Form the dough into a ball, cover the bowl with plastic wrap, and let rise in a warm, draft-free spot until doubled, about 1 hour.

     

    3. PREHEAT the oven to 450°F with the rack placed in the middle. Line 2 baking sheets with parchment paper and brush the parchment with oil. Place the dough on a lightly floured work surface, then cut it into 12 equal pieces. Roll each piece into a long rope about 18 inches long. Position each rope positioned horizontally.

    4. BRING the 2 ends of the rope up and toward the center as if forming an oval. Cross one end over the other, and press each end into the bottom of the oval to create a pretzel shape. Place the pretzels on the prepared pan.

    5. FILL a large, wide saucepan with 7 cups of water. Stir in the baking soda, and bring to a boil. Gently drop 2 or 3 pretzels at a time into the boiling water (be careful not to overcrowd them). Boil for just under 1 minute, turning once with a large slotted spoon or spatula. Return the boiled pretzels to the baking sheet, spacing them evenly, top side up.

    6. SPRINKLE the pretzels with coarse salt. Bake until beautifully browned, about 10 minutes, rotating the pans about halfway through. Serve warm with big spoonfuls of grainy mustard.

     

    homemade-pretzels-mustard-ws--230

    BYOB and dig in! Photo courtesy Williams-Sonoma.

     
    GRAINY MUSTARD & MUSTARD HISTORY

    The origins of mustard are lost to history, but it is a Northern Hemisphere plant, the seeds of which have been found in Stone Age settlements.

  • Egyptians tossed the seeds onto their food, and sent King Tut to the great beyond with a good supply in his tomb.
  • The Sumerians ground it into a paste and mixed it with verjus, the juice of unriped grapes.
  • Wealthy Greeks and Romans ground mustard seeds and mixed them with wine at the table.
  •  
    Cultivated for thousands of years, mustard was the primary spice known to Europeans before the advent of the Asian spice trade. Westerners had mustard long before pepper, which originated in India. Once trade routes were established, ancient people from India to Egypt to Rome chewed mustard seeds with their meat for seasoning.

    Our word mustard comes from the Middle English mustarde, meaning condiment; which in turn comes from the Old French mostarde. Mosto derives from the Latin mustum, the word for grape must, or young, unfermented wine, which was the liquid mixed with ground mustard seed by French monks who made the condiment. The monks’ word for mustard was mustum ardens, meaning burning wine.

    By the 1400s, mustard-making had spread through Europe; each region made its own style.

    One of the earliest versions was grainy mustard, a more casual name for what is known as old-style or old-fashioned mustard, and moutarde à l’ancienne in French.

    Grainy mustard is prepared from a base of mixed mustard seeds, verjus or white wine, spices and herbs. The ingredients are ground coarsely in order to leave the seeds whole.

    Grainy mustard has a dark color and a slightly milder flavor than other mustards. It has a slightly sweet taste, making it a good accompaniment for rustic foods like sausages or country-style pates and cornichons. It can be mixed with melted garlic butter and fresh thyme to create a sauce to drizzle over fish, and many other creative preparations.

    Here’s more on the history of mustard and the different types of mustard.

     
    *Today, white wine and verjus are used to make some mustard varieties; vinegars are used to make most others.

      

    Comments

    CINCO DE MAYO: Chocolate Churros Recipe

    Add cocoa powder to make chocolate churros. Photo courtesy MommieCooks.com.

     

    A churro is a fried-dough pastry snack, typically made from choux pastry (pâte à choux). While churros are most often found on the dessert menus at Mexican restaurants, served with chocolate dipping sauce, their origin may be far away from Mexico.

    One theory says that churros were brought to Europe from Ming Dynasty China by the Portuguese. Another theory is that churros were created by Spanish shepherds, easy to make and fry over an open fire in the mountains.

    Beyond Mexico and the rest of Latin America, they are popular in France, the Philippines, Portugal, the Southwestern United States and Spain. Depending on region, they can be longer and thinner or shorter and thicker.

    Ed Engoron, co-founder of Choclatique gourmet chocolates and author of Choclatique: Simply Elegant Desserts, sent us his recipe for chocolate churros.

    “This is my favorite Mexican fast food dessert and it’s perfect for a Cinco de Mayo celebration,” says Ed. “They are a common street food and can also be found at fairs and carnivals in both America and Mexico.

     
    “In recent years many vendors have resorted to frozen churros, choosing to just fry them off. I think my freshly made version presented here is far better than frozen. I made them even more delectable with the addition of Choclatique Rouge Unsweetened Cocoa Powder to give it a light chocolate flavor (and Choclatique Private Reserve Dark Chocolate for the drizzle).

    “Fried chocolate-how bad could it be?”

    Prep time is 10 minutes, fry time is 30 minutes.
     
    RECIPE: CHOCOLATE CHURROS

    Ingredients For 24 Churros

  • 1/4 cup granulated sugar
  • 1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon
  • 2 quarts vegetable oil for frying
  • 1 cup water
  • 1/2 cup margarine (not butter)
  • 1 cup all-purpose flour
  • 1/4 cup unsweetened cocoa powder
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt
  • 3 large eggs
  •  

    Preparation

    1. STIR together the sugar and cinnamon and set aside. Combine the flour, cocoa powder and salt in a separate bowl; set aside.

    2. PREHEAT the oil to 360°F in a heavy deep skillet or deep-fryer (use a kitchen thermometer). The oil should be at least 1-1/2 inches deep. While the oil is heating…

    3. HEAT the water and margarine to a rolling boil in a medium saucepan. Stir in the flour/cocoa mixture. Reduce the heat to low and stir vigorously until the mixture forms a ball, about 1 minute. Remove from the heat and beat in the eggs one at a time.

    4. SPOON the mixture into a pastry bag fitted with a large star tip. Carefully squeeze out 4-inch long strips of dough directly into the hot oil. Fry 3 or 4 strips at a time, until golden brown, about 3 to 4 minutes on each side. Remove from hot oil to drain on paper towels. Roll each of the churros in the cinnamon-sugar mixture while still hot.

     

    chopped-chocolate-nothinbutfoods-230

    Chop a quality chocolate bar to make the chocolate sauce. Photo courtesy Nothin But Foods.

     
    *Note that if the oil isn’t hot enough, the churros will be greasy. If the oil is hotter than 460°, they will not get fully cooked on the inside. So be sure to use a thermometer!
     
    RECIPE: CHOCOLATE DRIZZLE

    Ingredients

  • 2 ounces dark chocolate, chopped
  • 1 teaspoon white vegetable shortening
  • Optional garnish: fresh seasonal berries
  •  
    Preparation

    1. PLACE the chocolate and shortening in a small resealable freezer bag. Microwave on HIGH for about 30 seconds until chocolate is melted. Massage the chocolate and shortening together in the bag.

    2. SNIP off corner and drizzle over the fried churros in cinnamon-sugar.

      

    Comments

    TIP OF THE DAY: Ways To Use Miso Paste

    sweet-white-miso-crumbsandtales-230

    White miso paste, also called mild or sweet
    miso. Photo courtesy CrumbsAndTales.com.
    Try their recipe for carrot, miso and ginger
    salad dressing.

     

    Almost everyone who has been to a Japanese restaurant has had miso soup. But today’s tip includes other things to do with miso (MEE-zoe).

    Thanks to the popularity of miso, you can find at least one type of miso paste in many supermarkets and all natural foods stores (Whole Foods and Trader Joe’s, for example).

    Miso is a paste made from soybeans and grains (typically barley or rice), koji (a fungus that serves as a fermenting agent) and sea salt. It can ferment from a short time (for mild homemade miso) to three years (for red miso). The result has the consistency of hummus.

    The fermentation produces an enzyme-rich, living food that contains many beneficial microorganisms. However, it also has a relatively high salt content.

    Miso should be refrigerated and added to cooked foods just before they are removed from the heat.

     

    TYPES OF MISO PASTE

    Different types of miso paste are available in Japanese markets (like Sunrise Mart in New York City). Natural food stores typically carry the three most common.

    The deeper the color, the higher the percentage of soybeans and the stronger the flavor.

  • White miso paste, shiromiso, is the most common form. It has just a small amount of soybeans; the majority ingredient is riceor barley. White miso is also called mild miso and sweet miso, and is used mostly in salad dressings and marinades. It is also incorporated into Japanese and vegan desserts.
  • Yellow miso paste is stronger than white miso. It is a combination of barley and rice, and the most versatile of the varieties, used for glazes, marinades and soups.
  • Red miso paste is the strongest, fermented the longest to a deep red or deep brown color, made from mostly soybeans. The more percentage of soybeans, the longer the fermentation and the deeper the color. It is used to add heartier flavors to vegetables asparagus, eggplant and kale; dips, sauces and spreads.
  •  
    WAYS TO USE MISO PASTE

    In Japan, miso soup is a culinary staple, whisked into dashi (stock) and enjoyed at any meal, starting with breakfast. It is also used to give an earthier flavor to noodle soups, such as ramen and udon.

    It is also used as a condiment/seasoning:

  • Braising meats, seafood (try miso-braised cod) and vegetables (try eggplant and mushrooms)
  • Compound butter: East meets West (how to make compound butter)
  • Dips and spreads: season with spices and use with crudités and rice crackers
  • Dressing: whisked into a dressing for salads and cooked vegetables
  • Grilling, as an overnight marinade and a glaze (coat corn on the cob, wrap in foil and grill)
  • Pickling, for a sweeter variety of vegetables pickles
  • Sauces: misoyaki is a variant of teriyaki
  •  

    Americans have incorporated miso into Western cuisine, from gravy to risotto and quich. For inspiration, pick up a book like The Miso Book: The Art of Cooking with Miso. It not only has many recipes, but shows you how to make your own miso paste from scratch.

    Start by making miso soup and salad dressing with the recipes below.

    RECIPE: EASY MISO DRESSING

    Ingredients

  • 3 tablespoons canola or other neutral oil (peanut, vegetable)
  • 1 1/2 tablespoons rice vinegar
  • 2 teaspoons white miso
  • 1/4 teaspoon dark sesame oil
  • 1/2 teaspoon honey or 1/4 teaspoon agave
  • 1/2 teaspoon soy sauce
  •  

    miso-soup-2-sushiloungeNJ-230

    A familiar bowl of miso soup. Photo courtesy Sushi Lounge | NJ.

  • Optional additions: chili flakes/sriracha, grated fresh ginger, peanut butter
  •  
    Preparation

    1. WHISK the ingredients in a bowl until smooth. Taste and add more honey or vinegar as you prefer.

    2. STORE leftovers in the fridge for up to a week.

     
    RECIPE: EASY MISO SOUP

    Ingredients

  • 8 cups water
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons instant dashi granules*
  • 1/4 cup red miso paste
  • 1 tablespoon dried seaweed, reconstituted in water and drained
  • 1/2 cup cubed tofu
  • 2 tablespoons green onion, chopped
  •  
    Preparation

    1. ADD the water into a pot and bring to a boil. Add the instant dashi; whisk to dissolve. Turn the heat to medium-low and add the tofu and seaweed. Simmer for 2 minutes. While the soup simmers…

    2. SPOON the miso paste into a bowl. Ladle 1/2 cup of the hot dashi broth into the bowl and whisk until the miso paste melts and is the mixture smooth.

    3. TURN off the heat and add the miso paste to the pot. Stir well. Taste the soup and whisk in another 1-2 tablespoons of miso paste as desired. Garnish with green onions and serve immediately.

     
    *This is the easy version; the soup will be ready in 10 minutes. When you have time, try a recipe that uses homemade dashi stock, made from fish and kelp. For quick recipes, dashi is also available in a bouillon cube format.

      

    Comments

    PRODUCT: Spatter Guard For Mixers

    spatter-guard-kuhnrikon-230

    No more cake mix spatters! Photo courtesy Kuhn Rikon.

     

    Love to bake, but hate the messy mixer splatters?

    Kuhn Rikon, which has helped keep kitchens clean with its Splatter Guard cover for skillets and woks and a combination spatter shield and strainer, now brings neatness to baking.

    There’s a new spatter guard for electric mixers!

    You can keep the batter in the bowl with the Mixer Splatter Guard, which protects your work area from spatters generated by electric mixers.

    It works with bowls up to 12 inches in diameter. The transparent lid fits most handheld and stand mixers and allows you to see inside the bowl.

     
    For Immersion Blenders, Too

    The new mixer shield also works with immersion blenders, bringing neatness to soup-making as well.
     

    Head to Amazon.com to order yours, and perhaps a few extras as gifts for your favorite bakers.
     
      

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    FOOD FUN: Confetti Cake

    With the success of The Flintstones television series, Post Foods obtained a license from Hanna-Barbera for Cocoa Pebbles and Fruity Pebbles breakfast cereals. Introduced in 1971, the crisp rice cereal bits are still going strong.

    And not just for breakfast, either. They’ve made their way into a variety of baked goods, from donuts to Rice Krispie Treats. Fruity Pebbles, in particular, provides a rainbow of six colors to add brightness and crunch. The cereal has generated a plethora of Fruity Pebbles cakes.

    Depending on your crowd, you may prefer to call them confetti cakes.

    It’s spring, it’s almost Mother’s Day: It’s time to think of making a confetti cake:

  • Bundt cake (recipe)
  • Cake roll (recipe)
  • Cheesecake: as a topper, mixed into the batter or both.
  • Cupcake toppers (recipe)
  • Ice cream cake (recipe)
  • Ice cream pie (recipe)
  •  

    strawberry-fruity-pebble-bunt-cake-lecremedelacrumb-230r

    Sophisticated: a Fruity Pebbles bundt. Here’s the recipe. Photo courtesy Le Creme De La Crumb.

  • Layer cake: top only, sides only, atop the filling layer(s) inside, or over the whole surface of the cake; mixed into the batter and atop the frosting (recipe)
  • Sheet cake: mixed into the batter and as a garnish atop the frosting
  •  

    MORE CONFETTI CAKE

    Check out Pillsbury’s Funfetti cake mix.

    We love these neon confetti cake decorations.

    The easiest default: mixed sprinkles.

      

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