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Archive for Gourmet Foods

TIP OF THE DAY: Savory Pancakes

Bacon Corn Griddle Cakes

Carrot Pancakes

Flavor Flours Book

[1] Bacon and corn griddle cakes from Recipe Girl—and here’s her recipe. [2] Carrot pancakes with salted yogurt, gluten free. Here’s the recipe from Jessica Koslow at Bon Appetite (photo Michael Graydon + Nikole Herriott). [3] You don’t need to use wheat. Check out these flours (photo courtesy ).

 

September 26th is National Pancake Day. Normally, we’d make our favorite: buttermilk pancakes topped with smoked salmon, crème fraîche and chopped dill.

We’d love them with a topping caviar: We’ll have that daily when our ship comes in.

But until then, we’re not highbrow: Another favorite is chocolate pancakes with chocolate chips, topped with bananas and sour cream.)

Today’s tip is: Take a fresh look at pancakes.

Cultures around the world eat pancakes, both sweet and savory. Some have them as a main dish, some enjoy them as street food.

There are so many choices:
From Danish aebleskiver to Russian blini and latkes in Europe, to Chinese scallion pancakes and Japanese okonomiya, filled with shredded cabbage and other choices from shrimp to vegetables.

In Malaysia, apam balik—folded pancakes—are made with rice flour and stuffed with a sweet peanut filling.

In Somalia, anjero is a fermented, crepe-like pan bread made from sorghum and corn flowers. It looks like a thin pancake and is topped with sugar or beef. In South Africa, pannekoeke look like tacos, folded over with a popular filling of cinnamon custard and streusel.

The fold-over technique is also used in the cachapas of Colombia and Venezuela: corn pancakes folded over grated queso mano or mozarella, and grilled until melted.

Click the links above for the recipes.

Take a look at the different types of pancakes in our Pancake Glossary.

 
SAVORY PANCAKE TEMPLATE: CREATE YOUR OWN

1. SELECT a flour: buckwheat, chickpea, chestnut, coconut, corn, nut, oat, rice, sorghum, spelt, teff, wheat, whole grain, etc.

  • Explore: Here’s a terrific book on cooking and baking without wheat flour.
  • Mix the batter. Check online recipes to see if you need to alter proportions.
  •  
    2. ADD your favorite ingredients:

  • Proteins: bacon, cheese, ham, sausage (chicken, pork), roe, seafood
  • Herbs: basil, cilantro, dill, parsley, sage, thyme, etc.
  • Spices: cardamom, Chinese five spice, cinnamon/pumpkin pie spices, cumin, curry powder, garlic, ginger, pepper, etc.
  • Fruits: apples, bananas, berries, dried fruits, stone fruits, tropical fruits, etc.
  • Vegetables: cabbage, carrot, corn, onion/green onion, pumpkin, zucchini, etc.
  •  
    3. PICK your toppings:

  • Dairy: butter or compound [flavored] butter, from jalapeño to strawberry; crème fraîche, mascarpone, sour cream, yogurt
  • Sweet: honey, syrup
  • Garnish of choice: Bacon, crumbled or grated cheese, toasted nuts
  •  
    4. FRY and serve.

     
    THE HISTORY OF PANCAKES

    We love this article from National Geographic, and recommend it as a short read on the history of pancakes.

    Archaeologists have discovered grains on 30,000-year-old grinding tools, suggesting that Stone Age man might have been eating grains mixed with water and cooked on a hot rock.

    While the result not have looked like the modern crepe, hotcake, or flapjack, the idea was the same: a flat cake, made from batter and fried.

    Ancient Greeks and Romans ate pancakes topped with honey, and a Greek reference mentions toppings of cheese and sesame as well.

    These foods were not called pancakes, but the first mention of “pancake” in an English dictionary dates to the 16th century: a cake made in a pan.

    According to the Oxford English Dictionary, “Flat as a pancake” has been a catchphrase since at least 1611.

    For the rest of the pancake’s journey to modern times, head to National Geographic.

      

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    TIP OF THE DAY: Bake Biscuits On Sunday Mornings

    ✔ Biscuits with fresh dill: check.

    ✔ Smoked salmon with dilled cream cheese: check.

    ✔ Great brunch food: check.

    ? Homemade biscuits, warm from the oven: check?

    With all the good bread options available at retail, including refrigerated rolls biscuits, the art of the homemade-from-scratch biscuit is practiced less and less often.

    Why not make one Sunday a month Biscuit Sunday, rotating among favorites: baking powder biscuits, buttermilk biscuits, cheddar-chipotle biscuits, cream biscuits, ham biscuits, maple-bacon biscuits, rye biscuits, sausage rolls, sourdough-onion-sundried tomato biscuits, and so forth?

    You can find recipes for all of these at KingArthurFlour.com.

    It comes to us from Vital Choice, where it was provided by Kevin Lynch of Closet Cooking. Kevin says:

    “The dilled buttermilk biscuits came together quickly and filled my place with an amazing dilly aroma while baking. The biscuits are nice and light and go perfectly with the smoked salmon, cream cheese, dill and watercress filling.”

    RECIPE: DILL BISCUITS WITH SMOKED SALMON, CRESS & DILL SPREAD

    This recipe comes to us from Vital Choice, developed by Kevin Lynch of ClosetCooking.com.

    With their red-and-green accents, they also make a nice holiday biscuit.

    You can also make bite-size versions to serve with red, white or sparkling wine.

    Ingredients For 8 Biscuit Sandwiches

    For The Biscuits

  • 2 cups all-purpose flour
  • 1-1/2 teaspoons baking powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1-1/2 teaspoons sea salt
  • 1/2 cup butter, frozen and grated
  • 3 tablespoons dill (chopped)
  • 1 cup buttermilk (see substitutes below)
  • 2 tablespoons butter, melted
  •  
    For The Filling

  • 1/4 cup cream cheese, room temperature
  • 1/4 cup sour cream
  • 1 tablespoon dill, chopped
  • 1/2 teaspoon lemon zest
  • 8 dill buttermilk biscuits (cut in half, see recipe below)
  • Optional: 8 tomato slices
  •    

    Smoked Salmon Biscuits

    Fresh Dill

    Smoked Nova Scotia Salmon

    1. Forget the bagel and smoked salmon: Bake biscuits instead (photo courtesy Kevin Lynch | Vital Choice). [2] Use fresh dill (photo courtesy Paper Chef). [3] Smoked Nova Scotia salmon from Zabar’s. Here’s the difference between smoked salmon and lox.

  • 1/2 pound smoked salmon (two 4-ounce packages or one-third of a 26-ounce side)
  • 8 sprigs watercress (substitute baby arugula or baby spinach)
  •  

    Cream Biscuits

    Ham & Smoked Gouda Biscuits

    Biscuits & Marmalade

    [1] Cream biscuits (here’s the recipe from King Arthur Flour). [2] Ham & Smoked Gouda Biscuits served with maple butter (here’s the recipe from the National Pork Board). [3] Baking powder biscuits and marmalade (photo courtesy iGourmet.com).

     

    Preparation

    1. MAKE the biscuits. Preheat the oven to 425°F.

    2. MIX the flour, baking powder, baking soda and salt in a bowl. Mix in the butter and toss until coated in flour. Add the dill and just enough buttermilk to form a sticky dough.

    3. PLACE the dough on a lightly floured surface and form a disc about 1 inch thick. Cut the biscuits from the dough and place on a baking sheet. Brush the melted butter on top of the biscuits.

    4. BAKE until golden brown, about 18-20 minutes. While the biscuits bake…

    5. MAKE the filling. Mix the cream cheese, sour cream, dill and lemon zest in a bowl. When the biscuits are still warm but cool enough to work with…

    6. SPREAD the dill on both cut sides of the each biscuit. Assemble with smoked salmon, watercress and optional tomato slice in the the center.
     
    BUTTERMILK SUBSTITUTE

    If you won’t use more than the cup required in this recipe, it may make sense to make your own.

    For 1 cup of buttermilk, substitute 2 tablespoons of lemon juice or vinegar plus enough milk to make 1 cup.

    But first, here’s what else you can do with leftover buttermilk:

  • Drink it; it’s like liquid plain yogurt. Or add puréed frozen fruit; or make a smoothie.
  • Tenderize meat: Add it to the marinade.
  • Make buttermilk ice cream. Yum!
  • Try it on cereal. We often put yogurt on dry cereal instead of milk. This is the same idea.
  • Use in salad dressings and sauces.
  • Cook with it: Buttermilk can be substituted for whole milk or skim milk in many recipes, from baked goods and puddings to sauces, soups and breading.
  •  
    CHECK OUT THE DIFFERENT TYPES OF BREAD IN OUR
    BREAD GLOSSARY

    And while you’re at it…

    THE DIFFERENT TYPES OF BUTTER

    THE DIFFERENT TYPES OF JAM & JELLY

     
    BISCUITS VS. ROLLS

    Biscuits and rolls are both made from flour, fat (butter, shortening, olive oil), liquid (buttermilk, cream, milk, water) and salt (some rolls do not contain fat).

    What’s the difference?

    Biscuits are risen with chemical leavening (baking powder); rolls are risen with yeast bread.

      

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    TOP PICK OF THE WEEK: Babeth’s Feast Frozen Gourmet Food

    If you can’t cook or want to entertain but can’t be both cook and hostess, you can still serve a feast in your own home—no assistance necessary.

    As long as you can turn on the oven, you can serve a splendid repast any meal of the day, thanks to Babeth’s Feast gourmet frozen foods.

    You can serve them the day they arrive, or put them in the freezer for future feasting

    THE FEAST BEGINS…

    Elisbeth, founder of Babeth’s Feast, discovered premium frozen food while living in Paris. French people shop daily for fresh ingredients to cook.

    But they also frequent frozen food specialty stores. Elegantly prepared frozen foods enable them to serve more elaborate meals, just by turning on the oven.

    To eat at home and entertain friends in style, she began to purchase frozen hors d’oeuvres by the dozen to host effortless cocktail parties. On weekends, she created elaborate brunch buffets from frozen breakfast pastries, meats, soups, quiches and desserts.

    She became a champion of the power of flash-frozen foods to provide the flavor, quality, connection and convenience that busy people need.

    To these prepared foods she added her own salad and wine, and friends never suspected the food was ready-made. These Sunday gatherings became known as “Babeth’s Feast.”
     
    …BUT NOT IN THE U.S.A., UNTIL…

    Upon moving to New York, Elisabeth was chagrined that no elegant frozen-food store could be found. She—and the entire European expat community—really missed that easy option.

    Ordering in just couldn’t compare, and calling a caterer was cost-prohibitive.

    Wanting the ease, the spontaneity and the quality selection, Elisabeth/Babeth decided to bring a premium frozen food store to her new hometown. After careful sourcing and extensive recipe development, she opened Babeth’s Feast, a shop on the Upper East Side.

    And on the Internet.

    Whether for fancy entertaining or simpler dinners for every day, you can dine as if you had a cook. (You do: Babeth and her team.)

    A selection of 300 dishes span breakfast, brunch, lunch, cocktails and dinners.

       

    Babeth's Feast Brunch

    Babeth's Feast Appetizers

    Brunch with your favorite dishes, and no effort except heating. [2] Fine hors d’oeuvres with cocktails couldn’t be easier (photos courtesy Babeth’s Feast).

     
    The recipes range from popular crowd pleasers and kid pleasers to more sophisticated foodie fare.

    And it’s proof that you can’t tell the difference between flash-frozen foods and made-from-scratch (we challenge you, Gordon Ramsay!). They deliver flavor, quality and convenience to fine dining* at home.

    So claim full credit for yourself, or let guests in on your secret. Babeth endorses both options.
     
    ______________
    *It doesn’t have to be “fine.” There are plenty of choices for people who prefer mac and cheese, burgers and fries.

     

    Babeth's Feast Dinner

    Salmon Dinner

    Did you make this rack of lamb dinner? Or this family-friendly salmon? Sure you did: You turned on the oven, didn’t you? (Photos courtesy Babeth’s Feast).

     

    WHAT WE ATE

    We received the gift of an entire feast for THE NIBBLE team:

  • Hors d’oeuvre, four types warm from the oven
  • Carrot and coconut soup (so popular, it’s currently sold out)
  • Sea bass with miso sauce
  • Rack of lamb with red wine sauce
  • Desserts: chocolate soufflé and lemon tart
  •  
    For dinner alone, there are 15 meat and poultry choices, 10 fish and seafood choices, numerous sides from prepared vegetable dishes (Butternut Squash Crumble, Cauliflower Gratin), 10 different types of potatoes, 13 plain vegetables and 11 grains.

    Desserts are individual portions, from American favorites like lava cake, chocolate soufflé and lemon meringue tartlets, to French pastries like Opéra Gâteau.

    There are dairy-free, gluten-free and vegetarian options.
     
    Can’t decide?

    There are samplers in every category with the three best-sellers.

    You can get servings for one, for a group, and kids portions.
     
    HOW TO ENJOY YOUR OWN BABETH’S FEAST

    NYC store: 1422 3rd Avenue between 80th and 81st Streets, Manhattan

    Website: BabethsFeast.com

    Phone: 1.877.968.3327

    See more food photos at Facebook.com/BabethsFeast.

     
     
    GIVE THE GIFT OF BABETH’S FEAST!

    It’a a terrific gift for birthdays, anniversaries, new baby parents, new movers, and anyone who’d enjoy fine dining at home.

    Mother’s Day, Father’s Day, Valentin’s Day, and other times when you want to spend time with people instead of the stove.

    And as a holiday gift?

    Just yesterday, as we were describing Babeth’s Feast to a friend, she said: “Give me the URL. [The adult kids] send us Omaha Steaks every year for Christmas and we’d like something else.”

    And yes, we’d like MORE!

      

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    RECIPE: Sparkling Pear Cocktail

    La Poire Sparkling Cocktail

    America's Favorite Pear

    [1] La Poire sparkling cocktail (photo courtesy Grey Goose). [2] America’s favorite pear, the Bartlett (photo courtesy CookThink). There are also red Bartlett and d’Anjou are available in green and red varieties.

     

    This week we had a bottle of Angry Orchard’s Knotty Pear Cider at lunch, and it reminded us that fall is also a time for all things pear.

    For a celebration, toast or other special occasion—or weekend chillaxing—this cocktail from Grey Goose is a star. Easy to make, it combines pear and citrus with sweet Moscato. You can use other slightly sweet sparkling wine such as Asti Spumante.

    If it isn’t a special occasion, don’t go out of your way to find the perfect garnish. Or a Champagne flute.

     
    RECIPE: SPARKLING PEAR VODKA COCKTAIL

    Ingredients For 6 Drinks

  • 6 parts Grey Goose La Poire
  • 1 part lemon juice
  • 2 teaspoons sugar
  • 1 small pear, ideally Anjou or Bartlett*, red or green
  • 1 bottle sparkling Moscato or other sparkling wine, chilled
  • Garnish options: baby orchid, crystallized ginger, sliced star fruit
  •  
    Preparation

    1. PEEL and core the pear and cut into 1/4-inch dice.

    2. PLACE the lemon juice, sugar, pear and Grey Goose La Poire in a bowl. Stir well to combine until the sugar is fully dissolved.

    2. DIVIDE the pear mixture into six Champagne flutes or wine glasses. Fill each chilled glass with Moscato.

    3. GARNISH and serve.
     
    ________________
    *A juicier pear variety will accentuate the pear flavors. Here are the different types of pears.

     

     
      

    Comments

    TIP OF THE DAY: Get Seasonal With Pumpkin-Accented Everyday Foods

    In our childhood, fall meant a choice of pumpkin pie or pumpkin pie. Today, there’s pumpkin everything.

    Walk into your favorite food store: You’ll find pumpkin-themed products in every aisle.

    Start the day with pumpkin yogurt or a bowl of pumpkin granola, toasted Thomas’ Pumpkin Spice English Muffins and bagels. Wash them down with pumpkin coffee or tea. End the day with pumpkin ice cream. And pumpkin-up everything in-between.

    And we haven’t even gotten to the baked goods, from bagels and scones to pumpkin cheesecake.

    Some contain actual pumpkin or closely-related squash; others are simply accented with pumpkin pie spices.

    Yesterday at Whole Foods, we picked up:

  • 365 Everyday Value brand Pumpkin Spice Granola with Cranberries & Apples
  • Talenti’s Pumpkin Pie Gelato (with real pieces of pie crust!)
  • Terra’s Beauregard Sweets & Fairytale Pumpkin Chips
  •  
    Yesterday we covered pumpkin beer. Here are some of our favorite products of the season. Many are limited editions, so don’t dally!
     
    PUMPKIN BEVERAGES

    Tea

    David’s Tea Pumpkin Chai, a black spiced tea, is a customer favorite. It’s fragrant and flavorful, with notes of cardamon, cinnamon, cloves and squash pieces, and a hint of caramel.

    David’s recommends stirring in a spoonful of brown sugar and topping it with steamed milk. We drank ours straight.

    It’s also available packed in a tin for gift-giving; and herbal Spiced Pumpkin Tea. Take a sip at DavidsTea.com.

    You can find Celestial Seasoning’s Sweet Harvest Pumpkin Black Tea at many supermarkets.
     
    Coffee

    You’ll find everything from caramel, maple and nutty flavors like almond and hazelnut, along with the fall spice flavors: cinnamon, gingerbread, pumpkin spice, snickerdoodle, etc.

    Looking for K-Cups? You’ll find plenty of them. We’ve been working our way through Dunkin Donuts Pumpkin Spice at a brisk pace. If you can’t find them locally, head to DunkinAtHome.com.
     
    Pumpkin Juice

    Natalie’s, our favorite line of all-natural, fresh-squeezed juices, mixes apple cider with real pumpkin: cooked, pureed and blended with apple juice and pumpkin pie spices. It’s very special.

    If you can’t find it locally, contact OrchardIslandJuice.com.
     
    PUMPKIN SNACKS & MORE

    Pumpkin Yogurt

    Pumpkin yogurt abounds, with a shout-out to Noosa Pumpkin Yoghurt, one of our favorites. Stonyfield Organic has Pumpkin Oh My Yog, a tri-layer whole milk yogurt: cream top, honey-infused whole milk yogurt middle, and pumpkin bottom.
     
    Salsa & Chips

    Mrs. Renfro’s Pumpkin Salsa is a smooth (as opposed to chunky) salsa that is delicious on anything, starting with a sauce for chicken, fish, tofu, grains, potatoes and other vegetables.

    For the classic American use—with chips—there are seasonal offerings such Food Should Taste Good’s Fall Harvest Chips, Way Better Snacks Punkin’ Cranberry (yes, that’s how they spell it) and other brands.

    We even added it to vodka for an instant Pumpkin Martini.
     
    MORE PUMPKIN PRODUCTS TO COME!

     

    Pumpkin Spice K Cups

    Mrs. Renfro's Pumpkin Salsa

    Natalie's Pumpkin Apple Juice

    Noosa Pumpkin Yogurt

    Thomas Pumpkin Spice Bagels

    [1] Pumpkin Spice coffee from Dunkin Donuts Home. [2] Mrs. Renfro’s Pumpkin Salsa. [4] Pumpkin Apple Spice Juice from Natalie’s. [3] Noosa Pumpkin Yogurt. [4] Thomas’ Pumpkin Spice Bagels.

      

    Comments

    TIP OF THE DAY: Oktoberfest Party Beer Tasting

    Dogfish Head Punkin Ale

    Soft Pretzels Recipe

    [1] Pumpkin ales and beers can be found from late September through year-end, “while supplies last” (photo courtesy Dogfish Head Brewery. [2] Bake a batch of soft pretzels to go with the beer (photo courtesy Taste Of Home).

     

    We received this beer menu from Empire City Casino, in the suburbs of New York City, part of their Oktoberfest celebration:

    1. Spaten Lager
    2. Spaten Oktoberfest
    3. Goose Island Oktoberfest
    4. Franziskaner Hefe-weisse
    5. Coney Island Freaktobefest
    6. New Belgian Cranberry Pumpkin
    7. Two Roads No Limits Hefeweizen
    8. Captain Lawrence Pumpkin
    9. Victory Fest Beer
    10. BitBurger Pilsner
    11. Bells Best Brown
    12. Southern Tier PUMPKING
    13. Warsteiner Oktoberfest
    14. Badass Apple Cider
    15. Atwater Blueberry Cobbler
    16. Dogfish Head Pumpkin Patch
     
    They’ll be served with German-inspired foods, from brats and soft pretzels to schnitzel hoagies.

    While we don’t gamble, we do drink craft beer; and we’ve had only one beer on the list. The solution was simple:
     
    HAVE AN OKTOBERFEST CRAFT BEER TASTING PARTY

  • Craft brews with fall themes offer many choices.
  • For cider devotees, have an “Oktoberfest” cider tasting with fall-themed ciders: Angry Orchard Crisp Apple, Hop‘n Mad Apple Ginger, Cinnful Apple; Woodchuck’s Just Like Apple Pie, and others.
  • For Halloween, focus on Halloween beers and ciders.
  •  
    While the original Oktoberfest in Munich runs for two weeks, through mid-October, you can hold a party anytime in October.

     
    Unlike the beers at the Munich Oktoberfest, which represent just six breweries, you can try all the craft beer you can find, along the themes of:

  • Fall beer styles: brown ale, Dunkelweizen, English pale ale, harvest ale*, Märzen/Oktoberfest beer
  • Fall flavors: cranberry ale and kriek, nutty brews, pumpkin beer and ale
  • Halloween beer: It’s all in the name and the label design: Black Death, Ichabod, The Fear, Ghost Stories, Howling Wolf, Krieky Bones, Wytchmaker, Zombie Dust, etc.
  •  
    ________________
    *Harvest ale is not a defined style of beer, but a common name for different beers brewed for fall harvest celebrations and general consumption.

     

    HOW TO PLAN THE OKTOBERFEST PARTY

    1. DETERMINE THE ATTENDEES. Then determine how much beer you need. If you’re not buying all the beer yourself assign a brand to each person. The easiest way to do this is to have attendees scout out options and let you know what they’d like to contribute.

    Provide juice glasses or 4-ounce disposable cups. The idea is to taste smaller amounts of 10 beers, not to drink 10 bottles of beer.

    2. DECIDE ON THE FOOD. Brats, sauerkraut, soft pretzels (recipe) and mustard will do the trick. If anyone asks if they can bring food, German potato salad, Blaukraut (red cabbage sauerkraut) or a dessert (see #4 below). Or, they can bake soft pretzels. Here’s more about Oktoberfest food.

    3. BUFFET OR SIT-DOWN? The choice is yours. Be sure to have soft drinks, a non-alcoholic cider or punch, or other alternative to keep blood alcohol levels down.

    4. DECIDE ON DESSERT. Easy-to-make or -find desserts include the Berliner (a jelly donut sprinkled with powdered sugar), Black Forest cake, carrot cake, cheesecake here’s a no-bake pumpkin cheesecake), Gugelhupf (Bundt cake—here’s an apple streusel Bundt cake recipe), Lebkuchen (spice cookies—gingerbread is fine, along with a gingerbread dip), Linzer cookies or torte, pfeffernüsse (spice cookies with black pepper), strudel, stollen (fruitcake) and our favorite German treat, chocolate-covered marzipan.

    5. PLAY GERMAN MUSIC. See if anyone already has Oktoberfest music (there’s plenty of it on Amazon). Polka music, which originated in Bohemia (the modern Czech Republic), will also work. If you’d prefer German rock, here are the Top 10 German rock bands.

    6. BONUS: Consider a small prize for the best German folk clothing: Lederhosen or a dirndl skirt and apron.

    Some German mustard or Weisswurst†, perhaps?
     
    ________________
    †Weisswurst is the famous Bavarian white sausage made from ground veal and pork.

     

    Freaktoberfest Pumpkin Ale

    Samuel Adams Cranberry Lambic

    [3] Freaktoberfest Pumpkin Ale adds a layer of flavor with espresso beans (photo courtesy Coney Island Brewing Company). [4] You can even find cranberry beer, like this lambic from Samuel Adams (photo courtesy Boston Brewing Company).

     

      

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    BOOK: The Gefilte Manifesto, New Cooking For The New Year

    The Gefilte Manifesto

    Gefilte Fish Terrine

    [1] Modernize Jewish cooking with The Gefilte Manifesto. Cover photo: parchment-wrapped trout roasted with sliced onions. [2] The new gefilte fish: a two-fish terrine (photos courtesy Flatiron Books).

     

    Those who don’t celebrate Rosh Hashanah, the Jewish new year, can still participate in one of the sweetest treats: sliced apples with honey for dipping. It symbolizes a sweet start to the new wear.

    This year, Rosh Hashanah spans Sunday, October 2 through Tuesday, October 4*.

    If you’re guesting for Rosh Hashanah and need a host/hostess gift, we like the new cookbook from Liz Alpern and Jeffrey Yoskowitz, owners of The Gefilteria, a culinary venture that reimagines Ashkenazi Jewish cuisine.

    THE GEFILTE MANIFESTO: ADAPTING CENTURIES-OLD RECIPES FOR THE PRESENT

    THE GEFILTE MANIFESTO: New Recipes for Old World Jewish Foods, combines respect for culinary tradition with modern culinary preferences.

    The authors—Brooklynites Liz Alpern and Jeffrey Yoskowitz—took more than 100 recipes “pulled deep from the kitchens of Eastern Europe and the diaspora of North America.”

    They re-thought the recipes, taking into consideration modern palates, seasonality and consumers’ desire for easy-to-follow recipes.

    The authors’ variations on time-honored favorites add modern spins to both everyday and holiday dishes. Consider:

  • Fried Sour Pickles With Garlic Aïoli
  • Kasha Varnishkes With Brussels Sprouts
  • Kimchi Stuffed Cabbage
  • Savory Blintzes
  • Smoked Whitefish Gefilte Terrine
  • Sour Dill Martinis
  • Spinach & Leek Kreplach
  •  
    You’ll see how easy it is to make home-cured corned beef and pastrami, farmer cheese and honey-sesame chews—just like Great-Great-Great Grandmother did, but with modern conveniences like electricity, food processors and refrigerators.

     
    Get your copy here.

    Plan B: Bring a really fine honey like Savannah Bee, and a bowl of apples.
    ________________
    *In the U.S., Europe and elsewhere, the dates of Jewish holidays vary yearly. They are based on the Hebrew calendar, which is not in sync with the Gregorian-Wester-Christian calendar.

     
      

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    TIP OF THE DAY: Purple Potatoes

    Just a few years ago, purple potatoes were hard to find, especially for our Red, White & Blue Potato Salad (here’s a bonus recipe), popular fare for Memorial Day and Independence Day.

    Thankfully, things have changed. Once called purple Peruvian potatoes, they are now grown worldwide in response to consumer demand, so are much more readily available.
     
    THE HISTORY OF POTATOES

    Millennia ago, many potato varieties grew wild in the foothills of the Andes Mountains, in what is now Peru.

    Along with many other varieties of potatoes, they were cultivated around 3000 B.C.E. by the Incas.

    Imagine European cuisine without potatoes! But they were unknown until the Spanish conquistadors reached the shores of Montezuma’s empire (modern-day Mexico) in 1519. Potatoes sailed back to Spain a few years later.

    See the history of potatoes and the different types of potatoes.
     
    MODERN PURPLE POTATOES

    In addition to the vividly colored flesh—some purple, some blue—purple potatoes* have a creamy texture and are rich in flavor. Their starch level is medium, so purple potatoes are an all-purpose potato.

    Creamy and earthy-tasting like russet potatoes, the color is very dramatic. Depending on their species, some varieties have a nutty flavor, some varieties become a lighter lavender shade after cooking.

    There’s also a purple-fleshed “Okinawan” sweet potato, a staple in Hawaii. Look for it in Asian markets. decreasing the risk of stroke and macular degeneration. †Purple potatoes are now grown around the world.

    Try them baked, broiled, fried or mashed to add color and style to your meals. Make purple potato chips as as a beguiling snack, side or garnish.

    As with all potatoes, blue/purple potatoes originated in Peru, where the Incas cultivated many varieties of potato (see the history of potatoes). The color can become lavender when cooking. The starch level is medium, so purple Peruvians are an all-purpose potato. They are moist and earthy-tasting, sometimes with a nutty flavor; and the color is very dramatic. Purple potatoes are not only prettier, they have higher levels of polyphenol antioxidants to protect body cells against free radical damage (see this article from NBC News). They can help lower blood pressure, without causing weight gain: guilt-free potatoes!
     
    OKINAWA or OKINAWAN SWEET POTATO, WITH PURPLE FLESH

    A purple-fleshed sweet potato used extensively in Hawaiian cuisine, your best bet to find these are in Asian markets or online.

    The skin is tan, similar to the familiar russet potatoes; but the flesh is a bright magenta color. The Okinawa purple sweet potato has a delicate, slightly sweet taste and a creamy texture.

    The Okinawa is a member of the sweet potato family: order Solanales, family Convolvulaceae, genus Ipomoea, species, I. batatas. Its subspecies is Ipomoea batatas cv. Ayamurasaki.

    The white potato is of the same botanical order, Solanales, but diverges from the sweet potato at that level. The taxonomy of the white potato is: order Solanales, family Solanaceae, genus Solanum, species: S. tuberosum.

    Okinawa potatoes can be cooked like any sweet potato: baked, boiled, candied, mashed, roasted, scalloped or steamed.

    The Okinawa sweet potato is not related to the purple yam, ube, which is popular in Filipino cuisine and creates dishes of intense purple color.

    The term “yam” is often used incorrectly in the U.S. Yams are not members of the potato order, family, etc., but are from a totally different order. Be is from the order Dioscoreales, family Dioscoreaceae, genus Dioscorea, species D. alata.

     

    Purple Peruvian Potatoes

    Blue Potatoes

    Okinawa Sweet Potato

    ube-sulcatagrove-blogspot-230

    [1] Purple potatoes—in fact, all potatoes—originated in what is now Peru (photo Mona Makela | IST). [2] Some varieties have blue flesh, a result of the soil pH and other factors (photo courtesy Burpee). [3] Okinawa sweet potatoes (photo courtesy Melissa’s). [4] Ube are not potatoes (photo courtesy SulcataGrove.Blogspot.com.

    ________________
    *The blue or purple color comes from anthocyanins, powerful antioxidants that create red, blue and purple colors, depending on the pH of the soil and other growing factors. These antioxidants may help with everything from fighting heart disease and prostate cancer to lowering blood pressure.

     

    Purple Peruvian Potato Croquettes

    Purple Potato Chips

    Purple Potato Soup

    [5] Purple potato croquettes (photo courtesy Idaho Potato Commission). [6] A fancy hors d’oeuvre, purple potato chips with caviar (photo Bethany Holdhaus | Wedding Edibles). [7] Purple potato soup (photo © Family Spice).

     

    RECIPE: PURPLE POTATO CROQUETTES

    Try this recipe from IdahoPotatoes.com, made with Idaho Purple Potatoes.

    A croquette is a small portion of fried food coated with bread crumbs. It can be made from cheese, fish and shellfish, ground meat, mashed potatoes or vegetables, variously seasoned.

    Filling Ingredients

  • 4 pounds purple potatoes
  • 4 ounces butter
  • 1 cup Parmesan cheese, grated
  • 1/4 cup herbs (parsley, thyme), chopped
  • 1/4 cup heavy cream
  • 1/2 tablespoon black pepper
  • 1 tablespoon salt (more to taste)
  •  
    For The Breading

  • All-purpose flour
  • 5 egg yolks, whisked
  • Coarse bread crumbs (we prefer panko)
  •  
    Preparation

    1. BOIL the potatoes until fork tender. Carefully peel the potatoes while warm, discarding the skins and placing the meat of the potato in a food mill or a food processor with the paddle attachment.

    2. WARM the cream and butter and add to the potatoes and add all filling ingredients except the eggs. Completely blend until the potatoes are smooth and then add the egg yolks, one at a time, until incorporated.

    3. SPREAD the potatoes out on a cookie sheet or a one-inch sheet pan and smooth the top. Cover with plastic wrap and cool overnight in the fridge.

    4. CUT out the desired size of the croquettes with a cookie cutter or ring. Set up a breading station of flour, the whisked eggs and the bread crumbs. To bread: Coat the croquette in the flour, brushing off the excess. Completely coat with egg and transfer to the bread crumbs. Repeat this process for a double breading.

    5. FRY the croquettes in oil until golden brown, finishing in the oven until hot and ready to serve.
     
    MORE PURPLE POTATO RECIPES FROM THE NIBBLE

  • Fashionable Niçoise Salad
  • Purple Potato & Red Beet Salad
  • Rainbow Pizza
     
    FIND MORE DELICIOUS POTATO RECIPES AT IDAHOPOTATO.COM
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    RECIPE: Rum Punch For National Rum Punch Day

    September 20th is National Rum Punch Day. While the word “punch” conjures up a large bowl of drink, the word actually derives from the number five in Sanskrit and Hindi.

    THE HISTORY OF PUNCH

    Punch is a general term for a broad assortment of mixed drinks, made with or without alcohol. The word “punch” derives from the Hindi word, panch, from the Sanskrit is panchan, five.

    In India, panch was made from five different ingredients: sugar, lemon, water, tea or spices and an alcoholic spirit; hence the name.

    Punch was “discovered” in India by the British sailors of the East India Company. The concept was brought to England in the early 17th century. From there it spread to other countries.

    While Western punch recipes generally contain fruit or fruit juice, fruit isn’t essential. Nor is an elegant punch bowl required: a pitcher is fine, and in many cases, it’s more practical.

    You can also make just one punch drink at a time. Here are two recipes for individual punch drinks—rum punch, of course, to celebrate National Rum Punch Day.

    For serving in tall glasses, get some fun straws.

    It’s hard to resist 144 cocktail umbrellas for $4.79, but we resisted.

    RECIPE: BACCARDI RUM PUNCH

    This classic rum punch uses two different types of rum: white and dark. If you don’t have both, use what you have.

    Because this recipe is in “parts,” you can make anything from a single glass to a party portion, without any calculations.

    Ingredients Per Drink

  • 1 part Bacardi Superior (white rum)
  • ½ part Bacardi Select (dark rum)
  • ¼ part grenadine
  • 1 part orange juice
  • 1 part pineapple juice
  • ½ part cranberry juice
  • 1 lemon, sliced
  •  
    Preparation

    1. COMBINE ombine all liquid ingredients iIn a large container. Refrigerate until chilled and enjoy. If making a large batch, just before serving…

    2. POUR into a large punch bowl, stirring in ice. Garnish the bowl with floating lemon slices. Serve each glass with a lemon wheel.
     
    RECIPE: COCONUT RUM PUNCH

    This recipe, from Inspired By Charm, uses coconut rum and dark rum. No dark rum? Try it with all coconut rum.

     

    Rum Punch

    National Rum Punch Day

    Yellow Striped Straws

    [1] Grenadine and orange or yellow fruit juices create the “sunset” effect (photo courtesy Inspired By Charm). [2] Get out your Mason jars (photo courtesy The Blond Cook). [3] Tall drinks deserve a fun straw (photo courtesy Balloon Red).

     
    Ingredients Per Drink

  • 3 ounces pineapple juice
  • 2 ounces orange juice
  • 1 ounce dark rum, plus 1/2 ounce to splash on top
  • 1 ounce coconut rum
  • Splash of grenadine
  • Garnish: lime slice
  •  
    Preparation

    1. POUR into a glass the pineapple juice, orange juice, 1 ounce dark rum and 1 ounce coconut rum. Gently stir.

    2. SLOWLY POUR in a splash of grenadine. The grenadine will sink to the bottom to create the “sunset” coloration.

    3. ADD 1/2 ounce of dark rum to the top. Garnish with a slice of lime and serve.
     
     
    10 PUNCH MAKING TIPS

      

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    TIP OF THE DAY: 10-Minute Chorizo Tacos

    Chorizo Tacos Recipe

    White Corn Tortillas

    [1] Make these tortillas in 10 minutes or less. [2] Artisan white corn tortillas from Tortillas de la Tierra (both photos courtesy Good Eggs).

     

    Nothing planned for dinner?

    Guests drop by for a beer or glass of wine?

    Finicky kids?

    [Fill in] your own challenge?

    There’s a quick, crowd-pleasing solution: chorizo tacos.

    The folks at Good Eggs, who sent us this recipe, rejoice that “the ease and flavor of these simple chorizo numbers knocked our socks off.

    “Give it a try and you’ll be wondering if it can be Taco Tuesday every day.”

    It can be used at lunch and brunch, too.

    RECIPE: QUICK CHORIZO TORTILLAS

    Ingredients For 4 Tacos

  • 1 package chorizo sausage (pork or turkey)
  • 1 bunch green onions (scallions), chopped
  • 1 cup cilantro, roughly chopped
  • 10 tortillas de la Tierra
  • Optional: whatever you have in the fridge*
  • Optional: lime wedges
  •  
    ________________
    *Avocado/guacamole, beans, crumbled/shredded cheese, plain or pickled jalapeños, radish, salsa, sour cream, tomatoes (chopped), etc.
    ________________
     
    For A Side Of Salad

  • 1 bag mixed greens or other salad ingredients
  • Olive oil
  • ½ lemon
  • Preparation

    1. REMOVE the casing from the sausages. Place the chorizo in a cast-iron pan and sauté over medium-high heat until fully cooked, 7-10 minutes.

    2. WARM the tortillas on both sides, directly over the flame on your stove. Keep the tortillas warm in a dish towel as you continue to heat the stack. Alternatively, wrap the stack in a slightly damp dish towel and microwave until warm.

    3. PLACE a scoop of chorizo on each tortilla, along with some cilantro and green onions. If serving any optional ingredients, place them on the table and let people dress their own.

    4. DRESS the salad: Toss the greens with olive oil, the juice of half a lemon, season to taste with salt and pepper.

     

    HOW TO FREEZE TORTILLAS

    Some brands of tortillas with preservatives have a long shelf life in the fridge. Others don’t.

    To freeze tortillas, stack them with parchment or wax paper separating each tortilla, and place in a freezer bag with the air squeezed out. Then you can remove them one by one, as you need them, without tearing.

    If you typically use two or four tortillas at a time, place the parchment at that interval.

    The tortillas will keep for six to eight months beyond their “best by” date.

    Parchment separation is also advisable to hedge against tearing if you’re keeping tortillas in the fridge.
     
    HOW TO THAW & WARM FROZEN TORTILLAS

    Quick Thawing Techniques

  • Stove Burners: With electric or induction burners, place the tortillas directly on the burners and flip them with tongs. For a gas burner, hold the tortilla over the flame with tongs.
  • Microwave: Wrap in a kitchen towel (if the tortillas have started to dry out, use a damp towel. Microwave for 30 seconds to 1 minute 30 seconds, depending on how many tortillas you are heating. We use a rubber tortilla warmer—easy to store and great for microwaving any food.
  • Steamer: Wrap the tortillas in a kitchen towel and steam for a few minutes. They will stay hot if kept inside the towel.
  • Stovetop: Heat the tortillas in a pan, adding in a bit of water if you want to soften them.
  • Toaster Oven or Oven: Wrap the tortillas in foil and warm them in the oven.
  •  
    Slow Thawing

  • Slow: Defrost on the counter overnight.
  • Slower: Defrost in the fridge for 24 to 48 hours.
  •  
    NOTE: The towel or foil you wrap the tortillas in continues to keep them warm after they leave the heat source. Bring the tortillas to the table in the wrap.
     
    WHAT ARE YOUR FAVORITE QUICK HOT MEALS?

    Let us know!

     

    Freezing Tortillas

    Heating Tortillas

    Handmade Corn Tortillas

    [3] To freeze, stack the tortillas in a freezer bag with parchment paper (photo courtesy Americas Test Kitchen Feed). [4] Heat frozen or fresh tortillas over the burner (photo courtesy Wonder How To). [5] Look for artisan tortillas: so delicious, they’re worth the higher price (photo courtesy Hot Bread Kitchen).

     

      

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