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TIP OF THE DAY: Easy Valentine Heart Garnish

Even if you’re going out for dinner on Valentine’s Day, you can use today’s tip to garnish something.

Use dried herbs, spices or other ingredients to make heart-shaped designs on your foods.
 
GARNISH THESE SWEET FOODS

  • Cake or other dessert
  • Pancakes or French toast
  • Toast
  • Anything flat
  •  
    Use One Of These Toppings

  • Cinnamon sugar
  • Finely chopped nuts
  • Ground citrus peel
  • Hot chocolate powder or other drink powder (such as Nesquik)
  • Powdered sugar
  •  
    For savory dishes, check the list below.
     
    Preparation

    1. USE one of these heart-shaped templates:
    – Buy a red paper heart at the card store or party store.
    – Use a cookie cutter.
    – Cut a heart from foil or paper. Fold the sheet in half and cut out half a heart; unfold and both sides will be even.
     
    2. SPRINKLE the sugar, spice or herb over the heart template, using a small strainer (sieve). Let the garnish settle. Remove the template with a pointed tweezers to lift off the heart template.
     
    USE THESE SAVORY GARNISHES

    Look for dried herbs, spices or other garnishes that are mild enough to complement the food item. For this reason, we’ve omitted intense flavors such as chili flakes and curry powder, but let your palate guide you.

  • Bacon crumbles
  • Capers
  • Celery leaf flakes
  • Chives
  • Cilantro
  • Chopped olives
  • Finely chopped nuts
  • Fines herbes
  • Garlic chips
  • Grated Parmesan cheese
  • Herbes de Provence
  • Italian herb blend
  • Parsley
  • Pizza seasoning
  • Salad sprinkles
  • Toasted onion
  • Toasted sesame seeds
  •  
    You can also make your own blend.
     
    Sprinkle The Garnish On These Foods

  • Chicken breasts
  • Chops
  • Fish fillets
  • Mashed potatoes (patted flat)
  • Sandwich tops
  • Savory pancakes
  • Toast
  •  
    As always, have fun with it!

     

    heart-decoration-the-baker-chick-230

    Valentine

    Strainer Set

    strawberry-powder-aayushfoodingredients-230

    Dried Parsley

    Top photo: Mini flourless chocolate cakes from The Baker Chick are garnished with powdered sugar. Here’s the recipe. Second: Use a paper heart for your template. Third: If you don’t have a small strainer, pick one up. This set, about $10, is from Culina and available on Amazon. Fourth: Make a pink heart with Strawberry Nesquik. Photo courtesy Aayush Food Ingredients. Bottom: For savory dishes, use dried parsley or other herb. Photo courtesy Alamy.com.

     

      

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    FOOD HOLIDAY: International Pancake Day

    Scallion Pancakes

    Scallion Pancakes

    Monte Cristo Pancakes

    Top: American-style scallion pancakes. Photo and recipe by Joelen Tan for Krusteaz. Middle: Chinese-style scallion pancakes from Zesty South Indiana Kitchen. Here’s the recipe. Bottom: Monte Cristo Pancakes, like the sandwich but with pancakes instead of bread. Photo courtesy Bakerita.com.

     

    International Pancake Day is held each year on Shrove Tuesday, also called Fat Tuesday, Mardi Gras (which is French for Fat Tuesday) and in the U.K., Pancake Day. The date changes each year according to the date of Easter Sunday, and can vary from February 3rd to March 9th.

    Shrove Tuesday is the last day of feasting before Lent begins, on Ash Wednesday. It is observed mainly in English speaking countries: Australia, Canada, Ireland, New Zealand, the United Kingdom, and the U.S. But it is also observed elsewhere.

    Each country has its own customary food.

  • In Spain it’s an omelet (tortilla) made with sausage or pork fat.
  • In Lithuania, Poland and Portugal, it’s doughnuts (fried dough pastry), a custom brought to Hawaii by Portuguese laborers in the late 1800s.
  • Pastry or sweet buns are consumed in Estonia, Finland and Sweden.
  • In the U.K., Canada and Australia, the custom is eating a meal of pancakes.
  •  
    Why pancakes?

    They’re a way to use up rich foods such as eggs, milk, and sugar, before the fasting season of the 40 days of Lent. (The same applies to doughnuts and other pastry). The Lenten fast emphasizes eating plainer food and refraining from food that would give pleasure. In many cultures, this means no meat, dairy or eggs.

    Your Pancake Day celebration does not have to include conventional pancakes with a sweet syrup. Here are ideas for the savory palate.

     
    RECIPE: EASY SCALLION PANCAKES

    This recipe adds garlic powder and sliced scallions to regular pancake batter (or use a conventional Chinese Scallion Pancakes recipe).

    Serve them alongside steak and eggs or simply top with butter. Can you serve them with bacon and sausage? Absolutely!

    This recipe was developed by Joelen Tan for Krusteaz, who used its Buttermilk Pancake Mix. Prep time is 5 minutes, total time is 10-12 minutes.

    Ingredients For 4-8 Pancakes

  • 1 cup buttermilk pancake mix
  • 2/3 cup water
  • 1 teaspoon garlic powder
  • 1/4 cup thinly sliced scallions or green onions
  •  

    Preparation

    1. HEAT a pancake griddle or skillet over medium heat and grease lightly. Whisk together pancake mix, water, garlic powder and scallions until combined. The batter will be slightly lumpy; do not overmix.

    2. POUR 1/4 cup of batter onto the preheated griddle and cook pancakes for 1 to 1-1/2 minutes per side, or until golden brown.
     
    We enjoyed ours served with Korean beef bulgogi and a fried egg, adding an Asian twist to American steak and eggs.
     
    MORE SAVORY PANCAKE RECIPES

  • Bacon, Corn & Cheese Pancakes recipe
  • Bacon Potato Pancakes With Corn Salsa recipe
  • Monte Cristo Pancakes, with ham and cheese recipe
  • Potato Chips & Beer Pancakes recipe
  • Potato Pancakes (Latkes) recipe
  •  
    *Shrove is a form of shrive, which means to obtain absolution for one’s sins by way of confession and penance. It was/is customary for Christians to be “shriven” before the start of Lent.

     
    SEE ALL THE DIFFERENT TYPES OF PANCAKES.
     
      

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    TIP OF THE DAY: Valentine Cocktails Or Mocktails

    Some people think a Valentine’s Day cocktail should be rose red. Others think it should be chocolate. Still others want to drink pink.

    Here, we offer chocolate, coffee, red and pink Valentine cocktails for your consideration. If you’re having a party, choose several.

    Mocktail options follow.

    VALENTINE COCKTAIL DRINKS

  • Amore Espresso Cocktail Recipe
  • Bright Red Cocktail Recipes (including the Lovecicle)
  • Chocolate Basil Martini Recipe
  • Five Chocolate Cocktail Recipes (including the Hot Lips Chocolatini)
  • Love Nectar Recipe (red, with tequila, cider, red grapes)
  • Love Potion Recipe (bright red)
  • Passionfruit Tequila “Besame” (Kiss Me) Recipe (bright red)
  • Pink Cocktail Recipes (including Cupid’s Cosmo)
  • Pomegranate Martini Recipe (deep pink with red arils)
  • Pomegranate Refresher Recipe (pale pink with red arils)
  • The Right Kiss Gin Cocktail Recipe (deep red)
  • Rose Cocktail Recipes (pink, with rose simple syrup)
  • Secret Crush Champagne Cocktail Recipe (red)
  •    

    Valentine Champagne Cocktail

    Rosy and delicious: the Secret Crush “Champagne” cocktail made with Prosecco and grenadine. Photo courtesy Macao Trading Co.

     

    VALENTINE MOCKTAIL INGREDIENTS

    To make a Valentine-red mocktail, you need to use either a red base (blood orange juice, cranberry juice, cherry or raspberry soda) or a red-colored flavor such as grenadine or strawberry purée)—or both.

    Blend the juice and soda in proportions you prefer. If it isn’t red enough, add one of the red-colored flavors. Taste, add some citrus juice to pick up the flavor, and select a garnish.

     

    Valentine Cocktail

    The Pomegranate Refresher can be made
    with tequila, or as a mocktail with regular or
    diet 7-UP or Sprite.

     

    Juice

  • Blood orange juice
  • Cranberry juice
  • Pink lemonade
  •  
    Soda Pop

  • Cherry Soda
  • Club Soda
  • Ginger ale or ginger beer
  • Raspberry Soda
  •  
    Red-Colored Flavors

  • Grenadine
  • Pomegranate syrup
  • Raspberry syrup
  • Strawberry or raspberry purée
  •  
    Flavor Accent

  • Bitters
  • Citrus juice: grapefruit lemon, lime
  •  
    Garnish

  • Fruit: blood orange wheel, notched strawberry, pomegranate arils, raspberry pick
  • Herbs: fresh mint, opal (purple) basil
  •  
    Plus

  • Ice
  • Optional: red straws
  •   

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    TIP OF THE DAY: Americanize Fried Rice

    To celebrate the 2016 Chinese New Year, a holiday that runs through February 13th, here’s a fusion idea: a fried rice fusion of Chinese and American ingredients.

    For the home cook, the beauty of fried rice is that it is very adaptable. Like chow mein, it’s perfect for those nights when you’re cleaning out the refrigerator and want to get rid of leftover meat and vegetables.

    As a side dish, fried rice is an alternative to steamed rice. The most basic dish consists of rice, chopped green onions and eggs, stir-fried in a wok with some oil, and optionally seasoned with soy sauce or sauce.

    Fried Rice becomes a main meal by adding meat, poultry, seafood and/or vegetables. At Chinese banquets, fried rice is often the last dish of the main meal, served right before the dessert course.
    The oil may be seasoned with aromatics such as garlic before the rice and other ingredients are stir-fried together in a wok. Other

  • Meats often include beef, chicken, or pork; and lobster and shrimp on the seafood side.
  • Popular vegetables include bean sprouts, bell peppers, broccoli, carrots, celery, corn, mushrooms and green peas.
  • Seasonings include chiles, spices and soy sauce or oyster sauce, plus aromatics such as onions or green onions and garlic.
  •  
    HOW DO YOU “AMERICANIZE” FRIED RICE?

    You forge a path by combining anything that appeals to you—not just traditional Chinese ingredients, but your favorites from any of the world’s cuisines.

  • What’s in your fridge or pantry is unique to you. We found black beans, chicken sausage with apples, ham, hard-boiled eggs, pickled vegetables (including sweet gherkins), prosciutto and turkey. We even added orzo, tiny pasta shaped like grains of rice.
  • Add nuts and dried fruits. Almonds or cashews, dried apricots or prunes are a nice touch. Cashews pair well with canned pineapple chunks. “Trail Mix Fried Rice” works, as does this recipe for Pork Fried Rice with Dried Apricots & Pistachios.
  • Veggies can be the biggest “Americanization”: In addition to the popular Chinese ingredients), look at American produce. Cauliflower and roasted root vegetables go nicely. We added uncooked grape tomatoes at the very end of a recipe, and liked the freshness. Fennel and radicchio add a gourmet touch. Don’t rule anything out—with the possibility of beets, which can “bleed.” Kale fried rice, anyone?
  •    

    Chicken Fried Rice

    Shimp Fried Rice With Brown Rice

    Top: Chicken Fried Rice with diced chicken and proscuitto and chiles from Melissa’s The Great Pepper Cookbook. Second: Shrimp Fried Rice made with brown rice and dried apricots, from CalRice.org.

  • Use your favorite source of heat, from chopped jalapeños to sriracha sauce. Anchos and chipotles (smoked jalapeños) add smoky flavors. Default to fresh-ground black pepper or cayenne from your spice rack.
  • Instead of using leftover white or brown rice, try saffron rice or a more exotic rice, such as black or red rice (here are the different types of rice). You can try any leftover cooked grain, from couscous to quinoa. It won’t be fried rice, per se; but it will be good!
  • Consider a sauce or gravy. Fujian rice, a popular dish in China, is served with a brown sauce.
  • Pick an interesting garnish. In China, popular garnishes include fried shallots, cilantro, parsley, sliced chiles, or carrots carved into flowers or other shapes. We especially like cilantro and parsley, as well as fresh basil. Fresh herbs bring brightness to the dish. But you can forge that path with other garnishes. We’ve used strips of pimento as well as citrus zest (any citrus works) and sliced black olives.
  •  

    Ginger Fried Rice With Fried Egg

    Pineapple Fried Rice With Edamame

    Top: A twist from Spice Market in New York City. Leaving out soy sauce keeps the rice white. It’s topped with a fusion concept: a fried egg and crushed panko bread crumbs. Bottom: Pineapple Ginger Fried Rice from Whole Foods Market incorporates Japanese edamame, miso, brown rice and cilantro.

     

    FRIED RICE HISTORY

    While the exact origins of fried rice are lost to history, it’s believed that it was invented sometime during China’s Sui dynasty (589-618 C.E.) in Yangzhou (Yangchow), an eastern coastal province. Yangchow Fried Rice is still the standard by which all other Chinese fried rice dishes are judged, the rice tossed with roast pork, prawns, scallions and peas.

    Thanks to Rhonda Parkinson of ChineseFood.About.com for these tips on cooking fried rice.
     
    THE SCOOP ON FRIED RICE

    The key to making good fried rice is to use rice that has been previously cooked. Day-old rice is fine, but rice that is two or three days old is even better. Older rice is dryer, ensuring that the dish will be neither wet nor mushy. Long grain rice, which is fluffier and less sticky than other types of rice, is ideal.
     
    Cooking the Eggs

    There are two main techniques, and either is fine:

  • Scramble the egg and mix it in with the rice during the final stage of cooking.
  • Fry the beaten egg and cut it into strips to use as a garnish. We’ve happily substituted tamago, Japanese egg custard, for this.
  •  
    Cook The Ingredients Separately

    Each of the ingredients in fried rice is cooked separately and combined in the final stages of cooking. This is to maintain the distinct flavors of each. Simply remove each ingredient from the pan after you cook or heat it and set it aside while you cook the others.
     
    Choosing The Seasoning

    Some cooks use only a pinch of salt, believing that the flavor should come from the stir-fried ingredients. Others season the dish with soy sauce or oyster sauce. Thick soy sauce gives the rice a dark color. It’s really a matter of personal preference.

     
    You Can Freeze Fried Rice!

    Just reheat the frozen rice in a frying pan, or microwave it with a bit of broth (whatever you have—beef, chicken or vegetable).

     
    No Wok Required!

    Finally, you don’t need a wok! A deep skillet will do. We use this teflon-coated “wok pan” with a handle. We vastly prefer it to a conventional wok.

      

    Comments

    RECIPE: Pork & Apricot Fried Rice

    If you’re a fan of pork fried rice, how about whipping up a batch of Pork and Apricot Fried Rice for the Chinese New Year?

    This recipe is from Chef Ingrid Hoffmann, who serves it as a light lunch with just add a salad. You can play with the recipe and substitute other grains.

    You can roast a pork loin just for this recipe, or roast one for dinner the day before and make enough extra to use in the fried rice.
     
    RECIPE: PORK & APRICOT FRIED RICE

    Ingredients For 6 Servings
     
    For The Rice

  • 1 tablespoon vegetable oil
  • 2 cups long-grain rice
  • 2 cups unsweetened pineapple juice
  • 2 cups water
  • 1/3 cup dried apricots, diced
  • 2 teaspoons kosher salt
  •  
    For The Pork

  • 1½ tablespoons peanut oil
  • 1½ pounds boneless pork loin, cut into ¼-inch chunks
  • 1½ teaspoons kosher salt
  • ½ teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
  • 2 garlic cloves, chopped
  • ½ cup fresh cilantro, chopped
  • ¼ cup celery, finely chopped
  • ¼ cup scallions, white and green parts, finely chopped
  • 2 tablespoons reduced-sodium soy sauce
  • 2 teaspoons sherry wine vinegar
  • 1 tablespoon fresh ginger, finely grated
  • Garnish: ¼ cup pistachios, toasted (substitute chopped or sliced
    almonds)
  •  

    Pork Apricot Fried Rice

    Dried Apricots

    Top: Pork and Apricot Fried Rice from Chef Ingrid Hoffmann. Bottom: Dried apricots for the pork fried rice. Photo by Olha Afanasieva | IST. Have extra apricots? They’re one of our favorite snacks. You can turn them into candy by dipping them halfway in melted chocolate. Set them on wax paper until they dry.

     
    Preparation

    1. MAKE the rice: Heat the oil in a large saucepan over medium heat. Add the rice and cook, stirring often, until the rice looks chalky, about 2 minutes. Add the pineapple juice, water, apricots and salt and bring to a boil. Cook until the liquid is below the surface of the rice and tunnels form in the rice. Reduce the heat to low and cover. Cook until the rice is tender, 15 to 20 minutes.

    2. COOK the pork: Heat the oil in a Dutch oven over medium-high heat. Season the pork with the salt and pepper. In batches, add the pork chunks to the skillet and cook, turning occasionally, until lightly browned, about 7 minutes. Transfer to a plate.

    3. ADD the garlic, ¼ cup of cilantro, celery, scallions, soy sauce, sherry vinegar and ginger to the skillet. Stir-fry until the celery is tender, about 3 minutes.

    4. RETURN the pork to the skillet. Add the rice and stir-fry until well mixed, 3 to 5 minutes. To serve, sprinkle with the pistachios and the remaining 1/4 cup of cilantro and serve hot.

      

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    TIP OF THE DAY: Walnuts On Pizza

    Apple Walnut Pizza

    Blue Cheese Walnut Pizza

    Chicken Alfredo Pizza

    Top: Apple Cheddar Pizza With Walnuts from OhMyVeggies.com. Center: Pear, Blue Cheese & Walnut Pizza from 2Teaspoons.com. Bottom: Chicken Alfredo Pizza With Walnuts & Gorgonzola from Pillsbury.com.

     

    We’d never had walnuts on a pizza—or even thought of it—until a recent excursion to Paulie Gee’s pizzeria in the Greenpoint neighborhood of Brooklyn.

    The restaurant serves both conventional pizzas (arugula, mushrooms, pesto, sausage, etc.); but we can get those elsewhere. Instead, we go for the more unusual selections, such as:

  • Gouda, Sliced Canadian Bacon & Maple Syrup
  • Beef Brisket, Pickled Red Onions & BBQ Sauce
  • Mozzarella, Gorgonzola, Prosciutto, Dried Bing Cherries
    & Orange Blossom Honey
  • Speck & Pickled Pineapple (a better version of ham-and-pineapple pizza)
  •  
    This time, we chose a “special” topped with walnuts, goat cheese and baby spinach. We loved the toasty, nutty crunch—plus the opportunity to deny the carbs we were consuming by focusing instead on the added nutrition of the walnuts: protein, fiber and different phytonutrients (types of antioxidants).

    We then returned to the office to research other approaches to walnut-topped pizza.
     
    We found quite a few pizza recipes that combined walnuts with different cheeses—blue, cheddar, goat and others—with fruits (apples, pears) and with more conventional pizza toppings (bacon, ham).

    So this tip is for home pizza makers: Try some of these ideas for a gourmet Super Bowl experience or for a new take on the comfort food.

    You can also add some of the ingredients to delivery pizza and frozen pizza.
     
    TAKE A BITE OF WALNUT PIZZA

    So many walnut pizzas, so little time to try them all!

  • Apple Cheddar Pizza with Caramelized Onions & Walnuts Recipe
  • Arugula, Goat Cheese & Walnut Pizza Recipe 1 and Recipe 2
  • Blue Cheese, Pear & Walnut Pizza Recipe 1 and Recipe 2
  • Caramelized Onion, Walnut & Goat Cheese Pizza With A Beer Crust Recipe
  • Chicken Alfredo Pizza With Gorgonzola & Walnuts Recipe
  • Gorgonzola, Pear & Walnut Pizza Recipe 1 and Recipe 2
  • Mushrooms, Goat Cheese, Arugula & Walnut Pizza Recipe
  • Walnut Pesto and Zucchini Pizza Recipe
  •  
    SUMMER WALNUT PIZZAS

    These are summer recipes that require seasonal ingredients such as fresh tomatoes and summer squash (yellow squash, a close relation* of zucchini).

  • Summer Squash Pizza with Goat Cheese and Walnuts Recipe
  • Walnut Pizza with Arugula and Yellow Tomatoes Recipe
  •  
    Today we’re making the Caramelized Onion, Walnut & Goat Cheese Pizza,; and we have fresh baby arugula so we’ll add that, too, when the pie comes out of the oven.

    What’s your choice?
    __________________________________
    *Both zucchini and yellow squash are varieties of the species Cucurbita pepo, which also includes crookneck squash, scalloped squash, straightneck squash, vegetable marrows (no relation to bone marrow, but a name given to the mature fruit (see below), zucchini and cocozelle, a type of zucchini with pale green or yellow stripes. Zucchini and yellow squash are picked from the vine before they are mature, but are are tender. If they remain on the vine and grow to maturity, they are larger, drier and tougher—and referred to as marrow.

     
      

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    FOOD FUN: Snowman Marshmallows

    Chef Ingrid Hoffman created these fun marshmallow snowmen as a project for kids.

    All you need:

  • Large and mini marshmallows
  • Wooden skewers
  • Red and black gel icings
  •  
    Chef Ingrid stuck the skewers into a piece of styrofoam covered with burlap. You can use half a melon, a stale loaf of bread, or present the skewers on a tray.

    Find more of Chef Ingrid’s recipes—serious and fun—at IngridHoffman.com.
     
    FONDUE, ANYONE?

    These snowmen make great fondue dippers to add to our list of 40 chocolate fondue dippers.

    If you want to whip up a batch of chocolate fondue, here are our favorite recipes.

  • Chocolate fondue
  • White chocolate fondue
  • White chocolate pumpkin fondue
  • Spiced chocolate fondue
  •  

    /home/content/p3pnexwpnas01_data02/07/2891007/html/wp content/uploads/snowman marshmallows ingridhoffmannFB 230

    Marshmallow snowmen can be food-on-a-stick or fondue dippers. Photo courtesy Chef Ingrid Hoffman.

     

      

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    FOOD HOLIDAY: Make A Pisco Sour For National Pisco Day

    pisco-porton-and-la-caravedo-230

    Pisco Portón is an acholado mosto verde
    pisco. Its sister brand, La Caravedo, is a
    pisco puro, from estate-grown Quebranta
    grapes. See the definitions below. Photo
    courtesy Pisco Portón.

     

    Quinoa isn’t the only hot product from Peru. Pisco, Peru’s national spirit, is another.

    Peruvians honor their pisco so much there are two annual holidays celebrated nationally: Pisco Sour Day (Día del Pisco Sour), the first Saturday of February; and Pisco Day (Día del Pisco), the fourth Sunday of July.
     
    WHAT IS PISCO?

    Pisco, a grape-based white spirit, dates from the 16th century. It is Denomination of Origin (D.O.) protected, which means it must be made in Peru, in traditional copper pot stills in small batches.

  • It must be unaged and unaltered, meaning that no additives, flavorings or even water can be added to the distilled product.
  • It must be made from at least one of eight specific grape varietals: Albilla, Italia, Mollar, Moscatel, Negra Corriente, Quebranta, Torontel and Uvina.
  • Pisco was created as an act of rebellion. In 1641, Philip IV, King of Spain imposed heavy taxes on all wine produced in Peru. His Peruvian subjects dodged the tax by distilling the year’s grape harvest in hand-forged copper vats.

    A new white spirit was born and christened pisco, after the Port of Pisco from where it was exported. (Pisco means “bird” in the indigenous Quechua language.)

     
    Pisco became so popular that when the pirate Sir Francis Drake took hostages from the Port of Pisco in the 16th century, he demanded a ransom of 300 bottles.

    Types Of Pisco

    There are three types of pisco:

  • Pisco puro, made from one of the eight grape varietals allowed by law.
  • Pisco acholado, a blend of two or more of the eight grape varietals.
  • Pisco mosto verde, made from any of the eight grape varietals or a blend. Mosto verde refers to a specific process* where the fermentation of freshly pressed grape juice is interrupted before the distillation occurs.
  •  
    Pisco Portón, marketed as a “super-premium pisco,” is the number-one pisco brand exported to the U.S. It’s the most award-winning pisco in the world.
     
    *To make the other two styles of pisco, the fermentation process turns all the sugar content in the grape juice to alcohol. The fermented juice is then distilled. With pisco mosto verde, the juice is distill when there is still sugar present. This results in a product that is velvety and smoother on the palate.

     

    RECIPE: PISCO SOUR

    It is believed that the Pisco Sour was invented in at Morris’ Bar in Lima the 1920s by its American owner, Victor Morris. The recipe was perfected by bartender Mario Bruguet, who added the egg whites to create the velvety cocktail we enjoy today.

    Here’s Pisco Portón’s recipe for the most popular pisco drink, Pisco Sour.
     
    Ingredients Per Drink

  • 2 ounces pisco
  • 1 ounce fresh lime juice
  • 1 ounce simple syrup (recipe)
  • 1 ounce egg whites
  • Dash of Angostura bitters
  • 5 ice cubes
  •  
    Preparation

     

    pisco-sour-piscoportion-230

    Pisco Sour, the national cocktail of Peru. Photo courtesy Pisco Portón.

     
    1. PLACE all ingredients in a blender. Blend on high for 15 seconds, add 5 cubes of ice, and then pulse in the blender 5 times.

    2. STRAIN into a glass. Garnish with 3 drops of Angostura bitters.
     
    MORE PISCO DRINKS

    Here’s a recipe for Pisco Punch. You can find other classic pisco recipes at PiscoPorton.com.

      

    Comments

    TIP OF THE DAY: Winter Fruit Substitutes

    Fuyu Persimmons

    Fuyu Persimmons

    Fuyu persimmons can substitute for summer
    tomatoes. Top photo by Jirkaejc | IST.
    Bottom photo courtesy Good Eggs | San
    Francisco.

     

    Eating seasonally, a practice that has always existed in culinary meccas like France and Italy (and existed everywhere by default prior to modern transportation and food technology), is an idea that’s been promulgated for some 40 years in the U.S., first by chef and restaurateur Alice Waters. The the “farm-to-table” movement and subsequent awareness of sustainability and carbon miles continue to underscore the need to change the on-demand desires of American consumers.

  • Instead of asparagus in winter, for example, the idea is to substitute seasonally available leeks, broccolini or broccoli rabe.
  • Instead of longing for fruits that aren’t in season, reach for those that are: apples, cactus [prickly] pear, cherimoya, dates, grapefruits, kiwifruit, mandarins (clementines, tangerines and others), papaya, oranges, passion fruit, pears, persimmons, pomegranates.
  •  
    Seek them out not only as hand fruit, but to substitute in recipes for out-of-season fruits.
     
    WINTER SUBSTITUTES FOR SUMMER FRUITS

    Some do better when frozen than others, and fruits, frozen at their peak, are an option. But if you want fresh-to-fresh, here are some good substitutes:

  • Berries: pomegranate arils
  • Cantaloupe: kiwifruit, mango, papaya
  • Cherries: raspberries, dried cherries
  • Honeydew: green grapes, kiwifruit
  • Peaches: mangoes
  • Pineapple: cherimoya
  • Tomatoes: persimmons, radishes, red bell peppers or pimentos*
  • Watermelon: red grapefruit
  •  
    SUBSTITUTE PERSIMMONS FOR TOMATOES

    Perhaps the most missed fruit or vegetable is the fresh tomato, a staple of salads and sandwiches. Hannah Kaminsky of Bittersweet Blog, residing in the produce capital of America, writes:

    “Even in balmy California, farmers market tables once straining under the weight of plump tomatoes and juicy peaches look comparatively sparse, bearing dusty tubers and hearty greens instead.

    “I’d never dream of making classic tabbouleh† in winter, when only mealy tomatoes shipped halfway across the globe can be found in markets.”

    Her solution: Substitute persimmons for bland imported tomatoes. The recipe is below.

    “It makes perfect sense the moment you taste the persimmons in this light salad” Hannah notes. “Their juicy, meaty texture and natural sweetness are an excellent substitution.” She adds even more seasonal produce to the standard tabbouleh recipe:

    “Pomegranate arils lend tart, crunchy bursts of flavor. And while parsley could be the sole herbaceous element, I felt compelled to toss in those unloved green carrot tops that are all too often discarded, rather than savored as they should be.”

  • You can substitute persimmons for tomatoes in any vegetable salad.
  • You can try them on sandwiches; although we prefer jarred roasted red bell peppers (pimento or pimiento*), sundried tomatoes in olive oil (drained) or plumped in water, or peppadews.
  •  

    RECIPE: WINTER TABBOULEH

    Ingredients For 4-6 Servings

  • 1/4 cup bulgur wheat
  • 1/4 teaspoon turmeric
  • 1/2 cup vegetable broth
  • 1 Fuyu persimmon, peeled, stemmed and chopped
  • 1 cup fresh parsley, minced
  • 1-1/2 cups carrot tops, minced (or substitute parsley)
  • 2 tablespoons red onion, finely chopped
  • Optional: 1/3 cup pomegranate arils
  • 2-3 tablespoons lemon juice
  • 2-3 tablespoons olive oil
  • Salt and freshly-ground black pepper, to taste
  •  
    Preparation

    1. COMBINE the bulgur, turmeric and vegetable broth in a small saucepan and place over low heat. Stir well and bring to a boil. Cover, turn off the heat, and let stand for 15-20 minutes until all of the liquid has been absorbed. Let cool slightly. Meanwhile…

     

    Persimmon Tabbouleh

    Eat seasonally: Substitute persimmons for tomatoes in winter salads. Photo by Hannah Kaminsky | Bittersweet Blog.

     
    2. PREPARE the fruits and vegetables accordingly, and toss them together in a large bowl. Add the cooled bulgur, followed by the lemon juice, olive oil, salt and pepper. Taste and adjust flavors according to personal preference.

    3. COVER and chill for at least 2 hours before serving to allow the flavors to marry.
     
     
    WHAT ARE PERSIMMONS?

    In the late 1880s, the first persimmon arrived in the U.S., brought by a naval commander returning to Washington D.C. from Japan.

    Here’s more about persimmons, including how to enjoy them at every meal of the day.
     
     
    *What is a pimento? Also spelled pimiento (a variation of the Portuguese spelling; pimento is Spanish), the pimento is a heart-shaped variety of Capsicum annuum, the same genus and species as the familiar red bell pepper. Its flesh is sweet, succulent, and more aromatic than that of the red bell pepper. Pimento is what is used to stuff green olives, and is ground into paprika. The standard pimento measures 3 to 4 inches long and 2 to 3 inches wide. Some varieties of pimento are actually hot. In the U.S., they are typically sold pickled, as hot cherry peppers. Don’t confuse pimento with pimenta, which we know as allspice and is also called the Jamaica pepper, and myrtle pepper.

    †Classic tabbouleh ingredients are bulgur wheat, parsley, tomato and onion, dressed with olive oil and lemon juice.

      

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    VALENTINE’S DAY: Sparkling Wines For Gifting & Drinking

    Brachetto d'Acqui Banfi

    Banfi Rosa Regale Brachetto d’Acqui: a wine that says “Be My Valentine.”

     

    If you’ve taken a look at Champagne prices, you’d like a recommendation on which way to go.

    Our recommendation: Steer away from Champagne and look at other sparkling wines. Here are two of our favorite affordable bubblies for Valentine’s Day. Both are crowd pleasers. One is a perfect dessert wine or an apéritif; the other can be enjoyed anytime, with any course.

    Drink them yourself or give them as gifts. As with all sparkling wines, serve them chilled.
     
    BANFI ROSA REGALE BRACHETTO D’ACQUI

    This sweet sparkling wine from the Piedmont region of Italy is a vivid rose red. The color is natural!

    It’s made from the Brachetto df’Acqui grape, which grows in the area of Acqui Terme in rocky, calcareous soil (tough soil makes better wines).

     
    The bouquet is very aromatic, with hints of raspberries, strawberries and rose petals. You’ll taste hints of fresh raspberries, with crisp acidity.

    In addition to dessert—cakes, tarts, ice cream—it pairs well with seafood, cheeses, spicy fare and yes, that box of Valentine chocolate.

    One of our friends calls this wine “love at first sip.” It’s pretty romantic stuff.

    The price: $17-$20 per bottle. The pronunciation: bra-KET-toe d’AH-qwee.

    There’s more on the brand’s web page.
     
    YELLOWTAIL BUBBLES SPARKLING ROSÉ

    A recent Top Pick Of The Week for the holidays, this sparkling wine from Australia makes everything more festive—at just $10-$11 per bottle. It’s not a sweet wine, but crisp and refreshing, so it can be paired with anything.

    The fragrant nose promises cherries and strawberries on the palate. Unlike the deep red of Brachetto d’Acqui, it’s a pale pink color, similar to a rosé Champagne.

    Depending on the retailer and promotion calendar, the bottle may come with a resealable, plastic cap that allows you to seal in the bubbles for the next day. If not, and if you don’t have one, pick up a Champagne resealer. It’s inexpensive, and really does keep that wine sparkling for days.

    And it can be the part of the gift that remains, when the wine is long gone.

    Here’s our full review of the wine.

    And here’s the Yellowtail Bubbles Rosé web page.

     
      

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