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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

RECIPE: Sriracha Palmiers

Crusty, cheesy, spicy. Photo courtesy Pepperidge Farm.

 

A palmier (palm-YAY) is a sweet or savory cookie made from puff pastry; the pastry is folded to resemble palm leaves (palmiers) or elephant ears, depending on your perspective.

The sweet versions are rolled in sugar; the savory versions are made with cheese—a variation of cheese straws.

For something spicy and warm from the oven on New Year’s Eve, we like this recipe from Pepperidge Farm. Parmesan palmiers with a kick of hot sriracha sauce are a smashing pairing with with Bloody Marys, and you can serve them with sparkling wines, too.

In this version, sriracha, the hot sauce that originated in Thailand, adds a kick.

RECIPE: SRIRACHA PALMIERS

Ingredients

  • 1/2 cup whipped cream cheese spread, at room temperature
  • 4 teaspoons sriracha hot sauce
  • 1/3 cup minced green onions
  • 3/4 cup grated Parmesan cheese
  • All-purpose flour
  • 1/2 of a 17.3-ounce package Pepperidge Farm Puff Pastry Sheets (i.e., 1 sheet), thawed
  •  

    Preparation

    1. HEAT the oven to 400°F. Line 2 baking sheets with parchment paper. Stir the cream cheese, sriracha, onions and cheese in a medium bowl.

    2. SPRINKLE the work surface with the flour. Unfold the pastry sheet on the work surface. Roll the pastry lightly to remove the fold marks.

    3. SPREAD the cream cheese mixture on the pastry to within 1/2 inch of the edge. Starting at both short sides, roll the pastry toward the center, leaving a 1/4 inch space in the center. Fold one side over another, making a layered roll. Cut the roll into 20 (1/2-inch slices). Place the slices, cut-side down, on the baking sheets.

    4. BAKE for 20 minutes or until the pastries are golden brown. Remove the pastries from the baking sheets and let cool on wire racks for 10 minutes.
     

    SRIRACHA VS. TABASCO: THE DIFFERENCE

    How do the two red chile-based sauces compare?

  • Sriracha is a thicker sauce that pairs red jalapeños with garlic and vinegar, along with a bit of sugar for balance. The result is a more rounded, balanced sauce than original Tabasco. While the original sriracha sauce hails from the Thai seaport of Sri Racha (also spelled Si Racha), the popular Huy Fong brand is made in California.
  • Tabasco, the classic American hot sauce, is a thin condiment (as opposed to the thicker sriracha, which is sauce-like). It is a less complex flavor profile than sriracha, made with Tabasco chiles and vinegar. In recent years, McIlhenny, the Louisiana-based producer, has expanded the line to seven varieties of Tabasco, including Garlic and Sweet & Spicy.
  •  
      

    Comments

    TIP OF THE DAY: Appetizers With Champagne

    As you’re getting ready to pop the cork on New Year’s Eve, what nibbles should you serve with the Champagne or other sparkling wine?

    Here are seven favorite pairings with Champagne.

    CAVIAR

    You don’t need the deep pockets for sturgeon caviar. Salmon caviar, trout caviar or whitefish caviar are just dandy.

    We enjoy serving them in dabs on slices of boiled fingerling potatoes, with a bit of crème fraîche or sour cream between the potato and the caviar. Check out the different types of caviar.
     
    CHEESE

    Double- and triple-creme cheeses are sumptuous with Champagne. Brie and Camembert are typically* double-crèmes (here’s the difference between Brie and Camembert); triple-crèmes like Brillat-Savarin, Explorateur and St. André are even richer and creamier.

    But if you’re not into the creaminess, mild Cheddars and nutty Goudas pair wonderfully with toasty Champagnes and older, nuttier Champagnes. (Note that among sparkling wines, Champagne is unique in its toasty, nutty qualities.)

    Serve slices of fresh baguette or specialty crackers with the cheese. Much as we love Triscuits, for example, New Year’s Eve merits something more glamorous.

       

    champagne_and_cheese-230

    Brillat-Savarin cheese with Champagne. Photo courtesy Whole Foods Market.

     
    PÂTÉ

    Pâte or mousse† de foie gras, made from duck or goose liver, is a classic pairing with Champagne. But chicken mousse pâte is less expensive and equally delicious. You can make it or buy it.

    We actually prefer mousse to pâte with Champagne because it’s so soft and spreadable. The velvety smooth texture is luxurious against the gentle bubbles. Serve it with toast points or baguette slices.

     

    oysters-champagne-230

    Oysters and other raw shellfish are delicious with Champagne. Photo courtesy Champagne
    Bureau.

     

    SEAFOOD PLATTER

    Some of the classic items of the classic plat de fruits de mer—clams, mussels, oysters and shrimp—are delicious with Champagne. You can serve oysters or shrimp only, or a seafood assortment.

    Seafood tends to be pricey; an alternative is to make a crab or shrimp dip or spread.

     
    SMOKED SALMON

    Smoked salmon is another time-honored marriage with Champagne. Serve it any way you like: canapés, spread (check out these smoked salmon rillettes), even Philadelphia rolls, sushi-style with cream cheese.

     
    STUFFED MUSHROOMS

    Champagne can have mushroomy flavors, especially as it ages Stuffed mushrooms go nicely—even if the flavor is citrussy or toasty instead of mushroomy.

     
    SUSHI

    For something a bit different, consider a platter of sushi—nigiri and/or cut rolls. Like the raw bar, raw fish with rice is delicious with Champagne.

    For color and flavor, you need only tuna and salmon; but you can get as elaborate as you like.

    What’s your favorite appetizer to serve with Champagne? Let us know!

     
    *Some Bries and Camemberts are triple-crèmes.

    Pâte is more solid than mousse. Here is Emeril Lagasse’s recipe. For a mousse, the liver is whipped with butter and cream and is soft and spreadable. Here’s a recipe from Alton Brown.

      

    Comments

    TIP OF THE DAY: Smoked Salmon Rillettes & Champagne

    Rillettes are a classic rustic French preparation of similar to pâté (or the cretons of Quebec), popularized in central France (think Anjou, Le Mans and Tours). Originally made with pork, the meat was cubed or chopped, salted and cooked slowly in the still-warm cooking fat until it is tender enough to be easily shredded.

    The shredded meat—originally pork belly or pork shoulder—is mixed with enough of the fat to form a paste or pâté in French, which refers to any cooked ground meat and fat minced into a spreadable paste. The paste was placed in a crock.

    The word first appears in writing in 1845. It derives from the Old French rille, meaning a slice of pork (rille dates all the way back to 1480).

    Rillettes are typically served at room temperature with bread or toast points—and wine, of course. Long before the current, trendy bacon jam, there were rillettes.

    Over time, the technique was applied to other meat and poultry: chicken, duck, game birds, fish (anchovies, salmon, tuna), goose and rabbit. Fish is not actually cooked in the fat, but it is blended with fat to create the paste.

    In this recipe from Chef Aida Mollenkamp, was developed for Moët & Chandon to serve with Champagne. You can serve it with any sparkling wine.

       

    smoked-salmon-rillettes-aidamollenkamp-230r

    Smoked salmon rillettes. Photo courtesy Chef Aida Mollenkamp.

     

    The recipe—Smoked Salmon, Crème Fraîche, and Fennel Rillettes—requires just 15 minutes or prep time, plus 2 hours of chilling time.

    Chef Mollenkamp gave the classic recipe a modern, quicker, and slightly healthier twist, including a double dose of anise flavor from the fennel and the tarragon. The spread has a smoky, sweet anise flavor and is as delicious on a cracker as it on toast for a luxurious sandwich.

    Let your imagination wander: We’ve enjoyed the leftovers on toast with scrambled or poached eggs!

     

    brut-imperial-magnum_bienmanger-230

    Great with smoked salmon rillettes: a magnum of Moët et Chandon Brut Impérial Champagne. Photo courtesy BienManger.com.

     

    RECIPE: SMOKED SALMON RILLETTES

    Ingredients For 2 Cups (15 to 20 Hors d’Oeuvre Servings)

  • 2 tablespoons unsalted butter
  • 1/2 cup minced shallots
  • Salt and freshly ground black pepper
  • 2/3 cup small dice fennel
  • 2 tablespoons lemon juice
  • 2 tablespoons finely chopped fresh tarragon leaves or chives, plus more for serving
  • Optional: 1 tablespoon Pernod or other anise-flavored liqueur (see below)
  • 1/2 teaspoon loosely packed lemon zest
  • 1/3 cup crème fraîche*
  • 1 pound hot-smoked and/or cold-smoked salmon
  • Crackers or toasts, for serving
  • Optional: cornichons, pickled onions
  •  
    *If you can’t find crème fraîche, you can make it with this recipe, or substitute sour cream or plain Greek yogurt.
     

    Preparation

    1. MELT the butter in a medium frying pan over medium heat. When the foaming subsides, add the shallots and season with a pinch of salt and a few cranks of freshly ground black pepper. Cook until the shallots are translucent and soft. Set aside to cool slightly.

    2. COMBINE the shallots with the fennel, lemon juice, herbs, Pernod, lemon zest and crème fraîche. Season with a pinch of salt and some freshly ground black pepper.

    3. BREAK the salmon into bite-sized pieces and fold into the mixture until just combined. Taste and adjust the seasoning as desired. Transfer the rillettes to an airtight container, cover and refrigerate until chilled through, at least 2 hours.

    4. LET the rillettes sit at room temperature for a few minutes before serving so they’re spreadable. Sprinkle with herbs and serve with crackers or toast, along with the cornichons and/or pickled onions. For the best flavor, consume the rillettes within four days of preparation.
     
    SUBSTITUTES FOR PERNOD

    If you don’t have Pernod, you don’t need to spring for a bottle for the tablespoon required here. Instead, you can substitute absinthe, aguardiente, arak (a Middle Eastern liquor like ouzo), ouzo, pastis, raki (a Turkish liquor like ouzo) or Ricard.

    Sambucca, which is anise-flavored, is typically sweetened and thus not right for this recipe.

      

    Comments

    RECIPE: Homemade Bacon Jam

    BLT-Tart-Bacon-Jam-2-domesticfits-230r

    In this clever version, bacon jam on toast is turned into a holiday treat. Photo courtesy DomesticFits.com. Here’s the recipe.

     

    You’ve got time to whip up a batch of bacon jam, either to serve at Christmas breakfast or to give as a special gift.

    Thia recipe is from chef Johnny Gnall, who teaches us that….

    JAM + BACON DRIPPINGS = BACON JAM

    “Sure, pork loins and roasts may get slathered or served with a fruity condiment,” says Chef Johnny. “But cured pork like bacon, guanciale, pancetta and prosciutto, used sparingly, makes a great accent and can steal the show, even in scant amounts. When you cook salt pork products or pork chops, simply save the drippings and make bacon jam!

    “I keep a jar of bacon drippings in my fridge, adding to it each time I cook bacon. One of my favorite uses for the bacon fat is when I drop a tablespoon or so into a small sauce pan and add a few spoonfuls of whatever jam I happen to have on hand.”

    Here’s the easy and inexpensive recipe (you don’t use expensive bacon, but the by-product from cooking it):
     
    RECIPE: EASY HOMEMADE BACON JAM

    Ingredients

  • Bacon drippings
  • Jam of choice
  • Fresh rosemary or thyme
  • Toast
  • Preparation

    1. WHISK together the bacon drippings and jam in a small pot over medium heat. Heat just enough to melt the bacon fat and blend together, and add the chopped herbs to taste.

    At this point, all you need is a thick slice of toast to make a very delicious and indulgent breakfast on the go. You could top it with an egg.

    You could top it with arugula and cherry tomatoes for a Christmas appetizer or hors d’oeuvre, as in the photo. Or you could…

    2. MAKE a sauce. You can stretch the bacon jam out with broth or water and use it as a quick and simple sauce over or in whatever grain you are serving. It goes particularly well with something hearty, like farro. Just a little of this rich, sweet concoction can turn any grain into a belly-warming home run. Or, dab some on mashed potatoes!

     
      

    Comments

    TIP OF THE DAY: The Five Minute Stackable Appetizer Maker

    Some gadgets are a snore. Others really make a difference. In the latter camp is the Five Minute Stackable Appetizer Maker.

    The device enables you to create bite size, multi-layered gourmet appetizers using everyday ingredients. Yes, even peanut butter and jelly or egg salad seems “gourmet” when made in this format!

    The manufacturer claims that this can be done in “just five minutes,” but that’s just for simple layering, slicing and plating. You need to add a bit of time for any prep work—making crab salad, slicing olives and pimentos, chopping nuts, whatever. But what you end up with is worth it: fancy and fun appetizers or dessert bites that can become a signature offering at your home.

    If you have great knife skills, you don’t need this gadget. Just build a loaf of layers and slice your own.

    If, however, you’d never get even slices without help, this is your gadget for triple- or quadruple-layer appetizer or dessert bites that delight adults and kids alike. The instructions are easy to follow and deliver perfectly proportioned pieces. The device is fool-proof: Anyone can turn out impressive, professional looking appetizers with inexpensive ingredients (or, feel free to load in the pricey ones).

       

    Stacked layers of crab salad, garnished with crème fraîche and celery. Feel free to add more complexity to your stacks: some watercress atop one of the crab layers or some pimento strips, for example. Photo courtesy Architec.

     

    HOW IT WORKS

    You layer the ingredients in the plastic mold (see the photo below), then use the slots in the mold to cut the loaf into even pieces.

    You start and ending the stacked loaf with bread or another base. The base can be polenta, tortillas or even sushi rice.

    The fillings can be anything that’s a bit moist or creamy—the ingredients need to be “flexible” since the mold presses them into bites that hold their shape. So avoid a hunk of iceberg lettuce (but arugula, cress, mesclun or baby spinach work) or roast turkey. But if there’s something you really want, you may be able to figure out how to make it work. (Shred the lettuce and dice the turkey into mini cubes in a layer with moist stuffing, for example.)

    The layers are pressed to your desired thickness, and you can keep adding layers until the body of the mold is full. Then slice. When you remove the mold, the appetizers can be served from the plastic bottom tray. But for impressing your guests, you’ll probably want to re-plate them.

    And of course, you can garnish them with whatever you like, from crème fraîche to caviar, or whipped cream for dessert stacks.

     

    Layers of pimento, goat cheese and black olives. In this photo, the bottom tray has been removed from the mold and the individual stacks are being separated for serving. Photo courtesy Architec.

     

    WHAT TO MAKE

    Kids will enjoy peanut butter, jelly and banana bites; ham and cheese; bacon and egg stacks on a toast or waffle base; and mini pizza stacks.

    Foodies will enjoy crab salad, smoked salmon, goat cheese, chicken mousse, and a garnish of caviar.

    For everyone else: you know what your friends and family like (onions? pickle relish?), and where your own creativity will lead you.

    For desserts, you can layer angel or pound cake with jam, fruit compote or pudding; make zebras from brownies, cheesecake and perhaps some jam; and otherwise layer your fantasy dessert ingredients.

    The fun of the Stackable Appetizer Maker is playing around with different ingredients to find what works for you. Do your experimenting right before lunch, so you can eat your experiments.

     
    WHERE TO BUY IT

    The Stackable Appetizer Maker is $19.99, available on Amazon or from the manufacturer, Architec, in your choice of black, blue or red.

    Customers have posted a lot of good comments on Amazon—that the cutting tool isn’t effective (use your own bread knife), that the recipe booklet is a mess (you’ll have no problem putting together your own combinations).

    There are also great tips not provided by the manufacturer, including:

  • Watch the video before you begin.
  • Use “squishable” ingredients with enough fat or moisture content to act as glue when the stacks are compressed. Spreads and salads (chicken, crab, egg, shrimp, tuna) work with a bread base.
  • Be sure that all the ingredients are cold.
  • Dip your knife in ice water after each cut to prevent sticking.
  •  
    You can watch the video and download the recipe book for free on the Architec website (the video link leads to YouTube).

      

    Comments

    RECIPE: Smoked Salmon Gougères

    gougeres-pancetta-thyme-fontina-gougeres-aidamollenkamp-230r

    Gougères are the perfect hors d’ouevre to
    serve with white wine and sparkling wine.
    Photo and recipe courtesy Chef Aida
    Mollenkamp.

     

    Gougères (goo-ZHAIR) are airy French cheese puffs, savory choux pastry that is mixed with grated cheese and baked into savory bites.

    In France, the cheese is most often a hearty Swiss mountain cheese: Gruyère, Comté or Emmentaler; a hint of nutmeg is added to the recipe. Served warm from the oven, gougères are simple yet elegant hors d’oeuvres—a perfect choice to serve with Champagne, other sparkling wine, or any wine or craft beer.

    This special-occasion recipe comes from Beth and Bob Kennett of Liberty Hill Farm in Vermont.

    Beth’s ancestors began farming in 1641 in Maine; she’s a ninth generation farmer. Bob’s family, the Kennetts, started their farm in 1742 in New Hampshire. Today, their sons, David and Tom, with a new generation of grandchildren following close behind, work with Beth and Bob to continue the honored tradition of family farming.

    If you’re in Vermont, Beth hosts regular farm tours and cooking classes where visitors can follow the milk from the farm to the family and back to the kitchen.

     

    Beth used Cabot Cheddar, butter and cream cheese in this recipe. You can, of course, substitute any of the Swiss mountain cheeses for the Cheddar. The special touch here is integrating smoked salmon, a celebratory food, into the airy cheese puffs.

    If you’re not a smoked salmon fan, the gougères are just as special with crumbled bacon or minced ham. Here’s a recipe for Pancetta, Thyme & Fontina Gougères (photo above).

    Prep time is 40 minutes, cook time is 35 minutes.

    RECIPE: VERMONT CHEDDAR & SALMON GOUGÈRES

    Ingredients For 24 Pieces

    For The Gougères

  • 1 cup water
  • 1 stick (8 tablespoons) salted butter, cut into cubes
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt
  • 1/4 teaspoon sugar
  • 1 cup all-purpose flour
  • 4 large eggs
  • 6 ounces sharp Cheddar, grated (about 1-1/2 cups)
  • 1/3 cup grated Parmesan cheese, divided
  • 1 teaspoon dry mustard
  • Pinch ground red pepper (cayenne)
  •  

    For The Filling

  • 8 ounces cream cheese, softened
  • 1/2 -1 cup finely minced smoked salmon*
  • 1/4 cup finely chopped fresh chives
  • 1 tablespoon hot sauce
  • 3 tablespoons sour cream
  • 1/4 cup finely chopped red bell pepper
  •  
    Preparation

    1. PREHEAT oven to 425°F. Line baking sheet with parchment paper.

    2. COMBINE water, butter, salt and sugar in a saucepan and heat until butter is melted. Add the flour all at once and stir vigorously until mixture breaks away from side of pan and forms smooth ball.

     

    smoked-slamon-cheddar-gougeres-cabot-goboldwithbutter-230r

    Smoked salmon-stuffed gougères. Photo courtesy Cabot Creamery.

     
    3. REMOVE from heat and let rest for two minutes. Beat in eggs one at a time, stirring quickly so the egg doesn’t cook, until the dough is firm, smooth and waxy. Add all of cheddar, all but 2 tablespoons of Parmesan, mustard and red pepper, and stir until well blended.

    4. TRANSFER the mixture to a pastry bag fitted with large plain tip. Pipe dough into two dozen small round mounds, evenly separated. Sprinkle tops with remaining Parmesan.

    5. BAKE for 10 minutes. Reduce oven temperature to 375°F and bake for 20 to 25 minutes longer or until completely golden brown.

    6. MAKE the filling. Beat together the cream cheese, salmon, chives and hot sauce. Stir in sour cream to achieve proper consistency for filling. Stir in red peppers.

    7. MAKE a small slit in side of each gougère. Scrape the filling into a pastry bag or plastic bag with the corner cut off. Squeeze some of filling into each gougère. Plate and serve.

      

    Comments

    TIP OF THE DAY: Christmas Bread Wreath

    rolls-wreath-artofcheese2-230

    Turn rolls into a holiday bread wreath. Photo
    courtesy ArtOfCheese.com.

     

    This show-stopping, pull apart bread wreath is served warm from the oven, with a centerpiece of melted Camembert cheese for dipping.

    Serve it with cocktails or as a TV snack. It will impress everyone, and it’s not hard to do. Starting with frozen rolls makes it a snap!

    Prep time is 3 hours (most of the time is for the bread to rise), cook time is 45 minutes. You can substitute a Baby Brie for the Camembert (the difference between Brie and Camembert is largely the size).

    The recipe is courtesy of Président Cheese, which has many ideas of what to do with cheese at its website, ArtOfCheese.com.

    RECIPE: CHRISTMAS WREATH BREAD

    Ingredients For 8-10 Portions

  • 1 8-ounce wheel of Camembert cheese (Président
    or other brand)
  • 1 25-ounce package Parker House-style frozen rolls
  • 1/4 cup unsalted butter, melted
  • 1 teaspoon minced fresh rosemary, plus more for garnish
  • 1/4 cup pomegranate arils (seeds) for garnish
  • Flaked Maldon or other coarse, flaky sea salt
  •  

    Preparation

    1. COVER a large baking sheet with parchment paper.

    2. USE the Camembert as a guide to mark the center of the baking sheet; temporarily place it in the middle of the sheet. Arrange the frozen dough rolls in two circles around the cheese. Leave a 1/2” space between the rolls and between the circles (the rolls will expand as they bake). Remove the cheese and refrigerate until ready to use.

    3. BRUSH the frozen rolls with melted butter. Thaw for 1 hour in a warm, draft-free area, then allow an additional 2 hours to rise until they have doubled in size. Once the dough has formed a “wreath,” par-bake it at 325°F for 7 minutes.

    4. USE a sharp knife to carefully remove the top layer of rind from the Camembert wheel. This will allow for easy dipping.

    5. REMOVE the par-baked rolls from the oven and fit the Camembert in the center (remove any wrapping). Bake an additional 8-10 minutes, or until the rolls are golden brown and the cheese is melted.

     

    rolls-wreath-dip-artofcheese-230

    Dip the rolls into the baked Camembert. Photo courtesy ArtOfCheese.com.

     

    6. USE the parchment paper to slide the wreath off of the baking sheet and onto a serving platter or board. Brush rolls with melted butter and sprinkle with flaked Maldon sea salt. Sprinkle the Camembert with minced rosemary.

    7. GARNISH the wreath by inserting small 1” long pieces of fresh rosemary and clusters of pomegranate seeds between the rolls. Serve immediately.

      

    Comments

    RECIPE: Game Day BBQ Deviled Eggs

    bbq-deviled-eggs-byronsBBQ-ps-230

    A hearty approach to deviled eggs: Top them with barbecue! Photo courtesy Byron’s BBQ.

     

    This tasty, fun recipe was developed by Byron’s BBQ for the November 29th Egg Bowl. The result: Ole Miss triumphed over Mississippi State, and some people enjoyed barbecue-topped deviled eggs.

    Whether you’re at the stadium or on the couch, the recipe works for any game day: BBQ-Topped Deviled Eggs.

    Byron’s BBQ is frozen after cooking, to lock in freshness without the need for extra preservatives. The pork shoulder is hickory-smoked for hours, then hand-pulled off the bone and sauced. To prepare it, simply thaw and heat in an oven, on a grill or in a slow cooker.

    You can find Byron’s BBQ at Sam’s Club locations nationwide for less than $15 per 4 pound tray. It’s a great deal for large family gatherings or parties.

    You use less than a pound to make the deviled eggs, so there’s plenty of barbecue left for pulled pork pizza, tacos, tostadas, salads, sandwiches, scrambles, sliders, quesadillas and wraps. When you only have a bit left, use it to fill baked potatoes.

     

    RECIPE: BARBECUE-TOPPED DEVILED EGGS

    Ingredients For 24 Halves

  • 12 ounces fully-cooked pork barbecue, thawed
  • 12 eggs, hard-boiled, cooled and peeled
  • ½ cup mayonnaise
  • 1 tablespoon spicy mustard
  • Kosher salt
  • Freshly ground pepper
  • Garnish: 6 chives, chopped
  •  

    Preparation

    1. HEAT the roast according to package directions and keep warm.

    2. CUT the hard-boiled eggs in half lengthwise and transfer all the yolks into a small mixing bowl. Set the egg whites aside.

    3. ADD the mayonnaise and mustard to the egg yolks and mash with a fork until smooth. Add salt and pepper to taste. Spoon some egg yolk mixture into each egg white. Top each with barbecue and garnish with chives. Serve immediately.

     
    ABOUT BYRON’S BBQ

    Byron’s has been making authentic American barbecue since 1957, when Byron Charleton started selling the homemade BBQ recipe that made him famous in his hometown for years.

     

    byrons-bbq-box-230

    Delicious barbecue pork is well priced at Sam’s Club. Photo courtesy Byron’s BBQ.

     
    The barbecue is still made the same way on the same plot of land in Gallatin, Tennessee where Byron set up his first smokehouse. The pit master slowly smokes quality meat over an open-pit hardwood fire and slathers on a signature spicy-sweet sauce. The quick freeze technique enables the company to avoid any added chemical preservatives.

    Learn more at ByronsBBQ.com.
     
    BARBECUE, BARBEQUE OR BBQ?

    Readers often ask us about the correct spelling: Is it barbecue, barbeque bar-b-que or BBQ? The answer is that barbecue and barbeque are alternative spellings, and BBQ is the abbreviation. We chose to use “barbecue” instead of “barbeque” in THE NIBBLE because more of the professional barbecue groups use that spelling.

    The word “barbecue” comes from the Haitian Arawakan word “barbakoa,” meaning “framework of sticks.” It refers to a raised wooden structure used to either sleep on or cure meat.

      

    Comments

    FOOD FUN: Pecan Cheese Ball “Pine Cone”

    Here’s some food fun for the holiday season—especially when you receive a gift tin of gourmet pecan halves! Not only does this cranberry cheese ball make an impression on the appetizer buffet, but it’s easy enough that you can let older children put it together as their contribution.

    The recipe is courtesy Sonia, who writes as The Healthy Foodie. She also does a version that looks like a pineapple.

    The day before, gather some pine branches to wash and dry. You don’t want the strong scent of fresh-cut pine wafting over the food.

    Then, get ready to mix:

    RECIPE: “PINE CONE” PECAN CHEESE BALL

    Ingredients

  • 8 ounces cream cheese (low fat is OK)
  • ½ cup low fat sour cream (low fat is OK)
  • Zest of one orange
  • ¼ cup dried cranberries
  • ¼ cup chopped pecans
  • ¼ cup chopped parsley
  • ¼ tsp black pepper
  • Pinch cayenne pepper
  •    

    pecan-cheese-ball-2-thehealthyfoodie-230

    A holiday cheese ball. Photo courtesy The Healthy Foodie.

  • 75-100 perfect pecan halves (to make the pine cone effect)
  • Bread or crackers
  •  

    pecan-cheese-ball-3-thehealthyfoodie-230

    Add some fresh evergreen. Photo courtesy The Healthy Foodie.

     

    Preparation

    1. WHIP the cream cheese and sour cream using an electric mixer or a stand mixer with the paddle attachment. Use medium speed until well incorporated—smooth and creamy in texture—about 2-3 minutes. Incorporate the rest of the ingredients and continue mixing on low speed until well combined, about 30-45 seconds.

    2. TURN the mixture onto a serving plate and shape into a teardrop. Cover with a plastic wrap and, ideally, refrigerate until the next day. This will allow the flavors to fully develop.

    3. WAIT until the last minute to cover with the pecans to avoid them going soft. Take the cream cheese “ball” out of the fridge about an hour before you are ready to start laying on the pecans. Pecans will stick better to cheese that is closer to room temperature.

     

    4. BEGIN to layer the pecan halves at the tip and keep shingling until you get to the top. The first rows will lay flat against the cheese but they will be more and more upright as you move towards the end. This will happen naturally. Just keep them nice and tight and use the best pecans you can find.

    5. DECORATE the serving dish with a few pine branches and serve with the crackers or bread.

      

    Comments

    TIP OF THE DAY: Cheese Hors d’Oeuvre For Entertaining Or Snacking

    We found these photos on the Facebook page of Jarlsberg USA, and liked the idea for holiday entertaining as well as family snacking.

    Make four or five different versions to serve with cocktails, or one or two types for a TV snack. For a children’s activity, you can set out ingredients and let kids assemble their own snacks.

    The key to visual appeal is to offset the pale color of most cheeses with other, bright colored ingredients. Turkey and Swiss cheese may be a popular combination, for instance, but to the eye it’s beige and beige. Go for bright and appealing.

    Then, all you need are four-inch skewers, plain or twisted (for a fancier touch). Or, check out our festive party picks for stars, evergreen trees metallic fringe and colored cellophane tips.

    Use the list below to pick two or three ingredients to pair with the cheese. The skewers are plenty tasty as is, but you can serve them with a dish of honey mustard for dipping. You can buy honey mustard, or make your own by adding honey, sugar or noncaloric sweetener to mustard, in a proportion to your liking.
     
    COLORFUL CHEESES

    In addition to your favorite cheeses, consider options beyond beige. Check out these special cheeses with deep colors:

  • Cahill’s Farm Flavored Irish Cheddar in Elderberry (red marbled) or Porter (brown marbled) flavors (photo).
  •    

    skewers-jarlsbergUSA-fb-view2-230rev

    Two popular pairings with cheese: dried apricots and basil-tomato. Photo courtesy Jarlsberg USA.

     

  • Mimolette, a French cow’s milk cheese the color of a harvest moon, in the shape of a ball (photo).
  • Basiron Pesto looks like green cheese from the moon (photo).
  • Basiron Pesto Rosso, a Gouda-style cheese from Holland, with a harvest moon color that comes from the addition of tomatoes (photo).
  •  
    Then, it’s time to pick your add-ons:

     

    skewers-jarlsbergUSAFB-230rev

    Serrano ham and sundried tomatoes are bright additions to appetizer skewers. Photo courtesy Jarlsberg USA.

     

    PROTEINS

  • Ham cubes
  • Serrano ham slices
  • Pepperoni
  • Scallops
  • Shrimp
  •  
    VEGETABLES

  • Arugula
  • Basil
  • Blue or purple potatoes (cooked and sliced or cubed)
  • Cherry/grape tomatoes
  • Dilly beans
  • Gherkins/pickle slices
  • Pepperoncini
  • Pimento-stuffed olives
  • Red, orange or yellow bell pepper strips
  • Snow peas
  • Sundried tomatoes
  • FRUIT

  • Clementine/tangerine segments
  • Dried apricots
  • Kiwi
  • Mango cubes
  • Melon cubes
  • Pineapple cubes
  • Red or purple grapes
  •  
    Send us photos of your favorite creations!

      

    Comments

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