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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

TIP OF THE DAY: Radicchio Spoons Appetizer

We love this easy hors d’oeuvre idea: radicchio “spoons.” Fill the spoons with whatever you like and you’ve got an hors d’oeuvre that’s delicious, low in calories, healthful and crunchy.

Here, food stylist and photographer Kelly Sasuga used green and red radicchio leaves, creating an eye-catching presentation.

What should you fill the leaves with? Anything you like, but here are some ideas:

  • Chopped figs or dates and chopped orange segments with some grated orange peel, mixed into cream cheese
  • Chopped pickled vegetables atop Greek yogurt or salad greens
  •  

    An elegant and easy hors d’oeuvre. Photo by Kelly Sasuga | Fresh Origins Microgreens.

  • Chopped smoked salmon and chives atop sour cream
  • Crumbled bacon and diced tomato atop a dab of mayo (for a “BLT”)
  • Crushed pineapple and another favorite fruit (tiny dice) atop sour cream
  • Dips: artichoke, crab, spinach or other favorite dip
  • Freestyle: a bit of cheese, dried or fresh fruit and nuts, for example
  • Goat cheese, chopped pistachio nuts and shredded basil
  • Guacamole garnished with a pimiento strip
  • Israeli salad (diced cucumbers, red onions, tomatoes and parsley marinated in lemon juice, olive oil, garlic and chopped mint leaves, well drained)
  • Pear, blue cheese and chopped toasted pecans
  • Salsa (well drained)
  • Seafood salad
  • Tzatziki
  •  
    ADD A GARNISH

    A garnish of microgreens makes any hors d’oeuvre more attractive, sophisticated and flavorful.

    If you can’t find microgreens, use snipped fresh parsley or other fresh herb for a big flavor enhancement.

    DO IT EVERY DAY

    If you want to eat more veggies, use radicchio spoons instead of bread to eat your daily tuna or egg salad.

      

    Comments

    RECIPE: Make Mini Corn Dogs In A Muffin Pan

    Mini corn dogs are a comfort food treat.
    Photo and recipe courtesy
    PamperedChef.com.

     

    We know otherwise sophisticated gastronomes who go out of their way to visit hot dog joints that sell corn dogs. A corn dog is a hot dog coated in a thick layer of cornmeal batter, deep fried and served on a stick.

    While it’s not fried food on a stick, we were attracted to this mini corn dog recipe from PamperedChef.com. It’s good Super Bowl finger food.

    All you need is a box of corn muffin mix, hot dogs and a mini muffin pan.

    MINI CORN DOGS RECIPE

    Ingredients

  • 1 8.5–ounce box corn muffin mix or your own recipe (we use our own recipe, and leave out the sugar)
  • 5 hot dogs (you can substitute gourmet sausages in your favorite flavors, such as apple or spinach)
  • Nonstick cooking spray
  •  
    Preparation

    1. PREPARE the corn muffin batter according to package/recipe directions.

    2. PREHEST the oven to 375°F.

    3. SPRAY mini muffin pan with nonstick cooking spray. Divide the batter among the muffin cups.

    4. SLICE hot dogs into 1–inch pieces. Place one piece in each muffin cup.

    5. BAKE 10–12 minutes or until wooden pick in centers comes out clean. When cool enough to touch, remove corn dogs to serving plate. Serve with mustard or dip (we mix Dijon mustard with Greek yogurt).
     
    You can buy the pan at PamperedChef.com.

    CORN DOG HISTORY

    Like the hot dog (sausage) in a bun, the corn dog is an American invention, enjoyed plain or with hog dog condiments such as ketchup, mayonnaise, mustard and relish.

    Food historians note that corn dogs on sticks were around in the 1920s; patents were filed for cooking apparatuses to make them.

    Various people claim to have invented the corn dog way after then, as popularity grew in the 1930s and 1940s and corn dogs became street fare and county fair fare. But in those regionalized, pre-Internet days, research wasn’t easy, so local entrepreneurs can be forgiven for not knowing that others had been selling corn dogs for years.

    The best corn dogs are fried just before serving to get that crispy crust. Heat-and-eat frozen versions are available in supermarkets—and we’d opine that Disneyland uses frozen corn dogs (they were bland and uninteresting). Some corn dog purveyors sell these premade frozen corn dogs which have been thawed and then fried again or browned in an oven. If you care, ask before you buy from a vendor (and hope for an honest answer).

      

    Comments

    TIP OF THE DAY: Layered Dip Recipes, Part 2

    Take the ingredients of a Greek salad and
    turn it into a layered dip, served with pita
    chips. Photo courtesy
    SouthByMouth.Blogspot.com.

     

    Yesterday, we discussed layered dips, beginning with the layered Mexican dip, also known as a layered bean dip and seven-layer dip. We also introduced a layered Middle Eastern dip.

    In Part 2, we travel beyond Mexico and the Middle East to Greece and India.

    If you use a base of nonfat Greek yogurt layered with vegetables, your dip will be low in calories.

    GREEK LAYERED DIP RECIPE

    Ingredients

  • 2 diced cucumbers (peel if waxed)
  • Feta cheese, crumbled
  • Green bell pepper, diced
  • Kalamata olives, pitted and sliced
  • 16 ounces plain Greek yogurt, seasoned with fresh dill, garlic, salt and pepper
  • 1 can diced tomatoes, drained (fresh tomatoes in
    season)
  • Optional layers: babaganoush (eggplant dip),
    tabbouleh (bulgur, mint, finely chopped parsley, tomatoes)
  • Basil or oregano for garnish
  • Pita chips
  • Optional: anchovies, chopped flat-leaf parsley
  •  

    Preparation

    1. SPREAD seasoned yogurt across the bottom of a shallow bowl.

    2. LAYER with diced tomatoes, cucumbers and olives.

    3. SPRINKLE with crumbled feta and oregano/parsley.

     

    INDIAN LAYERED DIP RECIPE

    Ingredients

  • 1 cup sour cream
  • 1 tablespoon curry powder
  • 1/2 cup shredded coconut
  • 1/2 cup salted peanuts
  • 2 cups shredded or crumbled paneer cheese
  • 8 ounces cream cheese, softened
  • 1/2 cup chutney
  • 4 green onions, chopped
  • Sliced naan or other Indian bread; or use pita chips
  •  
    Preparation

    1. BLEND together the sour cream and curry. Spread across the bottom of a shallow glass bowl, baking dish or pie plate.

    2. ADD layer of coconut and peanuts, followed by the layer of paneer cheese.

    3. BLEND cream cheese with chutney and layer on top. Sprinkle with green onions.

     

    A warm pizza dip. Photo courtesy MyBakingAddition.com. See recipe below.

     
    4. SERVE with pieces/slices of Indian bread: chapata, naan, pappadum or whatever you can find (try an International supermarket). Or, pita chips will do nicely.
     
    WARM PIZZA DIP RECIPE

    Ingredients

  • 1/2 cup sour cream
  • 8 ounces cream cheese, softened
  • 1 teaspoon Italian seasoning*
  • 1/2 cup chunky pasta/pizza sauce
  • 1/4 cup chopped green bell pepper
  • 1/3 cup sliced mushrooms
  • 1/4 cup sliced green onions
  • 1/2 cup diced pepperoni or sausage
  • 1 cup shredded mozzarella cheese
  • Toasted baguette or Italian bread slices (bagel chips and pita chips also work)
  • 9″ pie plate
  •  
    *Create your own Italian seasoning with dried spices, 1/4 teaspoon each basil, marjoram and oregano plus 1/8 teaspoon rubbed sage.

    Preparation

    1. PREHEAT oven to 350°F (175°C).

    2. BEAT sour cream, cream cheese and Italian seasoning on medium speed until smooth, 1 to 2 minutes. Spread evenly over the bottom of the pie plate.

    3. LAYER other ingredients in the order listed.

    4. BAKE for 10 to 12 minutes until heated through; top with mozzarella. Continue baking for 4 to 5 minutes or until cheese is melted.

    5. SERVE warm with toasts.

    Here’s a recipe variation from the blog, MyBakingAddiction.com.

    MIX & MATCH: OPTIONAL INGREDIENTS FOR ANY LAYERED DIP

    You can add any ingredients to the layers that appeal to you. Some ideas:

  • Almonds, sliced
  • Artichoke hearts, chopped
  • Mozzarella cheese, shredded
  • Pesto
  • Pistachio nuts
  • Raisins or dried berries (blueberries, cranberries)
  • Red onions, finely sliced
  • Sundried tomatoes
  •   

    Comments

    TIP OF THE DAY: Easy, Delicious Goat Cheese Appetizer

    It couldn’t be easier: drizzle the cheese with
    honey and sprinkle the almonds. Photo
    courtesy VermontCreamery.com.

     

    We adore mild, creamy goat cheese with its subtle tang. We’re always looking for an excuse to eat it.

    So how about this couldn’t-be-easier hors d’oeuvre or appetizer for entertaining? Simply:

  • PURCHASE a pyramid, log or other shape of fresh goat cheese, a bag of slivered almonds and some fancy crackers or a baguette.
  • PLACE the cheese on a serving plate, drizzle with honey, then sprinkle with almonds. Alternatively, you can roll a log or other shape in the almonds before drizzling the honey. You can substitute other nuts, but you’ll need to chop them finely.
  • SERVE with crackers or baguette slices or toasts. It’s equally delicious with wine, cocktails or beer.
  •  
    What’s your favorite easy hors d’oeuvre? Let us know!

    Learn all about goat cheese and our other favorite cheeses in our Gourmet Cheese Section.

     

      

    Comments

    TIP OF THE DAY: Grilled Hors d’Oeuvre

    Grilled beef and horseradish-yogurt spread
    on a baguette. Photo courtesy Nature’s
    Flavours.

     

    Even if you live in Maine, it’s still warm enough to grill outdoors. So the next time you have a cocktail party or a simple wine gathering, grill your hors d’oeuvre. (In French, “hors d’oeuvre” is used for both singular and plural forms of the noun. Americans who don’t know French add an “s” at the end.)

    Start with canapés: finger foods composed of a base and topping, meant to be eaten in one bite. The name is the French word for sofa: the topping sits upon the “sofa.” The topping itself is called the “canopy.”

    (Punsters: You can make a “couch potato” by topping the base with a potato-based food, such as cubed ham and potato salad with grainy mustard-mayonnaise and capers, or mashed potatoes mixed with salmon caviar.)

     

    Miniature versions of grilled cheese (slice a regular sandwich into quarters) can be enhanced with chutney or any of these wonderful gourmet grilled cheese recipes. We’ve served several different grill cheese on the same tray: blue cheese, cheddar and smoked Gouda, for example.

    To plan your grilled hors d’oeuvre, select a base, a spread (which acts as a flavorful binder between the base and the topping) and a “canopy.”

    MIX & MATCH YOUR INGREDIENTS

    Pick Your Base

    There are many different bases for canapés, ranging from pastry shells to tortilla chips. Here’s the best selection for grilled canapés.

  • Baguette slices
  • Blini or other mini pancakes, including potato pancakes
  • Crackers
  • Cucumber slices
  • Crostini (grilled baguette slices) or grilled pita wedges or toast (multigrain, wheat or white)
  • Polenta (sliced from a preformed tube)
  •  

    Pick Your Spread

    Many canapés are simply a base and a spread, such as cheese, pâté or relish. With grilled canapes, a different type of spread serves as the binder between the base and the grilled “canopy.”

  • Aïoli, Baconaise or other flavored mayonnaise
  • Chutney
  • Compound butter (so many delicious varieties)
  • Guacamole
  • Hummus
  • Mustard (from Dijon, grainy mustard and honey mustard, see the different choices)
  • Seasoned Greek yogurt
  • Soft cheese: crème fraîche, fromage blanc, goat cheese, pimento cream cheese
  •  

    Hors d’oeuvre on grilled pita wedges and grilled polenta rounds. Photo courtesy AddSomeLife.com.

     

    Pick Your Canopy (Topping)

  • Grilled cheese (many gourmet variations)
  • Fish and seafood: oysters, sardines, scallops, shrimp
  • Fruit-meat combinations, like prosciutto-wrapped figs stuffed with blue cheese and pecans
  • Meats: beef, lamb or pork from the grill
  • Sausage, grilled and sliced (look for special flavors, like chicken basil)
  • Vegetables, grilled and sliced to fit on the base
  •  
    Pick A Garnish
     
    Garnishes add another layer of flavor, along with color and visual appeal.

  • Chopped fresh herbs: basil, chives, cilantro, dill, parsley, rosemary, sage, thyme
  • Grated cheese
  • Lemon or lime zest
  • Sliced vegetables or fruits: capers, gherkins, grape tomato half, marinated mushrooms, olives, pickled onion half, pimento, radish, watercress
  • Spice: chili flakes, cracked black pepper
  •  
    ANOTHER GRILLED OPTION: SKEWERS

    Canapés aren’t the only hors d’oeuvre that can be grilled. Skewers, in fact, are the obvious choice.

  • Grilled chicken skewers with satay sauce
  • Mini kabobs: meat or tofu, vegetables, fruits
  • Shiitakes or assorted mushrooms
  • Shrimp wrapped in bacon
  • With a skewer instead of bread base, you save the carbs; but you often replace the calories with a dipping sauce.

    You can pick up a book about grilled appetizers: Appetizers On The Grill.

    Find more of our favorite hors d’oeuvre recipes.

      

    Comments

    TIP OF THE DAY: Add Refreshment, Deduct Carbs With Cucumber Hors d’Oeuvres

    When pulling together hors d’oeuvres for cocktails, it’s easy to reach for baguette slices or crackers and pile on a topping.

    But here’s an alternative that doesn’t get soggy, has better nutrition and fewer carbs: the cucumber. You can place sliced meat and cheese, a shrimp with dill sauce, or other favorite directly atop a slice of cucumber instead of the bread or cracker. You can even make bite-size “cucumber sandwiches” using two slices of cucumber and a filling.

    Or, you can “stuff” the cucumber for a more impressive presentation:

    STUFFED CUCUMBER HORS D’OEUVRES

    1. Peel and cut cucumbers into half-inch circles and carefully scoop out a well with a melon baller or other device.

    2. Optionally, you can use a small cookie cutter to make scalloped/floral shapes, as in the photo (do this before you scoop out the well).

    3. Then, fill the well with anything you like. Some of our favorites:

     

    Cucumbers stuffed with salsa. Photo courtesy Elegant Affairs Caterers | New York.

  • Caviar: Use any affordable caviar, but especially flavored capelin or whitefish caviar (ginger, truffle, saffron, wasabi, etc.). See the different types of caviar.
  • Cheese: Try blue cheese spread topped with a toasted pecan or walnut (recipe below), or flavored goat cheese (mix in dill or chopped olives), topped with a strip or square of smoked salmon.
  • Salad: Crab, egg, tuna or shrimp salad becomes special with a touch of curry or other exotic seasoning.
  • Salsa: Look for chipotle, corn and bean or other stand-out salsa flavor.
  •  
    BLUE CHEESE SPREAD RECIPE

    The better quality the blue cheese and cream cheese, the better this tastes. We use organic cream cheese (less gumminess, more flavor) and Gorgonzola or Roquefort (check out our favorite blue cheeses).

    Ingredients

  • 4 ounces cream cheese, room temperature
  • 4 ounces blue cheese, crumbled
  • Salt and fresh-ground pepper to taste
  • Base: cucumber slices, crackers or toasted baguette
  • Garnish: sliced figs, toasted pecans or walnuts
  •  
    Preparation

    1. COMBINE: In a medium bowl, mash softened cream cheese until softened. Mash in blue cheese.

    2. TASTE: Blue cheese is typically salty, but adjust with salt and pepper if needed. You can make this up to a week in advance. Allow to come to room temperature before serving.

    3. ASSEMBLE. Top cucumber slices with cheese spread. Since this is a thick mixture, you don’t need to create wells; but you can certainly do so if you like the aesthetic.

    4. GARNISH: Top with a thin slice of fig and/or a toasted nut.

    Find more of our favorite hors d’oeuvre recipes.

      

    Comments

    RECIPE: Savory “Lollipops,” Food On A Stick

    Not another pig-in-a-blanket: Kobe beef hot
    dog lollipops. Photo courtesy Elegant Affairs Caterers.

     

    Today is National Lollipop Day. But lollipops are more than sugar-on-a-stick. There are also savory lollipops, popular as hors d’oeuvres at cocktail parties and snacks at kids’ parties.

    The difference between savory lollipops and other food-on-a-stick—such as corn dogs and kebabs—is the size: single bites, in the case of lollipops. Lollipops add a touch of whimsy, a new way to present the classics.

    Just in time for weekend fun, here are two recipes from Andrea Correale, owner and founder of Elegant Affairs Caterers, a company in metropolitan New York that is one of the leading Hamptons caterers and event planners (she has catered events for L.A. Reid, Mariah Carey, Russell Simmons and P. Diddy, among others).

    While the two recipes below require preparation, you can make simple variations without planning ahead.

     

    Just keep a package of six-inch bamboo skewers on hand. Then, if you need an hors d’oeuvre or kid treats in a hurry, you can look in the fridge and freezer and make lollipops from whatever you have: meatballs, chicken nuggets, hot dog and sausage chunks and cubes of cheese, with a dipping sauce.

    If you don’t have wheatgrass or other food to anchor the sticks, put them in a short jar, or lay them on a tray.
     
    KOBE HOT DOG LOLLIPOPS

    Ingredients

  • 1 sheet puff pastry
  • Flour
  • 1 cup Cheddar cheese, shredded
  • Dijon egg wash: 1 tablespoon Dijon mustard, 3 eggs
  • 6 top-quality hot dogs (if you can’t buy Kobe dogs, try Applegate Farms organic dogs)
  • Box of wheat grass for serving (here’s reusable artificial wheatgrass)
  •  
    Preparation

    1. Preheat oven to 400°F. Flour the puff pastry sheet and add Cheddar to one side of the sheet. Evenly distribute and flatten with your hands.

    2. Place one end of the pastry dough over cheese end and fold over. Using a floured rolling pin, roll out the dough.

    3. Mix mustard and eggs and brush Dijon egg wash all over dough.

    3. Take hot dog, place at edge of dough. Take puff pastry and roll around hot dog. Use egg wash to adhere.

    4. Cut away the excess dough and pinch the ends together. Repeat with each hot dog.

    5. Place on a carving board and cut the ends off. Slice into 3/4″ thick pieces.

    6. Place on a parchment-covered baking sheet and bake for 8-12 minutes or until golden brown. Insert a skewer into each piece and place in a wheatgrass-filled tray.

     

    WHITE SESAME CHICKEN LOLLIPOPS

    You can also make these with tofu for vegetarian guests.

  • 2 tablespoons all-purpose flour
  • 2 tablespoons cornstarch
  • 1/4 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1/4 teaspoon baking powder
  • 2 tablespoons low-sodium soy sauce
  • 2 tablespoons water
  • 1 teaspoon vegetable oil
  • 1 dash sesame oil
  •  

    Sesame Chicken Lollipops. You can substitute tofu. Photo courtesy Elegant Affairs.

  • 1 pound skinless, boneless chicken breast meat – cubed into 2-inch pieces
  • 1 quart peanut oil for frying
  • 2 tablespoons toasted white sesame seeds
  • Long wooden skewers
  • Miso dipping sauce (recipe below)
  •  
    Preparation

    1. Sift flour with 2 tablespoons of cornstarch, baking soda and baking powder. Mix together soy sauce, water, vegetable oil and a pinch of sesame oil; stir into flour mixture until smooth. Fold in chicken pieces until coated with the batter, then cover and refrigerate for 20 minutes.

    2. Heat oil in a deep fryer or large saucepan to a temperature of 375°F. Drop in the battered chicken pieces and fry until they turn golden brown and float to the top of the oil, 3 to 4 minutes. Drain on a paper towel-lined plate.

    3. Sprinkle with toasted sesame seeds to garnish. To serve, skewer chicken pieces using long wooden skewers. Lie on a platter with the dipping sauce, or stick into a 2-day-old loaf of round bread.

    MISO DIPPING SAUCE RECIPE

    Ingredients

  • 1/2 cup white miso paste
  • 1/4 cup plus 1 tablespoon water
  • 1/4 cup sugar
  • 3 tablespoons rice wine vinegar
  • 2 teaspoons light soy sauce
  • 1/4 teaspoon kosher salt
  • 2 tablespoons peanut oil
  • 1/2 teaspoon sesame oil
  •  
    Preparation

    1. In a small bowl, whisk together miso, water, sugar, vinegar, soy sauce and salt.

    2. While whisking, gradually add peanut and sesame oil until you have a creamy dressing.

    3. Serve with White Sesame Chicken Lollipops.

    See the Elegant Affairs website for more delicious party ideas.

      

    Comments

    TIP OF THE DAY: Tomatoes With Flavored Sea Salt

    Here’s an easy hors d’oeuvre or snack that’s delicious and different: cherry tomatoes with a choice of flavored sea salts.

    Simply set out toothpicks and let family and guests enjoy a succulent cherry or grape tomato with a dip of flavorful salt.

    Choose salts with contrasting colors, flavors and textures (crunchier coarse salt versus fine grain). Here we’ve used:

  • Alaea, a red volcanic salt from Hawaii.
  • A homemade mixture of coarse sea salt and dried rosemary (3:2 proportion).
  • Saffron-accented sea salt—one of our favorite products, and a great hostess gift.
  •  
    There are many other wonderful choices, from pink Himalayan sea salt to crunchy smoked Maldon sea salt from England, which has unique, pyramid-shaped crystals.

     

    A martini of cherry tomatoes with three flavored salts. Photo by Elvira Kalviste | THE
    NIBBLE.

     

    Check out the large variety of gourmet salts in our Salt Glossary.

      

    Comments

    TIP OF THE DAY: Make Savory Verrines

    Yesterday we introduced dessert verrines, dishes layered in small glasses. They can be either sweet or savory; the goal is to create a visually-stunning and sophisticated small bite.

    Today, we take on savory verrines, popular as appetizers or cocktail food. You can also serve them as sides with a main course.

    Think of three to five foods you enjoy together, then layer them in a glass.

    We especially like to turn leftovers into savory verrines. They hardly seem like leftovers when they’re placed in such glamorous surroundings.

    SAVORY INGREDIENTS CHECKLIST

    Here’s a beginning list; you’ll no doubt have more to add.

  • Beef & Lamb: The best option is cooked ground meat (crumble leftover burgers) or tartare. If you can chop steaks or other cuts thinly enough to be easily chewed, go for it.
  • Cheese, Crumbled Or Grated: Blue cheese, Cheddar, goat cheese, any Italian grating cheese, anything that can be crumbled or grated
  •  

    How to get people to eat their veggies: top
    mashed cauliflower and curried carrots with
    Greek yogurt or sour cream. Verrine glass
    from Starfrit.

     

  • Custards: Make soft custard flavored with basil, dill, fennel or mixed herbs
  • Dairy (For Layers Or Topping): Crème fraîche, fromage blanc, fromage frais, Greek yogurt or sour cream, plain or flavored with herbs: basil, chives, dill, fennel, garlic or mixed herbs
  • Dried Fruit: Dried blueberries, cherries, cranberries, raisins or chopped larger fruits such as apricots and plums (fruits pair well with meat and poultry)
  •  

    One of our favorite combinations:
    Guacamole, sour cream and salmon mousse,
    topped with smoked salmon. Photo courtesy
    Wallmonkey.

     
  • Fresh Fruit: Apples, pears or stone fruits, raw, poached or sautéed
  • Fish & Seafood: Ceviche, salmon and smoked salmon, salmon or tuna tartare, shellfish, any sashimi ingredient (chopped)
  • Mousse: Fish, seafood, chicken liver
  • Soups: Instead of making custard (or in addition to it), you can create a layer from cream soup concentrate (we’ve used cream of asparagus, celery, mushroom and tomato soups—add some herbs for complexity)
  • Vegetable Salad: Chopped, sliced or shredded cucumbers, radishes and/or tomatoes, tossed in vinagrette (you can add lentils or grains, from couscous to quinoa
  • Vegetable Purée: Anything from broccoli, cauliflower and carrots to mashed sweet potatoes
  • Wild Card: Beets, beans and legumes (including chickpeas, edamame, lentils and peas), corn, chopped olives, flavored rice or other grain, minced jalapeño, salsa
  •  
    To top it off, you can use one or more garnishes:

     

    GARNISHES

  • Bread: Breadstick, crumbled rice crackers, croutons, panko, seasoned bread crumbs
  • Chopped Nuts: Almonds, macadamias, pecans, pistachios, walnuts
  • Colorful Spices: Crushed red pepper, dill seed, flavored sea salt, fresh-cracked pepper, toasted sesame seeds, tricolor peppercorns, turmeric
  • Herbs: Basil, chives, dill, thyme; also, chopped scallions
  • Freeze-Dried Vegetables: Corn, edamame, peas, mixed veggies
  • Microgreens: Sprouts or other microgreens, celery leaves or fennel leaves
  • Pickled Vegetables: Baby beets, capers or caperberries, cucumbers, dilly beans, jalapeño, etc. (how to pickle)
  • Seafood: Caviar and roe, boiled shrimp, octopus tentacle, raw baby scallop
  • Seeds: chia seeds, pumpkin seeds (pepita), poppy seeds, sunflower seeds or a mix
  • Spices: Cardamom, curry, dill seed, ginger, fennel seed, toasted/roasted garlic, sesame seed
  • Toppings: Crème fraîche, Greek yogurt, sour cream, savory whipped cream (add a bit of salt and pepper or some whiskey instead of sugar and vanilla)
  • Vertical: A vertical element adds even more panache: asparagus spear, breadstick, dilly bean, rosemary sprig; basil or spinach leaf, etc.
  •  
    VERRINE COOKBOOKS

    If you read French, there’s a larger selection. Here’s what we found in English, but we expect to see more as publishers catch up with the trend”

  • Verrines: Sweet and Savory Parfaits Made Easy [Kindle Edition]
  • Terrines and Verrines
  •   

    Comments

    TIP OF THE DAY: For Fun & Excitement, Make Verrine Recipes

    Berries, pistachio sour cream and sweetened Greek yogurt. Photo courtesy Wallmonkey.

     

    Looking for some appetizer or dessert excitement? Make verrines (vair-REEN, in French).

    Verre is the French word for glass; verrine, which means “protective glass,” is an assortment of ingredients layered “artfully” in a small glass.

    Verrines can be sweet or savory: The idea is to layer foods that provide delicious tastes in small bites.

    In addition to serving up a variety of tastes and textures, verrines should have splashes of color for eye appeal (grape tomatoes, raspberries, herbs).

    The idea has been around for a long time, but in recent years has come back to prominence in France.

    While specialty verrine glasses exist, you most likely have vessels at home that will do the job just fine: juice glasses, rocks glasses, shot glasses, even small wine goblets.

     

    And you don’t have to start big—you can hold off on the foie gras mousse, cubed Sauternes gelée (Sauternes [a sweet wine] in plain gelatin) and stewed rhubarb, topped with crème fraîche, candied apricots and chopped pistachios (we made this one last week).

    Instead, start by making the foods you serve every day more exciting by serving a verrine as a side. For example:

  • Breakfast: Layer scrambled eggs, crumbled bacon, salsa, sour cream or Greek yogurt, and garnish with chives.
  • Appetizer: Layer sautéed mushrooms, chopped tomatoes, mashed potatoes or cauliflower, topped with a dab of sour cream and chopped parsley; or our favorite, tuna tartare, chopped tomatoes and guacamole, topped with a chopped mix of hard-cooked egg whites and cilantro.
  • Dessert: Layer fresh or poached fruit, rice pudding or custard and crumbled gingersnaps, topped with whipped cream and chocolate shavings.
  •  
    How many layers should you prepare? Three to six.

     

    SWEET INGREDIENTS CHECKLIST

    This is hardly an exhaustive list, but it’s a good start for inspiration.

  • Cake & cookies: Crumbled biscotti, cookies and meringues; cubed cake
  • Chocolate: Shaved chocolate, mini morsels
  • Dried Fruit: Dried blueberries, cherries, cranberries, raisins or chopped larger fruits such as apricots and plums
  • Fresh Fruit: Bananas, berries, kiwi, melon or any of your favorites, chopped or puréed
  • Herbs: Lavender, lemon balm, mint
  • Liqueurs: Add liqueur first to the bottom of the glass, or sprinkle over the cake or cookie layer
  • Nuts: Chopped almonds, macadamias, pecans, pistachios, walnuts
  • Pudding: Cannoli filling (sweetened ricotta), custard, crème caramel, mousse, panna cotta, rice pudding
  •  

    A classic verrine: different flavors of mousse,
    cookies and meringues. And the small size
    means portion control! Photo courtesy
    Payard.

  • Spices: Allspice, anise, cardamom, ginger, fennel seeds, nutmeg
  • Toppings: Crème fraîche, mascarpone, sweetened sour cream, vanilla or other flavored yogurt, whipped cream or flavored whipped cream
  • Wild Card: Chopped candy (brittle, chocolate bar, candied citrus peel, peppermint pattie—anything you like), cubed gelatin, jam or preserves

  • ALSO SEE: Savory verrines.

    VERRINE COOKBOOKS

    If you read French, there’s a larger selection. Here’s what we found in English, but we expect to see more as publishers catch up with the trend:

  • Verrines: Sweet and Savory Parfaits Made Easy [Kindle Edition]
  • Terrines and Verrines
  •   

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