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BOOK: Dumplings All Day Wong

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A dumpling lover’s treasure. Photo courtesy
Page Street Publishing.

 

We loved chef Lee Anne Wong on the first season of Top Chef.

She’s out with her first cookbook, Dumplings All Day Wong, focusing on Asian dumplings.

Says Chef Lee Anne: “Biting into a hot, fresh, juicy dumpling can be a transcendent moment, the kind that makes your eyes roll to the back of your head, and one that can be repeated (often).”

Yet unless you’re fortunate enough to live near an exceptional dim sum establishment, the dumplings you get at most Asian restaurants are purchased from outside suppliers, and often nowhere as flavorful as the ones you can making at home.

That’s why this book is such a treasure. “The further you get into the book, the more you will begin to realize that your possibilities are truly endless. As with all styles of cooking, once you master the techniques and basic recipes, you’ll have the ability to build your own dumpling arsenal.”

And what to do with this arsenal—which can be gluten free, traditional, modern, cutting edge, even technicolor (with colored dough)?

 
Entertain! Become known for dumpling cocktail parties and brunches. Be the first one invited to parties (and bring some dumplings, of course).

Do you have the patience to make dumplings? “While the idea of standing in one place all day making dumplings sounds intimidating or boring, I actually quite enjoy the repetitive motions of hand pleating dumplings. I consider it my ‘me time.’

Our suggestion: Invite a friend to make dumplings with you. You’ll be able to make more varieties, and have “us time.”

Then, thrill to your homemade gyozas, har gow, potstickers, shumai, wontons and more, with countless fillings and different cooking methods including baking, deep-frying, pan-frying and steaming.

Get the book now, on Amazon.com; it’s available in paperback and Kindle versions.

 

RECIPE: BRUSSELS SPOUTS & BACON DUMPLINGS

Ingredients For 60 Dumplings

  • 1 pound bacon, diced into ¼ inch pieces
  • Oil for deep-frying
  • 2 pints (1½ pounds) fresh Brussels sprouts
  • Kosher salt and black pepper
  • 3 tablespoons minced garlic
  • 3 tablespoons brown sugar
  • 2 tablespoons cornstarch
  • 2 tablespoons fish sauce
  • 2 tablespoons black or balsamic vinegar
  • 2 tablespoons reserved bacon fat
  • 60 round dumpling wrappers
  •  
    Preparation

    1. COOK the bacon in a large sauté pan over medium-high heat until it is completely cooked and crispy. Strain the bacon and cool on a paper-towel lined plate. Reserve the bacon fat.

    2. PREHEAT a small pot of oil to 375°F. Trim the bottom and outer leaves of the Brussels sprouts and quarter them, leaving the root ends intact.

     

    Brussels-Sprouts-and-Bacon-Dumplings-dumplingsalldaywong-230

    A contemporary dumpling recipe from Dumplings All Day Wong: Brussels sprouts and bacon! Photo courtesy Page Street Publishing.

     

    3. DIVIDE the Brussels sprouts in half and deep-fry half of them in small batches for about 2-3 minutes until the leaves are caramelized and brown. Drain on paper towels and season lightly with salt. Once cooled, chop into small pieces or use a food processor.

    4. BRING a pot of salted water to boil. Blanch the remaining Brussels sprouts until tender, abut 3 minutes. Place in an ice water bath to stop the cooking. Dry the Brussels sprouts with paper towels and chop finely (or in the food processor).

    5. COMBINE the bacon, chopped Brussels sprouts and minced garlic in a large bowl. In a small bowl combine the brown sugar and cornstarch until well mixed. Sprinkle over the filling, add the fish sauce, vinegar and bacon fat and mix well until combined. Season with salt and pepper to taste. Refrigerate for at least an hour.

    6. FILL the dumplings with about 1 teaspoon of filling and fold in a pleat style. Heat a wok or large nonstick frying pan over high heat. Add ½ tablespoon of oil to the pan. Place the dumplings in a single layer and cook until the bottoms are gold brown, 1-2 minutes. Add ½ cup water and immediately cover the pan. Cook until all the water has been absorbed and the dumpling skins have cooked through about 4 to 5 minutes. Repeat with remaining dumplings. Serve with Fish Sauce Caramel.

    RECIPE: FISH SAUCE CARAMEL

    Ingredients

  • ½ cup rice vinegar
  • ½ cup brown sugar
  • ¼ cup granulated sugar
  • 2 tablespoons soy sauce
  • 2 tablespoons fish sauce
  •  
    Preparation

    1. COMBINE the rice vinegar, brown sugar, granulated sugar and soy sauce in a small saucepan. Bring to a boil and stir until the sugar dissolves.

    2. REMOVE the pan from the heat and add the fish sauce. Allow to cool to room temperature before serving.

      

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    TIP OF THE DAY: Better For You Snacks

    A few years ago, one of our Top Picks Of The Week was a product line called Laura’s Wholesome Junk Food.

    It was developed by an M.D. who treated people with illnesses caused by bad nutrition, and it engendered The Wholesome Junk Food Cookbook: More Than 100 Healthy Recipes for Everyday Snacking.

    Dr. Laura Trice showed how easy it is to make snacks and sweets that are satisfying yet nutritious (you can find the cookies online).

    If you’re looking for better-for-you snacks that don’t deprive you of a cookie fix, head to natural food stores or make your own.

    These tasty sweets in the recipe below look like truffles, but they’re protein-packed treats made from peanut butter and whey extract, plus whole grain rolled oats. Even the sweetener, maple syrup, is better for you.

    The resemblance to candy is purely intentional. The recipe is courtesy of Crofter’s, maker of organic jams and fruit spreads.

       

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    Make a batch—they’re good for you! Photo courtesy Crofter’s.

     

    RECIPE: SWEET TREAT PROTEIN BITES

    Ingredients

  • 1 cup natural peanut butter
  • 1/2 cup maple syrup
  • 1/2 cup butter
  • 1/2 cup raspberry fruit spread
  • 2 teaspoons vanilla extract
  • 4 tablespoons cocoa powder
  • 1/2 cup whey protein powder
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt
  • 1-1/2 cups old-fashioned rolled oats (not instant oats)
  • 1/4 cup chocolate chips
  • Optional toppings: shredded coconut, sesame seeds, vanilla protein powder
  •  

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    Want better snacks all the time? Get this
    cookbook! Photo courtesy Running Press.

     

    Preparation

    1. MELT peanut butter, maple syrup, butter, vanilla and fruit spread in a pan over medium heat; stir to combine thoroughly.

    2. REMOVE from heat and add oats, cocoa powder, protein powder, salt and chocolate chips. Stir until chips have melted and ingredients are thoroughly combined.

    3. Form into balls and roll in topping(s) of choice. Chill in the fridge to firm before serving.
     
    It’s that easy!
     
     
    MORE HEALTHY SWEET TREATS

    For more treats like these, get a copy of The Wholeseome Junk Food Cookbook by Laura Trice, M.D. You’d be surprised at how many delicious treats are good for you!

    We also like the book as a gift for teens and tweens who want to learn to cook. Start them off making treats for themselves and their friends. You may inspire a future “Dr. Laura” in the process.

     

      

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    BOOK: Beat The Heat With The No-Cook, No-Bake Cookbook

    It’s too darn hot, wrote Cole Porter, in the days before air conditioning.

    But even if you benefit from modern cooling system, it may still be too darn hot to turn on the oven.

    Turn up the flavor—not the heat!

    Pick up a copy of The No-Cook, No-Bake Cookbook, and avoid turning on the stove or oven during the heat of summer.

    Featuring 101 good-for-you recipes—author Matthew Kadey is a registered dietitian—you can quickly assemble breakfasts, lunch and dinner mains and delectable desserts, including:

  • Applesauce Pie
  • Breakfast Prosciutto Pear Sandwiches
  • No-Bake Lemon Cheesecake With Cherry Sauce
  • No-Bake Flourless Fig Brownies
  • Peach Prosciutto Salad
  • Peanut Butter Pumpkin Bars
  • Raspberry Mint Frozen Yogurt
  • Salmon Mango Ceviche
  • Shrimp and Noodles with Sweet and Sour Sauce
  • Smoked Tofu Wraps
  • Sunflower Tomato Pâte Nori Rolls
  • Teriyaki Tofu Wraps
  • Tex-Mex Chipotle Beans
  • Very Berry Parfait Pudding
  •  

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    Eat well without turning on the oven or stove. Photo courtesy Ulysses Press.

     

    Hungry? Get your copy at Amazon.com. If you need summer house gifts, buy extras.

      

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    BOOK: Everyday Cheesemaking

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    Are you ready to make cheese? Photo
    courtesy Microcosm Publishing.

     

    A copy of this small paperback arrived yesterday. We picked it up and read it straight through to the end. It’s a real page-turner, and we’ve never even thought about making cheese.

    (O.K., we did make mozzarella once, from a kit, and made butter with a tabletop butter churn).

    “Everyday Cheesemaking: How to Succeed at Making Dairy and Nut Cheese at Home,” by K. Ruby Blume, is a treasure for the knowledge that it imparts, and especially the teachings on why things go wrong and how to fix them.

    Ms. Blume had purchased cheese books to teach herself how to make cheese. The problem is, unlike baking brownies, many things can go wrong in the cheesemaking process, resulting in a lot of wasted time and milk.

    So after she learned, she shared her knowledge via cheesemaking classes, and now this book. It is targeted to “everyday people” who have other jobs, and want to make cheese easily for the joy of it (or perhaps more accurately, to impress their friends and family with delicious homemade cheese). It is very clear on what can go wrong and how to avoid it.

     
    Ready, Set, Make Cheese!

    As we thumbed through page after page of how-to, we, who have never thought of it, wanted to run right out for the milk to make feta and ricotta, two cheeses we love and the easiest recipes in the book.

    The book covers a wide rage of homemade cheeses, from fresh cheeses such as chevre, halloumi, queso fresco and mozzarella to aged classics such as blue cheese, Brie and Camembert.

    In addition to cheese, you can make buttermilk, sour cream and yogurt, as well as vegan cheese, made from ingredients like nuts or soy protein.

    The book is published by Microcosm Publishing, a small publisher in Portland, Oregon. We like the book so much that we forgive them the errata that should have been caught: many missing commas, typos like “feed” instead of “fed,” and a duplication of the same paragraph.

    But these don’t get in the way of the fine writing style and the wealth of information. This is a great gift for anyone who has thought of making cheese.

    Get yours on Amazon.com.

     
      

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    TIP OF THE DAY: No Bake Blueberry Cheesecake

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    Way cool: a no bake blueberry cheesecake.
    Photo courtesy Bake Or Break | Colorful
    Harvest.

     

    As the heat soared yesterday, we turned to our tried-and-true summer recipes, including this No Bake Cheesecake from Jennifer of BakeOrBreak.com, (via Colorful Harvest).

    The crust is a simple combination of crushed vanilla wafers and melted butter. While baking the crust helps it to set more firmly, the purpose of this recipe is to keep the heat out of the kitchen.

    Similarly, the cheese filling isn’t baked, but sets in the refrigerator. Prep time is 30 minutes.

    RECIPE: NO BAKE BLUEBERRY CHEESECAKES

    Ingredients For One 8 Inch Or
    Two 4-1/2 Inch Cheesecakes

    For The Crust

  • 5 ounces finely crushed vanilla wafers* (about 40 cookies)
  • 4 tablespoons unsalted butter, melted
  •  
    For The Filling

  • 8 ounces cream cheese, softened
  • 3/4 cup granulated sugar
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • Zest of 1 lemon
  • 1 pint fresh blueberries (2 to 2-1/2 cups)†
  •  
    For The Optional Garnish

  • Whipped cream
  • Fresh blueberries
  •  
    *Jennifer prefers Trader Joe’s vanilla wafers, but you can default to the ubiquitous Nabisco Nilla Wafers.

    †Set aside the nicest blueberries for the garnish.

     

    Preparation

    1. MAKE the crust: Mix together vanilla wafer crumbs and melted butter until mixture is combined and the crumbs are moistened. Divide crust mixture evenly between two 4-1/2-inch diameter springform pans or one 8-inch pan. Press into bottom and about halfway up the sides of each pan. Set pan(s) in the freezer for 30 minutes or in the refrigerator for at least 2 hours.

    2. MAKE the filling: Place cream cheese, sugar, vanilla and lemon zest in the bowl of a food processor. Pulse until combined. Add blueberries and pulse until thoroughly mixed. Divide filling between each prepared crust (if making two cheesecakes). Cover and refrigerate overnight.

    3. REMOVE sides of pans before serving. Garnish with a dab of whipped ream and a few fresh blueberries.

     

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    An entire summer’s worth of desserts. Check out the book. Photo courtesy Grand Central Life & Style.

     

    MORE NO COOK, NO BAKE RECIPES

    Imagine quick and easy no cook, no bake savory meals plus cakes, pies, ice cream cakes, cookies and more more no-bake cheesecakes. Make tasty desserts in minutes that taste like you have worked for hours. Feed your family fast, stove- and oven-free, in the heat.

    Sound good? Then check out:

  • “The No-Cook No-Bake Cookbook: 101 Delicious Recipes for When It’s Too Hot to Cook” (more information)
  • “No Bake Cookies, Bars & Pies” (more information)
  • “No Bake Makery: More Than 80 Two-Bite Treats Made with Lovin’, Not an Oven” (more information)
  • “No Bake Cookies” (more information)
  • “32 No Bake Pie Recipes” (Kindle only—more information)
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