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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 Books

TIP OF THE DAY: Beyond Greens, Healthy Salad Recipes

Switch a green salad for a bean salad, beet
salad or hundreds of other options.
Photo by Sarsmis | IST.

 

Salad is more than a bowl of dressed greens, served as a first course.

Leafy greens make up only one of seven categories in Chef Joyce Goldstein’s book, Mediterranean Fresh: A Compendium of One-Plate Salad Meals and Mix-and-Match Dressings.

In the Mediterranean, “salad” includes everything from tabbouleh to white beans and prawns in a lemon dressing, to small plates of mezze, antipasti and tapas.

Other salad categories are based on beans, fruits, grains and proteins, such as meat, poultry, seafood (and although not part of Mediterranean cuisine or this book, tofu).

Vegetables need not be green: Think Beets and Greens with Yogurt Dressing and Moroccan Salad of Raw Carrots with Citrus Cinnamon Dressing.

Alternative dressings change the nature of the dish. Substitute walnut vinaigrette with the beet salad and it goes from Greek to French. Substitute tahini dressing and it becomes Middle Eastern.

 

From panzanella to parsley salad, some 140 mostly easy, healthy recipes (including 30 different salad dressings) will give new excitement to your daily “salad course.” You don’t need to buy a book, of course; you can find plenty of recipes online.

MINT VINAIGRETTE RECIPE

Here’s Chef Goldstein’s recipe for mint vinaigrette. Toss it with matchstick-sliced zucchini and carrots; use it with asparagus, bean salad, beet salad, carrot salad, citrus salad, grain salad (bulghur or quinoa, for example), seafood salad and spinach salad.

Vinaigrette

  • 1/4 cup fresh lemon juice
  • 1/4 cup chopped fresh mint
  • 1-1/4 cup mild olive oil
  • 1/4 cup red wine vinegar
  • 2 tablespoons lemon juice
  • 1/2 cup chopped fresh mint, tightly packed
  • 1 teaspoon honey (for low-glycemic recipe, omit or substitute with 1/4 teaspoon agave nectar)
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  •  
    Preparation
    1. Combine lemon juice and chopped mint in a small saucepan. Bring up to a boil and remove from heat. Let steep for about 10 minutes. Strain into a mixing bowl. You will have about 1/4 cup.
    2. Add the remaining ingredients and whisk together. Toss with salad ingredients and serve.

    More about Chef Joyce Goldstein.

      

    Comments

    BOOK REVIEW: Zombie Cupcakes

    We look at a lot of different cookbooks. No surprise, over the past couple of years we’ve seen a number of cookbooks riding the cupcake wave.

    The most memorable is Zombie Cupcakes: From the Grave to the Table with 16 Cupcake Corpses, by Zilly Rosen, a professional cake designer based in Buffalo, New York.

    Cooked up in Dr. Rosen-Frankenstein’s lab, the cookbook introduces you to a ghoulish (but delicious!) army of creatures of the night—or their various body parts. (We love the hand reaching up through the “earth” frosting, Carrie-style.)

    Each recipe has a color photo of a stunning zombie-inspired design. In addition to the undead, concepts include crows tearing up the icing to reveal “blood” underneath, and a graveyard with rats. The photos make us want to start a zombie cupcake bakery and turn out these delights every day.

    But even if we never bake a thing, we like Zombie Cupcakes as a fantasy picture book that makes us smile. Ms. Rosen: How are you going to top this?

    Beyond us grown-ups, we think the book represents a great opportunity to teach kids and teens the joy of baking.

     

    This cupcake is called “On The Loose.”
    Photo © Ivy Press 2010. Styling by James Lawrence.

     
    Anyone can get a box of cake mix and a can of stuffing to produce ordinary cupcakes. With Zombie Cupcakes, you can work your way up to being a cupcake star.

    Fondant is the key. Fondant is a smooth paste made of sugar, glycerine and cornstarch. It is rolled like dough to a 1/8″ – 1/16″ thickness and then draped over a cake instead of a traditional frosting. It can be flavored. To decorate, shapes can be molded, then colored, and painted. Think of it as edible Play-Doh or modeling clay.

    Fondant also seals in moistness, enabling cakes and cupcakes to stay fresher longer than with conventional types of frosting. That’s why it’s so often used on wedding cakes, which can take a couple of days to build and decorate.

    If you’ve seen cakes that look like handbags, wrapped gift boxes, race cars, etc.: that’s fondant (check out these fondant-covered cakes from Elegant Cheesecakes).

    You don’t have to make fondant from scratch: It can be purchased at a baking supply store. Having said that, we must underscore that fresh, homemade fondant tends to taste better—like marshmallow.

  • Get the book.
  • If you need more hands-on instruction than the book provides, you should be able to find a “Working With Fondant” course at a local baking supplies store or cooking school.
  • Start now, and by Halloween your fondant skills should be party-perfect—or at least, good enough to raise the dead.
  •  
    Watch out: We’ll be back for Halloween with the crows and the graveyard.

      

    Comments

    GOURMET GIVEAWAY #2 ~ Cookbook From Patsy’s Italian Restaurant

    Make the delicious recipes from Patsy’s
    Italian restaurant at home.

     

    Only one New York City restaurant can claim to be Frank Sinatra’s favorite: Patsy’s Italian restaurant on West 56th Street, featuring Neapolitan cuisine.

    Five lucky winners will win the cookbook from the restaurant, to cook the cuisine that Sinatra loved.

    Patsy’s Cookbook: Classic Italian Recipes From A New York City Landmark Restaurant, by Salvatore Scognamillo, presents 100 recipes from the classic southern Italian cuisine that’s become American comfort food.

    Plan a buffet dinner of Mussels Arreganata, Fettuccine Alfredo, Rigatoni Sorrentino, Chicken Parmigiana, Veal Marsala and Shrimp Scampi, with Tiramisù for dessert.

    Directions for the 100 recipes are simple and well adapted to home cooking; the book will please both old and new fans alike.

  • To Enter This Gourmet Giveaway: Go to the box at the bottom of our Italian Cookbooks Page and click to enter your email address for the prize drawing. Approximate Retail Value Of Prize: $27.50. This contest closes on Monday, January 17th at noon, Eastern Time. Good luck!
  • Comments

    GOURMET GIVEAWAY #2 ~ Three-Month Subscription To BookSwim

    Choose from a wide variety of books, including
    My Life In France by Julia Child.

     

    Do you have books spilling out of your bookcase? No time to visit the local library whenever you want to borrow a book? Want to make sure you love a cookbook before you commit to actually purchasing it?

    BookSwim may be your answer. With a Netflix-like subscription to the online book rental program, you can create a pool of books to read from an extensive catalogue, and then have the books shipped straight to your door. When you’re finished enjoying the books, you just ship them back in a pre-paid envelope.

    BookSwim is giving one lucky Nibble reader a three-month subscription to its three-books-at-a-time plan. Choose books from Cooking, Food & Wine and nonfood categories. Read them yourself or share with a friend.

    Approximate retail value: $72.00.

    To find out more about the online book rental program, visit BookSwim.com.

  • To Enter This Gourmet Giveaway: Go to the box at the bottom of our Best Books For Healthy Eating Gifts Page and click to enter your email address for the prize drawing. This contest closes on Monday, December 6th at noon, Eastern Time. Good luck!
  • Comments

    Gourmet Giveaway #2 ~ Customized Book From Picaboo Books

    Get creative and personalize your own
    book for yourself or for a gift. Photo
    courtesy Picaboo Books.

     

    Have you always wanted to create your own recipe book?

    Do you want to create a memorable volume of recipes from different generations of your family?

    Do you want to create a memorial to Grandma by publishing her recipes?

    Do you have a special group of family members and friends who would treasure copies of a professionally bound, great-looking book of recipes, photos, memoirs and anything else you’d like to add?

    Picaboo could be the answer! Picaboo is a fun and easy way to create a customized book of photos with captions, essays and more. You can create your own cookbook of family recipes, vacation journals, wedding albums, family photos for the grandparents—just about anything.

    Three lucky winners will each receive a $30 gift certificate to use however they choose on Picaboo.com.

  • To Enter This Gourmet Giveaway: Go to the box at the bottom of our 2010 Best Food & Drink Book Gifts Page and click to enter your email address for the prize drawing. This contest closes on Monday, November 29th at noon, Eastern Time. Good luck!
  • For more information about Picaboo Books, visit Picaboo.com.
  • Comments

    BOOK: How To Repair Food

    Our favorite new gem of a kitchen aid.

     

    When was the last time you oversalted the soup? Overcooked the cauliflower? Need a spice while cooking but out you don’t have it?

    A welcome new book, How To Repair Food (Third Edition) by Tanya Zeryck, John Bear and Marina Bear, is your go-to source for how to fix whatever food or drink is “overcooked, undercooked, stale, burned, lumpy, salty, bland, too spicy, mushy, too dry, too wet, flat, tough, too thick, too thin, wilted, collapsed, curdled or stuck together.”

    The information is alphabetically organized by food—just flip the pages until you get to your food problem, and you’ll find the fix. There are valuable appendices with food storage information, stain removal tips, utensil and appliance problem fixes and much more.

    This is one terrific little book—highly recommended for your own kitchen and a valuable gift for anyone who cooks. Not only is it your aid for problems; it’s a delightful read from beginning to end that can teach you how not to create the problem in the first place.

  • Buy the book. A great holiday gift, it’s only $11.24 on Amazon.com.
  • Comments

    BOOKS: Best-Selling Cookbooks

    America’s best-selling cookbook: it doesn’t
    look mouth-watering, but that hasn’t
    hindered sales.

     

    The world’s oldest surviving cookbook is De Re Coquinaria, “On Cookery,” attributed to a first-century Roman epicurian named Marcus Gavius Apicius.

    And it’s still in print—in the original Latin! The English translation is out of print and pricey, but the Kindle edition is just 99¢.

    But what has guided America’s home cooks? Here are the three best-selling American cookbooks of all time:

  • Better Homes and Gardens Cookbook: first published in 1930, 40 million copies
  • Betty Crocker’s Cookbook: first published in 1955, 27 million copies
  • The Joy Of Cooking: first published 1936, 18 million copies
  • Of course, the cookbooks have been updated over the years—pizza, tacos and wraps weren’t on the menu in 1930, for example. A number of the older versions are still in print as well.

    Our mother relied on Fanny Farmer and Julia Child. How about yours?

    Comments

    TIP OF THE DAY: Choose Sourdough As Your White Bread

    You’ve no doubt heard over and over again that you should switch empty-carb white bread for whole grain breads.

    We love the complex flavor of whole grain breads—wheat, oat, rye, spelt and multigrain combinations.

    But what if you just can’t give up your white bread?

    According to Pick It Kick It: Simple Choices, Huge Results, sourdough is the champion of white breads.

    Like other white breads, sourdough bread is made with processed white flour, stripped of nutrients. But it contains beneficial lactic acid.

    The starter contains bacteria, lactobacilli, that create lactic acid. In turn, the lactic acid creates the slightly acidic signature flavor of sourdough.

     

    Crusty sourdough loaves. Photo courtesy
    Wikimedia.

    And now the good news: The lactic acid breaks down the sugar content produced when the carbs break down, producing a lower-glycemic bread.

    For a double hit, there are also sourdough breads made with whole wheat flour.

  • Check out all the different types of bread in our Bread Glossary.
  • Order some sourdough and whole grain bagels from French Meadow Bakery, a NIBBLE Top Pick Of The Week.

  • Comments

    BOOK: The Divvies Bakery Cookbook

    More than 12 million Americans have food allergies, and more than 30 million are lactose intolerant.

    The bakery Divvies—the name evokes divvying up the goodies—was founded when Lori Sandler learned that her young son had several allergies. She wanted to make baked goods and candy that the entire family and friends would enjoy.

    Divvies bakery was born, turning out sweets made without peanuts, tree nuts, eggs or milk (they are not wheat-free). Despite the absence of these key baking ingredients, the treats are delicious. They were a NIBBLE Top Pick Of The Week.

    The fame of Divvies has grown, and now there’s The Divvies Bakery Cookbook: No Nuts. No Eggs. No Dairy. Just Delicious! (A quote from THE NIBBLE’s review is on the book jacket.)

    The book is divided into occasions for serving baked goods: At home, at school, on the road and parties.

     

    The Divvies Cookbook has more than 130
    pages of allergy-free recipes.

    There are plenty of tips and information, including an extensive list of ingredients that can be used for allergy-free cooking in general.

    So, jump into Divvies’ blondies, brownies, carrot cake with “cream cheese” frosting, chocolate chip cookies, cupcakes, cinnamon buns, layer cake, muffins and fun specialties such as wafflewiches. Everyone will beat a path to your kitchen door.

    Comments

    GOURMET GIVEAWAY: Gift Certificates From Blurb Photo Books

    Looking for a great personalized gift idea? Look no further than Blurb Photo Books, this week’s Gourmet Giveaway prize. Two winners will be given $40 to spend on the website that allows customers to create their own personalized books.

    Using hundreds of professionally-designed layouts (or their own, unique layouts) each winner could create a family cookbook filled with recipes and the memories they call to mind, a memory book full of family photographs and stories or other treasured memento.

  • THE PRIZE: Two winners will each receive a $40 gift certificate to spend on Blurb.com to create a cookbook, travel album or anything else they would like to cherish in bound-book form. Retail value: $40.00 each.
  • To Enter This Gourmet Giveaway: Go to the box at the bottom of our Best Reads Section and click to enter your email address for the prize drawing. This contest closes on Monday, August 9th at noon, Eastern Time. Good luck!
  • To learn more about Blurb, visit Blurb.com.
  •  

    Create your own customized book. Photo courtesy Blurb.

    Comments

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