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Archive for Condiments

TIP OF THE DAY: Truffled Scrambled Eggs

Truffled Scrambled Eggs

Truffled Scrambled Eggs

[1] If you have to ask, you can’t afford it: a bounty of white truffle shaved onto scrambled eggs (photo George Guarino | Eataly Chicago. [2] The affordable version (photo courtesy Saveur, along with their recipe to make perfect scrambled eggs).

 

For the wealthy gourmet, there are truffled scrambled eggs that consist of the richest, butteriest, farm-fresh eggs scrambled and topped with pricey truffle shavings.

You can pay a supplement of $100, $200 or more, depending on the amount of truffle. After all, for the 2016-2017 winter truffle harvest, white Alba truffles from Italy, considered the zenith of truffles, cost a small fortune:

  • The smallest size were $229.50/ounce, $3,672.00/pound.
  • Large truffles were $2,880 per ounce, $11,520 per pound.
  • Extra-large and colossal were even more!
  •  
    Black Périgord truffles, our personal favorite from France, are a bargain by comparison:

  • Small Périgord truffles were $100/ounce, $1600 per pound, and up.
  • Large Périgord truffles were $805/ounce, $3220 per pound, and up.
  •  
    If you’re drooling at the prospect but lacking in cash, you can feel better because fresh truffles won’t be back until November.

    TRUFFLES FOR REGULAR FOLKS

    We’ve gotten around our challenged purse for years with the following work-arounds. Delicious scrambled eggs can be made with:

  • Truffle butter. You can buy it for less than $12 for a three-ounce tub. It provides the aroma of fresh truffles, and some of the their flavor.
  • Truffle oil. If you don’t want to cook your eggs in butter (but in our opinion, there’s no substitute for butter with scrambled eggs), Urbani white truffle oil is about $30 for 8.4 ounces. Black truffle oil, by comparison, is $18.75 for the same size.
  • Truffle salt. Replace your regular salt with truffle salt. It isn’t a huge impact, but every little bit helps if you’re using the butter or oil. We use Casina Rossa’s Italian Truffled Sea Salt from Italy. It’s $36.75 for 3.4 ounces. That’s a lot, but since you use a pinch at a time, it lasts a long time. You can split the jar with a fellow cook.
  •  
    All prices are from Gourmet Food Store.

    And of course, each of these products has uses beyond scrambled eggs.
     
     
    GOT TRUFFLES?

    If you’ve been saving a jar or can of truffle shavings, it’s time to put them to good use.Another variation of truffled scrambled eggs follows, courtesy of Maille mustard.

    Ideally, you need to infuse the eggs the day before.

     

    RECIPE: TRUFFLED SCRAMBLED EGGS WITH MUSTARD

    Ingredients For 4 Servings

  • 6 jumbo organic eggs
  • 2.5 teaspoons Maille Mustard with Chablis white wine and black truffles
  • 2 teaspoons black truffle shavings
  • 1/2 cup sweet almond oil
  • 2 teaspoons silvered almonds
  • 2 teaspoons butter
  • 3.5 tablespoon cream
  • Pinch salt
  • ¼ teaspoon espelette chile powder*
  • Bread of choice (we like brioche)
  • ________________

    *Espelette, a.k.a. piment d’Espelette, is from the Basque area of France and Spain. Substitute Aleppo pepper if you can find it: It has the smoky sweetness that epelette brings to the table. Otherwise use cayenne, but the heat and flavor profiles are quite different. Cayenne is much hotter (30,000 to 50,000 SHU) so use less. It is much more neutral in taste, without the smokiness.

    Preparation

    1. BREAK the eggs into a large bowl at least 1 hour in advance, or overnight. Add the truffle shavings and mix gently. Place in the fridge in a tightly sealed container to infuse. The next day…

    2. BEAT the eggs, seasoning them with a pinch of salt and the espelette, add the sweet almond oil and the mustard.

    3. ROAST the almonds in an anti-adhesive frying pan until golden, then chop them. Melt the butter in a casserole dish. Add the eggs and cook slowly with a wooden spatula or spoon, so that the eggs do not stick to the pan. When the eggs are scrambled…

    4. STOP the cooking with the liquid cream and add the slivered almonds.

    5. SLICE the bread into fingers and toast in a non-stick pan with a drizzle of almond oil. Coat slightly with some mustard and sprinkle with black truffle shavings. (Note: We simply made toast, understanding that a short cut means shorter flavor.)

    6. ASSEMBLE in the dishes of choice, with the toasted bread fingers.
     
     
    MORE TRUFFLES

    What Are Truffles

    Types Of Truffles

    D’Artagnan Truffle Butter

     

    Truffled Scrambled Eggs

    Maille Truffle Mustard

    Espelette Pepper

    [3] The dyed black eggshell is dramatic, but we’re happy serving our truffled eggs on a plate, in a ramekin, or for fun, in a champagne coupe (photo courtesy Maille). [4] Maille Chablis Mustard With Truffle (photo courtesy Not Quite Nigella). [5] Espelette pepper from a chile grown in the Basque region (photo courtesy Pepperscale).

     

      

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    TIP OF THE DAY: Mostarda, A Sweet-Hot Italian Condiment

    Mostarda di Cremona

    Mostarda di Cremona

    Mostarda

    Mostarda Bolognese

    Mostarda di Mantova

    [1] The classic: mostarda di cremona. Here’s a recipe to make your own from The Spruce). [2] A cremona close-up (photo courtesy Cucina Corriere. [3] Mostarda vicentina has a jam-like consistency, losing the physical beauty of other mostardas (photo courtesy Buonissimo). [4] Mostarda di mantova, made from apples, pears and quince (photo courtesy Murray’s Cheese).

     

    Years ago, on a trip to Italy, we first came across mostarda di frutta, mostarda for short.

    A sweet-and-hot, fruit-and-mustard condiment from the north of Italy, it’s our go-to condiment with Italian cheeses, and some other nationalities on the cheese board. We offer more uses below.

    Think of mostarda as a mustardy fruit chutney—although mostarda uses mostly candied fruits. (The Italian word for mustard in the English-language issenape).

    Candied whole small fruits or larger pieces of fruit are beautifully suspended in a clear syrup flavored with mustard oil. It’s clear and doesn’t cloud the syrup. Home recipes often use mustard powder mixed into white wine.

    Some mostarda is lovely to look at, like part of a still life painting. It is cooked slowly (often over three days) to maintain the natural bright colors of the fruit, and the perfect texture.

    Buy jars as gifts for your foodie friends.

     
    The origin of the word comes from a Latin term of the Middle Ages, mustum ardens, “grape juice [must] that burns,” a term first used in the Middle Ages by French monks, for the mustard they made (the history of mustard).

    It burns because of the addition of crushed mustard seeds. Once crushed, the seeds release the fiery mustard oil that gives the mustard condiment its flavor.

    THE HISTORY OF MOSTARDA

    From the Middle Ages forward, man has sought ways to enjoy the fruits that are scarce in winter, at least through the celebrations of Christmas.

    Mostarda is a food born from the need to preserve fruits for the off-season. Originally, the fruits were preserved in mosto (grape must*), unfermented grape juice that has been reduced to a syrup.

    Mostarda’s origins date back to the honey and mustard condiments of ancient Rome. Grape must (freshly pressed grape juice) was mixed with ground mustard seeds and honey to create a sweet mustard. Later, fruit was added.

    Recipes for “modern” mostarda, dating from the 13th century, call for the use of grape must. The first written document “Fruit Mostarda for festive season” dates to 1393 and is attributed to Galeazzo Visconti, Duke of Milan [source].

  • Grape must, called must for short, is the young, unfermented juice of wine grapes. Among other uses (in saba and vin cotto, for starters), it is mixed with ground mustard seeds to make mustard.
  • Subsequently, the condiment mostarda was made by candying the fruits and adding mustard oil to create sweet heat. Both the sugar to candy the fruits and the mustard oil were preservatives.
  • And by the way, mostarda became a Christmas tradition, traditionally eaten with creamy, slightly sweet mascarpone cheese.
  •  
    Beginning in the 16th century, newly-affordable sugar replaced the must to candy the fruits, then mustard was added [source]. The oldest known recipe prepared with fruit, mustard and sugar, without the grape must, was found in 17th century Belgium.

    From that point on, cookbooks began to include mostarda as a main ingredient. By the 19th century there were some 93 different varieties.

    The sweet heat went really well with boiled meats. Initially, mostarda was the served with bollito misto, a plate of mixed boiled meats that’s a specialty of northern Italian cuisine (there’s more below about uses for mostarda).

    TYPES OF MOSTARDA

    According to legend, mostarda was invented by chance in medieval times. In an apothecary shop, a piece of melon fell unnoticed into a barrel filled with honey.

    When it was later discovered, the melon was still as delicious as if it had been freshly picked (honey, which is virtually moisture-free, is an excellent preservative) [source].

    Mostarda itself takes on different ingredients in different regions, incorporating local fruits—whatever is plentiful in the region. Raisins, nuts and other ingredients can be added.

    As one source notes, almost every town in the Po valley has its own recipe.

    There are many, many mostarda recipes, from grape and fig (uva e ficchi) to vegetable mustards (also candied) modern recipes with non-Italian ingredients, from cardamom pods to pineapple and pumpkin.

    Here are some of the most famous, named for the areas where they originated.

  • Mostarda bolognese is made from apples, oranges, pears, plums and quince. In the area of Bologna, it is used to flavor the classic dish of boiled pork and cooked sausages, as well as to fill tarts and in other sweets.
  • Mostarda di carpi, from a town in the Emilia-Romagna region. It still uses red grape must in its recipe, along with oranges, pears, quince and sweet apples,
  • Mostarda di cremona also called mostarda cremonese, is the classic recipe, made with several different kinds of fruits (the makers choice among apricots, cherries, figs, peaches, pears, quinces and tangerines). It is the most commercially available style.
  • Mostarda di mantova, also called mostarda mantovana and mostarda di mele campanine, is made from tart= green apples called mele campanine (singular mela campanina) and pears or quince.
  •  

  • Mostarda veneziana, from the Venice region, is made with fresh quince pulp (a minimum of 36% pure pulp), and candied fruits (apricots, clementines, figs, white pears, yellow cherries). It is intentionally grainy/sugary.
  • Mostarda vicentina, from the town of Vicenza in the Veneto region, is characterized by a jam-like consistency and the use of quince (mele cotogne) as its main ingredient. During the Christmas holidays, it is eaten with spoonfuls with mascarpone.
  • Mostarda di voghera, in the Lombardy region of Italy, has documentation from 1397, when Duke Gian Galeazzo Visconti requested “mostarda de fructa cum la senavra.” The recipe can include apples, apricots, candied orange peel, cherries, clementines, figs, lemon, melon and pears.
  • Mostarda siciliana is made with orange zest, cinnamon, nutmeg, clove and often, toasted chopped almonds.
  • Dalmatian mostarda, made in Croatia across the Adriatic Sea from Venice, is a simpler recipe, made with quinces and honey.
  •  

    WAYS TO USE MOSTARDA

    Any discussion starts with bollito misto a fundamental part of Northern Italian cuisine. It’s a one-pot meal, Italian comfort food.

    The boiled meats vary by region, and a very elaborate presentation can include seven kinds of meat and fowl, seven vegetables and seven condiments.

    The meats can include beef brisket, beef cheeks, calf’s tongue, chicken or capon (or turkey), cotechino sausage, pork shank, sweet Italian sausage, veal shank—slowly boiled in a large pot with carrots, celery, onions and potatoes.

    The cooked cooked meats are sliced, placed on a platter and served with mostarda—or, for those seeking a different flavor profile, with a green herb sauce (salsa verde). The savory broth that remains in the pot can then be turned into soup.

    Why not plan a dinner party, with a multi-mostarda tasting?

    Over time, mostarda became a broad-purpose condiment.

    The heat of mostarda varies by producer. In general, however, it needs a hearty food that can show off both the sweet and the heat.

    Serve mostarda with:

  • Eggs: omelets, sliced egg sandwich on crusty toast.
  • Cheeses: as a condiment on a cheese board, or drizzled over individually plated slices or scoops of mascarpone or ricotta. In Italy, gorgonzola and stracchino are popular.
  • Meats: any boiled, braised, broiled, roasted or smoked, from chicken and turkey to ham, pork loin and beef brisket and sausages.
  • Up-condimenting: added to a dip base or mayonnaise for a more complex flavor.
  • Salume and other charcuterie).
  • Sandwiches: grilled vegetables, Italian cold cuts, porchetta, roast beef, strong cheeses.
  •  
    You can find many mostarda recipes online, and can purchase it in specialty food stores and Italian markets. You can also buy it online.

    Don’t be put off by the high price for a small jar. If you look at the ingredients in the recipe, you’ll see it as a bargain.

    Let us know how you like it.

    Discover the world of mustard in our Mustard Glossary.

    PHOTO CAPTIONS

    [5] Bollito misto, a dish often served with mustard (photo courtesy Cucina Italiana).

    [6] Add a ramekin of mostarda to a cheese and/or charcuterie board (photo courtesy Good Eggs).

    [7] A delicious appetizer or snack: bruschetta with prosciutto, burrata and pear mostarda (photo courtesy Davio’s Boston).

     

    Bollito Misto

    Cheese Board

    Prosciutto Burrata Bruschetta

     

      

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    TIP OF THE DAY: Aïoli, The Original, The Modern & A Party

    Aioli Dip With Seafood

    Basil Aioli

    Aioli Platter

    Saffron Aioli

    Habanero Aioli

    [1] As a sauce or dip with boiled potatoes (photo courtesy Quinciple). [2] Tarragon aïoli as a dip with shrimp (here’s the recipe from Real Simple). [3] Le Grand Aioli: make a platter for your next gathering (here’s a story from Edible Seattle). [4] Just open the jar and use these flavorful aïoli from Delicious And Sons: Basil Lemon Aïoli and Saffron Orange Aïoli. [5] Southern Europe meets South America: Habanero Aïoli from Salsa Maya (remember that in Spanish, salsa is a generic word for sauce).

     

    Americans eat a lot of mayonnaise, but not enough aïoli: garlic mayonnaise.

    The word is pronounced eye-OH-lee from the French word for garlic, ail (pronounced EYE).

    What we think of as a bread spread is used as a dip and sauce from Catalonia (the northeast tip of Spain; think Barcelona) through Provence (Marseilles along the coast through Toulon, Cannes, Nice and Monaco.

    It hopped the border of Monaco to the Liguria region of Italy. It spread to the south of Catalonia to Valencia, Catalonia, Murcia and eastern Andalusia, and offshore to the Balearic Islands. It crossed the sea to Malta.

    In fact, mayonnaise was invented in France by the great chef Marie-Antoine Carême, around 1800. You may think of mayo as a spread, but it was created as a sauce (the history of mayonnaise).

    But before then, the original sauce was made with just garlic and olive oil, which, by the way, was not an easy combination to emulsify into a sauce in the centuries before blenders.

    Later, possibly inspired by Carême’s mayonnaise, Provençal cooks incorporated egg yolks and lemon juice and voila: a richer, more flavorful, more stable mixture than mashed garlic and olive oil. (When you look at your food processor or blender, remember that everything prior to modern times was done in a mortar and pestle.)

    There are numerous seasoning variations. In France, it can include a bit of Dijon mustard. In Malta, some tomato is added.

    Everywhere, aïoli is served at room temperature.

    Ingredients vary by region, too. Catalan versions leave out the egg yolk and use much more garlic. This gives the sauce a more pasty texture, while making it considerably more laborious to make as the emulsion is much harder to stabilize.
     
    AÏOLI USES

    Yes, you can put it on your sandwich or burger; but aïoli can be used instead of mayonnaise anywhere, from canapés to to dips to potato salad.

    You can even plan a luncheon or dinner party around it. And you can buy it or make it.

    Then, serve it:

  • With escargots, a French favorite.
  • With fish and seafood: boiled fish (in France, cod and aïoli are a popular pair), bourride (Provençal fish soup).
  • In the U.S. with broiled, poached or grilled fish and shellfish, crab cakes, shrimp cocktail
  • Spread on hard-cooked eggs.
  • On vegetables, especially artichokes, asparagus, boiled potatoes and green beans.
  • As a substitute for butter, oil or vinaigrette.
  • Fries!
  • Salted boiled potatoes and bay leaf (a Ligurian specialty).
  • Mixed into chicken salad, egg, tuna and potato salads.
  • As a crudités dip.
  • On Mexican corn (elote).
  •  
    SERVE LE GRAND AÏOLI

    In Provence, Le Grand Aïoli (a.k.a. Aïoli Garni or Aïoli Monstre) is a special-occasion dish consisting of boiled vegetables (artichokes, beets, carrots, green beans, potatoes); salt cod or other poached fish, snails, canned tuna, other seafood; hard-boiled eggs, and a large dish of aïoli.

    In Provence, the dish is served in a celebration around August 15th, after the garlic has been harvested. If you like the idea, plan an occasion.

    You don’t have to wait until August. A room-temperature dish, Le Grand Aïoli delightful in the spring or summer with a lightly-chilled Côtes de Provence rosé or a red Bandol.

    If you like crème de cassis (cassis liqueur, made from blackcurrants), it’s a local product; so serve a Kir or Kir Royale as an aperitif.
     
    AIOLI HISTORY

    Aioli, aïoli, alhòli, aiòli or allioli, arjoli or ajjoli: Depending on the country and region, they are different spellings for a Mediterranean sauce (in southeastern Spain, it’s called ajoaceite or ajiaceite).

    Made of garlic and olive oil—two staple ingredients of the area—the name means garlic and oil in Catalan and Provençal.

     
    There are numerous flavored mayonnaises. Since the expansion of specialty food producers in the late 1980s, it became fashionable for producers and chefs to call all flavored mayonnaises—basil, chili, cilantro, red pepper, saffron, etc.—aïoli.

    While purists insist that only the garlic-seasoned recipe should be called “aïoli,” we think, logically, that as long as there’s garlic in the recipe, it can still be called aïoli. Consumers will understand.

    Otherwise, you’ll find even purer purists who insist that only the original garlic-oil sauce—no egg, no lemon juice—be called aïoli.

    RECIPE: A QUICK AÏOLI WITH STORE-BOUGHT MAYONNAISE

    If you want to make your aïoli from scratch, here’s a recipe.

    Ingredients For 1 Cup

  • 3/4 cup mayonnaise
  • 1/3 cup finely chopped fresh basil or other herb*
  • 1 tablespoon fresh lemon juice
  • 1-1/2 teaspoons minced garlic
  • 1-1/2 teaspoons grated lemon peel
  • Pinch salt
  • Optional: 1-1/2 teaspoons Dijon mustard
  • Optional: 1/2 teaspoon olive oil (to thin)
  •  
    Preparation

    1. BLANCH the basil in boiling water for 15 seconds. Mix all ingredients in medium bowl. Season to taste with salt and pepper.

    2. REFRIGERATE, covered, for at least 1 hour or overnight, to allow flavors to meld.

    ________________

    *If you want a spice instead of an herb, season to taste.
     
      

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    TIP OF THE DAY: Balsamic Glaze

    If you reduce balsamic vinegar into a syrup, you get balsamic glaze: a luscious condiment for drizzling over savory or sweet dishes. If you haven’t had it, we promise: You’ll be converted.

    With its complex flavors—sweet, sour, fruity—at its simplest use it can enhance anything grilled or roasted, including panini and other grilled sandwiches. It’s also called creme balsamica (balsamic cream).

    While its origin is in Greek and Italian cuisines, it works with everything from French baked Brie to good old American fried chicken, roasts, chops and grilled fish.

    Use it for marinating, dressing, or finishing any dish. Drizzle it over grilled meats, fish, and poultry. Serve with aged cheeses like parmesan or fresh ones like creamy goat. It’s a delicious surprise over fruits like strawberries or (our personal favorite) figs wrapped in prosciutto.

    USES FOR BALSAMIC GLAZE

    AS A CONDIMENT

  • Glaze meats—ham/pork, lamb, duck or other poultry—by mixing balsamic glaze with preserves (blackberry, currant)
  • Mix with mustard instead of honey mustard
  • Grilled vegetables
  • Dress a caprese salad when tomatoes aren’t at peak (it adds sweetness)
  • Glaze vegetables (especially root vegetables)
  •  
    WITH APPETIZERS & FIRST COURSES

    Drizzle over:

  • Baked Brie (with or without other toppings)
  • Bruschetta
  • Crudités
  • Flatbread
  • Glazed goat cheese tart or goat cheese cheesecake (sweet or savory)
  • Stuffed mushrooms
  • Salads: bitter greens (arugula, endive, radicchio, radishes, watercress), with or without quartered figs and crumbled goat cheese
  •  
    WITH MAINS

    Drizzle over:

  • Pizza with caramelized onions and smoked gouda; fig and proscuitto
  • Glazed salmon
  • Glazed pork ribs (try a spicy dry rub)
  • Glazed flat iron steak
  • White fish or salmon
  •  
    Use the glaze anywhere you’d use honey as a glaze or seasoning; and with more sophisticated sauces, such as port sauce over beef.
     
    SIDES

    Stir into:

  • Stir into cranberry sauce
  • Glaze onions or brussels sprouts
  • Sautéed greens and other cooked vegetables
  •  
    WITH DESSERTS

    Drizzle over:

  • Angel cake, cheese cake, pound cake
  • Greek yogurt
  • Ice Cream and sorbet
  • Cheese, from fresh cheeses to the oldest Parmesans
  • Fresh, grilled or poached fruit: berries, pears, stone fruit, etc.
  • Frosted cakes
  • Panacotta
  •  
    RECIPE #1: BALSAMIC GLAZE

    It’s easy to make balsamic glaze, and a good idea if you find yourself with too much balsamic on hand. But don’t go out and buy a gallon of the cheapest stuff at a club store. Get something moderately priced: Output = input. Recipe below.

    But buying it is a time saver.

    This recipe makes enough for quite some time. If you want just enough for your current recipe, use the proportions in the brackets

    Ingredients

  • 1 bottle balsamic vinegar [1/2 cup balsamic]
  • 1/4 cup brown sugar* [1 tablespoon brown sugar]
  •  
    Preparation

    1. MIX the balsamic vinegar with the sugar in a saucepan over medium heat. Stir constantly until the sugar has dissolved.

    2. BRING to a boil, reduce the heat to low and simmer until the glaze is reduced by half, about 20 minutes. The glaze should coat the back of a spoon.

    3. COOL and pour into a lidded ja. Store in the fridge.

       

    Salad With Balsamic Glaze

    Pizza With Balsamic Glaze

    Balsamic Chicken Caprese

    Balsamic Glaze Salmon

    Balsamic Pork Tenderloin

    [1] Use balsamic glaze on bitter greens (photo courtesy A Couple Cooks). [2] Glaze your pizza (photo courtesy For The Love Of Cooking). [3] Whether grilled simply or in a casserole, chicken and balsamic are a match made in heaven (here’s the recipe from Cafe Delites). [4] Salmon and other sturdy fish love a balsamic glaze (here’s the recipe from Cooking Classy). [5] Pork roast with balsamic strawberries (here’s the recipe from Southern Living).

     
    ________________
    *You can substitute agave for lower glycemic; or honey if you prefer it. For a lighter version, substitute apple juice.
    ________________
     
    RECIPE #2: BALSAMIC GLAZE NACHOS

    We love this take on nachos from Half Baked Harvest (photo #5, below).

    Toasted baguette slices substitute for corn chips, tomato and basil for the salsa, mozzarella for the jack or cheddar cheese.

    Prep time is 10 minutes, cook time is 10 minutes.

     

    Caprese Nachos

    Berries With Balsamic Glaze

    Gaea Grape Glaze

    [5] Mediterranean “nachos”: baguett, tomatoes, mozzarella, olive oil…and balsamic glaze (photo courtesy Half Baked Harvest). [6] Strawberries with balsamic glaze are a classic Italian dessert (photo courtesy DeLallo). [7] This balsamic glaze from Gaea is made with honey instead of sugar (photo courtesy Gaea).

     

     
    Ingredients For 4 Servings

  • 1 baguette, sliced into thin 1/4 inch slices
  • 2 tablespoons olive oil
  • 1 pint grape tomatoes
  • 1 tablespoon honey
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1/2 teaspoon pepper
  • 8 ounces fresh mozzarella, sliced
  • 10 fresh basil leaves, julienned
  • Optional: minced chives or thin-sliced green onions
  •  
    For The Balsamic Glaze

  • 1/2 cup balsamic vinegar
  • 1 tablespoon brown sugar
  •  
    Preparation

    1. MAKE the balsamic glaze: Add the balsamic vinegar and brown sugar to small sauce pan and simmer until reduced by half. This should take about 10 to 15 minutes. Remove from the heat and set aside until ready to use.

    2. PREHEAT the grill to high heat, or preheat the oven to 450°F.

    3. ADD the tomatoes to a bowl and toss with 1 teaspoon olive oil, honey, salt and pepper. If the grape tomates are small enough to fit through the gates of the grill, thread them on skewers. Or you can also roast them in the oven for 10 minutes until lightly charred.

    4. PLACE the baguette slices on a greased baking sheet and brush each side with a bit of olive oil. Sprinkle the tops with salt and pepper.

    5. GRILL the tomatoes for 8 to 10 minutes and the baguette slices for about 3 minutes per side. Or, you can toast the baguette slices in the oven on a baking sheet for about 5 minutes and the tomatoes in the oven for 10 minutes.

    6. PREHEAT the broiler to high. In ove-safe dishes or on a pan or baking sheet, place a few slices of toasted bread, then a few slices of fresh mozzarella and then a handful of tomatoes. Repeat so you make about three layers. Broil for 1 minute or until the cheese is melty.

    7. SPRINKLE with the basil and optional chives/scallions. Enjoy hot with a cold beer!
     
    RECIPE #3: MIXED BERRRIES WITH BALSAMIC GLAZE

    It doesn’t get easier than this—or more good-for-you than this dessert from DeLallo (photo #6, above), using their own balsamic glaze.

    The velvety rich, deep sweetness of balsamic glaze is a classic Italian way to top fresh berries. So simple, but so good.

    Take it to the next level with a base of gelato, panna cotta or plain Greek yogurt.
     
    RECIPE #3: MIXED BERRRIES WITH BALSAMIC GLAZE

  • Fresh berries of choice
  • Balsamic Glaze
  •  
    Preparation

    1. PLACE the berries in individual serving dishes. If you’re using a base (ice cream, panna cotta, yogurt), add it first.

    2. DRIZZLE with balsamic glaze.
     
    MORE!

    ABOUT BALSAMIC VINEGAR

    THE DIFFERENT TYPES OF VINEGAR

     
    ABOUT GAEA

    In Greek mythology, Gaia or Gaea (GUY-yuh), from the word for land or earth, is the Mother Earth goddess. Gaia is the ancestral mother of all life.

    In Greece, Gaea is the mother of all things delicious in olive oil: EVOO, olives isn jars and snack packs, spreads, glazes, vinaigrettes, etc.

    Discover more at GaeaUS.com.

      

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    RECIPE: Beet Marmalade

    Talk about memorable fall foods: This beet marmalade recipe from our colleague Hannah Kaminsky of Bittersweet Blog is an eye-opener.

    With its beautiful color and rich flavor, it’s a condiment that goes well:

  • As a spread with bread or crackers
  • On a cream cheese brick or goat cheese log
  • With grilled and roasted meats and poultry
  • Mixed into a dip with yogurt or sour cream
  •  
    The flavor is earthy yet sweet and zesty, with layers of flavor from the caramelized onions, orange zest and maple syrup. It may well convert beet haters to beet lovers.

    If you like to make food gifts, add this one to your repertoire.

    While the recipe specifies red beets for a ruby-color marmalade—a color that’s ideal for Thanksgiving, Christmas and Valentine’s Day—you can also make it with orange beets as a change of pace.

    You can make canapés, or put out the ingredients and let people assemble their own.
     
    RECIPE: BEET MARMALADE

    Ingredients For About 2 Cups

  • 4 medium red beets
  • 2 tablespoons olive oil
  • 1 large red onion, sliced
  • 1 large orange, zested and juiced
  • 2 tablespoons 100% Grade B maple syrup*
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  •  
    For Serving

  • Crackers or crostini (toasted baguette slices)
  • Goat cheese log, sliced in fairly thin (i.e. not thick) circles
  • Boston lettuce or baby greens
  • ________________
    *Grade B is the darkest and most flavorful maple syrup. Here are the four grades of maple syrup. You can substitute what you have, as long as it’s 100% real maple syrup.
     
    Preparation

    1. PREHEAT the oven to 400°F. Wrap the beets completely in aluminum foil and roast for about an hour, or until fork tender. Let cool before peeling. The skins should just rub right off with a bit of pressure.

    Meanwhile…

     

    Beet Marmalade & Goat Cheese Recipe

    Fresh Red Beets

    Orange Beets

    [1] Beet marmalade on a cracker with goat cheese (photo by Hannah Kaminsky). [2] Red and [3] orange beets (photos courtesy Good Eggs | SF).

     
    2. HEAT the oil in a medium skillet over medium-low heat and add the sliced onion. Cook gently, stirring frequently for 30 to 40 minutes, until deeply caramelized and almost silky in texture. Add the orange juice halfway through, and reduce the heat if necessary to prevent burning.

    3. ROUGHLY CHOP the cooked beets and place them in a food processor along with the caramelized onions. Add the orange juice and zest, maple syrup and and salt. Lightly pulse all of the ingredients together until broken down and thoroughly combined but still quite chunky.

    4. SERVE warm or chilled.
     
    WHAT’S THE DIFFERENCE BETWEEN JAM, PRESERVES & MARMALADE?

    Check out our “spread sheet”: a glossary of the different types of bread spreads and fruit condiments.

      

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