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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 Cooking

TIP OF THE DAY: Fun Ways To Use Healthy Foods

Mmmm…a fun way to eat more veggies.
Photo courtesy Nature Box.

 

Trying to turn over a new leaf, eating more kale and other good-for-you veggies, without giving up flavor and fun?

One of the major paths to better eating is to eat less meat and more vegetables. Yet many of us are veg-averse. Even if we like them, there’s always something we’d rather have (think pasta, pizza or a burger and fries, where the only veggies might be slices of tomato and onion and a piece of lettuce).

The secret is to serve recipes where the veggies can be “disguised” (see our favorite ideas below). Bright colors also work. What doesn’t seem to work with many people today is Mom’s approach: putting a protein on the plate with a side of string beans and a side of broccoli. So get creative on how to serve the beans and broccoli.

We picked up this idea from NatureBox.com, an e-tailer that delivers wholesome snacks and blogs on tasty, better-for-you foods. The fun and tasty spring rolls were developed by Lori Yates, a Detroit-area recipe developer, food writer and cooking instructor. She contributes healthier recipes with lots of visual appeal to the NatureBox blog, such as Thai Tofu Pizza and Salmon & Crispy Chickpea Salad and on her own blog, Foxes Love Lemons.

 
These spring rolls are a better-for-you snack or first course. Crunchy veggies are rolled in rice paper wrappers and served with a spicy creamy dipping sauce. The sweet potatoes are raw and sliced thin, for a texture like jicama but with more flavor and nutrients. Prep time is 25 minutes.
 
RECIPE: KALE & SWEET POTATO SPRING ROLLS

Ingredients For 6 Servings (18 Rolls)

For The Spring Rolls

  • 18 rice paper wrappers
  • 1 bunch kale, stems removed and leaves torn into large pieces
  • 1 can (15.5 ounces) black beans, rinsed and drained
  • Kernels from 2 ears of corn (about 3/4 cup)
  • 1 medium sweet potato, peeled and thinly sliced
  • 1/2 red onion, thinly sliced
  •  
    For The Dipping Sauce

  • 1/2 cup light sour scream or plain Greek yogurt
  • 1-1/2 tablespoons hot sauce
  •  

    Preparation

    1. MAKE the dipping sauce: Stir together sour cream or yogurt and hot sauce. Set aside.

    2. WORKING one at a time, wet wrappers for 15 seconds and transfer to damp towel. Place kale in center of each wrapper and top with some beans, corn, sweet potato and onion.

    3. BRING the bottom edge of the wrapper tightly over the filling, rolling from bottom to top until the top of the sheet is reached, being careful not to tear the wrapper. Repeat with remaining wrappers and filling. Serve immediately.
     
    MORE WAYS TO EAT BETTER: FAMILY CONTEST

    Get everyone into the act, thinking about how to “healthify” family favorites. Provide “healthy cookbooks” for reference: Cooking Light, Giada’s Feel-Good Food and the Eating Well Healthy In A Hurry Cookbook. Give a monthly prize to the best idea.

     


    Another better-for-you dish: chili that’s heavy on the veggies. Photo courtesy Swanson.

     

    Some of our most popular switches:

  • Chili that is more veggie than beef or beans. Here’s a tasty recipe from Swanson that “disguises” the veggies among the bean.
  • Mashed cauliflower with olive oil and Greek yogurt instead of mashed potatoes with butter and sour cream. Many people just assume the mashed cauliflower is potatoes.
  • Pasta primavera, with at least 50% veggies (aim for whole wheat pasta).
  • Salad pizza,” piled high with six or more of your favorite veggies (and a whole wheat crust!).
  • Stir frys—check out the Everything Stir Fry Cookbook with 300 recipes!
  • Also see:

  • Sneak More Veggies Into The Pasta
  • 5 Ways To Sneak More Veggies Into Your Diet
  •   

    Comments

    FOOD 101: What America Cooks

    mccormick-chili-sourcream-chives-230r

    America’s favorite recipe to cook at home:
    Chili? Photo courtesy McCormick.com.

     

    Cook much? While so many people rely on take out foods, others are still cooking up a storm. In fact, the website TheDailyMeal.com has put together America’s 25 Favorite Recipes to Make at Home.

    By using data collected from common food searches at The Daily Meal and many of the country’s other leading search engines and food websites, the writers developed a comprehensive list of the most searched food terms of 2013. They then took the research a step farther to find out what recipes America loves to make with those foods and how many times each recipe was searched.

    Finally, they crafted a unique algorithm to yield a search score and rank.

    AND THE FAVORITES ARE…

    25. Chicken wings
    24. Deviled eggs
    23. Guacamole
    22. Fish tacos
    21. Mashed potatoes
    20. Crock pot chicken

     

    Continuing on, we get to the two sweets that made the list (which doesn’t mean we don’t eat a lot of sweets—we just may be buying them for immediate gratification.
     
    19. Apple pie
    18. Choc chip cookies
    17. Mac and cheese
    16. Hummus
    15. Baked chicken
    14. Burgers
    13. Beef stew
    12. Pasta sauce
    11. French toast
    10. Chicken soup
    9. Chocolate chip
    8. Spaghetti
    7. Pizza
    6. Meatball
    5. Banana bread
    4. Meat loaf
    3. Lasagna
    2. Pork chop
    1. Chili
     
    So what are you cooking tonight?

     

    apple-pie-cut-centerville-230r

    When we bake, it’s usually apple pie or chocolate chip cookies. Photo courtesy Centerville Pie Co.

     

      

    Comments

    TIP OF THE DAY: Pink Party Food

    We’ve been invited to a “pink party” for Valentine’s Day: All the food and drink are in shades of pink, with some touches of deeper rose and red. If you want to hold your own party, menu options are below.

    There’s also a National Pink Day on June 23rd, so we’ve been included some summery dishes.

    You can make anything more pink with beet juice, red food color or rosy accents like pomegranate arils, raspberries and strawberries. You can make sauces and soups pinker with a touch of crème fraîche, mascarpone, sour cream, or plain yogurt.

    You are encouraged to wear something pink to the party. Owning nothing pink, we’re donning pink nail polish.

    PINK PARTY MENU

    PINK & RED COCKTAILS

  • Champagne cocktail with pink sparkling wine
  • Cosmopolitans
  • Pink Champagne and strawberry punch
  •  
    PINK & RED WINES

  • Pink sparkling wine (Yellowtail and Martini are great values)
  • Red Wine
  • Rosé
  •  

    lobster-bisque-mackenzieltd-230

    Lobster bisque. You can serve soup shooters on a buffet. Photo courtesy MackenzieLtd.com.

  • Cranberry or pomegranate juice spritzers (with white wine) or mocktails
  • Pomegranate Martini
  • Vodka and pink lemonade
  •  
    There are scores and scores of other pink cocktails—just search online.
     

    RED & PINK APPETIZERS

  • Bruschetta with strawberry-basil or tomato topping
  • Crab cocktail
  • Crudités: red bell peppers, radishes, cherry tomatoes, red Belgian endive, etc., with spicy pink dip (recipe below); you can include some celery, fennel or other pale vegetables for variety
  • Goat cheese log rolled in pink peppercorns
  • Hot dogs in jelly-mustard dip
  • Pink deviled eggs (soak peeled whole eggs in beet juice or food color)
  • Poached shrimp with cocktail sauce
  • Red pepper dip
  • Salume platter
  • Shrimp spread with crackers
  • Shrimp tea sandwiches
  • Smoked salmon or gravlax platter
  • Smoked salmon pinwheels or tea sandwiches
  • Smoked salmon rillettes
  • Strawberry bruschetta (recipe)
  • Taramasalata (Greek caviar dip) with crackers or party breads
  • Tuna sushi and spicy tuna rolls
  •  

    olive-oil-poached-salmon-pomwonderful-230

    Think pink with poached salmon. Photo
    courtesy Pom Wonderful.

     

    PINK & RED BUFFET
     
    PROTEINS & OTHER MAINS

  • Pasta in pink sauce
  • Poached salmon
  • Rare beef (we’re poaching a filet mignon)
  • Shrimp & strawberry salad (recipe in footnote* below)
  • Steak tartare or tuna tartare
  •  
    PINK & RED SIDES

  • Beet salad or pickled beets
  • Cherry tomato salad
  • Radicchio and radish salad with pickled red onions
  •  
    *Combine 3 cups cooked rice, 1/2 pound cooked, sliced shrimp and 3/4 cup thinly sliced celery in a large bowl. Make dressing with 2/3 cup mayonnaise, 1/2 cup strawberry yogurt, 1 teaspoon dry mustard, 1 teaspoon lemon juice and salt to taste. Dress the salad and then fold in 1-1/2 cups sliced fresh strawberries. Chill and serve on a bed of greens.

     

    PINK & RED SOUPS

  • Borscht (you can turn it from red to pink with sour cream)
  • Cream of tomato soup
  • Lobster or shrimp bisque
  • Red bell pepper purée
  • Red gazpacho
  • Tomato or watermelon gazpacho
  •  
    PINK & RED DESSERTS

  • Cherry cheesecake
  • Fresh strawberries and raspberries
  • Pears poached in red wine
  • Pink frosted cake or cake pops
  • Pink ice pops (freeze your own from cherry or pomegranate juice)
  • Raspberry or strawberry mousse
  • Red velvet cake, cupcakes, donuts, ice cream
  • Cherry cheesecake
  • Strawberry ice cream/cupcakes
  • Strawberry milkshake shooters
  • Strawberry sorbet
  • Watermelon: granita or fruit salad
  •  
    RECIPE: SPICY PINK DRESSING OR DIP

    Ingredients

  • 2 cups mayonnaise (full fat)
  • 1 cup sour cream
  • 1/2 cup sherry wine (not cooking sherry)
  • 1 tablespoon dried tarragon, finely crushed or 1-1/2 tablespoons minced fresh tarragon
  • 1 teaspoon garlic powder
  • 1/4 teaspoon hot sauce sauce, or to taste
  • 2-3 drops red food coloring or beet juice
  •  
    Preparation

    1. MIX mayonnaise, sour cream, sherry, tarragon, garlic powder and hot sauce until well blended.

    2. ADD a few drops of food coloring to desired shade of pink. If the dressing is too thick, you can thin it with a small amount of milk. Chill well before serving.

    Recipe courtesy Food.com.
      

    Comments

    TIP: Uses For An Olive Oil Mister

    misto-salad-230

    The Misto is one of the most popular misters. Photo courtesy Lifetime Brands.

     

    Olive oil misters have been around for several years. They control the portions of olive oil you use, delivering a much lighter—but equally effective—coating than brushing with oil. You save calories as well as the cost of the oil.

    Some enthusiasts have more than one mister, to hold different types of oil.

    Yes, there are aerosol sprays, which do provide a finer, more even coating. But they come with a cost: chemical propellants and a can that goes into the landfill, both of which are needed to create that fine spray. Not to mention, the slightly chemical flavor and aroma, and the ongoing cost per can as opposed to the small investment in a mister.

    Originally, we used one as a diet tool, to cut down on the oil calories on salads. We abandoned that approach in favor of tossing lightly with homemade vinaigrette. So we looked at other ways to use the mister.

     

    WAYS TO USE AN OLIVE OIL MISTER

  • Balsamic vinegar: cuts down on waste on balsamic and other expensive vinegars
  • Bread: on bruschetta and focaccia, to keep dough moist when rising
  • Frying
  • Garnish: as an annointing oil on fish, meat, and poultry
  • Greasing pans and muffin tins
  • Low fat cooking: basting, grilling, roasting, sautéing
  • Pasta
  • Vegetables, grilled or roasted
  •  

    And of course, there’s always salad!

     

    TIPS

    Read the directions! The biggest complaint about the misters is that the spray clogs.

  • Don’t overpump. You’ll end up with oil “in the air.”
  • Don’t fill to the top unless you’re a heavy user. Over months, the oil can become rancid.
  • Clean the mister frequently per the manufacturer’s directions.
  •  
    CLOGGING

    Oils vary in viscosity. Vegetable oil, for example, can be thicker than olive oil, and contribute to clogging. Frequent cleaning with hot water and soap is recommended. But clogging is common. Here’s how to avoid it:

  • Fill the mister just half way with oil.
  • Twist the top after each use to release the pressure.
  •  

    meat-aliexpress-230

    A great pan spray. Photo courtesy Aliexpress.

     

    Even if your mister clogs and you can’t unclog it, it costs the equivalent of about three cans of aerosol spray. You’ll be ahead of the game.

      

    Comments

    TIP OF THE DAY: Easy Food Glamour

    Fine restaurants know that exciting presentation of food is almost as important as the preparation of the dish. They don’t serve main courses with mounds of starch and vegetables circling the protein; they use potatoes, rice and veggies as the bed to hold the protein.

    In its simplest form, Del Frisco’s Double Eagle Steak House in New York City shows how easy it is to put your protein atop a bed of grains. You can center the protein or place it off-center, as shown in the photo.

    Whatever the bed comprises—see our list below—you can make it more visually arresting and flavorful with mix-ins. Here, Del Frisco adds diced vegetables to brown rice.

    Use a spoon to drizzle the sauce; you can make an easy sauce by deglazing the pan.

     

    grilled-salmon-rice-veg-delfriscos-230

    Grilled fish or meat looks fancier atop a bed of grains and/or vegetables. Photo courtesy Del Frisco’s.

     

    MENU BASICS

    Start with grilled, poached or sautéed meat, poultry or seafood (or tofu). For a bed, use:

  • Beans: cook with at least one other ingredient for interest, such as bacon or onions, and herbs; garnish with fresh herbs
  • Grains: barley*, buckwheat*, black/brown/red/wild rice*, bulghur, corn*, couscous, farro*, grits, kamut*, white rice or quinoa, with mix-ins (see below)
  • Noodles/pasta: refined or whole grain noodles, dressed with butter/olive oil and herbs or complementary sauce
  • Potatoes: mashed potatoes white or sweet potatoes, or mashed cauliflower; hash browns, sautéed potatoes or other “flat” preparation
  • Salads: Bean salad, corn salad, mesclun, rice salad, tomato and onion salad (in season)
  • Vegetables: Roasted, sautéed, steamed with fresh herbs
  •  
    *The asterisk indicates a whole grain.
     
    MIX INS

    A combination of ingredients is always more interesting than one alone. Would you rather have a bowl of lettuce, or a salad of lettuce plus three or four other vegetables?

    Try to enhance any of your beds with at least one other ingredient; for example:

  • Fresh herbs: chiffonade or minced
  • Mixed vegetables: beans; diced carrots, celery, onions, squash, etc.; edamame; onions; peas and other favorites
  • Nuts and seeds: chopped or slivered almond, pecans, pistachios, walnuts or other favorites; chia, flax seeds, pepitas (pumpkin seeds), pomegranate arils
  • Onions: chives, green onions, leeks, red onions, shallots or yellow onions, cooked or raw as appropriate
  •  
    Happy bedding!

     

      

    Comments

    TIP OF THE DAY: 15+ Uses For A Culinary Torch

    bonjour-culunary-torch-230

    Making crème brûlée is just one of the
    numerous things you can do with a culinary
    torch. Photo courtesy BonJour.

     

    Many of us have purchased a culinary torch (a.k.a. chef’s torch or brulée torch) for the sole purpose of caramelizing sugar on crème brûlée.

    But a culinary torch has numerous other uses in the kitchen, for preparing both sweet and savory dishes. Here are 14 ways to use your torch, with thanks to Williams-Sonoma for some of these ideas.

    BREAKFAST

    1. Breakfast or dessert grapefruit brûlée. Cut a grapefruit in half and pat the cut surface dry. Sprinkle a thin layer of brown or white sugar and some optional cinnamon and/or nutmeg. Heat with the torch until the sugar bubbles.

    2. Brûlée your oatmeal. Sprinkle cooked oatmeal or other porridge with a thin layer of brown or white sugar; heat with a torch until it gets crisp.
     
    LUNCH/DINNER

    3. Caramelize beef and other meat.

     

    Meat that’s served rare, like roast beef, is best cooked at a lower temperature. But this technique doesn’t produce a caramelized crust. Chef Thomas Keller shares his technique for prime rib: Before popping the roast into the oven, char the outside with a blowtorch. You can also do this with lamb. And, it makes any bacon wrap (like bacon-wrapped shrimp) crisper: just torch the bacon before putting the appetizers in the oven.

    4. Char bell peppers. Instead of holding them over the stove, use your torch. You can also use the torch to roast small chiles (jalapeños, e.g.).

    5. Cook a pizza, no oven required! Your torch will brown a ready-to-eat crust, melt the cheese, even roast the veggies.

    6. Glaze a ham or a pork roast. Brush with chutney, honey mustard, preserves etc. If you’re adding fruit, lay the pineapple slices or other fruit over the ham. (If you need to use toothpicks, first soak them in water.) Sprinkle with brown sugar. Heat with the torch until the sugar caramelizes.

    7. Melt cheese. Add a finishing touch to the cheese atop onion soup gratinée, chili or any hot dish with grated cheese, including mac and cheese.

     

    8. Peel tomatoes. When making sauces, chili, etc., you can blanch the whole tomatoes in boiling water, or use your torch to sear and easily peel the skin. When skin starts to crack, set the tomato aside to cool, then peel.

    9. Sear fish. You may have seen a sushi chef use a torch to sear the outside of a raw piece of tuna or other fish. Try it at home for an appetizer, atop a bed of frisée, mesclun or seaweed salad; replace some of the olive oil in your vinaigrette with sesame oil, and garnish with toasted sesame seeds. For a more cooked alternative, use the torch to crisp the skin and of the fish that hasn’t gotten it crisp enough in the pan (how to crisp fish skin).

    10. Singe the pin feathers off poultry. Easy peasy!

     

    roasted-bell-peppers-zabars-a

    Charred bell peppers. Photo courtesy Zabar’s.

     
    11. Toast a bread crumb topping. Stuff tomatoes, bell peppers or avocado halves with chicken, crab, lobster, shrimp or tuna salad. Sprinkle with buttered bread crumbs and grated Parmigiano-Reggiano cheese, then heat with a torch until golden brown. You can also torch the bread crumb topping on mac and cheese and spaghetti or other pasta dishes.

    DESSERT

    12. Brown meringue. Use the torch to brown the meringue atop Baked Alaska, fruit tarts, meringue pies and other desserts.

    13. Create burnt sugar garnishes. Place a greased cookie cutter on a Silpat liner and sprinkle a thin layer of sugar inside the cutter. Heat with a torch until crisp, then lift off the cutter. Use the burnt sugar decoration to garnish desserts such as frosted cakes, ice cream or pudding.

    14. Make s’mores. Do this in the kitchen; or if your guests are handy adults, place graham crackers, chocolate bars and marshmallows on a platter and invite them to spear marshmallows with fondue forks and toast and assemble their own.

    15. Flambé your food. Make delicious, festive desserts: Bananas Foster, Cherries Jubilee, dessert crêpes, fruit compote, etc. Pour Grand Marnier or other liqueur into a metal measuring cup and heat with the torch. Pour the warmed liqueur over the dessert and then use the torch or a long match to ignite. How to flambé.

    16. Unmold frozen desserts. If they resist popping out of metal molds, the torch is neater and quicker than hot water.

    17. And of course, crème brûlée.
     
    Have other suggestions? Let us know!

      

    Comments

    FOOD 101: How To Chiffonade

    How to chiffonade. Photo courtesy Marichelle | Lifeflix | Flickr.

     

    We so often recommend a chiffonade (shif-oh-NOD) garnish that we’re devoting an article to it.

    Chiffonade is a chopping technique in which leafy herbs or greens (basil, sage and spinach, for example) are cut into long, thin strips. Large, stackable leaves are needed—the technique doesn’t work with small leaves such as parsley or thyme.

    The word comes from the French chiffon, “little rag,” and refers to the shreds that this technique produces. It is also used to slice other foods (such as crêpes or thin omelets) into strips.

    The technique, shown in the photo, is easy:

    1. STACK the leaves.

    2. ROLL them tightly.

    3. SLICE perpendicular to the roll.

     

    Use the chiffonade as a garnish or stir into eggs, salads, soups, stews, etc.

      

    Comments

    TIP: The Easy Way To Healthier Cooking

    Struggling with that “eat healthier/lose weight” new year’s resolution?

    Nutritionists tell you that you can have your favorite rich foods, just in small portions. One piece of pizza instead of two. One heaping tablespoon of ice cream instead of half a pint.

    But overall, eating healthier means better nutrition and fewer calories. The good news is that even historic “bad eaters” can appreciate the delicious flavors of these other foods. It’s a mind thing.

    So start looking at your favorites an see where you can make revisions. You might want to start with a copy of Cooking Light: The New Way To Cook Light, Fresh Food & Bold Flavors for Today’s Home Cook.

    While there are numerous books in the Cooking Light series, this books starts with the principles of eating lighter:

     

    Continue to enjoy pasta, but make it whole wheat pasta and 50% “primavera” (half pasta, half vegetables). Photo courtesy Wisconsin Milk Marketing Board.

  • Healthy fats, like olive oil and avocado oil, rather than butter and cream
  • Larger portions of vegetables and more modest portions of meat
  • Whole grains rather than refined ones (white flour, white rice, e.g.)
  •  
    The recipes use “real” ingredients instead of fat-free sour cream, artificial sweeteners, etc.

    They provide more than enough flavor, texture, color and mouthfeel to satisfy everyone at the table.

    The adjustments are easy, the taste results negligible, the overall transition painless. And if you want to lose weight without working at it, this is how!

     

    The best way to start a new eating regime:
    Read an inspiring, calorie-cutting cookbook like
    this one. Photo courtesy Cooking Light.

     

    OUR PERSONAL TIPS

  • Substitute nonfat Greek yogurt for sour cream and cream cheese. Whether on a bagel or a burrito, it works!
  • “Pad out” pasta and rice with vegetables. Aim for a half and half ratio, and vary the veggies and the cuts (dice, julienne, circles, etc.) so they don’t get routine.
  • Make exciting salads. A plate of boring greens cries out for caloric dressings. Instead, add other, more flavorful vegetables and a vinaigrette: artichoke hearts, broccoli, capers, edamame, hearts of palm, olives, pimento and/or water chestnuts, for example. When tomato isn’t in season, it’s pretty flavorless—again, crying out for caloric dressings. Substitute grape or cherry tomatoes in red or the more catchy yellow, pimento or sundried tomatoes. And don’t use inexpensive oil and vinegar: treat yourself to the good stuff.
  • Drink lots of water or plain iced tea with meals. The more you drink, the fuller you get. Vary with club soda, flavored unsweetened seltzers and other low calorie options. Drink wine in spritzers (half wine, half club soda).
  •  

  • Enjoy your favorite cake in cubes. We’d rather eat a tiny piece of rich cream cheese cheesecake than a slice of “cheesecake lite.” A solution:
    Bake the cheesecake in a pan, like brownies—shorter than a standard cheesecake. Keep it in the freezer, and cut small squares as needed for a “fix,” or to top a larger dish of mixed berries for dessert.
     
    Send us your favorite tips, and keep working it.

      

  • Comments

    TIP OF THE DAY: Uses For Egg Whites

    It must be “egg day” at THE NIBBLE: We just finished an article on the new pullet eggs (“farmer’s eggs”) from Fresh Direct. And now, some suggestions for leftover egg whites.

    More than a few recipes require just the yolk of the egg: custard (including crème brûlée), egg nog, hollandaise sauce, Key lime pie, mayonnaise and pudding, to name a few.

    So what do you do with the leftover whites?

    It’s easy enough to combine them with whole eggs in a scramble or an omelet. You can also toss them into soup that you’re heating, to create the ribbon effect in Chinese egg drop soup. The extra egg white adds more protein, for just 17 calories (per large egg white). You can add one or two extra whites to cake batter.

    But here’s a list we got from About.com years ago, and continue to build on.
     
    Uses For 1 Egg White

  • Add To Frittatas, Omelets Or Scrambles
  • Soufflés (an extra 1-2 whites add to height and volume)
  • Sugared Nuts
  •  

    Add extra egg whites to a regular frittata or omelet. Photo courtesy DeLallo.com.

     
    Uses For 2 Egg Whites

  • Cake Frostings (buttercream, seven-minute frosting and marshmallow frosting)
  • Coconut Macaroons
  • Egg Drop Soup
  • Marshmallows
  •  
    Uses For 3 Egg Whites

  • Egg White Omelet (add spinach and herbs)
  • Lemon Meringue Pie
  • Meringue Cookies
  • Nougat
  •  

    Make meringues: delicious, crunchy,
    cholesterol-free cookies. Photo courtesy
    American Egg Board.

     

    More Egg Whites

  • Angel Food Cake or White Cake
  • Baked Alaska
  • Meringue Topping For Pies/Tarts
  • Pavlovas (meringue cups to hold custard, fruit curd, fresh fruit, mousse, whipped cream, etc.)
  •  
    But what if your goal is to make meringues or angel food cake, and you have leftover yolks?

    That’s another article. Stay tuned.

     

      

    Comments

    TIP OF THE DAY: More Ways To Use Tofu

    Tofu is a nifty food. Some people don’t like the spongy texture and find it bland. But the great thing about tofu is that it’s adaptable to any flavor you cook with it.

    It’s also modest in calories—94 per half cup—with 10 grams of protein, zero cholesterol and just 1% carb, which is dietary fiber. There are large amounts of calcium and iron and nice hits of B6 and magnesium. It’s a gluten-free product.

    We’re neither vegetarian or vegan, but a few years ago we started to add more tofu to our diet as a New Year’s resolution to cut back on cholesterol-laden proteins and to eat more sustainably (animal methane is the #1 contributor to greenhouse gas).

    Now, we’re hooked. At Asian restaurants, we’ll typically choose a tofu dish over more “meaty” options.

    Don’t be afraid to experiment at home. Tofu is very easy to work with once you try it. As you learn the range of tofu styles available, you’ll discover how it can add a new dimension to your cooking.

    Tofu is:

     

    We love to snack on fried tofu instead of mozzarella sticks. Enjoy them with a fat-free Greek yogurt dip or with a ponzu sauce dip with toasted sesame seeds and sliced green onions. Photo by Sakurai Midori | Wikimedia.

     

  • Incredibly versatile. Beyond using as a protein, you can substitute tofu for caloric and cholesterol-laden staples like sour cream, heavy cream, mayonnaise, cream cheese and ricotta (try a tofu tiramisu).
  • Not just for Asian cooking. It can fit into any cuisine. As a start, try Italian dishes with tofu instead of other proteins —tofu parm instead of chicken parm, for example.
  •  

    Pudding without fat/cholesterol: Delicious
    tofu pudding substitutes for flan or panna
    cotta. Photo by Chris 73 | Wikimedia.

      Preparing tofu is easy. Drain off all the water and wrap the block in paper towels to blot; then slice it according to the recipe.

    There are different styles of tofu, and the recipes will specify the style of tofu you need.

  • Soft tofu is best used in dips, smoothies, desserts, and blended into lower-fat, cholesterol-free salad dressings. We love a mango smoothie blended with orange juice, honey, milk/soy milk and soft tofu; and a chocolate tofu mousse. Mash it with avocado or hummus for a snack or sandwich spread. Cut the tofu into small cubes for blending or mashing.
  • Medium Firm tofu works well in casseroles, soups and salads. Cube it as a protein-rich garnish for soups and see how good a tofu scramble is (you won’t miss conventional scrambled eggs in this recipe).
  • Firm and Extra Firm tofu are great meat substitutes and ideal for stir-frying, grilling, deep-frying, crumbled in chili, and much more. Marinate Extra Firm tofu in soy sauce and then chop it into blocks for conventional grilling or kebabs. Crumble Firm tofu and mix with ground turkey, onion and breadcrumbs for tasty meatballs. Create your own tofu burgers with mashed tofu, bread crumbs, chopped onion and seasonings.
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    There’s no need to buy a tofu recipe book; but if you want to learn to make your own at home, this book, Asian Tofu, is a great resource.

    But you can start at HouseFoods.com, which has numerous recipes in every meal category.
     
    TOFU TIPS

  • BUY premium quality tofu. If you care about non-GMO foods, rely on a brand like House Foods, which uses only non-genetically modified soybeans grown in the USA and is Non-GMO Project verified.
  • STORE leftover tofu in a water-filled, airtight container in the fridge. It can keep for two to three days, but change the water every day or two.
  • FREEZE excess tofu in its original container or a freezer bag. To thaw, just leave it out on the counter for a few hours (don’t microwave it). Defrosted tofu’s texture becomes more spongy, great to soak up marinade sauces and great for the grill.
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