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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,
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Archive for Desserts

JULY 4th: The Easiest Dessert Recipe

Here’s the easiest July 4th dessert recipe: vanilla ice cream with blueberries and raspberries.

Sure, you can find vanilla ice cream with blueberry and raspberry swirls and just scoop them into dishes. But with a recipe, the cook combines ingredients.

To make the easiest red, white and blue dessert, you need:

  • Vanilla ice cream or frozen yogurt
  • Blueberries
  • Raspberries
  • Optional: whipped cream
  •  
    You can substitute blackberries or strawberries, but blueberries and raspberries are a better size. If your market is sold out of fresh berries, head to the frozen foods case.

       

    ice-cream-berries-talenti-230

    The easiest red, white and blue dessert recipe. Photo courtesy Talenti Gelato.

     

    If you don’t want to scoop and serve individual dishes, place the ice cream in a serving bowl.

  • Scooping takes time, so just peel away the carton and plop the entire square or round contents into the bowl.
  • You can slice the bulk ice cream into halves or thirds to better fill out the bowl, and use whipped cream to fill empty spaces if you don’t like them.
  • Top with the berries and whipped cream, and let guests help themselves.
  •  
    That’s it!

     

    easy_very_berry_trifle_mccormick-230

    Another easy red, white & blue dessert. Photo courtesy Amanda Rettke.

     

    RECIPE: EASY VERY BERRY TRIFLE

    When you want to impress friends and family with a dessert that takes just minutes of prep, this is the one to prepare.

    Fresh berries are layered with mounds of whipped cream and angel food cake for a dessert that is be prepared ahead of time. It was created by Amanda Rettke from IAMBaker.net for McCormick, who used McCormick extracts in the recipe.

    The whipped cream—a special concoction of heavy cream, sour cream and orange extract—is a star. Once you taste it, you’ll want to use it on everything!

    Prep time is 25 minutes.

    Ingredients For 12 servings

  • 2 cups halved or sliced strawberries
  • 2 cups blueberries
  • 1 cup raspberries
  • 3/4 cup confectioner’s sugar, divided
  • 3 teaspoons pure vanilla extract
  • 1-1/2 cups heavy cream
  • 1 teaspoon pure orange extract
  • 1/4 cup sour cream
  • 4 cups angel food cake cubes
  • Preparation

    1. TOSS the berries, 1/4 cup of the sugar and 2 teaspoons of the vanilla in large bowl. Set aside.

    2. BEAT the cream, remaining 1/2 cup sugar, remaining 1 teaspoon vanilla and orange extract in large bowl with electric mixer until soft peaks form. Gently stir in the sour cream.

    3. LAYER 2 cups angel food cake cubes, and 1/2 each of the berry mixture and whipped cream mixture in 2-quart glass serving bowl. Repeat the layers.

    4. COVER and refrigerate at least 2 hours. Garnish with additional berries, if desired.

      

    Comments

    JULY 4th FOOD: Red, White & Blue Berry Trifle

    If you’re asked to bring something to a July 4th shindig, here’s a recipe that couldn’t be easier, no cooking required!

    In fact, the recipe is so easy that a tween or teen (or adult who “doesn’t cook”) can make it. It’s built in a springform pan instead of a traditional glass bowl.

    The recipe is courtesy Taste Of Home and Kaia McShane of Munster, Indiana, who advises, “This luscious trifle tastes best if made the day before serving. Keep additional blueberries and raspberries on hand for decoration.”

    If you’re going to make and serve it immediately, we prefer homemade whipped cream to the frozen topping.

    Total prep time is 20 minutes plus chilling.

       

    red-white-blue-berry-trifle-tasteofhome-230

    So easy to make! Photo courtesy TasteOfHome.com.

     

    RECIPE: RED, WHITE & BLUEBERRY TRIFLE

    Ingredients For 12 Servings

  • 1 can (14 ounces) sweetened condensed milk
  • 1-1/2 cups 2% milk
  • 2 packages (3.4 ounces each) instant lemon pudding mix
  • 1/2 cup sour cream
  • 2 cups fresh blueberries
  • 2 cups fresh raspberries
  • 1 tablespoon lemon juice
  • 1 package (16 ounces) frozen pound cake, thawed and cubed
  • 1 container (8 ounces) frozen whipped topping, thawed—or preferable—homemade whipped cream
  • Additional blueberries and raspberries, optional
  •  

    whipped-cream-kuhnrikonFB-230sq

    Homemade whipped cream is so superior to aerosols and frozen toppings. Photo courtesy Kuhn Rikon.

     

    Preparation

    1. WHISK together in a large bowl the condensed milk, 2% milk and pudding mixes for 2 minutes. Fold in the sour cream.

    2. TOSS the blueberries and raspberries with lemon juice in another bowl.

    3. LAYER half of the cake cubes, half of the berry mixture and half of the pudding mixture in a greased 9-in. springform pan. Repeat. Refrigerate, covered, at least 2 hours before serving.

    4. SERVE: Remove rim from the springform pan. Serve with whipped topping and, if desired, additional berries.

    Find many more recipes at TasteOfHome.com.

     

      

    Comments

    TIP OF THE DAY: Pairing Wine & Sorbet For “Cocktails”

    Sorbet cocktails are one of our favorite summer desserts. You simply add scoops of sorbet to a glass—an opportunity to use your Champagne coupes, Margarita glasses, large-bowl wine glasses or large snifters.

    Then, pour in sparkling or still wine or white spirits (gin, tequila, vodka) and serve with a spoon. As the sorbet melts into the wine or spirit, it creates a special cocktail.

    MAKE IT A PARTY

    For a fun dessert, make pairing a dinner party activity, with each guest mixing and matching to find his/her favorites. There are no wrong pairings; it’s what your palate likes. It can Here are some matching ideas for starters:

    WITH CITRUS, MOST FRUIT & LIGHT FLAVOR SORBETS

  • Fruity White Wine (Chenin Blanc, Pinot Grigio)
  • Gewürztraminer
  • Ice Wine/Eiswein
  • Muscat/Moscato
  • Sauternes or Botrytised Semillon
  • Sauvignon Blanc From Australia or California
  • Sparkling Wine/Sparkling Saké
  •    

    Lemon sorbet

    Lemon sorbet with citron vodka and Limoncello, Photo © Auremar | Fotolia.

     

    WITH BERRY, CHOCOLATE & STRONGER SORBET FLAVORS

  • Amontillado Sherry
  • Fruity Red Wine (Beaujolais, California Syrah, Italian Dolcetto)
  • Late Harvest Riesling
  • Pineau de Charentes
  • Ruby Port
  • St. Germain Elderflower Liqueur
  • Vin Santo
  •  

    Sherbet Freeze

    Strawberry sorbet and Prosecco. Photo © Lognetic | Fotolia,

     

    WITH ANY FLAVOR

  • Fruit Beer
  • Fruit Liqueur
  • Flavored Vodka
  • Gin
  • Hard Cider
  • Rosé
  • Tequila Blanco (Silver)
  •  
    MORE ON SORBET COCKTAILS

    Here are more tips:

  • Sorbet Cocktails
  • Dessert Cocktails
  •  

      

    Comments

    FOOD HOLIDAY: National Strawberry Parfait Day

    Today is National Strawberry Parfait Day.

    We just published a July 4th breakfast parfait recipe, but the original parfait was made from ice cream.

    In the U.S., a parfait is a layered sundae. It can be simple, with alternating layers of ice cream and syrup, or a mélange of ingredients as shown.

    Parfait is the French word for “perfect.” The word means something different in France: It’s the original French sundae, made with a custard-base ice cream (“French” ice cream) flavored with fruit purée and whipped with a lot of air to a delicate texture.

    In a French parfait, the ice cream is not scooped but pre-frozen in individual serving containers—typically the long, tapered parfait glasses, narrower versions of sundae dishes. In America, a “parfait” became a particular type of sundae, different from the French parfait. An American parfait layers syrup and other garnishes between layers of ice cream, instead of adding them all on top like a sundae.

    Check out the different types of ice cream preparations in our Ice Cream Glossary.

     

    quark with strawberries

    Strawberry parfait. Photo courtesy Island Farms.

     

    CUSTOMIZE YOUR PARFAIT

    In the U.S., different types of parfait bases are used. Choose from this list to build your own, layer by layer:
     
    Parfait Base

  • Ice cream/frozen yogurt
  • Pudding
  • Yogurt
  • Whipped cream
  •  
    Fruit

  • Fresh or frozen berries
  • Other fresh fruit, sliced or diced (bananas, mango, anything goes)
  •  
    Cake & Cookies

  • Cake cubes, plain or toasted
  • Crumbled cookies
  •  
    Fillings/Toppings

  • Custard
  • Fruit purée
  • Whipped cream
  •  
    Garnish

  • Berry
  • Chocolate shavings/chips
  • Coconut
  •  
    One great thing about parfaits: You’ll never run out of combinations!

      

    Comments

    TIP OF THE DAY: Pavlova Dessert

    If you’ve ever seen meringue like shells in a bakery and wondered what they are: They’re Pavlovas.

    The Pavlova is one of the most popular desserts in Australia, where it’s commonly known as a Pav. The dessert is named after the legendary Russian ballerina Anna Pavlova, who toured Australia and New Zealand in 1926 and 1929.

    Both countries claim to have invented this dessert, and have made it their national dessert. New Zealand may have the edge: Published recipes of fruit-filled meringue shells existed there without the name Pavlova.

    According to chef Herbert Sachse of the Hotel Esplanade in Perth, Australia, the Pavlova was born at the hotel 1935. According to hotel legend, it was named at a meeting at which Sachse presented the cake. Either the hotel licensee, the manager or Sachse remarked, “It is as light as Pavlova,” who had been a guest of the hotel during her 1929 tour.

    Years later, Sachse stated in an interview that he sought to improve the Meringue Cake recipe that he found in the Women’s Mirror Magazine, which was contributed by a New Zealand resident.*
     
    *Source: Linda Stradley, What’s Cooking America.

     

    pavlova-ciaoSamin-230

    A Pavlova and the ingredients to make it. Photo courtesy CiaoSamin.com.

     
    The Pavlova consists of a meringue base topped with fresh fruits. Most people buy the meringue shells at bakeries, but ambitious bakers can make their own (the recipe is below).

    In addition to individual meringue shells, the meringue can be shaped into one large family-style shell, or into cake layers that are alternated with fruit for a spectacular effect (photo below). This type of cake is also called a Swedish Midsummer Meringue Layer Cake. And the meringue is the same recipe used to make individual meringue cookies.

    Then, all you have to do is cut up your favorite fruits and add them to the shell. You can customize your Pavlova with:

  • Liqueur. If you want to exert more effort, you can marinate the fruits in wine or liqueur.
  • Topping. Add an optional topping: crème fraîche, mascarpone, raspberry purée, whipped cream.
  • Garnish. Garnish with chocolate curls or candied orange peel, or something as simple as a mint leaf.
  •  
    While the desert is light and airy for summer, and the red, white and blue colors are spot-on for July 4th. The toppings can be tailored to every season:

  • Fall: Assorted nuts (raw or candied), dried fruits garnish on the plate.
  • Christmas: Brandied fruits, candied fruits, crushed peppermint plate garnish.
  • Valentine’s Day: Strawberries and cream, candied rose petals plate garnish.
  • Spring: Apricots, nectarines, figs; edible flowers to garnish.
  • Summer: Seasonal fruits garnished with shaved coconut, lemon mint, lemon verbena or spearmint.
  • Anytime: Mousse or Strawberries Romanoff.
  •  
    RECIPE: PAVLOVA MERINGUE SHELL

    This recipe (the first photo, above) is courtesy Samin Nosrat of CiaoSamin.com, via Good Eggs. She has many wonderful recipes. This one has a touch of Indian flavor: rosewater, rose petals and cardamom. If you don’t have those ingredients, we’ve provided substitutions in the preparation steps.

    Samin serves the Pavlova with fresh-brewed mint tea: Steep fresh mint leaves in boiling water.

     

    pavlova-swedish-midsummer-meringue-cake-http-_www.thedomesticfront.com_swedish-midsummer-strawberry-meringue-layer-cake_230

    A Pavlova Cake is called a Swedish Midsummer Cake in—you guessed it— Sweden. Here’s the recipe. Add blueberries for a July 4th red, white and blue theme. Photo courtesy Kate of TheDomesticFront.com.

     

    Ingredients For The Meringue

  • 1/4 teaspoon cream of tartar
  • 2 1/4 teaspoons cornstarch
  • 3/4 cup granulated sugar
  • 3 ounces (about 3) large egg whites at room temperature
  • Pinch of salt
  • Pinch of saffron, ground in a mortar and pestle and dissolved in 2 tablespoons boiling water, cooled (substitute: water only)
  •  
    Ingredients For The Topping

  • 1 cup each sliced strawberries, raspberries, blueberries and blackberries, kept separate
  • 4 tablespoons rosewater
  • Dried rose petals (you can use rosebud tea) for garnish
  • 1/2 teaspoon ground cardamom
  • 2 cups heavy cream, chilled
  • 1/4 cup granulated sugar, plus 1/4 cup granulated sugar
  • Preparation

    1. PLACE the rack in the middle of the oven and preheat the oven to 250°F. Line a large baking sheet with parchment paper. Stir the cornstarch into the sugar in a small bowl.

    2. WHIP the egg whites, cream of tartar and salt in the large bowl of a heavy-duty mixer, fitted with the whisk attachment. Start on low, increasing incrementally to medium speed until soft peaks/trails start to become visible, and the egg white bubbles are very small and uniform, approximately 2 to 3 minutes.

    3. INCREASE the speed to medium-high, slowly and gradually sprinkling in the sugar-cornstarch mixture. A few minutes after these dry ingredients are added, slowly pour in the saffron tea. Increase the speed a bit and whip until the meringue is glossy and stiff peaks form when the whisk is lifted, 4 to 5 minutes.

    4. SPOON the meringue into an 9-by-6-inch oval on a baking sheet lined with parchment paper or a silicon liner. With the back of a spoon, create an indentation in the middle of the mound for holding the filling once the meringue is baked.

    5. PLACE the baking sheet in the oven. Reduce the oven temperature to 225°F. Bake for 50-60 minutes, or until the meringues are crisp (dry to the touch on the outside) and white (not tan-colored or cracked). The interior should have a marshmallow-like consistency. Check on the meringue at least once during the baking time. If it appears to be taking on color or cracking, reduce the temperature 25 degrees and turn the pan around.

    6. GENTLY LIFT the meringue from the baking sheet and cool on a wire rack. It will keep in a tightly sealed container at room temperature for up to a week, barring any humidity. While the meringue is baking…

    7. MACERATE the berries. In separate dishes, macerate each type of berry for at least 30 minutes with 1 tablespoon of rosewater (substitute orange liqueur or plain water) and 1 tablespoon sugar. This draws out their juices.

    8. ADD the cardamom (substitute: 1 teaspoon vanilla or orange extract or orange liqueur) and 1/4 cup sugar to the cream and whip to soft peaks.

    9. ASSEMBLE: Place the meringue on a serving dish and spoon in the whipped cream. Spoon the juicy berries atop the cream. Top with crushed dried rose petals (substitute: chopped pistachio nuts or mint leaf). Serve with fresh mint tea.

    Leave off the whipped cream and you have a cholesterol-free dessert with far fewer calories than a cake.
     
    WHAT IF THE COOKIE CRUMBLES?

    Don’t despair if your meringue cracks. If you can’t use it/them for a shell, simply create a “parfait” in a sundae dish or bowl, along with the berries and whipped cream.

    Or, use the same ingredients create a Pavlova version of an English Trifle.

      

    Comments

    TIP OF THE DAY: Make A Trifle

    Want to make a fancy dessert but don’t want to turn on the oven? Make a trifle.

    TRIFLE HISTORY

    A trifle is a classic English dessert, called by a variety of names including Tipsy Cake, Tipsy Parson, Tipsy Squire and Tipsy Hedgehog. “Tipsy” indicates the addition of spirits, typically sherry.

    Trifle was an evolution of the fool, a simpler dessert of puréed fruit and whipped cream. The trifle emerged as a way to use stale cake.

    Today, a classic English trifle layers fruit, whipped cream, egg custard and sponge cake that’s been soaked in sherry. Zuppa inglese is the Italian version.

    According to What’s Cooking America, the recipe was brought to America in the mid-1700s by Brits settling in the coastal South. The combination of cake or biscuits with custard and alcohol became a popular dessert, served in an elegant cut-glass trifle bowl.

    The recipe below is an evolution still, using modern America’s outdoor grills to add another note of flavor to the fruit. Of course, you can make the recipe without cooking the fruit. The recipe is from QVC’s chef David Venable.

       

    chocolate-strawberry-trifle-qvc-230

    Chocolate trifle with grilled strawberries. Photo courtesy QVC.

     

    RECIPE: CHOCOLATE BERRY TRIFLE

    Strawberries are usually the most economical berry, but you can substitute other berries (and matching preserves). While this recipe uses whipped topping, we vastly prefer whipped cream.

    Use a large glass trifle bowl or salad bowl to assemble the trifle. If you don’t have one or can’t borrow one, a glass mixing bowl works, too; the idea is to show the visual appeal of the layers. But you can default to a lovely [opaque] porcelain bowl or soufflé dish.

    There’s no sherry in this recipe, but if you want it, sprinkle it over the cake.

    Ingredients For 14-16 Servings

    For The Grilled Strawberries

  • 2 pounds strawberries, hulled and halved
  • Juice of 1 lemon
  • 1/3 cup sugar
  • 1/2 cup strawberry preserves
  •  
    For The Trifle

  • 2-1/2 cups whole milk
  • 1/4 cup cold strong coffee
  • 2 packages (3.9 ounces each) chocolate fudge instant pudding mix
  • 1 container (16 ounces) whipped topping, or whipped cream stiffened with gelatin (recipe below), divided
  • 1 chocolate cake, cut into 1″ pieces*
  • 1 package Oreos (14.3 ounces), crumbled
  •  
    *We typically buy an uniced loaf cake or bake a bundt—it’s easier to cut into cubes than an iced cake.

     

    whipped-cream-kuhnrikonFB-230sq

    For all you Cool Whip lovers: Fresh whipped cream is so much better! For fillings and icings, you just need to stabilize it with gelatin (recipe below). Photo courtesy Kuhn Rikon.

     

    Preparation

    1. PREPARE the grilled strawberries: Preheat an outdoor grill over high heat. Place the halved strawberries, lemon juice and sugar in a medium-size bowl. Toss until the strawberries are fully coated and place them in a nonstick grill pan. Cook for 5–6 minutes, tossing constantly.

    2. PLACE the berries back into the bowl and add the strawberry preserves. Mix until evenly combined. Cover with plastic wrap and refrigerate for 2 hours, or until completely cold.

    3. PREPARE the pudding: Whisk together the milk, coffee and instant pudding in a large bowl until the mixture is thick. Fold in half of the whipped topping until fully incorporated. Press a piece of plastic wrap directly onto the surface of the pudding to prevent a skin from forming. Refrigerate for at least 2 hours, or until completely cold.

     
    4. ASSEMBLE the trifle: Place 1/3 of the chocolate cake pieces into the bowl; then layer 1/3 of the pudding mixture, 1/3 of the grilled strawberries and 1/3 of the remaining whipped topping. End with 1/3 of the crushed Oreos. Repeat this process 2 more times, finishing with the whipped topping and crushed Oreos. Refrigerate until ready to serve.
     
    RECIPE: STABILIZED WHIPPED CREAM WITH GELATIN

    Ingredients

  • 1 teaspoon unflavored gelatin
  • 4 teaspoons cold water
  • 1 cup heavy whipping cream
  • 1?4 cup confectioner’s sugar, sifted
  •  
    Preparation

    1. COMBINE the gelatin and cold water in a small pan; let stand until the mixture is thick. Then place the pan over low heat, stirring constantly, until the gelatin dissolves. Remove from the heat. Let it cool, but do not allow it to set.

    2. WHIP the cream with the sugar until slightly thick. While slowly beating, add the gelatin to whipping cream. Whip at high speed until stiff.

      

    Comments

    RECIPE: Decorated Macaron

    violet-macaron-w-flowers-culinaryvegetableinstitute-230

    Almost too pretty to eat. Photo courtesy Culinary Vegetable Institute.

     

    Here’s something easy for Mother’s Day: a dessert or tea snack consisting of a single macaron, beautifully decorated.

    It’s from the Culinary Vegetable Institute in Ohio, where farmers grow the most glorious produce and chefs create wondrous dishes with it.

    You can create this macaron at home, either as a light dessert or as one of a number of dessert courses.

    Serve it with a cup of tea or a glass of sparkling wine. For birthdays, add a candle for the honoree.

    RECIPE: MACARON WITH FLOWERS

    Ingredients

  • Macarons
  • Edible flowers
  • Sanding sugar
  • Vanilla frosting
  •  
    Preparation

    1. PURCHASE or make macarons, ideally in a bright color for visual appeal.

    2. PLACE the macaron on its side, using a dab of frosting to affix it to the plate and keep it from rolling. While we don’t like canned frosting, in this case its thickness works to adhere the macaron.

    SPRINKLE the plate with sanding sugar in a complementary color. It’s typically available in pastels: blue, green, lavender, pink and yellow.

    3. PLACE the flower near the top.

    4. SCATTER the sanding sugar on the plate.

     
      

    Comments

    TIP OF THE DAY: Grilled Cheese Sandwiches For Dessert

    bananafostergrilledcheese-grilledcheesesocial-230

    Bananas Foster on French toast. Photo
    courtesy Heidi Larsen | Foodie Crush.

     

    April is National Grilled Cheese Month. Wisconsin, American’s premier cheese-producing state (California is runner-up), even has a chef-spokesperson for the occasion.

    She is MacKenzie Smith of the blog Grilled Cheese Social, where she creates recipe after recipe for innovative grilled cheese sandwiches. She’s also the sandwich expert for About.com.

    Mackenzie developed five new grilled cheese sandwiches for National Grilled Cheese Month—made with delicious Wisconsin cheese of course. The first is what we’d call “dessert grilled cheese,” although you can certainly have it as your main for breakfast, lunch or dinner.

    It takes the idea of Bananas Foster—bananas sautéed in butter with brown sugar, banana liqueur and rum. Mackenzie combines these ingredients with sweet, creamy mascarpone and cream cheese on a sandwich of French toast.

    It’s a smash, and our tip of the day is dessert grilled cheese.

     
    RECIPE: BANANAS FOSTER GRILLED CHEESE

    Ingredients For 1 Sandwich

  • 1 ounce (about 1/8 cup) mascarpone cheese
  • 1 ounce cream cheese
  • 1 egg
  • 1/4 cup whole milk
  • 1/2 teaspoon vanilla
  • 2 tablespoons salted butter, divided
  • 1 tablespoon brown sugar, packed
  • 1 tablespoon banana liqueur or brandy
  • 1/2 small banana, thickly sliced
  • 2 slices brioche bread
  • Sea salt flakes
  •  
    Preparation

    1. BEAT the mascarpone and cream cheese in bowl. Set aside.

    2. PREPARE the French toast batter: In bowl, beat egg, milk and vanilla and set aside in a shallow bowl wide enough to hold sandwich for dipping.

    3. MELT 1 tablespoon butter in skillet over medium heat. Add the brown sugar and stir until it dissolves. Add the liqueur and bring to a simmer. Once the mixture begins to thicken, add the banana, stirring constantly to evenly coat bananas. Cook 2-3 minutes, until the bananas are well coated in sauce. Remove from heat and allow to cool slightly.

    4. PREPARE the sandwich: Spread the mascarpone mixture evenly on one side of each bread slice. Top one mascarpone-covered slice with the banana mixture, a sprinkle of sea salt and the remaining bread slice, mascarpone-covered slice down.

    5. SOAK (gently!) each side of sandwich in the French toast batter for a 1 minute. Melt the remaining 1 tablespoon butter in a skillet over medium heat. Place the sandwich in the skillet and grill 3-4 minutes per side. Remove from the pan and allow to rest 2 minutes. Serve immediately.

     

    RECIPE: DULCE DE LECHE GRILLED CHEESE

    Dulce de leche fans will enjoy this dessert grilled cheese sandwich, made with mascarpone and the addictive Argentinian dessert (made by caramelizing sugar in milk).

    The recipe is courtesy of the Grilled Cheese Academy.

    Ingredients For 4 Sandwiches

  • 4 ounces mascarpone cheese
  • 2 tablespoons dulce de leche
  • 1/2 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
  • 2 tablespoons butter, softened
  • 8 slices cinnamon-raisin bread
  • 2 tablespoons raspberry preserves or 1/2 cup fresh raspberries
     
    Preparation

  •  

    mascarpone-dulce-raspberry-grilledcheeseacademy-230

    Mascarpone and dulce de leche on cinnamon raisin bread. Photo courtesy Grilled Cheese Academy.

    1. COMBINE the mascarpone, dulce de leche and vanilla extract in a small bowl.

    2. BUTTER one side of each slice of bread. Spread the mascarpone mixture on the non-buttered side of 4 of the bread slices. Spread raspberry preserves on the non-buttered side of the remaining 4 slices of bread.

    3. PLACE one slice of bread with raspberries or preserves on each mascarpone-topped bread slice, buttered sides out. Place the sandwiches on an electric griddle heated to 350°F, or in a preheated skillet or griddle over medium-high heat. Cook 1 to 2 minutes per side, or until bread is lightly toasted.

    4. REMOVE and serve immediately, unsliced, since cheese is very soft.
     

    WANT MORE?

    Here’s another dessert recipe: Mascarpone Grilled Cheese With Chocolate “Soup.”

      

    Comments

    TIP OF THE DAY: Ways To Enjoy Rhubarb

    rhub-230

    By the time it gets to market, the leaves
    (which are mildly toxic) are typically cut off
    rhubarb, and only the stalks are sold.
    Rhubarb looks like pink celery, but it isn’t
    related. Photo courtesy OurOhio.com.

     

    Spring is rhubarb season. It parallels asparagus season, available fresh for just three months a year—April through June.

    So make rhubarb while you can. Naturally tangy, this versatile vegetable can be used in savory sauces or cooked as a vegetable. When combined with sugar it pops into delicious desserts, which is why sweet rhubarb has become more popular than savory preparations.

    Rhubarb first grew wild in northwest China, and was cultivated as far back as 5,000 years ago, for medicinal purposes. Before it was first sweetened by British cooks in the Victorian era, it was added to soups, sauces and stews—Moroccan tagines and Middle Eastern stews, for example.

    The thinner and darker pink the fresh rhubarb stalks are, the sweeter they will be. When shopping for rhubarb, look for stalks that are crisp, bright pink, thin, and unblemished.

    Check your farmers markets and specialty food stores for rhubarb products, fresh-baked (pies, tarts) or prepared (chutneys, jams).

    At the grocer’s, Dry Soda makes a rhubarb flavor; rhubarb syrup to mix into drinks, on pancakes, etc. (you can also find strawberry rhubarb syrup).

     
    COOKING WITH RHUBARB

    Be sure to cook only the stems; the leaves are mildly toxic.

    Savory Uses For Rhubarb

  • Braised and served with meats and as a savory garnish (recipe)
  • Fresh rhubarb in lentil soup (recipe)
  • Homemade rhubarb pickles
  • Hot & sour tilapia with gingered rhubarb sauce (recipe)
  • Rhubarb chutney as a condiment with grilled meats (recipe with pork loin)
  • Rhubarb chutney with a meat and cheese board
  • Rhubarb chutney or jam on a grilled cheese or ham and cheese sandwich
  •  
    Sweet Uses For Rhubarb

  • Baked into cobblers, crisps, muffins and more (substitute rhubarb for apples or pears in your favorite recipes)
  • Rhubarb dessert soup (recipe)
  • Rhubarb chutney (recipe)
  • Rhubarb jam (recipe) or rhubarb and ginger jam (recipe)
  • Rhubarb ice cream (recipe)
  • Rhubarb simple syrup for beverages (cocktails, club soda, water, juice) or as a breakfast syrup (recipe)
  • Stewed rhubarb or rhubarb compote, delicious as a side with ham, pork and poultry, does double duty as a dessert (recipe below).
  • Strawberry Rhubarb Pie (recipe—you can substitute raspberries)
  • Tofu pudding with rhubarb topping (recipe—substitute your favorite pudding)
  •  

    RECIPE: NANA’S STEWED RHUBARB

    You can use soft and sweet stewed rhubarb by itself, with an optional topping of crème fraîche, sour cream or Greek yogurt. We also like it:

  • With fresh berries or other fruit
  • On a biscuit or slice of cake with whipped cream
  • Atop cheesecake
  • Atop or mixed into yogurt
  • In tart shells or pavlovas (meringue shells)
  •  
    We loved our Nana’s stewed rhubarb so much, we visited twice weekly during rhubarb season just to get our fill.

    This easy recipe requires only three ingredients—rhubarb, sugar, water and lemon juice—with optional flavorings (you can substitute a teaspoon of vanilla for the tablespoon of lemon juice).

    For a purée, like applesauce, run the cooked rhubarb through a food mill or food processor.

    Ingredients

  • 1 pound rhubarb
  • 2/3 to 3/4 cup sugar
  • 1 cup water
  • 1 tablespoon lemon juice
  • Optional: raspberries, strawberries
  •  

    stewed-rhubarb-BalticMaid-230

    A seasonal delight: sweet and tangy stewed rhubarb. Photo courtesy BalticMaid.com.

     
    Preparation

    1. TRIM, wash and dice the rhubarb. Combine in a saucepan with the water, sugar, lemon juice and optional sliced berries.

    2. BRING the water to a boil and then simmer over medium-low heat, stirring occasionally until the sugar dissolves and the mixture is slightly thickened and the rhubarb is is in threads (stringy), about 15 minutes.  

    3. COOL and chill or serve warm.
     
    ABOUT RHUBARB

    Technically, rhubarb is a vegetable, a member of the sorrel family (the difference between fruits and vegetables). Native to Asia, rhubarb has long been used in Chinese medicine.

    Fruits carry their seeds inside; vegetable seeds scatter in the wind. You see seeds in an apple, avocado, cucumber and tomato, but not in broccoli, carrots or lettuce. Lacking sweetness doesn’t make it a vegetable.

    Rhubarb, Rheum rhabarbarum, is a vegetable in the family Polygonaceae. The leaf stalks (petioles) are crisp like celery with a strong, tart taste. Rhubarb looks like rosy-pink celery, but is no relation (celery is a member of the Apiaceae family).
     
    Fruit Vs. Vegetable

    While rhubarb is botanically considered a vegetable, a New York court decided in 1947 that since it was used in the United States as a fruit, it counted as a fruit for the purposes of regulations and duties. A side effect was a reduction on imported rhubarb tariffs, as tariffs were higher for vegetables than fruits. [Source: Wikipedia]

    And that’s only one example. Science notwithstanding, on May 10, 1893, tomatoes, a red fruit/berry of the Nightshade family, were declared a vegetable by the United States Supreme Court.

    At the time, there were import tariffs on vegetables but not fruits, yet tomatoes were still being subjected to the tax. In 1887, an importing company had sued the tax collector of the Port of New York to recover back duties collected on their tomatoes, which they claimed had been wrongfully classified as vegetables.

    The Court decided that the tariff act should be based “in common language of people,” not botanists, so tomatoes should be taxed like potatoes, carrots, parsnips, turnips, beets etc.

    More proof that justice is blind.

      

    Comments

    TIP OF THE DAY: Dessert Pasta

    Most people think of pasta as a savory recipe. But the noodles themselves are very versatile. Made with flour, water and egg, they can be cooked for dessert as well as the main course.

    While not an April Fool joke, it seems like the right dessert for April Fool’s Day.

    The recipe was created by Michael Stambaugh of the El Conquistador Resort in San Juan, Puerto Rico, for a recipe contest held by the National Pasta Association and the Culinary Institute of America. It won third place.

    After you master this recipe, you may develop your own ideas for variations on the theme of dessert lasagna.

    We’ve got 11 more recipes for dessert pasta. Take a look.

    RECIPE: DESSERT LASAGNA

    Ingredients For 8 Servings

  • 12 lasagna noodles
  • 4 cups ricotta cheese
  • 1 cup sugar, divided
  • 8 kiwis, peeled
  •    

    Dessert_Lasagne230-ps

    Fruit lasagna for dessert! Photo courtesy National Pasta Association.

  • 4 cups strawberries, washed and trimmed, 8 berries reserved for garnish
  • 4 cups blackberries, washed
  • 1/2 cup toasted, sliced almonds
  • Garnish: mint sprigs
  •  

    mixed-berries-greengiantfresh.com-230

    If you don’t like one of the fruits in the recipe, pick another to purée. Photo courtesy
    Green Giant Fresh

     

    Preparation

    1. COOK the pasta according to package directions, substituting 2 tablespoons of sugar for the salt. Rinse, drain and set aside.

    2. STIR together the ricotta cheese and ½ cup sugar in a medium bowl. Set aside.

    3. PURÉE 4 kiwis with 2 tablespoons sugar in a food processor. Transfer the purée to a bowl and set aside. Rinse the processor bowl.

    4. PURÉE half the strawberries with 2 tablespoons sugar in the food processor. Strain the purée into a bowl and set aside. Rinse the processor bowl.

    5. PURÉE half the blackberries with 2 tablespoons sugar in the food processor. Strain the purée and set aside.

    6. SLICE the remaining kiwis into ¼-inch thick rounds. Slice the strawberries into 1/8-inch thick pieces. Slice the blackberries in half.

     

    To Assemble The Lasagna

    1. RESERVE 1/4 cup of each of the purées to use as a garnish.

    2. COVER the bottom of a 9-inch-by-13-inch glass baking pan with 3 lasagna noodles. Spoon 1/3 of the ricotta on top and spread it evenly.

    3. POUR the kiwi purée over the cheese and arrange the kiwi slices on top of the purée. Lay 3 more lasagna noodles on top and cover with 1/2 the remaining cheese.

    4. POUR the strawberry purée over the cheese and sprinkle with sliced strawberries. Lay 3 more lasagna noodles on top and cover with the remaining cheese. Pour the blackberrys purée over the cheese and sprinkle with blackberries. Top with a final layer of pasta. Cover tightly with plastic and refrigerate overnight.

    5. TO SERVE: Sprinkle the lasagna with the remaining 2 tablespoons sugar and with the toasted almonds. Cut into 8 rectangles and use a spatula to set the pieces on dessert plates. Decorate the plates with dots of the reserved purées. Garnish each piece of lasagna with a strawberry and a sprig of mint.

      

    Comments

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