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TIP OF THE DAY: Quail Eggs Are Festive (& Have No Salmonella)

Quail & Chicken Eggs
[1] Quail eggs and chicken eggs. Quail eggs are one bite, chicken eggs are four bites (photo courtesy Petrossian).

Blini With Quail Egg
[2] Blini with quail eggs, trout roe and crème fraîche. Here’s the recipe from Martha Stewart.

Quail Egg Stuffed Mushrooms
[3] Quail egg stuffed mushrooms. Here’s the recipe from Bite Delite.

Quail On A Branch

[4] The quail herself (photo courtesy Red Ted Art).

 

To some fine chefs, small is better: from miniature vegetables to more “elegant”-size portions overall.

Quail eggs fit right in.

For years, we’d only seen quail eggs at Japanese restaurants, on top of an uni (sea urchin) or tobiko (flying fish roe) gunkan-maki.

Since better supermarkets now carry them, it’s time to take a closer look at quail eggs.

  • Quail eggs taste like chicken eggs…maybe a bit richer since they have a larger yolk-to-white ratio.
  • Quail Eggs Are Barely Healthier than Chicken Eggs! Compared to chicken eggs, quail eggs are slightly healthier if

  • You cook them the same way: boiled, fried, scrambled, deviled, egg salad, etc. If you luck into a lot of them at a bargain price, make an omelet.
  • > For soft-boiled eggs, gently place the eggs in boiling water (with a spoon) and boil for three minutes and place in a bowl of cold water to stop the cooking process.
    > For hard-boiled eggs, boil for 4-5 minutes. Test one after 4 minutes.

  • Four quail eggs equal one large chicken egg.
  • Quail don’t have salmonella in their digestive tract, so the eggs can be used raw—in Caesar Salad or Steak Tartare, for example. This is due to an increased amount of lysozyme, an antimicrobial enzyme that forms part of the immune system of the quail*. It kills harmful bacteria.
  • >The body temperature of quail is also higher than that of chickens: another reason why quail don’t harbor the same harmful bacteria.
    >Here’s more on the health benefits of quail eggs.
     
     
    HOW TO SERVE QUAIL EGGS

    You can garnish a green salad, serve three boiled eggs with asparagus, make Scotch eggs, stuff mushroom caps (photo #3), garnish a mini-latke with smoked salmon and a boiled quail egg.

    You can pickle quail eggs, turning the white exterior into a vivid red (from beet juice). Don’t say what they are: Let guests be surprised.

    You can pop fried quail eggs onto ramen, make breakfast tartlets, top an avocado tea sandwich, serve them raw with steak tartare…whatever your palate desires.

    Here are some ideas from D’Artagnan:

  • Little Devils. Deviled quail eggs have a wow factor. Consider a trio of flavors: plain with smoked paprika, topped with with bacon and thyme, and a truffled egg.
  • Teeny Blinis For an elegant hors d’oeuvre, crown a blin (singular for blini) with a dollop of crème fraiche, half of a hard-cooked quail egg and a spoon of caviar (photo #2).
  • Toad-in-a-Hole. Instead of a conventional slice of buttered toast with a chicken egg in the center (recipe), use a small slice brioche with truffle butter and a quail eggs.
  • Golden Egg Ravioli. If you make ravioli, nestle a raw quail yolk in a little mound of herbed ricotta as the filling. The yolk will cook gently when the pasta is dropped into boiling water, its center still molten upon serving. A delicious surprise!
  • Petite Niçoise. Add poached quail eggs instead of halved or quartered chicken eggs to a classic Niçoise Salad. Ditto with bacon lardons in a Lyonnaise Salad or a Frisée Salad.
  • Spiced Bites. For an easy hors d’oeuvre, roll peeled hard-boiled quail eggs in a favorite spice mixture. A tiny slice off the wide bottom of each egg will ensure they sit upright on the platter.
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    Quail eggs are pricey, so they are [for most of us] a special-occasion treat.

    When you find them at a good price, get ready to pounce!
     
     
    THE DIFFERENT TYPES OF EGGS

     
    ________________

    *Lysozyme is present to a lesser or greater extent in other animals, as well.

     
      

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    TIP OF THE DAY: Fun Flavored Ice Cubes

    We thought our own ice cube tips were creative: freezing coffee, fruit, herbs, juice, lemonade, vegetables, tea, wine—even bouillon for Bloody Marys.

    We don’t like melting ice cubes to dilute our drinks, so we freeze the same liquid (e.g. iced tea cubes for iced tea) or a complimentary flavor (e.g., blueberry or other fruit juice ice cubes for that lemonade).

    Then we saw these clever cubes, from Sherry Chen of Personal Creations, who has kindly provided them for today’s tip.

    They turn an everday beverage—water, a glass of milk, iced tea or coffee, cocktails and mocktails—into something truly special.

    SHERRY CHEN’S TIPS FOR PERFECT FLAVORED ICE CUBES

    Whether for a party or a refreshing day at home, a flavored ice cube will always add style, says Sherry.

    Making unique flavored ice cubes is simple. Here are a few things to keep in mind when prepping.

  • Use filtered water. It makes a clearer cube. Depending on your local water, tap water can sometimes cloud the ice, making it difficult to see the beauty inside.
  • If you want your cubes to freeze quickly, use boiled water. Here’s the explanation of this paradox.
  • Don’t keep checking on them. Once you’ve prepared the ice, let it sit for at least 3 hours. Checking it and taking it out of the ice tray will only stall the process.
  • Tilt your tray to make layered ice cubes. Pour the first layer first and freeze for about an hour. Repeat as necessary.
  • Don’t expect inclusions to stay in place. Whether it’s fruit or a piece of candy, ingredients often float away from their original spot. Make sure you place ingredients in different spots in each cube, to achieve a good variety.
  • Make sure everything is edible. If you’re using lavender, rosebuds or other flowers, for example, be sure to use the organic variety, grown without pesticides. There’s plenty of edible glitter to be had.
  • Use coconut milk for white ice cubes. If you want to achieve a bright white, coconut milk is your go-to. Regular milk is too watery and almond milk gives a brown tint. For best results, use full-fat coconut milk or creamer.
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    ICE CUBE RECIPES

    The subhead reminds us of the joke about the cook who was so stupid, he forgot the recipe for ice.

    But these isn’t ice: They’re frozen flavor art.

    Here are five of Sherry’s ice cube recipes. You can find five more here.

  • Latte Cubes. Freeze the milk layer first, top with cold espresso and re-freeze. Pair with coffee or milk.
  • Ice Cream Cubes. Make ice cubes from your favorite ice cream, to pair with milk or coffee. Tip: Melt the ice cream (let the pint come to room temperature on the counter)l; then mix in a bit of milk for consistency. Garnish as desired.
  • Smoothie Cubes. Use coconut milk and juices. Pour the first layer, tilt the ice tray, freeze and repeat with the next two layers. Pair with smoothies, milk or juice.
  • Matcha Cubes. Thoroughly blend matcha powder with milk. Pair with iced matcha tea, other green iced tea or milk
  • Jewel Cubes: Edible glitter dissolves in water to create pretty hues. You can make them even if you don’t have a jewel-shaped ice cube tray. Pair with cocktails and mineral water.
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    Garnishing The Cubes

    You can add even more festivity to the ice cubes with a garnish on top of the cube.

    When the cubes have frozen into a slurry state, quickly remove and shake on your choice of whatever goes with the beverage:

  • Dragées or pearls
  • Edible glitter
  • Edible gold or silver glitter or stars
  • Herbs or spices
  • Mini chips
  • Shredded coconut
  • Sprinkles or non-pareils
  •  
     
    MORE ICE CUBE RECIPES

  • Cherry Ice Cubes
  • Chocolate Ice Cubes In Vanilla Milk
  • Coconut Water Ice Cubes
  • Flower Ice Cubes
  • Frozen Fruit Ice Cubes
  • Ice Cube Art With Fruits & Herbs
  • Iced Tea Ice Cubes
  • More Flavored Ice Cubes
  • Red, White & Blue Ice Cubes
  • Strawberry Thyme Ice Cubes
  • Valentine Ice Cubes
  •  
    And take a gander at:

  • Other Things To Freeze In An Ice Cube Tray
  •  

    Latte Ice Cubes
    [1] Latte ice cubes (photos 1-5 courtesy Personal Creations.

    Ice Cream Ice Cubes
    [2] Ice cream cubes melt creaminess and flavor into the drink.

    Smoothie Ice Cubes
    [3] Smoothie ice cubes.

    Matcha Ice Cubes
    [4] Matcha ice cubes.

    Jewel Ice Cubes
    [5] Jewel ice cubes.

    Coffee ice Cubes

    [6] Latte ice cubes in a glass of milk (photo courtesy Rabbit Food For My Bunny Teeth).

     

      

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    TIP OF THE DAY: DIY Crêpes

    Today’s tip was inspired by this yummy photo from Wife Mama Foodie.

    Here’s her recipe for easy homemade crêpes. You can also purchase ready-to-heat-and-eat versions (photo #6).

    Crepes are thin pancakes made from flour, eggs, milk, butter and salt. The word was derived from the Latin crispus, curled. There are two principal types:

  • Sweet crêpes made with wheat flour.
  • Savory crêpes (a.k.a. galettes), made with buckwheat flour.
  •  

  • In Brittany, crêpes are traditionally served with apple cider.
  • In areas of Central Europe, variations of the thin, filled pancakes are called blintzes (Jewish), palacinka (Czech and Croatian), palatschinka (Austrian German), palacsinta (Hungarian), etc.
  • Elsewhere in Europe, you’ll find Greek kreps, Italian crespelle, Russian blini and Scandinavian plattars.
  • Though crêpes are now considered fancy fare, they were originally an inexpensive meal for poor.
  •  
    We have ideas below for breakfast, lunch, dinner and dessert. Whatever ingredients you choose, place them on the table with a plate of crêpes, and let everyone fill and roll their own.

    THE HISTORY OF CRÊPES

    Crêpes originated in Brittany, the region comprising the northwest France. They were originally made with buckwheat flour and called galettes, meaning flat cakes. The term is still applied to savory crêpes, which remain buckwheat-based.

    Around the 12th century buckwheat, was introduced to Brittany. Common buckwheat was domesticated in Southeast Asia, at least by 4000 B.C.E. [source]. The plant, Fagopyrum esculentum is a member of the Polygonaceae family, which also includes edibles such as rhubarb and sorrel.

    Buckwheat—which is not a cereal and thus is gluten-free—has been grown in Tibet and northern China for millennia, used to make noodles. It is a boon, since wheat can not be grown in mountainous regions. It is the world’s highest-elevation domesticated plant.

    Buckwheat spread to Central Asia and Tibet, and then to the Middle East and Europe. It thrived in the Breton moors, where is was called sarrasin or blé noir (black wheat—from the dark specks that often show themselves in the milled flour). It is high in fiber, has easily digestive protein, and contains all eight essential amino acids.

    Crêpes were initially cooked on large cast-iron hot plates, heated over a wood fire in a fireplace. Today they are made on the stove top in special crepe pans: electric heated. The batter is spread with a tool known as a rozel and flipped with a spatula.

    In Brittany crêpes were (and are) served with the local beverage, hard cider.

    Modern Crépes

    White flour crêpes appeared only at the turn of the 20th century. White wheat flour, which had been very costly—as expensive as sugar, honey or meat—became affordable.

    In Brittany, both crêpes and galettes are traditionally served with cider.

    February 2 in France is a crêpe holiday, variously known as Fête de la Chandeleur, Fête de la Lumière, or Jour des crêpes.

    The feast has a tradition: Hold a coin in your dominant hand and a crêpe pan in the other, and flip the crêpe into the air. If you manage to catch the crêpe in the pan, your family will be prosperous for the rest of the year [source].

    O.K., sure, but can we have some more crêpes, please?

    YOUR DIY CRÊPE SPREAD

    Pick your fillings of choice. Does it need a filling sauce, e.g. mustard sauce for the sausage? Does it need a garnish—for example, whipped cream or raspberry sauce for a banana crêpe?

  • Savory helpers include cheese sauce, crème fraîche, tomoato sauce and vegetable purée.
  • Sweet accompaniments include crème pâtissière, fruit purée, whipped cream and cream-based sauces (butterscotch, chocolate, caramel…).
  • BREAKFAST CRÊPES

  • Eggs Benedict (the crêpe replaces the English muffin)
  • Farmer’s cheese or small curd cottage cheese, with cinnamon sugar or honey, and lemon zest
  • Fresh fruit and yogurt
  • Jam and cream cheese
  • Sweet sausage (photo #4)
  • Smoked salmon, dilled yogurt, sweet onions, capers
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    LUNCH & DINNER CRÊPES

    You can serve one crêpe as a first course or two as a main. Most work great with a béchamel (white sauce) or Mornay sauce (cheese sauce, a béchamel with gruyère).

     

    DIY Crepes
    [1] DIY crêpes: ready to fill, roll and eat (photo courtesy Wife Mama Foodie | Facebook).

    Banana Crepes
    [2] Banana crêpes, to which you can add caramel or chocolate sauce, chocolate chips, even peanut butter sauce (photo courtesy Dairy Info).

    Seafood Crepes
    [3] The lap of luxury: lobster, caviar and smoked salmon crêpes (photo courtesy Caviar Russe | NYC).

    Sausage Crepe
    [4] Sausage, onion and greens for breakfast, lunch or dimmer (photo courtesy Rolf And Daughters | Nashville).

    Asparagus Crepes
    [5] Goat cheese with asparagus (photo courtesy Spice Islands).

    Jacquet Crepes

    [6] Better food stores sell packaged crepes (photo courtesy Jacquet Bakery).

  • Cheese, plain or with ham or spinach/kale/broccoli
  • Chicken, artichoke or goat cheese, and sundried tomatoes
  • Chicken, fish, mushrooms in cream sauce
  • Feta, hummus, olives
  • Fig, prosciutto and gorgonzola with a balsamic drizzle
  • Goat cheese with asparagus, spinachs or other vegetable
  • Ratatouille (vegetarian) crêpes with eggplant mushrooms, tomatoes, zucchini
  • Sausage with onions and greens (photo #4)
  • Seafood in brandy of sherry cream sauce (photo #3)
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    DESSERT CRÊPES

  • Crepes Suzette, plain crêpes with orange liqueur sauce
  • Ice cream with chocolate or fruit sauce; banana split crêpe
  • Jam or fruit curd and whipped cream
  • Sautéed apples, bananas or other fruit with caramel sauce, Grand Marnier sauce, Nutella (photo #2)
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    TIP OF THE DAY: Have A Shandy Party

    Shandy Beer Drink
    [1] A shandy made with spicy ale (photo courtesy Whole Foods Market).

    Ginger Beer
    [2] A ginger beer shandy leaves out most of the alcohol (it’s less than .5% ABV) and adds the flavor of ginger. Here’s the recipe from Homemade Hooplah.

    Passionfruit Shandy
    [3] This Island Shandy from Tommy Bahama uses passion fruit juice instead of lemonade.

    Mexican Shandy

    [4] How about a Mexican shandy? This recipe from Strawberry Blondie Kitchen, with Corona beer, lemonade and mango juice.

     

    Like beer? Mix it with a juice drink like lemonade or fruit soda to create a shandy.

    You can buy shandy in a bottle (photo #1)—artisan beer companies make it—but you can make your own, varying the beers, mixers, proportions and garnishes.

    In fact, “make your own” is an idea for a summer weekend get-together. Tips for how to set up a shandy bar at your next gathering are below.
     
     
    THE HISTORY OF SHANDY

    Shandy is short for shandygaff. It’s beer diluted with a non-alcoholic beverage. It’s a traditional British pub drink that mixes lager with lemon soda, ginger ale or ginger beer. Carbonated lemonade, cider or other citrus-flavored soda can be used.

    Whatever you use—you can even use ginger beer—you’ll find that shandy is a refreshing summertime drink. The shandy tradition dates back to the 17th century. Today, English publicans blend an English ale or beer with various lemon and lime beverages.

    No one knows the origin of the word, but the first known print reference is from 1853. The tradition no doubt began earlier.

    Shandy is a surname in the U.K.; and in Ireland, the name is a variant of Shaun (John). Gaff is an old term for a fishing hook or spear.

    Perhaps the drink was first mixed up by a steward named Shandy, to hook in customers? Or in honor of the master of an estate, for whom the drink was first served?

    Maybe, like the Cold Duck, it was an ad hoc thing: There wasn’t only half as much wine or champagne needed for guests, so some clever person thought to mix them together.

    What about an Arnold Palmer? It arrived centuries later. Here’s the difference between an Arnold Palmer and shandy.
     
     
    DIY SHANDY: CREATE A SHANDY BAR

    It you’re looking for a Labor Day activity, how about a make-your-own shandy bar? Just assemble the ingredients, print out brief “instructions” and put them in a frame next to the beer.

    Instructions can include: (1) Shandy is half beer, half non-alcoholic drink.(2) Create your own signature shandy with the soft drink and proportions of your choice. (3) Be neat and clean up your spills!

    Supermarket shelves are awash with citrus soda: orange, Fresca, Seven-Up (lemon lime). Our favorites are:

  • Pellegrino Limonata, Aranciata and Aranciata Rosso
  • Dry Soda blood orange
  • GuS Meyer Lemon, Sparkling Grapefruit, Valencia Orange
  •  
    So take stock of the options, then stock up.

    Shandy Bar Ingredients

  • Lager beer (plus wheat beer, IPA or nonalcoholic beer, if you’d like to present different options—check out the different types of beer)
  • Ginger beer* as a non-alcoholic option
  • Citrus soda, sparkling lemonade, sparkling soda
  • Ginger ale
  • Lemonade: plain, sparkling, Mike’s Hard Lemonade
  • Berry lemonade: blueberry, strawberry, raspberry (muddle the berries and mix with regular lemonade)
  • Sparkling cider
  • Optional: Bitters
  •  
    Shandy Garnishes

  • Lemon wedges
  • Lime wedges
  • Berries
  •  
    Glass Rimmers

  • Citrus Zest
  • Coarse salt
  • Flavored salt
  •  
    Plus

  • Glasses (start with small-to-medium size)
  • Swizzle sticks to stir
  • Paper towels for spills
  • Napkins
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    A COMPARATIVE SHANDY TASTING

    If you don’t want a DIY shandy bar, gather whatever shandy brands you can find and have a tasting.

    Samuel Adams makes Porch Rocker, if you can still find it (the distribution period is through July). Anheuser-Busch’s Shock Top Lemon Shandy is available through August. Also look for Harp Lemon Shandy, Labatt Shandy and Saranac Shandy Lager and Lemonade.

    Fentiman’s brews two soft drink shandy styles, non-alcoholic shandy and a low alcoholic version brewed to .5 ABV ABV (1 proof), which allows it to be sold as a soft drink.

    An Arnold Palmer is not related to a shandy, except that they both use lemonade. Here are the differences.

    We like to use shot glasses or juice glasses for this type a from-the-bottle beer tasting. It lets everyone try a small amount of each brand, and return to their favorite with a larger glass.

    WHAT’S GINGER BEER?

    Ginger beer is like ginger ale with a buzz. The big difference between ginger beer and ginger ale is that ginger beer is brewed (fermented). Most ginger ale is just carbonated water that’s been flavored with ginger, although some artisan brands brew their ginger ale.

    Since ginger beers are naturally fermented, they have less carbonation and often develop a beer-like head when poured into a glass. Some ginger beers are sold unfiltered and appear cloudy, so gently invert the before drinking or pouring, to re-incorporate any separation.

    Plus, the ginger flavor is more intense—much more intense.

    Today’s brewed ginger beers are categorized as non-alcoholic drinks because their alcohol content is less than .5% (1 proof), which meets FDA requirements.
     
     
    RECIPE: IPA SHANDY

    Like IPA (India Pale Ale)? It’s the most trending style of beer in the U.S.

    This shandy update from Whole Foods Market combines “a hoppy craft IPA and a throat-tickling ginger beer.”

    Shandys are generally made with lagers and wheat beers. If you’re not a hops fan, use one of those instead.

    You’ll also notice that the ingredients are beer and ginger beer. Play around with substituting lemon-lime carbonated drinks for the ginger beer, to see what you like best.
     
    Ingredients Per Tall Drink

  • 1 bottle (12-ounces) IPA, chilled
  • 1/4 cup ginger beer, chilled
  • Optional but recommended: 3 dashes orange or ginger bitters†
  • Garnish: orange slice (studded with cloves, if you like)
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    Preparation

    1. COMBINE the ale, ginger beer and bitters in a tall beer glass and stir lightly to blend (but not hard enough to break the bubbles).

    2. GARNISH and serve.
    ________________
    †The original Angostura bitters have a ginger undertone. They have recently released Angostura orange, in the $8.00 to $9.00 range. Connoisseurs may wish to spring for the fine artisan orange bitters from Bitter Truth in the $29.00 to $30.00 range.
     
      

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    TIP OF THE DAY: Agua Fresca, The Latin American Cooler

    Agua Fresca
    [1] Turn your favorite fruits into agua fresca (photo courtesy and recipe chart below Good Eggs).

    Watermelon Agua Fresca

    [2] If you can borrow a tap dispenser, it’s more convenient than pitchers (photo courtesy Flavor & The Menu).

     

    It’s heading above 90 degrees and humid here for the next few days, and we’re planning enough cool drinks to tide us over.

    Beyond water, sparkling water and our cache of diet soft drinks, we’re making a few quarts of agua fresca. In Spanish, agua fresca means fresh water; but in culinary terms, the water is combined with fresh fruit juice. The result: refreshing cold drinks that are sold by street vendors and at cafés throughout Latin America.

    A traditional agua fresca is an infused, sweetened water, flavored with fruits and/or vegetables. Nonalcoholic and noncarbonated, in the U.S. a similar drink is called a cooler.

    Agua fresca is also available bottled, in numerous flavors, and is made from scratch at home.

    The recipes can include a combination of fruits or veggies, flowers, herbs and/or spices, cereals, seeds, even almond flour. The result is often a more complex layering of flavors than American lemonade and limeade.

    Agua de horchata, a very popular recipe, is made of ground raw rice spiced with cinnamon.

    Other ingredients include flowers (hibiscus), herbs (sorrel), grains (alfalfa, barley, oats, rice), nuts and seeds (almond flour, chía). Try incorporating some of these after you’re already pleased with a basic fruit and/or vegetable recipe.

    HAVE AN AGUA FRESCA PARTY

    Make a few flavors and supply a choice of garnishes.

    Depending on your guests, a choice of clear spirits—cachaca, gin, tequila, vodka—may also be welcome.

  • Fruits: banana, cantaloupe, cucumber, guava, mango, orange, papaya, passionfruit, pineapple, strawberry, watermelon
  • Tart juice complement: lemon, lime, tamarind
  • Garnishes: basil, cucumber wheel, jalapeño, lemongrass, mint, sliced and notched fruit
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    For a vegetable component, cucumber is the most popular (with lime and mint or pineapple). But you can turn to other juices: carrot juice and apple or pineapple, beet juice and berries, etc.

    Keep it light: save the kale and broccoli for the juice bar.

    Chill the drinks in the fridge, but also have a supply of ice cubes.

     

    As an on-trend American update, you can substitute coconut water for all or part of the water in your recipe, especially delicious in this pineapple agua fresca recipe with lemongrass.

    Here’s the agua fresca recipe template. Unleash your inner mixologist and mix different flavors of juice, to create your own signature recipes.

    Agua Fresca Recipe

     

    AGUA FRESCA KEGGER

    A melon tap turns any large, seedless watermelon into a keg (or punch bowl, for a younger crowd), ideal for filling with watermelon-based beverages.

    Simply hollow out the melon, insert the tap and fill it with your beverage of choice.

    A fun element at a gathering, your guests will have a memorable time of dispensing their drinks from a watermelon.

    Serve it as a finale to the last event of the summer.

    Just fill the watermelon with watermelon agua fresca.

    For a hit of alcohol, you can find watermelon-flavored vodka from Smirnoff, Three Olives, Pinnacle (Cucumber Watermelon), UV (Salty Watermelon) and others.

    In the fall, you can do the same with a pumpkin and apple cider (and apple vodka, of course).

     

    Watermelon Agua Fresca In Melon

    [3] A melon tap, available on Amazon, turns a watermelon into a keg (photo courtesy Bradshaw International).

     

      

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