THE NIBBLE BLOG: Products, Recipes & Trends In Specialty Foods
Also visit our main website, TheNibble.com.

Archive for Fruits, Nuts & Seeds

TIP OF THE DAY: Blood Orange Season, Sorbet & Upside-Down Cake

Blood orange season runs now through May, offering the different types of blood orange.

Blood oranges are believed to have originated in either China or the Southern Mediterranean. They have been grown in Italy, Spain and elsewhere since the 18th century, and are now the principal orange grown in Italy.

California is the number one grower of blood oranges in the U.S. California is the number one grower of blood oranges in the United States. Arizona, Florida and Texas also grow the fruit.

The main varieties grown in California—the Moro, Sanguinello and Tarocco—vary by the amount of rosy color inside and intensity of raspberry flavor. Some have some blush on the orange rind, some have conventional orange rind color.

Enjoy your fill of these wonderful oranges, in:

  • Beverages: cocktails, juice, lemonade-blood orange mocktail or blood orange spritzer with club soda
  • Desserts, including fruit salad
  • Green salads: add segments* and/or use the juice in a vinaigrette
  • Pan sauces
  • Other recipes: anywhere you jneed citrus juice
  •  
    Here are recipes for cocktails, salads and mains (fish, lamb) and desserts (cheesecakes, soufflés).

    This recipe from The Circus Gardner goes a step beyond, and adds fresh herbs.
     
    RECIPE #1: BLOOD ORANGE & THYME SORBET

    One of our favorite ways to enjoy blood orange juice is in a sorbet.

    Ingredients For 8 Servings

  • 25 ounces/750 ml freshly squeezed blood orange juice (9 to 10 oranges)
  • 1 tablespoon fresh thyme leaves, very finely chopped
  • 5 ounces/150 ml maple syrup or sugar syrup (simple syrup)
  • Optional garnish: raspberries, candied orange peel
  •  
    Preparation

    1. PLACE the orange juice, maple syrup and chopped thyme leaves in a large jug and stir or whisk to combine. Chill in the fridge for a hour.

    2. POUR the chilled mixture into an ice cream maker and churn. Once it is starting to set, tip the sorbet into a freezer proof container. Cover the container with a lid and freeze for at least 4 hours.

    3. REMOVE the sorbet from the freezer and leave to stand at room temperature for 10 minutes before serving.

    RECIPE #2: CANDIED CITRUS PEEL

    Ingredients

  • 3 lemons or limes, 1 grapefruit or 2 oranges
  • 2 cups water
  • 2 cups white sugar
  •  
    Preparation

    1. WASH the citrus, pat dry and remove the fruit pulp and as much of the white pith as you can. Cut peel into slices 1/4 inch wide.

    2. BOIL water in a small pan; add peel strips. Boil for 5 minutes, until tender.

     

     
    Blood Oranges

    Moro Blood Oranges

    Blood Orange Sorbet

    Lemon Sorbet Blood Oranges

    [1] The Moro variety of blood orange has less color and less raspberry sweetness than the [2] Sanguinello variety (both photos courtesy Good Eggs). [3] Blood orange sorbet with a thyme teaser (recipe at left; photo courtesy The Circus Gardener). [4] The easiest way to enjoy blood orange: as a garnish for lemon sorbet (photo courtesy Little Park | NYC.

     
    3. REMOVE peels from water and whisk in sugar until dissolved. Return water to a boil; add peels and boil until syrup absorbs into peel.

    4. DRAIN cooked peel on paper towels. After they dry, you can store them in an airtight jar for a week.
    ________________
    *SALAD RECIPE: One of our favorite salads: baby beets, shaved fennel, mesclun and a touch of baby arugula (use baby spinach if you don’t like arugula), topped with a circle of goat cheese and optional toasted nuts. For the vinaigrette, you can reduce blood orange juice with white wine vinegar. Or, adapt the classic, dividing the acid into mix half vinegar, half blood orange juice with olive oil or nut oil in the proportion of 3 parts oil to 1 part acid. We especially like hazelnut or walnut oil with this recipe, but olive oil is just fine. If you have a French nut oil, which tend to be very dense in flavor, you can mix it with olive oil.
    ________________
     
    HISTORY OF UPSIDE DOWN CAKE

    At the beginning of the 20th century, James Dole set out to have canned pineapple in every grocery store in the country. He sold both fresh and canned pineapple grown in Hawaii, but the canned fruit wasn’t perishable, tasted great, and could be sold everywhere.

    The arrival of canned pineapple and recipes to use it engendered the Pineapple Upside-Down Cake. It was once America’s most popular cake. It was also known as a skillet cake because it was baked on the stove top in a cast-iron pan.

    The fruit is placed on the bottom of the skillet (or today, the pan); the batter was poured over it. The baked cake is inverted, and the fruit that was once at the bottom forms a decorative topping.

    Read more at: http://www.thenibble.com/reviews/main/cookies/cakes/glossary8.asp#u

    Today, some cooks still prepare the cake in a skillet, as with Recipe #3, below. but is baked in the oven for a more even result.

    Nordicware makes a special pan with indentations to hold the pineapple rings in place in the oven, as well as a pan for individual upside-down minis. The pans have curved bottoms [not angular] to provide a pleasant shape to the inverted cake.

    The recipe below is for a good old-fashioned skillet cake—with blood orange, pineapple or whatever fruit you like. Use apples and you have a Tarte Tatin, an accidental upside-down tart from 1880s France.

    No one can pinpoint exactly when upside-down cake appeared, but 1920s America is the best guess. Cookbooks and magazines published then confirm that canned pineapple was readily available and the maraschino cherry had become popular to garnish the center of the pineapple rings.

    Let’s bring the upside-down cake into the 21st century. RECIPE #3 (below) is a stunning blood orange upside-down cake—nothing retro about it. But first…

     

    Blood Orange Upside Down Cake

    Strawberry Upside Down Cake

    Peach Upside Down Cake

    [5] The beauteous Blood Orange Upside-Down Cake and a [6] Strawberry Upside-Down Cake with buttermilk and brown sugar (here’s the recipe; both photos courtesy Good Eggs). [7] Use any seasonal fruit in an upside-down cake. In the summer, make a Peach Upside-Down Cake (here’s the recipe from Zoe Bakes).

     

    RECIPE #3: BLOOD ORANGE UPSIDE DOWN CAKE

    Pineapple Upside Down Cake is so retro. Put a modern spin on it with this recipe from Good Eggs.

    This cake is best eaten within a few hours of baking. Another note: Good Eggs left the rinds of the orange slices since the result is so pretty. Most people may want to slice them off, so give everyone a fork and knife (a butter knife is fine).

    This gorgeous cake from Good Eggs is beautiful on the inside as well as the outside.Rich with the flavors of nutty polenta and blood orange, it’s a dazzler.

    Prep time is 10 minutes, active time is 60 minutes.
     
    Ingredients For 8-10 Servings

  • 2-3 blood oranges, thinly sliced, seeds removed
  • ¼ cup blood orange juice
  • 10 tablespoons unsalted butter, room temperature (do not melt!*)
  • ½ cup polenta
  • 1 cup all-purpose flour
  • 1½ teaspoons baking powder
  • ¾ cup granulated sugar
  • ½ cup of light brown sugar
  • 2 eggs
  • ½ teaspoon vanilla extract
  • ½ cup whole milk
  •  
    Preparation

    1. PREHEAT the oven to 350°F. Whisk the flour, polenta, baking powder and a pinch of salt together in small bowl. In a larger bowl…

    2. CREAM together 8 tablespoons of butter and the granulated sugar with an electric mixer, to a fluffy, creamy consistency. Turn the mixer to low and beat in the vanilla and the eggs, one at a time.

    3. ADD half of the flour mixture to the sugar-butter-egg bowl and combine with the mixer on low. Repeat with the remaining flour mixture and milk. Gently fold in the blood orange juice with a spatula.

    4. MELT the remaining 2 tablespoons of butter in a 8-10″ cast iron skillet and mix in the brown sugar. Cook over medium heat for a couple of minutes until the sugar has melted.

    5. REMOVE the pan from the heat and arrange the blood orange slices in a circular pattern in the bottom of the skillet. Pour the batter on top of the orange slices and smooth the top of the batter into a uniform layer with a spatula. Bake for about 40-45 minutes until a toothpick comes out dry.

    6. REMOVE from the oven and let the cake rest for 10 minutes. To invert, use a sharp knife to loosen the sides of the cake from the skillet and fit a large plate over the top of the skillet. Hold either end of the skillet and plate together (with pot holders!) and flip the cake over onto the plate.

    7. SERVE ASAP with a side of whipped cream.

     

      

    Comments

    FOOD FUN: Beyond The Twist, Lemon & Lime Flowers & Art

    No doubt you’ve cut lemon and lime circles and twists for garnish, and wedges to squeeze over beverages, salads, seafoods, and so on.

    We have long used a channel zester to carve vertical lines in fruits and vegetables, creating a design in the fruit and strips of peel for garnish.
     
    THE GROOVY JOYS OF CHANNEL ZESTING

    James Beard said: “Two of of my best friends are a stripper and a zester.”

    When you use it to cut channels (grooves) into, you can create edible art—not to mention ingredients for recipes and garnishing.

  • If you want very fine pieces for garnish or grated peel for a recipe, run the row of sharp holes over the item.
  • The channel knife (the little blade in the larger opening) lets you create peel garnishes with little effort.
  • Someone with dexterity can carve the entire peel in one continuous strip, to decorate a punch bowl or a platter.
  • If you’re serving a grapefruit half and enjoy carving (we find it very therapeutic), carve horizontal grooves. You can do this the day before, and halve the grapefruit before serving.
  • Whatever you carve, save any leftover peel for garnish, salads, tea, etc.
  • When zesting citrus, avoid the bitter white pith under the peel.
  •  
    CITRUS TRIVIA

    Zest is the colored, outermost skin layer of citrus fruits; its volatile (essential) oils make it highly perfumed.

    Zest is rich in antioxidants: flavonoids, bioflavonoids and limonoids. It is used to flavor sweet and savory dishes; it can be candied for pastry use or as a sweetmeat (e.g., candied grapefruit peel—scroll down) for the recipe.

  • Citrus fruits are native to Southeast Asia where they have been cultivated for over 4,000 years.
  • In the U.S., Florida has the most acres of citrus trees (654,747). California is second with 303,101 acres.
  • Per capita consumption of citrus fruits in the U.S. was 21.7 pounds in 2005, down from 23.5 pounds in 2000.
  • Oranges and grapefruits do not ripen after they are picked, but lemons and limes do.
  • Citrus pith is the major source for commercial pectin manufacture, used to thicken jelly and other foods.
  •  

    Chanel Zester

    Carved Lemon Flower Slices

    Carved Lime

    [1] Grooves cut with a channel zester. [2] When sliced, the groves create flower-like slices (photos #1 and #2 courtesy IdTryThat | WordPress. [3] Elaborate channeling creates beautiful food art (photo courtesy The Eddy | NYC).

     
    STOCKING STUFFER IDEA: Give a channel groover to an arty cook. You can get it in any kitchen gadget department or online.

      

    Comments

    TIP OF THE DAY: Honor The Cranberry With Cranberry Drinks

    Cranberries are a group of low, creeping evergreen dwarf shrubs or trailing vines, that grow in acidic bogs in the cooler regions of the U.S. and Canada.

    The plants belong to the heather family, Ericaceae, along with the bilberry, blueberry, huckleberry, azalea and other rhododendrons.

    NAMING THE BERRY

    Native American tribes from New England Pequod and Wampanoag to the Leni-Lenape of New Jersey to the Algonquins of Wisconsin variously called them sassamanesh (very sour berry), ibimi (bitter berry) and atoqua in their local tongues.

    The English name derives from kranebere, German for crane berry, so called by early Dutch and German settlers in New England who saw the flower, stem, calyx and petals as resembling the neck, head and bill of a crane.

  • Some New Englanders called them bearberries, as bears were fond of feeding on them.
  • Northeastern Canadians called them mossberries.
  • In the U.K., it’s the fenberry, since the plants grow in a fen (a marsh).
  •  
    CRANBERRY HISTORY

    The Wampanoag People of southeastern Massachusetts had been harvesting wild cranberries for 12,000 years by the time the Pilgrims arrived. The Leni-Lenape of New Jersey and other tribes in the East also were blessed with cranberry bogs.

    Native Americans used cranberries for grits and pemmican—deer meat, mashed cranberries and fat, pressed and dried as a convenience food for travel. Cranberries mashed with cornmeal were baked it into bread.

    While maple sugar and honey were used to sweeten the sour berry, some souls with a palate for the super-tart even ate them fresh.

    Non-food uses included dye, fever-reducers, wound poultices and seasickness remedy.
     
    Cultivating The Cranberry

    The first cultivation of cranberries took place in Dennis, on Cape Cod, around 1816. After that, landowners eagerly converted their peat bogs, swamps and wetlands into cranberry bogs.

    Farmers developed a process called wet harvesting: flooding the bog with water so the cranberries floated to the surface, where they are collected.

    Cranberries found their way across the northern states to the Pacific Northwest, and were first shipped to Europe in the 1820s. From England, they were brought to the cold-appropriate countries of Scotland, Russia and Scandinavia. They’re now grown commercially in Chile as well.

    Today, U.S. Farmers harvest approximately 40,000 acres of cranberries each year (source).

    The fruit is turned into jam, juice, sauce and sweetened dried cranberries, with the remainder sold fresh to consumers for cooking and baking.
     
    CRANBERRY TRIVIA

    A fresh cranberry will bounce, due to the pocket of air inside (photo #3). That’s also why they float.

    The cranberry is one of only three fruits native to North America that were not known in Europe*. The others: the blueberry and the grape.

       

    Cranberry Flower

    Cranberry Bush

    Cranberry Inside

    Fresh <br />Cranberries” width=”230″ height=”230″ class=”alignnone size-full wp-image-87513″ /></p>
<p><font size=[1] The cranberry flower (photo courtesy University of Wisconsin. [2] Cranberries on the branch (photo courtesy University of Minnesota). [3] The air pockets in cranberries enable them to bounce and float (photo courtesy Cape Cod Cranberry Growers Association). [4] Fresh cranberries (photo courtesy Ocean Spray).

     

    Mulled Cranberr & Tequila Drink

    Cranberry Punch

    [1] Cranberry Toddy (photo courtesy DeLeon Tequila). [2] Cranberry punch (photo courtesy Ocean Spray).

     

    DRINKING CRANBERRIES

    In Colonial days, a drink known as the Hot Toddy was created as a way to cure ailments (or at least, that was the excuse given).

    Made with rum from the Caribbean, it was also called Hot Buttered Rum: rum, hot water, spices and a pat of butter.

    Today, cranberry juice is drunk as:

  • Cocktails: Cape Codder, Cosmopolitan, Crantini, Toddy and Sea Breeze, among others
  • Juice Drinks
  • Mocktails
  • Smoothies
  •  
    You can create your own drink, mixing cranberry juice with lemon, vanilla, seasonal spices and seasonal fruits.

    We adapted this cocktail recipe from one sent to us by DeLeón Tequila.
     
    RECIPE #1: CRANBERRY TODDY

    Ingredients Per Drink

  • 1½ ounces white/silver tequila
  • 6 ounces cranberry brew
  •  
    For The Cranberry Brew

  • 1 part fresh unsweetened cranberry juice
  • ¾ part fresh lemon juice
  • ¾ part simple syrup
  • Cinnamon, clove and nutmeg to taste
  • Garnish: orange slice (optionally studded with cloves)
  •  
    Preparation

    1. SIMMER together the cranberry brew ingredients. Combine with tequila in glass mug.

    2. GARNISH with the orange slice.
     
    RECIPE #2: CRANBERRY PUNCH WITH OR WITHOUT SPIRITS

    How can you resist this holiday punch, with a cranberry wreath in the center?

    The wreath is actually an ice mold to chill the punch, filled with fresh cranberries and leafy herbs.

    The recipe, from Ocean Spray, is for an alcohol-free punch; but you can add spirits to taste.

    Ingredients For About 15 Six-Ounce Servings

  • 1 64-ounce bottle Ocean Spray Cranberry Juice Cocktail
  • 1 cup orange juice
  • 2 cups lemon-lime soda or club soda
  • Optional: spirit of choice (we used gin and cranberry liqueur)
  • Garnish: ice ring with cranberries (substitute orange and lime slices)
  •  
    Preparation

    1. MAKE the ice mold. Fill a ring mold with cranberries and “leaves” (herbs or other leaves) and water, and place in the freezer.

    2. COMBINE the cranberry juice cocktail, orange juice and optional spirits in a large punch bowl. Gently stir in soda just before serving. Garnish and serve.

    TIP: To keep the punch cold, store the juice mix, soda and optional spirits in the fridge until ready to serve. We used two large pitchers, which fit easily into the fridge.

    ____________
    *Strawberries and raspberries were also known to Europeans; and many other fruits, such as the pawpaw and the saskatoon, are native to North America, but are not commercially important.

      

    Comments

    GIFT OF THE DAY: Chukar Cherries Snack Packs

    Chukar Cherries Snack Pack

    Cherry Cluster

    [1] Grab-and-go cherry and nut mixes for the person who wants—or should want—better-for-you snacks (photo courtesy Chukar). [2] Cherries on the branch (photo courtesy 2020site.org).

     

    If you want to gift someone a better-for-you sweet treat, we recommend these grab-and-go bags of Triple Cherry Nut Mix from Pacific Northwest cherry specialist, Chukar Cherries.

    There’s no sugar added; just the national sweetness of dried Bing, Rainier and tart cherries mixed with heart-healthy pistachios and almonds.

    A cloth sack with 12 bags of Triple Cherry Nut Mix is $39.95 Get yours here.

    There are many other treats at Chukar.com.
     
    FUN CHERRY FACTS

    Cherry pits have been found in Stone Age caves. Perhaps our earliest ancestors, when not busy trying to run down wooly mammoths, also had an appreciation for the cherry and benefitted its antioxidant properties, including an abundance of vitamins A, B, and C. Perhaps they even enjoyed it with freshly spear-hunted boar or wild fowl.

    Their descendants—us—have been known to particularly enjoy cherries with duck and pork dishes, and snack as often as we can on the cherries, fresh or dried.

    Russians traditionally sweeten their tea with cherry preserves.

    Germans distill cherries into brandy (Kirschwasser).

    Iranians mix it into rice.

    Many nationalities use cherries in cakes and pies, over ice cream, tossed into salads, skewered as a cocktail garnish, sprinkled over soft cheese, garnish on pancakes, in the center of an indulgent chocolate bonbon, and of course, to make jams and preserves, salsas and relishes.

    Then, there are drinkable cherries, from juice to liqueur to wine (cherry fruit wine).

    The question isn’t what you can do with cherries—but what you can’t.

     
    WHERE DID CHERRIES COME FROM?

    The ancestors of today’s domesticated cherry trees originated in the Caucasus Mountains, which extend from southeastern Europe into Eastern Asia, between the Black and the Caspian Seas. They run through modern-day Armenia, Azerbaijan, Georgia, Iran, Russia and Turkey.

    Cherries slowly spread through the Mediterranean and then headed north, but didn’t become widespread in Europe and Britain until the 15th century. By the 17th century, cherries were so popular that English emigrants brought stock to plant orchards in America, along with apples, peaches, pears and plums.

    Here’s more about cherries and the different types of cherries.

     
      

    Comments

    FOOD FUN: Jim Beam Caramel Apples (Or Other Favorite Whiskey)

    To celebrate its Apple Bourbon—available year-round but especially popular in fall recipes—Jim Beam has stepped beyond cocktails to caramel.

    Yes, you can dip your caramel apples into an easy homemade caramel that incorporates a cup of Jim Beam Apple Bourbon.

    No time to buy Jim Beam Apple Bourbon? Use what you’ve got on hand (including another whiskey) and pick some up Apple Bourbon when you can. You’ll definitely want to make another batch of these!

    RECIPE: BOURBON CARAMEL APPLES

    Ingredients For 10 Caramel Apples

  • 2 cups light brown sugar
  • 8 ounces unsalted butter
  • 1 cup light corn syrup
  • 6 ounces cold half and half
  • 8 ounces Jim Beam Apple Bourbon
  • 10 Granny Smith apples on thick wooden skewers
  • Optional garnish: 4 cups chopped salted peanuts, honey roasted nuts or other garnish
  •  
    Preparation

    1. COOK the brown sugar, butter and corn syrup in a large pot over medium high heat until a light boil begins. Whisk in the half and half and the bourbon and continue to whisk until the caramel sauce reaches 248°F. Remove from the heat.

    2. DIP each of the apples into the caramel, coating on all sides. Set on a cookie sheet lined with parchment paper. If desired, coat apples on all sides with chopped salted peanuts.

    3. ALLOW the caramel to cool before serving.
     
    MORE CANDY APPLE, CHOCOLATE & CARAMEL APPLE RECIPES

  • Classic Red Candy Apples
  • Easter Candy Apples
  • Matcha White Chocolate Granny Smith Apples (for Christmas or St. Pat’s)
  • Modern Art Chocolate Apples
  • Sugar-Free Red Candy Apples
  •  
    You can also host a candy apple party!

     

    Jim Beam Caramel Apples

    Jim Beam Apple Bourbon

    [1] Bourbon caramel apples. The caramel is made with [2] Jim Beam Apple Bourbon (photos courtesy Beam Suntory).

     
    CANDY APPLE HISTORY

    The practice of coating fruit in sugar syrup dates back to ancient times. In addition to tasting good, honey and sugar were used as preserving agents to keep fruit from rotting.

    According to FoodTimeline.org, food historians generally agree that caramel apples (toffee apples) date to the late 19th century. Both toffee and caramel can be traced to the early decades of the 18th century, buy inexpensive toffee and caramels for all became available by the end of the 19th century. Culinary evidence dates soft, chewy caramel coatings from that time.

    Red cinnamon-accented candy apples came later. And, while long associated with Halloween, they were originally Christmas fare, not a Halloween confection.

    According to articles in the Newark Evening News in 1948 and 1964, the red candy apple was invented in 1908 by William W. Kolb, a local confectioner. Experimenting with red cinnamon candies for Christmas, he dipped apples into the mixture and the modern candy apple was born.

    The tasty treat was soon being sold at the Jersey Shore, the circus and then in candy shops nationwide.

      

    Comments off



    © Copyright 2005-2016 Lifestyle Direct, Inc. All rights reserved. All images are copyrighted to their respective owners.