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TIP OF THE DAY: Rice Paper For Fun Food & Serious Food

Shrimp Summer Rolls

Summer Rolls

rice-paper-wrappers-c-denzelGreen-cooksinfo-230

Rice Paper For Spring Rolls

Top: Vietnamese Summer rolls with shrimp (here’s the recipe from Sally’s Baking Addiction. Second: Vietnamese Spring Rolls with added fruit (photo California Strawberry Commission). Third: Rice paper wrappers (photo © Denzel Green | CooksInfo.com). Bottom: Traditional packaging (photo Three Ladies Brand).

 

ABOUT RICE PAPER

Rice paper is a name for everything different products, including edible paper and decorative papers, including wallpaper. The edible kind, made from rice flour, is the white, translucent wrapper used for Vietnamese spring and summer rolls, chilled and raw or fried and hot. They can be used to wrap savory or sweet ingredients—or a combination.

Here’s more about rice paper from CooksInfo.com.

Beyond traditional spring and summer rolls rolls (here’s the difference between spring rolls and summer rolls), you can make lots of fusion food. Some of the uses we’ve tried:

  • Asian ravioli (i.e., dumplings) with an Asian sauce or an Italian sauce (pesto or olive oil).
  • Baked salmon in “parchment” (the rice paper becomes “edible parchment”—recipe).
  • Gluten-free lasagna.
  • “Leftovers” rolls: proteins, noodles/pasta, salmon usually) and soba noodles, raw or cooked vegetables, grains, beans, legumes, etc.
  • Salad rolls/crudité rolls, with your favorite raw veggies.
  • Wrap “sandwiches”: curried chicken salad, smoked salmon, tuna salad, BLT (bacon, butter lettuce, halved cherry tomatoes).
  •  
    Some supermarkets carry rice paper in the Asian products aisle; or get them from an Asian grocer or online. They may be called spring roll wrappers or spring roll skins.

     
    RECIPE: DIY SPRING ROLLS

    This is a fun dish made by each person at the table, like Moo Shoo Pork. We first had it at a Vietnamese restaurant in Paris in our late teens, and it was love at first bite: grilled beef and fresh mint wrapped in butter lettuce leaves with condiments.

    We’ve since added rice paper for do-it-yourself spring rolls. You can make them vegetarian or add a grilled protein of choice.

    Set the table with ingredients of choice. You can use them all (we do) or make a selection of five or so.

  • Basil or cilantro, freshly minced or shredded
  • Butter lettuce leaves
  • Carrots, shredded
  • Chiles, thinly sliced
  • Chopped peanuts
  • Cucumber, julienned
  • Fresh fruit: mango, blueberries, strawberries, apple
  • Fresh mint sprigs (substitute basil leaves)
  • Daikon, shredded
  • Green onions (scallions), thinly sliced
  • Protein: grilled beef or tuna slices, shrimp, crab, etc.
  • Red cabbage, shredded or made into slaw with Asian vinaigrette*
  • Rice noodle vermicelli, cooked
  • Rice paper wrappers with bowls of warm water
  • Optional: Asian chili sauce, sambal olek†, watercress or baby arugula, whatever appeals to you
  •  
    Plus

  • Dipping sauce: choose from Nuoc Mam Cham (recipe below), peanut sauce, chimichurri sauce (especially with grilled proteins), Asian-style vinaigrette†, or other sauce of choice.
  •  
    __________________
    *Asian vinaigrette: For 1/2 cup, combine 2 teaspoons unseasoned rice vinegar, 1 tablespoon soy sauce, 1/2 cup olive oil or other salad oil, 1/2 teaspoon dark/toasted sesame oil, 1/2 small garlic clove finely grated. You can also add a squeeze of fresh lime juice and/or grated lime zest.

    †You can make your own sambal olek simply by grinding chiles with water to form a paste. We used a mortar and pestle.

     

    RECIPE: NUOC MAM CHAM, VIETNAMESE DIPPING SAUCE

    Nuoc cham is Vietnamese for “dipping sauce.” Nuoc mam cham is specifically a fish sauce-based dipping sauce.

    Ingredients For 1 Cup

  • 3 tablespoons fish sauce
  • 3 tablespoons rice vinegar
  • 2 tablespoons sugar
  • 1/2 cup water
  • 2 garlic cloves, chopped
  • 1 bird’s eye chile†, thinly sliced
  • 2 tablespoons lime juice
  •  
    _______________________
    †Bird’s eye is a very hot chile, 100,000 ~ 225,000 Scoville Heat Units. You can substitute the less hot jalapeño or serrano—pick the smallest ones. (See the different types of chiles.)

     
    RECIPE #2: HUMMUS & CRUDITÉS “CLOCK”

    Whether you have kids or a sense of whimsy, this Hummus and Crudités “Clock” is a fun and good-for-you snack (photo above).

    We adapted the idea from a photo on the Tio Gazpacho Facebook page, and created the face of the clock from hummus.
     
    Ingredients

  • Rice paper sheets
  • Hummus (flavor of choice)
  • Cucumbers, sliced
  • Cherry tomatoes, halved
  • Scallion tops
  • Optional garnish: minced parsley
  •  

    Vietnamese Dipping Sauce
    Crudites

    Top: Nuoc mam cham sauce (photo and recipe variation from GastronomyBlog.com). Bottom: Hummus “clock” on rice paper (photo Tio Gazpacho | Facebook).

     
    Preparation

    1. SOFTEN the rice papers according to package directions. Spread with hummus and place on a plate. (It’s difficult to make a perfectly round clock face, so the we use the rice paper for a clean look).

    2. ADD the crudités as shown in the photo to make the face of the clock.

    3. SPRINKLE the the rest of the plate with minced parsley if you need to “fill out the plate.”

      

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    RECIPE: Shrimp In Adobo Sauce

    Shrimp With Adobo Sauce Recipe

    Raw Shrimp

    Poblano Chiles

    Top: Put some camarónes on the barbacoa: That’s Spanish for put some shrimp on the barbie (photo courtesy Eat Wisconsin Cheese). Center: Fresh-caught shrimp from I Love Blue Sea/Vital Choice. Bottom: Poblano chiles (photo courtesy Burpee).

     

    May 10th is National Shrimp Day, celebrating America’s favorite seafood. Here’s a Mexican-style recipe, courtesy of EatWisconsinCheese.com.

    You can serve this dish warm or chilled—perhaps with a warm grain or a room temperature or chilled grain salad, plus dressed greens.
     
    RECIPE: SHRIMP WITH SOUR CREAM CHILI ADOBO SAUCE

    Ingredients For 4 Servings

  • 1 tablespoon olive oil
  • 1/4 cup plus 1 tablespoon adobo sauce (from a can* of chipotles in adobo)
  • 1 pound jumbo shrimp (10 to 12 count)
  • 1/2 cup sour cream
  • 1 teaspoon fresh lime juice
  • 2 tablespoons poblano chiles, finely diced
  •  
    _______________________
    *Available in the Latin American foods aisle of most supermarkets.

     
    Preparation

    1. HEAT the oil and 1/4 cup adobo sauce in a large nonstick skillet over medium heat. Add the shrimp and cook until pink and no longer translucent. But don’t overcook them: Cooked shrimp should have a slight curl. When they curl tightly inwards, the flesh will be rubbery. While the shrimp cooks…

    2. MIX the sour cream, lime juice and 1 tablespoon of adobo sauce in a small bowl. Pour into a small serving dish. Sprinkle the poblanos over shrimp to garnish.
     
    TIPS FOR USING FROZEN SHRIMP

    1. THAW the shrimp slowly in the refrigerator beginning 24 hours before you plan to cook them. Place the container in the refrigerator on a low shelf—if not in a sealed bag, then covered lightly with plastic wrap. Then remove any liquid that has collected in the container and use the thawed shrimp within one day.

    NOTE: Keep all raw foods on the lowest shelf and cooked foods on higher shelves to prevent any contamination from raw juices dripping onto cooked food.

    3. QUICK THAWING TECHNIQUE: If you can closely monitor the shrimp, place them in a leak-proof plastic bag (if it is not in one already.) Submerge the shrimp in cold tap water and change the water every 30 minutes until the shrimp has defrosted. Do not try to hasten the process with warm water or hot water because the shrimp will begin to cook. Cook immediately after thawing.

     
    WHAT IS ADOBO SAUCE?

    Adobo is a Mexican spice blend: spicy and rich in flavor, but not too hot. As with chili powder, Chinese Five Spice, curry powder, jerk spice and other spice blends, the ingredients and proportions will vary somewhat among manufacturers and home cooks.

    Traditional adobo blends contain black pepper, cayenne, cumin, garlic, onion and oregano. They have no added salt (but check the label). You can buy the dry spice mix, or ready-made, canned chipotles in adobo sauce.

    Traditional uses are as a rub, along with lime juice and a bit of salt, on grilled chicken, fish or pork. It is added to chili recipes and taco fixings, and used to season guacamole.

    You can buy adobo ready-mixed, or can blend your own. For the latter, try 2 tablespoons granulated garlic, 1 tablespoon salt (optional), 4 teaspoons dried oregano, 1 teaspoon black pepper, 2 teaspoons cumin, 2 teaspoons onion powder and 2 teaspoons cayenne, ground chipotle or other chile powder.

      

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    TIP OF THE DAY: Have A Barbecue Party For National Barbecue Month

    Backyard Grill

    Grilled Brisket

    Top: Deluxe grill from Landmann. Bottom: Weber’s Q series fits almost anywhere.

     

    Did you fire up the grill for Mother’s Day? It’s one of the biggest barbecue days of the year, with 34% 0f grill owners cooking celebrate Mom. It following the Fourth of July (76%), Labor Day (62%), Memorial Day (62%) and Father’s Day (49%) in popularity.

    More than 75% of Americans own a grill or smoker. May is National Barbecue Month: A survey from the Hearth, Patio & Barbecue Association (HPBA) names grilling as America’s favorite patio pastime.

    Our Tip Of The Day: Have a BYO Favorite Dish barbecue party. Whether it’s a venerable family recipe or something more recent like grilled poppers, everyone should bring a favorite food: sides, punch, desserts, etc. (In our family, it’s homemade baked beans with molasses and a topping of crisp bacon.)

    It can be quite a feast: Beyond proteins and veggies, people grill everything from bread, pizza and quesadillas to fruit and other desserts.
     
    2016 BBQ TRENDS

    Whether for easy weeknight dinners, weekend feasts or even breakfast, here’s the scoop from HPBA’s most recent State of the Barbecue Industry Report, from a survey conducted in July and August, 2015.

  • Who has a grill? 75% of U.S. adults own a grill or smoker.
  • Gas, charcoal or electric? 62% of households have gas grill, 53% have a charcoal grill and 12% have an electric grill. Two percent own a wood pellet grill and 8% are thinking of purchasing one this year.
  • Why so much grilling? 71% say it’s to improve flavor, 54% simply enjoy grilling and 42% like it for entertaining family and friends.
  • Seasonal or year-round? 63% of grill owners use their grill or smoker year-round; 43% cook at least once a month during winter.
  • Grill accessories. Half of all grill owners have the most basic grilling accessories: cleaning brush, tongs, and gloves/mitts (hmm…what does the other half use?). The most popular new accessories owners plan to buy include pizza stones, broiling baskets and cooking planks.
  • Outdoor kitchens: 10% of grill owners have a full “backyard kitchen,” including premium furniture and lighting.
  • Barbecued breakfast: 11% of grill owners prepared breakfast on a grill in the past year.
  • Beyond the backyard: Nearly one third of grill owners (31%) grilled someplace other than their homes in the past year, including 24% who grilled while camping.
  • Barbecue plans: Nearly half of U.S. adults (45%) plan to purchase a new grill or smoker in 2016, while nearly a third of current owners (30%) plan to grill with greater frequency.
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    THE DIFFERENCE BETWEEN BARBECUE & BARBECUE

    Barbecue is a noun and a verb. It’s a meal cooked outdoors—for millennia over an open fire until the development of modern gas and electric grills. “Barbecue” also refers to:

  • A grill or open hearth/fireplace—used to barbecue food.
  • The meat, poultry or fish that is barbecued.
  • Meat or poultry that is basted in a sweetened “barbecue sauce” during cooking.
  • An outdoor party or picnic at which barbecued food is served.
  •  
    BARBECUE, BARBEQUE OR BBQ?

    Barbecue and barbeque are alternative spellings, along with the short form BBQ.

    To quote chef Anthony Bourdain, “Barbecue may not be the road to world peace, but it’s a start.”

      

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    FOOD FUN: Pretzel Doughnuts

    Pretzel Doughnuts

    For National Pretzel Day, have some pretzels on your doughnut. Here’s the recipe from ACosyKitchen.com.

     

    Use pretzels in a different way on April 26th, National Pretzel Day. Consider everything from mini pretzels and pretzel sticks to big, soft pretzels as:

  • As a garnish for scrambled eggs, oatmeal, soup, yogurt (minis or crushed)
  • Instead of croutons on soup (minis or crushed)
  • Plain or toasted, for breakfast (big, soft)
  • Sliced for a sandwich (big, soft)
  • As a topping for potatoes or vegetables (crushed)
  • As a topping for ice cream (minis or crushed)
  • As a topping for cake, pudding, brownies or other dessert (minis or crushed)
  • As a crust for chicken or fish
  • Any other way you like
  •  
    If you come up with something nifty, let us know.
     
    Here’s a recipe for Caramel Pretzel Doughnuts from Betty Crocker.

    Alternatively, here’s an iced doughnut shaped like a pretzel.

    And here’s a recipe to bake your own soft pretzels. Perhaps add a doughnut glaze (recipe below). Have fun with it!

     
    Having a good time? There’s also National Soft Pretzel Day on October 26th.

     
    PRETZEL HISTORY

    Thanks to creative monks, man has enjoyed 15 centuries of pretzel snacks. Here’s the history of pretzels.
     
    RECIPE: DOUGHNUT GLAZE

    Ingredients

  • 1/4 cup whole milk
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 2 cups confectioners’ sugar
  • Hot water
  •  
    Preparation

    1. COMBINE the milk and vanilla in a medium saucepan; heat over low until warm. Sift the confectioners’ sugar into the milk and whisk slowly until thoroughly combined.

    2. REMOVE from the heat and set over a bowl of hot water to keep the glaze from hardening. Dip the doughnuts (or pretzels) into the glaze, one at a time, and set on a rack placed in a half sheet pan to drip. Let set for 5 minutes before serving.

     
      

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    TIP OF THE DAY: Serve Eggs In Mini Flower Pots

    Last spring we published a tip on serving foods in mini flower pots—the size that can be used to pot small succulents.

    You can use them anytime: to serve breakfast, brunch, lunch, dinner, desserts and snacks.

    You can find mini flower pots in terra cotta or terra cotta-colored plastic. Either can go into the dishwasher.

    For Mother’s Day or other special occasion, why not start the day by using them to serve scrambled or boiled eggs?

    Use wax paper, parchment or butterhead lettuce leaves (bibb, Boston, green leaf, red leaf) to plug the drainage hole on the bottom of the flower pot; then add the food.

    Garnish scrambled eggs or peeled boiled eggs with:

  • Minced chives or parsley
  • Salmon caviar (or other caviar or roe)
  • Truffles
  •  
    Include a salt shaker (or flavored salt) and a peppermill.
     
    DON’T WANT TO BUY FLOWERPOTS?

    You can serve scrambled eggs in a Martini glass.

    Don’t like eggs? Serve berries in the flower pots.

     

    This variation tops scrambled eggs with bay scallops, and a chive stem for garnish. If the chives are flowering, great! Photo courtesy David Burke Fromagerie.

     

      

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    FOOD FUN: Mac & Cheese Grilled Cheese Sandwich

    We’re so glad that B and S are in the kitchen! Brother (B) and sister (S) Bob and Carlene Deutscher of Saskatchewan are authors of the food blog BsInTheKitchen.com.

    They’ve inspired us to whip up some mac & cheese—to turn into a special grilled cheese sandwich for National Grilled Cheese Month.

    RECIPE: MAC & CHEESE GRILLED CHEESE SANDWICH

    Prep time is 15 minutes, cook time is 10 minutes.

    Ingredients Per Sandwich

  • 2 slices rustic bread
  • 1 cup leftover macaroni & cheese
  • 2 tablespoons panko bread crumbs
  • Generous ½ cup shredded cheddar cheese
  • Option: bacon or pulled pork (we bought Tony Roma’s Pulled Pork)
  • Butter, softened or bacon grease
  • Salt and pepper
  • Garnish: ketchup
  •  
    Preparation

    1. GRILL the bacon or heat the pulled pork.

     

    Mac & Cheese Grilled

    Sandwich mashup: Grilled Cheese with Mac & Cheese. Bacon optional. Photo © Bs In The Kitchen.

     
    2. MELT some butter in a skillet over medium heat. While the pan is heating/butter is melting…

    3. MIX the macaroni & cheese, 2 tablespoons of panko crumbs, a couple pinches of cheese in a bowl, with salt and pepper to taste. Form into patties and place in heated pan.
    Cook until golden brown on each side. While the patties cook…

    4. BUTTER the outside of each slice, place the panko on a plate and press the buttered side of each slice into the panko to crust the sandwich.

    5. PLACE about half of the cheese onto the bottom slice. Once the patties are cooked, add them on top of cheese, then top with more cheese. Add the other slice of bread and fry until golden brown on each side.

     
    Photo and recipe © copyright BSInTheKitchen.com.

      

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    TIP OF THE DAY: Have A Malbec

    Glass Of Malbec In Riedel Malbec Glass

    A glass of Malbec in the specially designed Riedel Malbec glass. Photo courtesy Riedel.

     

    Celebrated on April 17th, World Malbec Day is the perfect opportunity to open up a bottle of the wine that is Argentina’s claim to varietal fame.

    Malbec is a black grape that produces red wine—a deep purple-red in color and nearly opaque, similar to Syrah and Mourvedre.

    The original Malbec rootstock came from France, where it was widely planted in the Cahors region in the Midi-Pyrénées region of south-central France, with some in the Loire Valley of central France. Argentina now has 75% of the world’s Malbec acreage.

    Argentine Malbec is very different from its French parent. As is true among all wine grapes (and some other crops), planting the same vines in different terroirs* yield different results.

  • Argentine Malbec is fruit forward, with notes of black cherry, black plum and currant. They have lower acidity, more tannins, and fuller body than French Malbec.
  • French Malbec has moderate tannin, higher acidity and flavor notes of black pepper and spice. Because of their moderate tannin and acidity with lower alcohol, French Malbec wines tend to age longer.
  •  
    World Malbec Day commemorates April 17, 1853, when President Domingo Faustino Sarmiento of Argentina launched a mission to transform Argentina’s wine industry. To start that endeavor, a French soil expert bought grape varietals from France, one of which was Malbec. During the experiment period, which planted different wines in different terroirs, Malbec proved to be a star. It flourished in the Mendoza region of Argentina, in the northwest part of the country at the foothills of the Andes Mountains.
     
    Malbec Is A Very Well-Priced Red

    As a result of the volume produced and the economics of wine production in Argentina, Malbec also proved to be a bargain. It’s a well-priced alternative to Cabernet Sauvignon. You can find many good Malbecs for $10 a bottle or less.

    You can also find bottles at twice that price, and even pricier—for example, $95 for a bottle of Cheval des Andes, a joint venture between Bordeaux’s great Chateau Cheval Blanc and Argentina’s Terrazas de los Andes.

  • Some Argentine Malbecs, like the latter, are blended with some Cabernet Franc, Cabernet Sauvignon, Merlot and/or Petit Verdot—classic grapes of Bordeaux, to give some Bordeaux style to the wines.
  • But there’s a fifth Bordeaux grape: Malbec is also grown there as a blending grape. Because the varietal has poor resistance bad weather and pests, it never became a top French varietal like Merlot and Caber.
  • Some vintners blend in a bit of Petit Syrah instead. Petit Syrah, now grown largely in Australia and California, is a cross that originated in the Auvergne-Rhône-Alpes region of France.
  •  
    Three Favorite Malbecs From Argentina

    Our wine editor, Kris Prasad, has a fondness for Altos Las Hormigas and Alamos (one of the wines with Syrah, depending on the vintage). Both can be found for $10 or less, although special bottling (e.g., certain vineyards) cost more.

    He also likes Tinto Negro “Limestock Block,” pricier at around $15. He calls it an “interesting wine”; it is two-thirds Malbec. We haven’t had it, but we do love the label, with part of the name spelled backwards (see the photo of the label above).

     

    PAIRING MALBEC WITH FOOD

    Steak—of which Argentina has a bounty—is a classic pairing (give us a T-bone, please!). But Malbec is much more flexible than a pairing with beef. Try it with:

  • Any grilled red meat or pork (serve with some Argentine chimichurri sauce).
  • Duck and other dark-meat poultry like game birds.
  • Full-flavored fish such as salmon and tuna.
  • Braised short ribs.
  • Burgers and barbecue.
  • Pasta and pizza.
  • Blue cheese, washed rind and other strong cheeses.
  • Mushrooms.
  • Dishes with earthy or smoky flavors.
  • Dishes spiced with clove, cumin, garlic, juniper berry, smoked paprika or sumac.
  •  
    Serve it instead of Cabernet Sauvignon, Merlot, Petit Syrah and other full-bodied reds.

    For an even bigger celebration, put on some tango music—which developed in Argentina—and dance!
     
    ___________________________
    *ABOUT TERROIR: The same rootstock that is grown in different locations produces different flavors; for example, depending on where it is grown, Sauvignon Blanc can have grass or grapefruit notes—or neither. Terroir, pronounced tur-WAH, is a French agricultural term referring to the unique set of environmental factors in a specific habitat that affect a crop’s qualities. It includes climate, elevation, proximity to a body of water, slant of the land, soil type and amount of sun. These environmental characteristics gives the wine its character. Terroir is the basis of the French A.O.C. (appellation d’origine contrôlée) system.

     

    Los Altos Malbecs

    Malbec Label

    Top: Look for Los Altos Las Hormigas Malbecs, a favorite of our wine editor. Photo courtesy Los Altos. Bottom: The quirky label of another favorite Malbec, Tinto Negro.

     

      

    Comments

    RECIPE: Beef & Broccoli Pizza

    We love fusion dishes, and this Beef & Broccoli Pizza from McCormick tops a pizza crust with a Chinese restaurant fave. Use a whole wheat crust for maximum nutrition.

    Western broccoli was not available in China, and for a long time Chinese broccoli, kai-lan, was not available in the U.S. Thus, Beef & Broccoli is “American Chinese,” or known in the U.S. simply as Chinese food.
     
    RECIPE: BEEF & BROCCOLI PIZZA

    IngredientsFor 6 Servings

  • 1 prepared thin crust pizza (12-inch)
  • 1/2 cup marinara or pizza sauce
  • 1 1/2 cups shredded mozzarella cheese, divided
  • 1/2 cup water
  • 1 tablespoon soy sauce
  • 1 teaspoon cornstarch
  • 1-1/2 teaspoons ground ginger*
  • 1 teaspoon garlic powder
  • 1 tablespoon vegetable oil
  • 1/2 pound boneless beef sirloin steak, cut into thin strips
  • 2 cups broccoli florets
  • 1 teaspoon sesame seed (ideally toasted)
  •  
    Side Dish

  • Green salad with Italian dressing (recipe below)
  •  
    __________________________
    *We had fresh ginger root on hand, so substituted very thin slices of it for the dried ground ginger. Instead of mixing it in, as in step 2 below, we added it to the broccoli stir-fry.

       

    Beef & Broccoli Pizza Recipe

    Chinese Cabbage, Kai-Lan

    Top: Italy, meet China in this fusion dish. Photo of Beef & Broccoli Pizza courtesy McCormick. Bottom: Chinese broccoli, kai-lan, is a different species with leafy tops instead of florets. Photo courtesy Jing Fong Restaurant | NYC.

     

    Preparation

    1. PREHEAT the oven to 450°F. Place the pizza crust on a baking sheet. Spread the tomato sauce over the crust; then sprinkle with 3/4 cup of the mozzarella. Set aside.

    2. MIX the water, soy sauce, cornstarch, ginger and garlic powder in small bowl until smooth. Set aside.

    3. HEAT the oil in a large nonstick skillet over medium-high heat. Add the beef; stir fry 3 minutes or until no longer pink. Remove the beef from the skillet.

    4. ADD the broccoli to the skillet; stir-fry for 3 minutes or until tender-crisp. Return the beef to the skillet. Stir the soy sauce mixture and add it to the skillet. Stirring constantly, bring to a boil over medium heat and boil for 1 minute, or until slightly thickened.

    5. SPOON the stir-fried beef and broccoli evenly onto the pizza crust with a slotted spoon. Sprinkle with remaining 3/4 cup of mozzarella. Bake 8 to 10 minutes or until cheese is melted. While the pizza bakes…

    6. TOAST the sesame seeds for much more exciting flavor. Heat a small skillet over medium heat. Add the sesame seeds; cook and stir for 2 minutes or until golden brown and fragrant. Immediately remove seeds from the hot pan to avoid over-toasting.

    7. SPRINKLE the pizza with the sesame seeds and serve.
     
    VARIATIONS

  • For a spicier kick, sprinkle with crushed red pepper.
  • For more vegetables, stir-fry 1/2 cup each of thinly sliced onion and red bell pepper, along with the broccoli.
  •  

    Wishbone Italian Dressing

    Wish-Bone, the original Italian dressing in the U.S. Photo courtesy Pinnacle Foods.

     

    ITALIAN DRESSING RECIPE

    Just as cooks in China don’t use American broccoli, cooks in Italy don’t make American-style Italian Dressing.

    Italian dressing is a vinaigrette with minced bell peppers; herbs including dill, fennel and oregano, plus sugar or corn syrup and a touch of salt. Minced onion and garlic, fresh are dried, can be added for more layers of flavor.

    It is often bought bottled, or prepared by mixing oil and vinegar with a packaged flavoring mix consisting of dehydrated vegetables and herbs.

    American-style Italian dressing is believed to date back to the Wishbone Restaurant in Kansas City, MO, in 1948. The recipe was based on the owners’ family recipe from Sicily, which combined oil, vinegar, herbs and spices.

    Demand for the salad dressing proved so great that the owners started a separate business to produce it commercially. The brand was eventually purchased by Lipton and and is currently made by Pinnacle Foods. [Source]

     
    RECIPE: HOMEMADE ITALIAN DRESSING

    This dressing can be prepared a day ahead, covered and refrigerated.
     
    Ingredients For 1/2 cup

  • 6 tablespoons olive oil
  • 2 tablespoons white wine vinegar
  • 2 tablespoons chopped fresh parsley
  • 2 tablespoons minced red bell pepper
  • 1 tablespoon fresh lemon juice
  • 2 garlic cloves, chopped
  • 1 teaspoon dried basil, crumbled
  • Pinch of dried oregano
  • Optional: 1/4 teaspoon dried crushed red pepper
  • Optional: Pinch of sugar or splash of agave
  • Salt and pepper to taste
  •  
    Preparation

    1. COMBINE the ingredients in small bowl and whisk to blend. Season to taste with salt and pepper.

    2. DRESS your favorite green salad.
     
    The difference between homemade and Wish-Bone:
    Wish-Bone Ingredients: WATER, DISTILLED VINEGAR, SOYBEAN OIL, SUGAR, SALT, CONTAINS 2% OR LESS OF EACH OF THE FOLLOWING: GARLIC*, ONION*,RED BELL PEPPERS*, XANTHAN GUM, SPICES, SORBIC ACID AND CALCIUM DISODIUM EDTA (USED TO PROTECT QUALITY), DL ALPHA TOCOPHERYL ACETATE (VITAMIN E),REB A (PURIFIED STEVIA EXTRACT), LEMON JUICE CONCENTRATE, CARAMEL COLOR, MALTODEXTRIN (CORN), MODIFIED CORN STARCH. *DEHYDRATED

      

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    RECIPE: A Special Sandwich For National Grilled Cheese Day

    Raspberry Grilled  Cheese Sandwich

    Blue Cheese Crumbles

    Lighthouse Blue Cheese Crumbles

    Top: Sweet and savory grilled cheese: mozzarella, basil and fresh raspberries. Bottom: Litehouse Blue Cheese Crumbles. Photos courtesy Litehouse. Center: Blue cheese crumbles from PopArtichoke.com.

     

    April 12th is National Grilled Cheese Sandwich Day, a day to try something new.

    Actually, the entire month of April is National Grilled Cheese Month, so you’ve got an additional 17 days.

    This sweet and savory sandwich recipe is from Litehouse Foods, which used its Blue Cheese Crumbles.

    RECIPE: GRILLED RASPBERRY & MOZZARELLA SANDWICH WITH BLUE CHEESE & BASIL

    Ingredients For 2 Sandwiches

  • 4 slices sourdough bread
  • 2 tablespoons butter at room temperature
  • 1 cup shredded mozzarella cheese
  • ½ cup crumbled blue cheese
  • 1/2 cup fresh raspberries, smashed
  • 3-4 fresh basil leaves, torn
  •  
    Preparation

    1. DIVIDE the butter evenly among the four slices of bread, spreading it on one side of each slice.

    2. HEAT a grill pan over medium-high heat and place two slices of bread, butter side down, in the pan. Top each slice with ¼ of the mozzarella cheese and half of the blue cheese, raspberries and basil. Divide the remaining mozzarella cheese between the two sandwiches.

    3. TOP each sandwich with the remaining slices of bread, butter side up. Grill each side for 3-4 minutes, until golden brown. Slice in half and serve immediately.
     
    MORE GRILLED CHEESE RECIPES

  • How To Make The Best Grilled Cheese Sandwich
  • Four Pages Of Grilled Cheese Recipes
  • Dessert Grilled Cheese Recipes
  • Gourmet Grilled Cheese
  • Grilled Cheese Benedict
  •  
    BLUE CHEESE CRUMBLES

    Many people buy blue cheese crumbles for the convenience. But we love blue cheese so much, we buy one of our favorites and crumble it with a knife. Just dice it in your size of choice.

    We also buy extra for table cheese, and to make this delicious blue cheese dip from PopArtichoke.com.

    Our favorite blues from America’s artisan cheesemakers: Anything from Point Reyes Farmstead Cheese, anything from Rogue Creamery, and Bayley Hazen from Jasper Hill Farm.

    Here’s more about blue cheese.

     
     
      

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    TIP OF THE DAY: Chess Pie

    Chess Pie

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    Pumpkin Chess Pie

    Tangerine Chess Pie

    Top: Classic Chess Pie from Zulka Sugar. Second: Lemon Chess Pie from Good Eggs | SF. Third: Pumpkin Chess Pie from Midwest Living (recipe). Bottom: Tangerine Chess Pie from Southern Living (recipe).

     

    Chess Pie is a venerable Southern recipe that likely has nothing to do with the game of chess.

    It’s a one-crust, sweet, rich custard pie made with basic ingredients found in every kitchen: butter, eggs, flour, milk, sugar and vanilla—plus two distinctive ingredients, cornmeal and vinegar. A one-bowl recipe, simply stirred, Chess Pie, which dates back to Colonial times, has remained popular over the generations.
     
    THE HISTORY OF CHESS PIE

    An early version appears in Martha Washington’s Booke Of Cookery, comprising recipes handed down from her first husband’s mother, Frances Parke Custis, possibly at her marriage in 1750. The first known recipe called Chess Pie appears in the 1877, in Buckeye Cookery and Practical Housekeeping by Estelle Woods Wilcox.

    We will probably never know how Chess Pie got its name, but here are the four prevailing theories:

  • Gentlemen were served the pie as they retreated to a room to play chess.
  • It’s Southern dialect: for “jes’ pie” (It’s just pie).
  • Its “chest pie”—“chess pie” when drawled. Because the pie is so high in sugar, it kept well at room temperature in the pie chest.
  • Perhaps the most academic theory, a Lemon Chess Pie was so similar to the English Lemon Curd Pie. The latter, often called “cheese” pie, evolved to “chess” in the U.S.
  • Add your theory in the comments section.
  •  
    Early variations added lemon juice or pie spices: cinnamon, ginger, nutmeg. Some added flaked coconut or toasted pecans. Some substituted part of the milk with buttermilk (buttermilk or lemon juice provides acid that can substitute for the vinegar). When cocoa powder became available, it was whisked right in to make Chocolate Chess Pie.
     
    RECIPE: CLASSIC CHESS PIE

    You can save time with refrigerated pie crusts, or make your own. This classic recipe from Southern Living saves time with a refrigerated crust.

    Other Southern Living recipes include Chocolate-Pecan Chess Pie, Grapefruit Chess Pie, Lemon Chess Pie, Orange Chess Pie and Tangerine Chess Pie. Some use a traditional flaky pie crust, some use a shortbread crust.

    We also found a lovely Pumpkin Chess Pie, a Cookie Chess Pie with Oreos and numerous other variations. Have a favorite flavor? Incorporate it into a Chess Pie!
     
    Ingredients

  • 1/2 package (15-ounce) refrigerated pie crusts
  • 2 cups sugar
  • 2 tablespoons cornmeal
  • 1 tablespoon all-purpose flour
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt
  • 1/2 cup butter, melted
  • 1/4 cup milk
  • 1 tablespoon white vinegar
  • 1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 4 large eggs, lightly beaten
  •  
    For A Cocoonut Chess Pie

  • 1 cup toasted flaked coconut
  •  

    Preparation

    1. FIT the pie crust into a 9-inch pie plate, according to package directions. Fold the edges under and crimp.

    2. LINE the crust with aluminum foil, and fill with pie weights or dried beans. Bake at 425° for 4 to 5 minutes. Remove the weights and foil; bake 2 more minutes or until golden. Cool.

    3. STIR together the sugar and the other ingredients except the eggs, until blended. Then add the eggs one at a time, stirring well, followed by the optional coconut.

    4. POUR the mixture into the pie crust. Bake at 350° for 50 to 55 minutes. After 10 minutes, to prevent excessive browning, shield the crust edges with aluminum foil or a pie crust shield—very useful if you make a lot of pies. Cool completely on a wire rack.
     
    WANT MORE PIE?

    Check out our Pie & Pastry Glossary and pick something new.

     
      

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