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

Archive for Food Fun

TIP OF THE DAY: Grown Up Snow Cones

Remember your childhood summers, and how happy a snow cone made you? The rainbow snow cone (photo #3) was our personal favorite.

Alas, when one’s palate evolves, those overly-sweet syrups from street vendors no longer bring pleasure. And the day-glow colors? Sheesh!

One way we’ve worked around this is to make adult snow cones with a better syrup like Monin or Torani—still pretty sweet—combined with a matching liqueur, in a 1:1 proportion.

If you have an ice crushing machine or a snow cone machine, it’s a great idea for a casual summer cocktail party.

And then, there’s the iced coffee snow cone, a riff on one of America‘s favorite warm-weather beverages.

We adapted this recipe from one by Nuggets Market—12 locations in northern California.

You can have a family-friendly iced espresso, or add Kahlúa or your favorite coffee liqueur.

Instead of coffee, you can make a variation with chai concentrate (we use Original Oregon Chai Tea Latte Concentrate), or with strong-brewed tea.

Serve them in a vessel of choice. Since we never got around to buying paper cones, we use a rocks glass and a spoon.

RECIPE: ESPRESSO SNOW CONES

Ingredients For 2 Servings

  • 2 shots espresso or chai coffee mate
  • ½ teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 2 tablespoons Coffee Mate (flavor of choice, e.g. cinnamon, hazelnut, vanilla)
  • 4 cups shaved ice
  • Optional: coffee liqueur
  • Garnish: whipped cream, chocolate shavings
  •  
    Preparation

    1. COMBINE the 2 espresso, vanilla extract, Coffee Mate and optional liqueur, and let chill in the fridge for 10 minutes. Once the mixture is chilled…

    2. SHAVE the ice. Fill a blender halfway with ice cubes and use the “crush” setting. Don’t fill the blender more than halfway or the top ice won’t get crushed.

    3. FILL the serving cups one-third full with whipped cream. Add the ice, pour the espresso mixture over ice, top with whipped cream and chocolate shavings.
     
     
    THE HISTORY OF SNOW CONES

    Snow cones are the oldest form of ice cream—if you substitute a bowl or cup for the a cylindrical cone, which came much later (the history of ice cream).

    The original “ice cream,” made in China some 4,000 years ago, consisted of flavoring snow with syrup. Fast forward to the 1850s, and you have ice shaved from large blocks into a paper cone or cup, topped with syrup.

    Shaved Ice In 11th Century Japan

    In 11th-century Japan, kakigori, a shaved ice dessert, is believed to have already existed. It was made from ice harvested in winter and stored in ice houses: a luxury available only to the wealthy nobility.

    Ice was shaved into a metal bowl and eaten with a sweet sap from vines, hydrangeas, and ivy, with some golden syrup on top.

    Around the 19th century, with the ice-making technology of the Industrial Revolution, kakigori was finally affordable to the general public.

    The first kakigori shop was opened in 1872. The ice was flavored with fruit syrup, and optionally topped with adjuki beans and sweetened condensed milk.

    Kakigori became a common treat, leading to modern versions of Japanese shaved ice and Hawaiian shave ice [source].

    Snowballs In 19th Century Baltimore

    On the other side of the world, in the U.S., historians trace the snow cone to Baltimore in the 1850s. When blocks of ice first began to be manufactured commercially, ice wagons would transport the huge blocks from factories to businesses—not just locally, but interstate.

     

    Espresso Granita
    [1] An espresso snow cone, a fun alternative to iced coffee (photo courtesy Nuggets Market).

    Snow Cones
    [2] Classic snow cones: super-sweet, in day-glow colors (photo courtesy La Estrella Bounce).

    Snow Cone

    [3] Favorite childhood treat: a rainbow snow cone (photo Katlin Cockrell | Pinterest).

    Snow Cone

    [4] A Baltimore specialty: egg custard snowball with marshmallow topping (photo Scott Suchman | Baltimore Magazine).

     

    On hot days in Baltimore, on the route from New York to Florida, children would run up to the ice wagons and ask for small scrapings of ice. Mothers began to top them with syrups, and called them snowballs.

    One of the easiest toppings to make at home was egg custard, a simple mix of eggs, vanilla and sugar (hold the cream!). It gave the “snow” a creaminess, closer to ice cream than the bright-colored fruit flavors that subsequently became popular.

    Sources name Baltimore as the home of the “egg custard snowball,” where it remains a prevalent summer snack (photo #4—it’s now often topped with melted marshmallows).

    By the 1870s, Baltimore theaters would sell snowballs in warm months. According to Wikipedia, “Signs in theaters instructing patrons to finish their snowballs before coming in to the second act are the earliest tangible evidence of snowballs.”

    Around the city, snowballs were served on newspaper, but in the classy theaters, butchers’ boats were used. In the 1890s, patents for electric ice shavers were filed as Baltimoreans sought faster alternatives to hand-shaved ice.

    Snow Cones In Texas

    As the recipe spread, the name evolved. Plop the shaved ice into a paper cone or cup and call it a snow cone.

    In 1919, Samuel Bert, who would invent an ice-crushing machine the following year, sold snow cones at the State Fair of Texas. But ice continued to be largely hand-shaved until Ernest Hansen of New Orleans patented the first block-ice shaving machine in 1934.

    According to Wikipedia, during the Great Depression, snowballs became more readily available around the U.S. A cheap treat, they were nicknamed Hard Times Sundae and Penny Sunday.

    Hansen’s ice shaver produced ice that had the consistency of snow, unlike the other ice shavers, which produced rough, crunchy ice (think granita)—a true snow cone [source].

    With milk rationing during World War II, snow cones became a go-to icy treat.

    Today’s snow cone syrups, available in dozens of flavors, have one thing in common: They’re all made in vibrant—not necessarily natural—colors.

      

    Comments off

    TIP OF THE DAY: Jello Firecrackers, Red White & Blue Fruit Desserts

    Our mom made apple pie and brownies; but our favorite desserts for patriotic holiday weekends are red, white and blue.

    We present three recipes with photos, plus another 18 links below. Recipes #2 and #3 can be pulled together in just 10 minutes.

    RECIPE #1: JELL-O FIRECRACKERS OR SHOTS

    To celebrate July 4th, Kraft Recipes has developed this fun snack and dessert.

    You can make it for any special occasion (Chanukah, Christmas, St. Patrick’s Day, Thanksgiving…) by varying the colors.

    And…you can turn the recipe into Jell-O shots by adding vodka or tequila.

    Ingredients For 20 Pieces

  • 1-1/3 cups boiling water, divided
  • 1 package (3 ounces) Berry Blue Jell-O
  • 1 package (3 ounces) Cherry Jell-O
  • 1 envelope unflavored gelatin
  • 1 cup milk, divided
  • 3 tablespoons sugar
  • 1/2 teaspoon vanilla
  • 20 maraschino cherries with stems, well drained, patted dry
  • 20 plastic shot glasses or 1-ounce paper drinking cups
  • Nonstick cooking spray
  • Optional: vodka or tequila
  •  
    Preparation

    To make the alcoholic shots, see Variation, below.

       

    Jello Firecrackers

    Berry Blue Jello Package

    [1] and [2] Make fun Jell-O “firecrackers” for kids, or add vodka for Jell-O shots. Photos courtesy Kraft.

     
     
    1. ADD 2/3 cup boiling water to the berry gelatin powder in small bowl; stir 2 minutes until completely dissolved. Repeat with the cherry gelatin powder. Allow to cool. Meanwhile…

    2. SPRINKLE the unflavored gelatin over 1/4 cup milk in a medium bowl; let stand 5 minutes. Bring the remaining milk to a boil in a saucepan. Remove from the heat, stir in the sugar and vanilla, and add to plain gelatin mixture. Stir until the gelatin is completely dissolved. Cool for 10 minutes.

    3. SPOON the berry gelatin into 20 (1-ounce) plastic shot glasses sprayed lightly with cooking spray, adding 2 teaspoons to each. Refrigerate for 15 minutes or until set but not firm.

    4. TOP with the unflavored gelatin mixture, adding 2 teaspoons to each cup. Refrigerate for 10 minutes. Insert a cherry, stem end up, into the white gelatin layer. Refrigerate for 2 minutes.

    5. COVER with the cherry gelatin, adding 2 teaspoons to each cup. Refrigerate for 2 hours or until firm. Remove from the cups before serving on a platter or individual plates.

    Variation With Alcohol: Prepare as directed, reducing the boiling water to 1 cup and dissolving the berry and cherry gelatin mixes in 1/2 cup boiling water each. Stir 1/4 cup vodka into each flavor of gelatin, then continue as directed.

    Infuse the maraschino cherries in a glass jar. Add 1/2 cup vodka and cover with a tight-fitting lid. Refrigerate for at least 2 hours. Then drain, pat dry and use as directed. (Yes, you can drink the alcohol you’ve drained.)

    Variation Without Maraschino Cherries: Substitute small strawberries or blackberries for the cherries.
     
     
    GELATIN VS. GELATINE: THE DIFFERENCE

    It’s the same product. Gelatine is the British spelling and pronunciation (jell-a-TEEN in the U.K. versus jell-a-TIN in the U.S.).
     
     
    EASY FRUIT DESSERTS

    If you’d like to celebrate with fruit, bring home some a watermelon, some blueberries and your choice of creamy topping: Cool Whip, vanilla yogurt, yogurt or sour cream (the latter two sweetened as desired).

    Both recipes are super-quick and easy and low in calories.

     

    Red White & Blue Fruit Salad

    Watermelon Star Cake

    Two super-easy, red-white-and-blue fruit desserts: [3] fruit cup and [4] star “cake” (photos courtesy National Watermelon Promotion Board).

     

    RECIPE #2: RED, WHITE & BLUE FRUIT CUP

    Ingredients

  • Watermelon
  • Blueberries and/or blackberries
  • Optional: Starfruit (carambola)
  • Creamy topping and/or shredded coconut
  • Optional: red, white and blue sprinkles or stars
  •  
    Preparation

    1. SCOOP watermelon balls into a glass serving bowl. Add the berries and sliced starfruit and toss with your hands to disperse. Cover with plastic and refrigerate until ready to use. To serve…

    2. ADD the topping(s) or serve them on the side.
     
     
    RECIPE #3: WATERMELON STAR “CAKE”

    Ingredients

  • Whole or half watermelon of desired diameter
  • Creamy topping of choice
  • Garnish: blueberries and raspberries
  •  
    Preparation

    1. CUT a circle from the center of the melon, five inches thick or as desired.

    2. REMOVE the rind and cut the fruit into a star shape. Cover in plastic and refrigerate until ready to serve.

    3. ASSEMBLE: Frost the top and garnish with berries. As desired, pipe additional cream around the base, as shown in the photo.

     
    MORE RED, WHITE & BLUE DESSERT RECIPES

  • American Flag Cookies (recipe)
  • American Flag Brownie Ice Cream Cake (recipe)
  • American Flag Pie (recipe)
  • Blueberry Cherry Pie With Stars & Stripes Top (recipe)
  • Oreo Cookie Balls (recipe)
  • Red, White & Blue Cheesecake (recipe)
  • Red, White & Blue Cupcakes (recipe)
  • Red, White & Blue Frosted Layer Cake (recipe 1, recipe 2, recipe 3)
  • Pavlova (recipe)
  • Red, White & Blue Grilled Angel Food Cake (recipe)
  • Red, White & Blue Parfaits (recipe)
  • Red, White & Blue Shortcake (recipe)
  • Red, White & Blue Tartlets (recipe)
  • Red, White & Blue Whoopie Pies (recipe)
  • Triple Berry Biscuit Shortcake (recipe)
  • Stars & Stripes Toll House Cookies (recipe)
  • Strawberry & Blueberry Parfait (recipe)
  • Red Velvet, White & Blue Cupcakes (recipe)
  •  

      

    Comments off

    JULY 4TH RECIPE: Firecracker Hot Dogs

    Firecracker Hot Dogs

    July 4th Hot Dogs

    Skip the hot dog roll this year, in favor of these fun firecrackers (photos courtesy USA Pan).

     

    Why stick a hot dog in a roll?

    These Hot Dog Firecrackers are an easy recipe to serve over 4th of July weekend, fun for all age.

    You don’t need a roll to hold the ketchup or mustard. You can neatly add them to the “firecracker” via a squeeze bottle or a knife.

    This recipe came to us from USA Pan, makers of fine bakeware.

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

    You don’t need a grill: These firecrackers are baked in the oven.

    RECIPE: FIRECRACKER HOT DOGS FOR JULY 4TH

    Ingredients For 16 Hot Dogs

  • 1 refrigerated crescent dough sheet
  • 16 hot dogs
  • 16 slices thick slices of cheddar, colby or jack cheese
  • 16 wooden skewers, soaked
  •  
    Preparation

    1. PREHEAT the oven to 350°F. Stick the skewers through the center of the hot dogs until there is an inch and a half of the skewer coming out from the top of each dog.

    2. PLACE the crescent dough on flat surface. With a knife, cut ¾ inch thick strips.

    3. WRAP each hot dog with a strip of dough, leaving a gap between each spiral. Place the hot dogs on a half sheet pan (see below), leaving a small amount of space between each hot dog. Bake for 15 minutes or until golden brown. While the hot dogs are cooking…

    4. CUT stars from the cheese. Assemble on top of the finished hot dogs and serve.

     

    THE HISTORY OF SHEET PANS

    A sheet pan, baking tray or baking sheet is a flat, rectangular metal pan used in an oven. It is typically used for baking bread rolls, pastries and flat products such as cookies, sheet cakes, swiss rolls and pizzas.

    The most basic sheet pan is literally a sheet of metal, hence the name. If you have a cookie sheet with no continuous lip around the edges, you have a sheet pan.

    One or two edges are rolled to enable easy handling in and out of the oven. The open sides allow you to remove the warm cookies without disturbing their shape.

    Modern sheet pans used in commercial kitchens typically are made of aluminum, with a 1 inch lip around the edge.

    The Sheet Pan Evolves

    The next step in the development of the sheet pan was to include a lip on one or more edges, to prevent food from sliding off. Some pans add handles to aid in placing the pan in, and removing it from, the oven.

    A sheet pan that has a continuous lip around all four sides is also called a jelly roll pan. It can be used to make the flat cake layer used for jelly rolls and roulades with other fillings.

    Today, there are specialty sheet pans that include a layer of insulation or air (an “air bake pan”), designed to protect delicate food like macarons from burning.

    Sheet Pan Sizes

    In the U.S.:

  • A full-size sheet pan is 26 by 18 inches—too large for most home ovens.
  • A two-thirds sheet pan (also called a three quarter size sheet pan) is 21 by 15 inches.
  • A half sheet pan, which most of us use in our home ovens, is 18 by 13 inches (photo #2).
  • A jelly roll pan, typically 10½ by 15½ inches, is a smaller version of a half sheet. The proportions produces a layer of cake size that is ideal for rolling.
  • A quarter sheet pan is 9 by 13 inches, and can be used for rectangular, single-layer cakes.
  •  
    Sheet Pans Vs. Cookie Sheets

    Cookie sheets are different from baking pans. Baking pans have rolled edges, and cookie sheets do not.

    Cookie sheets offer the advantage of a large surface area with no edges to impede removing the baked cookies. But their lack of edges limits their uses:

    You can bake cookies in a baking pan, but you can’t cook a roast (or anything else that expels juice) on a cookie sheet.

    Baking pans for roasts, called roasting pans, are deeper, to accommodate the size of the roast plus the juices it emits.
     
      

    Comments off

    FOOD FUN: Deconstructed Ceviche & The Different Types Of Raw Fish Dishes

    Deconstructed Ceviche
    [1] Deconstructed ceviche at Seviche | Louisville.

    Ceviche Trio
    [2] A trio of ceviches with different mixes of seafood and vegetables, from Chef Ingrid Hoffmann.

    Sea Bass Ceviche
    [3] Sea bass ceviche with traditional ingredients from Coya | London.

    White Fish Tiradito

    [4] Tiradito: a fusion preparation with sashimi-cut fish and a non-traditional garnish (fried capers), at Raymi | NYC.

     

    June 28th is National Ceviche Day, so let’s have some fun with it.

    Ceviche is delicious “health food.”

  • Fish and seafood are high in protein.
  • Citrus juice is high in antioxidants including vitamin C; and is a good source of potassium and folate.
  • There’s no sugar or added fat.
  • Ceviche is low in calories. Most fish have 30-40 calories per ounce; shrimp and lobster have 30 calories, bay scallops 25 calories and octopus 35 calories per ounce. Other ingredients such as chile, cucumber, herbs, onion and tomato add negligible calories.
  •  
    And perhaps most important to some:

  • Ceviche is not raw fish. The fish is cured by marinating in citrus juice.
  •  
     
    DECONSTRUCTED CEVICHE

    Seviche Restaurant in Louisville, Kentucky serves a different ceviche any day. While there are traditional presentations, they’ve also served it deconstructed (photo #1).

    Instead of serving it traditionally—in a bowl or other container, resting in its marinade/curing liquid and topped with garnishes—the deconstruction in Photo #1 comprises:

  • Slices of cured fish set directly on a plate.
  • Topped with minced vegetables, instead of diced vegetables mixed in with the fish.
  • The marinade becomes a sauce, artistically place on the plate.
  • The plate is garnished with non-traditional garnishes—herbs, edible flowers, jicama, radishes, etc.—instead of cilantro or parsley, diced avocado, lime wedge or sliced onions.
  •  
     
    THE DIFFERENCES AMONG RAW FISH DISHES

  • Carpaccio is Italian for raw fillet of beef, not fish. Crudo is the term for raw fish or seafood. You will find fish “crudo” on restaurant menus, but that doesn’t make it correct. While raw fish consumption is ancient, beef carpaccio was based on the Piedmont speciality, carne cruda all’albese (raw beef Alba-style), created by Giuseppe Cipriani, founder of Harry’s Bar in Venice. Using fine Piedmontese beef, he originally prepared it for a countess whose doctors had recommended that she eat raw meat. At the time, there was a local exhibition of the 15th-century Venetian painter Vittore Carpaccio; hence the name of the dish.
  • Ceviche, seviche or sebiche, from South America, is a marinated raw fish dish that date to pre-Colombian times. Then, seafood was “cooked” (acid-cured) with a fruit called tumbo (Passiflora tarminina, a relative of passionfruit). The Incas cured fish in salt and fermented corn. The Spanish brought onions limes, which are essential to today’s ceviche.
  • Crudo is analogous to sashimi—plain raw fish, although the fish is cut differently.
  • Escabeche is not raw, but seared fish (or meat) that is then marinated it in a vinegar-based sauce redolent of herbs and spices. As with ceviche, there is always an acidic marinade. It is served cold or at room temperature.
  • Poke is a Hawaiian dish that recently has made its way from coast to coast. A mix of raw fish and vegetables are served as an appetizer or salad course. It is different from tiradito or ceviche in that the fish is cubed with a soy sauce and sesame oil dressing, and Hawaiian garnishes like roasted crushed candlenut and limu seaweed, along with chopped chiles. It is pronounced poe-KEH. Here’s more about it.
  • Sashimi is Japanese-style sliced raw fish, generally served with a bowl of plain, steamed rice (not sushi rice, which is prepared with vinegar and sugar). The word literally means “pierced body.” No one is certain of the origin, but it may have come from the former practice of sticking the tail and fin of the fish on the slices, to let it be known which fish one was eating.
  • Tataki is a fillet of fish that is lightly seared: Just the surface is cooked, with the majority of the fish eaten in its raw state.
  • Tiradito is a more recent dish, fusing the concepts of ceviche and sashimi. Fish is sliced in pieces that are longer and thinner than sashimi. They are artfully arranged on a plate on top of a light sauce, and garnished (with cilantro, fresh corn kernels, thin slices of hot chile, etc.). The name derives from the Spanish verb tirar, which means to throw (i.e., throwing together raw fish with a sauce). Here’s a recipe.
  •  
    Don’t worry if you can’t keep these straight: We saw a dish called carpaccio at New York City’s top seafood restaurant, that was clearly tiradito (with sauce and chile garnishes).
     

     

    A BRIEF HISTORY OF CEVICHE & TIRADITO

    In South America, marinated raw fish dishes date to pre-Colombian times, when seafood was “cooked” (acid-cured) with a fruit called tumbo (Passiflora tarminina, a relative of passionfruit). The Incas cured fish in salt and fermented corn.

    In the 16th century, the Spaniards arrived with limes, onions and bell peppers, three essential ingredients in basic modern ceviche. Lime juice cured the fish, and marinating the sliced/diced onions and bell peppers mixed in with the seafood. Large kernels of roasted Inca corn are a common garnish.

    Ceviche is found in almost all restaurants on the coast of Peru, typically served with camote (sweet potato, which originated in Peru). It has been called “the flagship dish of coastal cuisine,” and is one of the most popular dishes in Peru [source].

    Over time, fruits were incorporated; most popularly, tomatoes (native to Peru) and mango.

    The influx of Japanese immigrants to Peru in the 1970s brought with it chefs who cut and treated the fish in the manner of sashimi. A fusion dish developed called tiradito, with seafood cut sashimi-style (but thinner and longer), a spicy dressing incorporating Peruvian chiles, and more elaborate garnishes.
     
     
    CEVICHE, CEBICHE, SEBICHE, SEVICHE

    Ceviche is variously spelled with a c or an s, with a v or a b.

    In Peru, cebiche is the spelling in Lima; although ceviche is used elsewhere in the country, and is the most common internationally.

    However, seviche was actually declared the proper spelling in 2004, by Peru’s National Institute of Culture.

    Additionally, historical texts refer to the dish as seviche, including those by the Academia Peruana de la Lengua (Peruvian Language Academy), founded in 1887 [source].

    Since even in its homeland, the national dish has multiple spellings, don’t argue with anyone over which one is “correct.”

    Lobster Ceviche recipe
    Make Your Signature Ceviche Recipe
    More History Of Ceviche
    Shrimp Ceviche Recipe
    Trout Ceviche Recipe
    Wasabi Ceviche Recipe

     

    Ceviche MartinI Glass
    [5] Presentation in a Martini glass with plantain chips, at Elegant Affairs Caterers.

    Ceviche Grilled Lime

    [6] A modern update garnished with fresh tarragon, fried Chinese noodles and a grilled lime wheel.

     

      

    Comments off

    PRODUCT: Grow Your Own Tea

    If you live in hardiness zones 8-10—the southern United States—and have a spot with full sun, you can grow your own tea with plants from Burpee.

    One individual commenting on the Burpee website had success in Zone 6.

    Here’s the USDA map of hardiness zones.

    Tea, Camellia sinensis, is a perennial plant. The same plant yields black, green and white tea. The difference is in the processing; basically, how much heat is applied to dry the leaves.

    At $16.95 per plant, it’s a fun opportunity to grow what you drink; and if you have younger children, a nifty project.

    You harvest and dry the tea leaves in a wok or pan.

    Buy the plants now and harvest them in the fall. Send some as gifts to tea-loving friends with green thumbs. Here’s where to order.

    Different states have particular shipping restrictions. For example, you can’t ship lemongrass plants to California or Colorado, or potato plants to Florida or Montana.

    Check here to see if tea plants can be shipped to your state.
     
     
    PREFER HERBAL TEA?

    Herbs can be grown anywhere! Read our article on growing herbal tea at home.
     
     
    TEA TIME: TIME TO LEARN MORE ABOUT TEA

    A Year Of Tea Party Ideas

    Black Vs. Green Vs. White Tea

    Brewing The Perfect Cup Of Tea

    Have An Iced Tea Party

    The History Of Tea

    Pairing Tea With Food

    Tea Glossary: All The Tea Terms You Need To Know

     

    Grow Your Own Tea
    Grow it.

    Cup Of Tea
    Drink it.

    Cup Of Green Tea

    Enjoy it! (Photo #1 courtesy Burpee, photo #2 courtesy Chateau Rouge Fine Foods, photo #3 courtesy Republic Of Tea._

     

      

    Comments off



    © Copyright 2005-2017 Lifestyle Direct, Inc. All rights reserved. All images are copyrighted to their respective owners.