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    THE NIBBLE’s Gourmet News & Views

    Trends, Products & Items Of Note In The World Of Specialty Foods

    This is the blog section of THE NIBBLE. Read all of our content on TheNibble.com,
    the online magazine about gourmet and specialty food.

Archive for Food Holidays/History/Facts

FOOD HOLIDAY: National Tequila Day

No Margaritas today: Celebrate July 24th, National Tequila Day, with a different tequila cocktail.

Perhaps you’d prefer some tequila ice pops, too.

Here’s a cocktail suggestion from Tequila Avión, incorporating ripe summer papaya.

RECIPE: PAPAYA SMASH

Ingredients For 1 Drink

  • 1¼ ounces añejo tequila
  • Slice of fresh papaya
  • ¼ ounce agave nectar
  • ½ ounce Aperol or Campari (see note below)
  • ½ ounce orange juice
  • ¾ ounce fresh lime juice
  • Fresh papaya slice for garnish
  •  
    Preparation

    1. MUDDLE a slice of fresh papaya and agave nectar in a mixing glass. Add the tequila Aperol and orange juice. Top off with fresh lime juice. Add ice and give it a good shake.

    2. STRAIN into an ice-filled glass and garnish with a fresh slice of papaya.

       

    papaya-smash-avion-tequila-230

    Papaya and tequila: an inspired combination. Photo courtesy Tequila Avión.

     

     

    avion-anejo-bottle-230

    Anejo tequila is aged for two years, adding
    complex flavors. Photo courtesy Tequila
    Avión.

     

    TEQUILA & COKE

    Those who enjoy a rum and Coke can celebrate with the tequila version. Coffee lovers can buy Avion’s Espresso Tequila and make this cocktail, “The Rally,” with 1 part Avión Espresso Tequila and 2 parts cola.

    Find more recipes at TequilaAvion.com.
     

    APEROL VS. CAMPARI

    Like the better-known Campari, Aperol is an Italian apéritif, a dry alcoholic beverage usually served before a meal to stimulate the appetite. Other apéritif examples include champagne, gin, pastis, dry sherry (fino or amontillado), vermouth, and any still, dry, light white wine.

    Aperol is milder, less bitter and much lighter in color. Its ingredients include, among others, bitter orange, gentian, rhubarb, and cinchona. Although it tastes and smells much like Campari, Aperol has an alcohol content that is less than half of Campari (Aperol is 11% A.B.V.), with the same sugar content.

    The opposite of an apéritif, a digestif is an alcoholic beverage served after a meal, in theory to aid digestion. Examples include brandy, eaux de vie (fruit brandies), grappa (pomace brandy), liqueurs, and fortified wines such as cream sherry, sweet vermouth, Port, and Madeira.

     

      

    Comments

    TIP OF THE DAY: Homemade Lollipops For National Lollipop Day

    red-clear-lollipops-230

    Your homemade lollipops can be free form with inclusions, like the bits of flower petals
    above. Photo courtesy Sacred Sweets.

     

    Looking for a fun activity? How about making lollipops?

    Today is National Lollipop Day July 20th, and Exploratorium has a recipe that lets you be a lollipop chef.

    You can make favorite flavors that aren’t often found in commercial products. We’ve got anise, banana, hazelnut, mint and rum extracts that are just waiting to flavor lollys.

    The other ingredients include sugar, corn syrup, water, cream of tartar and liquid food coloring.

    You can mix up standard or unusual colors with food coloring; but the idea that really appeals to us comes from Sacred Sweets in Greenport, New York.

    They turn lollipops into edible art with:

  • Clear or barely tinted candy that shows off the inclusions inside.
  • Inclusions (mix ins) like edible flowers and glitter (you can use sprinkles and other decorations)
  • Free-form shapes
  •  
    LOLLIPOP HISTORY

    Lollipop sophistication has come a long way since prehistoric man licked honey off the stick he used to scrape it from the beehive.

    The ancient Arabs, Chinese and Egyptians made fruit and nut confections candied in honey, which may also have been eaten from sticks, owing to the stickiness of the confection.

    But what we think of as a lollipop may date to Europe in the Middle Ages, when sugar was boiled and formed onto sticks as treats for the wealthy—the only people who could afford sugar.

     
    By the 17th century, sugar was plentiful and affordable. In England, boiled sugar (hard candy) treats were popular. The word “lollipop” (originally spelled lollypop) first appears in print in 1784, roughly coinciding with the beginning of the Industrial Revolution.

    Beginning in the later part of the 18th century, industry, including confectionery, became mechanized. Horehound drops, lemon drops, peppermints and wintergreen lozenges became everyday candies.

     

    While we don’t know the inventor of the modern lollipop, the first automated lollipop machine was invented in Racine, Wisconsin in 1908. The Racine Confectionery Machine Company’s machine put hard candy discs on the end of a sticks, producing 2400 lollipops per hour, 57,000 per day. Today’s machines can produce 3 million lollipops daily.

    Far beyond the specialty Blow Pops, Tootsie Pops, Sugar Daddys of childhood, today’s lollipops come in all shapes and sizes, from hand-crafted works of sugar art to caffeinated Java Pops and bacon lollipops.

    And handcrafted lollipops still exist, made by companies like Hammond’s Candies, where artisans coil ropes of boiled hard candy into colorful jumbo lollipops.

    SEE’S LOLLYPOPS: SOMETHING DIFFERENT

    See’s Candies chooses the original spelling for its “lollypops,” but perhaps that’s to differentiate the creamy candy-on-a-stick from conventional lollys.

     

    sees-lollipops-unwrapped-beauty-230

    See’s creamy “lollypops,” made with butter and cream. Photo courtesy See’s Candies.

     

    See’s are made with butter and heavy cream, in a square shape (see photo at right).

    Available in butterscotch, café latté, chocolate, chocolate orange, root beer and vanilla (plus holiday flavors), they have the consistency of butterscotch, and are certified kosher by KSA.

    And they’re addictive! Treat yourself to some at Sees.com.

      

    Comments

    RECIPE: The Classic Daiquiri

    daiquiri-no.2-ConstantinoRibailagua-bacardi-230

    No. 2 Daiquiri, the first variation of the
    original, created in 1920s Havana. Photo
    courtesy Bacardi Rum.

     

    July 19th is National Daiquiri Day. It well known as one of the favorite drinks of writer Ernest Hemingway, and less well known as a favorite of President John F. Kennedy.

    The cocktail was created in 1898, in the tropical heat of the Cuban town of Daiquirí. Jennings Cox, an American mining engineer working at the local iron mine, had the bartender shake Bacardi rum, sugar and lime with ice.

    A tall glass was packed with cracked ice; a teaspoon of sugar was sprinkled over the ice and the juice of one or two limes was squeezed over the sugar. Two or three ounces of white rum were added, and the mixture was stirred with a long-handled spoon. (Later versions used a shaker and other proportions*.)

    It was a hit: Word spread and the top bartenders in Havana were shaking it up in no time. It is also possible that William Astor Chanler, Sr., a U.S. congressman who purchased the Santiago Iron Mines in 1902, introduced the Daiquirí to clubs in New York at that time. In 1909, Rear Admiral Lucius W. Johnson, a U.S. Navy medical officer, introduced the to the Army and Navy Club in Washington, D.C. [source].

    The Daiquiri is one of the six classic cocktails highlighted in The Fine Art of Mixing Drinks, first published in 1948 and still in print (here’s the 2008 edition). The others included:

  • Jack Rose (applejack, lemon juice and grenadine)
  • Manhattan (whiskey, sweet vermouth and Agnostura bitters)
  • Martini (gin and dry vermouth)
  • Old Fashioned (whiskey, simple syrup and Angostura bitters, garnished with the lemon peel and a maraschino cherry
  • Sidecar (Cognac or Armagnac, lemon juice, Cointreau or triple sec)
  •  
    *For 1 drink: 1-1/2 ounces light/white rum, 2 tablespoons fresh lime juice, 1 ounce of simple syrup. Place the sugar and lime juice into a cocktail shaker and stir until the sugar has dissolved. Add the rum and fill the shaker with ice: half of ice cubes, topped with half of crushed ice. Shake vigorously until thoroughly chilled; strain into a chilled coupette (cocktail glass).
     
    DAIQUIRI VARIATIONS

    As with just about any cocktail, many variations of the Daiquiri have proliferated.

    One of the easiest ways to enhance the flavor is by substituting the lime juice for another citrus. Grapefruit and yuzu are our two favorites. Try this delicious Yuzu Daiquiri Recipe, which includes more history of the cocktail.

    Another of our favorite substitutions uses 2 tablespoons of triple sec or other orange liqueur instead of the sugar.

    And, a with the Margarita, fruit purées can be introduced to create a Lychee Daiquiri, Pineapple Daiquiri, Strawberry Daiquiri, etc. Add pomegranate juice for a Pomegranate Daiquiri.

     

    THE ORIGINAL DAIQUIRI EVOLVES

    After the recipe traveled from Daiquiri to Havana, Constantino Ribailagua, a bartender at El Floridita bar and restaurant in OldHavana, created three variations. We got these recipes from Bacardi, whose rum was used. You’ll need a cocktail shaker and a strainer.

    NO. 2 DAIQUIRI

    Ingredients

  • 2 parts BACARDÍ Superior rum
  • 1/2 part orange Curaçao liqueur
  • 1/2 part freshly squeezed orange juice
  • 1 heaping tsp fine white sugar
  • 1/2 part freshly squeezed lime juice
  • Orange zest
  •  
    Preparation

    1. COMBINE all ingredients except zest in a cocktail shaker filled with ice cubes and crushed ice. Give it all a good, hard shake until the cocktail shaker is cold.

    2. STRAIN the mixture into a chilled glass. Garnish with orange zest.

     

    daiquiri-no.4-ConstantinoRibailagua-bacardi-230

    No. 4 Daiquiri, a classic from 1920s Havana. Photo courtesy Bacardi Rum.

     

    NO. 3 DAIQUIRI

    This variation on the classic Daiquiri is often referred to as the Hemingway Daiquiri. Serve it in a rocks glass.

    Ingredients

  • 2 ounces white rum
  • 1 ounce fresh lime juice
  • 3/4 ounce simple syrup
  • 1 teaspoon maraschino liqueur
  • 1 teaspoon fresh grapefruit juice
  • Ice cubes
  • Crushed ice
  • Garnish: lime wedge, maraschino cherry
  •  
    Preparation

    1. COMBINE first five ingredients and shake vigorously with ice cubes, until the cocktail shaker is cold.

    2. STRAIN into a rocks glass filled with crushed ice. Garnish and serve.

    NO. 4 DAIQUIRI

    Ribailagua tweaked the No. 3 Daiquiri to achieve subtle variations: a more perfumed aroma and a slightly sweeter drink.

    Ingredients

  • 2 parts Bacardi Superior rum
  • 1/3 part maraschino liqueur
  • 1 heaping tsp fine white sugar
  • 1/3 part freshly squeezed lime juice
  • Garnish: maraschino cherry
  •  
    Preparation

    1. COMBINE the ingredients in a cocktail shaker filled with ice cubes and crushed ice. Shake vigorously until the cocktail shaker is cold.

    2. DOUBLE STRAIN the mix into a chilled glass by passing it through a hawthorne strainer (bar strainer) and then through a tea strainer. If you don’t have a hawthorne strainer you can just pass it once through a tea strainer. Garnish with a maraschino cherry.
     
    How to celebrate National Daiquiri Day? Try all four—split with a friend, of course.

      

    Comments

    FOOD HOLIDAY: Celebrate National Mojito Day

    July 11th is National Mojito Day, and the Hard Rock Cafe is mixing up a storm. They sent us three recipes.

    The classic Mojito is a blend of white rum, club soda, sugar/simple syrup, lime juice, mint leaves and ice. To vary the recipe, mixologists switch out the drink’s original muddled mint flavor with coconut, strawberries or other fruits.

    RECIPE: STRAWBERRY MOJITO

    Ingredients For 1 Drink

  • 1 ounce/3 tablespoons strawberry purée (purée fresh or frozen berries in food processor)
  • 8-10 mint leaves
  • 10 lime cubes*
  • 2 ounces Bacardi Dragonberry Rum†
  • Club soda
  • Garnish: mint sprig, strawberry
  •  
    Preparation

    1. MUDDLE strawberry purée, mint leaves and lime cubes well in a shaker.

    2. ADD rum, pineapple juice and ice and shake with ice.

       

    mojitos-varied-hardrockcafe-230

    Strawberry and classic Mojitos. Photo courtesy Hard Rock Cafe.

     
    3. STRAIN into a Collins glass with optional ice; top with club soda. Garnish with a mint sprig and a notched strawberry.
     
    RECIPE: PINEAPPLE COCONUT MOJITO

    Ingredients For 1 Drink

  • 1 ounce/3 tablespoons Piña Colada mix
  • 4 pineapple chunks
  • 10 lime cubes*
  • 2 ounces Bacardi Coconut Rum
  • ½ ounce pineapple juice
  • Ice
  • Club soda
  • Garnish: mint sprig, toasted coconut
  •  
    *Cut each wedge of fresh lime into three “cubes.” This helps with the muddling.

    †Baccardi Dragonberry rum is flavored with strawberries and dragon fruit. Dragon fruit doesn’t have a lot of flavor per se, but it does enable a more interesting name than simply “strawberry rum.”

     

    MagicalMysteryMojito-cucumber-hardrockcafe-230

    Magical Mystery Mojito. The mystery: How
    can a gin-based drink be called a Mojito?
    Photo courtesy Hard Rock Cafe.

     

     
    Preparation

    1. MUDDLE colada mix, pineapple and lime cubes well in a shaker.

    2. ADD rum, pineapple juice and ice and shake with ice.

    3. STRAIN into a Collins glass with optional ice; top with club soda. Garnish with a mint sprig and a spoonful of toasted coconut.
     
    RECIPE: MAGICAL MYSTERY MOJITO

    We’re not sure why the Hard Rock Cafe calls this gin-based drink a Mojito. Gin does not a Mojito make, so don’t be confused: This is a teaching moment. We love the combination of gin, cucumber and elderflower liqueur. With another name, this is a tasty cocktail. (Our favorite use: elderflower liqueur and sparkling wine are a heavenly combination.)

    Ingredients For 1 Drink

  • ¾ ounce Monin Cucumber Syrup
  • 8-10 mint leaves
  • 1½ ounce Hendrick’s Gin
  • ½ ounce St. Germaine Elderflower Liqueur
  • 1 ounce fresh lime juice
  • Club soda
  • Ice
  • Garnish: cucumber spear and mint sprig
  •  

     
    ‡The cucumber is a fruit native to India; it spread to Europe during Roman times. Cucumber juice is used in traditional Mediterranean and Indian beverages for its cooling effect. Monin Cucumber Syrup can be added to sweet or savory teas, lemonades, cocktails and mocktails.

     
    Preparation

    1. MUDDLE the cucumber syrup and mint leaves well in a shaker.

    2. ADD gin, liqueur and lime juice and shake with ice.

    3. STRAIN into a Collins glass with optional ice; top with club soda. Garnish with a mint sprig and cucumber spear.

     
    MOJITO HISTORY

    The mojito (mo-HEE-toe) is a quintessential Cuban cocktail. The name derives from the African voodoo term mojo, to cast a small spell.

    According to Bacardi Rum, the drink can be traced to 1586, when Sir Francis Drake and his pirates unsuccessfully attempted to sack Havana for its gold. His associate, Richard Drake, was said to have invented a Mojito-like cocktail known as El Draque that was made with aguardiente, a crude forerunner of rum, sugar, lime and mint.

    Around the mid-1800s, when the Bacardi Company was established, rum was substituted and the cocktail became known as a Mojito. Here’s the original Mojito recipe.

      

    Comments

    FOOD HOLIDAY: National Strawberry Sundae Day

    Strawberry sundaes have gone out of style. As each new generation comes up with favorite flavors (Cookie Dough, Peanut Butter Cup, Red Velvet Cake), strawberry, an “original” ice cream flavor, has receded into the shadows. When was the last time you saw, much less ordered, a strawberry sundae?

    Today, National Strawberry Sundae Day, is the time to give this classic its due.

    You can make it with vanilla or strawberry ice cream—or both. You can use frozen yogurt instead of ice cream. You can combine a scoop of strawberry ice cream with a scoop of strawberry sorbet. You can even go Creamsicle-style by combining strawberry sorbet with vanilla ice cream.

    Since lush summer strawberries beckon, there’s no need to buy a cloying, HFCS-laden strawberry syrup. Here’s all you need to do.

     

    vanilla-ice-cream-bonne-maman-230

    A strawberry sundae with vanilla ice cream. Photo courtesy Bonne Maman.

     
    RECIPE: STRAWBERRY SUNDAE

    Ingredients

  • Strawberry ice cream or sorbet and/or vanilla ice cream
  • Strawberry jam or preserves
  • 1 squeeze fresh lemon juice
  • Orange liqueur (e.g. Grand Marnier) or spirit of choice (e.g. scotch or vodka)
  • Fresh strawberries, cleaned, hulled and sliced
  • Optional: whipped cream
  •  
    Preparation

    1. CHOOSE a dish. You don’t need sundae or parfait dishes: A bowl, glass or wine glass will do. (The photo above uses a rocks glass.)

    2. PREPARE the strawberry sauce. Dilute strawberry jam with orange liqueur to taste. Add lemon juice to taste. Add a tablespoon or more of warm water to achieve desired consistency.

    3. SCOOP ice cream/sorbet into dish. Top with strawberry sauce, sliced strawberries and optional whipped cream. Dig in.

      

    Comments

    TIP OF THE DAY: The New Banana Split

    Yesterday for National Ice Cream Month we featured the “new” ice cream sandwich, a sandwich/sundae fusion.

    Today, it’s the “new” banana split in the photo: freed from its roots.

    The traditional banana split is a type of ice cream sundae made in a long dish called a boat (hence the alternate term, banana boat).

    The banana is cut in half lengthwise (the “split”) and placed on the bottom of the boat. The banana is topped with three scoops of ice cream—vanilla, chocolate and strawberry ice cream—placed in a row between the split banana halves. Chocolate, pineapple and strawberry sauces are spooned over the ice cream, in no particular pairing. The sundae is garnished with whipped cream, crushed nuts and a maraschino cherry.

    Check out the history of the banana split, below.

    Then, plan a banana split party, where guests create their modern interpretations. It could become your signature annual event!

     

    banana-split-nouvelle-sushisamba-ps-230

    The new banana split: exciting. Photo courtesy SushiSamba.

     

    BANANA SPLIT HISTORY

    The soda fountains of yore were the equivalent of today’s Starbuck’s, where people met for refreshments and socializing. Soda jerks were the mixologists of their day*, inventing treats to excite customers. Malted milks, banana splits and phosphates emerged at the soda fountains of neighborhood drugstore in the 1890s.

    In those days, “jerk” was not a derogatory term; it referred to the quick, sharp pull as the attendant drew the carbonated water tap forward.

    David Evans Strickler, a 23-year-old apprentice pharmacist at Tassel Pharmacy in Latrobe, Pennsylvania†, enjoyed taking on the soda jerk role and inventing sundaes at the store’s soda fountain. He invented the banana-based triple scoop ice cream sundae in 1904.

    The sundae originally cost 10 cents, twice the price of other sundaes, and caught on with students of nearby Saint Vincent College. In those pre-digital days, news of the nifty new sundae quickly spread by word-of-mouth and written correspondence.

    It must have done well for Strickler: He went on to buy the pharmacy, renaming it Strickler’s Pharmacy.

     

    banana-split-calmilkadvisorybd-230

    Traditional banana split: meh. Photo courtesy California Milk Advisory Board.

       

    The city of Latrobe celebrated the 100th anniversary of the invention of the banana split in 2004. In the same year, the National Ice Cream Retailers Association certified Latrobe as the birthplace of the banana split. It hosts an annual Great American Banana Split Festival in late August (sorry, there’s no website), and the city has the original soda fountain where the banana split was created.

    Others tried their hand at the recipe. One, published in 1907, called for a lengthwise split banana, two cones of ice cream at each end of the dish and a mound of whipped cream in between with maraschino cherry on a top. One end was covered with chopped mixed nuts and the other with chopped mixed fruits. [Source: Wikipedia]

    Here’s the history of the ice cream sundae, and the long history of ice cream in general.

     
    *Their day was the late 1800s through the early 1900s.

    †Latrobe is approximately 40 miles southeast of Pittsburgh. The city population was 8,338 as of the 2010 census.
     
    PARTY TIME: BANANA SPLIT BAR

    How about throwing a banana split party, where guests can invent their on banana splits? Here’s what you need to put together:

  • Ice cream, frozen yogurt, sorbet
  • Sauces: caramel sauce/salted caramel sauce, chocolate sauce, pineapple sauce (or crushed pineapple is a good stand-in), strawberry sauce
  • Bananas, split and/or sliced
  • Chopped nuts (traditional walnuts plus pecans, pistachios and/or slivered almonds)
  • Whipped cream
  • Maraschino cherries
  • Bowls, spoons, scoopers, etc.
  •  
    Ingredients for the “new” banana split:

  • Bananas: caramelized, foster (sautéed in butter and bourbon), fried
  • Cake cubes (the easiest to slice are loaf cakes:carrot cake, chocolate cake, pound cake)
  • Candies: caramel corn/kettle corn, chocolate chips or curls, other baking chip flavors, gummies, mini marshmallows, M&Ms, Reese’s Pieces sprinkles, seasonal candies (like candy corn), toffee bits
  • Crumbled cookies: chocolate waters, meringues, oatmeal cookies, Oreos)
  • Fruits: berries; mango, melon and/or pineapple chunks
  • Wild card: brandied cherries and tart cherries, candied bacon, edible flowers, granola, marshmallow cream
  •   

    Comments

    TIP OF THE DAY: Fancy Ice Cream Sandwiches For National Ice Cream Month

    strawberry-ice-cream-sand-garnished-sugarfactory-230

    The Strawberry Rainbow: sugar cookies with strawberry ice cream, sauce and lots of rainbow sprinkles. Photo courtesy Sugar Factory.

     

    Sugar Factory, which has locations nationwide, shows us how to make memorable ice cream sandwiches to celebrate National Ice Cream Month. The tip: garnish, garnish, garnish!

    In fact, as you can see in the photos, Sugar Factory’s ice cream sandwiches are part sundae! Start with ice cream and cookies, but add on:

  • Candy: crushed candy canes, flavored baking chips (butterscotch, mint, peanut butter, vanilla), mini M&Ms, mini Reese’s Pieces, toffee chips and anything you find at the candy store
  • Chocolate: chips/mini chips, shavings
  • Fancy garnishes: dragées (silver, gold, pastel mix), edible glitter
  • Fruit: berries, cherries, coconut, grapes, mixed fruit salad
  • Cookie garnishes: crushed cookies or cookie crumbs, fan cookies (gaufrettes), mini meringues, rolled wafer cookies (like Pirouettes)
  • Nuts: chopped or whole, toasted or caramelized, mini chocolate chips, mini M&Ms, mini Reese’s Pieces, sprinkles
  • Sauce: caramel, chocolate, maple syrup, strawberry, etc.
  • Sprinkles
  • Whipped cream, marshmallow cream
  •  

     

    COMBINATIONS FROM SUGAR FACTORY

  • Bananas Foster: white chocolate macadamia nut cookies with bananas foster ice cream, garnished with whipped cream and white chocolate shavings.
  • The Classic: chocolate chip cookies with vanilla or chocolate ice cream, garnished with whipped cream and chocolate chips.
  • Minty Goodness: double chocolate chip cookies with mint chocolate chip ice cream, garnished with whipped cream and chocolate shavings.
  • Mudslide: double chocolate chip cookies with coffee fudge ice cream, garnished with whipped cream and Oreo crumbles.
  • Peanut Butter Cup: peanut butter cookies with chocolate ice cream, garnished with whipped cream and Reese’s pieces.
  • Strawberry Rainbow: sugar cookies with strawberry ice cream, garnished with whipped cream and rainbow sprinkles.
  •  
    How about a make-your-own party bar?

     

    classic-ice-cream-sandwich-garnished-sugarfactory-230

    Chocolate garnishes galore, plus silver dragées on top. Photo courtesy Sugar Factory.

     

      

    Comments

    FOOD FUN: Glitter Ice Cream Cones

    glitter-cones-scoopsiesFB-230

    Ice cream cones coated with fucshia edible
    glitter
    . Photo courtesy Chloe Jankowitz |
    Scoopsies.

     

    Celebrate July (National Ice Cream Month), birthdays and other special occasions by making glitter cones. For July 4th, you can make them in red, white and blue.

    These dazzlers were created by Chloe Jankowitz, owner of Scoopsies ice cream shop in Somerville, Massachusetts.

    They’re really simple and fun to make,” says Chloe.

    GLITTER ICE CREAM CONES

    Ingredients For 24 Cones

  • 24 ice cream cones—wafer, waffle or sugar (the difference)
  • Edible glitter/sprinkles
  • 2 cups chocolate chips—bittersweet, semisweet, white or other chip flavor
  • 1/4 cup whole milk
  • Parchment paper
  •  

    Preparation

    1. LINE a cookie sheet or jelly roll pan with parchment paper.

    2. MELT 2 cups of chocolate chips and 1/4 cup whole milk in a saucepan over medium/low heat, stirring frequently. Make sure the chocolate doesn’t burn! Once the chocolate is thick and smooth, turn heat to lowest heat setting. Stir occasionally.

    3. DIP the cones in the chocolate an inch or two deep, using a spoon to make sure chocolate is neatly covering the cone. Scrape the inside of the cone with the spoon, getting rid of any excess chocolate. Place the cone on the tray and let cool for a few minutes. Once the cone has cooled down and chocolate is starting to harden…

    4. POUR sprinkles on the cone while rotating it. Make sure the chocolate is completely covered in sprinkles. Repeat to finish all cones.

    5. PLACE the tray of cones in the fridge for about 30 minutes. Remove from fridge and store at room temperature, either in an airtight container or covered with foil.
     
    If you enjoy decorating cones, consider extending your repertoire with coconut, mini M&Ms, Oreo crumbs, toffee chips and other confections.
     
    Buy edible glitter for July 4th in:

  • Red
  • White
  • Blue
  •   

    Comments

    FOOD HOLIDAY RECIPE: Ceviche-Stuffed Avocado

    June 28th is National Ceviche Day, honoring one of our favorite foods. If you’re a sashimi lover and haven’t tried ceviche, today’s the day.

    Another reason to eat lots of ceviche: It’s a low calorie, good-for you lunch or first course. And it’s been nourishing man since ancient times.

    THE HISTORY OF CEVICHE

    Ceviche—shellfish cured by acidic citrus juice—has been popular in Latin America for many centuries. In the early 1500s, the Spanish conquistadors wrote of an Inca dish of raw fish marinated in chicha, a fermented maize beer that dates back some 2,000 years. The concept evolved into ceviche (pronounced say-VEE-chay), raw fish or shellfish cured with citrus juice.

    A chemical process occurs when the fish/shellfish is marinated in the highly acidic citrus juice, which denatures the protein. The result is similar to what happens when the fish is cooked with heat. Instead of “cooking,” however, the fish is cured in the marinade, which adds its own delicious flavors.

    Both Ecuador and Peru claim to have originated ceviche; both were part of the Incan Empire. But why quibble: Today, ceviche—or seviche or sebiche, depending on the country—is so popular that there are cevicherias, restaurants that specialize in ceviche.

       

    ceviche-trio_10566817_JamesCamp-DRM-230

    A trio of different ceviches. Photo © James Camp | Dreamstime.

     

    The Spanish brought the lime and onion that are integral to modern ceviche. In fact, the term “ceviche” is thought to come from the Spanish escabeche, meaning marinade. Others argue that the word comes from the Quechua (Incan) word siwichi—although we could not find this word in the Quechua dictionary we consulted.

    THE CEVICHE MENU

    There’s a whole menu of ceviche, using different types of fish and seafood and country-specific preparations. Each country adds its own spin based on local seafood and preference for ingredients like avocado. Some add a dressing of ketchup or a combination of ketchup and mayonnaise, especially with shrimp ceviche. (Frankly, we’d reach for the cocktail sauce.)

  • Ecuadorian ceviche is served with popcorn.
  • Mexican ceviche includes a dice of onion and tomato—popular ingredient of salsa fresca. Traditional seasonings include chili powder, onions, garlic, cilantro and a little sea salt. Mackerel ceviche is popular, as are red snapper, sole and striped bass.
  • Panamanian ceviche includes hot sauce and is served with saltines.
  • Peruvian ceviche combines shrimp with native sweet potatoes and/or yucca, plus onion and the native aji amarillo chile. Cancha, large and crunchy Andean corn kernels that have been toasted and salted (i.e., corn nuts), are also added. The ingredients are marinated in the juice of a Peruvian lemon related to the Key lime. Ceviche is considered to be the national dish of Peru.
  •  

    California style: ceviche in an avocado half. Photo courtesy Avocados From Mexico.

     

    But this year for National Ceviche Day, we’re going California style, adding ceviche to the well of an avocado.

    If you prefer fish to seafood, try this variation, stuffed with red snapper ceviche or tuna ceviche. If you’re wary of raw fish (even cured raw fish), try this shrimp ceviche recipe.

    RECIPE: CEVICHE-STUFFED AVOCADO

    Ingredients For 8 Servings

  • ½ pound large shrimp, shelled, cleaned and tails removed
  • ½ pound sea scallops
  • ½ red jalapeño or serrano chile, diced, plus 8 thin slices
  • 1 shallot, diced or thinly sliced
  • 4 limes, juiced
  • Kosher salt
  • ¼ cup cilantro, chopped plus extra leaves for garnish
  • ¼ cup pomegranate seeds (substitute diced tomato or red bell pepper)
  • 4 Avocados from Mexico, halved and pits removed
  •  
    Optional Additions (Take Your Pick)

  • Diced fresh tomato
  • Fresh parsley
  • Garlic cloves, minced
  • Hot sauce
  • Jícama, peeled and diced
  • Pickles or sweet gherkins, chopped
  • Radishes, thinly sliced
  • Tomato juice
  •  
    Serve With (Take Your Pick)

  • Corn nuts
  • Popcorn
  • Saltines or other crackers
  • Tortilla chips
  •  

    Preparation

    1. CHOP shrimp and scallops into large, diced pieces and add to a large bowl. Add jalapeño, shallots and lime juice and stir well to coat. Season with kosher salt and cover and refrigerate for 1 hour for flavors to meld.

    2. ADD cilantro and pomegranate seeds and mix.

    3. TO SERVE: Prepare avocado halves and divide ceviche evenly among them. Garnish with cilantro leaves and sliced jalapeño or serrano peppers.

     
    MORE CEVICHE FUN

    Here’s a template to create your ideal ceviche recipe.

    What to drink with ceviche.

      

    Comments

    TIP OF THE DAY: Orange Blossom Water

    orange-blosssom-water-cortas-amz-230

    Orange blossom water is a by-product of
    distilling orange blossoms for oil. Look for
    the Cortas brand. Photo courtesy Cortas.

     

    June 27th is National Orange Blossom Day. The small, white, delicate blossoms, once a favorite flower in bridal bouquets, are used to make orange blossom water (also called orange flower water), a clear, aromatic by-product of the distillation of fresh bitter orange blossoms.

    While the distillate, orange blossom oil*, is used in perfumery, the orange blossom water, delicately scented like the flowers and not the fruit, is used as a calming personal and household fragrance. It is added to skin toners, bath water and spritzed from an aromatizer onto fabric and into the air (our grandmother sprayed it on sheets when ironing).

    And it’s used in foods and beverages, today’s focus. You can add orange blossom water to:

  • Baked goods and desserts: cakes and cookies, candies and confections, custards and puddings, scones…and also in crêpe or pancake batter. It pairs well with almond, citrus, cream and vanilla and cream, lemon and other citrus flavors vanilla.
  • Cocktails and beverages: in mineral water, the Ramos Gin Fizz, café blanc (recipe below) and orange blossom mint lemonade.
  • Middle Eastern, North African and Indian recipes (add some to couscous!).
  •  
    You can buy a bottle in some specialty food stores, Greek and Middle Eastern markets and online. The Cortas brand, from Lebanon, is a favorite among those who use a lot of orange blossom water.

     

    *Used to make perfume, the oil is called neroli oil. In 1680, Anne Marie Orsini, the Italian duchess of Bracciano and princess of Nerola, introduced to orange blossom perfume. She so loved the spicy aroma with sweet and flowery notes that she used the fragrance to perfume everything—her bath, her clothes, her household furnishings. The fragrance became named for her (but we found no explanation of why it’s called neroli, not nerola). The fragrance was also a favorite in the court of Elizabeth I of England.

     

    RECIPE: CAFÉ BLANC, LEBANESE HOT ORANGE BLOSSOM DRINK

    Café blanc, “white coffee” is a refreshing infusion made from boiling water, orange flower water and optional honey sweetener. Thanks to Victoria of BoisDeJasmin.com for her recipes with orange blossom water. There are links to others below, but we’ll start with this easy beverage recipe.

    “Café blanc is a bit of a misnomer because this Lebanese drink contains no coffee at all,” says Victoria. “It’s just hot water flavored with orange blossom, and it’s like sipping air perfumed with flowers. Mixed with water, orange blossom tastes not just floral, but also green, citrusy, spicy and warm. The first sip reveals a zesty freshness, but what lingers is the taste of honeyed petals.”

    Ingredients Per Drink

  • 1 cup boiling water
  • 1 tablespoon orange blossom water
  • Optional: 1 teaspoon honey
  •  
    Preparation

     

    cafe-blanc-orange-blossom-drink-boisdejamin-230

    Hot orange blossom water: so simple to make, so refreshing. Photo courtesy Bois de Jasmin.

     
    1. ADD the orange blossom water to the boiling water, stir and taste. If you’d prefer the drink sweet, stir in the honey.

    2. FOR a cold drink, do the same with mineral water or lemonade.
     

    MORE WAYS TO USE ORANGE BLOSSOM WATER

    Fruit Desserts. Orange blossom pairs especially well with strawberries and apricots—cakes and tarts, compotes and jams, drinks. Sprinkle apricots with sugar and lemon juice and bake them in a 400°F/200°C oven until the sugar caramelizes and apricots soften. Drizzle with orange blossom water and serve hot or cold. Make a refreshing drink of apricot juice mixed with orange blossom water and sparkling water.

    Ice Cream. Soften a container of vanilla ice cream slightly, and add 4 teaspoons of orange blossom water per pint (or to taste). Mix well, chill and serve. If you make your own ice cream, add orange blossom water to the custard before freezing it.

    Puddings and Ice Cream. Anything creamy—custard, mousse, panna cotta, rice pudding–can be enhanced with orange blossom water gratefully. Victoria uses it to give an adult twist to rice pudding: Rice Pudding with Vanilla and Orange Blossom.

    White Chocolate. Mix orange blossom water into white chocolate-based sauces and desserts, or into cream to make a delicious tart filling. Whip heavy cream with sugar, add a few drops of orange blossom water, fill tart shells and top with fresh berries.

    Read the full article and the discussion threads for much more that you can do with orange blossom water.

      

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