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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

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.

      

    Comments

    RECIPE: Baked Honey Chocolate Pudding

    June 26th is National Chocolate Pudding Day. Throughout history, “pudding” has meant different things (scroll down to the history of pudding).

    This recipe, developed by chef Rocco di Spirito for FAGE Yogurt, combines the old and the new: a cake-like pudding with a soft, creamy pudding-like center.

    Rocco says, “These are great for a dinner party, as they can be prepared and stored in the fridge for up to 48 hours in advance.”

    Prep time is 20 minutes, cook time is 10 minutes.

    RECIPE: BAKED HONEY CHOCOLATE PUDDING

    Ingredients For 8 Servings

  • 1 cup dark chocolate (75% cocoa solids)
  • 4 FAGE Total with Honey split cups*
  • 16 tablespoons diced butter (two sticks of butter)
  • 1/2 cup fine granulated sugar
  • 4 egg yolks
  • 4 large eggs
  • 1/4 cup plain flour, sieved
  •  

    Baked-Honey-Chocolate-Pudding-dispirito-fage-230

    Old-fashioned and modern pudding textures combine in this recipe. Photo courtesy FAGE Total.

     
    *The FAGE cups are 5.3 ounces each, for a total of 21.2 ounces. You can substitute an equivalent amount of plain Greek yogurt (2-3/4 cups) with 2 tablespoons of honey.
     

    Preparation

    1. PREHEAT the oven to 350°F. Prepare eight ramekin dishes by thoroughly buttering the inside and dusting with flour. Place a disk of greaseproof paper in the bottom of each ramekin.

    2. MELT the chocolate, honey from one FAGE Total Honey Yogurt (or 2 teaspoons honey) and butter together over a pan of water.

    3. WHISK together sugar, egg yolks and eggs until the mixture forms soft peaks. Fold the chocolate mix into the egg mix, and then fold in the flour.

    4. POUR into ramekins and bake in the center of the oven for 7 minutes, or until the puddings have risen above the ramekins. Allow to rest in a warm place for 2 minutes.

    5. SERVE: Turn out onto the center of a plate with a generous spoonful of FAGE Total Yogurt (half of the yogurt in a FAGE Total with Honey split cup). Drizzle with the remaining honey.
     
    Find more delicious recipes with yogurt at Fage.com.

      

    Comments

    FOOD HOLIDAY: National Chocolate Eclair Day

    June 22nd is National Chocolate Éclair Day. Le Méridien Hotels & Resorts has gone beyond mere classic chocolate, announcing the launch of a global éclair program helmed by the great Johnny Iuzzini, James Beard Award winner for Outstanding Pastry Chef. Le Méridien guests worldwide can indulge in a variety of modern twists on the Parisian pastry.

    Chef Johnny will create eight seasonal éclair recipes, inspired by his travels through various Le Méridien destinations (tough job!). Each hotel will offer modern takes on three signature éclair flavors—chocolate, coffee and vanilla—as well as one locally inspired flavor.

    You’ll find Maple Bacon Éclair and Texas Honey Pecan Éclair at Le Méridien Dallas, and Dulce de Leche Éclair, infused with coconut, at Le Méridien Panama. In Germany, Le Méridien Munich will offer a savory éclair with goat cheese, cranberry and pumpernickel crumbs, while Le Méridien Bangkok will feature a citrus-inspired treat with mango, lime and ginger.

    How do we get onto the global Le Méridien éclair tour?

     

    eclairs-iuzzini-lemeridien-230

    Chef Johnny Iuzzini gets groovy with éclairs. Photo courtesy Le Meridien Hotels.

     

    ÉCLAIR HISTORY

    An elongated, finger-shaped pastry made of pâte à choux (puff pastry), filled with whipped cream or custard and topped with ganache or a glacé icing (glaze), the éclair is known to have originated in France around the turn of the 19th century. \

    The Oxford English Dictionary traces the word “éclair” in the English language to 1861. The first known recipe for éclairs appears in the 1884 edition of the Boston Cooking-School Cook Book, edited by Mrs. D.A. Lincoln (and later by Fanny Farmer). “Éclair” is the French word for lightning. It is suggested that the pastry received its name because it glistens when coated with confectioner’s glaze. We would suggest that it is because they are so popular that they disappear as quickly as lightning.

    Many food historians speculate that éclairs were first made by Marie-Antoine Carême (1874-1833). This brilliant man, cast out by his impoverished family at the age of 10, made his way in the world to become the first “celebrity chef.” He is considered to be the founder and architect of French haute cuisine; an enormously popular cookbook author and chef to Talleyrand, the future George IV of England, Emperor Alexander I of Russia and Baron James de Rothschild. The elite clamored for invitations to dinners cooked by Carême.

    We can only dream…and live vicariously by reading his biography.

      

    Comments

    FOOD HOLIDAY: National Vanilla Milkshake Day & A Spiked Milkshake

    Twist and Shout Shake-hardrockcafe-230

    Shake guinness and spiced rum with vanilla ice cream. Photo courtesy Hard Rock Cafe.

     

    Get ready for tomorrow, June 20th: National Vanilla Milkshake Day. Here are two spiked vanilla milkshakes courtesy Hard Rock Cafe.

    RECIPE: SALTED CARAMEL VANILLA MILKSHAKE WITH
    GUINNESS & SPICED RUM

    Hard Rock calls this the “Twist and Shout.”

    Ingredients For 1 Shake

  • 2 ounces Guinness Draught
  • 1 ounce Bacardi OakHeart or other spiced rum
  • ½ ounce dark Crème de Cacao
  • ½ ounce chocolate Syrup
  • ½ ounce Monin Salted Caramel Syrup
  • 2 scoops vanilla ice cream
  • Optional garnishes: crispy bacon or candied bacon, whipped cream
  •  

    1. COMBINE ingredients in a blender. Pour into a tall glass.

    2. GARNISH as desired and serve.

     

     

    RECIPE: VANILLA & PEAR MILKSHAKE WITH BEER & VODKA

    Want something fruitier? Hard Rock’s “Voodoo Brew” is a beer-based shake with blueberry vodka and pear syrup.

    Ingredients For 1 Shake

  • 2 ounces Shock Top or other Belgian white ale
  • 1 ounces Smirnoff or other blueberry vodka
  • ¾ ounces Monin desert pear syrup
  • 2 scoops vanilla ice cream
  • Optional garnishes: fresh blueberries, pear slices, whipped cream
  •  
    Preparation

    1. COMBINE ingredients in a blender. Pour into a tall glass.

    2. GARNISH as desired and serve.
     

    Here’s another vanilla milkshake recipe and the history of the milkshake.

     

    smirnoff-blueberry-vodka-bkgd-230

    Use beers, liqueurs or flavored vodkas to spike conventional milkshakes. Photo courtesy Smirnoff.

     

      

    Comments

    FOOD HOLIDAY: Easy Cherry Tart

    cherry-tart-seandooley-redjacketorchardsFB-230r

    Queen Anne cherries in a tart for National
    Cherry Tart Day. Photo courtesy Sean Dooley
    | Red Jacket Orchards..

     

    Today is National Cherry Tart Day. You’d be surprised how easy it is to make a delicious cherry tart—or any fruit tart.

    Pick any seasonal pie fruit—currently apricots, figs, nectarines, plums and strawberries. Don’t bother with a filling: You won’t notice it with the delicious fruit and the delicious crust.

    You can buy or make crème fraîche; here’s a recipe. Or, substitute vanilla ice cream.

    Prep time is 90 minutes.

    RECIPE: EASY FRUIT TART

    Ingredients

  • 1-1/2 cups all purpose flour, plus more for rolling
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 4 tablespoons sugar
  • 11 tablespoons cold unsalted butter
  • 1 egg yolk, beaten
  • 2-1/2 to 3 pounds fruit: apricots, cherries, figs, nectarines, peaches, plums, etc.
  • 6 tablespoons red currant jelly, melted
  • Garnish: 1 cup crème fraîche, for serving (recipe)
  •  

    Preparation

    1. PREHEAT oven to 375°F. COMBINE flour, salt and 2 tablespoons of the sugar in a bowl or food processor. Dice 8 tablespoons of the butter. Use a pastry blender or two knives to blend the flour mixture and butter in a bowl until crumbly, or pulse them together in a food processor.

    2. BEAT the egg yolk with 3 tablespoons of cold water. Dribble over the flour mixture, then stir (in bowl) or pulse slowly (in food processor) until the mixture starts clumping together. Add more water as necessary. Shape the dough into a loose ball and form into a disk on a lightly floured surface.

    3. ROLL out the dough and line a 10-inch loose-bottom fluted tart pan. Cover the pastry with a sheet of foil and place pastry weights or dry beans on top. Bake for 12 minutes, then remove foil and weights from the crust. Return the crust to the oven and continue baking until it is lightly browned, another 8 to 10 minutes. Remove from oven; increase temperature to 400°F.

    4. PIT and slice the fruit: cherries in half, most other fruit in eighths, figs or other small fruit in fourths.

    5. BRUSH the crust with the melted preserves (this prevents the crust from becoming soggy). Arrange the fruit in tight concentric circles, skin side down, starting with the perimeter. The fruit should “stand up.”

    6. MELT the remaining butter on low and cook until it turns a light nut brown. Brush the fruit with the butter and dust with the remaining sugar.

    7. BAKE 35 to 40 minutes, until the edges of the crust have browned but fruit is still perky (not collapsed). Cool and serve with crème fraîche.

     
      

    Comments

    TIP OF THE DAY: Savory Parmesan & Garlic Doughnuts

    garlic-parmesan-donuts-elegantcaterers-230r

    Serve savory Parmesan-garlic doughnuts
    with cocktails or beer. Photo courtesy Elegant
    Affairs Caterers | NYC.

     

    It’s National Donut (or Doughnut) Day, and your chance to do something you’ve probably never done before: make savory Garlic Parmesan Donuts.

    They’re delicious with wine, beer or cocktails, and the recipe is easy! It’s from caterer Andrea Correale, founder of Elegant Affairs Caterers in New York City.

    The donuts require very little prep time and are served with purchased or homemade tzatziki, fresh pico de gallo salsa, and/or a spicy Thai cucumber relish.

    RECIPE: GARLIC PARMESAN DOUGHNUTS WITH DIPPING SAUCES

    Ingredients For 6 Doughnuts

  • 1 cup rolled oats, ground into oat flour in blender or food processor
  • 1 teaspoon baking powder
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt
  • A pinch of savory seasoning blend*
  • 2 tablespoons butter, softened
  • 1/2 cup buttermilk
  • 1 clove crushed garlic
  • 1/3 cup grated Parmesan cheese
  • 1 tablespoon fresh herbs, chopped (rosemary and thyme work well)
  •  
    *You can purchase savory seasoning blend or make your own. Here’s a recipe from McCormick: Combine 1-1/2 teaspoons oregano, 1 teaspoon ground cinnamon, 1 teaspoon garlic powder, 1 teaspoon paprika, 1/2 teaspoon ground ginger, 1/2 teaspoon salt, 1/2 teaspoon ground black pepper. Store in an airtight container.

    Preparation
     
    1. PREHEAT oven to 350°F and grease the doughnut pan. Combine oat flour, baking powder, salt and savory seasoning in a bowl.

    2. WHISK together the butter, egg, buttermilk and garlic in a separate bowl. Slowly add liquid mixture to dry ingredients and stir to combine. It will be lumpy. Gently fold in herbs and cheese.

    3. SPOON the batter into the doughnut pan, filling it almost to top (leave about a 1/8″ space).

    4. BAKE 10 minutes. Remove from oven and allow cooling for 5 minutes before transferring to a cooling rack.

    5. SERVE donuts with tzatziki (Greek yogurt dip), fresh pico de gallo salsa (recipe below), and/or a spicy Thai cucumber relish (recipe below).

     

    RECIPE: PICO DE GALLO

    Ingredients

    Ingredients

  • 1-1/2 cups seeded, diced tomatoes
  • 1/4 cup diced red onion
  • 1 tablespoon diced green jalapeño
  • 1 tablespoon minced garlic
  • Juice of 2 limes
  • 2 tablespoons cilantro
  • Salt and pepper to taste
  •  
    Preparation

    1. CHOP vegetables as finely as possible.

    2. COMBINE ingredients in a bowl; season to taste. Refrigerate for an hour or more to allow flavors to blend.

     

    garlic-parmesan-donuts-elegantcaterers-dips-230

    Serve with a choice of dipping sauces. Photo courtesy Elegant Affairs Caterers | NYC.

     

    RECIPE: SPICY THAI CUCUMBER RELISH

    Ingredients

  • 1 large Japanese cucumber†, peeled, halved and thinly slices
  • 2 shallots, thinly sliced
  • 1 small Thai chile or serrano chile, thinly sliced
  • 1/3 cup white vinegar
  • 2 teaspoons palm sugar or brown sugar
  •  
    †The Japanese cucumber is a long, slender, dark green fruit that has few seeds. If you can’t find one, substitute another variety with few or no seeds.
     

    Preparation

    1. PLACE cucumber, shallot and chile slices in a small bowl.

    2. HEAT the vinegar, sugar and salt in a small saucepan, stirring, until the mixture reaches a boil and the sugar is dissolved, about 3 minutes. Remove from the heat, cool to room temperature, and then pour over cucumber mixture.

    3. GARNISH with cilantro leaves and set aside until ready to use.

      

    Comments

    FOOD 101: What’s A Kir? What’s A Margarita?

    It’s a teaching moment: When is a Kir not a Kir? Or a Margarita not a Margarita? Or a Martini not a Martini?

    Every drink made with vodka is not a Martini, every drink made with Tequila is not a Margarita. Yet, each week we are sent a mis-named recipe that only serves to misinform.

    Capricious cooks and mixologists, professionals and amateurs alike, give names to their recipes through ignorance or selfishness; for example, “We need a cocktail for St. Patrick’s Day. Let’s call this drink an Irish Kir.”

    An omelet is not a frittata. Both are beaten eggs with mix-ins. But for an omelet, the egg is cooked and then folded over the filling, while a frittata blends the mix-ins with the egg and cooks it like a crustless quiche, on the stove top or in the oven.

    Since much of our mission is education that you can imagine the consternation this causes.

    Here’s that “Irish Kir” story. Why didn’t we publish it around St. Patrick’s Day? We wanted to take a moment to note that regular or “royale,” it’s a delightful summer drink.

    So, let’s start at the beginning:

       

    Kir_cocktail-wiki-230

    A Kir is a combination of blackcurrant liqueur and white wine or sparkling white wine. The color is red. Photo courtesy Wikimedia.

     
    WHAT’S A KIR?

    Kir is a drink that was created by a major of Dijon, in France’s Burgundy region. For an apéritif, Félix Kir (1876-1968) added a splash of cassis (blackcurrant liqueur, a specialty of Burgundy) to Aligote, a local white wine.

    The “Kir,” as it was known, became very popular and led to eight different variations, the best known of which, the Kir Royale, substitutes Champagne for the still wine.

     

    green-sparkling-volcano-cocktail-blog.relishinteriors-230s

    Champagne and apple schnapps can be
    called lots of things, but not a Kir Royale.
    Photo courtesy RelishInteriors.com.

     

    THE PROBLEM

    We received a pitch from Benjamin Steakhouse Westchester for a St. Patrick’s Day cocktail called the “Shamrock Kir,” made of Champagne and Apple Pucker. Huh?

    It’s a recipe for a Champagne cocktail, but has nothing to do with Kir, the distinguishing feature of which is blackcurrant liqueur.

    Not to mention, a kir made with Champagne is a Kir Royale—so mis-name your cocktail an Irish Kir Royale, at least! Would any responsible person argue the facts otherwise?

    Said the email:

    “Add ½ oz of Apple Pucker or other apple schnapps to a Champagne flute and top of with Champagne or another sparkling wine. Those of you going to Benjamin Steakhouse Westchester and ordering the drink should be sure you’re getting authentic Champagne and not a less expensive sparkling wine.”

    Those of you going to Benjamin Steakhouse Westchester should ask why they call this drink a Kir of any kind, instead of a “Sparkling Shamrock,” for example.

    The teaching moment:

     

    The publicist who sent this pitch, her client, and all supervisors involved, clearly don’t fully grasp what they’re writing about. Would they call a yellow cake with chocolate frosting a chocolate cake?

    Ignorance isn’t bliss: It’s aggravating! To all those involved: You have the Internet at your fingertips. There’s no excuse not to do your research.

      

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