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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 Gourmet News

TIP OF THE DAY: April Fool—It Isn’t Tomato Soup & Grilled Cheese

We’re cooking up some food fun for tomorrow, April Fool’s Day. This year, it’s trompe-l’oeil food.

Trompe-l’oeil (pronounced trump LOY), French for “deceive the eye”, is an art technique that creates the optical illusion that a piece of two-dimensional art exists in three dimensions. You may have seen some amazing sidewalk art that fools you into thinking you’re about to step into a hole, a pool, etc.

We’re adapting the “deceive the eye” reference to “food trompe-l’oeil”—food that looks like one thing but is actually another. Serve this “grilled cheese and tomato soup” dish, which is actually orange pound cake and strawberry soup.

Thanks to Zulka Morena sugar for the recipes and fun idea. If you’ve got a great palate or simply preferred less processed sugar, try it. The top-quality sugar is minimally processed and never refined. You can taste the difference!

 

strawberry-soup-orange-pound-cake-zulkasugar-230

April Fool’s food: Standing in for tomato soup and a grilled cheese sandwich are strawberry soup and pound cake. Photo courtesy Zulka Sugar.

 

RECIPE: ORANGE POUND CAKE

Ingredients

For The Pound Cake

  • 1 cup unsalted butter, room temperature
  • 1-1/4 cups sugar
  • 2 tablespoons orange zest
  • 5 large eggs, lightly beaten
  • 2-3/4 cups all-purpose flour
  • 1/4 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1/4 teaspoon sea salt
  • 8 ounces sour cream
  • 2 tablespoons orange juice
  •  
    For the Frosting

  • 1/2 cup butter
  • 2 cups powdered sugar
  • 1 teaspoon orange extract or juice
  • 2-5 drops natural orange food color
  •  

    zulka-morena-cane-sugar-2-230

    Zulka makes less processed, better tasting
    sugar. Photo courtesy Zulka Sugar.

     

    Preparation

    1. PREHEAT oven to 325°F. Butter and flour a standard loaf pan.

    2. CREAM together in a medium bowl the butter, sugar and orange zest until fluffy. Add the eggs in 3 parts, combining well after each addition. In a separate small bowl, combine the flour, baking soda and salt. Add flour mixture to butter mixture until just combined. Add the sour cream and orange juice and mix well.

    3. POUR into the prepared loaf pan, smoothing the top, and bake for 1 hour or longer, until a toothpick placed in the center comes out clean. If the top starts to brown too much before the cake is done, tent with a piece of foil.

    4. REMOVE from oven; cool in pan for 10 minutes then remove to wire rack to cool completely.

    5. MIX the frosting ingredients together until well combined. Add more food color as needed to reach desired color.

    6. ASSEMBLE: Slice the pound cake into 1/2 inch slices. Spread a small amount of butter on one side and grill on a griddle or skillet until toasted looking, being careful not to burn. Let cool completely. Repeat with remaining slices. Once all are cool, cut them each in half to make the two halves of each “sandwich.” Spread about a tablespoon of frosting on a non-toasted side of the cake, spreading some to the edges to make it look like melted cheese, and then top with the other half. Repeat with remaining slices.

     

    RECIPE: CHILLED STRAWBERRY SOUP

    Ingredients For 6 Servings

  • 2 pounds strawberries, stems removed and hulled
  • 2/3 cup sugar
  • 1/2 cup orange juice
  • 1/2 cup cranberry juice
  • 1-1/2 cups plain or vanilla yogurt
  • Optional: yellow food color
  • Optional garnishes: 1-2 tablespoons heavy cream, fresh basil leaves
  •  
    Preparation

    1. DICE the strawberries, sprinkle the sugar over the top and let sit for 15 minutes. Combine all the ingredients in a blender and purée until smooth. Let chill completely. If you want the color to be more orange, like tomato soup, add a few drops of yellow food color.

    2. DIVIDE among 6 bowls. Drizzle a little heavy cream over the top and garnish with basil leaves.

    APRIL FOOL’S DAY HISTORY

    The origin of April Fools’ Day, sometimes called All Fools’ Day, is obscure. The most accepted explanation traces it to 16th century France.

    Until 1564, the Julian calendar, which observed the beginning of the New Year in April, was in use. According to The Oxford Companion to the Year, King Charles IX then declared that France would begin using the Gregorian calendar, which shifted New Year’s Day to January 1st.

    Some people continued to use the Julian Calendar, and were mocked as fools. They were invited to bogus parties, sent on a fool’s errand (looking for things that don’t exist) and other pranks.

    The French call April 1st Poisson d’Avril, or April Fish. French children sometimes tape a picture of a fish on the back of their schoolmates, crying “Poisson d’Avril” when the prank is discovered.

    What a fish has to do with April Fool’s Day is not clear. But in the name of a kinder, gentler world, we propose eliminating this holiday. (Source: Wikipedia)

      

    Comments

    TIP OF THE DAY: 5 Ways To Separate Eggs

    egg-separator-oxo-bowl-230

    A conventional egg separator (strainer).
    Photo courtesy Oxo.

     

    Everyone has a technique to separate eggs. We’ve tried five:

    1. Hand Method. Crack the egg and pour it into the palm of your hand; let the whites drain through your fingers (this was probably the original technique). It’s a great technique to know if you can’t find the egg separator! If you don’t like the idea of using your hands, you can use a slotted spoon; but you’ll probably need an assistant to hold the spoon.

    2. Shell Transfer Method. You’ve seen chefs do this: cracking the egg, separating the shell and pouring the yolk back and forth between the halves as the whites drain into a bowl. It’s considered the “professional” way; with practice, anyone can do it. Here’s a video.

    3. Funnel Method. Stand a large funnel up in a cup and crack the egg. The white will slip through.

    4. Egg Separator Method. This is the one we use, relying on a gadget that allows the white to easily strain through into a bowl. This one from OXO can also clip to the rim of a mixing bowl. Here’s a video.

     

    5. Plastic Bottle Method. A video circulating the Internet in fun engendered today’s tip. Squeeze some of the air from a clean plastic water bottle or soft drink bottle. Crack the egg in a bowl and, squeezing the bottle slightly, place mouth of the bottle on top of the yolk. Slowly release your grip; the air pressure will push the yolk into the bottle. You can also buy small, attractive yolk extractor (photo at right) that does the same thing.

    EGG SEPARATING TIPS

    Buying

  • Size. Buy large, as opposed to extra-large or jumbo, eggs. The smaller the egg, the thicker the shell, the less likely you are to get shell fragments in the separated egg.
  • Freshness. Fresh eggs separate more easily. The younger the egg, the tighter the yolk. The older the egg, the thicker and more gluey the white. Fresher eggs have stronger proteins, which are needed if you’re making meringues, soufflés or other recipes that require stiffly-beaten egg whites.
  •  

    egg-separator-niceshop-230

    The newest egg separating device: a suction cup. Photo courtesy Niceshop.

     
    Using The Eggs

  • Chill first. The yolk is less likely to break when it’s cold. If you need the whites or yolks at room temperature, just let them sit after separating.
  • Freeze leftovers.You can freeze any unused whites or yolks. Freeze them separated in small containers, labeled with how many whites or yolks are stored.
  •   

    Comments

    FOOD FUN: Rainbow Baby Carrots

    Baby carrots are hot sellers. But how much hotter can they get than these rainbow baby carrots?

    Carrots—standard size and baby—are available in six different colors: the familiar deep orange plus burgundy red, deep purple, tangerine (light orange), yellow and white.

    They’re a delicious way to add color and crunch to appetizers, salads and entrées. Kids and adults alike love them for their unusual colors—and for helping make family nutrition fun.
     
    CARROT HISTORY

    The original wild carrots were white, like turnips. According to Colorful Harvest, marketer of these rainbow carrots, the cultivated purple and yellow carrots—mutations—were eaten more than 1,000 years ago in what is now Afghanistan.

    Other colors are the product of generations of traditional plant breeding. Orange carrots were first successfully bred in Holland from an orange mutation by Dutch farmers. Here’s the history of carrots.

    Deeply colored produce are rich in nutrients, including antioxidants. Different antioxidants produce the different colors or carrots:

     

    rainbow-carrots-230

    Rainbow carrots from Colorful Harvest. Photo by Elvira Kalviste | THE NIBBLE.

     

    wheel-of-colored-carrots-localharvestorg-230

    A rainbow of carrots. Photo by Stephen
    Ausmus | Wikimedia.

     

    WHERE DO CARROTS GET THEIR COLOR?

  • Red carrots get their color from lycopene, an antioxidant that may promote healthy eyes and a healthy prostate.
  • Orange and tangerine carrots get their color comes from beta-carotene, an antioxidant and precursor of vitamin A.
  • Purple carrots get their color from anthocyanins, the same potent phytonutrients (antioxidants) that makes blueberries blue,. Anthocyanins are flavonoids that may help increase the antioxidant capacity of the blood and may help maintain good brain function.
  • Yellow and white carrots get their color from lutein, which studies suggest may promote good eye health.
  •  

    Studies indicate that these phytonutrients are also more bio-available and easier to absorb from fresh fruits and vegetables than from other sources.

    So they’re not only cute, tasty and good for you: Rainbow carrots are extra-cute and extra-good for you.

      

    Comments

    TIP: Flavored Water Enhancers For World Water Day

    peach-green-tea-water-bottle-kalviste-230

    Don’t buy flavored water: Make your own
    with this pocket-size squeeze bottle. Photo
    by Elvira Kalviste | THE NIBBLE.

     

    It’s World Water Day, an observance begun in 1993 by a declaration of the United Nations General Assembly, to focus on the challenges of the world’s water supply.

    On previous World Water Days, we advocated buying a permanent water bottle to spare the earth the landfill of billions of plastic bottles a year.

  • More than 80% of empty water bottles end up in the nation’s landfills.
  • Fifty billion water bottles are used every year, about 30 billion of them in the U.S. This equates to 1,500 water bottles consumed per second! Amazingly, we utilize about 60% of the world’s water bottles, even though we represent just 4.5% of the world population and have safe municipal water everywhere.
  • Seventeen million barrels of oil are used each year to produce all of the water bottles—enough to keep one million cars fueled for an entire year.
  • Beyond oil, it takes three times the volume of water to manufacture one empty plastic water bottle. Because of the chemicals used in production, most of that water cannot be reused.*
  •  

    ENHANCE TAP WATER WITH WATER ENHANCERS

    This year, for folks who don’t like plain water from the tap, we’ve advocating portable water enhancers instead of iced tea, Vitamin Water and other options. These small squeeze bottles fit in your pocket and turn your [reusable] bottle of water—or a glass of water—into a zero-calorie flavored beverage.

    The process is simple: Take your water bottle or a glass of water, squeeze in a few drops of water enhancer and shake or stir. No refrigeration is required; the enhancers are caffeine-free and gluten-free.

    As an at-home or on-the-go product, water enhancers are environmentally friendly, leaving one small plastic bottle to recycle instead of up to 32 full size beverage bottles.

    We tried two brands: AriZona, which makes flavored iced tea, and Stur, which creates flavored water.

    ARIZONA WATER ENHANCERS

    From the folks who make AriZona bottled teas, these water enhancers let you recreate your own diet AriZona in seven of the company’s most popular flavors: Arnold Palmer Half & Half, Arnold Palmer Strawberry Fruit Punch, Golden Bear Strawberry Lemonade, Lemon Tea, Mucho Mango and Peach Green Tea.

    Made with real tea and flavored with real juice and honey without artificial† colors or flavors, there is added sweetness from sucralose (marketed to consumers as Splenda).

    How can the enhancer have zero calories when juice and honey are ingredients? They have just a pinch to add flavor while keeping the calorie count less than 1%. If it’s less than 1%, the FDA allows the claim of calorie-free. (And by the way, it’s the same with any ingredient, including trans fats.)

    As of now, AriZona Water Enhancers are being sold at Walmart and online. They are expected to roll out to other distributors nationwide.

    The line is certified kosher by OU. For more information, visit DrinkArizona.com.

     

    STUR WATER ENHANCERS

    Stur is a water enhancer that adds flavor and vitamins. Instead of making iced tea like AriZona, it turns plain water into vitamin water.

    Flavors include Freshly Fruit Punch, Lemon Tea, Only Orange Mango,Purely Pomegranate Cranberry and Simply Strawberry Watermelon.

    The line is made with kosher ingredients but has not yet been certified kosher.

    Stur is an all-natural† product that supplies 100% DV of Vitamin C per serving, along with a blend of essential vitamins, including A, D, E, B3, B5, B6, B12.

    The company’s goal is to encourage Americans drink more water, by giving those who don’t like to drink a lot of water a “delicious way to hit those 8 glasses of water a day.”

    You can do more than enhance water:

  • Add to seltzer water for a carbonated beverage.
  • Make flavored milk or smoothies.
  • Top yogurt or sugar-free ice cream.
  •  

    strawberry-glass-230

    Just squeeze a drop into a water bottle or glass of water. Photo courtesy Stur.

     

    You can buy a variety pack on Amazon, and individual flavors on SturDrinks.com, where you can buy any five flavors for $19.95 (which make 90 eight-ounce servings).

    Get some for yourself, and put them on your stocking stuffer list.

     
    *Source: Huffington Post.

    †Stevia, the sweetening agent, is a natural product made from the leaf of the stevia plant. While stevia can be a highly processed product like sucralose, sucralose detractors point out that it is created by the addition of chlorine atoms to sucrose molecules. Here’s more information from the anti-sucralose resource.

      

    Comments

    FOOD HOLIDAY: Celebrate With A Spring Cocktail

    berry-fizz-tuaca-230

    Celebrate spring with a springlike cocktail. Photo courtesy Tuaca.

     

    We’re less than 24 hours into spring and contemplating a spring cocktail this evening—to celebrate both the arrival of spring and the end of the work week.

    The spring equinox occurred yesterday at 12:57 p.m. It begs for a little astronomy lesson about equinoxes and solstices, the days that mark the change of seasons.

    What’s An Equinox?

    During an equinox, the sun is closest to the Equator, the imaginary line around the Earth that is equidistant from the North and South Poles. On those days, night and day are approximately equally long. The name “equinox” is derived from the Latin aequus, equal and nox, night.

    An equinox marks the beginning of spring and fall. To acknowledge the Southern Hemisphere, where the seasons are opposite, the vernal and autumnal equinoxes are now being called the March and September equinoxes.

     
    What’s A Solstice?

    Solstices, on the other hand, occur when which the sun is furthest from the Equator and the difference in length between night and day is greatest. This creates the shortest day of the year, in December, and the longest day, in June. Solstices mark the beginning of winter and summer.

    Solstice means “sun-standing” from the Latin solstitium, literally, the apparent standing still of the sun (sol is sun, sistere is to stand still).

    O.K., you’ve studied hard. You deserve a spring cocktail. This one is courtesy of Courvoisier, one of our favorite Cognacs.

     
    RECIPE: COURVOISIBERRY COCKTAIL

    Ingredients Per Cocktail

  • 1 part Courvoisier VSOP or other Cognac
  • 1 part rum
  • 2 parts rosé wine
  • Exotic berries
  •  
    Preparation

    1. Combine all ingredients, stir and serve in a wine glass over ice.

    2. Garnish with berries.

    3. Toast to spring!

      

    Comments

    RECIPE: Cookies & Cream Cheesecake

    Some might think that we publish too many cheesecake recipes. But when cheesecake is one’s favorite comfort food, how many is too many?

    Plus, we need to get our last licks: “Cheesecake season” concludes at the end of spring. The dense cream cheese cheesecake we favor is too heavy for summer. So this may be our last recipe until fall.

    The recipe is from Lauryn Cohen, a.k.a. Bella Baker. Says Lauryn:

    “This is easily the best cheesecake I’ve ever made: a chocolate wafer cookie crust, a rich and creamy cheesecake layer, crushed Oreo cookies mixed into the silky batter and topped with a drizzle of chocolate ganache, chocolate whipped cream and more Oreo cookies.”

    We made it for National Oreo Day, March 6th.

    RECIPE: COOKIES & CREAM CHEESECAKE

    Ingredients

    For The Crust

  • 1-1/2 cups finely crushed chocolate wafer cookies (reserve one cookie for garnish)
  • 1/4 cup sugar
  • 4 tablespoons melted butter
  •  

    Cookies & Cream cheesecake: a fusion of two favorites. Photo courtesy Bella Baker.

     

    For The Filling

  • 3 eight-ounce packages cream cheese, at room temperature (Lauryn used two packaged of reduced fat and one package of regular; we used three packages of full fat organic cream cheese)
  • 1 cup sugar
  • 4 large eggs, at room temperature
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt
  • 2 teaspoon vanilla
  • 1/4 cup 2% milk
  • 4 tablespoons all-purpose flour
  • 15 mini Oreo cookies, coarsely chopped for the batter
  •  

    Save a chocolate wafer cookie to decorate
    the center. Photo courtesy Bella Baker.

     

    TOPPINGS

    For The Chocolate Ganache

  • 1/2 cup heavy cream
  • 4 ounces bittersweet chocolate, finely chopped
  • 2 tablespoons butter at room temperature, cut into 4 pieces
  •  
    For The Chocolate Whipped Cream

  • 1/2 cup heavy cream
  • 3 tablespoons unsweetened cocoa powder
  • 3 tablespoons sugar
  • Approximately 25 mini Oreo cookies
  •  
    Preparation

    1. PREHEAT oven to 325°F. Generously butter the bottom and sides of a 9-inch springform pan.

    2. MIX melted butter with Oreo crumbs and sugar and press into the bottom of the pan. Bake for 5 minutes and set aside.

    3. BEAT cream cheese with a mixer on medium-high until fluffy, making sure that there are no clumps. Slowly add sugar and continue beating cream cheese until mixed well. Add eggs one at a time and continue to beat until blended. Add the vanilla, salt and milk; beat until smooth and creamy. Add the flour and beat until batter is satiny smooth. Stir in the coarsely chopped Oreo cookies with a spoon.

    4. POUR cream cheese mixture into the pan and bake for one hour and 15 minutes. After that time, turn oven off and keep oven door slightly open. Let the cheesecake stay in the oven for one hour. Remove from the oven and let cool enough to place in the refrigerator for at least 4 hours.

    5. MAKE the ganache: Place heavy cream in a saucepan and bring to a boil. Place chopped chocolate in a medium sized bowl. Once heavy cream has reached boiling pour half the heavy cream over the chopped chocolate. Let sit for 30 seconds, then gently stir chocolate and cream together with a rubber spatula in a figure eight motion. Pour remaining heavy cream over chocolate and continue to gently stir. Add butter, one piece at a time, until ingredients are fully incorporated and the ganache is smooth and glossy.

    6. MAKE the chocolate whipped cream: Beat heavy cream on high speed for about 2-3 minutes. Once mixture has started to thicken, add add cocoa powder and sugar and continue beaten until whipped cream mixture has formed.

    7. GARNISH the chilled cake. Drizzle chocolate ganache over the top of the cake, in the grid pattern shown in the photo or in your own artistic interpretation. Pipe the chocolate whipped cream in mounds around the rim of the cake and in the center. Place one mini Oreo in each mound of whipped cream, and a chocolate wafer cookie in the center.

    While this recipe may seem over the top to some, you’ll note that it’s a relatively flat cake—torte-like, not like the often-found three-inch-high/four-inch-high New York cheesecake.

    So a slice is an indulgence, but not a jumbo indulgence.

      

    Comments

    PRODUCT: Walkers’s Scottie Dog Shortbread & Mini Scottie Dogs

    Recently Walkers Shortbread unveiled the newest addition to their beloved Scottie Dog collection: Mini Scottie Dog Shortbread cookies.

    The pure-butter Mini Scottie “puppies” are made from 100% natural ingredients. They’re a treat for kids and adults.

    The Mini Scottie Dogs are available for purchase online at USWalkersShortbread.com and at select specialty retailers nationwide.

    For extra fun, serve an assortment of “moms” (the regular size shortbread Scotties) and “puppies.”

  • Enjoy them as a snack with coffee, tea or milk (still we love milk and cookies).
  • Serve as a garnish with a scoop of ice cream.
  • Insert into the tops of cupcakes.
  • Use a whole “litter” and “parents” to decorate cakes.
  •  
    How else would you have fun with them?

     

    scotties-reg-mini-kalviste-230

    Moms, Dad and “pups,” the new Walkers Shortbread minis. Photo by Elvira Kalviste | THE NIBBLE.

     

      

    Comments

    FOOD FUN: Corned Beef & Cabbage Tacos

    Who thought that inspiration for St. Patrick’s Day would come from La Tortilla Factory?

    Corned beef and cabbage tacos!

    We love fusion food, but these tacos do present a challenge:

    Should we serve them with mustard, or with tomatillo salsa?
     
    EVERYTHING YOU WANT TO KNOW ABOUT MAKING TACOS

    The answer to this question and others concerning nouvelle tacos can be found in the new book, The Taco Revolution by Brandon Schultz.

    The book covers both traditional and new recipes, with chapters for beef, chicken, fish, pork, vegetable, breakfast and specialty tacos, plus sides, sauces and taco party advice.

    On the nonconventional list, there are fusion tacos galore, including:

  • Avocado and tofu taco
  • BLT taco
  • California roll taco with wasabi sauce and soy sauce for dipping
  • Caprese taco with mozzarella, tomato and basil
  • Chicken salad taco and tuna salad taco, both with mayo
  • Chicken tikka taco (say that three times fast)
  • Falafel tahini taco
  • Hawaiian pizza taco
  • Korean taco of rice and kimchi
  • Orange chicken taco
  • Reuben tacos with sauerkraut and thousand island dressing
  • Smoked salmon and cream cheese taco
  • Steamed broccoli taco
  • Thanksgiving taco with turkey, stuffing and cranberry sauce
  •  

    corned-beef-cabbage-tortillas-tortillafactory-230sq

    Tacos for St. Patrick’s Day. Photo courtesy La Tortilla Factory.

     

    Salivating or simply intrigued? Get your copy at Amazon.com in hardcover or Kindle editions.

      

    Comments

    FOOD FUN: Leprechaun Gingerbread Men

    irish-gingerbread-men-grandmasmolassesFB-230

    Leprechaun gingerbread men. Photo courtesy
    Grandma’s Molasses and Brown Eyed Baker.

     

    Alas, leprechauns don’t deliver treats on St. Patrick’s Day (they could take a tip from the Easter Bunny). You’ll have to bake your own leprechaun gingerbread men.

    Make your own gingerbread cookie recipe or use this one from Brown Eyed Baker for Grandma’s Molasses:

    RECIPE: GINGERBREAD MEN

    Ingredients For 30 Cookies

  • 3 cups all-purpose flour
  • 3/4 cup dark brown sugar
  • 1 tablespoon ground cinnamon
  • 1 tablespoon ground ginger
  • 1/2 teaspoon ground cloves
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 3/4 teaspoon. baking soda
  • 3/4 cup (6 ounces) unsalted butter, cut into 12
    pieces and softened slightly
  • 3/4 cup molasses
  • 2 tablespoons milk
  •  
    PREPARATION

    1. USE a food processor fitted with steel blade. In the workbowl process flour, sugar, cinnamon, ginger, cloves, salt and baking soda until combined, about 10 seconds.

    2. SCATTER butter pieces over flour mixture and process until mixture is sandy and resembles very fine meal, about 15 seconds. With machine running, gradually add molasses and milk; process until dough is evenly moistened and forms soft mass, about 10 seconds. (Alternatively, in the bowl of a standing mixer fitted with paddle attachment, stir together flour, sugar, cinnamon, ginger, cloves, salt and baking soda at low speed until combined, about 30 seconds. Stop mixer and add butter pieces; mix at medium-low speed until mixture is sandy and resembles fine meal, about 1½ minutes. Reduce speed to low and, with mixer running, gradually add molasses and milk; mix until dough is evenly moistened, about 20 seconds. Increase speed to medium and mix until thoroughly combined, about 10 seconds.)

    3. SCRAPE dough onto work surface; divide in half. Working with one portion of dough at a time, roll ¼-inch thick between two large sheets of parchment paper. Leaving dough sandwiched between parchment layers, stack on cookie sheet and freeze until firm, 15 to 20 minutes. (Alternatively, refrigerate dough 2 hours or overnight.)

    4. PREHEAT oven to 350°F. Line two cookie sheets with parchment paper.

    5. REMOVE one dough sheet from freezer; place on work surface. Peel off top parchment sheet and lay it back in place. Flip dough over; peel off and discard second parchment layer. Cut dough into gingerbread people or round cookies, transferring shapes to parchment-line cookie sheets with a wide metal spatula, spacing them ¾-inch apart. Repeat with remaining dough until cookie sheets are full.

    6. BAKE cookies until set in centers and dough barely retains imprint when touched very gently with fingertip, 8 to 11 minutes, rotating cookie sheet from front to back halfway through baking time. Do not overbake. Cool cookies on sheets 2 minutes, then remove with wide metal spatula to wire rack; cool to room temperature.

    7. GATHER scraps; repeat rolling, cutting and baking in steps 3 and 5. Repeat with remaining dough until all dough is used.

    6. DECORATE with royal icing once cookies are cool. Store in an airtight container at room temperature for up to 1 week.

     
    ROYAL ICING RECIPE

    Ingredients

  • 6 cups confectioners’ sugar
  • 1/2 teaspoon cream of tartar
  • 4 egg whites, beaten
  • Optional: food color (for gingerbread, green and yellow)
  •  
    Preparation

    1. SIFT together sugar and cream of tartar.

    2. BEAT in 4 beaten egg whites with an electric mixer. Beat for about 5 minutes or until the mixture is thick enough to hold its shape.

    3. TINT with food color as desired.

      

    Comments

    TIP OF THE DAY: Deconstruct Your Favorite Foods

    deconstructed-carbonara-foodrepublic-230

    Deconstructed carbonara. Here’s the recipe.
    Photo courtesy Christopher Hirsheimer and
    Melissa Hamilton.

     

    Today’s tip is to have fun deconstructing a favorite family dish.

    Deconstruction is an avant-garde culinary trend of the last 15 years or so, championed by the famed Catalan chef Ferran Adrià, who has referred to his cooking as “deconstructivist.”

    Hervé This, the “father of molecular gastronomy,” reintroduced the concept in 2004 as “culinary constructivism.” Essentially, all of the components and flavors of a classic dish are taken apart and presented in a new shape or form.

    The idea is art plus fun, and the deconstruction must taste as good as the original. For example:

  • Deconstructed pecan pie could be brown sugar custard [emulating the filling], with crumbled shortbread cookies [for the crust] and a side of caramelized pecans.
  • Deconstructed key lime pie could be the key lime filling in a Martini glass, topped with graham cracker crumbs.
  • >Deconstructed stuffed cabbage: our favorite way to make stuffed cabbage. We’ve done this for some 25 years—who knew we were so avant garde of culinary deconstruction? We slice the cabbage and cook it in the tomato sauce along with rice-filled meatballs. It saves hours of blanching cabbage leaves, filling them with chopped meat and rice, rolling and cooking. All the flavors are there, and it’s also easier to eat (you often need a steak knife to saw through those blanched cabbage leaves).
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    SOME DECONSTRUCTED RECIPES

  • Deconstructed Bloody Mary: recipe
  • Deconstructed Buffalo Wings: recipe
  • Deconstructed Caesar Salad: recipe
  • Deconstructed Coffee Ice Cream (an affogato):
    recipe
  • Deconstructed Crab Cake: recipe
  • Deconstructed Fruit Loops Cereal: recipe
  • Deconstructed Guacamole: recipe
  • Deconstructed Ratatouille: recipe
  •  
    When you’ve finished your own deconstructed dish, send us a photo.

     

    deconstructed-cheesecake-garretkern-230

    Deconstructed cheesecake maintains the flavors and textures of the original. Photo courtesy Garret Kern. See more.

     

      

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