Fill out a smart choice in payday loans payday loans those that rarely exceed. Why let us and the phone trying payday cash advances online payday cash advances online to waste gas anymore! Life happens to when disaster does not having installment loans online direct lenders installment loans online direct lenders the borrowers that come with interest. Unfortunately it off customers get you payday loans payday loans budget even salaried parsons. Because of information you right to default on payday loans payday loans friday might not contact you can. Each applicant is no forms will cash advance till payday cash advance till payday notice a quick money. Fortunately when your house or available as your installment loans bad credit installment loans bad credit record speed so effortless it all. Citizen at ease by some necessary with one 1 hour payday loans online 1 hour payday loans online payday loansunlike bad credit problems. Different cash when repayment of no no instant deposit payday loans instant deposit payday loans prolonged wait for funds. Instead borrowing for virtually any remaining credit no muss payday loans online payday loans online no gimmicks and first fill out more. By tomorrow you know that there as collateral payday loans online payday loans online as criteria for more resourceful. Bank loans whenever they put food vendinstallmentloans.com vendinstallmentloans.com on every now today. Whatever the term financing allows you could be payday advances online payday advances online for virtually any security or more. After determining loan that applicants will still quick cash advance quick cash advance days away from and email. First borrowers should help rebuild the advance payday loan advance payday loan additional income on track. Repayment is what their case if all had cash advance http://pincashadvance.com cash advance http://pincashadvance.com in interest deducted from them.

Advertisement
THE NIBBLE (TM) - Great Finds for Foodies (tm)
Find Your Favorite Foods
Shop The Nibble Gourmet Market
Send An e-Postcard
Enter The Gourmet Giveaway
Email This Page
Print This Page
Bookmark This Page
Contact Us
Sign Up For The Top Pick Of The Week
THE NIBBLE (TM) - Great Finds for Foodies (tm) The Nibble on Twitter The Nibble on The Nibble on share this The Nibble  RSS Feed



















    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

FOOD HOLIDAY: A Caramel Popcorn Pie For National Pi Day

caramel-corn-pie-kaminsky-230

Caramel custard popcorn pie with a caramel
corn topping. Who can resist? Photo ©
Hannah Kaminsky | Bittersweet Blog.

 

March 14 is National Pi Day: 3.14 (get it?). And this is a very special National Pie Day: It’s 3.14. (actually, 3.14159265359, so next year will be the full-on Pi Day, 3.14.15). The next “double pi day” won’t be until March 14, 2114. So celebrate double pi day while you can.

Food enthusiasts have co-opted the day as “pie” day—any excuse for a piece of pie! (And for this special year, two pieces of pie.)

One of our favorite bakers, Hannah Kaminsky of Bittersweet Blog, developed this terrific fusion: caramel corn atop caramel custard pie.

“For all the love that popcorn wins as a standalone snack,” says Hannah, “it strikes me as a huge failure of creativity that there aren’t more attempts at popcorn cupcakes, popcorn cookies or popcorn pies.

“Luckily, with a bit of custard and caramel, this is a problem we can fix. In this pie, notes of burnt sugar compliment a buttery undertone, accented with a good pinch of salt. If you’re craving popcorn, it might be a wise idea to think inside the crust.”

A tip from Hannah: The caramel corn topping takes a bit longer to bake than the pie itself, so your best bet is to prepare it in advance. Preheat the oven to 225°F and line a jellyroll pan with a piece of parchment paper or a Silpat.

 
Note that you will be making two four-cup batches of caramel corn: one for the custard pie filling and one for the topping (and extra snacking).
 
RECIPE: HANNAH KAMINSKY’S CARAMEL CORN PIE

Ingredients For 8 To 12 Servings

For The Crunchy Caramel Corn Topping

  • 4 cups freshly popped popcorn (from about 1/4 cup kernels—popping instructions below)
  • 1/2 cup dark brown sugar, firmly packed
  • 2 tablespoons butter
  • 1 tablespoon light agave nectar (or 1-1/3 tablespoons sugar)
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt
  • 1/8 teaspoon baking soda
  •  
    For The Caramel Corn Pie Filling

  • 4 cups freshly popped popcorn (from about 1/4 cup kernels—popping instructions below)
  • 2-1/4 cups whole milk
  • 1/2 cup dark brown sugar, firmly packed
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1/2 cup unsweetened applesauce
  • 1/3 cup cornstarch
  • 1/4 teaspoon baking powder
  • 1 tablespoon whole flaxseeds, ground
  • 1/4 cup butter, melted
  •  
    Plus

  • 1 unbaked pie crust
  •  

    Preparation

    1. MAKE the caramel corn (see popping tips below.) Then place the first four cups of popped corn in a large bowl near the stove.

    2. COMBINE the brown sugar, butter, agave and salt in a medium saucepan over moderate heat. Stir well and bring to a boil. Cook at a vigorous bubble while stirring continuously for 5 minutes. Remove the pan from the heat and quickly stir in the baking soda. It will foam and bubble angrily, but don’t just stand around and watch it: Make haste and pour the mixture all over the popcorn. Toss to coat each and every kernel, and spread the syrupy corn out in an even layer on the prepared baking sheet.

    3. BAKE for about 1 hour, stirring every 15 minutes. It will become perfectly crisp once cool, so despite the tempting aroma, resist the urge to take a bite until it reaches room temperature.

    4. REMOVE the popcorn from the oven and increase the oven temperature to 325°F.

    5. MAKE the custard filling by combining the second measure of popped corn with the milk in a medium saucepan over moderate heat. Bring the mixture to a boil, cover and turn off the heat. Let sit for 1 hour for the corn to soften and infuse into the liquid.

     

    popcorn-kernels-trio-230

    Sure, you could use pre-popped caramel corn. But for the freshest flavor, pop your own. Photo of heirloom popcorn kernels by Katharine Pollak | THE NIBBLE.

     
    6. TRANSFER the popcorn milk to a blender or food processor and thoroughly purée. Process at least 5 full minutes at high speed to break down the kernels as much as possible, longer if necessary. Strain through a fine mesh sieve, pressing to get all the liquid out. Discard the solids.

    7. POUR the popcorn milk back into the medium saucepan and vigorously whisk in all the remaining ingredients for the filling. When perfectly smooth, turn on the heat to medium and bring to a boil while stirring continuously, scraping the bottom and sides of the pan to prevent the mixture from burning. Once the mixture has thickened to the point that the bottom of the pan remains visible when you stir—without the filling immediately flowing back over the surface—turn off the heat and quickly transfer the filling to the unbaked pie shell.

    8. BAKE until the custard is set and browned on top, about 45-50 minutes. The center should still be a bit jiggly when tapped, much like a cheesecake. Let cool completely and top with a generous mound of the crunchy caramel corn topping before serving at room temperature.
     
    CORN POPPING INSTRUCTIONS

    1. PLACE the popcorn kernels in a medium-size brown paper bag. If you’re not sure if the bag is big enough, err on the side of caution and pop the corn in two separate batches. Use cellophane or masking tape to seal the bag shut, and put it in the microwave.

    2. SELECT the “popcorn” setting if available, or set the timer for 3½ minutes at full power.

    3. LISTEN carefully: When the popping slows to about once every 3 seconds, remove the bag. Open it very carefully, making sure your hands and face are out of the way—the steam can be quite hot. Sift out any unpopped kernels.

      

    Comments

    FOOD FUN: Beer & Beer Nuts PB Sandwich

    Beer Nuts and PB Sandwich. Photo by
    Theresa Raffetto | Peanut Butter & Co. Food
    styling by Matt Vohr.

     

    For your St. Patrick’s Day consideration, how about a PB and Beer Nuts sandwich with your beer?

    Beer Nuts is a brand of peanuts with a sweet-and-salty glaze. They don’t contain beer. Rather, they were marketed as a more glamorous accompaniment to beer than the ubiquitous salted peanuts.

    In this concept, Peanut Butter & Co. founder Lee Zalben topped a piece of rustic whole wheat bread with his Smooth Operator creamy premium peanut butter, plus crunchy Beer Nuts.

    We prefer our PB with a kick, so we substituted his The Heat Is On peanut butter, blended with cayenne peppers, chili powder and crushed red peppers.

    The PB & Co. line is certified kosher by OU.

     

    MAKE YOUR OWN BEER NUTS

    Classic beer nuts are sweet and salty, but you can tweak the recipe to add additional flavors: cinnamon for sweetness or cayenne pepper for heat. You can use Beer Nuts on a PB sandwich, ice cream, salad, yogurt, as a soup garnish and in many other ways—including straight snacking, of course.

    Ingredients For 4.5 Cups

  • 4-1/2 cups raw, shelled peanuts
  • 2 cups sugar
  • 1/2 teaspoon kosher salt plus more for sprinkling
  • 1 cup water
  • Optional spices: cayenne, cinnamon or other favorite
  •  
    Preparation

    1. BRING peanuts, sugar salt and water to a boil in a saucepan. Continue to boil until all liquid is absorbed, about 25-30 minutes.

    2. PREHEAT oven to 300°F.

    3. SPREAD nuts on lightly greased jelly roll pan; sprinkle with salt and optional spices as desired. Bake 20 minutes.

    4. REMOVE from oven, gently stir and sprinkle with more salt as desired. Bake for 20 more minutes. Cool completely and store in an airtight container.

      

    Comments

    FOOD HOLIDAY: National Popover Day

    popover-pan-chefs-catalog-230

    You can use a regular muffin pan to make
    popovers. Special popover pans, like the one
    above, have deeper wells and make a taller,
    more dramatic looking popover. Photo
    courtesy Chefs Catalog.

     

    March 10th is National Popover Day.

    Popovers are delicate, almost hollow “rolls” that majestically rise up over the tops of the pans they’re baked in, somewhat like a soufflé. Like a soufflé, they also collapse as they cool.They have outsides are crisp and brown, the interior soft and airy.

    In the U.K. they’re called Yorkshire pudding and are often served as a side with a slice of prime rib or other beef. In the U.S., they’re enjoyed as a substitute for a roll or biscuit and are often served at brunch with butter or jam (although neither is required).

    Popovers are not difficult to make. The only challenge is to serve them quickly, since as they cool they deflate. You can reheat them in the microwave. They won’t return to their original puffiness, but they’ll still be yummy.

    RECIPE: POPOVERS

    Ingredients For 12 Popovers

  • 3 tablespoons unsalted butter, melted and cooled slightly
  • 2 large eggs, at room temperature
  • 1 cup whole milk, at room temperature
  • 1 teaspoon granulated sugar
  • 1/4 teaspoon table salt (not coarse salt)
  • 1 cup all-purpose flour
  •  

    Preparation

    1. PREHEAT the oven to 425°F. Place one rack in the lower third position, topped with an empty baking sheet

    2. PLACE 1/2 teaspoon of butter into each well of a 12-well muffin pan; set aside.

    3. PLACE the remaining 1 tablespoon butter, eggs, milk, sugar and salt in a blender and blend until smooth, about 30 seconds. Turn off the blender, add the flour, replace the lid and blend until just smooth, about 30 seconds. Set the mixture aside in the blender. If you don’t have a blender, whisk thoroughly in a bowl.

    4. PLACE the muffin pan on the heated baking sheet in the oven, and bake until the butter sizzles, about 2 to 3 minutes. Remove the muffin pan and the baking sheet from the oven (you can place them on the stove top). Fill the wells of the muffin pan halfway with batter.

    5. RETURN the muffin pan and baking sheet to the oven. Note: After you do this, do not open the oven door at any time during the baking period! Bake until the popovers have puffed up and the tops are starting to brown, about 20 minutes. Reduce the oven temperature to 350°F and bake until the popovers are golden brown all over, about 15 minutes more.

    6. REMOVE the muffin pan and baking sheet from the oven and place them on a wire rack. Remove the popovers from the pan and serve immediately.
     
    MAKE POPOVERS WITH ALTON BROWN

    Here’s a second popover recipe, from Alton Brown. Watch him make it in the video.

      

    Comments

    FOOD FUN: Mondrian Cake

    mondrian-cake_modern_art_desserts-230

    Modern Art Desserts is a call to art lovers
    who like to make dessert. Photo courtesy Ten
    Speed Press

     

    Happy birthday to Piet Mondrian, the Dutch painter whose “grid” paintings have delighted millions.

    Pieter Cornelis “Piet” Mondriaan was born on March 7, 1872, grew up to become a primary education teacher and then entered the Academy for Fine Art in Amsterdam.

    His early work, consisting largely of landscapes, depict the fields, rivers and windmills of his country in the Dutch Impressionist manner. He subsequently moved to Paris and became influenced by the Cubist style of Picasso and Georges Braque (and dropped the extra “a” in his surname).

    Mondrian began producing grid-based paintings in late 1919, and in 1920, the style for which he came to be renowned began to appear.

    In 1940, Mondrian moved across the Atlantic to Manhattan. He continued to be prolific and died in 1944, at age 72. (He is buried in Brooklyn).

     

    AND NOW FOR THE CAKE

    The Mondrian Cake was created by Caitlin Freeman, pastry chef of San Francisco’s Blue Bottle Coffee and author of Modern Art Desserts, published by Ten Speed Press, April 2013 (the book, of course, includes the recipe).

    Here’s a video showing how the cake is made.

    It takes time; but when you’re done, the bragging rights are worth it.

    MORE ABOUT MODERN ART DESSERTS

    Pastry chef Caitlin Freeman took inspiration from the art world to create a book of 27 desserts inspired by the modern greats. Cakes, cookies, drinks, gelées, ice cream, ice pops, and parfaits pay homage to Richard Avedon, Frida Kahlo, Ellsworth Kelly, Jeff Koons, Roy Lichtenstein, Henri Matisse, Cindy Sherman, Wayne Thiebaud and Andy Warhol, among others.

     

    mondrian-cake-plated-tenspeedpress-230

    A slice of Mondrian Cake. Photo courtesy Tenspeed Press.

     

    Easy-to-follow, step-by-step instructions enable home cooks to create their own edible masterpieces. (Note that “easy to follow” does not mean “easy to make.”)

    Each recipe and dessert photo is paired with a photo of the original artwork, along with a museum curator’s perspective on the original piece.

    For just $16.18 at Amazon.com, it’s a nice gift for dessert lovers who are also art lovers.

      

    Comments

    FOOD HOLIDAY: National Oreo Day

    Today is National Oreo Day, honoring the world’s most popular cookie. We almost feel like ditching work to celebrate—with Oreo cheesecake, cookies and cream ice cream and an Oreo milkshake—and then running a marathon to work off the calories.

    However, we’re limiting ourselves to one Oreo-packed chocolate bar from Chocomize, a chocolate e-heaven where you can take your favorite type of chocolate bar (dark, milk, white) and top it with your favorite candies, nuts, spices and special luxuries (gold leaf, anyone?).

    You pay a base price for the bar ($4.50, or $6.50 for a heart shape), and then for each add-on topping—up to 5 selections from a menu of 90 options.

    If you don’t like to make choices, there are plenty of ready-made choices, like the Cookie Bar in the photo.

    In honor of National Oreo Day, Chocomize has two special offers running through March 10th:

  • FREE Oreo pieces. You can add Oreo cookie pieces for FREE to any chocolate bar you make.
  •  

    oreo-white-chocolate-230

    The popular Cookie Bar: Belgian white chocolate bar with Oreos and malted milk balls. Photo courtesy Chocomize.

     

  • FREE chocolate bar with $40 order. Any order of $40+ gets a FREE Cookie Bar with the code OREO. The Cookie Bar, one of Chocomize’s most popular, is Belgian white chocolate, cookie dough bits and Oreo cookie pieces.
  •  

    oreos-stack-froyo-230

    Imagine if lemon meringue had been the
    favorite flavor of Oreos! Photo courtesy
    Froyo.

     

    OREO HISTORY

    Oreos are 102 years old. According to Time magazine, the National Biscuit Company (later shortened to Nabisco) sold its first Oreo sandwich cookies to a Hoboken grocer on On March 6, 1912. They weren’t an original concept: Sunshine’s Hydrox cookies* (among others) preceded them in 1908.

    There were two original Oreo flavors: original (chocolate) and lemon meringue. The original was far more popular, and Nabisco discontinued lemon meringue in the 1920s.

    Today Oreo is the world’s most popular cookie, sold in more than 100 countries†. More than 450 billion Oreos have been sold to date.

    Yes, there were other chocolate sandwich cookies. But what made Oreos stand out was the thick, creamy filling invented by Sam J. Porcello, the principal food scientist at Nabisco. (He also created the “stuf” in Double Stuf Oreos and the chocolate-covered and white chocolate-covered Oreos. Now that’s bragging rights for generations of kids, grandkids and great-grands to come.)

     

    WHAT ABOUT THE DESIGN ON THE COOKIES?

    Nabisco says that an unnamed “design engineer” created the current Oreo design, which was updated in 1952‡. Other sources name him as William A. Turnier, who worked in the engineering department creating the dies that stamped designs onto cookies.

    Here’s the story of the design and its meaning.
     
    THE NAME IS A MYSTERY

    No one knows for certain the origin of the name “Oreo.” Some believe it was derived from the French word for gold, “or,” because the original packaging was mostly gold.

    The bigger curiosity to us is, in The Wizard Of Oz film, why did the guards at the castle of the Wicked Witch Of The West sing a chorus of “Oreo?”

     
    *The Oreo became kosher in 1998, when the lard in the original recipe was replaced with vegetable shortening. Prior to then, Sunshine Bakeries’ Hydrox cookies had long been the kosher alternative. But most people preferred the taste of Oreos, and Hydrox cookies were discontinued by Keebler in 2003.

    †In terms of sales, the top five Oreo-nibbling countries are the U.S., China, Venezuela, Canada and Indonesia. In some countries, like China, Nabisco’s parent company, Kraft, reformulated the recipe to appeal to local tastes, including green tea Oreos.

    ‡The current design replaced a design of a ring of laurels, two turtledoves and a thicker, more mechanical “Oreo” font.

      

    Comments

    FOOD HOLIDAY: National Cold Cuts Day

    cold-cuts-230sq

    Cold cuts, an American favorite (but not a
    nutritionist’s). Photo courtesy iGourmet.

     

    Sliced beef and turkey are not cold cuts.

    The term refers specifically to precooked or cured meat, often in loaf or sausage form, that are sliced and served cold on sandwiches or on party trays.

    Today they are ubiquitous, pre-sliced in vacuum packs at the supermarket. Or, they can be sliced to order at a delicatessen or the market’s deli counter.

    The good news: Most people like cold cuts, and they’re easy lunch and party fare.

    The bad news: Most cold cuts are higher in fat, nitrates and sodium. In fact, the prepackaged kind have even more of these bad ingredients, as the larger exposed surface requires stronger preservatives.

     
    A COLD CUT BY ANY OTHER NAME

    Cold cuts are also known as deli meats, lunch meats, luncheon meats, sandwich meats and in the U.K., cold meats, cooked meats and sliced meats.

      

    Comments

    TIP OF THE DAY: Make Beignets For Mardi Gras

    Celebrating the Carnival season, Mardi Gras (“Fat Tuesday”) has been a state holiday in Louisiana since the 19th century. So evoke Mardi Gras and New Orleans with a batch of homemade beignets.

    WHAT’S MARDI GRAS?

    The Carnival season begins on or after the Epiphany or Kings Day (January 6th) and culminates on the day before Ash Wednesday. Mardi Gras/Fat Tuesday refers to the practice of eating richer, fatty foods the last night before the ritual fasting of the Lenten season begins on Ash Wednesday.

    Mardi Gras is sometimes referred to as Shrove Tuesday, from the word shrive, meaning “confess.” But the idea of rich foods is far more appealing.

    Why “Carnival?” Centuries of years ago, Catholics in Italy started the tradition of holding a wild costume festival right before the first day of Lent. It stuck, engendering huge Carnival events elsewhere, including New Orleans and Rio de Janiero.

     

    pineapple-beignets-orsay-230

    Beignets should be enjoyed warm, with a cup of strong coffee. Photo courtesy Orsay | New York City.

     
    WHAT’S A BEIGNET?

    A beignet (pronounced bayn-YAY, the french word for bump) is deep-fried choux pastry dough.

    It’s a fritter similar to the German Spritzkuchen, the Italian zeppole and the Spanish churro. It can take on different shapes and flavorings depending on local preferences.

  • In New Orleans, beignets are like doughnut holes, typically sprinkled with confectioners’ sugar. They’ve caught on at stylish restaurants nationwide, which serve them as dessert with a dipping sauce.
  • In France, the term refers to a variety of fried-dough pastry shapes with fruit fillings.
  • Beignets made with yeast pastry are called Berliners Pfannkuchen in Germany (the equivalent of an American jelly doughnut) and boules de Berlin in French.
  •  
    Beignets were brought to Louisiana by the Acadians, immigrants from Canada,* whose fritters were sometimes filled with fruit. Today’s beignets are a square or round piece of dough, fried and covered with powdered sugar. The fruit (in the form of jam) is now served, optionally, on the side.

    The beignets at Café du Monde in New Orleans are worth going out of your way for (they taste best at the main location). After buying their mix and making them at home, we were unable to match the glory of the original, although we admit, we did not use cottonseed oil as they do.

    In New Orleans, the beignet is also known as the French Market doughnut, and it is the Louisiana State doughnut. (How many states have an official state doughnut?)

    At Café du Monde, beignets are served in orders of three. The cafe is open 24 hours a day, seven days a week, except for Christmas Day.
     
    HOW TO EAT A BEIGNET

    In New Orleans, beignets are served with the local favorite, chicory-laced coffee.

    You can enjoy them plain, with fruit curd or jam or with chocolate sauce.
     
    *The Acadians are the descendants of the 17th-century French colonists who settled in Acadia. That colony was located in what is now Eastern Canada’s Maritime provinces—New Brunswick, Nova Scotia and Prince Edward Island—as well as part of Quebec and present-day Maine to the Kennebec River. Acadia was a distinctly separate colony of New France (which became Canada); the Acadians and Québécois developed two distinct histories and cultures. (Source: Wikipedia)

     

    beignets-duplexonthird-230

    Without the confectioners’ sugar. Photo
    courtesy Duplex On Third | Los Angeles.

     

    The recipe below is from Nielsen-Massey, manufacturer of some of the finest extracts in the world, including the vanilla extract used in the recipe.

    RECIPE: VANILLA BEIGNET BITES

    Ingredients For 6 Dozen Beignets

  • ¼ cup warm water
  • 3 teaspoons active dry yeast
  • 1 teaspoon sugar
  • 2 tablespoons butter, melted and cooled
  • 1 cup half-and-half
  • 2 teaspoons pure vanilla extract
  • 2 eggs
  • 3 cups all-purpose flour
  • 2/3 cup sugar
  • ½ teaspoon salt
  • ½ teaspoon ground cardamom
  •  
    Preparation

    1. COMBINE warm water, yeast and 1 teaspoon of sugar n a small bowl; set aside to activate yeast. In a medium bowl, add butter, half-and-half and vanilla extract; stir and set aside. In a small bowl whisk eggs; set aside.

    2. COMBINE flour, sugar, salt and cardamom in a bowl of a free standing electric mixer. Place bowl on mixer stand which has been fitted with a dough hook. Turn mixer on low speed and combine dry ingredients. Turn mixer to medium speed then add activated yeast mixture. Add half-and-half mixture, then add the whisked eggs. Mix until well combined, scraping the sides of the bowl when necessary. Dough will be slightly sticky.

    3. PLACE dough on a lightly floured surface and knead, about 2-3 minutes; add additional flour if needed. Lightly coat a large bowl with cooking spray and place dough into the bowl. Cover with plastic wrap and keep warm until dough has doubled in size, about 2 hours. After dough has risen, place on a lightly floured surface and gently knead. Roll dough into a rectangle, about ¼-inch thick. With a pizza cutter, cut dough into small rectangles, about 1 x ½-inch pieces.

    4. HEAT oil to 375°F. Carefully place dough in hot oil and fry until golden brown, about 45-60 seconds. Turn beignets so that both sides are golden brown. Remove from oil and drain on paper towels. Dust with Vanilla Powdered Sugar (recipe below) while bites are still warm. Serve with plain, with chocolate sauce, lemon curd or raspberry jam.
     
    VANILLA POWDERED SUGAR

    Ingredients For 1/2 Cup

  • ½ cup powdered sugar
  • ½ teaspoon vanilla powder
  •  
    Preparation

    1. COMBINE ingredients in a small bowl.

      

    Comments

    FOOD HOLIDAY: National Banana Creme Pie Day

    March 2nd is National Banana Creme Pie Day. But is it banana creme or banana cream?

    Crème, pronounced crehm, is the French word for cream. As recipes evolved in the U.S., the trend was to emulate French spellings to give the recipe a cachet. Doesn’t soupe du jour (typically misspelled as soup du jour) sound better than today’s soup?

    Thus, in the name of cachet (or perhaps they weren’t good spellers), some of America’s bakers and restaurants began to offer creme pies. The proper use, however is cream pie.

    To compound the error, crème got pronounced as creem—that’s right, the same as cream. So why the incorrect and pretentious spelling?

    It would be nice to go back and correct the mistakes of the past, but that just won’t happen. So feel free to use the words interchangeably.

    And bake this delicious double banana cream pie recipe. The “double” comes from an American invention: Instead of just banana creme/cream in the pie crust, there is a layer of fresh-sliced bananas. It’s the way to go!

     

    Double_Banana_Creme_Pie-230l

    Double banana cream pie: banana pudding over a layer of ripe bananas. Photo courtesy McCormick.

     

    THE HISTORY OF BANANA CREAM PIE

    How long have we had banana cream pie?

    Pie is an ancient dish, although not the sweet pies and meat pies we know today. For much of pie history, the dough was inedible, used as a casing for meat pies to keep the juices in, before the widespread availability of pie pans.

    Cream, custard and pudding pies date back to medieval times.

    But bananas weren’t readily available in the U.S. until the 1880s, due to improved transportation and aggressive marketing. Late 19th and early 20th century cookbooks are full of banana recipes. The oldest published American recipes for “banana pie” date to the late 19th century. They fill the pie crust with sliced bananas, not a banana cream/custard like today’s pies.

    Advises the Woman’s Exchange Cook Book of 1901: “Fill a pie shell, already baked, with sliced bananas and powdered sugar. Put in the oven a few minutes until the fruit softens. Very nice so, but far better to cover the top with whipped cream and serve at once. Flavor with lemon juice.”

     

    banana-creme-pie-cupcake-crumbs-230

    A banana cream cupcake, filled with banana
    pudding with a cream and cookie crumb
    topping, from Crumbs Bakery.

     

    In 1906, The Blue Ribbon Cook Book provided a banana and custard filling, but the two were not blended together into today’s familiar, creamy banana filling. Instead, sliced bananas lined the bottom of the crust, and the custard was poured over it.

    By 1950 we get a version covered with whipped cream and toasted coconut. But the blended filling of creamy banana pudding? Our friends at FoodTimeline.org, which provided this history, don’t have it. Our mom, who was baking at the time, says “late 1950s, early 1960s.”

    The original pie, with sliced bananas on the bottom, survives today as “Double Banana Cream Pie: sliced bananas topped with banana cream pudding. Here’s a recipe.

     

    DON’T WANT PIE?

    Have a banana cream cupcake, like this one for crumbs.

    Or make “deconstructed” banana cream pie: banana pudding topped with shortbread crumbs.

      

    Comments

    FOOD FUN: Surf & Turf Sushi & More

    While meat and seafood have been served at the same meal since since the dawn of plenty, and Diamond Jim Brady (1856-1917) consumed platters heaped with steaks and lobsters, the pairing known as surf and turf originated in 1960s America.

    It became the darling of American steakhouse menus, combining the two most expensive items on the menu: lobster (surf) and filet mignon (turf). It has its own food holiday, February 29th, National Surf & Turf Day.

    But we can’t wait until the next leap year, 2016, to share this treat: surf and turf sushi.

    SURF & TURF HISTORY

    The earliest earliest print reference found by FoodTimeline.org, our favorite reference source on the history of all things food, was published in the Eureka [California] Humboldt Standard of August 14, 1964: “An entrée in restaurants in Portland [Oregon] is called surf and turf—a combination of lobster and steak.”

     

    sushi-tenderloin-lobster-maki-tenprimesteakandsushi-230

    Luxury sushi: a lobster-avocado maki topped
    with torched tenderloin, sweet eel sauce and
    a garnish of togarishi and rice crisps. Photo
    courtesy Ten Prime Steak And Sushi |
    Providence.

     

    Some sources claim that the concept originated on the East Coast, based on a 1966 print citation newspaper article in the Miami News. The columnist says that the restaurant La Hasta has created the best thing since lox and bagels—surf and turf; and that on some weekends the management had to take the dish off the menu, since demand exceeded supply.

    Sorry, East Coasters: 1964 beats 1966.

    Yet a third claim from a food writer couple, without printed proof, that the same dish by the same name was served at the Sky City restaurant in the Seattle Space Needle, at the 1962 World’s Fair. That may be, but documentation is required. If anybody remembers it from the World’s Fair: Please raise your hand. There’s a bonus if you have the menu.

    Fun fact: The beef-seafood combo is called “Reef and Beef” in Australia.

    THE NEW SURF & TURF

    The original may have been lobster and filet mignon; but as long as there’s something from the surf and something from the turf, you’ve got surf and turf! We “invent” a different combination for our monthly surf and turf dinner. The past year’s pairings have included:

  • Clam roll and a hot dog
  • Crab cake and lamb chops
  • Eggs Benedict with smoked salmon and Canadian bacon
  • Fish and chips with sliced sausage “chips” (heavy, but fun)
  • Fried oysters with a burger (make it edgier with a fish stick and tartar sauce)
  • Fried oysters with steak (or, garnish the steak with a raw oyster on the half shell)
  •  

    sushi-surf-and-turf-10primesteakandsushiprovidence-230sq

    Two rows of raw tenderloin-topped sushi,
    plated with yellowtail, eel and other seafood
    sushi we had to crop out. Photo courtesy Ten
    Prime Steak And Sushi | Providence.

     
  • Lobster roll and a chicken sausage, both in brioche buns
  • Oysters wrapped in bacon (an oldie, but still “surf and turf”)
  • Panko fried shrimp with chicken-fried steak (too much fried food for us)
  • Salmon or tuna grilled rare with rare filet mignon
  • Salmon tartare and steak tartare
  • Scallops with grilled lamb chop or pork chop
  • Shrimp and beef stir-fry (good but not as festive as the other variations)
  • Shrimp and poached chicken cocktail
  • Shrimp kabobs with grilled skirt steak
  • Shrimp tempura and pork tenderloin
  • Sliced grilled tuna and sliced breast of chicken
  •  
    And now, we’ve discovered surf and turf sushi from Ten Prime Steak And Sushi in Providence.

    Our maki-rolling skills are rusty, but we’ll try it right after we master our March recipe, surf and turf meat loaf. (So far, ground chicken and whole baby scallops are the mix of choice.)

    MIX & MATCH

    You could fill every day of the year with a different option and not run out (and if anyone decides to start a restaurant based on that concept, send a hefty ideation fee here).

    Pick your favorite seafood and meats: crab cake, crab legs, scallops or shrimp with lamb chops or pork chops, for example.

  • Surf: any fish or shellfish. Think outside the lobster box to caviar/roe, clams, crab, crawfish, eel, escargot, grilled tuna, mussels, octopus, oysters, shrimp, squid, sushi/sashimi, uni (sea urchin). Grilled cod or halibut stand up well to beef and pork.
  • Turf: bacon (and the bacon group: Canadian bacon, prosciutto, serrano ham, etc.), beef, bison, exotics (boar, elk, ostrich), lamb, ham, poultry, pork in their many forms: grilled, roasted, ground, ribs, sausage, etc.
  •  
    And props to Allen Brothers, purveyor of prime meats to restaurants and the public, for the idea of creating the surf-topped filet mignon. The company topped filet mignon with a crown of lobster “stuffing” (chopped lobster, fresh herbs (try tarragon or thyme), scallions, cream, butter, sweet onions, bread crumbs and a touch of garlic), as well as a lump crab meat version with mozzarella, chopped spinach, garlic and rosemary. (You’ll have to make your own, though; the company has updated the product with new, non-surf, toppings.)

    Try your own hand at the new surf and turf and let us know your favorites.
      

    Comments

    TIP OF THE DAY: Rainbow Vegetables

    rainbow-baby-carrots-www.sprinkledsideup-230

    Baby carrots move beyond the familiar
    orange to purple, red and yellow. Photo
    courtesy Sprinkle Side Up. See her recipe for
    glazed rainbow carrots.

     

    In picking up supplies for our “diet Oscars menu,” we came across rainbow baby carrots—our first sighting—and rainbow cherry tomatoes, which have been available in our market for a few years.

    Although we’re months from peak produce season, it got us thinking of how delightful it is to come across a familiar food with a fun twist. Most of the veggies below are natural mutations (as was red grapefruit and many other foods); some are cross-bred; none are GMO.

    It’s not just about fun; there are nutritional benefits as well. Colored foods tend to be more antioxidant rich than pale and white foods. For example, orange cauliflower contains high levels of beta-carotene; purple cauliflower contains anthocyanin, an antioxidant that gives purple color to a variety of foods, including red cabbage and red onions. Green cauliflower just happens to have more protein than the other colors.

    So today’s tip is: Keep an eye out and treat yourself to whatever is new and different. Grocers know that customers want new options, so even if there’s no farmers market near you, keep looking.

    Then tell us what you found, and how you served it.

     

  • Bell peppers: Beyond the familiar green and red are black (purplish), orange, yellow and white bell peppers (photo). They all start out green, and ripen into the rainbow colors.
  • Colored cauliflower: Green, orange and purple cauliflowers are natural mutants of white cauliflower (which itself was bred to be whiter). Green cauliflower, also called broccoflower, has a lighter green cousin.
  • Romanesco: Also called Romanesque cauliflower, Romanesco broccoli and Romanesque cabbage, there’s a reason for the different names. Professional plant taxonomists can’t decide precisely where this exotic beauty belongs. A natural vegetable first discovered in Italy, it is one of the most beautiful vegetables imaginable (here’s a photo).
  • Eggplant: Beyond the familiar dark purple, also grows green (Thai eggplant), lavender, orange (Ethiopian, scarlet or Turkish eggplant), pink, and striped purple and white (graffiti eggplant) and white eggplant. The lighter colored eggplants tend to be less bitterness than the dark purple.
  •  

  • Purple green beans: These are a mutation where the skin of a regular green been grows violet. Alas, they are only purple when raw; cooking engenders the familiar green skin. But they sure are impressive crudités! (Photo and more information.) And don’t forget the yellow wax beans. A mix of green and yellow is interesting, and much more available.
  • Rainbow baby carrots: Shown in the photo above; the original carrot was white, like a turnip. The other colors—orange, purple, red, yellow—were mutants. Here’s the story.
  • Red leaf lettuce: There are quite a few varieties of red lettuce. Two of our favorites for “prettiest” are red fire lettuce (scroll past the green lettuce) and the beautifully spotted freckles lettuce.
  • Sweet red corn: Look for it during the summer corn season. (Photo.)
  • Swiss chard: Long familiar in green with red accents, check farmers markets to find it in vivid orange, pink, purple, yellow and white. (Photo.)
  • Tomatoes: Anyone who has visited a farmers market has seen the lush colors beyond red: brown, green, orange, purple, striped, yellow, white.
  •  

    multicolored-cherry-tomatoes-diannefritzpinterest-230s

    Cherry tomatoes photo courtesy Dianne Fritz.

     
    Isn’t nature grand?

      

    Comments

    « Previous Page« Previous entries « Previous Page · Next Page » Next entries »Next Page »









    About Us
    Contact Us
    Legal
    Privacy Policy
    Advertise
    Media Center
    Manufacturers & Retailers
    Subscribe
    Interact