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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

RECIPE: Poutine

WENDY'S RESTAURANTS OF CANADA - Oh Poutine! Grab your forks

Classic poutine. Photo courtesy Wendy’s |
Canada.

 

In Canada, the first week in February is La Poutine week.

Poutine (poo-TEEN) is a popular Canadian potato dish: French fries topped with cheese curds and gravy. It’s the northern version of cheese fries, with brown gravy instead of ketchup; and is often referred to as the national dish of Canada.

Decades ago, it became popular in Quebec as a snack to follow a night of drinking. Of course, it begs to be accompanied by a cold beer.

During La Poutine Week, chefs at restaurants across Canada will pull out all the stops to out-poutine the classic poutine. Last year, a Toronto sushi bar added caramelized kimchi, beef tongue and Japanese mayo; an Ottawa pub featured poutine made with pulled pork, pork meatballs and cheese with bacon bits, topped with a Jack Daniels sauce. Vegetarian restaurants did their own thing.

Year-round, La Banquise in Montreal serves more than thirty different kinds of poutine. It’s open 24 hours daily. Here’s the menu.

 
This recipe from French’s makes adds shredded barbecue beef and a fried egg (French’s used its company’s Cattlemen’s Memphis Sweet Finished BBQ Sauce). Make it, or create your own.

As for a matching beer: Cold Snap from Sam Adams sounds just right. The unfiltered white ale has a snap of added flavor: fruit including orange peel, plum and hibiscus, and a peppery snap from fresh ground coriander.

RECIPE: BARBECUE BEEF POUTINE

Ingredients

  • 12 ounces French fries
  • 2½ ounces smoked beef, shredded
  • ¼ cup Wisconsin cheese curds
  • 1 teaspoon scallion tops, thinly sliced
  • 1 fried egg, sunny side up
  •  
    Preparation

    1. FRY the French fries to a crisp, golden brown and arrange on a platter.

    2. COMBINE the beef with barbecue sauce and heat. Sprinkle over the fries.

    3. SLICE the cheese curds in half and top the fries. Melt in a hot oven.

    4 TOP with the egg and scallions. Serve.

     

    POUTINE HISTORY

    Various places claim the credit for inventing poutine, in rural Quebec in the 1950s, where numerous dairies produced Cheddar cheese curds.

    The first leg of the story is that poutine originated in a restaurant called Le Lutin Qui Rit (“The Laughing Goblin”), when a customer asked the owner Fernand Lachance to mix cheese curds with his fries.

    A restaurant called Le Roy Jucep is the first to have served poutine as we know it today—French fries, cheese and gravy—in 1964. The owner registered a trademark for the dish.

    Another restaurant La P’tite Vache (“The Little Cow”) sold curds from the local Princesse dairy. Customers would order fries and buy a bag of cheese curds to mix together at their tables in a 50:50 proportion. When gravy was added, the dish became known as “mixte” (“mixed”).

     

    bbq-beef-poutine-frenchs-230

    Fancy poutine. Photo courtesy The French’s Food Company.

     

    The name “poutine” appeared in 1982, when large restaurant chains began to sell it. While no one can explain the derivation for certain, it could be derived from the English word “pudding,” which was expressed as “pouding” in Acadian French.

    One meaning of “pouding” in Canada is “an unappetizing mixture of various foods, usually leftovers.” According to Merriam-Webster, poutine derives from a Quebecois slang word meaning “mess.” [Source]

    We vote for that one!

      

    Comments

    TIP OF THE DAY: Make Fondue For National Fondue Month

    Originally a melted cheese dish, the concept evolved to cooking beef, chicken, chocolate or seafood in the fondue pot. February is National Fondue Month, so why not plan a fondue feast?

    THE HISTORY OF FONDUE

    The melted cheese dish originated in the Swiss canton of Neuchâtel. The word fondue itself is the past participle of the French fondre, to melt down.

    The fondue is served from a communal pot called a caquelon, using long forks to spear cubes of bread that are swirled in the melted cheese. The tradition dates to the 18th century; some say it was developed as a way to use slightly stale bread.

    Each Swiss canton has its own variation on the recipe, which generally consists of at least two varieties of cheese, wine and a bit of flour or cornstarch to keep the melted cheese from separating.

  • Raclette is a related dish, made from a Swiss cheese that is similar to Gruyère. But instead of melting it in a communal pot, the wheel of cheese is brought to the table on a cart, exposed to heat and and scraped onto a plate as it melts (racler is French for “to scrape”). It is traditionally served with boiled potatoes, cornichons and dark bread.
  •    

    fondue-artisanalrestaurant-230

    Classic cheese fondue. Photo courtesy Artisanal Restaurant | NYC.

  • Fonduta is an Italian dish similar to fondue, made with Fontina cheese, milk and egg yolks. Elegant versions top it with shaved white truffle.
  • Kaas Doop is a fondue-style Dutch dish made with Gouda cheese, milk and brandy, with nutmeg seasoning, that uses brown bread for dipping.
  •  
    Although it adds to the aesthetic, you don’t need a fondue pot (caquelon) to melt cheese or chocolate or to heat cooking oil. A heavy-bottomed saucepan or ideally, a double boiler, works fine.

    But then, to keep the fondue heated after it has been served, you’ll need a hot plate for the table. If you don’t have one, you probably know someone who has one stashed away and will lend it.
     
    FONDUE RECIPES

    To help you decide where to begin: We recommend starting with a classic cheese fondue. Here’s the basic cheese fondue recipe plus 28 variations, from blue cheese and goat cheese variations to Nacho and Philly Cheesesteak fondue. Or consider:

  • Reduced Fat Cheddar Fondue Recipe
  • Cheddar Chive Fondue With Tortilla Chips Recipe
  • How To Melt Cheese Tips
  •  
    For Valentine’s Day, how about chocolate fondue—your choice of dark, milk or white chocolate? Here’s an even richer Chocolate Fondue with Mascarpone recipe.

    You can also spice things up with these Spicy Chocolate Fondue recipe variations.

     

    sugardaddys-230

    Chocolate fondue. Photo courtesy Sugardaddy’s.

     

    RECIPE: SEAFOOD FONDUE

    This recipe was adapted from GourmetSleuth.com.

    Ingredients For 4 People

  • 1 pound* salmon, halibut or other thick-fleshed fish filets
  • 1 pound raw shrimp, shelled, deveined, washed and dried
  • Canola or peanut oil
  • Optional vegetables: bell pepper strips, pearl onions
  • Dipping sauces (see below)
  •  
    *Plan for at least 1/3 pound fish/seafood per person.
     
    Preparation

    1. CUT fish into one-inch cubes or 1/4″ w x 2″ long strips, depending on shape of filets. Keep refrigerated until ready to serve.

    2. SET the table with plates, fondue forks and dips. You can provide individual dip portions, or have guests spoon dips onto their plates. (NOTE: Use only metal fondue forks or bamboo skewers, as wooden skewers can burn in hot oil.)

    3. FILL the fondue pot with oil and heat on the stove until it reaches 350°F. Place the fondue pot on a brazier stand or hot plate on the table, over moderately high heat. Note that for beef or seafood fondue, you must use a stainless steel pot. Ceramic pots aren’t safe with the hot oil.

    4. SPEAR cubes or shrimps and place in the hot oil until cooked.

     
    SEAFOOD FONDUE DIPS

    RECIPE: SPICY COCKTAIL SAUCE

    Ingredients

  • 1 cup ketchup
  • 2 tablespoons cider vinegar
  • 3/4 teaspoon prepared horseradish
  • Dash hot pepper sauce
  •  
    1. COMBINE ingredients and store refrigerated until use.
     
    RECIPE: TARTAR SAUCE

    Ingredients

  • 3/4 cup mayonnaise
  • 2 tablespoons chopped green onions or scallions (green part only)
  • 2 tablespoons drained sweet pickle relish
  • 1 tablespoon drained small capers (chop if large)
  • 1 tablespoon minced fresh parsley
  • 1 teaspoon fresh lemon juice
  • 1 teaspoon minced fresh tarragon (or substitute 1 tablespoon minced canned chipotle chiles)
  •  
    1. BLEND all ingredients in medium bowl. Season to taste with salt.
     
    RECIPE: DILL SAUCE

    Ingredients

  • 2/3 cup bottled clam juice
  • 1/2 cup dry white wine
  • 1 1/4 cups crème fraîche or whipping cream
  • 3 tablespoons minced fresh dill
  •  
    1. COMBINE clam juice and wine in a heavy small non-aluminum saucepan. Boil until reduced to 1/3 cup, about 9 minutes. Reduce heat to medium.

    2. WHISK in crème fraîche. Boil until reduced to 1 cup, about 5 minutes. Remove from heat. Stir in dill. Season with salt and pepper.

      

    Comments

    FOOD FUN: Football Pizza

    football-pizza-due-forni-LV-230ps

    Don’t fumble the pizza! Football pizza from Due Forni | Las Vegas.

     

    If you were at Due Forni restaurant, you could order a football pizza. But there’s no need to travel to Austin or Las Vegas: It’s easy to make your own.

    Using your favorite pizza recipe:

    1. STRETCH the dough into a more oblong shape. If you’re using a prepared round crust, you could trim it, but it’s easier to default to the round shape.

    2. PLACE the pepperoni in the center as shown.

    3. CUT strips of mozzarella for the laces.

    4. BAKE as usual.

    Be sure to have extra pizzas ready to be made when this one is devoured!

     

     
      

    Comments

    FOOD FUN: Super Bowl Team Colors In Frosting

    If you’re making cake cupcakes for Super Bowl feasting, you can ice them with your team colors. McCormick has the recipes for all the NFL team colors.

    McCormick suggests adding the color to a 16-ounce can of white frosting, but if you have a picky palate, you might prefer to make your own buttercream or cream cheese frosting (here are the recipes).

    Both sets of team colors require regular food colors and a box of McCormick NEON! food colors. The New England Patriots red also requires a bottle of black food color.

    So get mixing and surprise your family and guests with something sweet, with our hopes that the day will be even sweeter when your team wins.
     
    FROSTING TIPS

    While it’s easy to frost a cake with half of each frosting color, McCormick offers these tips for cupcakes:

     

    food-colors-230

    Mix your team colors. The asterisks * indicate neon colors.Photo courtesy McCormick.

     

  • Spoon and Swirl Formation: Place one tablespoon of each color frosting on a cupcake, then spread and swirl the frosting with a small knife or spatula.
  • Pastry Bag Conversion: Place both colored frostings side-by-side in a pastry bag and squeeze them out together.
  •  
    FROSTING VS. ICING: THE DIFFERENCE

    The difference between frosting and icing is that icing is made with confectioners sugar’ (also called icing sugar and 10x sugar). But the two words are used interchangeably by those not aware of this nuance.

      

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    FOOD FUN: Turkey Bacon Pancakes

    turkey-bacon-pancakes-jennieo-230r

    The longest pancakes ever. Photo courtesy Jennie-O.

     

    Ladle pancake batter over strips of bacon, and long, fun pancakes result. This recipe from Jennie-O uses the company’s turkey bacon, but you can use any bacon you wish.

    Jennie-O uses better-for-you whole wheat flour in this recipe, but you can substitute refined white flour.

    RECIPE: TURKEY BACON PANCAKES

    Ingredients

  • 1 cup whole wheat flour
  • 2 teaspoons sugar
  • ½ teaspoon baking powder
  • ½ teaspoon baking soda
  • Pinch salt
  • 1 cup buttermilk
  • 1 egg
  • 1 tablespoon melted butter
  • 12 bacon slices, cooked according to package directions
  • Maple syrup
  • Optional garnish: berries or other fresh fruit
  •  

    Preparation

    1. HEAT the griddle pan to medium-high. In medium bowl, combine the flour, sugar, baking powder, baking soda and salt.

    2. WHISK together the buttermilk, egg and butter in small bowl. Add to the flour mixture. Stir until combined, do not over stir.

    3. PLACE two strips of bacon together every 4 inches apart on greased griddle. Ladle ¼ to ? cup of the pancake mixture over the bacon to form long pancakes. Cook for 2 minutes or until bubbles appear over surface of pancakes. Flip and cook 1 to 2 minutes longer or until golden brown.

    4. SERVE with maple syrup and optional fruit.
     
      

    Comments

    TIP OF THE DAY: Celebrate Burns Night Tonight

    When you sang “Auld Lang Syne” on New Year’s Eve, did you recall that it was first a poem from Robert Burns, the national poet of Scotland (1759-1796)?

    His birthday, January 25th, is celebrated in Scotland as Burns Night. Family and friends gather for an evening of good food and company—a warm and happy event much like our Thanksgiving. A traditional Burns’ Supper is served. Here’s the supper format, if you want to plan ahead for next year.

    But you can have a much smaller event tonight, as brief as enjoying a tumbler of Scotch and reading a poem. Burns’ complete works are available free online. Some suggestions: A Red, Red Rose (“My luve is like a red, red rose…”); To a Louse; To a Mouse; Tam O’Shanter.

    If you’d like to do something a bit more elaborate, call around and invite a group for a Scotch tasting (here’s how). Everyone can bring whatever brand they have at hand…along with any bagpipe music.

    Then, there’s a Scotch and chocolate tasting. While solid chocolate wasn’t invented in Burns’ lifetime, he was a bon vivant and we’re sure he’d approve.

    Here are more food ideas for Burns Night.

     

    scotch-cheese-wisconsincheesetalk-230

    Celebrate Burns Night with Scotch and a poem. Photo courtesy Wisconsin Milk Marketing Board.

     
    Heid doon arse up! (That’s Scottish for Get on with it!)

      

    Comments

    RECIPE: Make Your Own Gummies

    tart_cherry_gummies-choosecherries-230

    Fun project: Make your own gummies. Photo
    courtesy ChooseCherries.com.

     

    Gummy fan? We admit to a gummy habit.

    We were happy to discover that in 15 minutes, we could make our own gummies, with top-quality ingredients (including honey instead of refined sugar) and for less expense than purchasing them.

    It’s easy, so try it—perhaps inviting your favorite child to participate in the joy of making sweets. Prep time is just 5 minutes, cook time is 10 minutes.

    The only thing you need to do is buy a candy mold—although you could use a sheet pan/jelly roll pan and cut the solid rectangle into squares. You also can try a mini ice cube tray. This recipe used a sheet mold tray with 64 molds of 3/4″ x 1″.

    This recipe is made with tart cherry juice. If you like the result, you can try it with other juice flavors–apple, cranberry, grape, etc.

    This recipe is courtesy of Mitzi Dulan, RD, of NutritionExpert.com, via ChooseCherries.com.

    RECIPE: HOMEMADE GUMMIES

    Ingredients For 128 Pieces

  • 1-1/4 cups tart cherry juice
  • 1/4 cup unflavored gelatin
  • 1/3 cup honey
  •  

    Preparation

    1. COMBINE the juice and gelatin in a small bowl, stirring until the gelatin is fully dissolved. Pour the mixture into a small saucepan over low-medium heat and add the honey. Continue stirring until well mixed. Be sure not to boil!

    2. REMOVE from the heat, allowing the mixture to slightly cool before pouring into the mold.

    3. LET cool for about 10 minutes or until it begins to gel before transferring into the refrigerator. Place in the refrigerator at least 30 minutes to allow it to set.

     

    WOW: A GUMMY-MAKING MACHINE!

    As we were looking for candy molds online, we came across this Gummy Candy Maker, $29.75.

    It includes the silicone molds to make gummy fish, worms and small bears—as well as a jumbo bear—with easy-to-use silicone molds. The central heated base holds the gelatin pot with a spout for easy pouring; the entire unit disassembles for easy cleaning.

    Reviews from 60 customers gave it 4.4 out of five stars, with many giving it five stars. If we can convince ourselves that this is an important appliance to bring into our small kitchen, we may be buying one soon.

    We think it makes a great Valentine gift.

     

    gummy-candy-maker-amz

    This gummy maker has molds of favorite shapes. Photo courtesy Nostalgia Electrics.

     

      

    Comments

    FOOD FUN: Mashed Potato Stuffed Burger Recipe

    You’re used to fries or potato chips with your burger. But how about mashed potatoes?

    For some food fun, executive chef Craig (Andy) Beardslee of Hash House A Go Go in San Diego suggests a layer of Parmesan mashed potatoes between two eight-ounce burgers. This one-pound burger with mashed potatoes is not quite Paula Deen (who famously sandwiched a burger, fried egg and bacon between Krispy Kreme donuts), but it’s fun.

    About the name: It’s not really a potato-stuffed burger. It’s more of a potato-layered burger; otherwise, the potatoes would be stuffed inside the burger patties. As in recipe ingredients, in naming, strive for accuracy!

    We like onion with our burger; so when we tried this recipe, we added thinly sliced green onions (scallions) to the mashed potatoes. We also mashed the potatoes with basil oil, and on another occasion with truffle oil. Both are inspired choices, with or without the Parmesan cheese.

    RECIPE: MASHED POTATO STUFFED BURGERS

    Ingredients For 1 Serving

     

    mashed-potatoStuffed-burger-IdahoPotCom-230

    Mashed potato stuffed burger: Just in time for Super Bowl supping. Photo courtesy Idaho Potato Commission.

  • 2 8-ounce ground prime beef patties
  • 6 ounces mashed potatoes with fresh shaved Parmesan cheese, griddled
  • 2 bread and butter plank pickles
  • 2 tomato slices
  • 2 romaine lettuce leaves
  • 1 red onion slices
  • 2 applewood-smoked bacon strips
  • 1 ciabatta or sesame bun
  •  

    Preparation

    1. PLACE the mashed potatoes on a griddle in a pancake shape. Brown and turn.

    2. LAYER the lettuce, tomato, onion and pickles on bottom bun. Top with one beef patty.

    3. LAY on a mound of griddled mashed potatoes and add 2 strips cooked bacon. Top with the second beef patty, then the top half of the bun.

      

    Comments

    FOOD HOLIDAY: An Ice Cream Cake For National Strawberry Ice Cream Day

    strawberry-shortcake-ice-cream-waitrose-recipe-230

    Celebrate National Strawberry Ice Cream Day! Photo courtesy Waitrose.

     

    January 15th is National Strawberry Ice Cream Day. We love this easy strawberry ice cream cake adapted from British upscale grocery giant Waitrose. The company has a royal warrant to supply groceries, wine and spirits to Queen Elizabeth II and to Prince Charles.

    In this recipe, shortbread cookies substitute for the cake; but if you prefer, you can substitute finely cubed pound cake. You also can use strawberry ice cream instead of the vanilla.

    This dessert is also spot-on for Valentine’s Day, Mother’s Day and summer celebrations. Prep time is 15 minutes plus several hours or overnight for freezing.

    RECIPE: STRAWBERRY SHORTCAKE ICE CREAM “CAKE”

    Ingredients For 10 Servings

  • 1 pint strawberries, washed, patted dry and hulled
  • 1 quart vanilla ice cream
  • 7 ounces all butter shortbread cookies, broken into small pieces
  • 4 tablespoons caramel sauce (or fudge sauce if you prefer)
  • Optional garnish: caramel sauce or strawberry purée
  •  
    Preparation

    1. THINLY SLICE 4 of the strawberries and roughly chop the remainder. Line a loaf pan with a double layer of plastic wrap, allowing for some overhang. Arrange the sliced strawberries on the bottom (it will become the top when unmolded).

    2. ROUGHLY CHOP the ice cream using a large knife, then mix it with the chopped strawberries and the shortbread pieces. Spoon half of the mixture into the loaf pan, patting down firmly so there are no air bubbles.

    3. DOT the caramel sauce on top of the ice cream, then cover with the remainder of the mixture, firmly smoothing over the surface. Fold over the overhanging plastic wrap and place the pan in the freezer for several hours or overnight, until the ice cream very firm.

    4. TO SERVE: Gently lift out the ice cream using the plastic wrap as handles, and remove the plastic wrap. Allow to soften for 10–15 minutes as needed; then cut slices with a large knife.

    5. PLATE the slices with an optional drizzle or dotting (use a squeeze bottle to create dots around the rim of the plate) of caramel sauce or strawberry purée.

     
    More than 5,000 recipes can be found at Waitrose.com/recipes.

     
      

    Comments

    FOOD FUN: Sushi Lollipops

    Here’s a fun idea from RA Sushi in Orlando: sushi lollipops!

    While you may not have the skill to roll your own, it’s easy enough to buy ready-made sushi rolls and add this special spin to enjoy with cocktails.

    Just pick up some bamboo skewers and mix a dipping sauce. It could be as simple as soy sauce and wasabi or soy sauce, grated ginger, sesame seeds and minced chives (wasabi optional).

    Depending on the rolls, you could use sweet chili sauce or citrussy ponzu sauce.

    Here’s a recipe for homemade ponzu sauce—so much more delicious than store-bought (except for the deluxe ponzu sauce from Yakami Orchard).

    As always, have fun with it!

     

    sushi-lollipops-RASushi-orlando-230sq

    Sushi lollipops with a sweet chili dipping sauce. Photo courtesy RA Sushi | Orlando.

     

      

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