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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

FOOD FUN: Strawberry On A Stick

Here’s a new take on strawberry lollipops: fresh strawberry “lollipops.”

Whole strawberries are speared on lollipop sticks, dipped into honey and rolled in chopped nuts.

This better-for-you sweet treat looks very tempting, and delivers:

  • The heart-healthy and anti-cancer power of strawberries, rich in phytonutrients and potassium.
  • The heart-healthy oil and protein of your favorite chopped nuts.
  • The minerals and vitamins of honey: amino acids, calcium, copper, iron, magnesium, manganese, niacin, pantothenic acid, phosphorus, potassium, sodium, riboflavin, thiamin, vitamin B6 and zinc.
  •  
    For a lower-glycemic natural sweetener, substitute agave for the honey.

    Serve them on a cake pop stand or repurpose a piece of styrofoam.

     

    A good-for-you dessert or snack. Photo courtesy MolecularRecipes.com.

     

      

    Comments

    RECIPES: Cocktails With Black Olives

    dirty-martini-black-olives-califripeolives

    Make a Dirty Martini with black olives instead
    of the green ones. Photo courtesy
    CalOlive.com.

     

    Many people enjoy olives in their Martinis, or a Dirty Martini made with olive brine. But these are green olives, typically stuffed with pimento.

    Why give black olives (ripe olives) the cold shoulder? Here are some recipes from California Ripe Olives to inspire entertaining. Try them for Father’s Day!

    BLACK OLIVE MARTINI

    Ingredients Per Cocktail

  • 3 ounces vodka
  • 1 ounce black olive brine
  • 1 teaspoon dry vermouth
  • Garnish: 4 black olives
  •  
    Preparation

    1. FILL a cocktail shaker with ice. Add the vodka, olive brine and dry vermouth. Shake for several seconds to mix, then strain into a Martini glass.

    2. Garnish with a pick of black olives and serve.

     

    A michelada is a Mexican “beer cocktail,” combining beer, lime juice, and assorted seasonings: chiles, sauces and spices. This recipe adds tequila: a perfect fusion for a lover of both tequila and beer.

     

    RECIPE: BACK PORCH BEER COCKTAIL

    Ingredients For 1 Cocktail

  • 1-1/2 silver (blanco) tequila
  • 1/2 ounce lime juice
  • 1/4 ounce black olive brine
  • 1/4 ounce homemade sweet and sour mix (recipe)
  • 1 pinch prepared pico de gallo (fresh salsa—here’s a recipe)
  • 5 ounces Mexican beer
  • Garnish: lime wedge and black olive
  •  
    Preparation

    1. FILL a cocktail shaker with ice. Add the tequila, lime juice, olive brine, sweet and sour mix and pico de gallo.

    2. SHAKE for several seconds until well mixed. Strain into a chilled glass and add beer. Garnish with a lime wedge and one black olive.

     

    Back-Porch-Beer-Cocktail-califripeolives-230

    Something different: beer, tequila and Mexican seasonings. Photo courtesy CalOlive.com.

     
    BLACK OLIVE BLOODY MARY

    Ingredients For 1 Cocktail

  • 3 ounces vodka
  • 1 ounce black olive brine
  • 1 teaspoon horseradish
  • 2 drops hot sauce
  • 1/4 ounce Worcestershire sauce
  • 1/4 ounce fresh lemon juice
  • 6 ounces tomato juice
  • Garnish: 4 black olives, 4 spicy green beans, 3 pickled carrots*
  •  
    *You can buy pickled vegetables make your own with this pickled vegetable recipe.
     
    Preparation

    1. COMBINE all of the ingredients except for the garnishes in a cocktail shaker with ice. Shake for several seconds to mix well.

    2. STRAIN into a new glass with or without ice. Garnish and serve.

    Here’s a photo of the cocktail.

    Find more olive recipes at CalOlive.com.

      

    Comments

    RECIPE: Deconstructed Enchilada Salad

    Deconstructed-Enchilada-Salad_davidvenableQVC-230r

    Deconstruct enchiladas into an enchilada
    salad. Photo courtesy QVC.

     

    We always enjoy a taco salad, but had never set eyes on an enchilada salad until we received this recipe from QVC’s chef, David Venable.

    Instead of wrapping enchilada fillings in a tortilla, the fillings become part of a crunchy salad, and the tortillas are toasted and cut into crispy strips.

    David sent this recipe for Cinco de Mayo, but it’s also a good choice for a light, flavorful warm weather lunch or light dinner.

    Notes David, “With all of the flavor but half of the prep of regular enchiladas, this is a great recipe to whip up for a weeknight celebration.”

    RECIPE: DECONSTRUCTED ENCHILADA SALAD

    Ingredients

    For The Dressing

  • 1/2 cup sour cream
  • 1/2 cup mayonnaise
  • 2/3 cup enchilada sauce
  • 1 cup fresh cilantro leaves
  • 6 scallions, trimmed and cut in thirds
  • 2 teaspoons hot sauce
  • 2 teaspoons chili powder
  • 6 tablespoons lime juice
  • 1 teaspoon kosher salt or coarse sea salt
  • 1 teaspoon garlic powder
  •  

    For The Salad

  • 3 corn tortillas*
  • 1/2 cup vegetable oil (we used olive oil)
  • 2 romaine hearts, chopped
  • 2 vine-ripened tomatoes, diced
  • 1/2 cup red onion, chopped
  • 1 cup fresh corn kernels (or frozen corn, defrosted)
  • 1/2 cup black olives, sliced
  • 2 rotisserie chicken breasts, bones/skin removed and shredded
  • 1/2 cup roasted peppers, chopped
  • 1/2 cup queso fresco, crumbled
  • 1/4 cup scallions, sliced
  •  
    *You can substitute ready-made tortilla chips. They don’t provide the same flavor and texture as frying your own, but they’re delicious in a different way.

     

    tortilla-strips-annahinmancrunchycreamysweet-230

    Homemade tortilla chips. Photo courtesy Anna Hinman | CrunchyCreamySweet.com.

     

    Preparation

    1. MAKE the dressing: Add all the ingredients to a food processor and process until smooth.

    2. TOAST the tortillas: Pour the oil into a 10″ skillet and set the heat to medium. Heat for 5 minutes, add one tortilla, and fry for about 30 seconds, or until crispy. Flip and fry the other side until crispy. Remove the tortilla from the oil and drain it on a paper towel. Prepare the remaining tortillas as directed and when cool, roughly chop into strips.

    3. ASSEMBLE the salad: Place half of the romaine lettuce in a clear glass salad bowl and layer the ingredients in this order: tomatoes, red onion, the remaining romaine, corn, olives, chicken, red peppers, chopped tortillas, queso fresco, and scallions. Serve with the dressing.

     
    Find more of David Venable’s recipes at QVC.com.

      

    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.

      

    Comments

    FOOD HOLIDAY: Rocky Road Bark For National Rocky Road Day

    rocky-road-bark-2-browneyedbaker-230

    Make it in 15 minutes! Photo courtesy Brown
    Eyed Baker.

     

    June 2 is National Rocky Road Day, a flavor created in 1929 when William Dreyer mixed chocolate ice cream with nuts and marshmallows, the “rocks” in the road. Here’s the history.

    Today, have a dish of rocky road ice cream and make some rocky road bark to go with it. Thanks to Brown Eyed Baker for this easy recipe. See more photos and the original article and more photos.

    Prep time is 15 minutes, total time 45 minutes.

    RECIPE: ROCKY ROAD CHOCOLATE BARK

    Ingredients For 1 Pound Of Bark

  • 16 ounces good-quality milk or semisweet
    chocolate (like Lindt), finely chopped
  • 1 cup miniature marshmallows
  • 1 cup coarsely chopped walnuts
  •  
    Preparation

    1. LINE a baking sheet with parchment paper and set aside.

     

    2. MELT the chocolate over a double boiler (or in 30-second intervals in the microwave on 50% power, stirring after each). Once the chocolate is melted, remove from the heat and let sit for a few minutes to cool slightly, stirring occasionally. Add the marshmallows and walnuts and stir to combine.

    3. SPREAD the chocolate mixture onto the prepared pan in an even layer, covering about a 7×7-inch space. It doesn’t have to be perfect, but that’s a good guideline.

    4. REFRIGERATE for at least 30 minutes, or until set.

    5. CUT the bark into pieces, using a sharp knife. Store in an airtight container in the refrigerator.

      

    Comments

    FOOD FUN: A New Kind Of Fruit Cake

    Here’s a new take on fruit cake: a “layer cake” that’s made 100% from fresh fruit!

    It’s the creation of Jessica from Pen N’ Paperflowers Studio & Design.

    She made it as a birthday cake for a gluten-free friend. But we think it’s a dazzler for any occasion.

    Want to make one of your own?

    Here’s how Jessica made the “cake,” with step-by-step photos.

     

    Fresh-Fruit-Cake-pnpflowersinc-230

    Photo courtesy Pen N’ Paperflowers Studio & Design.

     

      

    Comments

    FOOD 101: What Is Comfort Food

    Banana Pudding

    Banana pudding is one of America’s favorite comfort foods. Here’s the recipe for this version. Photo by M. Sheldrake | IST.

     

    A tweet from FoodTimeline.org sent us to the site to drill down on the origins of comfort food.

    According to the site, the first record in print is in the magazine section of the Washington Post of December 25, 1977: “Along with grits, one of the comfort foods of the South is black-eyed peas.”

    Judith Olney’s book Comforting Food, published in 1979, began the discussion.

    There is no single definition or list of “comfort food.” Food psychologists note that provide solace and food feelings, and are typically items our loved ones cooked for us when we were children. Thus, favorite comfort foods are based on where you grew up and your heritage; for example, hush puppies or grits for Mississippians and bagels and lox or cheesecake for New Yorkers.

    Typically, comfort foods are:

  • Smooth & creamy (easy to chew and digest)
  • Carb intensive (give us energy)
  • Fondly remembered from childhood (good food memories)
  •  

    Here’s what comes up on the list of all-American comfort foods on About.com:

  • Apple pie
  • Baked beans
  • Banana pudding
  • Beef stew
  • Brisket pot roast
  • Chicken and dmplings
  • Chicken pot pie
  • Chicken soup
  • Chili
  • Chocolate chip cookies
  • Corn on the cob
  •  

    [Calling tech support: We have to add this full-width sentence here because our WordPress code is screwing up the formatting.]

  • Fried chicken
  • Gelatin (Jell-O)
  • Green bean casserole
  • Hot dogs
  • Ice cream
  • Macaroni and cheese
  • Mashed potatoes
  • Meatloaf
  • Potato salad
  • Pumpkin pie
  • Shepherd’s pie
  • Spaghetti
  • Tomato soup
  • Tuna casserole
  •  
    Hey, what happened to grilled cheese and rice pudding?

     

    Mackenzie-mac-cheese-230r

    Another all-American comfort food: macaroni and cheese. Photo courtesy Mackenzie Ltd.

     

      

    Comments

    FOOD FUN: Grilled Potato Skewers

    As much fun as the country fair, but tastier:
    your own grilled potatoes on a stick. Photo
    courtesy Stix Mediterranean Grill | New York
    City.

     

    Grilled potatoes on a stick: What fun!

    We expanded on this idea from Stix Mediterranean Grill in New York City and created this recipe, which was a hit on Memorial Day.

    Stix flavored the skewers Greek-stye, with crumbled feta cheese and oregano (shown in the photo).

    We made them more colorful, alternating the potato slices with copacetic ingredients: grape tomatoes, gherkins and olives. You can add whatever you like, from colorful bell pepper strips to pearl onions. For kids of all ages, how about frankfurter chunks?

    We left the skins on the potatoes: better nutrition and no peeling time!

    RECIPE: GRILLED POTATO SKEWERS

    Ingredients

  • Yukon Gold or other small potatoes
  • “Alternates”: cherry or grape tomatoes, gherkins, hot dogs, olives (pitted), pearl onions (parboil for softeness)
  • Seasonings: cracked black pepper, minced chives, oregano, red pepper flakes, smoked salt
  • Optional dip (we mixed Greek yogurt with grainy mustard)
  • Preparation

    1. BOIL potatoes to an al dente consistency.

    2. DRAIN and set aside. When cool to touch, halve the potatoes and thread onto skewers, alternate potatoes with cherry tomatoes, gherkins, olives, etc.

    3. GRILL and serve hot, with or without a dipping sauce.

     
      

    Comments

    TRENDS: How America Likes To Grill

    beef-kabobs-artichokes-SLT-230

    Tip: Skewer kabobs with sprigs of rosemary
    for instead of conventional skewers. Photo
    courtesy Sur La Table.

     

    To capture consumer trends around grilling and barbecuing, the Hearth, Patio & Barbecue Association (HPBA) conducts the biannual HPBA Barbecue Lifestyle, Usage & Attitude Study. Here are highlights from the 2014 State of the Barbecue Industry Report, which are based on data gathered in August 2013.

    Reigniting the Spark: Outdoor Cooking Still Hot

  • Eighty percent of households own an outdoor barbecue, grill or smoker.
  • Nearly all (97%) of grill owners used their grill in the past year.
  • The majority of grill owners (60%) use their grills year-round.
  • Sixty-one percent of households own a grill own a gas grill, followed by charcoal (41%) and electric (10%).
  • Nearly half (45%) of grill purchasers bought a replacement grill last year, with 29% buying an additional grill.
  •  
    Grill Usage: Consumers Loves to Grill Year-Round

  • The major summer holidays top the list of the most popular grilling days: the Fourth of July (68%), Memorial Day (52%) and Labor Day (51%).
  • Winter holidays saw an increase in grilling over 2011: Super Bowl Sunday (31%), Easter (18%), Thanksgiving (15%) and New Year’s Eve/Day (15%). Grilling Thanksgiving meals outdoors is increasingly popular.
  • Nearly half (49%) of grill owners see their outdoor grilling area as a functional cooking area of their home; more than a quarter (30%) see it as entertainment area and 21% see it as a place to rest and relax.
  • Thirty-seven percent of consumers have a large, moveable grill system on a modest patio/deck, with some outdoor furniture and an informal place to eat.
  • Consumers say an easy ignition system (49%) and large grilling surface (39%) are the most important features of a gas grill, followed by ease of cleaning (35%), quality of construction (32%) and ability to heat up quickly (29%).
  •  

  • Owners of gas (42%) and charcoal (34%) grills view the color of the grill as a major purchasing factor, a 38% increase from 2011.
  • When entertaining using a barbecue grill, gas grill owners use their grill an average of 12 times a year, electric grill owners 12 times a year and charcoal grill owners 11 times a year.
  •  
    Tasty Trends: It’s All About the Meat

  • Meats, including hot dogs (72%), steak (71%), burgers (69%), and chicken parts (64%), top the list of the most popular foods prepared using a grill.
  • Grill owners believe that food cooked on their grills rather than their ovens is more healthful (38%), while 57% believe it is just as healthful.
  • Nearly three out of four consumers (74%) who cook on a gas grill normally use barbecue sauce for basting during cooking.
  • Dry meat rubs remain popular among consumers, with 33% using them more often than not.
  •  

    chicken-grill-tongs-SLT-230

    Treat yourself to extra-long tongs. These are from Sur La Table.

     

    Household Roles: Male or Female, Everybody Grills

  • The male head most often makes the decision to cook (62%), lights the grill (73%) and does the cooking (68%).
  • Whether male or female, nearly 78% of consumers cooking on the grill consider themselves to be “extremely proficient” or “proficient in most situations.”
  • Across the board, males are most likely to make the decision to purchase a grill (66%).
  •   

    Comments

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