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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 International Foods

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

    TIP: Glamorous Edamame

    We enjoy both the flavor and the nutritional benefits of edamame. We always order a bowl at Japanese restaurants, and have bags of frozen, shelled edamame in the freezer at home.

    The bright green color of the boiled soybeans adds perkiness to anything from scrambled eggs to salads to mashed potatoes. You can ready almost any savory dish for St. Patrick’s Day by mixing in, scattering or garnishing it with edamame.

    Hannah Kaminsky reports from a trip to Hawaii that the local restaurants serve a much more inspired dish of edamame than most of us know from Japanese restaurants on the mainland. She writes:

    “A popular pupu (appetizer) at dives and fine dining establishments alike, edamame seasonings start with the most basic sprinkle of sea salt. But these humble soy bean pods are rarely ordered in that plain state.

    “Garlic edamame, studded with plentiful chunks of coarsely minced garlic, guarantee you the most powerful but worthwhile dragon breath* you’ve ever experienced. (Editor’s Note: To counter the effects, sauté the garlic to take the edge off, and add fresh minced parsley.)

     

    edamame-sauce-hannahkaminsky-230

    Edamame and soybean poke. Photo courtesy Hannah Kaminsky | Bittersweet Blog.

     
    “Spicy edamame (or sweet-and-spicy, with added honey) adds either crushed red pepper flakes or a drizzle of sriracha into the mix. It’s a real treat when you can find edamame dressed up poke-style, in sesame oil, soy sauce, scallions, and sliced sweet onions.

    “The beans pictured here are a specialty from the newly opened Izakaya Torae Torae in Honolulu: Teriyaki truffle edamame. Just toss the edamame in truffle oil before drizzling with teriyaki sauce.”

    And while you’re at it, you can make homemade teriyaki sauce.

     
    *What causes garlic breath: The sulphuric compounds that give garlic their desirable taste and health benefits and also create that unpleasant odor. Here’s more information, including how to fight garlic breath.

     

    Teriyaki-Sauce-olivethis.com-230

    Homemade teriyaki sauce. Photo courtesy OliveThis.com. Check out their recipe for Grilled Chicken with Honey
    Ginger Balsamic Teriyaki Sauce.

     

    WHAT IS TERIYAKI SAUCE

    Teriyaki is actually a Japanese cooking technique, in which foods are broiled or grilled with a glaze of soy sauce, mirin (rice wine) and sugar. According to Wikipedia, in Japan the cooking style is mainly used for a variety of fish, while in America, salmon teriyaki and chicken teriyaki are typically found on menus.

    The word derives from the noun teri, which refers to a shine or luster given by the sugar content of the tare, a term for dipping sauces used in grilling; and yaki, the cooking method of grilling or broiling.

    RECIPE: HOMEMADE TERIYAKI SAUCE

    Ingredients For 1 Cup

  • 1/2 cup soy sauce
  • 1/4 cup water
  • 2 tablespoons sweet rice wine
  • 1 tablespoon, plus 2 teaspoons brown sugar
    or honey
  • 1/4 cup sugar
  • 1-1/2 teaspoons minced garlic†
  • 1-1/2 teaspoons minced ginger†
  • 1/2 tablespoon cornstarch
  • 1 tablespoon water
  • Preparation

    1. MIX all but last two ingredients in a sauce pan and heat over a medium flame.

    2. MIX cornstarch and cold water in a cup and dissolve. Add to pan. Heat until sauce thickens. If the sauce is too thick for you, you can thin it with water.
     
    †You can substitute garlic powder ground ginger, but fresh tastes better. Reduce the amounts of dried herbs, as they are more concentrated.

      

    Comments

    CHINESE NEW YEAR: Chinese Long Beans

    It’s Chinese New Year: The Year Of The Horse begins today (the actual year is 4712). Make a Chinese-inspired dish.

    Chef Daniel Boulud take Chinese long beans, steamed them and tied them into knots, topped with chicken (see the photo below).

    What a fun way to get people to eat more green beans!

    Our recipe, below, is much simpler, and the Chinese-style beans can be served with any dish that pair with green beans.

    You can find Chinese long beans in Asian markets, or plan ahead and grow your own yard-long string beans with these string bean seeds from Burpee.

    You can substitute regular green beans, which are just as tasty, if not as striking in appearance.

     

    Chinese long beans. Photo courtesy Burpee.

     

    RECIPE: CHINESE LONG BEANS

    Ingredients For 6 Servings

  • 1 tablespoon peanut or sesame oil
  • 2 cloves garlic, thinly sliced
  • 1 pound fresh green beans, trimmed
  • 1 tablespoon white sugar
  • 2 tablespoons oyster sauce*
  • 2 teaspoons soy sauce
  •  
    *Available in the Asian products section of most supermarkets, in Asian specialty stores and online; Lee Kum Kee is a quality brand. See more about oyster sauce below. You can substitute Hoisin sauce, but it gives the dish a sweeter flavor than the pungent oyster sauce.

     

    Daniel Boulud’s long bean knots with
    chicken. Photo by Richard Patterson |
    RichardPattersonPhoto.com | Restaurant
    Daniel.

     

    Preparation

    1. HEAT peanut oil in a wok or large skillet over medium-high heat. Stir in the garlic, and cook until the edges begin to brown, about 20 seconds.

    2. ADD the beans; cook and stir until they begin to soften, about 5 minutes.

    3. STIR in the sugar, oyster sauce and soy sauce. Continue cooking/stirring for several minutes until the beans have attained the desired degree of tenderness.
     
    WHAT IS A CHINESE LONG BEAN?

    Its botanical name is Vigna unguiculata subsp. sesquipedalis. It is best known as the long bean or Chinese yardlong bean, but also as the asparagus bean, bora, long-podded cowpea, pea bean, snake bean and yardlong bean. The pods are actually about half a yard long; the subspecies name sesquipedalis means “one and a half feet long” (half a yard).

     

    While its flavor is similar to the green bean (Phaseolus vulgaris), it is from a different genus. In fact, it is a member of the cowpea species, which includes blackeyed peas.

     
    WHAT IS OYSTER SAUCE?

    A popular condiment in Chinese and Filipino cuisines, oyster sauce is often used in stir fries and as a topping for steamed vegetables.

    The viscous sauce is prepared from oysters and brine. A true oyster sauce is aromatic with intense flavor, and is expensive. Most oyster sauces on the market are cheaper, diluted solutions of concentrated ones. There are also vegan versions made from mushrooms.

    Oyster sauce was invented in 1888 by Mr. Lee Kam-Sheung of Nam Shui Village in Guangdong Province, Chinas, an island where oysters were abundant.

    Originally born in another village, Lee was a farmer who had to leave town following threats from local gangsters. He opened a restaurant in his new village, using the local oysters to make stock. One day he forgot about a pot of stock on the stove, and when he returned to it the stock had boiled down to a thick, aromatic and delicious sauce: a happy accident!*

    His company, Lee Kum Kee, continues to produce oyster sauce along with a wide variety of fine Asian condiments.

    *Source: Small Business Management and Entrepreneurship in Hong Kong: A Casebook, edited by Ali F. Farhoomand. Here’s the page reference.

      

    Comments

    SUPER BOWL RECIPE: Taco Sundae

    Wondering what to o with those banana split dishes? Make a taco sundae!

    This recipe is from Wholly Guacamole, which uses its Wholly Guacamole Classic Dip and Wholly Salsa. It takes just 20 minutes to prepare.

    RECIPE: TACO SUNDAE

    Ingredients For 4 Servings

  • 1 pound lean ground beef or turkey
  • 1 package taco seasoning mix
  • 1 cup shredded Cheddar or Mexican blend cheese
  • 1 can (16 ounces) refried beans
  • 1/4 cup sour cream
  • 1/4 cup salsa (your choice of mild, medium or hot)
  • 3 cups shredded lettuce
  • 14 ounces guacamole
  • 6 grape tomatoes, cut in half
  • Tortilla chips
  • ice cream scoop
  • Oval bowls
  •  

    Taco_Sundae-whollyguacamole-230sq

    There’s no ice cream in this sundae! Photo courtesy Wholly Guacamole.

     

    Preparation

    1. BROWN the ground meat; then add the taco seasoning, adding a little water as needed to distribute the seasoning evenly. Stir to mix well. Continue cooking another 5 minutes. Remove from heat and stir in 3/4 cup of the shredded cheese.

    2. HEAT the refried beans.

    3. COMBINE combine the sour cream with the Wholly Salsa dip in a small bowl.

    4. COVER the bottom of the dish with the shredded lettuce. Scoop the meat with the ice cream scoop, pack it with a spoon and place in the middle of the bed of lettuce.

    5. SQUEEZE the guacamole into the [cleaned] scoop, smooth with the back of a spoon or knife and place on one side of the meat. Place a scoop of beans on the other side of the meat.

    6. POUR a tablespoon of the salsa mixture over each scoop. Sprinkle with shredded cheese and place a cherry tomato on top. Serve with corn tortilla chips.

      

    Comments

    RECIPE: Thai Shrimp Appetizer

    Shrimp wrapped in pretty puff pastry. Photo
    and recipe courtesy Campbell’s.

     

    We’ve been playing around with puff pastry this week, and are making these Thai Shrimp Spirals to go with the Champagne tonight. Marinated shrimp wrapped in tender puff pastry and served on skewers with a dip, they’re a fun and tasty food.

    Prep time 30 minutes; total time 1 hour 40 minutes, which includes 40 minutes of thawing time. Suggested serving size: 2 pieces.

     
    RECIPE: THAI SHRIMP SKEWERS WITH
    HONEY SOY DIPPING SAUCE

    Ingredients For 20 Pieces

  • 2 limes
  • 2 tablespoons minced fresh cilantro leaves
  • 2 cloves garlic, minced
  • 1 two-inch piece ginger root, peeled and minced (about 2 tablespoons)
  • 20 fresh or thawed frozen large shrimp, peeled, deveined and tails removed
  • 5 tablespoons low-sodium soy sauce
  • 1 egg
  • 2 tablespoons water
  • All-purpose flour
  • 1/2 of a 17.3-ounce package Pepperidge Farm Puff Pastry Sheets (1 sheet), thawed
  • 2 teaspoons honey
  • 1-1/2 teaspoons sesame oil
  •  
    Plus

  • 20 six-inch wood or metal skewers (presoak wood skewers)
  •  
    Preparation

    1. GRATE 2 teaspoons zest and squeeze about 1/4 cup juice from the limes. Stir the zest, juice, cilantro, garlic and ginger in a small bowl.

    2. PLACE the shrimp into a medium bowl. Add 1 tablespoon soy sauce and half the lime mixture and toss to coat. Cover and refrigerate for 10 minutes. Reserve the remaining lime mixture for the dipping sauce.

    3. HEAT the oven to 400°F. Beat the egg and 1 tablespoon water in a small bowl with a fork.

    4. SPRINKLE the flour on the work surface. Unfold the pastry sheet on the work surface and roll into a 10-inch square. Cut into 20 strips, about 1/2-inch wide.

    5. SKEWER each shrimp with a wooden skewer. Starting at the top, wrap 1 pastry strip around each shrimp, slightly overlapping the pastry and ending just before the tail.

    6. PLACE the skewered pastries onto 2 baking sheets. Brush the pastries with the egg mixture. Bake for 15 minutes or until the pastries are golden brown. Let the pastries cool on the baking sheets on wire racks for 5 minutes.

    7. BEAT the reserved lime mixture, remaining soy sauce and water, the honey and sesame oil in a small bowl with a fork or whisk. Serve with the pastries for dipping.

      

    Comments

    TIP OF THE DAY: Spicy Peanut Sauce Marinade & Sauce

    If you like sesame noodles or satay with peanut sauce, here’s another delicious use for it: in a marinade.

    Marinating beef, chicken, lamb, pork or tofu in a peanut sauce-based marinade adds dimensions of flavor.

    Just create a marinade from chicken or other stock, peanut butter, soy sauce, oil, ginger, chili flakes and garlic (see the recipe below). You can also add sherry and honey.

    And certainly, serve a side of peanut sauce for dipping. See the recipe below.

    WHAT IS “SATAY SAUCE?”

    Satay is actually the grilled meat with which the spicy peanut sauce is served. The sauce is based on ground roasted peanuts; peanut butter can be substituted.

    Spicy peanut sauce is popular in the cuisines of some African countries, China, Indonesia, Malaysia, Thailand and Vietnam. The term for the sauce in Indonesia is bumbu kacang; elsewhere it is called pecel or sambal kacang.

     

    Grilled pork skewers, marinated in peanut
    sauce marinade and served with a side
    of peanut dipping sauce (not shown). Photo courtesy National Pork Board.

     

    Peanuts were introduced to Southeast Asia in the 16th century by Portuguese and Spanish merchants. The peanuts came from Mexico, and thrived in the tropical climate.

    They soon were turned into a sauce in Indonesian cuisine and other countries followed. Indonesian peanut sauces are considered to be the most sophisticated (layered with ingredients).

     

    Grilled chicken breasts marinated in peanut
    sauce and served with more sauce on the
    side. Photo courtesy Swanson’s.

     

    RECIPE: PEANUT MARINADE

    This recipe is courtesy Swanson, maker of both conventional and low-sodium broth and stock.

    Ingredients

  • 3 tablespoons brown sugar
  • 1 cup plus 2 tablespoons creamy peanut butter
  • 1/4 cup vegetable oil
  • 1/2 cup plus 3 tablespoons soy sauce†
  • 1/3 cup plus 4 tablespoons lime juice
  • 4 cloves garlic, minced
  • 3/4 teaspoon cayenne pepper or pepper flakes
  • 2 1/2 pounds skinless, boneless chicken breast halves
  • 1 cup unsweetened coconut milk
  • 2 teaspoons finely minced fresh ginger root
  • 1/2 cup Swanson chicken broth or chicken stock†
  • 1/2 cup heavy cream
  • Garnish: chopped fresh cilantro leaves
  •  
    Preparation

    1. MAKE marinade. Stir 1 tablespoon brown sugar, 2 tablespoons peanut butter, the oil, 1/2 cup soy sauce, 1/3 cup lime juice, half the garlic and 1/2 teaspoon cayenne pepper or chili flakes in a shallow, nonmetallic dish or a gallon-size resealable plastic bag. Add the chicken and turn to coat. Cover the dish or seal the bag and refrigerate for 4 hours or overnight. Remove the chicken from the marinade and discard the marinade.

    2. LIGHTLY OIL the grill rack and heat the grill to medium. Grill the chicken for 15 minutes or until cooked through, turning the chicken over once halfway through the grilling time.

    3. MAKE the sauce. Stir together the remaining brown sugar, peanut butter, soy sauce, lime juice, garlic, cayenne pepper, coconut milk and ginger root in a 3-quart saucepan. Cook and stir over medium heat for 15 minutes or until the mixture is thickened. Stir in the broth and heavy cream.

    4. SPRINKLE the chicken with cilantro and serve the sauce with the chicken.

    RECIPE: SPICY PEANUT SAUCE

    Here’s an alternative recipe for spicy peanut sauce. The sauce can be made a day ahead of time, and will keep 3 to 4 days in the fridge.

    Ingredients For 1-1/4 Cups

  • 1/2 cup creamy peanut butter
  • 1/4 cup low-sodium chicken broth†
  • 3 tablespoons low-sodium soy sauce†
  • 1 1/2 tablespoons brown sugar
  • 1-1/2 tablespoons minced fresh ginger
  • 2 tablespoons lime juice
  • 1 teaspoon minced garlic
  • 1/2 teaspoon chili flakes
  • 1 teaspoon red curry paste*
  • 1 shallot, peeled and roughly chopped
  •  
    Preparation

    1. ADD all ingredients to a blender or food processor and process until smooth.
     
    *You can use low-sodium ingredients because the other ingredients add more than enough flavor. But if you have full-sodium products on hand, feel free to use them.

    †Find red curry paste in the Asian products section of your market.

      

    Comments

    TIP OF THE DAY: Homemade Tempura

    Ready-to-heat-and-eat shrimp tempura
    from CBCrabcakes.com.

     

    If you like tempura, there’s no need to head to a Japanese restaurant. Make it at home! It’s another way to get the family to eat more vegetables. Pack the tempura with a high ratio of veggies to proteins (3:1 or 4:1), and make it fun with as wide an assortment of vegetables as you can manage (aim for five).

    While we think of tempura as a quintessential Japanese food, it was introduced to Japan in the mid-16th century by Portuguese missionaries and traders. Prior to then, the concept of deep fat batter-frying was not part of Japanese cuisine.

    Culinary historians say that the word “tempura” most likely comes from the Latin word “tempora,” time period—a Portuguese reference to Lent, Fridays and other Catholic holy days when meat was avoided and fish and vegetables were consumed.

    The types of tempura that are popular today—fried seafood and vegetables—gained popularity in the mid 18th century and became firmly established in Japanese cuisine. Tempura continues to evolve in style, most recently into sushi “tempura rolls.“

     
    The Right Batter Makes Tempura Less Oily

    Tempura batter is traditionally made by with eggs, ice water and low-protein wheat flour. You can also buy tempura batter mix in the Asian products section of the supermarket or in Asian food stores.

    According to Nisshin Seifun, makers of a tempura batter mix used by fine restaurants, some brands do a greater job of limiting oil absorption (as does a cold batter, which is why ice water is used).

    In the absence of a package of tempura mix, made with low-protein wheat flour, try this recipe:

    TEMPURA BATTER RECIPE

    Ingredients For Batter

  • 1 egg
  • 1 cup ice water
  • 1 cup all-purpose flour, sifted (use low-protein wheat flour, if you can get it)
  • Optional: salt and cayenne pepper, to taste
  •  
    Vegetables/Seafood

  • Proteins: boned fish, shrimp, scallop, squid, or almost any seafood; chicken or tofu strips or squares
  • Bell pepper strips, eggplant, carrots, green beans, mushrooms, onion, potato, sweet potato, summer squash (zucchini, yellow squash), winter squash (anything from acorn to pumpkin); Japanese ingredients such as renkon (lotus root) and shiso (beefsteak plant leaf)
  •  
    Plus

  • Cooking oil: grapeseed oil or other high-smoke-point oil such as canola, safflower or sunflower oil
     
    Preparation

    It is important that the batter is cold, so make it immediately before using. If frying is delayed, refrigerate it for up to 1 hour.

    1. CLEAN and slice vegetables. Clean shrimp; leave tails on.

    2. HEAT the oil as you whisk the batter ingredients together.

    3. MAKE batter: Beat the egg in a bowl. Add ice water and flour; mix lightly. Be careful not to overmix the batter or you’ll get tough, chewy dough. It is OK to leave lumps in the batter. Japanese chefs make the batter by swirling the ingredients a couple of times with chopsticks.

    4. HEAT oil to 340°F. If you don’t have a kitchen thermometer, drop a small amount of batter into the oil. If it sinks halfway down and then comes to the surface, the oil is about 340°F. If it doesn’t sink, it’s about 360°F or more.

    5. FRY vegetables first so as not to impart a seafood flavor to the oil.

    TEMPURA DIPPING SAUCE

  • 1/2 cup low-sodium soy sauce
  • 1/8 cup rice wine vinegar
  • 1 tablespoons finely grated ginger
  • 1 tablespoons chopped green onion or chive
  • 1 medium clove garlic, minced
  •  

    Mix ingredients well. If you only have the soy sauce and vinegar, it will do in a pinch.
     

    Learn more about our favorite international foods, plus recipes.

      

    Comments

    RECIPE: Enchiladas Suizas

    Enchiladas suizas. Photo courtesy chef Ingrid
    Hoffman.

     

    Yesterday, we recommended pork pozole recipe to celebrate Día de los muertos. If that didn’t grab you, try these chicken enchiladas suizas, also from chef Ingrid Hoffman.

    “Suizas” means Swiss in Spanish. The thought is that when Swiss people emmigrated to Mexico, they brought their dairy-based cuisine with them. Over time, many Mexican dishes became accented with cheese.

    These enchiladas are a little lighter than what you might get at a restaurant, but they still pack a strong flavor punch.

    RECIPE: ENCHILADAS SUIZAS

    Ingredients For 4 To 6 Servings

  • 1 pound boneless, skinless chicken breast halves, trimmed of excess fat, rinsed
  • 3 cups water
  • 3 garlic cloves, crushed under a knife and peeled
  • 1 teaspoon adobo seasoning
  • 6 medium tomatillos (about 12 ounces), husked, rinsed, and quartered
  • ½ medium yellow onion, coarsely chopped
  • ¼ cup packed cilantro leaves, plus more for garnish
  • 2 jalapeños, seeded and coarsely chopped
  • ½ cup fat-free sour cream (or regular if you prefer)
  • 2 tablespoons freshly grated Parmesan cheese
  • 8 corn tortillas
  • Cooking spray
  • 1 cup (4 ounces) 2% milk reduced-fat mozzarella cheese, shredded
  • Preparation

    1. PLACE the chicken, water, 2 of the garlic cloves and the adobo in a medium saucepan; bring to a boil over high heat. Reduce the heat to low and cover. Simmer until the chicken is opaque when pierced in the thickest part with the tip of a knife, about 15 minutes.

    2. TRANSFER the chicken to a cutting board. Strain the cooking liquid into a heatproof bowl and reserve. Let the chicken cool. Using two forks, shred the chicken into bite-size pieces.

    3. PURÉE the tomatillos, onion, cilantro, jalapeños and remaining garlic clove with ¼ cup of the reserved cooking liquid. Transfer to a medium saucepan. Bring to a boil over high heat. Reduce the heat to low and simmer, stirring often, until slightly thickened, about 10 minutes. Remove from the heat.

    4. STIR in the sour cream and Parmesan. Pour into a wide, shallow dish or bowl.

    5. WRAP the tortillas in moistened paper towels. Microwave on high (100%) until the tortillas are pliable, about 15 seconds.

    6. POSITION the broiler rack 6 inches from the source of heat and preheat the broiler. Spray a 9 × 13-inch flameproof baking dish with cooking spray. Dip each tortilla in the sauce. Transfer to a plate. Place about 2 tablespoons of the chicken on the tortilla and roll it up. Place, seam side down, in the baking dish. Pour the remaining sauce over the enchiladas and sprinkle with the mozzarella cheese.

    7. BROIL until the cheese is melted, about 1 minute. Sprinkle with the cilantro and serve immediately.

      

    Comments

    HOLIDAY: Pork Pozole Recipe For Dia De Los Muertos

    Pork pozole. Photo courtesy Chef Ingrid
    Hoffman.

     

    The Day of the Dead, Día de los Muertos, is celebrated October 31, November 1st and 2nd in Mexico and elsewhere around the globe. People gather to remember deceased friends and family members, and to feast in their honor. You can learn more about it here.

    Mexican food is a de rigeur (we’re not sure if the Spanish equivalent is de rigor) part of the celebration. Ingrid Hoffmann, host of the Univision’s Delicioso and author of Latin D’Lite: Delicious Latin Recipes with a Healthy Twist, sent us this recipe for pork pozole.

    Pozole is a hominy-based stew, usually made with pork shoulder; some people prefer chicken pozole.

    Bowls of shredded cabbage, avocado, radishes, chopped cilantro and lime wedges are set on the table so that each person can garnish his or her pozole to taste. Tortillas and Mexican beer complete the course.

    RECIPE: PORK POZOLE

    Ingredients For 4 To 6 Servings

  • 4 dried whole New Mexico chiles
  • 1 cup boiling water
  • 2 teaspoons peanut oil
  • 8 ounces boneless pork loin chops, trimmed and cut into ½-inch pieces
  • 1 medium yellow onion, chopped
  • 6 garlic cloves, finely chopped
  • 2 teaspoons dried Mexican oregano (substitute any oregano)
  • 4 cups reduced-sodium chicken broth
  • 2 15.5-ounce cans* white hominy, drained and rinsed
  • Kosher salt
  •  
    For The Garnishes

  • ½ cup green cabbage, shredded
  • 1 Hass avocado, pitted, peeled, and thinly sliced
  • ¼ cup radishes, thinly sliced
  • ¼ cup fresh cilantro, chopped
  • 2 limes, quartered
  •  

    *If you prefer, buy dried hominy and soak overnight.
     
    Preparation

    1. PLACE the chiles in a heatproof medium bowl. Pour the boiling water over the chiles. Let stand until soft, about 30 minutes. Drain, reserving ¼ cup of the liquid. Cut the chiles lengthwise in half and discard the stems and seeds. Transfer to a blender or food processor and purée with the reserved liquid. Transfer to a bowl and set aside. Meanwhile…

    2. HEAT 1 teaspoon oil in a Dutch oven over medium-high heat. Add the pork and cook, turning occasionally, until browned, about 5 minutes. Transfer the pork to a plate.

    3. ADD the remaining 1 teaspoon oil, onion, and garlic to the Dutch oven. Cook over medium-high heat, stirring occasionally, until the onion is softened, about 5 minutes. Stir in the chile paste (purée) and oregano and mix well.

     

    Hominy can be purchased in cans, ready to use, or in bags of dried kernels, which need to be soaked overnight. Photo courtesy Goya.

     
    4. RETURN the pork to the Dutch oven. Add the broth and hominy and bring to a boil. Reduce the heat to medium low and cover. Simmer, stirring occasionally, until the flavors are blended and the pozole thickens slightly, about 1 hour. Season with salt.

    5. SERVE: ladle the pozole into soup bowls. Allow each guest to top with cabbage, avocado, radishes, and cilantro, as desired, and serve lime wedges on the side for squeezing.
     
    WHAT IS HOMINY?

    Hominy is made from dried maize (corn) kernels which have been treated with an alkali (such as limewater) in a process called nixtamalization.

    After treatment, the kernels are more easily ground, nutritional value is increased, flavor and aroma are improved. Hominy is then used in the production of tortillas and tortilla chips (but not corn chips), tamales, hominy grits and many other foods.

      

    Comments

    TIP OF THE DAY: Homemade Ginger Miso Salad Dressing

    The other week we went shopping at a large Japanese superstore (and the largest Japanese supermarket in the U.S.), Mitsuwa Marketplace in Edgewater, New Jersey.

    Strolling up and down the aisles, we wandered into the salad dressing area and found ourselves hungering for a big salad with ginger-miso dressing—the type of dressing, often orange in color, served on green salads at most Japanese restaurants.

    We purchased three different brands, chopped up a big salad for dinner and tossed it with dressing. OMG: Is every prepared consumer food product sold in America drowning in sugar? Would the same brand sold in Japan be this sweet?

    (Indeed, manufacturers alter their recipes to suit the tastes of different nationalities. For example, the original Dutch Heineken beer is much heartier than the watered-down product sold in the U.S.)

    At $4.59 for a 12-ounce bottle, we were, to say the least, disappointed.

     

    Freshly chopped and waiting for ginger miso dressing. Photo by Elvira Kalviste | THE NIBBLE.

     
    We rarely purchase salad dressing because it’s so easy to make, and the price is very high given the low cost of a bit of oil, vinegar and seasonings. If we buy a bottle, it should taste great!

    We knew we could do better than these overly sweet bottles. The next day, mixed our own, using it to top a dinner of grilled chicken on greens.

    The recipe that follows took us 5 minutes (just toss all ingredients into the food processor); and the ingredients cost pennies, not dollars.

    GINGER MISO DRESSING RECIPE

    This recipe makes 3/4 cup dressing, enough for salad for four. Feel free to double it and refrigerate the extra dressing—for your next salad, as a dip with raw vegetables or a sauce for grilled chicken, seafood or vegetables.

    Ingredients

  • 1/3 cup rice vinegar
  • 1/4 cup canola oil (you can substitute grapeseed or olive oil)
  • 2 tablespoons sesame oil
  • 1 tablespoon miso paste (white or red)
  • 1 tablespoon soy sauce
  • 1/4 cup onion, finely chopped
  • 1 tablespoon grated fresh ginger
  • 1 large garlic clove or 2 small cloves
  • Optional: 1 tablespoon toasted sesame seeds
  • Optional: 1/2 teaspoon agave nectar or honey
  •  
    TIP: Substitute 1 teaspoon of sesame oil for 1 teaspoon of the canola oil. If you like it, add more next time. Sesame oil has a strong flavor, so add a bit at a time.

     

    This award-winning salad dressing is $5.49
    for 10 ounces. You can make a version of it
    for 50 cents. Photo courtesy
    CanadianGrocer.com.

     

    Preparation

    1. COMBINE all the ingredients in a food processor or blender and process until creamy.

    2. USE immediately or refrigerate.
     
    CHOOSING A SALAD OIL

    When choosing oil for any culinary use, head to the monounsaturated fats, the “heart-healthy” oils.

    Canola oil and olive oil, two popular cooking oils, are low in unhealthy saturated fat and not-so-healthy polyunsaturated fat, and high in healthy monounsaturated fat.

    Scientists believe that monounsaturated fats help lower the bad cholesterol (LDL) that can clog arteries, leading to heart disease or stroke, while increasing the level of good cholesterol (HDL) that removes cholesterol buildup from the arteries. Integrate more of them, as well as the other oils listed above, into your diet.

     

    Examples of heart-healthy oils and their percentages of monounsaturated fat: Almond oil (66%), avocado oil (74%), canola oil (62%), macadamia oil (84%), olive oil (73%—whether refined [regular], virgin or extra virgin), sunflower oil (high oleic version, 82%), tea seed oil (60%).

    HERE’S MORE ON GOOD FATS VS. BAD FATS.

    What about corn oil and vegetable oil?

    While all oils are a combination of monounsaturated, polyunsaturated and saturated fats, a heart-healthy oil has a preponderance of monounsaturated oils.

    In contrast, corn oil, vegetable oil *and other popular cooking oils are largely polyusaturated oils, where the preponderance of the fat is not monounsaturated: corn oil 62%, grape seed oil 71%; safflower oil 77%; sunflower oil (linolenic—69%).

    SEE OUR CULINARY OILS GLOSSARY FOR MORE INFORMATION ON THE DIFFERENT TYPES OF COOKING & SALAD OILS.

    *Vegetable oil can be a blend of oils, e.g. corn, soybean and sunflower, or it may be only one type of oil. There is no requirement for the label to list the type(s) of oil in the bottle. Generally, “vegetable oil” is refined to have a high smoke point but very little taste or aroma. This makes it a good all-purpose oil for baking, frying and sautéeing. However, it is not of sufficient quality to be used as a condiment oil or for salad dressings.

      

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