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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

PRODUCT: Grecian Delight Phyllo Swirls

We love Greek food, but there’s no Greek restaurant anywhere near us.

Fortunately, we can pick of plenty of mezze* at the food store and set out a buffet of babaganoush, dolmades, falafel, feta, halloumi cheese, hummus, olives, peperoncini, pita, tabbouleh, taramasalata, tzatziki and Greek yogurt.

And now, we can add delicious Phyllo Swirls from Grecian Delight.

Crisp phyllo dough is filled with three classics, deftly seasoned:

  • Apple
  • Cheese (feta)
  • Spinach (with feta)
  •  
    Simply place an individual-portion frozen swirl on a cookie sheet, pop it into the oven for 40 minutes, and enjoy the warm flakiness that emerges.

    The all natural product line contains no trans fats, artificial colors or flavors.

     

    spinach-phyllo-swirl-230

    Spinach and feta, one of three delicious flavors of new Phyllo Swirls. Photo courtesy Grecian Delight.

     

    We can’t wait to load up on more. The spinach/feta combination is a wonderful stand-in for spanakopita, one of our favorite dishes; and given how much we like phyllo over conventional pie crust, the apple swirl is our new favorite store-bought “apple pie.” (Serve it plain, à la mode or with a touch of crème fraîche or mascarpone).

    Grecian Delight has been making Greek and other Mediterranean specialties since 1974. Learn more, and find a retailer near you, at GrecianDelight.com.
     
    *Mezze or meze (MEH-zeh) refers to a selection of small dishes served in the Middle East, often to accompany alcoholic drinks or as an appetizer course before the main dish.

      

    Comments

    RECIPE: Vietnamese Summer Rolls

    Headed to the New York theatre district? Haru, a popular modern Japanese restaurant with several locations in Manhattan (and one in Boston), has opened a new restaurant there.

    Haru recently moved its theatre district location, Haru Broadway, to Haru Times Square. It’s located in the Times Square Building, the former headquarters of the New York Times (229 West 43rd Street).

    In addition to lunch and dinner, there’s a happy hour from 3 p.m. to 6 p.m. (scoot from the matinee to enjoy drinks and light bites), and a private room that holds up to 15.

    One of our favorite items on the menu is the Trio Of Fish Tacos, a fusion dish that uses taco shells made from wonton dough. Three full-size tacos are filled with three different sashimi blends: tuna with cherry tomato salsa, salmon with avocado and striped bass with apple yuzu ceviche sauce.

    Here’s the recipe if you want to try it at home.

    Another recipe that can be made by any home cook is summer rolls. Summer rolls, a Vietnamese specialty, are never fried but served in an uncooked rice noodle wrap. Here’s the recipe, with an explanation below about the differences among summer rolls, spring rolls and egg rolls.

       

    japanese-tacos-haru-230

    Our favorite dish: Three Fish Tacos. Photo courtesy Haru.

     

     

    summer-rolls-haru-230r

    An overhead view of summer rolls you can
    make at home with this recipe. Photo courtesy Haru.

     

    SPRING ROLLS VS. SUMMER ROLLS VS. EGG ROLLS

  • Summer rolls are never fried, but made of cooked and raw ingredients wrapped in rice paper. Summer rolls are typically filled with pork and/or shrimp, rice vermicelli (noodles) and fresh herbs such as basil, cilantro or mint. Summer rolls are served with a dipping sauce made of hoisin sauce and peanut butter, flavored with garlic; or a sweet and hot red chili sauce (served by Haru); or a ginger shallot sauce.
  • Spring rolls, on the other hand, are always fried. Spring rolls are also made of rice flour dough and filled with pork and/or shrimp, plus bean thread vermicelli and shredded cabbage. They are often much narrower than summer rolls. In the U.S., you’ll also find vegetarian summer rolls, filled with mango and cucumber or other choices. The dipping sauce for spring rolls is typically a blend of rice wine vinegar and soy sauce (or tamari) with minced scallions and a splash of toasted sesame oil.
  • Egg rolls are fried, like spring rolls, but the dough is different. It’s a wheat dough that contains eggs, hence the name. The filling varies by the chef: chopped shrimp, ground beef, ground chicken or turkey, matchstick-sliced pork or Chinese sausage. Minced cabbage, carrots, garlic, ginger and mushrooms round out popular recipes.
  •  

      

    Comments

    RECIPE: Pork Belly Lettuce Wraps

    kuromitsu-glazed-pork-belly-sushisamba-230

    Pork belly lettuce wraps: a real treat! Photo
    courtesy Sushi Samba.

     

    In honor of the World Cup Games in Brazil, Brazilian-Japanese fusion restaurant Sushisamba will be serving a signature dish from Chef Pedro Duarte: Kuromitsu Pork Belly Lettuce Wraps.

    Kuromitsu is a Japanese sugar syrup, similar to but milder than molasses. We could eat an entire tray of these sweetly glazed pork belly treats. Consider them as a first course for Father’s Day dinner…or make all four and keep them for yourself.

    RECIPE: KUROMITSU GLAZED PORK BELLY LETTUCE WRAPS

    Ingredients

    For The Pork Belly Confit (Yields 4 Five-Ounce Portions)

  • 1.25 pounds pork belly
  • 1 ounce salt
  • 1 ounce sugar
  • 1 liter canola oil
  • 1 bouquet garni (thyme, garlic, bay leaf, black pepper)
  •  
    Preparation

    1. RUB the pork belly with the sugar/salt mixture and allow to marinate for 6 hours.

    2. RINSE, pat dry and submerge in a hotel pan (also called a steam table pan—a deep roasting pan will do) with the canola oil and bouquet garnish. Cover with tin foil and cook in the oven for 4 hours at 325°F.

    3. REMOVE from the oil when the pork belly is soft and allow to cool in the refrigerator with some weight on top. You can reuse the oil for another cooking process.
     
    FOR THE LETTUCE WRAPS

    Ingredients Per Serving

  • 4.5 ounces pork belly confit
  • 1 ounce kuromitsu glaze (see below)
  • Lemon zest, to taste
  • 1 ounce hearts of palm (palmito), julienned
  • 1 ounce frisée
  • 1 bibb lettuce leaf
  •  

    Preparation

    1. PREPARE the pork belly a day in advance in advance (6 hours marinating plus 4 hours cooking). To assemble:

    2. MIX lemon zest, palmito and frisée to create garnish. To plate, place 1 piece of pork belly on 1 piece of bibb lettuce. Brush pork belly with kuromitsu glaze. Top with the fresh palmito-frisée salad. It’s delicious!
     
    WHAT IS KUROMITSU

    Kuromitsu is a Japanese sugar syrup, typically made from unrefined Okinawan kurozato (black sugar). The term means “black honey”; it is similar to molasses, but thinner and milder.

    It is used to add sweetness to sweet Japanese dishes. It is one of the ingredients used in making wagashi, and it serves well with kuzumochi, fruits, ice cream and cakes. matcha soy milk jello. Drizzle on your choice of Japanese sweets, such as anmitsu, shiratama dango, kudzu mochi, warabi mochi, or kinako on toast.

     

    kuromitsu-sugar-syrupa-alibaba-230

    You can purchase kuromitsu at Asian markets or online. Photo courtesy AliBaba.com.

     

    You can find premade kuromitsu in Asian products stores, but here’s a recipe courtesy of Taste Of Zen.

    RECIPE: HOMEMADE KUROMITSU

    Ingredients For 1 Cup

  • 2/3 cup dark muscovado or other unrefined brown cane sugar (the different types of brown sugar)
  • 2 tablespoons light muscovado sugar
  • 1/2 cup white table sugar
  • 1/2 cup hot or boiling* water
  •  
    *It is better to stir boiled water, not cool water, as it won’t spatter and burn you.
     
    Preparation

    1. PLACE sugars and water in a nonstick pot and heat over medium heat. Once sugars starts to melt, shake the pot extensively while gently stirring with a wooden spoon. Do not over-stir or lumps can form. While stirring, add hot water a little at a time. The syrup may bubble and spurt; wear protective clothing to avoid burns. When the sugar is completely melted…

    2. REDUCE the heat and simmer over low heat for about 30 minutes, stirring occasionally. The syrup will thicken and a caramel-like aroma will emanate. If the syrup starts to lump or stick to the bottom of the pot, lower the heat.

    3. REMOVE from heat and let cool. Store any extra syrup in an airtight glass jar at room temperature or in the fridge. It should keep for 2 to 3 months. Bring refrigerated syrup to room temperature before using (you can heat it for 10 seconds in the microwave).

      

    Comments

    RECIPE: Nachos For The World Cup

    The Better Chip, makers of inspired corn chips in Beets, Chipotle, traditional Corn, Jalapenos, Spinach & Kale, sent us some equally inspired nacho recipes for the World Cup.

    Using popular ingredients from the teams’ home cuisines, the international nacho menu includes:

  • American Hawaii Style Nachos: The Better Chip Jalapeño Chips with pulled pork, grilled pineapple & a drizzle of melted cheese.
  • Brazilian Samba Nachos: The Better Chip Corn Chips topped with feijoada (black bean and meat stew), fresh made mango, onion, cilantro and tomato lime salsa.
  • Germany Kraut Nacho: The Better Chip Beet Chips topped with pickled sauerkraut, finely diced bratwurst, diced bacon and drizzle of brown mustard.
  • Ghana Tatale Nachos: The Better Chip Chipotle Chips topped with grilled marinated beef, fried sweet plantains and fresh baby spinach, sprinkled with unsweetened coconut shreds.
  • Greek Salad Nachos: The Better Chip Spinach & Kale chips topped with hummus, chopped tomatoes, cucumbers, black olives and feta cheese. Optional: Add grilled lamb.
  • Japanese Sashimi Nacho: The Better Chip Jalapeño Chips, chopped yellow tail, diced avocado and a drizzle of wasabi-infused soy sauce.
  •  

    4-bags-scattered-230

    The Better Chip makes a line of corn chips blended with other veggies. Photo by Elvira Kalviste | THE NIBBLE.

  • Mexico Authentic Nachos: The Better Chip Chipotle Chip topped with marinated Carne asada, pinto beans, crumbled queso fresco, cilantro and guacamole.
  •  
    And if you can get hold of international beers to pair with them, have fun with it!

    Discover more about The Better Chip on the company website.

      

    Comments

    TIP OF THE DAY: Ponzu Sauce

    ponzu-fotoosvanrobin-flickriver-230

    Ponzu sauce. Photo © Fotoos Van Robin |
    Flickriver.

     

    Following our recent endorsement of rice vinegar as an everyday condiment is this one for ponzu sauce.

    Ponzu is a thin, dark brown citrus-based sauce commonly used in Japanese cuisine. Often mixed with soy sauce (shoyu), it is a popular all-purpose condiment and dipping sauce.

    If you’ve ordered tempura in a Japanese restaurant, it was likely served with a small dish of ponzu.

    Ponzu sauce is traditionally made with rice vinegar, mirin (rice wine), katsuobushi (bonito tuna flakes) and konbu (seaweed). Some recipes use saké, a less sweet rice wine with a higher alcohol content.

    The ingredients are simmered and strained, and then citrus is added, typically yuzu, a bitter orange, or sudachi, a mandarin. (You can use lemon if you’re making it at home.)

    USES FOR PONZU SAUCE

    Mark Bittman of The New York Times calls it the rough equivalent of vinaigrette.

    Ponzu is an attractive condiment with both Western cuisine and its native Eastern cuisine. We recently substituted it for malt vinegar with French fries, and instead of mignonette sauce with oysters on the half shell.

     
    More ways to enjoy ponzu sauce:

  • With cooked and raw fish or seafood (try it with tataki, sashimi or a raw bar; it’s great with lightly-grilled fish and as a ceviche marinade.
  • With broiled or grilled beef, pork or poultry (baste with it).
  • As a dipping sauce for anything, from dumplings and tempura to nabemono and shabu-shabu from the East, to crudités and French fries from the West.
  • In marinades.
  • In stir-frys and stews (add during the last few minutes of cooking).
  • Instead of Worcestershire sauce in recipes.
  • Mixed into a dressing (with a little olive oil) for salads or cooked vegetables.
  •  

    RECIPE: HOMEMADE PONZU SAUCE

    This recipe is adapted from Mark Bittman. It presumes you won’t have access to yuzu juice and uses commonly-available citrus. But in many cities, bottled yuzu juice (another of our favorite condiments) is readily available at specialty food stores and Asian markets.

    Ingredients For 2-1/2 Cups

  • 2/3 cup fresh lemon juice, more to taste
  • 1/3 cup fresh lime juice, more to taste
  • 1/4 cup rice vinegar
  • 1 cup quality soy sauce
  • 1/4 cup mirin (or 1/4 cup saké and 1 tablespoon sugar)
  • 1 3-inch piece kelp (konbu)
  • 1/2 cup (about 1/4 ounce) dried bonito flakes
  • Pinch cayenne

     
    Preparation

    1. COMBINE all ingredients in a bowl. Let sit for 2 hours or overnight to let flavors meld.

    2. STRAIN before using. Refrigerated in an airtight container, ponzu will keep for at several days.

  •  

    ponzu-bottle-yakamiorchard-230

    Yakami Orchard makes very high quality Ponzu. Nicely packaged, it makes a fine gift for a good cook. You can buy it online. Photo courtesy Yakami Orchard.

     

    PONZU VS. CHIRIZU SAUCE

    Chirizu is a spicier variation of ponzu, made with daikon, lemon juice, saké, scallions, soy sauce and shichimi togarashi, a table spice made of seven ingredients, including red pepper (togarishi) and sansho pepper pods (which provide heat).

    It can be served with stronger-flavored sashimi that hold up to the heat (mackerel instead of fluke, for example); as well as with fried fish.

    Here’s a recipe if you’d like to make your own.

      

    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

    RECIPE: Grilled Shrimp Tandoori Salad with Mango Dressing

    We really enjoyed this grilled shrimp salad recipe from McCormick, and can’t wait to make it again.

    Similar to the tandoori oven cooking method, these Indian-spiced shrimp skewers are roasted on high heat on the grill. They are then added to a salad packed with bold sweet and sour flavors. A fresh mango dressing adds a splash of fruitiness and color.

    RECIPE: GRILLED SHRIMP TANDOORI SALAD

    Ingredients For 6 Servings

    For The Mango Dressing

  • 1 large ripe mango, peeled and seeded
  • 1/4 cup fresh lime juice
  • 1/4 cup vegetable oil
  • 2 teaspoons garam masala
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1/8 teaspoon cayenne red pepper, ground
  •    

    grilled_shrimp_tandoori_salad_mccormick-230

    A delicious twist on grilled shrimp salad. Photo courtesy McCormick.

    For The Salad

  • 1/4 cup plus 3 tablespoons chopped fresh mint, divided
  • 1/4 cup fresh lime juice
  • 3 tablespoons vegetable oil, divided
  • 2 tablespoons honey
  • 2 teaspoons garam masala
  • 1 teaspoon ground ginger
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 1/4 teaspoon cayenne red pepper
  • 1 pound large shrimp, peeled and deveined
  • 1 large ripe mango, peeled, seeded and cut into 1-inch chunks
  • 2 packages (5 ounces each) mixed baby greens
  • 1 cup halved small heirloom or specialty tomatoes
  • 1/2 small red onion, thinly sliced
  •  

    garam-masala5276734GeorginaPalmer-230

    The components of garam masala. Photo by
    Georgina Palmer | IST.

     

    Preparation

    1. MAKE the mango dressing: Process mango in blender or food processor until puréed (about 1 cup purée). Add lime juice, oil, garam masala, salt and cayenne; process until smooth. Refrigerate until ready to serve.

    2. MIX 1/4 cup of the mint, lime juice, 2 tablespoons of the oil, honey, garam masala, ginger, salt and cayenne in small bowl. Thread shrimp onto skewers. Brush with mint mixture. Thread mango onto skewers. Brush with remaining 1 tablespoon oil.

    3. GRILL shrimp skewers over high heat 4 to 5 minutes or just until shrimp turn pink, turning once and brushing occasionally with mint mixture. Grill mango skewers 4 to 5 minutes or until lightly charred.

    4. ARRANGE greens, tomatoes and onion on 6 serving plates. Top with grilled shrimp, mango and remaining 3 tablespoons mint. Drizzle with 1/2 of the dressing.

    5. STORE remaining dressing in the fridge. Serve over salad greens, grilled or broiled shrimp or chicken, or toss with couscous or quinoa.

     
    WHAT IS GARAM MASALA

    Garam masala is an aromatic spice blend originating in northern India. It is like other spice blends in that the ingredients and proportions will vary somewhat by cook or manufacturer.

    The ingredients generally include black, brown and green cardamom pods; black and white peppercorns; cinnamon; clove; coriander; cumin; nutmeg and/or mace*; and turmeric.

    Other ingredients can include bay leaf, fennel seeds, fenugreek, garlic, ginger, mace, malabar leaf, mustard seed, saffron, star anise and tamarind.

    In Northern Indian cuisine, garam masala is typically used in powder form, while in Southern India it is often made into a paste with coconut milk, vinegar or water.

    In fine cooking, the spices are toasted and ground before use, to maintain the intensity of the flavor. But you can buy preground blends, like McCormick’s garam masala.

    If you want to blend your own, here’s a very simple recipe. Start with these proportions and then adjust to your particular preferences:

  • 1 tablespoon ground cumin
  • 1-1/2 teaspoons ground coriander (cilantro seed)
  • 1-1/2 teaspoons ground cardamom
  • 1-1/2 teaspoons ground black pepper
  • 1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
  • 1/2 teaspoon ground cloves
  • 1/2 teaspoon ground nutmeg
  •  
    *Nutmeg is the seed of the nutmeg tree, while the more mild mace is the dried reddish covering of the seed.

      

    Comments

    TIP OF THE DAY: Make Spanakopita, Greek Spinach Pie

    One way to get people to eat more spinach is to serve spanakopita, the delicious Greek feta-and-spinach pastry in flaky phyllo (also spelled fillo or filo) dough.

    A good filling comprises not just spinach and crumbled feta cheese, but leeks, dill and parsley. It’s the leeks and lots of fresh dill and parsley, plus nutmeg, that make homemade spanakopita so much more flavorful than diner and deli versions. (We like nutmeg so much, we double the amount.)

    While spanakopita is typically layered in a large pan from which individual servings are cut, it can be rolled into individual triangles—more elegant but more labor intensive.

    In Greece, spanakopita is usually eaten as a snack. In the U.S., it makes an attractive first course, a light lunch with a salad or a dinner entrée for vegetarians.

    Because it can be enjoyed warm or at room temperature, we like to serve spanakopita at parties, picnics and cook-outs as well. We’re making a tray of it as our contribution to upcoming Memorial Day festivities.

     

    spanakopita-plate-kontos-230

    Spanakopita is one of our favorite ways to enjoy spinach. Photo courtesy Kontos Foods.

     
    Here’s the personal recipe of Chef Demetrios Haralambatos, executive chef at Kontos Foods, a producer of traditional Mediterranean foods:

    RECIPE: SPANKOPITA (SPINACH PIE)

    Ingredients

  • 2 pounds spinach, steamed, squeezed, chopped, and drained (or frozen spinach, fully thawed)
  • 1 cup feta cheese, crumbled
  • 1/4 cup dill, chopped
  • 1/4 cup parsley, chopped
  • 1 leek, chopped or 1/4 cup green onion (scallion), chopped
  • 3 eggs, lightly beaten
  • Salt and pepper
  • 1/4 teaspoon ground nutmeg
  • 1/4 cup olive oil for brushing pastry
  • 12 sheets phyllo dough
  •  

    spanakopita-tray-kontos-230

    Delicious party, picnic and cook-out fare.
    Photo courtesy Kontos Foods.

     

    Preparation

    1. MIX together the spinach, feta, dill, parsley, leeks, eggs, salt and pepper.

    2. BRUSH the bottom of an 8×8-inch baking pan with olive oil.

    3. PLACE a sheet of phyllo in the pan; brush lightly with olive oil. Use kitchen scissors to trim the phyllo to fit. Repeat until you have 6 layers, lightly brushing each layer with olive oil.

    4. PLACE the spinach and greens mixture on top of the 6 layers of phyllo, in an even layer. Flatten with a spatula. To create a “top” for the spinach pie, layer another six pieces of phyllo on top of the spinach mixture, brushing each layer with olive oil as you go.

    5. BAKE for 30-50 minutes at 350°F, until golden brown.

     

    Variations

  • Add chopped hard-boiled eggs to the filling.
  • Use puff pastry instead of phyllo.
  • Use kale instead of spinach, or a mixture; or a combination of spinach, leeks, chard and sorrel (a blend that is popular in rural Greece).
  • Subsitute tofu instead of feta for a vegan filling.
  •  
    ABOUT SPANAKOPITA

    Spanakopita (spa-na-KOE-pee-tah), a Greek savory snack pastry, is a member of the burek family of savory baked or fried filled pastries. The name means spinach pie.

    Burek pastries are typically made with paper-thin phyllo dough or a thicker, calzone-like dough. They can also be made with puff pastry.

    The pastries are filled with cheese, egg, minced meat or vegetables. This style of pastry is believed to have been invented in the early era of the Ottoman Empire (1299-1922), in what is now modern Turkey.

      

    Comments

    TIP OF THE DAY: Make Dobladas

    Today is National Empanada Day, and were celebrating with dobladas: folded, stuffed tortillas from Guatemala (the name means “folded”*) that can also be made in the form of a classic empanada. They can be served as an appetizer (cut into wedges), lunch, light supper or snack.

    Like tortillas, dobladas are made from nixtamalized masa (maize dough). They are then filled, folded over themselves and cooked, usually fried. In Guatemala, Mexico and other Latin countries, a clay griddle is used, as with tortillas.

    The cooked dobladas are topped with repollo (a shredded cabbage salad) or shredded lettuce, tomato sauce† and/or hot sauce.

    You can use a variety of stuffings, including beans, cheese—cottage cheese, farmer cheese, Monterey Jack, queso fresco or queso de capas)—chorizo, ground meat, mashed potatoes and pork rinds.

    The recipe was winner of the U.S. Potato Board’s “Ultimate Potato Recipe” Contest, in partnership with Better Homes and Gardens magazine. A team of recipe tasters picked this winning entry out of 334 total entries!

     
    *Pupusas, are a similar food, but they are not folded over.

     

    dobladas-potatogoodness-230-b

    Dobladas with potatoes and chorizo. The recipe is below. Photo courtesy PotatoGoodness.com.

    †Tomato sauce in Latin recipes refers to a homemade sauce, as opposed to Italian-style pasta sauce.Tomatoes are boiled with, celery, chiles, cilantro garlic, onion and sometimes red bell pepper, and cilantro roots. The result is puréed with water or chicken stock, with salt and pepper to taste.
     
    RECIPE: POTATO & CHORIZON DOBLADAS

    Ingredients For 10

  • 2 medium (5- to 6-ounce) russet potatoes, peeled and cut into 1-inch chunks
  • 1 15-ounce package uncooked Mexican chorizo sausage
  • 10 6-inch corn or flour tortillas, warmed
  • 2 to 3 tablespoons vegetable oil
  • Garnishes: chopped cilantro, shredded lettuce or cabbage slaw, sour cream, salsa, crumbled cotija or other cheese, hot sauce
  •  

    klondike-rose-230

    Use leftover mashed potatoes or make them from scratch. Photo courtesy U.S. Potato Commission.

     

    Preparation

    1. PLACE potatoes in a medium saucepan, cover with lightly salted water by 1 inch and bring to a boil. Reduce heat to medium and simmer until potatoes are tender, about 20 minutes; drain. Mash with a potato masher.

    2. COOK chorizo thoroughly in a large skillet cook and drain well. Stir cooked chorizo into mashed potatoes.

    3. ADD 1/4 cup of the filling to a warm tortilla and fold in half. Repeat with remaining filling and tortillas.

    4. HEAT oil in a large skillet over medium heat. Add 2 to 3 dobladas to the skillet; cook 3 minutes for flour tortillas, 6 minutes for corn tortillas, or until crisp and golden brown, turning once. Drain on paper towels. Repeat with remaining dobladas, adding additional oil as needed.

    5. SERVE warm and top with shredded lettuce or cabbage slaw, sour cream, salsa, and crumbled cheese as desired.

     

      

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    RECIPE: Pxali, Georgian Spinach Dip With Walnuts

    Americans love creamy spinach dip, sometimes made with added artichoke hearts (here’s a rich and lovely spinach and mascarpone dip recipe).

    But there are other types of spinach dip, some even better for you. Here’s a Georgian-style dip—actually more of a spread, which is chock-full of walnuts for protein and made with no cholesterol or added fat.

    That’s Georgia, the country in the Caucasus region of Eurasia, and part of the former Soviet Union.
    This recipe was created by California-based chef Boris Portnoy for the California Walnut Board. Chef Portnoy, of Georgian ancestry, notes that this dish originated in Georgia but has been adopted in other parts of the Caucasus.

    The name for the spread is pxali, a general term denoting a spread or dip that can be made from a variety of vegetables. Spinach is traditional. The dip is green if spinach is used, red if beet leaves are used or white if young cabbage leaves are chosen.

    Whatever the vegetable, the dip/spread is always bound with a rich walnut paste into a thick mass, which can be used as a side dish at dinner or a main dish for lunch served with bread or lavash.
    It is best made a day ahead, so the flavors can develop more fully.

     

    walnut-dip-pxali-walnutboard-230sq

    A different type of spinach dip. Photo courtesy California Walnut Board.

     

    RECIPE: PXALI, GREEK SPINACH DIP WITH WALNUTS

    Ingredients For 8 Servings

  • 3 cups walnuts
  • 1 pound spinach leaves (bagged and pre-washed)
  • 2 cloves garlic, peeled and minced
  • 1/3 cup water, plus more if needed
  • 2 tablespoons red wine or white wine vinegar
  • 1 teaspoon ground coriander
  • 1/2 teaspoon ground fenugreek*
  • 1/2 – 1 teaspoon chili flakes or red pepper flakes (the more use, the spicier the dip will be)
  • 1/2 cup chopped fresh cilantro (coriander)
  • 1/2 cup chopped flat-leaf parsley
  • Salt to taste
  • Garnish: pomegranate seeds and flat-leaf parsley sprigs, for garnish
  • Crisp flatbread or crackers, or a rustic country-style bread, thinly sliced
  •  
    *Ground mustard seed can be substituted. Fenugreek is in the spice section. If your supermarket doesn’t carry it, check international markets or buy it online.

     

    fenugreek-seeds-malaysiankitchen-230sq

    Fenugreek seeds. The spice is also sold
    ground. Photo courtesy Malaysian Kitchen.

     

    Preparation

    1. CHOP the walnuts finely in a food processor, until they are the consistency of coarse breadcrumbs. Transfer to a large bowl.

    2. PLACE the spinach in a large pot, cover tightly and cook over moderate heat, stirring once or twice, until the leaves are wilted. (Alternately, microwave the spinach in a covered bowl until wilted.) Rinse the spinach with cold water, which cools it and stops the cooking. Squeeze the moisture out of the spinach, a handful at a time.

    3. CHOP the spinach finely in the food processor as well, and add to the walnuts. Stir in the garlic and water. Add the vinegar, coriander, fenugreek, chili flakes, cilantro and parsley to the mixture and blend thoroughly. Season with salt to taste. If the spread seems too thick, add more water, 1 tablespoon at a time, to achieve the desired consistency.

    4. TRANSFER to a serving dish and garnish with pomegranate seeds and parsley. Serve with flatbread, crackers or sliced rustic bread. Makes about 3 1/2 cups dip.

     

    WHAT IS FENUGREEK?

    Fenugreek is a plant that was likely first cultivated in the Near East. The oldest samples have been found at an Iraqi archeological site, carbon dated to 4000 B.C.E. Seeds were also found in the tomb of King Tutankhamen.

    The largest producer today is India, with Afghanistan, Argentina, Bangladesh, Egypt, France, India, Iran, Nepal, Morocco, Pakistan, Spain and Turkey also major producers.

    In India, the seeds are used to make daals, pickles, spice mixes and vegetable dishes. They are often roasted to reduce bitterness and enhance flavor. Fresh fenugreek leaves are used in some Indian curries; sprouted seeds and microgreens are used in salads.

    The sweet-smelling plant produces an herb (dried or fresh leaves), a spice (the seeds, which are used whole or ground), and a vegetable (fresh leaves, sprouts, and microgreens).

    A member of the Fabaceae family of agricultural and food plants, fenugreek’s relatives include alfalfa, beans, carob, chickpeas, licorice, peas, peanuts and soybean.

      

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