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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

BOOK: Dumplings All Day Wong

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A dumpling lover’s treasure. Photo courtesy
Page Street Publishing.

 

We loved chef Lee Anne Wong on the first season of Top Chef.

She’s out with her first cookbook, Dumplings All Day Wong, focusing on Asian dumplings.

Says Chef Lee Anne: “Biting into a hot, fresh, juicy dumpling can be a transcendent moment, the kind that makes your eyes roll to the back of your head, and one that can be repeated (often).”

Yet unless you’re fortunate enough to live near an exceptional dim sum establishment, the dumplings you get at most Asian restaurants are purchased from outside suppliers, and often nowhere as flavorful as the ones you can making at home.

That’s why this book is such a treasure. “The further you get into the book, the more you will begin to realize that your possibilities are truly endless. As with all styles of cooking, once you master the techniques and basic recipes, you’ll have the ability to build your own dumpling arsenal.”

And what to do with this arsenal—which can be gluten free, traditional, modern, cutting edge, even technicolor (with colored dough)?

 
Entertain! Become known for dumpling cocktail parties and brunches. Be the first one invited to parties (and bring some dumplings, of course).

Do you have the patience to make dumplings? “While the idea of standing in one place all day making dumplings sounds intimidating or boring, I actually quite enjoy the repetitive motions of hand pleating dumplings. I consider it my ‘me time.’

Our suggestion: Invite a friend to make dumplings with you. You’ll be able to make more varieties, and have “us time.”

Then, thrill to your homemade gyozas, har gow, potstickers, shumai, wontons and more, with countless fillings and different cooking methods including baking, deep-frying, pan-frying and steaming.

Get the book now, on Amazon.com; it’s available in paperback and Kindle versions.

 

RECIPE: BRUSSELS SPOUTS & BACON DUMPLINGS

Ingredients For 60 Dumplings

  • 1 pound bacon, diced into ¼ inch pieces
  • Oil for deep-frying
  • 2 pints (1½ pounds) fresh Brussels sprouts
  • Kosher salt and black pepper
  • 3 tablespoons minced garlic
  • 3 tablespoons brown sugar
  • 2 tablespoons cornstarch
  • 2 tablespoons fish sauce
  • 2 tablespoons black or balsamic vinegar
  • 2 tablespoons reserved bacon fat
  • 60 round dumpling wrappers
  •  
    Preparation

    1. COOK the bacon in a large sauté pan over medium-high heat until it is completely cooked and crispy. Strain the bacon and cool on a paper-towel lined plate. Reserve the bacon fat.

    2. PREHEAT a small pot of oil to 375°F. Trim the bottom and outer leaves of the Brussels sprouts and quarter them, leaving the root ends intact.

     

    Brussels-Sprouts-and-Bacon-Dumplings-dumplingsalldaywong-230

    A contemporary dumpling recipe from Dumplings All Day Wong: Brussels sprouts and bacon! Photo courtesy Page Street Publishing.

     

    3. DIVIDE the Brussels sprouts in half and deep-fry half of them in small batches for about 2-3 minutes until the leaves are caramelized and brown. Drain on paper towels and season lightly with salt. Once cooled, chop into small pieces or use a food processor.

    4. BRING a pot of salted water to boil. Blanch the remaining Brussels sprouts until tender, abut 3 minutes. Place in an ice water bath to stop the cooking. Dry the Brussels sprouts with paper towels and chop finely (or in the food processor).

    5. COMBINE the bacon, chopped Brussels sprouts and minced garlic in a large bowl. In a small bowl combine the brown sugar and cornstarch until well mixed. Sprinkle over the filling, add the fish sauce, vinegar and bacon fat and mix well until combined. Season with salt and pepper to taste. Refrigerate for at least an hour.

    6. FILL the dumplings with about 1 teaspoon of filling and fold in a pleat style. Heat a wok or large nonstick frying pan over high heat. Add ½ tablespoon of oil to the pan. Place the dumplings in a single layer and cook until the bottoms are gold brown, 1-2 minutes. Add ½ cup water and immediately cover the pan. Cook until all the water has been absorbed and the dumpling skins have cooked through about 4 to 5 minutes. Repeat with remaining dumplings. Serve with Fish Sauce Caramel.

    RECIPE: FISH SAUCE CARAMEL

    Ingredients

  • ½ cup rice vinegar
  • ½ cup brown sugar
  • ¼ cup granulated sugar
  • 2 tablespoons soy sauce
  • 2 tablespoons fish sauce
  •  
    Preparation

    1. COMBINE the rice vinegar, brown sugar, granulated sugar and soy sauce in a small saucepan. Bring to a boil and stir until the sugar dissolves.

    2. REMOVE the pan from the heat and add the fish sauce. Allow to cool to room temperature before serving.

      

    Comments

    PRODUCT: Motto Sparkling Matcha Green Tea Drink

    First there was the buzz about green tea and its antioxidants. Now, the buzz is about matcha, a powdered green tea that has long been used by Buddhist monks and Samurai warriors to prepare for meditation and to improve mental clarity and concentration. It’s also the tea used in the Japanese tea ceremony, chanoyu.

    Motto, the world’s first bottled matcha green tea beverage, delivers the health benefits of the centuries-old elixir even better than a cup of green tea. In fact, just one bottle of Motto packs the health benefits of 12 cups of steeped green tea, with one-third the caffeine of a single cup of coffee.

    The beverage is brewed from premium stone-ground matcha, sourced from one of the oldest family-owned tea cooperatives in Japan. The matcha flavor is layered with organic apple cider vinegar, honey, organic agave and fresh lemon juice.

    The result is lightly sweet and very refreshing, and pairs well with everything from sushi and Pacific Rim cuisines (Indian, Thai, Vietnamese, etc.) to sandwiches and pizza.

    Motto is currently sold in 28 states and growing—everywhere from Whole Foods Market to gourmet delis and small natural grocers.

    Find a store locator at DrinkMotto.com.

     

    motto-cocktail-recipe-230

    Handsome bottle, tasty contents. Photo courtesy The Verto Company.

     

     

    motto-bottle-glass-230

    Make a Motto cocktail. The recipe is below.
    Photo courtesy The Verto Company.

     

    WHAT IS MATCHA TEA?

    Matcha is a bright green, powdered green tea that is ground to the consistency of talc. It is made from ten-cha tea leaves, which are gyokuro leaves that have been not been rolled into needles but are steamed and dried. The tea bushes are shaded from sunlight for three weeks before harvesting, producing amino acids that sweeten the taste of the tea.

    Unlike whole leaf tea, which is heat-panned for steeping, the leaves for matcha are ground like flour, slowly and finely in a stone mill. To brew the tea, the powder is whisked into water, where it produces a wonderful aroma, a creamy, silky froth and a rich, mellow taste.

    Powdered tea is the original way in which tea was prepared: steeping dried leaves in boiling water didn’t arrive until the Ming Dynasty (1368-1644).

    Matcha contains a higher amount of nutrients (vitamins, minerals, L-theanine amino acids, polyphenols, chlorophyll and fiber) than other teas. In recent years, matcha has become a popular cooking and baking ingredient, and now comes in different grades for different uses—including the popular green tea latte.

    In the absence of green tea ice cream, sprinkle some matcha on vanilla ice cream (check out these uses for matcha tea).

     

    RECIPE: GREEN TEA COCKTAIL

    Here’s a refreshing yet sophisticated cocktail idea from Motto:

    Ingredients Per Drink

  • 3-4 ounces gin
  • 1/2 ounce agave
  • 1/2 lemon squeezed
  • 6 ounces Motto
  • Small bunches mint and basil
  • Ice
  • Garnish: lime wedge
  •  
    Preparation

    1. MUDDLE equal parts mint and basil in a cocktail shaker. Add gin, agave and lemon. Shake over ice.

    2. STRAIN into a tall glass over cracked ice. Add 6 ounces Motto and stir gently.

    3. GARNISH and serve.

      

    Comments

    TIP OF THE DAY: Easy Peanut Dipping Sauce

    summer-rolls-peanut-butter-sauce-lizziemabbot-ILPB-230r

    A three-ingredient peanut sauce. Photo
    courtesy Lizzie Mabbot | Lizzy Eats London.

     

    If you’re a fan of peanut sauce for dipping, making sesame noodles or drizzling over steamed vegetables, and diluted with salad oil for a salad dressing.

    While the preparation is simple—just combine the ingredients in a bowl and blend—depending on the recipe, you can spend more time or less time measuring ingredients.

    We discovered this super easy recipe version on ILovePeanutButter.com, contributed by blogger Lizzie Mabbot of Lizzy Eats London. She serves it with homemade summer rolls.

    RECIPE: EASY PEANUT SAUCE

    Ingredients

  • 3 tablespoons hoisin sauce
  • ¼ cup crunchy peanut butter
  • 2 tablespoons rice vinegar
  •  
    Preparation

    1. COMBINE the ingredients with a whisk. If sauce is too thick, add a little water.

     

     

    RECIPE: STANDARD PEANUT SAUCE

    This recipe, from McCormick, has more layers of flavor and takes a few more minutes to prepare—plus fish sauce and sesame oil, which you may not have on hand. McCormick uses it in their sesame noodles recipe.

    Ingredients

  • 1/3 cup crunchy peanut butter
  • 1/3 cup chicken stock
  • 3 tablespoons dry sherry
  • 2 tablespoons chives, chopped
  • 2 tablespoons fish sauce
  • 2 tablespoons sugar
  • 1 tablespoon sesame oil
  •  

    sesame-noodles-mccormick-230sq

    Seasame noodles with peanut sauce. Photo courtesy McCormick.

     

    Preparation

    1. PLACE all ingredients in a food processor. Cover and process until smooth.

      

    Comments

    TIP OF THE DAY: Tataki, Plus Salmon Tataki Salad

    tuna-tataki-seared-haru-230

    Tataki means briefly seared. Photo of tuna
    tataki courtesy Haru | NYC.

     

    Tataki, also called tosa-mi, is a Japanese style of preparing fish or meat. The protein is seared very briefly over a hot flame or in a pan, briefly marinated in rice vinegar, sliced thinly and served chilled or at room temperature.

    The traditional presentation includes garnishes of thinly sliced scallions and finely shredded ginger, with soy sauce for dipping.

    The word “tataki,” meaning “pounded,” actually refers to the ginger condiment: It was originally pounded with a mortar and pestle. While some still prepare it that way, modern cooks can choose to purée it in a food processor or grate it with a zester or other fine grater.

    The port of Nagasaki was the first point of entry for foreigners in feudal Japan. Legend says that tataki was developed by Sakamoto Ryoma, a 19th-century samurai, who picked up the European technique of grilling meat from the foreigners in that city.

    In feudal times, bonito (skipjack tuna) was the preferred fish for tataki. Although bonito is still frequently used in Japan, in modern times, ahi tuna and salmon have taken over in popularity. [Source: WiseGeek] Beef, typically filet mignon or sirloin strip, is also be prepared tataki-style.

     

    RECIPE: FISH OR BEEF TATAKI

    1. CUT the fish or beef into thick pieces. Marinate in rice vinegar or mirin (a low-alcohol rice wine).

    2. SEAR each side for five seconds over an open flame or pan-sear on a stovetop burner. The grill or pan should be very hot, and the meat or fish should be quickly seared on all sides to cook only the outer surface, leaving the flesh raw.

    3. COOL the protein in a bowl of ice water; remove, pat dry and thinly slice for serving.
     

    Dipping Sauce

    1. COMBINE equal amounts of soy sauce and rice vinegar, or to taste. Add finely sliced or minced green onion (scallion).

    2. SEASON as desired with grated ginger (you can substitute wasabi).
     
    RECIPE: SALMON TATAKI SALAD

    You don’t have to go to Nobu in Los Angeles to enjoy this delicious salmon tataki salad. Here’s the recipe, courtesy of Nobu Magazine, previously published in the Nobu West cookbook:

    “The Salmon Tataki with Paper Thin Salad is a work of art,” says Nobu. “Incorporating skillfully sliced vegetables and seared salmon, this dish is light and flavorful. With a little help from a mandolin slicer and fresh ingredients, you can impress dinner guests with a beautiful and delicious meal.”

     

    As with sushi or beef tartare, the fish or meat needs to be extremely fresh. Asian specialty stores sell frozen tataki fish slices. Vacuum packed and frozen immediately for freshness, they can be a lot more affordable than fresh tuna and salmon.

    Ingredients For 1 Or 2 Servings

  • 7 ounces boneless, skinless fresh salmon fillets
  • Freshly ground black pepper
  • Jalapeño dressing (recipe below)
  • 2 baby beets
  • 2 baby carrots
  • 2 baby green zucchini
  • 2 baby turnips
  • 4 red radishes (watermelon radishes are ideal)
  • Bowls of ice water
  •  

    salmon-tataki-nobu-3

    This salmon tataki salad is easy to make. Photo courtesy Nobu Magazine.

     

    Preparation

    1. HEAT a nonstick skillet until medium-hot. Season the salmon fillets with black pepper, then sear them for 5 seconds on each side. Make sure the outside is completely seared and turns white. Immediately plunge the seared slices into ice water to stop the cooking process. Drain and pat dry with paper towels, then cover and refrigerate.

    2. PREPARE the salad: Keep the beets to one side. Slice the baby vegetable lengthwise very thinly (about 1/32 inch thick) on a mandolin grater, into a bowl of ice water. Leave them in the ice water for 1 hour; this will cause them to tighten up and become crunchy.

    3. REPEAT the same process with the beets, but place the slices in a separate bowl of water, to stop the color from running into other vegetables. Rinse until the water becomes clear; then add some ice to chill. You might want to wear disposable gloves for this, to prevent staining your hands.

    4. DRAIN the baby vegetables and the beets separately, then mix them together.

    5. POUR some of the dressing on the bottom of a serving dish, so it completely covers the bottom. Cut the chilled seared salmon into slices about 1/4 inch thick and arrange across the middle of the plate, then place the vegetable salad in the middle on top of the salmon.

     
    RECIPE: JALAPEÑO DRESSING

    Ingredients

  • 2 teaspoons chopped jalapeño, seeded (you can substitute cilantro)
  • 1 teaspoon sea salt
  • 1 teaspoon chopped garlic
  • 6-1/2 teaspoons rice vinegar
  • 1/2 cup grapeseed oil
  •  
    Preparation

    1. PROCESS the jalapeño, salt, garlic, and vinegar in a food processor until well mixed and the jalapeño is finely chopped. Slowly add the grapeseed oil and process until well blended.

      

    Comments

    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

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