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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

TIP OF THE DAY: Try Some Cold Saké

Saké Cider: a saké cocktail for harvest
season. Photo courtesy Haru.

 

Today is National Saké Day, or “Nihonshu no Hi,” as it’s known in Japan.

In Japan, October 1st is the traditional beginning of the new saké season. Brewmasters across the nation begin the process of producing their saké.

Today, forget the hot saké served at restaurants. It’s bulk saké, and often has an alcoholic burn of a lower-quality product.

Instead, try saké flights or saké-infused cocktails made with a higher quality product. Chilled, premium saké is as appealing as white wine, and pairs easily with non-Asian cuisine.

We’re doing flights, trying some different saké brands. We have a supply of traditional saké cups (masu), although any wine glass or shot glass will do. The traditional toast: “Kanpai!” (pronounced con-PIE).

 

 

Consider this harvest-themed Mr. Beam’s Saké Cider, created with Jim Beam Black, Reiko Cold Sake and fresh apple cider. It was a seasonal special last autumn and winter at Haru Saké Bar and the Haru restaurants in New York City and Boston. We liked it so much, we’re reviving it on THE NIBBLE (although you’ll have to choose something else on the menu at Haru).

SAKÉ CIDER COCKTAIL

Ingredients For One Drink

  • 1.5 ounces Jim Beam Black
  • 1.5 ounces cold saké
  • 3 ounces apple cider
  • 2 ounces sour mix
  •  

    Preparation

    1. COMBINE ingredients in a cocktail shaker with ice. Shake vigorously.

    2. STRAIN into a rocks glass or Martini glass.

     

    Quality cold sake. The cup is called a masu. Photo courtesy Tedorigawa Brewing Company.

     

    SAKÉ 101

  • Although some Americans think of saké as “Japanese wine,” it is brewed, just like beer. Traditionally vinified Japanese wines include rice wine and plum wine.
  • Saké, the drink, has an accented “e,” and is pronounced SAH-kay. Sake is the word for salmon, has no accented “e,” and is pronounced SAH-keh.
  • Learn all about sake and how to understand restaurant saké lists.
  • Glossary of saké terms and types of saké.
  •   

    Comments

    RECIPE: Taco Salad First Course

    First course or side taco salad. Photo
    courtesy Kraft.

     

    When we see a taco salad on a menu, we generally order it, and get a huge salad the size of a dinner plate. But there are smaller options.

    With this “taco salad makeover,” you can enjoy a taco salad as a first course, or as a side with a sandwich or soup.

    This recipe, from Kraft, keeps the classic ingredients along with an ingenious way to make the shell fresh, from tortillas. You get to a family-restaurant favorite in just 20 minutes of prep time.

    RECIPE: TACO SALAD

    Ingredients For 4 Servings

  • 4 flour tortillas (8 inch diameter)
  • 3/4 pound extra-lean ground beef
  • 1 tablespoon chili powder
  • 1 cup rinsed canned kidney beans
  • 1/2 cup chunky salsa
  • 4 cups packed torn mixed salad greens
  • 1/2 cups shredded sharp cheddar cheese
  • 1 large tomato, chopped
  • 2 tablespoons ranch dressing or olive oil-lime juice vinaigrette
  • Preparation

    1. HEAT oven to 425°F.

    2. CRUMPLE 4 sheets of foil to make 4 (3-inch) balls; place on baking sheet. Top each with 1 tortilla; spray with cooking spray. Bake 6 to 8 minutes or until tortillas are golden brown. The tortillas will drape over balls as they bake, to form shells. Meanwhile…

    3. BROWN meat with chili powder in large nonstick skillet. Stir in beans and salsa; cook 3 to 5 minutes or until heated through, stirring occasionally.

    4. FILL tortilla shells with salad greens, meat mixture, cheese and tomatoes. Drizzle with dressing.

      

    Comments

    RECIPE: Asian Fusion Brisket Sandwich

    Brisket, anyone? Photo courtesy Fatty ‘Cue
    Restaurant | NYC.

     

    Here’s a fun idea for brisket lovers: An Asian fusion brisket sandwich.

    Fatty ‘Cue restaurants in New York City combine traditional smoky southern barbecue with spicy Southeast Asian flavorings.

    Each Fatty ‘Cue location has a variation on the smoked beef brisket recipe, including:

  • Brisket with smoked melted cheddar, purple pickled onions, aïoli (garlic mayonnaise), chili jam and cilantro, on toasted baguette slices
  • Brisket with smoked onion marmalade, green papaya slaw and bao (Chinese steamed buns)
  • Brisket with rhubarb kimchee and bao (you can use any type of kimchee)
  •  

    Fancy some fusion?

    You can add the Asian fixings to a roast beef sandwich, or for that matter, chicken, turkey, lamb, ham or roast pork. If you have a bottle of Southeast Asian fish-sauce, shake it on!

      

    Comments

    PRODUCT: Black Rice Tortillas, Exotic & Gluten Free

    Yes, there are gluten-free tortillas from Rudi’s and Udi’s that have been lifesavers for Mexican food fans who follow a gluten free diet.

    But now there are even better ones: black rice tortillas from Food For Life. Exotic, gluten free, vegan and yeast free, they are ready to be turned into:

  • Crust, e.g. for chicken pot pie
  • Croutons (cut into strips, fry and season)
  • Mexican favorites: burritos, empanadas,
    enchiladas, tacos, quesadillas
  • “Mexican lasagne”
  • Sandwich wraps
  • Tortilla chips and nachos (cut into triangles and bake into chips)
  • Tortilla “pizza”
  •  

    Gluten-free wraps are dramatic as well as tasty. Photo courtesy Food For Life.

     
    WHAT’S BLACK RICE?

    Black rice, also known as purple rice and forbidden rice, is a group of rice types that are black or dark brown when harvested, but turn purple when cooked.

    Unlike refined white rice, black rice is a whole grain loaded with fiber, 18 amino acids, iron, zinc, copper, carotene, vitamins, minerals and anthocyanins (the same antioxidants that are found in like those found in açaí, blackberries, blueberries and tart cherries, and give all of these foods their deep pigments).

     

    Quesadillas with a twist. Photo courtesy
    LeslieLovesVeggies.net.

     

    In ancient times, black rice was reserved exclusively for Chinese emperors—thus the name forbidden rice. (See the different types of rice.)

    Today, you don’t have to be royalty to enjoy black rice—you can buy it at almost any natural foods store and online. It makes an especially glamorous rice pudding: Thai black rice pudding with coconut milk.

    A healthier alternative to traditional wheat flour tortillas, these black rice tortillas are tastier, too.

    One thing to watch out for: We didn’t see an expiration on our package and left them out at room temperature. The tortillas are actually pretty fragile: the shelf life is five days at room temperature. But they’ll stay fresh for three weeks when refrigerated and one year frozen.

     

    The tortillas are certified kosher by KOF-K.

    Here’s a recipe for homemade gluten-free tortillas.

    Here are some of our favorite gluten-free products.

    For information on gluten intolerance, visit the Celiac Disease Foundation.

      

    Comments

    TIP OF THE DAY: Homemade Greek Salad

    Everyone we lunch with seems to order a Greek salad or a Cobb salad. And they admit that they never make it at home!

    So today’s tip is: Enjoy a Greek salad at home, regularly. When you make your own, you can add as much feta, olives, pepperoncini and other favorite ingredients as you like.

  • You can buy top-quality feta at a cheese store.
  • You can substitute romaine for the iceberg lettuce normally used in restaurants.
  • You can use the beautiful tomatoes that are now in season.
  • And if you don’t like red wine vinegar, the classic dressing in America, you can substitute balsamic vinegar or lemon juice.
  •  
    Serve your Greek salad as a main meal, a smaller salad course, or as a soup-and-salad or sandwich-and-salad combo for lunch.

     

    A cute Greek salad preparation from Stix
    Mediterranean Grill
    in New York City. What’s missing? The lettuce, which is not part of authentic recipes.

     

    FOOD TRIVIA: In Greece, the feta-cucumber-onion-plus salad is referred to as horiatiki, which translates to country/village/peasant salad. It is a common part of a traditional Greek meal. Horiatiki doesn’t contain lettuce—that’s an American preference. In Greece, you’ll only see lettuce used at restaurants that cater to tourists.

    An authentic horiatiki is a combination of all or some of the following: anchovies, bell pepper, capers, cucumber, feta cheese, Kalamata olives, onion, sardines and tomato. It is dressed with olive oil only—no vinegar—plus oregano, salt and pepper.

    The recipe below is from Molyvos, one of the finest Greek restaurants in New York City. Executive Chef Jim Botsacos. He serves an American-style Greek salad, but check out the preparation: He uses the techniques of a top chef.

    RECIPE: GREEK SALAD

    Ingredients For 6 Side Servings

  • 3 beefsteak tomatoes*
  • 1 cucumber, scored, quartered lengthwise, and cut crosswise ¼ inch thick
  • 1 small red onion
  • 20 kalamata olives, pitted and thinly sliced crosswise
  • 1 cup feta cheese, diced
  • 1 tablespoon capers, well drained
  • Red wine vinaigrette (recipe below)
  • 1 teaspoon dried oregano
  • Sea salt and freshly ground pepper
  • 2 cups shredded iceberg or romaine lettuce
  • Optional: anchovies, bell pepper, pepperoncini, sardines
  •  

    *When beefsteak or heirloom tomatoes are not in season, use halved cherry tomatoes.

     

    A classic Greek salad. Photo courtesy Stix Mediterranean Grill | New York City.

     

    Preparation

    1. CORE the tomatoes. Cut each tomato in half crosswise, then cut each half into 6 pieces. Place the pieces in a mixing bowl. Add the cucumber.

    2. CUT the onion in half lengthwise and then slice each half lengthwise into thin julienne. Add the onion to the bowl. Add the olives, cheese, and capers. If using pepperoncini, slice into circles and add; or use whole as garnish,

    3. ADD the vinaigrette and toss to coat. Taste and season with oregano and salt and pepper to taste.

    4. PLACE an equal portion of the lettuce on each of 6 salad plates or bowls. Top with an equal portion of tomato mixture, sprinkle lightly with oregano. Serve immediately.

     

    RECIPE: RED WINE VINAIGRETTE

    Ingredients

  • ¼ cup red wine vinegar
  • 1 garlic clove, peeled and smashed
  • 1 tsp dried oregano
  • 1 cup extra virgin olive oil
  • Sea salt and freshly ground pepper
  •  
    Preparation

    1. COMBINE the vinegar with the garlic and oregano in a small mixing bowl. Using a wire whisk, whisking constantly. add the olive oil in a slow, steady stream until all the oil is incorporated.

    2. SEASON with salt and pepper to taste and set aside until ready to use. Whisk briefly before using.

      

    Comments

    TIP OF THE DAY: Chilaquiles For Breakfast

    Chilaquiles with avocado. Photo courtesy
    Avocados From Mexico.

     

    Still looking for something special for Father’s Day breakfast? How about chilaquiles (chee-la-KEE-lace), a traditional Mexican breakfast or brunch dish.

    While there are numerous regional variations, here’s a typical recipe: Corn tortillas are cut into quarters and lightly fried. Next comes green or red salsa or mole sauce, then fried eggs.

    Pulled chicken can be added; the dish is topped with shredded queso fresco and/or crema, Mexican sour cream. Sliced raw onion, avocado or other garnish can be added. A side of refried beans typically completes the dish.

    Don’t confuse chilaquiles with the Tex-Mex dish migas, scrambled eggs mixed with chopped green onions, shredded Cheddar and crushed tortilla chips or tortilla strips.

    This recipe is courtesy Avocados From Mexico, which has many delicious avocado recipes on its website.

     

    RECIPE: CHILAQUILES WITH AVOCADO AND EGGS

    Ingredients For 4 Servings

     

  • 1/4 cup vegetable oil
  • 8 six-inch corn tortillas, quartered
  • 1-1/2 cups red salsa
  • 4 eggs
  • 1 avocado, halved, pitted, peeled and cubed
  • 2 small radishes, thinly sliced
  •  

    Preparation

    1. HEAT oil in a large skillet over medium-high heat. Add tortillas. Carefully stir and turn tortillas to coat them with oil until crisp, about 6-8 minutes. Remove from heat.

    2. FRY eggs in a separate skillet. As eggs are finishing…

    3. RETURN tortillas to medium heat. Pour salsa over crisp tortillas, turning to coat until they are slightly soft but still chewy. Top tortillas with fried eggs, avocado and radishes.

     

    Avocados are a delicious breakfast food: plain, on toast or with eggs. Photo courtesy Avocados From Mexico.

     

    TIP: If you want the tortillas to remain crisp, hold the salsa and pour it over the other ingredients immediately before serving.

      

    Comments

    RECIPE: Chocolate Peanut Butter Fried Ice Cream

    Here’s something fun for father’s day: Chocolate Peanut Butter Fried Ice Cream. The recipe is from QVC’s chef, David Venable.

    It uses store-bought ice cream. If you’re comfortable with deep frying, this is an easy recipe.

    While this recipe uses chocolate peanut butter cup ice cream, you can use whatever flavor you like; and substitute chopped almonds, macadamias, pecans, pistachios, or walnuts for the peanuts.

    To make things even easier, you can prepare this recipe a few days in advance, through Step 4.

    EASY DEEP FRIED ICE CREAM RECIPE

    Ingredients

  • 1 quart chocolate peanut-butter cup ice cream (or other flavor)
  • 4 cups chocolate-flavored whole-grain corn and oat
  • cereal,* finely crushed

  • 2 cups unsalted peanuts or other nuts, finely crushed
  • 4 large eggs
  • 2 tablespoons sugar
  • Vegetable oil for frying
  • Chocolate sauce for garnish
  •  

    Something special for dessert: fried ice cream. Photo courtesy QVC.

     

    *Cheerios Frosted Whole Grain Oat & Corn Cereal, for example. You can substitute Corn Flakes or Frosted Flakes.

    Preparation

    1. SPOON out 8 large balls of ice cream onto a parchment paper-lined sheet pan. Freeze for at least 1-1/2 hours.

    2. COMBINE the crushed cereal with the crushed peanuts in a large bowl. Dip the chilled ice-cream balls in the crumb mixture; refreeze for 45 minutes. Do not discard the crumbs.

     

    Fried ice cream ready for its close-up. Photo courtesy QVC

     

    3. BEAT the eggs and sugar together in a large bowl. Dip the coated ice-cream balls into the eggs and then into the crumb mixture, coating completely. Put the ice cream back onto the sheet pan, cover with plastic wrap, and freeze for 2 hours. Cover and refrigerate the egg and sugar mixture.

    4. REPEAT the coating process once again and refreeze for 6 hours, or overnight.

    5. PREHEAT a deep fryer to 375°F. Line a plate with paper towels.

    6. PLACE one ball into the oil and fry for about 25-35 seconds. Remove from the oil and place on the paper towel-lined plate. Repeat.

    7. PLACE each ball on a dessert plate and drizzle with chocolate sauce. Serve immediately.

     

    FIND MORE OF OUR FAVORITE ICE CREAM RECIPES.

      

    Comments

    FOOD HOLIDAY: Smorgasbord Buffet For A Midsummer Feast

    In Sweden, Midsummer marks the start of summer holidays. Midsummer Eve is always the Friday in the middle of the month. People head to the country to be close to nature, enjoy a delicious smorgasbord with beer and aquavit (no wine!), and be with family and friends.

    If you’ve seen Ingmar Bergman’s Smiles of a Summer Night, or Woody Allen’s parody of it, A Midsummer Night’s Sex Comedy, you get the drift.

    Celebrants pick wildflowers to weave into wreaths, set up the maypole and outdoor dance floors. Midsummer is supposed to be a magical time for love. But we’d like to focus on that big table laden with food, the smörgåsbord.

    Swedish retailer IKEA has an annual Midsummer Smörgåsbord; you can purchase tickets for the 6/14 event at the store. They sell out, so do it in advance—$12.99, for adults, $4.99 for kids. Details at IKEA-USA.com.

     

    Pickled herring canapés on pumpernickel bread with gherkins. Photo by Marta Sobo | SXC.

     
    While IKEA offers food only (no dancing, no chasing your romantic interest through the woods), the menu is impressive. Why not adapt it to your own Midsummer Eve’s feast? Make selections from Ikea’s list, or whip up your own favorites:

    MAINS

  • Gravlax with mustard sauce
  • Herring, in assorted preparations
  • Hard boiled eggs with shrimp
  • Meatballs with lingonberries
  • Prinskorv sausage, a type of Vienna sausage, sautéed
  • Smoked salmon with horseradish sauce
  • Swedish ham served cold with mustard
  • Whole poached salmon
  •  

    Swedish meatballs. Here’s a recipe from
    Betty Crocker.

     

    SALADS

  • Cucumber salad
  • Green salad
  • Other favorite salads
  •  
    SIDES

  • Boiled dill potatoes
  • Assorted Swedish cheeses (Herrgardsost, the most popular cheese in Sweden, Hushallsost is Swedish farmer’s cheese)
  • Crispbread, thin bread, dinner rolls
  •  

    DESSERTS

  • Assorted desserts—cakes, cookies, Swedish pancakes with lingonberry jam and whipped cream
  • Ice cream
  • Coffee, tea
  • Strawberries and whipped cream
  •  

    While you may not have an inventory of Swedish music, ABBA always works for us!

      

    Comments

    RECIPE: Asian Beef Skewers (Satay)

    Hot dogs, burgers and steaks are traditional Memorial Day fare. But you can travel beyond America and enjoy some global cuisine on the grill.

    This recipe is from Andrew Zimmern, host of the Travel Channel series Bizarre Foods. There’s nothing bizarre about this recipe, though.

    “Roadside eateries in Cambodia serve little skewered dishes from morning to closing time, and this simple beef and lemongrass version of mine is the type of recipe that grill freaks will turn to all year long,” says Zimmern. “I also use the same recipe for chicken parts, pork chops, etc., with equal success.”

    BEEF & LEMONGRASS SKEWERS

    Ingredients

     

    Cambodian-style beef skewers with spicy peanut sauce. Photo courtesy Andrew Zimmern.

  • 24 ounces dry-aged boneless trimmed beef tenderloin or dry-aged beef sirloin
  • 2 peeled and minced garlic cloves
  • 2 stalks lemongrass
  • 1 tablespoon coriander seeds
  • 2 tablespoons brown sugar
  • 1/4 cup fish sauce
  • 1/4 cup crushed dry-roasted peanuts for garnish
  • Preparation

    1. SLICE beef into long thin strips, 1/8 inch x 1 inch x 5 inches long.

    2. COMBINE the garlic, lemongrass, coriander, sugar and fish sauce in a mortar and pestle until mixture is a paste. Use a blender or food processor if you have to.

    3. MARINATE meat for 12 to 24 hours in this mixture.

    4. THREAD beef onto skewers, grill briefly to medium rare over high direct heat and serve with spicy peanut sauce for dipping, garnishing with the nuts.

     

    Another word for this dish is satay, a Southeast
    Asian dish consisting of small pieces of meat,
    poultry, fish or seafood, grilled on a skewer and
    served with spiced sauce. Photo courtesy Healthy
    In A Hurry
    cookbook.

     

    SPICY PEANUT SAUCE RECIPE

    Ingredients

  • 1/4 cup roasted ground peanuts
  • 1 tablespoon peanut oil
  • 2 minced garlic cloves
  • 2 teaspoon chili paste
  • 2 tablespoons tomato paste
  • 1/2 cup chicken broth
  • 1/2 teaspoon sugar
  • 1 tablespoon peanut butter
  • 1/4 cup hoisin sauce
  • 1 fresh red chili, seeded and thinly sliced
  •  

    Preparation

    1. HEAT the oil in a small pan and add the garlic, chili paste and tomato paste.

    2. FRY until the garlic turns light golden brown.

    3. ADD the broth, peanut butter, hoisin and sugar, and simmer for 3 minutes.

    4. COOL and add the peanuts and chilies.

      

    Comments

    TIP OF THE DAY: Adapting A Classic, Greek Nachos

    The Greek cousin of nachos. Photo courtesy Chobani Greek Yogurt.

     

    Today’s tip looks at adapting popular recipes to other cultures. As an example, we’re giving Tex-Mex nachos a Greek makeover—a fresh spin on a party classic that uses feta and naan or pita crisps instead of Cheddar or Jack cheese and tortilla chips. It also adds some heartiness with ground lamb.

    This recipe, from Chobani Greek Yogurt, makes 6 servings. Enjoy it with beer, wine or iced mint tea.

    GREEK NACHOS RECIPE

    Ingredients

    For The Yogurt Salsa

  • 1 cup plain 0% Greek yogurt
  • 3/4 cup feta cheese, crumbled
  • 1/2 cucumber
  • 1/2 red onion
  • 1/2 teaspoon cumin powder
  • Sea salt to taste
  •  

    For The Nachos

  • Naan bread or pita
  • 2 tablespoons olive oil
  • 1 pound ground lamb (or veal, beef, turkey)
  • Fresh baby spinach leaves
  • Kalamata olives
  • Chopped tomatoes
  • Feta cheese
  • Italian herb seasoning or oregano
  •  

    A delight for feta fans. Photo courtesy Chobani Greek Yogurt.

     

    Preparation

    1. PREHEAT oven to 400°F.

    2. BROWN ground lamb in olive oil over medium heat until fully cooked; then drain oil.

    3. RUB naan bread with small amount of olive oil, sprinkle with salt, cut into triangle wedges with pizza cutter and place on baking sheet. Bake for 5-10 minutes to desired crispness.

    5. COMBINE yogurt, cucumber, onion, feta cheese, salt, and cumin in a food processor; process to desired smoothness. Add more onion, cucumber, and/or feta cheese as desired.

    6. ASSEMBLE nachos by placing triangle wedges of naan on a plate, then fresh spinach, then ground lamb, yogurt salsa, olives, tomatoes, more feta cheese and italian herb seasoning on top as desired.

    Find more recipes at Chobani.com.

      

    Comments

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