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Archive for International Foods

TIP OF THE DAY: Piperade & Espelette Pepper

Pipérade (French) or piperrada (Spanish) is a French Basque dish made from green bell pepper, garlic, onion and tomato, sautéd together and seasoned with red espelette pepper.

The word derives from piper, the Basque word for pepper. The colors—red, white and green—are those of the Basque flag (said to be a coincidence).

Basque Country straddles the border between France and Spain on the Atlantic coast, Pyrénées-Atlantiques north and south of the Pyrenees Mountains.

The area has a rich culinary heritage, including some 40 Michelin-starred restaurants and a sheep cheese, Ossau-Iraty, named best cheese in the world at the World Cheese Championships in 2011.

Pipérade is a dish from the Northern Basque Country (French Basque Country), which lies entirely within France and known as Pays Basque Français in French.

Pipérade is related to the Provençal ratatouille, which adds zucchini and eggplant to the mix. Both are colorful and versatile dishes that can be enjoyed any time of the day (and are a delicious way to add to your daily vegetable servings).

WAYS TO SERVE PIPERADE

While many of these applications may not be traditional Basque, they show the flexibility of piperade.
 
Pipérade At Breakfast

  • With eggs, any style
  • Atop polenta, with or without a fried egg
  • With cheese grits or other porridge (cream of wheat, cream of rice)
  • A Basque version of shakshsouka
  • On toast
  •  
    Pipérade At Lunch

  • On a burger
  • On a sandwich: grilled cheese, turkey, ham
  • On pizza
  • As a vegetable sandwich (instead of grilled vegetables), with or without mozzarella or other cheese
  • As a vegetable plate, with rice or other grain
  •  
    Pipérade At Dinner

  • As an appetizer, on crostini or bruschetta
  • As an appetizer, in tartlet shells
  • As a side, alone or with grains or potatoes
  • Atop grilled, roasted or sautéed chicken*, fish or pork
  •  
    ________________
    *In French Basque cuisine, piment d’espelette with ham is often served over braised chicken.
    ________________

     
    RECIPE: PIPERADE

    When bell peppers are on sale, we load up and make a batch of pipérade (it can be frozen). We’re flexible on the color of the bell peppers (in fact, we prefer a mix of colors ).

    While waiting for summer tomatoes (and after they’re gone), we use whole canned San Marzano† tomatoes instead of the bland plum tomatoes in the market. Drain them, but save the juice and drink it, plain or with a splash of gin.

    We adapted this recipe from one by Chef Aida Mollenkamp. She peels the tomatoes. We’re lazy and often skip this step (and usually use use the peeled, canned San Marzano tomatoes, anyway).

       

    Chicken With Piperade

    Piperade Poached Eggs

    Piperade Crostini

    Sirloin With Piperade

    [1] Pipérade crostini (here’s the recipe from The New York Times, and another recipe for piperade with Arctic char). [2] Eggs poached in pipérade, shakshouka-style (here’s the recipe from Au Petit Gout). [3] Chicken with pipérade, a basque classic (here’s the recipe Williams-Sonoma). [4] Sirloin with pipérade and arugula pesto (photo from Sun Basket meal delivery service).

     

     

    Fresh Espelette Pepper

    Ground Espelette Pepper

    [5] Fresh espelette peppers in the marketplace (photo courtesy Lurrak). [6] Ground espelette pepper, used in recipes (photo courtesy La Maison du Piment).

     

    Ingredients

  • 6 medium tomatoes
  • 1 tablespoon plus 2 teaspoons olive oil
  • 4 ounces thinly sliced Bayonne ham, cut into 1/2-inch squares
  • 2 medium yellow onions, halved and thinly sliced
  • 2 medium garlic cloves, minced
  • 2 tablespoons fresh Italian parsley, coarsely chopped
  • 1 tablespoon fresh thyme leaves, coarsely chopped
  • 1 medium dried bay leaf
  • 2 medium red, yellow, or orange bell peppers, cleaned and sliced lengthwise into 1/4-inch strips
  • 2 medium green bell peppers, cleaned and sliced lengthwise into 1/4-inch strips
  • Kosher salt
  • 2 teaspoons piment d’espelette
  • Optional: Bayonne‡ ham or substitute (2)
  • ________________

    †The San Marzano is an heirloom variety of plum tomato, originally planted in the town of the same name at the base of Mount Vesuvius, near Naples. The volcanic soil and sunny climate grow tomatoes that are among the most sought-after on earth, with remarkable, sweet, intense tomato flavor. The canned variety are also delicious.

    ‡Bayonne ham is a cured ham from the French Basque country. If you can’t find it, substitute prosciutto or other ham.
    ________________

    Preparation

    1. PEEL the fresh tomatoes. Bring a large saucepan of water to a boil over high heat. Prepare an ice water bath by filling a medium bowl halfway with ice and water. Using the tip of a knife, remove the stem and cut a shallow X-shape into the bottom of each tomato. Place the tomatoes in the boiling water and blanch until the skin just starts to pucker and loosen, about 10 seconds. Drain and immediately immerse the tomatoes in the ice water bath. Using a small knife, peel the loosened skin and cut each tomato in half. With a small spoon, scrape out any seeds, then core and coarsely chop the remaining flesh. Set aside.

     
    2. PLACE a large Dutch oven or other heavy-bottomed pot with a tigh-fitting lid over medium heat, and add 1 tablespoon of the oil. When the oil shimmers, add the ham and cook, stirring occasionally, until it’s golden brown, about 8 minutes. Using a slotted spoon, transfer the ham to a plate and set aside.

    3. RETURN the pan to the heat, add the remaining 2 teaspoons of oil, and, once heated, add the onion and garlic. Cook, stirring a few times, until soft and beginning to color, about 8 minutes. Stir in the herbs and bell pepper slices and season well with salt. Cover and cook, stirring a few times, until the peppers are slightly softened, about 10 minutes.

    4. STIR in the diced tomatoes, browned ham, and piment d’Espelette, and season with salt to taste. Cook uncovered until the mixture melds and the juices have slightly thickened, about 10 minutes. Remove the bay leaf and serve.
     
    THE ESPELETTE PEPPER

    The espelette pepper, called piment d’espelette in French and ezpeletako biperra in Basque, is a variety of species Capsicum annuum that is cultivated in the French commune of Espelette in the Northern Basque Country (Pays Basque Français).

    Chiles, which are native to Central and South America, were brought to France in the 16th century. It is believed that the chiles were introduced into the Basque Nive Valley in 1523 by Gonzalo Percaztegi, a navigator who voyaged with Christopher Columbus (who brought chiles to Spain in 1494). It became popular as a condiment and is now a staple of Basque cuisine, where it has gradually replaced black pepper.

    This pepper has only a maximum of 4,000 SHUs on the Scoville Scale and is therefore considered only mildly hot—at the level of cayenne and Louisiana hot sauce.

    Espelette pepper can be purchased as fresh or dried whole peppers (photo #5), as ground pepper (photo #6), as purée in jars or pickled in jars. For fresh espelette, look for non-AOC espelette peppers grown in California.

    Growing in French soil, its unique qualities have earned it AOC and APO classifications. An annual pepper festival organized by Confrérie du Piment d’Espelette, held the last weekend in October since 1968, attracts some 20,000 tourists [source].

    If you can’t find it, substitute hot paprika or cayenne.

    See the different types of chiles in our Chile Glossary.

      

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    TIP OF THE DAY: 10+ Ways To Flavor Meatballs

    Spaghetti Stuffed Meatball

    Lamb Meatballs

    Asian Meatballs

    Vietnamese Pho With Meatballs

    Shanghai Lion's Head Meatballs

    Carrot Soup With Turkey Meatballs

    [1] Spaghetti-stuffed meatballs. Here’s the recipe from Thrillist (photo by Drew Swantak). [2] Lamb and feta meatballs; here’s the recipe from Smitten Kitchen. [4] Vietnamese who with meatballs. Here’s the recipe from Cooking And Beer. [5] Shanghai Lion’s Head; here’s the recipe from Serious Eats. [6] Floating meatballs made from turkey, in carrot soup with spinach. Here’s the recipe from Parade.

     

    MEATBALL TRENDS

    What’s trending as of March 9th, National Meatball Day?

    Flavor & The Menu, a magazine and website for chefs, took a look at what’s happening with meatballs.

    Meatballs have been popping up on menus nationwide—beyond Italian restaurants, sub shops and the emerging meatball restaurants.

    The ideas below may be new to some of us, but most of the recipes go back for centuries, if not longer.

    Meatballs are being made with almost any ground or chopped meat, seafood, poultry, and vegetarian/vegan versions made with beans, grains and veggies.

    Not only are meatballs a comfort food; they’re a canvas for endless versatility in formats, sauces, seasonings, sizes and garnishes.

    Ten flavor trends were spotted by by Joan Lang, who wrote the article.

    How About A Meatball Party??

    The tempting variety of meatballs inspired us to plan a DIY Meatball Party, with a buffet of fixings from breads (pita, Italian rolls) to bases (pasta, cellophane noodles, rice or other grains), to condiments (grated or crumbled cheese) and raw vegetables (cucumber, lettuce, onion, tomato) and fresh herbs.

    For a variety of choices, you can make meatball recipes as time permits, and freeze them until you have what you want for the party. If your guests typically ask what they can bring (and are good cooks), give them recipes to prepare.

    TREND ONE THROUGH TREND FIVE

    Today we present the first five meatball trends. The others arrive tomorrow.

    Whatever types of meatballs appeal to you, you’ll find score of recipes online.

    1. STUFFED MEATBALLS

    Stuffed meatballs require only the simple addition of a tasty filling inside a handful of ground meat. Don’t tell anyone, and let them be surprised when they dig in.

    Different types of cheeses are the traditional stuffings—everything from mild mozzarella and ricotta to tangy blue and feta.

    But we’ve also found meatballs stuffed with spaghetti (photo #1) and with mac and cheese. More examples:

  • Polpetta Napoletana: A meatball stuffed with ham, peas and mozzarella in tomato sauce, at Bella Tuscany in Windemere, Florida.
  • Spaghetaboudit Meatball: A classic meatball stuffed with three cheeses and fusilli pasta, topped with marinara and shaved Parmesan. It’s also garnished with ricotta, at The Meatball Room in Boca Raton, Florida.
  • Brisket Meatballs: An interesting concept, stuffed with blue cheese and accented with a balsamic glaze, at Clark Food & Wine Co. in Dallas.
  •  
    2. LAMB MEATBALLS

    Inspired by Greek recipes, lamb meatballs—keftedes—will make lamb lovers happy. We purchase ground lamb and mix it with crumbled feta and herbs (photo #2). Or, you could stuff them with feta, for the surprise.

    Mixed with mix with bulgur wheat, it becomes Lebanese-style kibbeh. Add a yogurt sauce.

    Use plenty of Mediterranean spices—basil, cilantro, dill, rosemary, oregano, sage, thyme. Check out the spices: cinnamon, coriander, cumin, nutmeg and za’atar. You can:

  • Shape the meat mixture into small balls like falafel, serve it in pita with yogurt sauce, tahini and hummus and raw veggies: cucumber, red onion, shredded lettuce and/or tomato.
  • Serve them over pasta or grains, with yogurt sauce flavored with dill, lemon or mint.
  • Serve on skewers with a plate of sautéed or roasted vegetables.
  • Make them slightly larger than cherry tomatoes, and serve in a bowl with the tomatoes and an herb garnish as a cocktail snack (with picks), plain with a squeeze of lemon juice or with a yogurt-garlic-dill dipping sauce (recipe).
  • Serve with fresh mint chimichurri and yogurt sauce, as at Mud Hen Tavern in Los Angeles.
  • Make soutzoukakia, grilled lamb meatballs with spiced tomato sauce and Greek yogurt, as at Kokkari, San Francisco.
  •  
    3. ASIAN MEATBALLS

    The meatballs of Asia are typically made from pork or seafood, and to a smaller extent chicken. Consider:

  • Vietnamese/Laotian pho noodle soup with meatballs (photo #4). You can add them to Asian soup or ramen bowls, too.
  • Shanghai Lion’s Head, a dish of large pork meatballs stewed or steamed with cabbage. Here’s a recipe from Serious Eats.
  • Shrimp balls: fried balls of chopped shrimp, drizzled with katsu sauce and/or Kewpie mayonnaise.
  • Tako yaki, deep fried octopus balls.
  • Tsukune, a Japanese chicken meatball most often cooked yakitori style, and sometimes covered in a sweet soy sauce or yakitori tare, which is often mistaken for teriyaki sauce but is its own recipe.
  •  
    We like this Asian Meatballs recipe from Life Makes Simple Bakes. Its served with a hoisin-based sauce, and traditional Asian flavors (photo #3).
     
    Chefs are making:

  • Meatball Spring Rolls: steamed rice paper wrapped around pork meatballs, pickled carrots and vermicelli, served with peanut sauce, at Pho Bistro in Malden, Massachusetts.
  • Tsukune: chicken meatballs with a choice of flavorings, including teriyaki, spicy miso, yuzu, daikon, goma (sesasme), kimchi, curry and cheese fondue—at Tsukuneya Robata Grill in Honolulu.
  •  
    4. FLOATING MEATBALLS

    These are meatballs in soups and stews that incorporate meatballs as the protein, either braised or cooked right in the liquid. Consider:

  • Mexican sopa de albondigas, Bavarian meatball soup, Italian meatball stew or many others from world cuisine.
  • Chickpea Stew with Meatballs and Shrimp, including with garlic, spinach and seasoned basmati rice, at Pasha Cafe, Arlington, Virginia.
  • Steamed Pork Meatball Soup with crispy garlic, bok choy shoots and black soy sauce, at Kin Shop in New York City.
  •  
    5. VEGETARIAN & VEGAN MEATBALLS

    Talk about Meatless Mondays! Of course, they should be called meat-alternative or meat-like balls; but convention calls them meatballs.

    There are many recipes on line, but we like the ones that use vegetables and grains rather than meat alternatives. Try:

  • Mushroom “meat” balls, made with cultivated white mushrooms or more exotic porcini: umami and heft without the meat.
  • Ground cooked potato meatballs with carrots and pea.
  • White beans meatballs with sautéed minced onions and garlic, seasoned and rolled in breadcrumbs.
  • Sauer-Tot Balls: potato and sauerkraut veggie balls served with lettuce and Dijon sauce on a hoagie, at the Barone Meatball Company, a food truck in Raleigh/Durham, North Carolina.
  • Quinoa “meat” balls and spaghetti squash, served with marinara and basil pesto, at Vine Brook Tavern in Lexington, Massachusetts.
  •  
    Stay tuned for Part 2.

    MORE MEATBALLS

  • Chicken Teriyaki Meatballs
  • Eyeball Meatball Sandwich (for kids)
  • Giant Meatball
  • Gourmet Meatball Sub
  • Inside-Out Spaghetti & Meatballs
  • Korean Spaghetti & Meatballs
  • Spaghetti & Meatball Sundae
  • Swedish Meatballs
  • Veal Meatballs With Vodka
  •  
      

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    TIP OF THE DAY: Swedish Meatballs & The Other Meatballs Of Europe

    Swedish Meatballs

    Swedish Meatballs In Gravy

    Frozen Meatballs Ikea

    Frozen Mashed Potatoes Ikea

    Sour Cream

    Fresh Dill

    Lingonberry Preserves

    [1] Classic Swedish meatballs (here’s the recipe from The Kitchn). [2] Some people like lots of the sour cream gravy (here’s the recipe from The Recipe Critic). [3] Frozen meatballs from Ikea, in beef/pork, chicken or vegan. [4] Frozen mashed potatoes from Ikea. [5] Sour cream [6] Dill (photo courtesy Good Eggs). [7] Lingonberry preserves from Ikea.

     

    Cocktail parties in 1960s America had a set of de rigueur cocktail food that included cheese balls, deviled eggs, Lipton onion soup dip with potato chips, pigs in blankets, rumaki*, stuffed celery (often stuffed with olive cream cheese) and bite-size Swedish meatballs.

    In Sweden, these small meatballs are made wutg a blend of pork and beef seasoned with allspice, ginger and nutmeg. They are served in a tangy sour cream sauce with a side of mashed potatoes and cream sauce.

    In the U.S., many people serve Swedish meatballs over noodles. Well O.K., but that’s not authentic.

    For the true Swedish meatball experience, a serving of lingonberry preserves is as essential as cranberry sauce is to turkey in the U.S.

    What’s a lingonberry? It’s the Scandinavian version of America’s cranberry, also tart but half the size (see photo #7, below). They are different species of the same genus†.

    Swedish meatballs are Sweden’s number-one dish, the unofficial national dish (although BBC Good Food gives that honor to kanelbulle, a cinnamon bun).

    In the U.S. they have their own food holiday: March 9th.
     
    FOR A QUICK DISH, HEAD TO IKEA

    The Swedish-based retailer makes it easy, by selling the components for Swedish meatballs in their food markets. Ikea also sells a white gravy mix, but you can’t beat fresh sour cream—or homemade mashed potatoes, for that matter.

    The gravy is easy to make, just sour cream, butter and flour. Here’s a classic from-scratch recipe from The Kitchn. For the potatoes, just boil and mash with butter and/or milk or cream, plus seasonings. Fresh dill is a nice touch.

    At Ikea, you’ll find everything you need (except the fresh the sour cream sauce) to assemble the dish:

  • Meatballs, a.k.a. kottbüllar (frozen, in original, chicken and vegan, $8.99 per 2.2-pound package (photo #3 at left).
  • Mashed potatoes, a.k.a. allemansrätten (frozen), $2.49/package (photo #4 at left).
  • Cream sauce, a.k.a. gräddsås (a basic white sauce), $1.79/packet.
  • Lingonberry preserves, a.k.a. sylt lingon, $3.99/jar (photo #7).
  •  
    SWEDISH MEATBALLS FROM SCRATCH

    Make your own with one of these recipes:

  • Swedish meatballs recipe from The Kitchn (this has the best explanation and photos—photo #1 above).
  • Swedish meatballs from Alton Brown.
  • Swedish meatballs swimming in gravy from The Recipe Critic (photo #2).
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    MEATBALLS AROUND EUROPE

    While we live in a city with a small chain of meatball shops (five types of meatballs, six sauces, a total of 30 combinations), our American experience has largely been the Italian-American meatball in tomato sauce.

    So we took a look at the traditional meatballs of other European countries. For the world list, including meatballs from the Americas and Asia, head here.

  • Albania: Fried meatballs with feta cheese.
  • Alsace, France: A blend of beef and pork with onions, bacon, eggs and bread, served plain or with cream sauce.
  • Armenia: Stewed meatballs and vegetables, often over rice.
  • Austria: Fried meatballs.
  • Bosnia: Made from ground beef and served with mashed potatoes.
  • Belgium: A blend of beef and pork with bread crumbs and sliced onions. Variations use different types of meat and chopped vegetables.
  • Bulgaria: Made from ground beef, pork or a blend, often with diced onions and soaked bread, pan- fried or grilled.
  • Croatia: Typically made with beef, pork or a blend, and served with mashed potatoes or rice, often with a tomato-based sauce.
  • Denmark: Usually a blend of ground pork and veal with onions and eggs, flattened somewhat for pan frying.
  • Estonia: Similar to those of Finnish and Swedish cuisine.
  • Finland: Ground beef or a beef/pork blend or reindeer meat, mixed with breadcrumbs soaked in milk or beef stock and finely chopped onions or French onion soup mix. Traditionally served with gravy, boiled or mashed potatoes, lingonberry jam and sometimes, pickled cucumber.
  • Germany: Along with traditional meat blends, a very famous recipe is Königsberger Klopse, which contain anchovy or salted herring, and served with caper sauce.
  • Greece: Fried meatballs with bread, onions, parsley and mint; or stewed meatballs mixed with rice.
  • Hungary: Pork mixed with minced onions, garlic, paprika, salt and breadcrumbs, deep fried in oil or pork fat and eaten with potatoes or fozelék, a thick Hungarian vegetable stew. Liver dumplings are popular in soups.
  • Italy: Meatballs are generally eaten as a main course or in a soup. Made from beef and/or pork and sometimes poultry, salt, black pepper, chopped garlic, olive oil, Romano cheese, eggs, bread crumbs, and parsley, mixed and rolled by hand to a golf ball size.
  • The Netherlands: Usually made from minced beef and pork, eggs, onion and bread crumbs. They are associated with Wednesday, as evidenced by the saying woensdag, gehaktdag (Wednesday, meatball day). They are often served with boiled potatoes and vegetables.
  • Norway: Different types of meatballs, all typically small, with influences from Sweden and Spain, served with with potatoes, pasta or both.
  • Poland: Seasoned ground meat with onion, eggs and bread crumbs, typically fried and served with tomato sauce, mushroom sauce or brown gravy, along with potatoes or rice.
  • Portugal: Meatballs are usually served with tomato sauce and pasta.
  • Romania and Moldova: Meatballs are made with pork or poultry, moistened mashed potatoes and spices, usually deep fried.
  •  

  • Slovenia: Made with ground beef or a blend of pork and beef, served with mashed potatoes and a tomato-based sauce.
  • Spain (and Hispanic America): Originally a Berber or Arab dish, brought to Spain during the period of Muslim rule in the Middle Ages. Spanish albóndigas can be served as an appetizer or main course, often in a tomato sauce. Mexican albóndigas are commonly served in a soup with a light broth and vegetables.
  • Sweden: Ground beef or a blend of ground beef, pork and sometimes veal or elk, sometimes including breadcrumbs soaked in milk, finely chopped onions, broth and often, cream. They are seasoned with white pepper or allspice and salt. Traditionally served with sour cream gravy, mashed potatoes and lingonberry jam. Traditionally, they are small, around 2–3 centimeters (.79–1.18 inches) in diameter, although larger meatballs are often served at restaurants.
  • United Kingdom: Faggots are a type of spicy pork meatball. A faggot is traditionally made from pig’s heart, liver and fatty belly meat or bacon minced together, with herbs added for flavoring, and sometimes bread crumbs.
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    If you’re looking for ways to vary your meatballs, look no further!
    ________________

    *Rumaki, created at Trader Vic’s, are skewers of broiled, bacon-wrapped chicken livers and water chestnuts.

    †Here it is, food geeks: Lingonberry Order Ericales, Family Ericaceae, Genus Vaccinium, Subgenus Oxycoccus, Species Vitus-idaea. For the lingonberry, everything is the same except the species. The cranberry has four genuses (varieties): V. erythrocarpum, V. macrocarpum, V. microcarpum and V. oxycoccos.

    Blueberry, bilberry/whortleberry and huckleberry are members of the same genus. Lingonberry is also known as cowberry.

      

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    TIP OF THE DAY: Congee, China’s Favorite Breakfast

    Many Asians start their day with a warm bowl of congee.

    If you’re a fan of Cream Of Rice or Cream of Wheat porridges, you’re a lock to enjoy the rice-based Chinese version.

    This traditional Chinese dish has evolved from gruel to porridge* to a porridge mixed with bits of protein (chicken, pork, shrimp) and vegetables (green onion, peas) to a spread of “DIY congee,” where the table is laden with dishes of condiments to tailor the dish to one’s taste.

    Congee can be as simple as a plain bowl of porridge, or as complex as the condiments and toppings allow. More luxurious versions cook the grain in chicken broth rather than water.

    It is easy to digest and very simple to cook.

    Plan to make it for breakfast or brunch, lunch or late dinner; serve as a DIY spread for a special meal (see the garnish options below); and reheat any leftovers on subsequent days.

    THE HISTORY OF CONGEE

    Congee (CON-gee with a soft “g”) is an ancient dish, made in China for thousands of years from uncooked rice and boiling water.

    The Book of Zhou (published 636 C.E.) says that the mythical Emperor Huang Di (2698–2598 B.C.E., mythical dates) was first to cook congee made from millet—or, we guess, his cooks did it, since we can’t imagine an emperor standing over a stove. This is considered the earliest reference to congee. [source]

    Tobie Meyer-Fong, associate professor at Johns Hopkins University who researches late imperial China and Chinese cuisine, has found references that date congee to the Han dynasty, circa 206 B.C.E. to 220 C.E. Eileen Yin-Fei Lo, author of Chinese cookbooks, maintains that congee dates to approximately 1,000 B.C.E., during the Zhou dynasty. [source]

    Today it is eaten throughout Asia (known by different names), in Burma, China, Korea, India, Indonesia, Japan, Malaysia, Nepal, Thailand, Tibetan, Vietnam and elsewhere.

    The name in Chinese, which means the watery one, derives from the Tamil language of India, where kanji refers to the water in which rice has been boiled.

    It can be part of a meal, but is most often served as the main dish of the meal (and often, the only dish).

    Congee can be made in a pot or in a rice cooker. Some rice cookers even have a congee setting, for households who want to cook the rice overnight.

    RECIPE: SIMPLE CONGEE

    Ingredients For 6 Servings

  • 5-½ cups water
  • 4 cups low-sodium chicken broth
  • 1 cup uncooked jasmine or long grain rice
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 1 1-inch piece peeled fresh ginger, cut into 4 slices
  • 3 cups diced or shredded cooked chicken (e.g., from a purchased rotisserie)
  • Optional garnishes: chopped green onions, chopped fresh cilantro leaves, julienne-cut peeled fresh ginger, soy sauce
  •  
    Preparation

    1. PLACE the water, broth, rice, salt and ginger in a large pot set over medium-high heat. Bring to a boil. Continue boiling, uncovered, for 15 minutes, stirring occasionally.

    2. REDUCE the heat to medium low, cover and cook for 40 minutes longer, until the porridge has a creamy consistency, stirring occasionally.

    3. REMOVE from heat the and keep warm. Discard the ginger pieces. Stir the chicken into the soup. Serve garnished with the green onions, cilantro, julienne-cut ginger and soy sauce, or let people garnish their own.

    You can serve congee family-style, from a casserole-type dish, or bring individual bowls to the table.
     
    CONGEE GARNISHES: CREATE YOUR OWN CONGEE MASTERPIECE

    For a party, offer as many as you like. At home, serve half a dozen options (including the soy sauce); but keep rotating them each time you serve congee, so it’s never the same dish.

    Traditional

  • Black sesame seeds
  • Cilantro, chopped
  • Chili oil, sesame oil
  • Dried shrimp, cuttlefish, fish, scallops
  • Fried garlic
  • Julienned or shredded ginger root
  • Preserved eggs, quail eggs
  • Sautéed bok choy or other greens (Chinese broccoli, napa cabbage)
  • Sliced scallions
  • Soy sauce
  • Sriracha or other hot sauce
  • Youtiao (Chinese crullers)
  •  
    Non-Traditional Garnishes

  • Asian chilli sauce
  • Bean sprouts or other sprouts
  • Black pepper
  • Caramelized onions
  • Chinese sausage or chicken sausage
  • Chopped prunes or dates
  • Cooked shrimp, cuttlefish/squid, fish, scallops
  • Cracklings
  • Crispy shallots
  • Green peas, snow peas, sugar snap peas, edamame
  • Grilled or fried shishito peppers, fresh sliced jalapeño
  • Kimchi, Japanese pickled vegetables, sliced radishes
  • Parsley, shredded basil or shiso
  • Peanuts or cashews, raw or salted
  • Sautéed greens (chard, collards, mustard, spinach)
  • Seasonal: asparagus, corn, fiddlehead ferns, ramps, scapes
  •  

    Simple Congee

    Congee With Pork & Scallions

    Ginger Chicken Congee

    Seafood Congee

    Congee With Boiled Egg

    [1] Simple congee looks just like Cream Of Rice, except it’s served savory, not with milk and sugar! Here’s the recipe from The Spruce. [2] Congee With Pork & Scallions (here’s the recipe from The Woks Of Life. [3] This Ginger Chicken Congee is made with brown rice. Here’s the recipe from Honest Cooking. [4] Seafood Congee. Here’s the recipe from Omnivore’s Cookbook. [5] A soft-boiled egg, crispy shallots and cilantro top this congee. Here’s the recipe from Sprinkles And Sprouts.

  • Proteins, diced or shredded: chicken, lamb, ham, pork, pork belly/lardons, rare sliced beef, tofu
  • Sautéed mushrooms
  • Soft-boiled egg
  •  
    Plus

  • Try it with other grains, such as brown rice, Cream Of Wheat, grits or cracked grains (bulgur, couscous, polenta. Or, do as Emperor Huang Di, and try millet.
  • Be creative and enjoy!
  • ________________

    *Gruel is a cereal—based food—typically made from oats, rice, rye or wheat—boiled in milk or water. It is a thinner version of porridge. Some gruels are so thin that they are drunk rather than eaten. It is a food that is eaten every day, easy to digest, and thus also used during an illness. It is usually the first non-milk food given to infants, a food for the elderly and those with dental or stomach problems, and above all, comfort food. Some people call congee a soup.

      

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    TIP OF THE DAY: Taco & Wing Bar For Easy Entertaining

    DIY Taco & Wing Bar

    DIY Taco Bar

    Just walking up to a spread like this is exciting! [1] DIY taco and wing bar from Burlap + Blue. [2] Taco bar fixings from Ebay.

     

    The weeks prior to the Super Bowl, we get dozens of pitches from PR firms presenting their clients’ products and recipes: for platters of wings, tacos and other crowd-pleasing game foods.

    So we decided to combine the ideas into what morphed from the help-yourself buffet into the DIY food bar.

    All the food can be easily prepared in advance and served at room temperature. Proteins, rice and beans can be kept on a warming tray, in a slow cooker, or whatever you have (or can borrow).
     
    FOR DIETARY PREFERENCES

  • If your group includes vegetarians or vegans, include Morningstar MorningStar Farms Grillers Crumbles for the tacos, and MorningStar Farms Buffalo Wings for the wings. These vegetarian products are delicious, and after you’ve included all the toppings it’s tough to tell the difference. (Can you tell that the sofritas at Chipotle aren’t meat?)
  • Provide a large bowl of lettuce and have refills available, so those who prefer a big salad can make one, with plenty of choice of toppings). Add oil and vinegar to the table.
  •  
    To drink:

  • Beer
  • Bloody Marys
  • Micheladas (beer, lime juice and hot sauce in a salt-rimmed glass
  • Selter with lime and jalapeños (alas, Polar Seltzer’s Jalapeno Grapefruit Margarita Seltzer was a limited edition)
  •  
    INGREDIENTS FOR A TACO BAR

    Make a selection from these ingredients. If we’ve left out any of your favorites, please let us know!

  • Tortillas: corn tortillas, flour tortillas, taco shells, tostadas
  • Fillings: ground cooked beef*, sliced chicken, fish fillets
  • Toppings: chopped tomato, guacamole, shredded iceberg lettuce or romaine, sour cream, salsa
  • Garnishes: salsa, shredded cheese (cotija, cheddar, Mexican blend, pepperjack
  • Extras: cilantro, corn and bean salad, diced avocado, diced onions, hot sauce, lime wedges, sliced jalapeños, sliced olives
  •  
    Plus: rice and beans.

  • Check out this recipe for Cilantro Lime Rice.
  • If you have enough guests, serve both black beans and pinto beans.
  • ________________

    *If you’ve never made taco beef, it couldn’t be easier. Just cook and crumble the ground beef over medium high heat, sprinkling with taco seasoning as it cooks. Drain the grease; that’s it.

     

    INGREDIENTS FOR A WING BAR

    This is a lot simpler, since wings are a DIY dish in the first place: a platter of wings, celery sticks, hot sauce and blue cheese dressing†.

    There are many ways to make wings. By varying the seasonings on the wings and the types of sauces, Food Network came up with 50 wing recipe variations.

    You’re probably not up for making two, much less 50, variations; but here’s what you can do to make your wings special:

  • Homemade dressings. Make your own blue cheese and ranch dressings, check out the recipes from Burlap + Blue.
  • Different dressings/sauces. In addition to the traditional blue cheese and ranch: aïoli: (garlic mayonnaise—or other flavored mayo)Asian chili sauce, horseradish sauce, mole sauce, peanut sauce, pesto, marinara, steak sauce, teriyaki or ponzu sauce, whatever you have.
  • Different hot sauces: Sriracha, Tabasco, Garlic Tabasco, etc.
  • Spices: Set out black pepper, cayenne or red chili flakes, celery salt, chipotle, cumin, curry, Italian seasoning, jerk seasoning, Old Bay seasoning, whatever you have that makes sense
  • Something sweet: barbecue sauce, honey, maple syrup, peach preserves, pineapple slices/chunks, sliced mango, etc.
  • More veggies: In addition to celery sticks†: bell pepper strips, carrot sticks, fennel sticks, kimchi, pickles, scallions, sliced radishes, sugar snap peas.
  • ________________

    †Buffalo wings were invented in 1964 at the Anchor Bar in Buffalo, as an impromptu, thrown-together midnight snack. Co-owner Teressa Bellissimo fried the wings, covered them in hot sauce and served them with a side of blue cheese and celery—because that’s what she had available. Here’s a longer history of buffalo wings.
     
    MORE DIY FOOD BARS

    Cocktails, Hors D’Oeuvre & Appetizers

  • Antipasto Bar
  • Apple Cider Party Bar
  • Bacon Party Bar
  • Bloody Mary Bar
  • Bruschetta Bar
  • Flavored Shots Party Bar
  • Gazpacho Bar
  • Guacamole Bar
  • Shandy Bar
  • Stuffed Avocado Bar
  •  
    Main Meals

  • Breakfast Or Brunch Bar
  • Coconut Bowl Bar
  • Lunch Or Dinner Bar
  • Tapas Bar
  • Temaki Bar (Sushi Hand Rolls)
  •  
    Desserts & Snacks

  • Assorted Desserts Bar
  • Brownie Bar
  • Frozen Yogurt Bar
  • Ice Cream Bar
  • Pudding Party Bar
  • S’mores Bar
  • Popcorn Bar
  •  

    Buffalo Wings

    Buffalo Wings

    Buffalo Wings With Chiles

    Thai Buffalo Wings

    [1] Classic, casual Buffalo wings became such a favorite—rolling out across America—that chefs at all types of restaurants created their own versions of wings. Previously, plates of wings had not been a restaurant menu item. Here’s a classic take from Bon Appetit. [2] An elegant take from Distilled NY. [3] Italian spices and hot chiles (photo courtesy Carrabba’s Italian Grill). [4] Thai-spiced wings with fresh mango (photo courtesy Spice Market | NYC).

      

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