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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 Meat & Poultry

TIP OF THE DAY: Choucroute Garnie

Now that there’s as chill in the air, the people of Alsace have been cooking up their famous recipe, Choucroute Garnie—pronounced shoo-CROOT gar-NEE and translating to dressed sauerkraut.

The “dressing” consists of sausages and other salted meats and, typically, potatoes. It’s stick-to-your-ribs goodness on a chilly day. You know it’s autumn when the dish appears on restaurant menus (call your local French restaurant to check). If you don’t have time or inclination to make your own, it’s available throughout France microwavable packages and canned form.

Sauerkraut originated in German and Eastern Europe, the but the French annexation of Alsace and Lorraine added it to the repertoire of French chefs. It has since become popular throughout France.

Like cassoulet and pot au feu, it’s an inexpensive, everyday dish. Any combination of hot sauerkraut, meat and potatoes works, but traditional recipes utilize:

  • Three types of sausage, such as Frankfurt sausages, Strasbourg sausages and Montbéliard sausages (use whatever sausages you like—we used boudin blanc, knockwurst and smoked sausage).
   

choucroute-garni-tourdefrancenyc-230

Pork chop, back bacon, potatoes plus a bonus of baby carrots on a bed of sauerkraut. Photo courtesy TourDeFranceNYC.com.

  • Fatty, inexpensive or salted cuts of pork: back bacon, ham hocks or shank, pork knuckles and shoulders, salt pork.
  • Boiled potatoes (toss them with fresh parsley).
  • Seasonings: bay leaf, black peppercorns, cloves, garlic.
  • Sauerkraut, simmered in Riesling and juniper berries (we added some caraway seed, a personal favorite with sauerkraut).
  • Optional: chopped onion, sliced apples.
  • Mustard: we served three options, Dijon, grainy and horseradish mustards.

 
Plain shredded cabbage can be added along with the sauerkraut to produce a less tangy, less acidic version. Hungarian recipes include stuffed cabbage leaves in addition to the other ingredients.

 

choucroute-garni-quentinbacon-foodandwine-230

Individually plated, with sliced potatoes. Photo © Quentin Bacon | Food & Wine. Here’s the recipe.

 

For a high-end variation, Choucroute Royale is made by augmenting the basics with some more expensive ingredients:

  • Champagne instead of Riesling
  • Foie gras, goose, wild game
  • Fish
  • Duck choucroute garni, replacing the pork products with duck confit leg, duck sausage and duck breast.
  • A newer riff, seafood sausage choucroute is a meat-free option that includes seafood sausage, scallops, shrimp and flaky white fish on a bed of braised cabbage (not sauerkraut) with lobster sauce.

While it takes a bit of time to prepare, the steps to a delicious choucroute garnie are easy:

1. SIMMER sauerkraut with Riesling and juniper berries. Riesling has a very distinctive flavor, but if you don’t want to buy a bottle and drink the rest with dinner, use another dry white wine. We like to snip fresh parsley, sage or thyme into the cooked sauerkraut before plating.

2. COOK your favorite cuts of pork: pork belly, pork chops, sausages, whatever. Boil the potatoes.

3. PLACE the sauerkraut on a serving plate and top with the meat and potatoes. Uncork a bottle of Rieling. Voilà.

 

Choucroute garnie can be served individually plated or family style, on a large platter.

Here’s a complete recipe from Jacques Pépin for Food & WIne magazine.

  

Comments

TIP OF THE DAY: Pumpkin Seed Chicken Or Fish

Give chicken breasts or fish fillets a harvest touch with this recipe, which employs a pumpkin seed crust, adding flavor and nutrition.

It’s a great idea, but we must admit: We have no idea where this recipe came from. We found it in a drafts folder, without the attribution that we attach to all outside content. We searched the web and couldn’t find it; so we apologize to whomever sent it to us. Thanks: We love your recipe.

RECIPE: PUMPKIN SEED CHICKEN OR FISH

Ingredients

  • 2 chicken breasts or 6-ounce fish filets
  • 2 cups of panko bread crumbs
  • 2 cups of pumpkin seeds
  • 4 whole eggs beaten
  • 1 cup all purpose flour
  • 1 tablespoon kosher salt or coarse sea salt
  • 1 tablespoon fine chopped oregano leaves
  • 1 tablespoon orange zest
  • 1 cup cooking oil
  • 1 tablespoon black pepper
 

pumpkin-seed-crusted-chicken-cookforyourlifeorg-230

Pumpkin seeds-crusted chicken breast with sauteed carrot strips. Photo courtesy EatForYourLife.org, which has a gluten-free variation of the recipe that includes Parmesan cheese.

 

Preparation

1. SLICE. Preheat the oven to 350°F for 10 minutes. Slice chicken breasts in half, width-wise. Pound down lightly until they are ¼ inch thick.

2. FILL. Fill 3 separate bowls with flour, eggs and the dry ingredients: panko, pumpkin seeds, salt, black pepper, chopped oregano and orange zest.

3. DIP: Coat the chicken breast with flour, then dip into beaten eggs, followed by a dip into the panko mix.

4. SAUTE. In a sauté pan, heat up the oil at medium heat. Lightly sauté the coated chicken breast until it reaches a golden color—about 1 minute on each side.

5. BAKE. Place the chicken breasts onto a sheet pan and cook it for an additional 10-15 minutes. If you are using fish, it requires just 5-10 minutes in the oven; or you may finish it in the pan.

6. SERVE with vegetable(s) of choice and a green salad tossed with whole pumpkin seeds. For a seasonal touch, add some pumpkin seed oil to the vinaigrette!

 

pepitas-bag-bowl-230

Pumpkin seeds (called pepitas in Spanish).
Photo by Elvira Kalviste | THE NIBBLE.

 

ABOUT PUMPKIN SEEDS

Pumpkin seeds (called pepitas in Spanish) are flat seeds that lend themselves to a crust. They have a chewy texture and a subtly sweet, nutty flavor.

Pumpkins are indigenous to the Americas. Their use in medicine and cuisine traces at least as far back as the Aztecs, 1300-1500 C.E. The name “pepita,” which translates to “seed,” comes from Mexico, where Spanish settlers called them “pepita de calabaza,” “little seed of squash.”

Pumpkin seeds are available year-round: raw and shelled, raw and unshelled, roasted and shelled, roasted and unshelled. For recipes, choose unshelled seeds.

PUMPKIN SEED TRIVIA

  • Pumpkins, other squash and gourds belong to the Cucurbitaceae botanical family, along with cantaloupe, cucumber and watermelon.
  • Today, China produces more pumpkins and pumpkin seeds than any other country. Other major producers include India, Mexico, Russia, the Ukraine and the U.S.
  • In the U.S., more than 100,000 acres of U.S. farmland are planted with pumpkins, in virtually every state. Illinois is the largest producer of pumpkins, followed by California, Ohio, Pennsylvania, Michigan and New York.
 
HOW TO ROAST PUMPKIN SEEDS

It’s easy and fun to roast your own pumpkin seeds, using your seasonings of choice (salt, garlic salt, chile powder, etc.) You can also buy organic raw pumpkin seeds in bulk.

1. PREPARATION: If you’re using seeds straight from the pumpkin, first wipe them off with a paper towel to remove excess pulp. Spread them out evenly on a paper bag or paper towel and let them dry overnight.

2. PREHEAT the oven to 160°-170°F (75°C). Place the seeds in a single layer on a cookie sheet. Season as desired.

3. ROAST for 15 minutes, but for no longer than 20 minutes. (After then, the heat engenders a negative change in the healthful pumpkin seed fat structure.)
 
MORE WAYS TO SERVE PUMPKIN SEEDS

  • Sprinkle on salads, grains and vegetables.
  • Add chopped pumpkin seeds to your favorite hot or cold cereal.
  • Add pumpkin seeds to your oatmeal raisin cookie or granola recipe, carrot or zucchini cake.
  • Grind pumpkin seeds with fresh garlic, parsley and cilantro leaves. Mix with olive oil and lemon juice for a tasty salad dressing or bread dipper.
  • Add ground seeds to ground meat for burgers or meat loaf (including veggie burgers).

  

Comments

TIP OF THE DAY: Apricot Jam-Glazed Pork Tenderloin Roast

We’ve been obsessed with pork roast since we saw one made recently on a TV cooking show. We visited two restaurants we’d hoped had it on the menu, but no cigar. We did, however, enjoy a wonderful calamari and Italian sausage with jalapeño, capers and balsamic reduction; and a tasty lamb osso bucco over risotto.

But we still wanted roast pork.

So we were happy when Crofter’s Organic sent us an easy recipe that beginning cooks learn: a pork roast glazed with a jar of apricot jam. How could we resist? We called the butcher and had a pork roast delivered that day.

The apricot jam glaze trick can be used on any meat roast, and it’s tasty and easy. But today’s tip is to be sure that the glaze has more than one-dimensional sweetness—beyond just apricot jam. The fruity glaze in the recipe below is done the right way, with counterpoints of bitter (such as herbs and zest), pungent (such as garlic) and tangy (such as mustard, which also supplies heat).

You can also use the glaze with chicken, duck or lamb.

We enjoyed our pork roast with sides of quinoa (you can use any whole grain); cubed, roasted butternut squash (we roasted it along with the tenderloin); and a mixed green salad with dried cranberries and slivered almonds.

   

apricot-roasted-pork-tenderloin-croftersorganic-230

Oh, how delicious! Photo of a glazed pork roast courtesy Crofters Organic.

 

RECIPE: APRICOT GLAZED PORK TENDERLOIN

Ingredients

  • 1/4 cup olive oil
  • 1/3 cup apricot fruit spread or jam
  • 1 teaspoon fresh rosemary
  • 1 clove minced garlic
  • Zest of 1/2 orange
  • juice of 1/2 orange
  • 1 teaspoon dry mustard
  • 2 tablespoons white wine
  • 1 pork tenderloin
  • Garnish: fresh rosemary sprigs or leaves
  •  

    crofters-apricot-spread-230

    Fruit spread contains less sugar than jam,
    jelly, marmalade or preserves. Photo
    courtesy Crofters Organic.

     

    Preparation

    1. BLEND all ingredients except wine and pork in a food processor or blender. Place the tenderloin in a cast-iron pan and spoon the mixture over it. Let sit for 1/2 hour at room temperature.

    2. HEAT the oven to 400°F; place the pan in the middle of the oven and sear for 10 minutes. Reduce heat to 350°F and continue to cook, 25 minutes per pound.

    3. REMOVE cooked tenderloin from the pan and let rest. Meanwhile…

    4. DEGLAZE the pan with 2 tablespoons of white wine. Drizzle over sliced tenderloin and garnish with fresh rosemary.

    Check on the company website for coupons for Crofter’s spreads.

     

    WHAT’S THE DIFFERENCE BETWEEN JAM & FRUIT SPREAD?

    Crofter’s makes both apricot jam and apricot fruit spread. The difference is in the level of sweetness. Savory recipes like roast pork don’t need the extra sugar, so you can use fruit spread rather than jam.

    Jam consists of chopped, crushed or puréed fruit cooked down with sugar—a recipe as old as refined sugar. Fruit spread began to appear in the 1970s as a reduced-calorie product, made with alternative sweeteners such as juice concentrate.

    There are distinct differences between chutney, conserve, jelly, jams, marmalades and the rest of the sweet spread category. Take a minute and take a look.
     
    MORE WAYS TO USE THE JAM OR FRUIT SPREAD

    Breakfast

  • Hot Cereal. Use a dab of fine jam instead of sugar.
  • Pancake/Waffle Topping. Substitute jam for syrup.
  • Yogurt. Add jam to plain yogurt to customize your perfect fruit yogurt.
  •  
    Lunch

  • Grilled Cheese. Sharp cheeses like blue cheese and Cheddar are perfect pairings for jam. Grill the jam with the cheese or serve it on the side as a condiment. For more flavor, use rye or a textured whole grain bread.
  • Salad Dressing. Warm a spoonful of jam and whisk it into salad dressings.
  • Sandwich Spread. Spread jam on the bread with a sandwich of cheese, ham, lamb, poultry or roast pork. To cut the sweetness, you can mix the jam with plain yogurt.
  •  
    Appetizers/Snacks

  • Canapés. Top a cracker or slice of baguette with cheese, ham, turkey or other favorite and a bit of jam.
  • Cheese Condiment. Wonderful with a cheese plate (more cheese condiments) or atop a baked Brie. The popular appetizer of jam poured over a brick of cream cheese or a log of goat cheese, and served with crackers, is vastly improved with fine jam. On a slightly different note, a dab is delightful with cottage cheese.
  • Dipping Sauce. Mix jam in a small bowl with sriracha, a hot chile and vinegar-sauce; or with plain hot sauce plus vinegar. You can also make a dip with fresh grated ginger and soy sauce.
  • Pepper Jelly. Mix in some red pepper flakes or dried or fresh minced chipotle, jalapeño or other chile (the different chile types).
  • Pretzel or Breadstick Dip. Mix with Dijon or other mustard. For a sweet-and-hot profile, add some hot sauce.
  •  
    Dinner

  • Meat Glaze. Particularly delicious on poultry and pork. Mix with fresh herbs and garlic.
  • Sauce For Meat & Seafood. Use jam with wine or vermouth to deglaze the pan. Add some to the pan while you’re cooking chicken, pork chops, fish, scallops or shrimp and let the flavor coat the meat.
  •  
    Dessert

  • Cheesecake. Fine jam makes a wonderful topping or a condiment on the side.
  • Cookies. Thumbprints and rolled cookies with a jam swirl are classics.
  • Crêpe Filling. Delicious plain or with fresh goat cheese or mascarpone.
  • Dessert Sauce. Mix with plain or vanilla yogurt or sour cream.
  • Ice Cream & Sorbet Topping. Crown a scoop of sorbet with a dab of fine jam. Lightly warm the jam so it flows like a sauce over ice cream.
  • Layer Cake Filling. A coat of jam between the layers is a classic: Think Sacher Torte! Apricot or raspberry jam is delicious with chocolate cake; any flavor works with lemon cake.
  • Tarts & Tartlets. Fill tart or tartlet shells with jam. Top with a dab of crème fraîche, Greek yogurt, mascarpone or sour cream.
  •   

    Comments

    TIP OF THE DAY: Make Easy Tuna Tartare & Steak Tartare

    If you‘re looking for a fine-dining restaurant in the heart of South Beach or in Cleveland, check out Red, The Steakhouse. The menu is loaded with steakhouse specialties (look here if you want to develop an appetite).

    They kindly shared their recipes for Tuna Tartare and Steak Tartare with us. These are two dishes we adore, and don’t get often enough. Yet, they’re easy to make at home, using top-quality proteins. The only challenge is cutting the tuna or steak into small enough pieces.

    So if you enjoy making small dice and love a good tartare, get the proteins, sharpen the knife, and get going!
     
    RECIPE: TUNA TARTARE

    Ingredients Per Appetizer Serving

  • 4 ounces sushi grade tuna
  • Kosher salt
  • Freshly ground black pepper
  • 1 tablespoon extra virgin olive oil
  • Optional garnish: fried plantain chips
  • Crostini or gourmet potato chips
  •    

    Tuna_Tartare-redthesteakhouse-southbeach-230

    Tuna tartare, one of our favorite foods. Photo
    courtesy Red, The Steakhouse.

     

    RECIPE: TUNA TARTARE VINAIGRETTE

    Ingredients

  • 1/2 cup shallots, finely chopped
  • 1/2 teaspoon kosher salt
  • 1/2 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
  • 1/4 cup fresh lime juice
  • 1/2 teaspoon mirin
  • 1/4 cup fresno chiles (substitute jalapeño or serrano chiles)
  • 1 teaspoon rice wine vinegar
  •  
    Preparation

    1. MAKE the vinaigrette. Finely chop the shallots and season them with the kosher salt. Stir in the rest of the ingredients, saving the extra-virgin olive oil for last. Set the mixture aside.

    2. CHOP the tuna with a sharp knife into very small pieces. Place in a small bowl and season with kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper to taste.

    3. ADD 1 tablespoon of the vinaigrette and mix until it is evenly combined with the tuna.

    4. PLATE as desired into individual servings or a single serving plate. Serve with crostini, gourmet potato or plantain chips.

     

    Steak_Tartare-redthesteakhouse-southbeach-230

    Steak tartare, so easy to make at home. Photo courtesy Red, The Steakhouse.

     

    RECIPE: STEAK TARTARE

    Ingredients For 1 Appetizer Serving

  • 4 ounces prime tenderloin
  • Kosher salt
  • Freshly ground black pepper
  •  
    RECIPE: STEAK TARTARE VINAIGRETTE

    Ingredients

  • 1/2 cup shallots, finely chopped
  • 1/2 teaspoon kosher salt
  • 1/2 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
  • 1/4 cup fresh lemon juice
  • 1 tablespoon plus 1 teaspoon chopped capers
  • 1/2 cup extra virgin olive oil
  • 1 tablespoon Dijon mustard
  • 1/8 teaspoon hot sauce
  • 2-1/2 teaspoons Worcestershire sauce
  •  

    Preparation

    1. MAKE the vinaigrette. Finely chop the shallots and season with the kosher salt. Stir in the rest of the ingredients, saving the olive oil for last. Set the mixture aside.

    2. CHOP the tenderloin with a sharp knife into very small pieces. Place in a small bowl and season with kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper.

    3. ADD 1 tablespoon of the vinaigrette and mix until evenly combined with the tenderloin.

    4. SERVE with crostini.

      

    Comments

    FOOD FUN: Perfect Bacon Bowl

    If everything tastes better with bacon—as many Americans would have it—than everything tastes better in a bacon bowl.

    That’s what the manufacturers of Perfect Bacon Bowl say. While we might not want to toss fruit salad or ice cream into one, we do agree that a bowl made of 100% crisp bacon is great for:

  • Eggs and hash browns
  • Fondue
  • Grains, starches and veggies (try mashed potatoes!)
  • Low-carb burgers and cheeseburgers (the bacon bowl replaces the bun)
  • Pasta (try mac & cheese)
  • Salads (with lettuce and tomato, it’s a bread-free BLT!)
  •  
    The dishwasher-safe, bowl-shaped gadget cooks bacon to a perfect bowl shape, in the oven, toaster oven or microwave. Just wrap bacon slices around the form, cook. and you’ve got edible bowls made completely from bacon.

     

    Bacon-bowl-230

    What do you want in your bacon bowl? Photo courtesy Perfect Bacon Bowl.

     

    You can also use the device to make bread bowls for soups and stews, cornbread bowls for chili, and wherever your imagination takes you.

    See the video.

    Order on Amazon. A box of two bowls is just $5.87, with free shipping on orders over $35.

    That’s easy to reach when you choose Perfect Bacon Bowl as a stocking stuffer for your bacon-loving friends and family!

      

    Comments

    RECIPE: Goat Curry

    goat-curry-aglocal-230r

    Goat curry with naan, Indian flatbread.
    Photo courtesy AG Local.

     

    Got your goat?

    AgLocal has it! The e-tailer sources its meats from family farms that treat their animals well. The goal: a marketplace where consumers can easily purchase high quality meats while actively supporting the development of sustainable, regional farms. Learn more at AgLocal.com.

    And here’s some news: Goat is the most widely consumed protein in the world. It is also one of the most sustainable animals to raise, eating mostly brush and weeds.

    Yet, while Americans love goat cheese and other goat milk-based dairy products, we rarely eat goat meat. In fact, it’s hard to find outside of international markets and butchers. Even the Italian restaurants of our youth that had goat on the menu have it no more. Where has all the goat meat gone?

    This recipe, adapted by the AgLocal Test Kitchen from the August 2012 issue of Good Food Magazine, is an easy way to introduce goat into your cooking repertoire.

     
    RECIPE: GOAT CURRY

    Ingredients For 4-6 Servings

  • 1 pound goat stew meat
  • 1 large onion, roughly chopped
  • 10 garlic cloves
  • 1 tablespoon ginger, chopped
  • 1 tablespoon vegetable oil
  • 2-3 jalapeño chiles
  • Optional: small handful curry leaves
  • 3 thyme sprigs
  • 4 tablespoons mild curry powder
  • 2 teaspoons salt
  • 1 can (15-ounces) diced tomatoes
  • 2 cups beef stock
  • 1 can (15-ounces) pinto beans
  • 1-2 cups plain yogurt
  • 1-2 lemons, juiced
  • Small bunch of cilantro, chopped
  • Naan and/or rice for serving
  •  
    Preparation

    1. PLACE the onion, garlic and ginger in a food processor and purée. Heat oil in a Dutch oven and add the onion mixture. Cook for 5 minutes until softened. Add the peppers, curry leaves, thyme, curry powder and 2 teaspoons salt and cook for 2 minutes more until fragrant.

    2. ADD the goat meat and cook for 5 minutes until sides are browned. Add the tomatoes and stock and season with salt and pepper to taste. Increase the heat and bring to a boil. Reduce heat, cover, and leave to simmer for 2 hours.

    3. UNCOVER and cook for an additional 30 minutes. Add the beans to heat through. Slowly whisk in lemon juice and yogurt. Taste and add more yogurt and lemon juice to cut through spice if needed. Season to taste with salt and pepper and serve.

     
      

    Comments

    RECIPE: Asian Lettuce Wraps With Steak

    East meets West in these Vietnamese-style steak and lettuce wraps, delicious for lunch, a first dinner course or main course.

    The recipe comes from The Great Pepper Cookbook, one of our favorite new cookbooks from the produce experts at Melissas.com, available in hardcover, paperback and Kindle editions.

    This recipe was created by Melissa’s chef Tom Fraker. Prep time is 35 minutes; total Time including marinating, is 8 hours, 40 minutes.

    RECIPE: STEAK LETTUCE WRAPS

    Tri-tip comes from the bottom side of the sirloin and can sometimes be hard to find. You can substitute beef tenderloin. The serving size is about 1¼ cups.

    Ingredients For 8 Servings

  • ¾ cup packed brown sugar
  • ½ cup soy sauce
  • ½ cup extra-virgin olive oil
  • 1 tablespoon dry mustard
  • 2 tablespoons Worcestershire sauce
  • 8 garlic cloves, minced (about ½ cup), divided
  •    

    steak-lettuce-wraps-melissas-230

    Steak & lettuce wraps. Photo and recipe courtesy Melissas.com.

  • 4 fresh serrano chile peppers, stems and seeds removed, finely diced (about 3 tablespoons), divided
  • 1¼ cups lime juice, divided (about 8 limes)
  • 1½ pounds beef tri-tip
  • Vegetable oil
  • 1½ cups fresh cilantro leaves, chopped
  • 6 green onions, trimmed and sliced
  • 4 Roma tomatoes, diced
  • 1 red onion, sliced (about 1 cup)
  • 8 butter lettuce leaves
  • Optional: 2 cups shredded Cheddar cheese (about 8 ounces)
  •  

    the-great-pepper-cookbook-melissas-230

    A great cookbook for chile lovers! Photo
    courtesy Melissas.com.

     

    Preparation

    1. WHISK together in a bowl the brown sugar, soy sauce, oil, mustard, Worcestershire sauce, half of the garlic, half of the chile, and 1 cup juice. In a large zip-top plastic bag, combine the beef with the marinade. Seal the bag and turn it several times to mix well and coat beef. Refrigerate 8 hours or overnight.

    2. PREHEAT the grill to medium-high heat. Oil grill rack. Remove beef from zip-top plastic bag; discard marinade. Place beef on grill rack; grill until both sides are marked, about 3 to 5 minutes per side. Turn off all but one burner; move beef to cool side of grill rack and partially cover. Grill until desired doneness (125°F for rare, 135°F for medium, or 145°F for well done), about 15 to 25 minutes. Let meat rest 15 minutes. Slice thinly against the grain.

    3. MAKE the sauce. In a bowl, combine the remaining half of the garlic and chile, the remaining ¼ cup juice, cilantro, green onions, tomato and onion. Top the lettuce leaves evenly with beef slices and the chile mixture. Sprinkle evenly with cheese, if desired. Serve.

     

      

    Comments

    RECIPE: Bread Salad #3, Grilled Chicken Panzanella

    We are fans of panzanella, and this is our fourth recipe of the year. The others:

  • Summer Bread Salad, with tomatoes and basil
  • Summer Panzanella #2, with zucchini, bell peppers, onions and tomatoes
  • Panzanella With Fruit
  •  
    Panzanella is a Tuscan-style bread salad made with a loaf of day-old (or older) bread, cubed into large croutons and tossed with vinaigrette or other dressing to soften it. The translation we have found for “panzanella” is “bread in a swamp,” the swamp being the water or vinaigrette in which it was soaked.

    While Italian loaves are used in the original, you can use any bread from baguette to challah to semolina raisin to sourdough. Chopped salad vegetables are then added.

    In this recipe, adapted from one by Annie of Annie’s Eats for Go Bold With Butter, a protein is added to make it into a luncheon salad. Annie (and we) use grilled chicken; we also like grilled salmon. But you can use any protein and it’s a great way to use up leftovers.

       

    chicken-panzanella-salad-goboldwbutter-230

    Instead of a Chicken Caesar, try a Chicken Panzanella. Photo courtesy GoBoldWithButter.com..

     
    Annie grills the bread. We live an apartment without a grill, so we baked the croutons in the oven (recipe below).

    We save time by buying pre-grilled, shrink-wrapped chicken breasts at Trader Joe’s.

    RECIPE: GRILLED CHICKEN PANZANELLA

    Ingredients For 4-6 Servings

    For The Chicken

  • Juice of 1 lemon
  • ¼ cup olive or canola oil
  • ¾ teaspoon kosher salt
  • ¼ teaspoon pepper
  • 2 cloves garlic, minced or pressed
  • 2 chicken breasts, butterflied into halves (4 pieces total)
  •  
    For The Salad

  • 4 tablespoons unsalted butter, at room temperature
  • 3-4 cloves garlic, minced or pressed
  • Salt and pepper to taste
  • 6 thick slices (1-inch) sourdough bread (about 4-5 cups when cubed)
  • 1 large or 2 small cucumbers, sliced and quartered into wedges
  • 2 vine-ripened tomatoes, diced, or halved cherry tomatoes*
  • 4 ounces feta cheese, crumbled
  • Optional: fresh herbs of choice
  •  
    *Off-season tomatoes tend to be bland. When tomatoes aren’t in season, you can substitute red bell pepper, grilled red pepper (pimento) or sundried tomatoes.

     

    serrated-knife-bread-SLT-230

    We prefer a crusty loaf, but any day-old
    bread can be used for panzanella. Photo
    courtesy Sur La Table.

     

    Preparation

    1. PREHEAT a grill to medium-high heat. While the grill is heating, make the marinade.

    2. COMBINE the lemon juice, canola oil, salt, pepper and garlic in a medium bowl. Stir well to combine. Add the chicken pieces to the marinade, mixing briefly to coat. Cover and refrigerate 30 minutes. Meanwhile…

    3. PREPARE the bread slices. Combine the butter, garlic, salt and pepper in a small bowl and mix until evenly combined. Spread a thin layer of the garlic butter on both sides of each slice of bread.

    4. GRILL the chicken on the heated grill until browned on the outside, turning once. The internal temperature should register 160°F. Remove the cooked chicken to a plate or cutting board to rest briefly. Meanwhile…

     

    5. PLACE the bread slices on the grill and cook until golden brown on both sides, about 2 minutes total. Keep a close eye on the bread to prevent charring. Remove the finished bread pieces to a plate or cutting board.

    6. CUT up the chicken and the bread into bite-size pieces and add to a large bowl. Add the cucumber, tomatoes and feta; toss gently just until evenly combined. Serve immediately.
     
     
    CROUTONS RECIPE

    1. PREHEAT oven to 400°F.

    2. CUT bread into cubes and place in a large bowl. Drizzle with olive oil, salt and pepper. If you like heat, add 1/4 teaspoon red pepper flakes. Mix well.

    3. SPREAD cubes in a single layer on a shallow pan or cookie sheet pan and bake for about 15 minutes, until golden brown.

      

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    PRODUCT: George Foreman 5-Minute Burger

    george-foreman-5-minute-burger-grill-230Americans love their burgers.

    Eat burgers often? This George Foreman
    specialty grill cooks them—and the buns—in
    five minutes. Photo courtesy George
    Foreman.

     

    Today is National Cheeseburger Day; here’s a way to make them faster, with less mess.

    First, a public service announcement: If only Americans would eat fewer burgers. It would be better for health, better for the environment, better for the pocketbook, better for animal welfare.

    But that’s wishful thinking. So if you’ve got a burger habit, now it’s easier than ever to cook them at home. The new George Foreman 5-Minute Burger cooks the meat 50% faster and makes clean-up easy. Any child allowed near a hot appliance can use it.

  • The compartment on the top toasts the buns while the meat cooks.
  • The fat-removing slope design takes out up to 42% of the fat from a quarter-pound ground chuck burger.
  • The drip tray collects all the fat and can go right into the dishwasher.
  • In addition to burgers, the unit can cook chicken, fish, veggies, etc.
  • The small size is great for kitchens with not a lot of counter space.
  •  
    The advantages are great; we have just one caveat: It doesn’t cook two adult-size burgers. The two burgers shown in the photo are kid-size. We were able to fit one four-inch patty (we bought them pre-shaped from the store) on the plate; the second one would have fallen partially outside the borders.

    We’re not complaining: It’s still a terrific way to cook burgers if you don’t need to do it in quantity. And if you hand-make your own patties, it’s not an issue.

    The grill launched this summer at Walmart for $24.99. We found it on Amazon for $29.02 (and received ours as a test sample).
     
    A BRIEF HISTORY OF THE GEORGE FOREMAN GRILL

    George Foreman did not create the George Foreman grill. He lucked out, earning more from his endorsement of it than from his celebrated boxing career.

    When the inventor, Michael Boehm of Batavia, Illinois, pitched his product to manufacturers, it was called The Lean Mean Fat-Reducing Grilling Machine. He proposed heavyweight champion George Foreman as the spokesperson.

    Foreman was well-known for eating two reduced-fat hamburgers before every fight. Boehm sent a prototype of the grill to Foreman, who loved it. Salton signed on as the manufacturer and the appliance launched in 1994.

    The George Foreman Grill (there are now several designs) sold more than 100 million units in the first 15 years. Foreman himself was paid $137 million by Salton in 1999 for the use of his name. Prior to that, Wikipedia reports that he earned 40% of the profit on each grill sold—$4.5 million a month at the peak. [Source]
     
      

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    TIP OF THE DAY: Make It A Trio

    Once upon a time there was a magical restaurant in Wheeling, Illinois, Le Français, the creation of chef-owner Jean Banchet. There, among other glories, we were first introduced to the “trio” approach he brought from his classic French training:

    Whatever protein you hungered for—beef, duck, seafood, veal—would be served in three different preparations on one plate. For example, the lobster trio might include truffled lobster, Lobster Thermidor and lobster sausage.

    By varying cuts, preparations and sauces, Banchet created a symphony of flavors and visual appeal. It became our favorite way of eating.

    The trio approach never took great hold in the U.S. In New York City, we find them mostly in seafood preparations:

  • The trio of fish tacos at Haru Japanese restaurants.
  • A trio of mussels, variously prepared as a seasonal special from Anita Lo of Annisa (see photo).
  • Wild salmon sushi with three different garnishes (fresh ginger and scallion, concasse of tomato and a lemon and vodka marinade topped with lemon zest) at Sushi Seki.
  •  

    mussels-trio-annisa-230

    Photo courtesy Annisa Restaurant | NYC.

     
    Following our enlightenment from Banchet way back in the 1980s, we took to making trios at home for dinner parties. You don’t need a large kitchen staff to turn out three completely different preparations. Here are some tricks:
     

  • Include a sausage as one of the trio. It requires only a quick grilling and an interesting flavored mustard, chutney or other condiment.
  • Consider poaching one of the other two, and grilling, pan frying or roasting the other two. Poultry, filet of beef and seafood are delicious when poached, and the texture is very tender.
  • Use a marinade. A very well-seasoned marinade (lots of herbs, spices, balsamic, etc.) on one of two remaining proteins will differentiate the flavor.
  • Use a dairy based sauce (butter, cheese or cream) and a non-creamy one. The choices are vast: caper, horseradish, mushroom, olive, tomato and wine reduction aren’t even the tip of the iceberg. Browse the sauces section in your cookbooks and check out the mother sauces of France.
  • Think garnishes. The options are endless, but go for good color contrasts.
  •  
    Today’s homework: Start to sketch out some trios: protein, preparation, sauce, garnish. Keep on the refrigerator door and update it as inspiration strikes.
     
    *Jean Banchet, a French chef, founded Le Français in 1973, and soon earned a rare five-star distinction from Mobil. In 1980, it was named the best restaurant in America by Bon Appetit magazine. Banchet retired from Le Français in 2001 and passed away last year.

      

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