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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

RECIPE: Prosciutto Wrapped Bell Peppers

Print

A tasty first course: a roasted bell pepper wrapped in prosciutto. Photo courtesy Westside Market | NYC.

 

This recipe fits right in with a pink food party, Valentine’s Day, Easter or Mother’s Day.

RECIPE: PROSCIUTTO WRAPPED BELL PEPPERS

Ingredients For 4 Servings

  • 3 tablespoons olive oil
  • 1 tablespoon balsamic vinegar
  • Salt and pepper
  • 4 red peppers, roasted and peeled*
  • 8 ounces fresh mozzarella, cut into 4 pieces
  • 4 ounces sliced prosciutto
  • 4 basil leaves
  • 4 black olives
  • 4 toothpicks
  •  

    *This is the most laborious part of the recipe. Here’s how to roast peppers. As a substitution, you can purchase whole roasted red peppers in jars (pimento). They have a softer texture and different flavor, but it’s a good flavor.
     
    Preparation

    1. WHISK together olive oil, vinegar, salt and pepper. Add peppers and marinate for 1 hour.

    2. FILL each pepper with a piece of mozzarella. Wrap a slice of prosciutto around each pepper.

    3. TOP each with a basil leaf and olive, held together with a toothpick.
     
    It’s that easy!

      

    Comments

    TIP OF THE DAY: Spring Lamb

    “Spring lamb” is so called because before modern times, the sheep gave birth in the spring. If you wanted lamb in other seasons, it would be frozen.

    Today, animal breeders know how to enable birth year-round, so lovers of lamb need never be without it.

    We were inspired by this beautiful “edible art” from executive chef Shaun Hergatt of Juni restaurant in New York City. Use the ingredients of spring to create your own fantasy You don’t need the tecnique to wrap loin of lamb; a lamb shop or slice of leg of lamb is just fine.

    Ever wonder why leg of lamb with green peas is such a popular pairing? It’s because both are spring foods. In the days when everyone had to eat “locavore,” people could only eat what was in season.

    So today’s tip is: Celebrate this first day of spring by planning a lamb dinner. Beyond spring peas, we have a list of spring vegetables below.

    How about some fava beans with a nice Chianti?

     

    blu-lamb-chops-230

    A lamb lover’s delight. Who needs steak? Photo courtesy Blu Restaurant | NYC.

     

     

    Thinking outside the box: wrapped loin of
    lamb, spring peas and pea purée by Chef
    Shaun Hergatt of Resto | NYC.

     

    SPRING VEGETABLES

    Because of imports from the Southern Hemisphere, where the seasons are reversed, Americans have year-round access to traditional spring foods like artichokes, Belgian endive, spinach, radicchio, radishes and watercress.

    But spring brings specialties with short seasons, so eat them while you can!

  • Asparagus (look for purple asparagus)
  • Butter lettuce
  • Fava beans
  • Fennel
  • Fiddlehead ferns
  • Morel mushrooms
  • Mustard greens
  • Ramps
  • Rhubarb
  • Spring (English) peas, snow peas, pea pods
  • Sorrel
  • Vidalia onions
  •  

    One of the most celestial restaurant dishes we recall, from several springs ago, was a simple sauté of asparagus, fiddleheads, morels and ramps, seasoned with a little garlic.

    It’s a lesson on how the season’s bounty needs little preparation to impress.

      

    Comments

    TIP OF THE DAY: Salad Topped Main Course

    Here’s an easy way to get everyone to eat a few more veggies: Top main courses with a small salad.

    Fried, grilled, roasted and sautéed proteins are all candidates to be topped with an alluring crown of vegetables and herbs—not a dinner salad or dressed lettuce, but something that looks great. Dress the salad very lightly with olive oil or vinaigrette.

    The “salad topping” doesn’t preclude your ability to serve the side salad of your choice.

    SALAD TOPPERS

    Aim to mix at least three bright colors and ideally four: green plus orange, red or yellow. Different shades of green don’t count as different colors. We’ve also included green salad-friendly fruits.

     
    THE GREEN GROUP

  • Asparagus
  • Avocado
  • Broccoli (including rabe and rapini)
  • Cucumber
  • Edamame
  • Green apple
  • Green beans
  • Green bell pepper
  • Green grapes
  • Green olives
  • Green onion tops
  • Green peas
  • Herbs (basil, dill, parsley, etc.)
  • Lettuces (everything from arugula to watercress)
  • Pickles/gherkins
  • Sugar snap peas, snow peas
  • Zucchini
  •  

    pan-sauteed-catfish-230

    Pan-sautéed catfish topped with a parsley and tomato salad. Photo courtesy Whole Foods Market.

     

    THE RED GROUP

  • Dried cherries or cranberries
  • Pomegranate arils
  • Raspberries or strawberries
  • Red apple
  • Red bell pepper
  • Red grapes
  • Red tomatoes
  • Watermelon
  •  

    chicken-cutlet-recipes-rabe-mozzarella-tomatoes-westsidemarketnyc-230

    Chicken cutlets topped with broccoli rabe and
    sundried tomatoes. The recipe is below.
    and photo courtesy Westside Market |
    NYC.

     

    THE ORANGE GROUP

  • Cantaloupe
  • Carrots
  • Dried apricots
  • Mango
  • Orange bell pepper
  • Orange cherry tomatoes
  • Orange citrus segments
  • Zucchini
  •  
    THE YELLOW GROUP

  • Corn
  • Pineapple
  • Yellow bell pepper
  • Yellow tomatoes
  •  
    THE PURPLE/BLUE GROUP

  • Berries: blackberries, blueberries, boysenberries
  • Eggplant
  • Fruits: figs, grapes, plums
  • Red cabbage
  • Specialty varieties: purple bell peppers, carrots, cauliflower, corn, potatoes, string beans, plus forbidden rice (black rice)
  • Thanks to Wendy Thorpe Copley, author of one of our favorite new books, Everyday Bento, for organizing lists of fruits and veggies by color. We’ll be reviewing her book shortly.

    RECIPE: CHICKEN CUTLETS WITH BROCCOLI RABE & MOZZARELLA

    This dish may look familiar: Italian restaurants frequently top cutlets with a bit of red and green. You can prepare this dish in just 15 minutes, plus 30 minutes cooking time. You can cut calories and cholesterol by eliminating the mozzarella.

    Ingredients For 4 Servings

  • 2 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
  • 1 garlic clove, crushed
  • 4 boneless, skinless chicken cutlets, slightly pounded
  • Salt and pepper
  • 2 large eggs, slightly beaten
  • 1 cup Italian-style breadcrumbs
  • Salt and pepper
  • 1/2 pound mozzarella, thinly sliced
  • 1 bunch broccoli rabe, steamed or sautéed
  • 2 ounces sundried tomato slivers
  •  
    Preparation

    1. PREHEAT oven to 350°F. Heat olive oil in a large skillet. Sauté garlic until golden, then discard.

    2. SPRINKLE chicken breasts with salt and pepper on each side. Dip chicken into beaten egg and then coat with breadcrumbs. Place chicken in skillet and cook until brown on both sides, about 5 minutes.

    3. PLACE cutlets in a baking dish sprayed with cooking spray or greased with oil. Bake the cutlets for 10 minutes, top with mozzarella, rabe and tomato slivers. Continue baking until cooked through, another 10 to minutes or so.

    3. ARRANGE chicken on four plates and top with mozzarella and broccoli rabe. Garnish with tomato slivers and serve.

      

    Comments

    RECIPE: Guinness Beef Stew

    Here’s hearty, family-style fare for St. Patrick’s Day: Guinness beef stew, courtesy of QVC’s David Venable.

    Guinness adds a deep richness to the broth of this stew without imparting the full flavor of the beer itself. For more beer flavor, serve one as the beverage. If you have a different favorite stout, you can substitute it for the Guinness.

    Instead of potatoes, rice or noodles, serve the stew with a whole grain like barley, and mashed cauliflower.

    RECIPE: GUINNESS BEEF STEW

    Ingredients

  • 3–1/2 tablespoons all–purpose flour
  • 1–1/4 teaspoons ground black pepper
  • 1–1/4 teaspoons salt
  • 3 pounds beef stew meat, cut into 1–1/2″ cubes
  • 3 tablespoons vegetable oil
  • 3 garlic cloves, minced
  • 1 large onion, chopped
  • 1/2 cup celery, chopped
  • 2–1/2 teaspoons dried thyme
  • 2 bay leaves
  • 2–1/2 cups beef stock
  • 2 cups Guinness beer
  • 3 tablespoons tomato paste
  • 2 pounds russet potatoes, peeled and cut into 1/2″ pieces
  • 1 bag (16 ounces) baby carrots
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1/2 teaspoon ground black pepper
  • 1/4 cup fresh parsley, chopped
  •  

    guinness-beef-stew-qvc-230

    Serve a Guinness or other stout with this hearty beef stew, cooked in two cups of Guinness. Photo courtesy QVC.

     

    Preparation

    1. PLACE the flour, salt, and black pepper in a medium–size bowl. Add the beef cubes and toss until completely coated.

    2. HEAT the vegetable oil in heavy large stockpot or Dutch oven over medium–high heat. Working in batches, brown the beef cubes, on all sides, about 5–7 minutes. Add the garlic, onion, and celery, and cook for 3–5 minutes.

    3. STIR in the dried thyme, bay leaves, beef stock, Guinness, and tomato paste. Bring the mixture to a boil and reduce the heat to low. Cover the pot and simmer for 1–1/2 hours, stirring occasionally.

    4. ADD the potatoes, baby carrots, salt, and pepper. Stir to distribute evenly. Cover and simmer on low heat, until the vegetables and beef are very tender, about 45 minutes. Sprinkle with the parsley right before serving.
     
    WHAT’S THE DIFFERENCE BETWEEN BEER AND STOUT?

    Stout is a type of beer. Other major categories include ale, lager, porter; there are many subcategories.

    Stout is dark beer produced from long-roasted malt, barley, hops, water and yeast. Different styles include imperial stout, dry/Irish stout, milk stout and oatmeal stout, among others. They are typically higher in alcohol: 7% or 8%, although some can be higher.

    By comparison, lager, the style most often drunk in the U.S., is a type of beer that is fermented and conditioned at low temperatures. The yeasts used for lager are different from those used for stout. Different styles include pale lager and dark lager.

    For more beer types, check out our Beer Glossary.

      

    Comments

    FOOD HOLIDAY: National Cold Cuts Day

    cold-cuts-230sq

    Cold cuts, an American favorite (but not a
    nutritionist’s). Photo courtesy iGourmet.

     

    Sliced beef and turkey are not cold cuts.

    The term refers specifically to precooked or cured meat, often in loaf or sausage form, that are sliced and served cold on sandwiches or on party trays.

    Today they are ubiquitous, pre-sliced in vacuum packs at the supermarket. Or, they can be sliced to order at a delicatessen or the market’s deli counter.

    The good news: Most people like cold cuts, and they’re easy lunch and party fare.

    The bad news: Most cold cuts are higher in fat, nitrates and sodium. In fact, the prepackaged kind have even more of these bad ingredients, as the larger exposed surface requires stronger preservatives.

     
    A COLD CUT BY ANY OTHER NAME

    Cold cuts are also known as deli meats, lunch meats, luncheon meats, sandwich meats and in the U.K., cold meats, cooked meats and sliced meats.

      

    Comments

    RECIPE: Easy Gumbo For Mardi Gras

    Mardi Gras begins tomorrow. If you’d like to celebrate with the taste of New Orleans, whip up a gumbo.

    This recipe is from Chef David Venable of QVC, who calls it “an easy-to-tackle version, filled with great Louisiana flavor and spice.” Gumbos have a lot of ingredients, but the cooking technique isn’t demanding.

    Says David, “When preparing, be sure to chop your veggies in similar sizes to ensure that they cook at the same rate.” In this recipe, okra is used as a thickener, and also gives personality to the gumbo.
     
    RECIPE: CHICKEN & SAUSAGE GUMBO WITH
    OKRA

    Ingredients

  • 1/2 tablespoon + 1/2 cup vegetable oil
  • 2 pounds boneless skinless chicken thighs,
    chopped
  • 1/2 tablespoon Creole seasoning
  • 1 pound andouille sausage, chopped
  • 1 cup flour
  • 2 cups onion, finely chopped
  • 2 cloves garlic, minced
  • 1 cup celery, chopped
  • 1 green bell pepper, chopped
  • 9 cups chicken broth
  • 1 can (14.5 ounces) petite diced tomatoes
  • 1 cup uncooked long grain rice
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 1/4 teaspoon cayenne pepper
  • 3 bay leaves
  • 1/4 teaspoon dried thyme
  • 1 package (1 lb, 4 oz) frozen sliced okra
  •  

    Chicken-Sausage-Gumbo_davidvenableQVC-230L

    An easy gumbo, with chicken, okra and sausage. Photo courtesy QVC.

     

    Plus

  • Chopped fresh parsley for garnish
  • Cooked rice for serving
  •  

    okra4365123Dreamstime

    Most people are familiar with okra that’s
    been sliced crosswise. Here’s what it looks
    like right off the plant. Photo by
    DallasEventsInc. | Dreamstime.

     

    Preparation

    1. SEASON the chicken thighs with creole seasoning. Heat 1/2 tablespoon oil in a 6-quart or larger stockpot over medium-high heat. Brown the sausage and set aside.

    2. ADD the chicken to the pot with the sausage drippings and cook over medium-high heat until brown on both sides. Remove the chicken and set aside.

    3. ADD the remaining 1/2 cup of oil and the flour, over medium heat. Cook the mixture, stirring slowly and constantly, for 10-15 minutes, or until dark brown. Be careful not to burn or scorch.

    4. ADD the onions, garlic, celery and bell pepper and cook for 5 minutes. Slowly add the broth and stir until there are no lumps. Add the tomatoes, rice, salt, cayenne, bay leaves, thyme, and okra. Stir and bring to a simmer. Continue to simmer for 10 minutes.

    5. ADD the chicken and cooked sausage to the gumbo. Bring the mixture to a boil and simmer for 20 minutes. Remove the bay leaves, plate, garnish with a sprinkle of parsley and serve with a side of rice.

     

      

    Comments

    FOOD FUN: Surf & Turf Sushi & More

    While meat and seafood have been served at the same meal since since the dawn of plenty, and Diamond Jim Brady (1856-1917) consumed platters heaped with steaks and lobsters, the pairing known as surf and turf originated in 1960s America.

    It became the darling of American steakhouse menus, combining the two most expensive items on the menu: lobster (surf) and filet mignon (turf). It has its own food holiday, February 29th, National Surf & Turf Day.

    But we can’t wait until the next leap year, 2016, to share this treat: surf and turf sushi.

    SURF & TURF HISTORY

    The earliest earliest print reference found by FoodTimeline.org, our favorite reference source on the history of all things food, was published in the Eureka [California] Humboldt Standard of August 14, 1964: “An entrée in restaurants in Portland [Oregon] is called surf and turf—a combination of lobster and steak.”

     

    sushi-tenderloin-lobster-maki-tenprimesteakandsushi-230

    Luxury sushi: a lobster-avocado maki topped
    with torched tenderloin, sweet eel sauce and
    a garnish of togarishi and rice crisps. Photo
    courtesy Ten Prime Steak And Sushi |
    Providence.

     

    Some sources claim that the concept originated on the East Coast, based on a 1966 print citation newspaper article in the Miami News. The columnist says that the restaurant La Hasta has created the best thing since lox and bagels—surf and turf; and that on some weekends the management had to take the dish off the menu, since demand exceeded supply.

    Sorry, East Coasters: 1964 beats 1966.

    Yet a third claim from a food writer couple, without printed proof, that the same dish by the same name was served at the Sky City restaurant in the Seattle Space Needle, at the 1962 World’s Fair. That may be, but documentation is required. If anybody remembers it from the World’s Fair: Please raise your hand. There’s a bonus if you have the menu.

    Fun fact: The beef-seafood combo is called “Reef and Beef” in Australia.

    THE NEW SURF & TURF

    The original may have been lobster and filet mignon; but as long as there’s something from the surf and something from the turf, you’ve got surf and turf! We “invent” a different combination for our monthly surf and turf dinner. The past year’s pairings have included:

  • Clam roll and a hot dog
  • Crab cake and lamb chops
  • Eggs Benedict with smoked salmon and Canadian bacon
  • Fish and chips with sliced sausage “chips” (heavy, but fun)
  • Fried oysters with a burger (make it edgier with a fish stick and tartar sauce)
  • Fried oysters with steak (or, garnish the steak with a raw oyster on the half shell)
  •  

    sushi-surf-and-turf-10primesteakandsushiprovidence-230sq

    Two rows of raw tenderloin-topped sushi,
    plated with yellowtail, eel and other seafood
    sushi we had to crop out. Photo courtesy Ten
    Prime Steak And Sushi | Providence.

     
  • Lobster roll and a chicken sausage, both in brioche buns
  • Oysters wrapped in bacon (an oldie, but still “surf and turf”)
  • Panko fried shrimp with chicken-fried steak (too much fried food for us)
  • Salmon or tuna grilled rare with rare filet mignon
  • Salmon tartare and steak tartare
  • Scallops with grilled lamb chop or pork chop
  • Shrimp and beef stir-fry (good but not as festive as the other variations)
  • Shrimp and poached chicken cocktail
  • Shrimp kabobs with grilled skirt steak
  • Shrimp tempura and pork tenderloin
  • Sliced grilled tuna and sliced breast of chicken
  •  
    And now, we’ve discovered surf and turf sushi from Ten Prime Steak And Sushi in Providence.

    Our maki-rolling skills are rusty, but we’ll try it right after we master our March recipe, surf and turf meat loaf. (So far, ground chicken and whole baby scallops are the mix of choice.)

    MIX & MATCH

    You could fill every day of the year with a different option and not run out (and if anyone decides to start a restaurant based on that concept, send a hefty ideation fee here).

    Pick your favorite seafood and meats: crab cake, crab legs, scallops or shrimp with lamb chops or pork chops, for example.

  • Surf: any fish or shellfish. Think outside the lobster box to caviar/roe, clams, crab, crawfish, eel, escargot, grilled tuna, mussels, octopus, oysters, shrimp, squid, sushi/sashimi, uni (sea urchin). Grilled cod or halibut stand up well to beef and pork.
  • Turf: bacon (and the bacon group: Canadian bacon, prosciutto, serrano ham, etc.), beef, bison, exotics (boar, elk, ostrich), lamb, ham, poultry, pork in their many forms: grilled, roasted, ground, ribs, sausage, etc.
  •  
    And props to Allen Brothers, purveyor of prime meats to restaurants and the public, for the idea of creating the surf-topped filet mignon. The company topped filet mignon with a crown of lobster “stuffing” (chopped lobster, fresh herbs (try tarragon or thyme), scallions, cream, butter, sweet onions, bread crumbs and a touch of garlic), as well as a lump crab meat version with mozzarella, chopped spinach, garlic and rosemary. (You’ll have to make your own, though; the company has updated the product with new, non-surf, toppings.)

    Try your own hand at the new surf and turf and let us know your favorites.
      

    Comments

    TIP OF THE DAY: Stuffed Peppers

    Stuffed peppers are enjoyed in cultures around the world. They’re a versatile food: for a first course, a light lunch or dinner or a side. You can stuff them with anything, including leftovers. And you can find them in “holiday colors,” from red and green for Christmas to purple, gold and green for St. Patrick’s Day.

    A large pepper* is hollowed out (removing the ribs and seeds), stuffed and baked. The same technique is applied to eggplant, tomatoes, zucchini and other vegetables.

    In more recent recipes, small stuffed peppers are served as hors d’oeuvre and snacks:

  • Baby bell peppers, cooked or raw, are stuffed with soft cheese or other ingredients.
  • Jalapeño poppers stuff the bite-size chiles with a mixture of cheese, spices, and sometimes ground meat; they are then deep fried (recipe).
  •  
    *We find it easier to use shorter, wider peppers rather than taller, narrower ones.
     
    STUFFED PEPPERS AROUND THE WORLD

    Get inspiration for your own recipes from these:

  • India: Bharvan mirch stuffs bell peppers stuffed with cooked meat, potatoes and onions, seasoned with chili, cilantro, coriander, lemon juice and turmeric. Mirchi bajji, a street food, is a large green chile stuffed with a roasted, spiced flour mix, sometimes battered, and then fried.
  •  

    wfm_stuffed-pepper-230

    Stuffed peppers are a global favorite. Photo courtesy Whole Foods Markets. Try this recipe stuffed with quinoa.

     

  • Mediterranean: Greek food fans know that dolma are stuffed grape leaves; but peppers and other vegetables are stuffed in Armenia, Azerbaijan, Iran, Iraq and Turkey. In Greek yemista, bell peppers are stuffed and baked with a rice and herb filling. In Tunisia, filfil mahshi are stuffed with spiced rice and ground beef or lamb.
  • Mexico: Chiles rellenos are made with roasted green Pasilla or poblano peppers stuffed with queso fresco cheese and sometimes minced meat, covered in an egg batter and fried.
  • Scandinavia, The Baltic States & The Balkans: Peppers are stuffed in a way familiar to Americans, with ground beef or pork, rice, vegetables and spices. In Bulgaria, stuffed peppers are usually eaten with yogurt.
  • Spain: Pimientos rellenos, a Basque specialty, stuff piquillo peppers with cod in a béchamel sauce, ground beef or Manchego cheese.
  •  

    Mediterranean-Style-Stuffed-Peppers-mccormick-230

    Peppers stuffed with lamb and feta. Photo
    and recipe courtesy McCormick.

     

    RECIPE: MEDITERRANEAN STYLE STUFFED PEPPERS

    The delicious stuffing features ground beef, brown rice, golden raisins and almonds seasoned with flavorful, aromatic spices. The recipe is also different because it slices the peppers in half, vertically, rather than cutting off the top to create a deep dish.

    Prep Time is 10 minutes, cook time is 1 hour, 15 minutes.

    Ingredients For 8 Servings

  • 2 teaspoons rosemary leaves
  • 1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
  • 1 teaspoon oregano Leaves
  • 1/2 teaspoon sea salt
  • 1 pound lean ground beef or lamb
  • 1 can (14 ounces) tomato sauce
  • 1/3 cup golden raisins (you can substitute conventional raisins)
  • 1/4 cup toasted slivered almonds
  • 1 cup cooked brown rice
  • 1 egg, beaten
  • 4 medium green bell peppers, halved lengthwise, stem and seeds removed
  • 1/2 cup crumbled reduced fat feta cheese
  •  
    Preparation

    1. HEAT oven to 375°F. Mix rosemary, cinnamon, oregano and salt in small bowl. Set aside.

    2. COOK ground meat in a large skillet over medium-high heat, 5 to 7 minutes or until no longer pink, stirring occasionally to break up meat. Drain fat. Add spice mixture; cook and stir 1 minute.

    3. STIR in tomato sauce, raisins and almonds. Bring to boil. Remove from heat. Add rice and egg; mix well. Arrange bell pepper halves, cut-side up, in 13×9-inch baking dish. Spoon beef mixture evenly into bell pepper halves. Pour 1/4 cup water into dish. Cover with foil.

    4. BAKE 45 minutes or until bell peppers are tender. Sprinkle filling with feta cheese. Bake, uncovered, 12 to 15 minutes longer or until cheese is lightly browned.
     
    RECIPE TEMPLATE: MIX & MATCH

  • Beans and legumes: black beans, white beans, lentils, etc.
  • Grains: barley, corn, rice, quinoa and breadcrumbs
  • Nuts & fruits: cashews, pine nuts or other nuts; apricot, currants, dried cherries or cranberries, prunes, raisins
  • Proteins: cheese; chicken, beef, pork or other meat, ground or diced; egg; sausage; seafood; tofu
  • Vegetables: anything and everything, cut small enough to cook evenly. Ideas: grated carrots, edamame, kale, mushrooms, onions, potatoes (diced or mashed), spinach, squash
  • Herbs: cilantro, dill, mint, parsley, oregano
  • Spices: cinnamon, cumin, curry
  •  
    Why don’t we include fish? While the Basque cod-stuffed pepper is very popular, and brandade (mashed cod in olive oil) works, we haven’t found other recipes that really sing. The delicate flavors of most fish (or shellfish) get buried.

    If you have a great recipe, we’d like to try it.

      

    Comments

    TIP OF THE DAY: Easy Food Glamour

    Fine restaurants know that exciting presentation of food is almost as important as the preparation of the dish. They don’t serve main courses with mounds of starch and vegetables circling the protein; they use potatoes, rice and veggies as the bed to hold the protein.

    In its simplest form, Del Frisco’s Double Eagle Steak House in New York City shows how easy it is to put your protein atop a bed of grains. You can center the protein or place it off-center, as shown in the photo.

    Whatever the bed comprises—see our list below—you can make it more visually arresting and flavorful with mix-ins. Here, Del Frisco adds diced vegetables to brown rice.

    Use a spoon to drizzle the sauce; you can make an easy sauce by deglazing the pan.

     

    grilled-salmon-rice-veg-delfriscos-230

    Grilled fish or meat looks fancier atop a bed of grains and/or vegetables. Photo courtesy Del Frisco’s.

     

    MENU BASICS

    Start with grilled, poached or sautéed meat, poultry or seafood (or tofu). For a bed, use:

  • Beans: cook with at least one other ingredient for interest, such as bacon or onions, and herbs; garnish with fresh herbs
  • Grains: barley*, buckwheat*, black/brown/red/wild rice*, bulghur, corn*, couscous, farro*, grits, kamut*, white rice or quinoa, with mix-ins (see below)
  • Noodles/pasta: refined or whole grain noodles, dressed with butter/olive oil and herbs or complementary sauce
  • Potatoes: mashed potatoes white or sweet potatoes, or mashed cauliflower; hash browns, sautéed potatoes or other “flat” preparation
  • Salads: Bean salad, corn salad, mesclun, rice salad, tomato and onion salad (in season)
  • Vegetables: Roasted, sautéed, steamed with fresh herbs
  •  
    *The asterisk indicates a whole grain.
     
    MIX INS

    A combination of ingredients is always more interesting than one alone. Would you rather have a bowl of lettuce, or a salad of lettuce plus three or four other vegetables?

    Try to enhance any of your beds with at least one other ingredient; for example:

  • Fresh herbs: chiffonade or minced
  • Mixed vegetables: beans; diced carrots, celery, onions, squash, etc.; edamame; onions; peas and other favorites
  • Nuts and seeds: chopped or slivered almond, pecans, pistachios, walnuts or other favorites; chia, flax seeds, pepitas (pumpkin seeds), pomegranate arils
  • Onions: chives, green onions, leeks, red onions, shallots or yellow onions, cooked or raw as appropriate
  •  
    Happy bedding!

     

      

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    TIP OF THE DAY: Chicken Liver Pâté

    Here’s a treat for everyone who loves pâté but can’t afford the duck and goose versions; as well as those who won’t eat their enlarged livers due to animal welfare concern.*

    This chicken liver pâté recipe, sent to us by the New York Times to share, was published in the January 26th Sunday Magazine section. It is gourmet Super Bowl fare or a spread for any party or special occasion. (Why special occasion? The cholesterol!)

    Not only is chicken liver pâté a luxurious spread; it is affordable and quick and easy to prepare. Here’s the full article.

    The concept dates back centuries, if not millennia. In modern times, there’s a similar recipe in Julia Child’s Mastering The Art Of French cooking. Our grandmother and her grandmother made a Jewish version; her fat of choice was schmalz (rendered chicken fat, discussed below)—no butter or cream—yellow onions instead of shallots, no wine. Nana’s tip: Don’t overcook the livers—the insides should still be pink.

     
    *The issue of whether or not gavage, the force-feeding of ducks and geese to enlarge their livers, is complex and is not discussed here.

     

    chicken-pate-ChristopherTestani-NYT-230

    A crock of chicken liver pâté with a side of bacon jam. Photo by Christopher Testani for the New York Times.

     

    WAYS TO SERVE CHICKEN LIVER PATÉ

    You can serve chicken liver pâté in a crock with toast or crackers and a side of bacon jam (make this recipe or buy ready-made bacon jam like Skillet Bacon Spread. (Here’s our review; you can buy it on Amazon.com).

  • Serve the pâté with toast points, toasted baguette slices, toasted rye bread, crackers (try Saltines or water crackers), or a mix.
  • Make tea sandwiches, or spread on chicken, roast beef or turkey sandwiches.
  • Spread pâté on a large crouton to serve alongside soup or salad.
  • Spread it atop a filet mignon for a crustless Beef Wellington; or make crustless Wellington hors d’oeuvre by spreading pâté on toast points, topped with a slice of beef and fresh herbs or microgreens.
  • Tuck some under the skin before broiling a chicken. It will melt away during cooking but leave a rich flavor.
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    chicken-livers-raw-anuzhealthykitchen.blogspot-ps-230s

    Raw chicken livers. Photo courtesy Anu Shoj
    | Anu’s Healthy Kitchen | Blogspot. Check
    out her recipe for fried chicken livers.

     

    RECIPE: CHICKEN LIVER PATÉ

    You can make this recipe in 20 minutes, plus a couple of hours to chill in the fridge.

    Ingredients For 6-8 Servings

  • 8 tablespoons unsalted butter, cut into cubes
  • 2 medium shallots, peeled and finely chopped
  • 1 pint fresh chicken livers, approximately 1 pound, trimmed
  • 1 tablespoon fresh thyme leaves, chopped
  • 1/3 cup Madeira or Port
  • 3 tablespoons heavy cream, plus more as needed
  • Kosher salt to taste
  •  

    Preparation

    1. HEAT a large, heavy sauté pan over medium heat and melt 4 tablespoons of the butter until it begins to foam. Add the shallots and sauté until translucent, taking care not to brown.

    2. ADD the livers, thyme and Madeira or Port and turn the heat to high. Cook, occasionally stirring the livers with a spoon, until the wine has reduced and the livers are lightly browned but still very soft and pink on the inside—approximately 5 minutes.

    3. REMOVE the pan from the stove, and transfer the contents into a blender or food processor, along with the cream and the remaining butter. Purée until smooth, adding a little more cream if necessary. Taste and adjust seasoning, adding salt if necessary.

    4. PACK the pâté into a glass jar or bowl, then smooth the top with a spatula. Cover with plastic wrap and refrigerate until firm, about two hours or up to five days. Serve with bacon-onion jam and copious amounts of toast.
     
    WHAT IS SCHMALTZ?

    Schmaltz, also spelled or schmalz or shmalz, is rendered (clarified) chicken or goose fat. It is used both for cooking and as a spread on bread in Ashkenazi Jewish cuisine (Austria, Germany and Poland and other Northern European countries).

    The term is Yiddish, derived from the German Schmalz, meaning “rendered animal fat.” While both tallow and lard are forms of Schmalz in German, as is clarified butter, in English the term follows the Yiddish use, referring to fat rendered from poultry.

    Schmaltz was an important fat in the lives of European Jews, who were forbidden by Kosher dietary laws from combining meat and dairy products. They could not use butter in meat dishes; and of course could not use pig-based lard.

    So in order to cook meat and poultry dishes or the sides served with them (potatoes, for example), schmaltz or vegetable cooking oil was required. It was also used to butter bread. The impact on cardiovascular health has become an issue in the last 40 to 50 years.

      

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