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Archive for Gourmet Foods

TIP OF THE DAY: Make Gazpacho Shooters

Gazpacho Shooters

Gazpacho Shooters

[1] A gazpacho shot at Fabrick | NYC. [2] A blender gazpacho from OuiChefNetwork.com. Here’s their recipe for their beautiful, orange-hued gazpacho.

 

As the party is getting started, serve guests a gazpacho shot. Gazpacho, a chilled vegetable soup, is so refreshing on a warm day. Why National Gazpacho Day is December 6th, we have no idea.

You can add a tablespoon of gin, tequila or vodka to each shot; or serve mocktails. A bonus: Even a small amount of gazpacho can add another portion of veggies to your daily intake.

You can serve the shooter in a shot glass (you can buy decent ones in hard plastic) or four-ounce juice glasses. Or, ditch the concept of shooters and serve as a full-blown drink, in whatever type of glass you like.

And, you can make them just for the family, with brunch or before dinner.

Just make your favorite gazpacho recipe (we have some recipes below). You can simply toss the ingredients into a blender. If you don’t like to cook, your food market may sell gazpacho along with the other fresh soups.
Or, you can make the Gazpachito recipe below, a cross between a Bloody Mary and a Tequila & Lime shot.
 
RECIPE #1: BLENDER TOMATO GAZPACHO

This is our lower calorie version, omitting the bread and the olive oil of a conventional recipe. It also works better for a cocktail.

Simply layer the ingredients in a blender:. You can vary the vegetable proportions to bring out the flavors you like best.
 
Ingredients

  • 2 pounds tomatoes, cored and quartered
  • 1-2 large cucumbers, peeled and diced
  • 1 medium green bell pepper, seeded and diced
  • 1/4 red onion or green onions (scallions) to taste
  • 1 large clove garlic, peeled and halved
  • 2 tablespoons red-wine vinegar
  • 3/4 teaspoon salt
  • 1/2 teaspoon freshly ground pepper
  • Choice of white spirit
  • Preparation

    1. COMBINE the vegetables and seasonings in a blender and blend to your desired consistency.

    2. TASTE and adjust the proportions and seasoning to taste.

    3. PLACE the blender in the fridge to chill and allow the flavors to meld. Re-taste and adjust seasonings as needed.

    4. SPLIT the batch. Add the alcohol to one portion, leaving a portion alcohol-free. If you know that all the guests will want alcohol, add spirit to the entire batch.

     

    RECIPE #2: GAZPACHITO SHOT

    Ingredients Per Drink

  • 1 ounce blanco (silver) tequila
  • 1-1/2 ounces tomato juice
  • 1/2 ounce sherry
  • Garnish: 2 slices of green or red jalapeño
  • Garnish: cucumber spear for garnish
  •  
    Preparation

    1. SHAKE the ingredients with ice in a shaker and strain into a chilled shot glass. Garnish with one or two cucumber spears.

    2. SLAM the shot and then eat the garnish.
     
    GARNISH OPTIONS

  • Avocado slice.
  • Baby beets or diced whole beets.
  • Celery or fennel stick of celery, broccoli or cauliflower floret.
  • Cheese cube.
  • Cucumber slice.
  • Cooked shrimp or a raw sea scallop, notched onto the rim of the glass.
  • Greek yogurt, plain or herbed (mix in finely chopped fresh herbs); crème fraîche or sour cream.
  • Small boiled parsley potato.
  •  
    You can serve the shooters with a tray of crostini as crunchy counterpoint.
     
    MORE GAZPACHO OPTIONS

  • Don’t like tomatoes? Make gazpacho verde, green gazpacho. There’s also the history of gazpacho.
  • Don’t like tomatoes, onion and bell peppers? Make white gazpacho, which is the original gazpacho recipe. Tomatoes came later.
  • Something Snazzy: Try yellow gazpacho, made from yellow bell peppers.
  • Beer Gazpacho: This recipe, with added beer and salsa, is from Chef Rick Bayless.
  • BLT Gazpacho: Make this recipe, or simply add a slice of crisp bacon and some baby arugula to garnish your favorite tomato gazpacho recipe.
  • Fruit Gazpacho: Try Mango Gazpacho or Pineapple Gazpacho. Both are savory recipes with sweet fruit accents.
  • Chocolate Gazpacho: The recipe is also savory, like mole sauce.
  •  

    Gapachito Shot

    Classic Tomato Gazpacho

    [1] A Gazpachito (photo courtesy Skyy Spirits). [2] A bowl of tomato-based gazpacho (photo courtesy AddSomeLife.com).

      

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    JULY 4TH RECIPE: Red, White & Blue Whoopie Pies

    July 4th Whoopie Pies RecipeHTTP://www.blueberrycouncil.org

    Patriotic whoopee pies from the Blueberry Council.

     

    The Blueberry Council wants to make it easy for you to create red, white and blue food for July 4th.

    The recipe is simple: a box of red velvet cake mix, a jar of Marshmallow Fluff (or other marshmallow creme, or homemade) and fresh blueberries.

    For a more substantial dessert, serve the whoopies with a dish of three scoops of ice cream:

  • Small scoops of red (strawberry), white (vanilla) and blue (blueberry or boysenberry).
  • Alternative: Soften vanilla ice cream on the counter and stir in red and blue berries. Return to the freezer until ready to serve.
  •  
    RECIPE: RED, WHITE & BLUE WHOOPIE PIES

    Ingredients For 24 Cookies

  • 1 box red velvet cake mix (18.25 ounces)
  • ¼ cup flour
  • ½ cup water
  • 1/3 cup vegetable oil
  • 3 large eggs
  • 1½ cups marshmallow crème from a jar
  • 1 cup fresh blueberries
  •  
    Preparation

    1. PREHEAT the oven to 350°F. Line two large baking sheets with parchment paper.

    2. COMBINE the cake mix, flour, water, oil and eggs in a large bowl. Beat until smooth with an electric mixer at medium speed, 2-3 minutes.

    3. SCOOP the batter by rounded tablespoons onto the prepared baking sheets, 2 inches apart. Bake until puffed, 8-10 minutes.

    4. LET cool 2 minutes on the baking sheets. Then, use a spatula to remove the cookies to wire racks and cool completely.

    5. SPREAD 1½ teaspoons of the marshmallow creme onto the flat side of each cookie, using a small spatula or knife. Divide the blueberries onto the perimeter of the marshmallow on half of the cookies. Top with the remaining cookies to make 24 cookie sandwiches.

    6. SERVE immediately or store chilled in an airtight container, layered between sheets of waxed paper or parchment.
     
    MORE FOOD FUN

  • The history of whoopie pies.
  • The history of Marshmallow Fluff and a recipe for homemade marshmallow creme.
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    TIP OF THE DAY: Cooking In Parchment, Or “En Papillote”

    Today is the first-ever National Parchment Day, celebrated on the last Wednesday of June to bring awareness to those who have not yet discovered the joy of working with culinary parchment.

    The holiday was created by PaperChef, a leading producer of premium culinary parchment.

    The right way to declare a holiday is to submit a proposal to the federal government, state or local government. A less official way to do it is to submit it to the National Day Calendar a commercial venture originally begun as a hobby by two enthusiasts in North Dakota.

     
    WHAT IS CULINARY PARCHMENT PAPER?

    Culinary parchment paper, also called kitchen parchment and bakery paper or baking paper, is a cellulose-based paper that provides a disposable, non-stick surface. It is a popular aid for oven cooking: It saves greasing and enables easy clean-up.

    It also is used to create a packet for moist-heat cooking in the oven—for fish and shellfish, poultry, vegetables and so on. The French call this technique en papillote (on poppy-YOTE); it is al cartoccio in Italian, and cooking in parchment in English. The food is put into a folded pouch (parcel) and then baked in the oven.

    You can also cook in parchment on a grill, up to 425°F, using a metal plate on the top rack and closing the lid. Unlike aluminum foil, the parchment won’t scorch.

    Don’t confuse parchment with waxed paper, which has a thin coating of wax on each side to make it nonstick and moisture-resistant. Unlike parchment paper, it is not heat-resistant; the wax can melt and the paper can ignite in the oven. Parchment paper is impregnated with silicone, which prevents it from catching fire.

    But you can do the reverse: In most applications that call for wax paper as a non-stick surface, you can substitute parchment.
     
    CULILNARY PARCHMENT HISTORY

    Culinary parchment has only been available since the 19th century. The earliest reference we have found is in the London Practical Mechanics Journal in October 1858.

    We don’t know when it was applied to culinary use. Some sources cite the early 20th century. The 1858 reference suggests architects’ and engineers’ plans (today’s blueprints), tracing paper, bookbinding and maps.

       

    Salmon En Papillote

    Chocolate Chip Cookies Baked On Parchment

    [1] Salmon cooked in folded parchment paper (photo courtesy PaperChef). [2] Cookies baked in a pan lined with parchment (photo courtesy Jules | Wikipedia).

     

    Before cooking parchment, according to the website of The Telegraph, a daily newspaper in the U.K., “cooks would have used normal sheets of whatever white paper was on hand.” The article references a cookbook from 1823 by Mary Eaton, for baking beef in an earthenware dish covered in “two or three thicknesses of writing paper.” She warns against using brown paper, because “the pitch and tar which it contains will give the meat a smoky bad taste.”

    More options in olden times:

  • Oil-soaked or buttered paper, for baking and roasting. Buttered paper was put on top of a roast to stop it from cooking too quickly—the way we use foil today.
  • Fish was cooked en papillote in a parcel of paper brushed with olive oil. Fish was cooked en papillote in a parcel of paper brushed with olive oil.
  • Brandy-soaked paper circles were used to seal fruit jams and preserves.
  • Beyond skimming, excess grease was removed from the top of a stock or soup with ink-blotting paper. Today, paper towels do the trick.
  •  
    Parchment used as writing paper dates to ancient Egypt. It is a completely different animal, so to speak: It is made from sheep and other animal skins, and was first created as scrolls, with the skins trimmed and stitched together as required. Animal parchment is still used for applications from college diplomas to religious texts.

    What the two parchments—animal and vegetable—have in common is their creamy white color.

     

    Salmon In Parchment

    Vegetables In Parchment

    Paperchef Parchment Bag

    [1] You can add a sauce or create one. Here, compound butter will melt to flavor the fish and vegetables (photo courtesy GoodLifeEats.com). [2] Vegetables cooked in parchment: so much more delicious than steaming but the same calories (photo courtesy Williams-Sonoma). [3] There’s no need to fold paper: Just put the contents in a parchment bag [photo courtesy Paperchef).

      THE BENEFITS OF PARCHMENT PAPER

  • Low-fat cooking with fewer calories: You can cook healthier meals, without the need for added fat. No vitamins are “washed way” in the cooking process.
  • Convenience: The parchment packets may be prepared up to a day in advance, and are perfect for a single serving when you are cooking for one. It’s non-stick, non-scorching, and clean-up is a snap. Leftovers can be reheated in the oven without drying out (or becoming mushy, as with the microwave).
  • Flavorful and tender: Moist heat cooking captures and imbues the food with anything you add to the packet: aromatics (garlic, ginger, scallions, sliced lemon or lime), herbs, spices, wine and liquids from coconut milk to sauce and stock. The method produces very tender meat and vegetables.
  • Simple yet elegant: Parchment entrées are impressive at the dinner table. At a restauraunt, it is traditional for the maitre d’ to slice open the paper in front of the guest, delivering a delightful gust of aroma. At home, when everyone cuts open his or her packet, the effect is the same.
  • Environmentally friendly: Parchment is 100% biodegradable and FSC* certified.
  • Kosher: PaperChef is kosher-certified by Star-K and OU. Reynolds parchment and foil are certified kosher by OU.
  •  
    _____________________
    *Forest Stewardship Council (FSC) certification means that the materials have been sourced in an environmentally-friendly, socially responsible and economically viable manner.

     
    TYPES OF CULILNARY PARCHMENT PAPER

    More many decades, cut sheets, or those cut from a roll of parchment, were the options for lining baking pans, cake and pie tins, casseroles and the like.

    Different formats evolved to meet consumer needs.

  • Parchment sheets are the most convenient way to cook with parchment paper. Simply grab a pre-cut sheet to line pans, bakeware and cookware. You can buy rectangles as well as rounds.
  • Parchment rolls are a multipurpose kitchen paper. Like foil and waxed paper, you pull out the amount you need and cut it on the serrated package edge.
  • Parchment cooking bags are a recent innovation and our favorite parchment product. Just toss the ingredients into a bag, fold and cook. It saves the time of cutting a piece of paper to size and folding into packets.
  • Parchment baking cups allow muffins to slide out of the pan—like cupcake papers for muffins. We also like them to create perfectly round baked eggs, for Eggs Benedict or other fancy preparation. Lotus cups are deeper, for larger muffins. Tulip cups are made to add panache to specialty cupcakes, with a petal-like top for an impressive presentation.
  •  
    FIND PARCHMENT-BASED RECIPES FOR EVERYTHING FROM BREAKFAST TO DESSERT

    They’re all over the Web, including on the website of PaperChef.com.

     

      

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    TOP PICK OF THE WEEK: SunGold Kiwi From Zespri

    You may think of kiwifruit as green, but in the wild they are found in red and yellow as well.

    In the late 1970s, New Zealand kiwifruit growers began experimenting with the breeding of a golden kiwifruit (in the U.S., we call it “kiwi” for short).

    In 1992, Zespri—the world leader in premium quality kiwifruit—selected one offspring plant from the breeding stock to create the the golden-fleshed berry* now known as Zespri© SunGold© Kiwifruit. It is available at supermarkets nationwide from May through October.

    SunGold is sweeter than a green kiwi, and tastes like a cross between a mango and a strawberry with just a hint of tanginess. We adore it.

    NOTE that SunGold is a proprietary strain from Zespri. You may find other golden kiwifruit; we can’t vouch for it. Look for the Zespri label.
     
    ENJOY KIWI ANYTIME

    Like regular kiwi, SunGold offers healthy ammounts of vitamins C and E, potassium. Its sunny yellow sweetness boosts the nutrition and color on the plate.

    You can simply scoop it and eat it with a spoon, or peel it for just about any fruit recipe. A few examples:

  • Breakfast: with cereal, cottage cheese, yogurt, smoothies
  • Lunch: green salad, garnish for egg, chicken or tuna salad, salsa, sliced on sandwiches (especially ham or turkey)
  • Dinner: cocktails and mocktails, fruit soup, garnishes, sides
  • Dessert: compote, fruit salad, garnishes, ice cream and sorbet, pies and tarts, pudding
  •  
    HOW TO RIPEN KIWIFRUIT

    Golden kiwi is usually ready to eat when you buy it. It should feel slightly soft to the touch, like a ripe peach. Once ripe, it should be stored in the refrigerator (the same for green kiwi).

    Green kiwi may be a bit firm when you buy it, and will usually ripen at in three to five days at room temperature. The firmer the fruit, the more tart it will taste.

       

    Sungold Kiwi

    SunGold Kiiwi

    [1] SunGold kiwifruit have a smooth skin, not fuzzy like green kiwi. [2] All you need is a spoon (photos courtesy Zespri).

     
    To speed up the ripening process, place kiwis (or any fruit) in a closed paper bag on the counter along with an apple or banana. Fruits like apples and bananas produce natural ethylene gas, which accelerates ripening.

    By the same token, any ripe fruit should be stored away from ethylene-producing fruits—never in the same produce drawer. If you want to store the fruit for longer than a few days, keep it in a plastic bag in the fridge.
     
    _____________________
    *Yes, kiwi is a very large berry. It grows on a vine.

     

    Kiwi Cocktail

    Baked Brie With Kiwi

    [1] Kiwi-banana cocktail. [2] Baked Brie with kiwi compote (photos courtesy Zespri).

     

    COCKTAIL RECIPE: KIWI-BANANA—TINI

    Ingredients For 2 Cups

  • 1 Zespri SunGold kiwi, peeled† and chopped
  • 1 ounce banana rum
  • 1 ounce Bärenjäger or other honey liqueur‡
  • 1-1/2 ounces heavy cream
  • 1/2 ounce Licor 43 or other vanilla liqueur**
  • Ice cubes
  • Garnish: a kiwi wheel, lime wheel or other garnish of choice
  •  
    Preparation

    1. MUDDLE the kiwi and rum in a shaker. Add the Bärenjäger and shake with ice. Strain into a Martini glass.

    2. PLACE the cream and Liquor 43 in a shaker. Shake for 30 seconds until frothy.

    3. PLACE a teaspoon (flatware) against the inside edge of a Martini glass, with the well facing the glass. Slowly pour the cream mixture over back of spoon onto the kiwi mixture, creating a layered effect. Garnish as desired and serve immediately.
     
    _____________________
    †A serrated peeler works best for peeling kiwifruit.

    ‡You can substitute another honey liqueur and can also easily make your own honey liqueur.

    **Licor 43 is made from citrus and other fruit juices, flavored with vanilla, herbs and spices. You can substitute another vanilla liqueur or a citrus liqueur.

     
    RECIPE #2: BAKED BRIE WITH SPICY KIWI COMPOTE

    Ingredients For 16 Servings

    Prep time is 10 minutes, total time is 25 minutes.

  • 1 Brie cheese round, about 13 ounces
  • 2 tablespoons red pepper jelly (or other pepper jelly)
  • 2 teaspoons Dijon mustard
  • 1/8 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
  • 1 Zespri green kiwi, peeled† and diced
  • 1 Zespri SunGold kiwi, peeled† and diced
  • Assorted crackers or baguette slices
  •  
    Preparation

    1. HEAT the oven to 350F. Unwrap the Brie; trim and discard the top rind. Place the Brie in a baking dish or pie plate. Bake for 15 minutes or until the Brie is softened and beginning to melt. Meanwhile…

    2. STIR together in a microwavable bowl the jelly, mustard and pepper. Fold in the kiwi and microwave on high power for 1-1/2 minutes, stirring halfway through heating, until hot.

    3. TRANSFER the Brie to a serving plate. Top with the kiwi compote and serve with crackers or breads.
     
     
    VISIT ZESPRIKIWI.COM FOR MANY MORE RECIPES

      

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    TIP OF THE DAY: Grilled Watermelon Steaks

    Grilled Watermelon Recipe

    Seedless Watermelon

    [1] Grilled watermelon steaks with walnut gremolata (photo courtesy McCormick). [2] Use seedless watermelon (photo courtesy Bridges Produce).

     

    We’ve previously recommended cauliflower steaks and grilled cabbage steaks. Today’s “field meat” steaks are made with watermelon. The sweet fruit is grilled with savory seasonings to create a special first course.

    Seedless watermelon is cut into thick “steaks”; marinated in a mixture of white balsamic vinegar, lemon juice and rosemary; and topped with a walnut gremolata.

    What’s gremolata? It’s a lively, fresh-chopped condiment that typically includes parsley and/or other green herbs, plus lemon zest and garlic. It’s the traditional accompaniment to osso bucco, braised veal shank; but it’s a tasty accent to many dishes. Bonus: Because it’s so flavorful, you can cut back on salt.

    Here’s more about gremolata, including the classic gremolata recipe.
     
    RECIPE: GRILLED WATERMELON STEAKS WITH WALNUT GREMOLATA

    Prep time is 10 minutes, cook time is 8 minutes. Some people like to cut the watermelon into rectangles, in line with the steak theme. You also can cut the grilled watermelon into bite-size squares and serve them as hors d’oeuvres.

    Ingredients For 8 Servings

  • 1/2 small seedless watermelon
  • 1/2 cup white balsamic vinegar
  • 2 tablespoons olive oil
  • 1 tablespoon lemon juice
  • 1 teaspoon rosemary leaves, crushed
  • 1/2 teaspoon coarse sea salt (substitute kosher salt)
  • 1/2 teaspoon coarse-ground black pepper
  •  
    For The Gremolata

  • 1/4 cup finely chopped toasted walnuts
  • 1/4 cup finely chopped parsley
  • 1 teaspoon grated lemon peel
  •  
    Preparation

    1. CUT four 1-inch-thick, half-moon slices of watermelon. Reserve any remaining watermelon for another use.

    2. MIX the vinegar, oil, lemon juice, rosemary, salt and pepper in small bowl. Reserve 2 tablespoons for drizzling over the grilled watermelon. Place the watermelon steaks in glass dish and add the rest of the marinade. Refrigerate for 20 minutes, turning the watermelon halfway through. Meanwhile…

    3. MAKE the walnut gremolata: Mix the walnuts, parsley and lemon peel in a small bowl and set aside. Remove the steaks from the marinade, reserving the leftover marinade for basting the watermelon during grilling.

    4. GRILL the steaks over high heat for 2 to 4 minutes per side or until grill marks appear, brushing with the leftover marinade after the 2-minute mark.

    5. SERVE: Cut the watermelon steaks in half. Drizzle with the reserved marinade. Sprinkle with the gremolata.
     
    WHICH IS BETTER: SEEDLESS OR SEEDED WATERMELON?

    We turned to the National Watermelon Board to learn that:

  • There’s really no difference between seedless and seeded watermelon when it comes to taste. Most people prefer not having to deal with seeds, as opposed to those who enjoy seed-spitting contests.
  • A watermelon’s flavor is impacted by different factors, and seeds aren’t really one of them. Flavor can be greatly influenced by seed variety, the time of year the fruit was harvested, the amount of rain the crop received, the general climate it was grown in, how much direct sunlight it got, the type of soil, and other variables.
  • All watermelon grown for retail sale must meet a minimum brix level, a measurement of sweetness. Most watermelons exceed that level.
  •  
      

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    RECIPE: Red, White & Blue Sangria

    July 4th Sangria Recipe

    Yankee Doodle Brandy: Combine white wine and Grand Marnier orange brandy for July 4th (photo courtesy Elegant Affairs).

     

    This fun and arty sangria recipe is from caterer Andrea Correale of Elegant Affairs (www.elegantaffairscaterers.com):

    RECIPE: JULY 4TH SANGRIA

    Ingredients For 1 Large Pitcher

  • 2 bottles dry white wine, such as Sauvignon Blanc
  • 1 cup triple sec or other orange liqueur
  • 1/2 cup berry-flavored vodka (cherry, raspberry, etc.)
  • 1/2 cup freshly squeezed lemon or lime juice
  • 1/2 cup simple syrup (recipe below)
  • Optional: ice cubes
  •  
    The Fresh Fruit

  • 1 cup blueberries
  • 1-1/2 cups hulled and sliced strawberries
  • 1 cup raspberries
  • 1-1/2 cups pineapple stars (use a star shaped cookie cutter to cut stars from slices of fresh pineapple) or starfruit slices
  •  
    Preparation

    1. MAKE the simple syrup: Boil 1/2 cup water, then add 1/2 cup granulated white sugar. Turn the heat to simmer and stir until dissolved. Turn off the heat and let the syrup cool.

    2.COMBINE all ingredients except the fresh fruit (but including the simple syrup) in a large punch bowl or pitcher. Stir well and add the fruit. Cover and refrigerate at least 4 hours.

    3. SERVE well-chilled with a good scoop of fruit floating in each drink. If you plan to serve over ice, consider making star-shaped ice cubes.
     
    FOR A MOCKTAIL

    Here’s a mocktail option for kids and adults who don’t drink:

  • Substitute a 64-ounce bottle of Sprite/7-UP or Diet Sprite/Diet 7-UP for the wine.
  • Replace the triple sec with 1 cup white cranberry juice.
  • Option: Use 1/2 cup orange juice instead of the lemon or lime juice
  • Eliminate the simple syrup.
  • Optional: Add blue food color to make blue star ice cubes.
  • Use the same fresh fruit as for the sangria recipe.
  •  
      

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    TIP OF THE DAY: Starfruit For July 4th

    Native to Southeast Asia and India, starfruit was brought back to Europe by sailors and traders in the late 1700s. Rare and costly, it became popular among wealthy Europeans.

    Starfruit was brought to Hawaii by Chinese traders in the late 1800s. Yet, it was introduced to mainland America—Florida—only about 75 years ago. Today the state is the largest producer of American-consumed starfruit. Puerto Rico and Hawaii are the other major producers. These domestic fruits are sold in the U.S., because of import restrictions due to potential pests that often accompany the fruit.

    The closer you are to the orchard, the better. Like most fruits, starfruit has much more flavor and sweetness when it is allowed to ripen on the tree or vine.
     
    WHAT ARE STARFRUIT?

    Starfruit or carambola (star fruit is an alternate spelling) is the fruit of a species of tree (Averrhoa carambola) that is native to Southeast Asia. The tree is now cultivated throughout the subtropical belt.

    Named for the five-pointed star shaped slices it yields when cut horizontally, the pale yellow, juicy flesh with a distinctly tropical orange-pineapple flavor contains a few small, flat seeds. If the fruit is greenish, it isn’t fully ripe but will have white flesh and a tart apple flavor and texture.

  • The thin, edible skin is lime green on the tree and ripens to a bright yellow with a shiny/waxy sheen and a fragrant aroma.
  • You will often find the fruit in a greenish-yellow state. Although it will ripen further, it is fine to use.
  • Not only is starfruit attractive; it’s healthful, too: rich in vitamin C antioxidants and low in sugar and acidity.
  •  
    HOW TO USE STARFRUIT

    For July 4th, Christmas or any other starry occasion, these “edible stars” can be used just about everywhere, with savory as well as sweet foods.

  • With any breakfast food.
  • A garnish on anything, from drinks to cupcakes and other desserts.
  • As a “star” ingredient in fruit salad, on fruit and cheese skewers, or served with a sweet yogurt dip.
  •  
    BUYING TIPS

  • At the market, pick yellow or yellow-orange fruits that are firm, not soft to the touch.
  • Avoid buying fruit that is turning brown.
  • If you are ripening greenish fruit on the counter, be sure to turn it at least once a day.
  •  
     
    NEED RECIPES FOR JULY 4TH?

    Here are “patriotic” recipes for everything from breakfast to after-dinner drinks.

     

    Ripe Carambola

    Sliced Carambola Starfruit

    Starfruit Cake

    July 4th Drinks

    [1] A ripe starfruit (photo S. Masters | Wikipedia). [2] Greenish, but still fine to eat (photo courtesy Melissas.com). [3] A starfruit upside-down cake (here’s the recipe from Noshon.it). [4] Starfruit drink garnish (photo courtesy HWTM.com).

     

      

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    JULY 4TH RECIPE: All-American Cheesecake In Red, White & Blue

    Slice of fruit pie

    Cream Cheese

    [1] Bake this patriotic cheesecake from scratch, or decorate a purchased cake with fruit (photo courtesy Melissas.com). [2] Good news for lactose intolerant cheesecake lovers: Green Valley Organics makes delicious lactose-free cream cheese, as well as lactose-free sour cream and yogurt (photo courtesy MyLilikoiKitchen.com.

     

    This All American Strawberry, Banana and Blueberry Cheesecake recipe was developed by Tom Fraker, Corporate Chef at Melissas.com.

    You can use the decorating theme on a custard pie, cream pie, or cake.

    Don’t want to turn on the oven? Purchase a plain cheesecake and add the fresh fruit.

    Before you start, check out the history of cheesecake.

     
    RECIPE: JULY 4TH CHEESECAKE IN RED, WHITE & BLUE

    This recipe makes a tart-size cheesecake, meaning that it’s not as tall as a conventional New York-style cheesecake. The benefit: fewer calories per slice!

    Ingredients For 12-14 Servings

  • 1-1/2 cups graham cracker crumbs
  • 3 tablespoons granulated sugar
  • 1/3 cup unsalted butter, melted
  • 4 packages (8 ounces each) cream cheese, softened
  • 1 cup granulated sugar
  • 1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
  • 2 vanilla beans
  • 4 eggs
  • 3/4 cup (6 ounces) fresh blueberries
  • 9-10 strawberries, stems removed, halved
  • 1-½ ripe bananas (see note in Step 6)
  • 1 large orange
  •  
    Preparation

    1. PREHEAT the oven to 325ºF.

    2. COMBINE the graham cracker crumbs, 3 tablespoons of sugar and the melted butter in a bowl. Press the mixture into a tart pan or springform pan.

    3. ADD the cream cheese, 1 cup of sugar and vanilla extract to the bowl of a standing mixer. Split the vanilla beans in half lengthwise and scrape the pulp into the bowl. Whisk until well combined.

    4. ADD the eggs one at a time, allowing them to completely incorporate before adding the next egg. Pour the mixture into the pan and smooth the top. Bake in the oven for 60-75 minutes, or until completely set.

    5. REMOVE the cheesecake from the oven, let cool and then chill for at least 4 hours.

    6. DECORATE the top: Run a row of the blueberries around the outside edge and then fill the center with alternating rows of strawberries and bananas. Before you slice the bananas, keep them from turning brown by squeezing the juice of an orange or other citrus fruit into a bowl. Slice the bananas into the juice. Toss gently with your fingers to coat all sides, and drain away the juice before topping the cake.

     
      

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    TIP OF THE DAY: Plan Some Red, White & Blue Food

    With July 4th Weekend starting in a week, plan to make something red, white and blue.

    Even if you’re spending a quiet weekend at home, you can celebrate our Independence Day with a patriotic bite or two. Here’s a group of recipes to bite into, and we’ll be showcasing more between now and the 4th.

    Some are so easy—no cooking—that all you have to do is put the pieces together.

    JULY 4TH BREAKFAST RECIPES

  • Red Velvet Pancakes (recipe)
  • Red, White & Blueberry Muffins (recipe)
  • Poached Eggs or Egg White Omelet With A Side Of Red & Blue Berries
  • Yogurt Parfait With Star-Shaped Toast (recipe)
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    JULY 4TH SIDE & MAIN DISH RECIPES

  • Apple Ginger Cole Slaw (recipe)
  • Blue Cheese & Red Vegetables (recipes)
  • Chilled Raspberry Soup With Blueberries(recipe)
  • Firecracker Macaroni & Cheese (recipe)
  • Patriotic Cheeseburger (recipe)
  • Red, White & Blue Potato Salad (recipe 1 and recipe 2)
  • Star-Shaped Sandwich Skewers (recipe)
  • Tomato & Mozzarella Skewers (recipe)
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    JULY 4TH SNACK RECIPES

  • American Flag Crudité Plate (recipe)
  • American Flag Fruit Skewers (photo)
  • Bacon Flag Pizza (recipe)
  • Cheese American Flag (recipe)
  • Marshmallow Pops (recipe)
  • Red, White & Blue Ice Pops (recipe)
  • Red, White & Blue Popcorn (recipe)
  • Stuffed Celery (recipe)
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    Red, White & Blue Yogurt Parfait

    Red, White & Blue Fruit Skewers

    COULDN’T BE EASIER: [1] Yogurt plus berries. For fun, cut star-shaped toast with cookie cutters (photo courtesy Smuckers). [2] American Flag fruit skewers (photo courtesy Stix Mediterranean Grill | NYC).

     

    Red, White & Blue Lemonade

    Red, White & Blue Cupcakes

    COULDN’T BE EASIER: [1] Red, white & blue pink lemonade (photo courtesy Blueberry Council). [2] Red and blue berries on store-bought cupcakes (photo courtesy Go Bold With Butter)

     

    JULY 4TH BEVERAGE RECIPES & PRODUCTS

  • American Amber Ale
  • Chandon July 4th Limited Edition Sparkling Wine
  • Red, White & Blue Ice Cubes (recipe)
  • Red, White & Blue Layered Cocktail (recipe)
  • Red, White & Blue Sangria With Cocktail Option (recipe)
  • Red, White & Blue Layered Shooter (recipe)
  • Red, White & Blue Lemonade & Hard Lemonade (recipe)
  • Red, White & Blue Sorbet Float (recipe)
  • Red, White & Blue Tequila Shooters (recipe 1 and recipe 2)
  • Spicy Hot Lemonade (recipe)
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    JULY 4TH DESSERT RECIPES

  • American Flag Cookies (recipe)
  • American Flag Brownie Ice Cream Cake (recipe)
  • American Flag Pie (recipe)
  • Blueberry Cherry Pie With Stars & Stripes Top (recipe)
  • Oreo Cookie Balls (recipe)
  • Red, White & Blue Cheesecake (recipe)
  • Red, White & Blue Cupcakes (recipe)
  • Red, White & Blue Frosted Layer Cake (recipe 1, recipe 2,
    recipe 3)
  • Pavlova (recipe)
  • Red, White & Blue Grilled Angel Food Cake (recipe)
  • Red, White & Blue Parfaits (recipe)
  • Red, White & Blue Shortcake (recipe)
  • Red, White & Blue Tartlets (recipe)
  • Red, White & Blue Whoopie Pies (recipe)
  • Starfruit
  • Triple Berry Biscuit Shortcake (recipe)
  • Stars & Stripes Toll House Cookies (recipe)
  • Strawberry & Blueberry Parfait (recipe)
  • Red Velvet, White & Blue Cupcakes (recipe)
  •  
    MORE JULY 4TH RECIPE IDEAS

  • More Recipes 1
  • More recipes 2
  •  

      

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    PRODUCT: Rogue Ale’s American Amber Ale For Independence Day

    Oregon craft brewer Rogue Ales toasts America with the annual release of its American Amber Ale.

    It’s the brew’s 28th year, and has been our beer of choice for July 4th celebrations since we first came across it.

  • Another Independence Day favorite is Liberty Ale (center photo), an IPA from San Francisco’s Anchor Brewing Company.
  • Hell Or High Watermelon, which we haven’t been able to get hold of, shows the Statue of Liberty dipping her toes in the Golden Gate Strait (bottom photo). The brewer: 21st Amendment Brewery in San Francisco. We can’t wait to drink a can of this wheat beer, brewed with fresh watermelon…with a slice of fresh watermelon!
  •  
    AMERICAN AMBER ALES

    American Amber Ales are a beer category known for being balanced and refreshing, with toasted malt characteristics and a light fruitiness. (See the differences between beer and ale below.)

    Rogue’s American Amber Ale is tawny amber in color and medium- to full-bodied. It has a toffee/caramel aroma, a nice malt accent and a pleasantly bitter, smooth finish.

    Celebrating the “ideals of the Revolution,” Rogue brews the beer with “Rebel hops” (they’re actually Kent Golding and Cascade hops) and “Dare and Risk barley,” not to mention what the company calls “free range coastal water.” (Get it?)
     
    Rogue’s American Amber Ale is now available in 22-ounce serigraphed bottles (the image is screened onto the bottle, a nice gift for party hosts or for a party favor) and 12-ounce bottles with the same label design on paper, and can be found draft at establishments that feature Rogue Ale.

    Rogue makes world-class ale, kolsch, lager, mead, porter and stout, along with excellent spirits:

  • Gins: Spruce Gin and Pink Spruce Gin
  • Rums: Dark Rum, Hazelnut Spice Rum
  • Vodkas: Oregon Single Malt Vodka, Voodoo Bacon Maple Vodka
  • Whiskeys: Chipotle Whiskey, Dead Guy Whiskey, Oregon Single Malt Whiskey, Rogue Farms Oregon Rye Whiskey
  •  
    We haven’t had them all, but what we’ve tried, we really liked.

    For more information about Rogue products, visit Rogue.com.
     
    FOR MORE INFORMATION ON THE DIFFERENT TYPES OF BEER, visit THE NIBBLE’s BEER GLOSSARY.
     
    THE DIFFERENCE BETWEEN BEER & ALE

     

    Rogue American Amber Ale

    Liberty Ale Anchor Brewing

    Hell Or High Water Watermelon Beer

    Top: Toast to the U.S.A. with American Amber Ale (photo courtesy Rogue). Center: Liberty Ale from Anchor Brewing Company (photo courtesy HiConsumption.com). Bottom: The Statue Of Liberty graces the cans of Hell Or High Water (photo courtesy 21st Amendment Brewery).

     
    Although most of us use “beer” to refer to all suds, three parts of the brewing process actually define what is a beer—illustrated by the lager style of beer—and what is an ale.

    Ales tend to be fruity-estery in aroma and flavor, while lagers are clean-tasting and crisp. These differences are created by:

  • The Yeast. Ales are brewed with top-fermenting yeast strains, which means exactly that: The yeast ferments at the top of the fermentation tank (they typically rise to the top of the tank near the end of fermentation). Ale yeasts tend to produce esters, chemicals that can affect the flavor of the beer. Lagers use bottom-fermenting yeasts, strains which do not typically add much flavor (the flavor comes from the other ingredients, especially hops and malt).
  • The Temperature and Time. Ale yeasts ferment best at warmer temperatures—room temperature up to about 75°F. They ferment faster than lager yeasts. Lagers ferment at colder temperatures, 46°F to 59°F, and typically ferment over longer periods of time. The combination of colder temperatures and bottom-fermenting yeast is responsible for the mild and crisp taste delivered by most lagers.
  • The Ingredients. Ale recipes often contain a higher amount of hops, malt and roasted malts; hence they typically have a more prominent malty taste and bitterness. Styles like India Pale Ale (IPA) are very hoppy. Ales have more room for recipe experimentation than lagers; thus additional ingredients (called adjuncts) can be added during brewing. Examples: fruits (cherry, pumpkin, raspberry, etc.), sugars (honey, maple syrup, molasses) and spices (allspice, coriander, clove, etc.).
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