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Archive for The Nibble

TIP OF THE DAY: Dinner In A Broth Bowl

dinner-broth-bowl-duetbrasserie-230

An elegant broth bowl, with duck breast and
foie gras. Photo courtesy Duet Brasserie.

 

Are bowl bowls trending? Last month we wrote about layered salad bowls. Today it’s broth bowls—a dish that dates back to prehistory*, as soon as vessels were made to hold soup.

Homo sapiens (us modern humans) emerged about 200,000 years ago, and for the majority of our existence, we have had no soup. The earliest humans had nothing to boil liquids in. Boiling was not easy to do until the invention of waterproof containers, probably pouches made of clay or animal skin, about 9,000 years ago. Here’s the history of soup.

But back to broth bowls: For a hot yet lighter summer dinner, serve your protein and veggies in a bowl of broth (photo at left).

Inspired by this dish from Duet Brasserie in New York City’s Greenwich Village, we’ve been making our own. It’s easy, and you can get away with more vegetables and less meat, which is both healthier and less expensive.

Duet’s chef created a gourmet broth bowl: duck consommé, smoked duck breast, duck foie gras, scallions, Chinese broccoli and a hard-boiled quail egg.

 
Panera Bread has an earthier approach to the concept with soy-miso broth bowls. One version has soba noodles and chicken or edamame, with spinach, napa cabbage, mushrooms, onions, sesame seeds and cilantro. Lentil and quinoa bowls have brown rice and chicken or hard-boiled egg, kale, spinach and tomato sofrito.

You can do just as well at home with chicken, beef, seafood or vegetable broth.

While there’s nothing better than homemade broth, we took the quick and easy route and purchased ours from the Pacific Soup Starters line. Our favorite is their Organic Soup Starters Phö, in beef, chicken and vegetarian varieties.

Food 101 Quickie: Phö, pronounced FUH (like duh but with a drawn-out “uh” and often spelled without the umlaut in the U.S.), is the beloved beef and rice-noodle soup of Vietnam. It may be the world’s greatest broth bowl, worth seeking out at the nearest Vietnamese restaurant. Phö means noodles, and the broth can be made with up to 30 ingredients—beef, cardamom, cinnamon, cloves, fish sauce, ginger, onions and star anise, for starters—exclusive of what you choose to add on top of the broth. Here’s more about phö.
 
*The writing of language was invented independently in at least two places: Sumer (Mesopotamia) around 3200 BCE and Mesoamerica around 600 BCE. The writing numbers for the purpose of record keeping began long before the writing of language.
 
WHAT TO PUT IN YOUR BROTH BOWL

The combination are unlimited! Just a sampling:

  • Asian accents: bean sprouts, water chestnuts, lime (squeezed into the soup after serving)
  • Fresh herbs: basil, cilantro, spearmint
  • Grains: barley, corn, couscous, rice, quinoa, etc.
  • Heat: black pepper, chiles, nuoc mam (sriracha sauce)
  • Noodles: ideally flat rice noodles, but you can use any flat or round pasta
  • Proteins: any—fish/seafood, meat, poultry or tofu, cut or diced into stir fry-size pieces so no cutting in-bowl is needed
  • Vegetables: any! We like to use carrots (cut into flower shapes with a vegetable cutter) mushrooms, onion (green onion, leek, yellow onion), red bell pepper or tomato for color, zucchini
  • Seasonings: chipotle, garlic, salt and pepper
  • Wild card: anything else—you’re the chef!
  •  
    Cook each ingredient as appropriate. Add the hot broth into bowls, then the other ingredients in an artistic arrangement, and top with fresh herbs.

    THE DIFFERENCES BETWEEN BROTH, BONE BROTH, STOCK & MORE

    Aspic. Aspic is jellied broth made from meat or fish stock. It is refrigerated, where it becomes solid, like gelatin; then is cubed and used as a relish for meat, fish or vegetable dishes. Or, it is used as a filler in a molded dish that includes meat, fish or vegetables.

     

    Bone broth. Like stock (see below), bone broth is typically is made with bones and the small amount of meat adhering to them. As with stock, the bones are typically roasted first to improve the flavor of the broth. The key difference is that bone broth is simmered for a much longer time, 24 hours or more. This long cooking time helps to extract the maximum amount of minerals and other nutrients from the bones.

    Bouillon. Bouillon is a clear, thin broth made typically by simmering chicken or beef in water with seasonings (bouillon is the French word for broth). It is stock (see below) that is strained, and then served as a clear soup or used as a base for other dishes and sauces. Bouillon can be made from mixed sources, e.g. chicken and vegetables. It can be enhanced with other flavors—for example, sherry, herbs and spices. The key difference between bouillon and plain broth is that bouillon is always served plain (with an optional garnish), whereas broth can be made more substantive with the addition of a grain (corn, barley, rice) and vegetables.

     

    Panera-Soba-Noodle-Bowl-with-Chicken-230

    Broth bowl of chicken in soy miso broth with ramen and vegetables. Photo courtesy Panera Bread.

     

    Bouillon cube. No serious cook would use a bouillon cube to make bouillon, but it became an important kitchen ingredient for time-strapped home cooks to increase the flavor in dishes. The small, dense cube is dehydrated bouillon or stock with seasonings and a substantial amount of salt. Vegetarian and vegan cubes are also made, and bouillon is also available in granular form. Dehydrated meat stock tablets date back at least to 1735, but bouillon cubes were first commercialized by Maggi in 1908. By 1913, there were at least 10 brands available.

    Broth. Broth is typically made with meat and sometimes a small amount of bones. It is typically simmered for a far shorter period of time than bouillon—45 minutes to 2 hours. The result is very light in flavor and thin in texture, although rich in protein. Plain broth can be thickened with starch or the addition of rice, barley, vegetables or eggs. Examples with eggs include Chinese chicken egg drop soup, Greek avgolemono soup and Italian stracciatella soup. The terms bouillon and broth are often used interchangeably, but as you can see, there are differences.

    Consommé. Consommé is a refined broth, a clear liquid made by clarifying stock for a more elegant presentation. Typically, egg whites are added to the stock. The cloudy particles in the stock attach themselves to the egg whites and rise to the surface, where they are skimmed off. The word consommé means consumed or finished in French, indicating a more finished soup than a stock or a broth. In classic French cuisine, a bowl of consommé was often served at the beginning of a meal.

    Stock. Stock is typically made with bones and can contain a small amount of meat that adheres to the bones. The bones are often roasted before simmering, which improves the flavor. Stock is typically simmered for a longer time than broth, 3 to 4 hours. The result is rich in minerals and gelatin and more flavor than broth, extracted from the longer cooking time.

    Velouté. Velouté is broth thickened with eggs, butter and cream.
     
    DISCOVER MORE TYPES OF SOUP IN OUR SOUP GLOSSARY.

      

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    RECIPE: Cherry Tomato Bruschetta

    cherry-tomato-bruschetta-recipe-ws-230

    We serve bruschetta as an appetizer course
    as well as an hors d’oeuvre with wine. Photo
    courtesy Williams-Sonoma.

     

    While cherry tomatoes are grown in greenhouses year-round, like all tomatoes, they taste so much better in the summer.

    In addition to broiling/grilling/roasting/sautéeing cherry tomatoes and adding them to pasta and salads, you can make a simple appetizer, hors d’oeuvre or snack: Cherry Tomato Bruschetta (broo-SKET-uh). Why buy “bruschetta topping” when it’s so easy to make this classic?

    Bruschetta, which originated in Italy, is at its simplest grilled bread rubbed with garlic and drizzled with olive oil. You can also add a variety of toppings (here’s the difference between bruschetta and crostini).

    However you prepare it, use the best-quality ingredients: crusty coarse bread; ripe tomatoes harvested at the height of the season; fresh basil; and the best extra-virgin olive oil your budget will allow.
     
    RECIPE: TOMATO BRUSCHETTA

    Ingredients For 4 Servings

  • 1 pound cherry tomatoes or 3-4 large tomatoes
  • 16 fresh basil leaves, torn into small pieces
  • Optional cheese: mozzarella, gorgonzola or other favorite, small dice
  • Salt
  • 8 slices coarse country bread, each about 1/2 inch thick
  • 2 cloves garlic
  • 1/4 cup extra-virgin olive oil
  •  

    Preparation

    1. PREHEAT the broiler.

    2. CUT the cherry tomatoes. If using large tomatoes, core and seed them and cut into 1/2-inch pieces. Combine the tomatoes in a bowl with the basil and a pinch of salt.

    3. PLACE the bread slices on a baking sheet and broil, turning once, until crisp and golden on both sides (about 3 minutes). Immediately rub one side of each slice vigorously with a garlic clove, using 1 clove per 4 slices.

    4. ARRANGE the bread slices, garlic side up, on a platter. Spoon the tomato mixture on the slices. Drizzle with the oil and serve.
     
    OTHER BRUSCHETTA TOPPINGS

    Here are some toppings to consider, all classic Italian:

  • Canned tuna with capers and lemon, tuna tapenade
  • Canellini beans with fresh herbs (rosemary, thyme)
  •  

    vegetable-of-the-day-ws-230

    This book is full of seasonal, vegetable-focused family. Photo courtesy Williams-Sonoma.

  • Cheese: Asiago, Gorgonzola, Mozzarella, Parmigiano, Smoked Mozzarella, other Italian cheese
  • Ham: prosciutto, serrano, speck
  • Grilled vegetables: bell pepper, broccoli rabe, radicchio, yellow squash, zucchini
  • Other veggies: arugula, sautéed mushrooms
  • Olive tapenade or sliced olives with herbs
  • Dessert versions: Nutella; or ricotta, orange and chocolate on raisin bread
  •  
    Here are recipes.
     
    Be as creative as you like, with ingredients from other cuisines. We start by thinking by country: French-style, Greek-Style, spanish-style, Russian-style, etc.

    Beets, pickled onions and sour cream (or goat cheese) topped with dill on crunchy toasted bread? Why not!

      

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    TIP OF THE DAY: How To Smoke Fish On A Gas Grill

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    Smoky flavor from a gas grillPhoto courtesy Tony Roma’s.

     

    Mild hardwood chips add a delicious smoky flavor to grilled fish. Altough most commonly added to charcoal grills and grill-smokers, gas grills can easily be employed to produce tasty smoked (and grilled) fish.

    We’ve previously reviewed Savu Smoker Bags, an excellent way to add smoke Smoking Salmon on a Gas Grill

    Who says you need a gigantic smoker to get that great smoked flavor? Chef Bob of Tony Roma’s tells us how to use wood chips to smoke fish on a gas grill.

    Any fish can be smoked, but those that are high in fat are best because they absorb smoke faster and have better texture (note that the fat is heart-healthy, with omega-3 fatty acids).

    Lean fish tend to be dry and tough after smoking, although you can brine them to retain some moisture. Here’s how to brine fish.

     
    High-Fat Fish For Smoking On A Grill

  • Bluefish
  • Salmon: chinook, coho, pink and red/sockeye
  • Rainbow trout
  • Lake whitefish, sablefish, striped mullet
  • Tuna: albacore and bluefin
  •  
    What wood should you select? It depends on the delicacy of the fish and your preference for light versus heavy smoke flavor. Here’s a chart of the flavors imparted by different types of wood.

    In the recipe below, Chef Bob pairs salmon with hickory chips. Alder, apple, cherry and oak all work well for smoking fish.

     

    RECIPE: SMOKY GRILLED SALMON

    Ingredients For 4 Servings

  • 4 salmon fillets, 4-6 ounces each
  • 1 1/2 size aluminum foil pan
  • 1 bag hickory wood chips
  • 1 whole lemon
  • Kosher salt
  • Black pepper
  • Water
  • Aluminum foil
  •  

    trout_-morguefile-RoseVita-MF-230

    Trout, ready for grilling and smoking. Photo by Rose Vita | Morguefile.

     

    Preparation

    1. PREHEAT the grill to 300°F (only preheat one side of the grill). Mix the seasonings in a medium bowl and season both sides of the salmon fillets.

    2. ADD 4-5 cups of wood chips to the pan, fill the pan with water and let the chips soak for 30 minutes. Drain and cover the pan with aluminum foil.

    3. CUT 6-9 holes in the top of the aluminum foil (while the foil covers the pan) to let the smoke escape. Place the pan on the preheated grill.

    4. WAIT 30 minutes; then check to see if the pan is smoking. If not, check your heat setting and wait until smoke appears before adding the fish. Don’t worry if the smoke isn’t billowing: Too much smoke can produce bitterness.

    5. PLACE the fish on the opposite side of the grill and close the lid. Cook the salmon until it is fully smoked and flaky, about 30-35 minutes. The smoke will envelop the fish and give it that delicious smoked flavor.

    Enjoy the flavor…and the aroma while the fish cooks.

      

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    TIP OF THE DAY: Make A Great Cocktail From Scratch

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    Celebrate Bastille Day with a French 75
    cocktail. Photo courtesy Tanqueray.

     

    Today’s tip will help you make a perfect cocktail, with advice from the experts at Cabo Flats.

    Along with the cocktail best practices, we’re rolling in today’s food holiday. Well, it’s sort of a food holiday, since it concerns one of the great culinary countries of the world.

    It’s Bastille Day in France, commemorating the storming of the Bastille on July 14, 1789 that launched the French Revolution. Just as the holiday we call July 4th is formally named Independence day, the official French name for Bastille Day is La Fête Nationale (The National Celebration), and commonly Le Quatorze Juillet (the fourteenth of July).

    Today, make your cocktail something French. First and foremost, we love the Kir and Kir Royale, invented by a mayor of Dijon, France. The Kir Royale recipe, made with sparkling wine, is below.
     
    RECIPE: FRENCH 75 COCKTAIL

    Made from gin, Champagne, lemon juice and sugar, the French 75 is attributed to bartender Harry MacElhone, created in 1915 at the New York Bar in Paris (later called Harry’s New York Bar). Some say it was actually the idea of American officers who frequented the bar.

     
    The drink was said to have such a kick that it felt like being shelled with the powerful French 75mm field gun. The gun was also called a Soixante Quinze (the number 75 in French) and a 75 Cocktail. The latter name was bestowed upon alcoholic cocktail.

    Ingredients Per Cocktail

  • 1.25 ounces gin
  • .5 ounce simple syrup
  • .5 ounce lemon juice
  • Champagne
  • Garnish: lemon peel curl
  • Ice
  •  
    Preparation

    1. SHAKE the ingredients with ice in a cocktail shaker.

    2. STRAIN into a rocks glass or Champagne coupe and top with Champagne. Garnish with lemon peel.

     

    TRICKS TO MAKE THE PERFECT COCKTAIL

    According to the expert mixologists at Cabo Flats, whatever you’re mixing up, you need:

    1. Balance. Balancing the amount of alcohol with bitter taste to sweet taste. Some believe that more alcohol is better, but the taste has to be considered. Correctly measure the alcohol, mixer, and sweetener.

    2. Fresh Juice. Whether its fresh squeezed orange juice, pink grapefruit juice, lemon juice, or lime juice – it is extremely important to use fresh squeezed juice and nothing packaged or pasteurized.

    3. Sweetener. Agave needs to be used with tequila, simple syrup needs to be used for vodka or gin. For brown spirits, according to Cabo Flats, you should use pure cane sugar.

    4. Quality of Alcohol. Some people think you can get away with cheap (low quality) spirits; but they will ruin your drink every time.

    5. Final Touch. The last component of a perfect cocktail is the garnish: foam, fruit, oil, rim, savory garnish (celery, olives, shrimp, etc.). This will have a huge effect on the taste and look of the cocktail.

     

    kir-royale-drinkandcocktail.blogspot-230

    Invented in Dijon, France, Kir and its variations have a base of crème de cassis, blackcurrant liqueur. Photo courtesy Chandon USA.

     

    RECIPE: KIR ROYALE

    There are many variations of the original Kir cocktail. There is also a “cousin” made with Chambord, raspberry liqueur.

    If you have Chambord but not crème de cassis you can substitute it. This creates a Kir Impériale.

    Ingredients For 4 Cocktails

  • 1 bottle crème de cassis
  • 1 bottle Champagne* or other sparkling wine, chilled
  • Optional garnish: blackberries or raspberries on a pick
  •  
    Preparation

    1. PLACE 4 Champagne flutes in the freezer for 15 minutes. Remove and add 1 tablespoon of the liqueur to each flute.

    2. FILL each flute to the top with Champagne and serve immediately. If you want a more fruity flavor, use more liqueur.
     
    *CONSIDER OTHER SPARKLERS. Sparkling wines from other regions are more affordable than Champagne and make more sense in this recipe, given that the strong currant flavors will cover the delicate toastiness of Champagne. Consider Asti and Prosecco from Italy, Cava from Spain, Crémant from France (eight different regions produce it), Espumate from Portugal and Sekt from Germany. Also consider sparklers from Australia, Austria, New Zealand, South Africa, the U.S. and other countries We often use the inexpensive but delightful [yellow tail] from Australia, and especially the rosé [yellow tail] (yes, that’s how the winery spells it!).

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    FOOD FUN: BLT Gazpacho

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    Bright red tomato gazpacho shows off the BLT topping. Photo courtesy Munchery.com.

     

    Like BLTs? Turn the concept into a soup, as Munchery.com did with this tomato gazpacho.

    There are as many recipes for gazpacho as there are people who make them. Each region of Spain has its own preferred style, dating back hundreds of years. And then, there are modern approaches, from mango gazpacho to gazpacho with beer (the recipe iinks are below).

    Here’s the history of gazpacho.

    The recipe below is a thin tomato purée. No chunky vegetables are used, in order that the BLT topping can stand out.

    But you certainly can place the garnish atop a chunky soup recipe (we have more of those at the bottom of this article).

    You can also use the BLT topping on hot tomato soup.

     
    RECIPE: SMOOTH TOMATO GAZPACHO

    Ingredients

  • 1 slice country-style bread, about 1″ thick, crusts removed
  • 2 small cucumbers, peeled, seeded, and chopped*
  • 2 pounds very ripe tomatoes, seeded and coarsely chopped
  • 1 cup water
  • 1 clove garlic, peeled and chopped
  • 2 tablespoons sherry vinegar
  • 1/2 cup extra-virgin olive oil
  • Salt to taste
  • 1 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
  •  
    For The BLT Garnish

  • Tomato gazpacho or tomato soup.
  • Crisp bacon, crumbled or chopped.
  • Baby arugula, representing the lettuce.
  •  
    If you want a BLTA, add some diced avocado. Munchery also added croutons, pickled onions and cubes of boiled potato.
     
    *If the tomatoes aren’t ripe enough or are too pricy, you can substitute 3 cups of tomato juice.

     

    Preparation

    1. SOAK the bread for a half hour in a small bowl, covered in water. Squeeze out the moisture with your hands.

    2. PURÉE the bread, cucumbers, tomatoes, garlic, vinegar, olive oil, and 1 cup of water in a food processor until very smooth.

    3. USE a coarse sieve to strain, pushing the purée through with the back of a wooden spoon. Season to taste with salt.

    4. CHILL the gazpacho in the refrigerator for at least 2 hours. Adjust the seasoning as needed. Serve in individual bowls or glasses, topped with the BLT garnish.
     
    MORE GAZPACHO RECIPES

  • Avocado Gazpacho, topped with shrimp
  • Gazpacho Verde (green gazpacho)
  • White Gazpacho with cucumber, leeks and sour cream
  • White Gazpacho with almonds, garlic and grapes
  • Mango Gazpacho with crème fraîche sorbet
  • Pineapple Gazpacho with chile heat
  • Yellow Bell Pepper Gazpacho
  • Tomato Gazpacho With Beer
  •  

    arugula-bowl-parkseed-230

    Baby arugula substitutes for the lettuce in this BLT garnish. You can also use it instead of iceberg or romaine lettuce on a BLT sandwich.

     

      

    Comments

    TIP OF THE DAY: Make The Best French Fries

    fries-calphalon-fryer-WS-230

    If you love to make French fries, you need a fry basket. Photo courtesy Calphalon.

     

    Today is National French Fry Day, the perfect day to explore how to make the best French fries.

    We contacted our friends at the Idaho Potato Commission, a website with tons of tips and recipes.

    They start by advising you to buy Idaho potatoes, which are branded russet potatoes. In actuality, depending on where potatoes are grown, they will have more or less moisture. Idaho russets have less moisture, which is desirable for crisper fries.

    Here’s how chefs do it—a twice-fried method:

    HOW TO FRY PERFECT FRENCH FRIES

    1. WASH and scrub the potato skins well, and allow to air-dry in a single layer on a sheet pan.

    2. USE a French fry cutter to cut the potatoes into the desired size and shape, leaving the skins on. RINSE thoroughly so the excess starches and sugars are removed.

     
    At this point, you can leave the sliced potatoes covered with water in the fridge up to 24 hours in advance of cooking.

    3. SPIN the potatoes dry with a salad spinner or drain on a drip screen (i.e., cooling rack) before frying.

    4. BLANCH or partially cook the fries to keep the potatoes from oxidizing/darkening, in a 250°F fryer for 2-3 minutes. Remove from the fryer and drain. Allow the fries to cool to room temperature before the final fry. Fries should be bendable. Then, chill in the fridge before the final fry.

    5. FINISH the fries in the fryer at 350°F for 3-4 minutes until golden brown and fully cooked. Remove and drain well. TIP: Fill the fry basket only half full. Better oil circulation results in crisper fries.

    6. After draining on a screen, season with salt. Do not season over the hot oil! Consider seasoning with dried herbs as well—rosemary or thyme, for example—or substituting garlic salt.

     

    THE HISTORY OF FRENCH FRIES

    Potatoes originated in Peru and spread to other parts of Latin America. Fried potatoes—cooking potatoes in fat over a fire—is a practice that’s thousands of years old.

    Potatoes were “discovered” and brought back to Europe by the Spanish conquistadors—where they were uses as hog feed! The French were convinced that potatoes caused leprosy, and French Parliament banned the cultivation of potatoes in 1748.

    A French army medical officer, Antoine-Augustine Parmentier, was forced to eat potatoes as a prisoner of war, and discovered their culinary potential. Through his efforts, in 1772, the Paris Faculty of Medicine finally proclaimed that potatoes were edible for humans—though it took a famine in 1785 for the French to start eating them in earnest.

    In 1802, Thomas Jefferson’s White House chef, Honoré Julien, a Frenchman, prepared “potatoes served in the French manner” for a state dinner. The potatoes were “deep-fried while raw, in small cuttings.” French fries had arrived! By the early 20th century, the term “French fried,” meaning “deep fried,” was being used for other foods as well (onion rings and zucchini sticks, anyone?).

     

    Julienne_Fries_alexia-230ps

    Season your fries with rosemary, thyme or other favorite herb. Photo courtesy Alexia.

     
    DIFFERENT TYPES OF FRENCH FRIES

    Our French Fries Glossary has 27 different types of French fries.

    You can make number 28, by creating your own signature French fry recipe. Here’s how.

      

    Comments

    PRODUCT: Challenge Lactose Free Butter

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    A delicious butter spread that’s lactose free! Photo courtesy Challenge Dairy.

     

    An estimated 30 to 50 million Americans have lactose intolerance, a condition wherein individuals naturally lose the ability to digest lactose—the natural sugar component of milk—as they grow into adulthood.

    In some of the world’s populations, the condition begins in childhood, after weaning. In others, it happens on an individual basis in late middle age or beyond. Still other people never lose their ability to produce lactase, the enzyme that digests lactose.

    And since the inability to digest lactose continues to grow as many people age, our population has millions of contenders discovering their lactose intolerance every year.

    We are one of those people. Having grown up on butter, milk, cheese (cottage cheese, cream cheese, mozzarella and other fresh cheeses and lots of aged cheeses), sour cream, yogurt and ice cream, we suddenly became unable to digest them (or more accurately, they get digested with some unpleasant side effects).

     

    We quickly found lactose-free staples in:

  • Lactaid cottage cheese and ice cream
  • Green Valley cream cheese, sour cream and yogurt
  • Cheddar, the only cheese that is naturally 100% lactose free
  •  
    But what to do for butter?

    While no one has yet marketed a lactose-free bar of butter, Challenge Dairy now has a delicious lactose-free butter spread.

    The California-based maker of butter and cream cheese, representing some 600 dairy farm families, has made life easier for the lactose-intolerant.

    Their lactose-free spreadable butter clarifies the butter, a process that removes the milk solids that contain the lactose (this is the same process used to make clarified butter and ghee). The butter is then blended with canola oil to create a smooth, spreadable butter.

    The result: a buttery spread that has half the calories of regular butter. One tablespoon has 50 calories, 2 grams saturated fat (of 5.5 grams total fat) and 110 milligrams sodium.

    The lactose-free butter is available at retailers nationwide, including Albertsons, BI-LO, Harris Teeter, HEB, Jewel, Lucky’s, Meijer, Safeway, Savemart, Vons and Winn Dixie. A 15-ounce container is $4.49

    Learn more at ChallengeDairy.com.

    See the foods that have hidden lactose, below.

     

    FACTORS THAT IMPACT THE TASTE OF BUTTER

    Why do different brands of butter vary in flavor?

    Several factors are responsible, according to Challenge Dairy.

  • The cows’ diet has an effect on the flavor of the milk. Grass-fed cows, which graze in the pasture, have different diets depending on the season. The grass mix will be different in the spring, summer and fall, when clover, wildflowers and herbs are part of the blend. In the winter, the animals eat silage, grass that is compacted and stored in airtight conditions (as opposed to hay, which is dried first). Penned cows eat feed, a combination of hay, grain, silage and proteins (such as soybean meal), vitamins and minerals.
  • The cream that is used, churned from the butter, can have slightly different acid levels.
  • All butters are pasteurized and churned, but these processes are different among manufacturers, resulting in different flavors and textures.
  •  

    mashed-salmon-230

    Now, enjoy butter mashed potatoes to your heart’s content. Photo courtesy U.S. Potato Commission.

  • Butterfat level can differ slightly by different manufacturers (and by different products in the line, e.g. European butter).
  • The butter could be cultured or made from sour cream instead of sweet cream butter.
  • There can be a difference in the natural flavor that is usually added to unsalted butter (but not all brands—check the ingredients label). This flavoring is a natural milk derivative starter distillate (a distilled flavor made from fermented, cultured milk, similar to that used in the production of sour cream and buttermilk) that is added to the cream prior to churning. It produces flavor compounds that give unsalted butter a more pleasing taste, compensating for the absence of the flavor boost from salt.
  •  
    Check out the different types of butter in our Butter Glossary.
     
    SURPRISING SOURCES OF LACTOSE HIDDEN IN NON-MILK-BASED FOODS

    Some people are just mildly lactose intolerant, others are extremely so (more information). Every person handles it differently. If you think you might be lactose intolerant, a gastroenterologist can give you the test.

    As with sugar and salt, there is “hidden lactose” everywhere.

  • Creamy & Low-Fat Salad Dressings: Lactose gives texture and flavor to many creamy salad dressings. Kraft and Newman’s Own have some lactose-free varieties. Low-fat dressings also can use lactose as a filler.
  • Instant Foods: Coffee, mashed potatoes, oatmeal, soup, other instant foods and powdered drinks can contain lactose, which helps the granules dissolve quickly. Quaker instant oatmeal is milk-free, but check the labels on everything powdered before you buy.
  • Medications: There’s lactose in everything from birth control pills to digestion remedies (that’s ironic, since lactose causes digestive problems in the lactose-intolerant) and quick-dissolve tablets. Lactose is used as a filler or base, improves bioavailability and taste.
  • Processed Grains: Breakfast cereals, breads, cookies, crackers, granola bars, pancake and waffle mixes, and even potato chips can include lactose as a cheap sweetener. Read the label carefully, or look for vegan-labeled products.
  • Processed Meats: Bacon, cold cuts, hot dogs and sausages can contain lactose. Kosher products (including beef, turkey or seitan-based bacon) will be lactose free.
  • Sweetener Tablets: Lactose is used as a bulking agent in sweetening tablets (e.g. Equal Classic Tablets).
  •   

    Comments

    RECIPE: Salmon Tostadas

    Norwegian-Salmon-Tostadas_salmonfromnorway-230

    Nutritionists advise that salmon and other fish make a healthier tostada or taco. Also substitute fat-free Greek yogurt for the sour cream! And substitute corn tortillas and shells for the white flour versions. Photo courtesy Salmon From Norway.

     

    According to Cabo Flats Cantina & Bar, there are 54,000 Mexican restaurants in the U.S., and $39 billion is spent each year on Mexican food.

    You can keep some of that restaurant money in your pocket by making these tasty salmon tostadas at home.

    Simple mesquite-seasoned salmon tostadas are a tasty Tex-Mex meal. You can grill the salmon or cook it on the stove top.

    RECIPE: FRESH SALMON TOSTADAS

    Ingredients For 4 Servings

  • 4 each 5-6 ounce salmon fillets, skin removed
  • 1 small head iceberg lettuce
  • 4 teaspoons mesquite barbeque seasoning
  • 2 tablelspoons canola oil
  • 8 tostada shells
  • 1 can refried black beans
  • 1 cup Mexican cheese blend, shredded
  • 3/4 cup salsa
  • Optional garnish: sour cream (substitute plain Greek yogurt)
  • Optional garnish: fresh cilantro leaves
  • Preparation

    1. SHRED the lettuce.

    2. SPRINKLE mesquite seasoning on each fillet. Heat a sauté pan over medium-high heat, add the canola oil and swirl to coat the bottom of the pan. Carefully place the salmon into the pan, and cook for 2-3 minutes until browned.

    3. TURN over carefully and cook for another 4-6 minutes or to desired temperature.

    4. HEAT the refried beans in a saucepan while the salmon finishes cooking.

    5. ASSEMBLE: Place 3-4 tablespoons of beans on each tostada shell, and place two shells overlapping on each plate. Mound lettuce on top of the beans and sprnkle with the cheese. Place a salmon fillet on top. Garnish with salsa and the optional sour cream and cilantro.
     
    Find more salmon recipes at SalmonFromNorway.com.

     
      

    Comments

    TIP OF THE DAY: 12+ Uses For Flat Beer

    When leftover beer goes flat, there’s no need to toss it. With respect to all of the household and personal care uses, we prefer to consume it. When you add it to recipes, the flatness doesn’t matter at all; it becomes analogous to adding still wine.

    The beer is substituted for all or some of the water (or, in the case of a marinade, another liquid). Here are 12+ uses for flat, leftover beer:

  • Batter: Make beer batter shrimp, chicken, anything battered and fried.
  • Beans: Substitute for water, as in the Mexican recipe Frijoles Borrachos, “drunken beans”.
  • Beer Can Chicken: Set a whole chicken atop a beer can, atop a grill (recipe).
  • Braises: Add to pot roast and other slow-cooked meats like short ribs and pork butt. Check out this Belgian recipe for chicken with beer and prunes or carbonade flamande, a Belgian beef stew.
  • Brats and Franks: Steam them in beer.
  • Bread: Check out recipes for beer bread. There are a number of beer bread mixes, too: Just add the beer!
  •    

    waffled-pancake-pan-nordicware-WS-230

    Who knew: You can add flat beer to pancake and waffle recipes. The slight bitterness is a nice counterpoint to the sweet syrup. The Silver Dollar Waffle Griddle is from Nordicware.

  • Butter: Make “beer butter,” a compound butter used for cooking. There’s a recipe below to use as a bread spread.
  • Cheese Soup: This was a popular breakfast soup in medieval Europe, sometimes poured over yesterday’s bread (or toast). Try it for lunch or dinner (recipe).
  • Honey Beer Sauce: Cook chicken breasts in this tasty sauce.
  • Marinades and Brines: Beer helps to tenderize and adds flavor.
  • Pancakes and Waffles: Replace the water with beer.
  • Sauces: Use beer instead of wine.
  • Seafood: Combine with water to steam clams, mussels, shrimp, etc. Consider adding some Old Bay seasoning.
  •  

    beer-cheese-soup-melissas-230

    Use leftover beer in a hearty cheese soup—a breakfast staple in medieval Europe. Photo courtesy Melissas.com.

     

    RECIPE: HONEY MUSTARD BEER BUTTER

    Ingredients

  • 1 stick/8 tablespoons unsalted butter, softened to room
    temperature
  • 1 tablespoon honey
  • 1 heaping teaspoon Dijon or honey mustard
  • 1 tablespoon beer
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  •  
    Preparation

    1. BEAT the butter in a mixing bowl until very soft and silky, 2 to 3 minutes. Drizzle in the honey and continue mixing until well incorporated.

    2. ADD the mustard, beer and salt. Beat until all ingredients are thoroughly combined. Use immediately or tightly wrap and store in the refrigerator or freezer.

     

    Adapted from a recipe on SoupAddict.com, where it was used with Irish soda bread.

      

    Comments

    RECIPE: Blueberry Sorbet

    July is National Ice Cream Month as well as National Blueberry Month. Why not combine both concepts and make blueberry ice cream?

    Or, lower in calories and lactose free, blueberry sorbet?

    You don’t need an ice cream maker to prepare this two-ingredient blueberry sorbet; just blueberries and apple juice concentrate.

    The recipe, from U.S. Highbush Blueberry Council, couldn’t be easier to make. While you can do it with fresh blueberries in season, it’s just as good with frozen blueberries, which are picked at their peak and flash-frozen.

    The icy and refreshing treat can be enjoyed plain or served with cake, cookies, pies or fruit salad; or turned into a sorbet cocktail or mocktail.

    RECIPE: BLUEBERRY SORBET

    Ingredients For 4 Cups/6 Servings

  • 4 cups fresh or thawed, frozen blueberries
  • 1 can (6 ounces) frozen apple juice concentrate
  • Optional garnish: fresh blueberries
  • Optional garnish: crème fraîche
  •  

    Blueberry-Sorbet-blueberrycouncilorg-230

    Two-ingredient blueberry sorbet. Photo courtesy Blueberry Council.

     

    Preparation

    1. COMBINE the blueberries and apple juice concentrate in the bowl of a food processor or blender. Whirl until liquefied and our into a 11 X 7-inch baking pan. Cover and freeze until firm around the edges, about 2 hours.

    2. BREAK the frozen mixture into pieces with a heavy spoon. Place the pieces into the food processor or blender and whirl until smooth but not completely melted.

    3. SPOON into a 9 X 5-inch loaf pan; cover and freeze until firm. Serve within three days.

    Find more recipes at BlueberryCouncil.org.

      

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