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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 The Nibble

PRODUCT: Tea-rrific, Tea Flavored Ice Cream

tearrific-ice-cream-group-230

Ice cream for tea lovers. Photo courtesy
Tea-rrific Ice Cream.

 

Why a line of tea-flavored ice creams? Because there wasn’t one!

One day, the tea-loving founder of Tea-rrific Ice Cream made a batch of ice cream from Earl Grey teas, and saw the eyes of friends and family light up when they tasted the complex and unexpected flavors.

Soon, a line of special flavors emerged, and now, the biggest challenge is getting retail freezer space in the burgeoning category of artisan ice creams.

The all-natural premium ice cream line uses rBGH/rBST-free cream from local New England farms and is sweetened with either organic evaporated cane juice or locally sourced honey. The base is infused with top-quality blends of loose leaf teas. There are no stabilizers, gums, corn syrup, preservatives or artificial colors and flavors.

The taste is refreshingly light. The recipes err on the side of subtle, and perhaps that’s a good thing: You don’t have to be a tea fan to enjoy these flavors.

We’d have been willing to have more of a wallop of tea intensity, and one of these days, we may just try infusing our own.

 
The Tea-rrific choices include:

  • Chamomile: notes of apple and honey from Egyptian chamomile flowers.
  • Chunky London Mist: Earl Grey tea with a hint of vanilla, semi-sweet Belgian chocolate flakes and buttery roasted pecan chunks. This is London Mist flavor with inclusions, and we prefer it.
  • Ginger Matcha: fresh ginger with matcha green tea—a great combination and the perfect end to an Asian-cuisine dinner.
  • London Mist: Citrussy Earl Grey tea with a hint of vanilla.
  • Masala Chai: Assam black and rooibos teas with sweet aromatic and peppery spices. We turned this into a nifty chai milkshake.
  •  
    There’s a store locator on the company website. Discover more at TearrificIceCream.com.

     
      

    Comments

    RECIPE: Smoked Salmon Potato Salad

    Summer means potato salad, and you can never have too many good potato salad recipes.

    This one, from Tiffany Ludwig of Zabar’s, uses the stores famous smoked salmon to excellent effect. “With capers, dill and smoked salmon,” says Tiffany, “this simple summer dish transforms brunch or lunch into a spectacular meal.”

    Tiffany urges that the key to a great-tasting potato salad is to eat it right away, before refrigerating. Yes, refrigerate any leftovers, but enjoy it first as a fresh dish. You’ll appreciate it even more after you compare the refrigerated version.

    RECIPE: SMOKED SALMON POTATO SALAD

    Ingredients For 6 Servings

  • 2 pounds red potatoes
  • ¼ cup red onion, finely chopped
  • ¼ cup capers
  • ½ cup smoked salmon, chopped
  • 1 teaspoon fresh dill
  • ¼ cup quality mayonnaise
  • Coarse salt for the water (about 1 tablespoon)
  •  

    smoked-salmon-potato-salad-zabars-230r

    Smoked salmon potato salad. Photo courtesy Zabar’s.

     

    Preparation

    1. BOIL a large pot of well salted water. While the water is boiling, wash and dice the potatoes. You can leave the skins on, since they add color and nutrition. Dice into ½ inch cubes, add to the boiling water and cook for about 15 minutes, until the potatoes are fully cooked through and are a little “fluffy” on the outside.

    2. DRAIN the potatoes in a colander. Don’t rinse, or you’ll remove the starch coating that lets other ingredients adhere. Cool to room temperature; don’t refrigerate.

    3. MIX in the mayonnaise to thoroughly coat the potatoes.

    4. ADD the red onion, capers, smoked salmon and dill and stir until evenly mixed. Plate and enjoy.

      

    Comments

    FOOD FUN: Rubik’s Battenberg Cake

    rubiks_battenburg_cake-stasty-230

    Eat the Rubik’s Cube! Photo courtesy
    Stasty.com.

      For those who loved the Mondrian Cake, here’s a another piece of edible art, which celebrates the birthday of Erno Rubik.

    Rubik, born July 13, 1944, is a Hungarian inventor, architect and professor of architecture. But his immortality lies in the 1974 invention of the Rubik’s Cube, one of the mechanical puzzles he loved to create.

    Today he is focusing on video game development and architectural topics, and is still leading Rubik Stúdió in Hungary.

    His Wikipedia bio says that “He is known to be an introvert, barely accessible and hard to contact or to get hold of for autographs.”

    However, just two days after this recipe was posted (on his birthday in 2011) on Stasty.com, Vicky, the blog author and cake creator, received an email from Rubik himself saying that he liked her cake:

    “Thanks for the nice birthday surprise which sweetens the bitterness of passing time.” “I guess the world is really a very small place,” Vicky notes.

     

    WHAT IS A BATTENBERG CAKE?

    The Battenberg cake was created to celebrate the 1884 marriage of Queen Victoria’s granddaughter, Princess Alice, to Prince Louis of Battenberg.

    It is constructed of rectangular pieces of alternatively colored Victoria sponge cake, sandwiched together by jam and held together with walls of marzipan. The construction creates a checkerboard effect.

    Vicky and her co-baker friend decided that different pieces of cake could by tinted the traditional six colors of the Rubik’s cube: blue, green, orange, red, yellow and white. They also used three different cake flavors, deciding that six would create too many conflicting tastes.

    Then, to make the cake “work” like a Rubik’s Cube, they decided to have each slice of the cake reveal a different combination of colored squares. Read the original article to see how they engineered this.

    If you’re as adventurous as Vicki (and Erno Rubik), bake the recipe. It will thrill on anyone’s birthday—not just Rubik’s.

     
      

    Comments

    TIP OF THE DAY: Sea Urchin

    Today’s tip is sea urchin: beyond the sushi bar. It was inspired by a story in this month’s Smithsonian Magazine.

    At the sushi bar, we always order an uni sushi or two. If they were less pricey, we would toss down half a dozen.

    Uni is the Japanese word for sea urchin, an ancient shellfish, found worldwide. In the U.S., sea urchins are harvested in the oceans off California, Florida and Maine. They’re expensive to gather, and the price is passed along.

    More than a few of the world’s sea urchin sites have been overfished. But in the waters off of Norway lie a king’s ransom of sea urchin.

    Evidently, Norwegians are not as fond of sea urchin as we are, and until Roderick Sloan began to develop a trade among Europe’s fine restaurants, they had no market. Once cursed as a pest by lobstermen, they were routinely smashed with hammers and tossed overboard.

    Sloan, a 44-year-old émigré Scot, lives 88 miles north of the Arctic Circle, outside the town of Nordskot (population 55). It’s one of Norway’s darkest, bleakest, most remote coastal villages. He is the only full-time sea urchin diver in Norway, with one employee to tend the boat.

    Sloan dons scuba equipment and swims down to depths of 50 feet, diving among treacherous waves and gutsy squalls. The local species, called Norwegian greens (for the hue of the shell—the binomial name is Strongylocentrotus droebachiensis), are at their prime from November to the end of February (imagine how cold the water is!).

       

    live_uni_nigiri_ILBSea-230

    Sea urchin, fresh from the sea. Photo courtesy I Love Blue Sea.

     

    More than 100,000 tons of the delicacy are consumed a year worldwide. France and Japan are big consumers; the Japanese exchange urchins as gifts during New Year celebrations.

    In the center of the hard shell is a row of five roe or coral (sometimes called tongues), which are the gonads of both males and females. Exotic, briny and grainy, the meat has nuances of iodine and metal and a custardlike, pillowy consistency. Uni is a love-it-or-hate-it food.

    Of the 800 species of sea urchin, some are much more palatable than others. As a sea urchin lover, we are chagrined that the flavor of expensive sushi bar uni can be wildly inconsistent. It is based on gender, season, terroir and even the particular seaweed the animal eats.

    When all the factors are united, uni are celestial. At other times, they are as are as bland and disappointing as a mealy apple.

     

    sea-urchins-open-shell-smithsonian-230

    Sea urchins brought up from the floor of the
    ocean. Photo by Karoline O.A. Pettersen |
    Smithsonian.

     

    HOW TO ENJOY SEA URCHIN

    Here are culinary ideas from around the world for how to enjoy sea urchin:

  • Raw in New Zealand; with a squeeze of lemon in the Mediterranean; and with lemon, onions and olive oil in Chile.
  • In pasta sauce in Italy.
  • In omelets and scrambled eggs, mayonnaise, béchamel and Hollandaise sauces and the boullie (egg foam) for a soufflé in France.
  • As sashimi or sushi, with soy sauce and wasabi, in Japan; or in a donburi (rice bowl) with ikura and shiso leaf.
  •  
    It’s up to the cook to decide how to use them in recipes. Think baked, ceviche, chowder/soup, croquettes, custard, grilled fish, mousse, oyster stew, pasta, sauce and tempura.

    Here’s an interesting surf and turf: raw sea urchin wrapped in roast beef. Just as it sounds, wrap a thin slice of roast beef around a raw sea urchin or two; lay on a bed of boiled spinach and serve with ponzu (a combination of soy sauce, vinegar and citrus juice).

     

    For a delightful hors d’oeuvre or first course, make uni toast: Spread crostini with quality unsalted butter and uni, garnished with scallions and a sprinkling of sea salt.

    Uni burrata combines creamy burrata cheese with with the briny flavor of uni, then sides it with button mushrooms and yuzu for balance.

    Here are some sea urchin recipes.
     
    ABOUT SEA URCHINS

    Sea urchins, sometimes called sea hedgehogs (for their protruding spiny needles) and krakebolle, “crow’s balls,” in Norwegian, are among the earliest known forms of life. The fossil record dates back some 450 million years. The creatures can be found in almost every major marine habitat from the poles to the Equator, and from shallow inlets to ocean depths of more than 17,000 feet.

    Sea urchins “look like squash balls encased in pine thistles” according to Franz Lidz, who wrote the Smithsonian article (you can read it in full here).

    The shell is round and spiny, typically from 1.2 to 3.9 inches in diameter. The colors vary: black, blue, brown, green, olive, purple, red. The animals lack brains.

    Sea urchins have hundreds of adhesive tube feet and move slowly over the sandy sea floor pursuing a diet of kelp. They are members of the botanical class Echinoidea, and are cousins of sand dollars (there are some 950 species of echinoids, and 800 species of sea urchins).

    And the pricey critters will no doubt get pricier. The French and Irish exhausted their resident stocks of sea urchin years ago. In Maine, Nova Scotia and Japan, urchin populations have been drastically reduced by overfishing and disease.

    They are not always welcome: The colonies can be destructive. Off the coasts of California and Tasmania, overfishing of the animal’s natural predators and large-scale change in ocean circulation (believed to be an effect of climate change) have turned vast stretches of the sea floor into moonscape-like “urchin barrens.” The urchins multiply, chew down the kelp and devastate marine ecosystems.

    No doubt, those species are not among the tasty species, or divers would appear to reap the wealth on the ocean floor.

      

    Comments

    PRODUCTS: Fruit & Vegetable Ice Pops

    Now trending in an ice cream case near you: fruit and vegetable ice pops—all natural, dairy free, gluten free, fat free and packed with vitamins A and C. They’re a better for you option for a sit-down snack or on-the-go refreshment on a hot summer day.

    From major producers like Outshine (from Dreyer’s) to mom & pops like Ruby Rockets, recipe developers are combining vegetables and fruits into frozen snacks that support attempts to get kids and others to eat more veggies.

    Are you really getting your daily allotment of vegetables through ice pops?

    Not really. Neither company claims that you can substitute an ice pop for a half serving of vegetables. But there’s an important idea here: If you look for ways to add more fruits and vegetables into your diet, you’ll find them, and they’ll add up (Outshine offers tips below).

    The government recommends 10 one cup servings a day of fruits and veggies (double the portion if it’s leafy greens, halve the portion if it’s dried fruit). Don’t do it for them; do it for you. Here’s the full story from the Harvard School Of Public Health.

       

    ruby-rockets-box-orbit-orange-230

    Targeted to moms who want healthier options for their families, Ruby Rocket’s pops are low calorie, better-for-you options for everyone. Photo courtesy Ruby Rocket’s.

     

    RUBY ROCKETS

    At Ruby Rocket’s, 70% of the veggies and fruits are organic, all are GMO free and there’s no added sugar, leading to a claim of the lowest amount of sugar in any frozen pop (4g in a 1.75-ounce pop). They add an extra boost of probiotics, too. The new line debuts in three flavors:

  • Galaxy Green gets its green on with kiwi, avocado, spinach and lemon, for 35 calories per pop.
  • Orbit Orange combines organic oranges, sweet potatoes, carrots, lemons and strawberries, for 30 calories.
  • Rock-it Red is a blend of beet, carrot, lemon, strawberry and sweet potato, just 25 calories.
  •  
    Just slightly sweet—all from the natural sugar in the fruits and vegetables—and with so few calories per pop, they are truly guilt free. Those accustomed to normal sweetness levels will notice the missing sugar. But, like cutting back on the sugar you add to a cup of coffee, you may find that you’re just as content without it.

    Learn more at RubyRockets.com.

     

    Dreyers-Outshine-Fruit-and-Veggie-Bars-230

    Outshine’s Blueberry Medley includes beet,
    pear, apple and sweet potato. Photo courtesy
    Dreyer’s.

     

    OUTSHINE FRUIT & VEGGIE BARS

    Following Outshine’s successful launch of frozen fruit bars, the new Outshine Fruit & Veggie Bars line blends fruits and vegetables.

    Not surprisingly, this mainstream product is sweetened with added sugar, to the level most customers expect. This raises the calorie count to 60 (14g sugar in a 2.45-ounce bar). The five flavors include:

  • Apples & Greens blends apple, pumpkin, mango, pineapple, kale, spinach and “more”
  • Blueberry Medley has blueberries, beet, pear, apple, sweet potato and “more”
  • Peach Mango Medley mixes peach, mango, pear, sweet potato, carrot and butternut squash
  • Strawberry Rhubarb has strawberry, rhubarb, pear, apple, pumpkin, carrot and “more”
  • Tangerine Carrot unites apple, carrot, pear, tangerine, pumpkin and “more”
  •  

    With the majority of flavors, the vegetable components are not highlighted on the box (perhaps so vegetable-avoiders won’t turn away?).

    The bars contain at least 25% vegetables. The line is certified kosher by OU. Learn more at OutshineSnacks.com.

    MORE WAYS TO GET FRUITS & VEGGIES INTO YOUR DIET

    Even with the endless benefits known to the public, seven out of 10 Americans are failing to meet the daily-recommended serving of fruits and vegetables. Outshine recommends these 5 easy ways to get more fruit and veggies into your diet:

  • Start your first meal off right. Ditch the morning donut for scrambled eggs mixed with onions, peppers, and mushrooms. Or boost your oatmeal or yogurt by stirring berries and bananas.
  • Hold the bread. Add some crunch with a lettuce wrap. Instead of bread, make your next sandwich or burger inside a leafy green. Stack 2 or 3 large, leafy greens such as vibb lettuce, romaine, red lettuce, cabbage, or radicchio, and pile on the fixings.
  • Keep produce top-of-mind. Make fruits and vegetables the easiest and most convenient choice for your next snack. Keep a bowl of fresh fruit on the counter at home or on your desk, keep dried fruit in your car or purse for when you are on the go, and always be prepared by packing pre-cut fruit and veggies into snack-size bags for perfectly-portioned munchies.
  • Get creative with greens. Salads don’t have to be boring with just plain lettuce and dressing. Get inspired and load your salad bowl with at least five different ingredients: spinach, avocado and other fruits, nuts, seeds, etc.
  • Go savory. A plate of raw vegetables can look uninspired. Add life with good for you hummus, salsa or yogurt dip.
  •  
    To these we add: look for ways to substitute vegetables. There are many. Start with:

  • Veggie chips. Trade the potato chips, tortilla chips and pretzels for kale chips or other veggie chips. (Note that nutritionists consider potatoes a starch, not a vegetable).
  • Veggie fondue. Switch the bread for raw and/or cooked vegetable dippers.
  • Salad pizza. Our local pizzeria makes a “salad pizza” with 11 different vegetable toppers (and an optional whole wheat crust).
  • Gratins. Roast or steam veggies,than add a shredded mozzarella or cheddar gratin. Cheese makes [almost] everything taste better.
  • Carrot and zucchini muffins. Make your own, and double the amount of veggies in the batter.
  •  
    You can have your veggies and still have fun, too.
      

    Comments

    RECIPE: Peanut Butter Brownie Ice Cream Sandwiches

    This recipe for peanut butter lovers was contributed by Isabelle Boucher of Crumblog and posted to the recipe section of ILovePeanutButter.com, the website of Peanut Butter & Co.

    She used Peanut Butter & Co.’s Dark Chocolate Dreams peanut butter to make the ice cream, and sandwiched it between two layers of brownie.

    You can also use the homemade chocolate peanut butter ice cream:

  • Between cookies—butter cookies, chocolate chip, graham or peanut butter cookies, or pizzelles.
  • Between two pieces of chocolate, banana or pound loaf, regular or toasted.
  • In a crêpe. Put the ice cream inside cooled crepe fold and put fresh whipped cream and banana slices on top and chocolate shavings.
  • Atop of a Belgian waffle, folded in half with fruit and chocolate syrup on top.
  •  
    Prep time for the ice cream is 15 minutes, total time with freezing is 4 hours and 15 minutes. You can bake your own brownies (recipe below) or buy them.

       

    Chocolate-Peanut-Butter-Brownie-Ice-Cream-Sandwiches-plated-PBandCo-230

    The best thing since the peanut butter cup. Photo by Isabelle Boucher | Crumblog.

     

    RECIPE: CHOCOLATE PEANUT BUTTER BROWNIE ICE CREAM SANDWICHES

    Ingredients For 16 Sandwiches

    For The Ice Cream

  • 3 cups light cream (18% fat), divided
  • 1 cup granulated sugar, divided
  • ½ cup unsweetened cocoa powder
  • Pinch of salt
  • 4 egg yolks
  • ¾ cup Dark Chocolate Dreams peanut butter
  • ½ teaspoon vanilla extract
  •  
    For The Brownies

  • 3 ounces unsweetened chocolate, roughly chopped
  • ½ cup unsalted butter, cut into cubes
  • 1 cup granulated sugar
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • ¼ teaspoon salt
  • 2 large eggs
  • 1/3 cup all-purpose flour
  •  

    dark-chocolate-dreams-230

    Chocolate is one of the delectable flavors
    from Peanut Butter & Co. See the other 11 PB
    flavors
    .

     

    Preparation

    1. MAKE the ice cream. In a medium saucepan over medium-high heat, whisk together 1-1/2 cups cream, 1/2 cup sugar, cocoa powder and salt. Heat until wisps of steam start to rise from the surface, then remove from heat.

    2. WHISK together the egg yolks and remaining 1/2 cup sugar in a large mixing bowl, until smooth. Pour in a ladleful of the warm cream, whisking vigorously to keep the eggs from curdling. Slowly pour in the remainder of the cream, one or two ladlefuls at a time, whisking constantly as you go. Once all of the cream has been incorporated into the eggs…

    3. POUR the mixture back into the saucepan. Cook over medium heat, stirring constantly with a heat-proof spatula and scraping the bottom of the pan, until the custard is thick enough to coat the back of the spatula.

    4. REMOVE from heat and whisk in the peanut butter, vanilla and remaining 1-1/2 cups cream until smooth. Pour the finished custard into a mixing bowl, and cover with plastic wrap, resting the wrap directly on the surface of the custard to prevent a skin from forming. Refrigerate for at least 1 hour, or until thoroughly chilled.

     

    5. FREEZE the ice cream in the ice cream machine, per the manufacturer’s instructions. Scoop into a freezer safe container, and place in the freezer to firm up while you prepare the brownies. (The ice cream can be made up to a week in advance. If you’ve made it ahead of time, let it rest on the counter for about 5 minutes to soften before assembling the ice cream sandwiches.)

    6. BAKE the brownies. Preheat oven to 350°F. Lightly grease an 11″ × 17″ jelly roll pan with cooking spray, and line with parchment paper.

    7. STIR together the chocolate and butter in a small saucepan set over medium heat, until melted and smooth, about 3-4 minutes. Remove from heat.

    8. COMBINE the chocolate mixture in a large mixing bowl with the sugar, vanilla extract and salt; and stir until smooth. Add the eggs one at a time, beating well after each addition, then add the flour and stir until just barely combined. Pour the batter into the prepared pan, and smooth out the top to create a very thin, evenly distributed layer.

    9. BAKE in the preheated oven for about 8-10 minutes, or until the brownies are set and shiny on top, but still slightly undercooked. Remove from oven and set the pan on a wire rack to cool completely, about 30 minutes.

    10. CUT the brownie layer in half lengthwise to create two long, skinny rectangles, and place in the freezer for 10-15 minutes to firm up.

    11. ASSEMBLE the sandwiches: Run a knife along the edge of the pan to loosen the brownies. Carefully lift one of the rectangles out and transfer to a wire rack, leaving the other half on the cookie sheet.

    12. USING the parchment, carefully flip over the brownie layer in the pan, so that it’s now top-side down. Remove the parchment paper.

    13. WORKING as quickly as possible, spread the ice cream in a smooth, even layer onto the brownie in the pan. Carefully place the remaining brownie on top of the ice cream, doing your best to align the two layers. Wrap tightly with plastic wrap, and transfer to the freezer for at least 2-3 hours, or until completely frozen. When ready to serve…

    14. USE a sharp knife to cut into 8 rectangular pieces, then slice each one diagonally to create 16 triangular sandwiches. Serve right away. Wrap any sandwiches you’re not eating immediately in plastic wrap, and store in the freezer until ready to serve or up to 1 month.

    Find more delicious peanut butter recipes at ILovePeanutButter.com.

      

    Comments

    TIP OF THE DAY: Fruit Soup

    You don’t have to turn on the stove or the oven to make this refreshing dessert: fruit soup.

    Made from fresh or dried fruit, served hot or cold, fruit soups are underrepresented on American menus. Yet, they offer variety year-round.

  • Cold soups tend to be made with seasonal fruit and are thus served in warmer weather.
  • Soups made of dried fruits, such as Norwegian fruktsuppe (made of raisins and prunes), can be served hot or cold in any season.
  • Fruit soups can be cream soups or purées with or without the addition of fruit juice, and can include alcohol such as brandy, champagne, Port or wine.
  • Sweet fruit soups can include meat; and in at least one instance, a fruit soup can be completely savory, like \Chinese winter melon soup.
  • While fruit soup can be served for dessert, it also can be a first course or an intermezzo between fish and meat courses.
  •    

    blackberry-gazpacho-driscolls-230sq

    Fruit soup in a footed bowl. Photo courtesy Driscoll’s.

     

    Here’s a no cook light summer dessert dessert recipe from berry king Driscoll’s. Made primarily of blackberries, it adds red wine for a sophisticated layer of flavors (some red wines are often described to have hints of blackberry flavor).

    Prep time is 5 minutes. Serve with a piece of shortbread on the side.

     

    http://www.dreamstime.com/royalty-free-stock-photography-blackberries-image11753307

    Fresh blackberries. Photo © Ninette Luz |
    Dreamstime.

     

    RECIPE: BLACKBERRY FRUIT SOUP

    Ingredients For 4 Servings

  • 2 packages (6 ounces each) blackberries
  • 1 cups dry red wine (Cabernet Sauvignon or Pinot Noir, or substitute a teaspoon of balsamic vinegar)
  • 1/4 cups sugar
  • 4 teaspoons fresh lemon juice, or to taste
  • Salt and fresh ground pepper
  • 1/4 cups sour cream or plain yogurt
  • 1 package (6 ounces) Driscoll’s Raspberries
  • 1 package (6 ounes) Driscoll’s Blueberries
  • Fresh mint for garnish
  • Optional topping: crème fraîche, thin lime slice, mascarpone, sour cream, toasted sliced almonds, vanilla yogurt or frozen yogurt
  • Optional: shortbread or other cookie
  •  

    Preparation

    1. PURÉE blackberries, wine and sugar in blender or food processor until smooth. Press through a strainer to remove the seeds. Discard solids.

    2. STIR in lemon juice; season lightly with salt and pepper. Cover and chill several hours or overnight.

    3. LADLE soup into chilled bowls, footed glasses or wine goblets. Drizzle or spoon sour cream on top, and scatter with raspberries and blueberries.

    4. GARNISH each serving with a mint sprig or coarsely chopped mint.
     
    MORE FRUIT SOUP RECIPES

  • Chilled Papaya and Watermelon Soup Recipe
  • Chilled Raspberry Yogurt Soup Recipe
  • Diet Fruit Soup Recipe
  • Simple Fruit Soup Recipe
  •   

    Comments

    RECIPE: Blackberry Mojito

    Enhance the celebration of National Mojito Day, July 11th.

    There’s enough red, white and blue here for Independence Day; but take advantage of summer’s lush blackberries to whip them up all season long.

    The Mojito (pronounced moe-hee-toe) is Cuba’s most famous cocktail. This variation adds fresh fruit to the original recipe.

    It is important that the blackberries and mint are gently muddled—never crushed—to release their flavors but not release harsh or bitter tannins into the beverage. A wooden spoon or a firm silicone spatula can be used in place of a muddler.

    RECIPE: BLACKBERRY MOJITO

    Ingredients For 2 Drinks

  • 12 blackberries
  • 12 large mint leaves
  • 4 teaspoons sugar
  • 1 tablespoon fresh lemon juice
  • 1 tablespoon fresh lime juice
  • 1/2 cup seltzer water
  • 1/4 cups vodka or rum
  • 6 to 8 ice cubes
  • Garnish: fresh blackberry and lime wedge
  •    

    blackberry-mojito-driscolls-230

    Beautiful and delicious: a Blackberry Mojito. Photo courtesy Driscoll’s.

     

     

    http://www.dreamstime.com/stock-photography-ripe-blackberries-bowl-food-close-up-image33432102

    A bodacious bowl of blackberries. Photo ©
    Olha Afanasieva | Dreamstime.

     

    Preparation

    1. MUDDLE blackberries, mint leaves, sugar, lemon juice and lime juice in a tall glass until berries are mostly crushed.

    2. ADD seltzer, vodka, and ice. Stir well and serve.

     
    WHAT’S A MOJITO?

    The mojito (mo-HEE-toe) is a quintessential Cuban cocktail. The name derives from the African voodoo term mojo, to cast a small spell.

    According to Bacardi Rum, the drink can be traced to 1586, when Sir Francis Drake and his pirates unsuccessfully attempted to sack Havana for its gold. His associate, Richard Drake, was said to have invented a Mojito-like cocktail known as El Draque that was made with aguardiente, a crude forerunner of rum, sugar, lime and mint.

    Around the mid-1800s, when the Bacardi Company was established, rum was substituted and the cocktail became known as a Mojito. Here’s the original Mojito recipe.

    Always popular in Cuba, the drink made a short journey to Key West, and then into American cocktail society. Under the radar for many years as wine apéritifs topped cocktails in popularity, the Mojito has enjoyed a renaissance in the last 20 years thanks to the growing popularity of Latin American cuisine.

     
    MORE MOJITO RECIPES

  • Beet Mojito Recipe
  • Cranberry Mojito Recipe
  • Pomegranate Mojito Recipe
  • Strawberry Mojito and Coconut Mojito Recipes
  •   

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    FOOD HOLIDAY: Celebrate National Mojito Day

    July 11th is National Mojito Day, and the Hard Rock Cafe is mixing up a storm. They sent us three recipes.

    The classic Mojito is a blend of white rum, club soda, sugar/simple syrup, lime juice, mint leaves and ice. To vary the recipe, mixologists switch out the drink’s original muddled mint flavor with coconut, strawberries or other fruits.

    RECIPE: STRAWBERRY MOJITO

    Ingredients For 1 Drink

  • 1 ounce/3 tablespoons strawberry purée (purée fresh or frozen berries in food processor)
  • 8-10 mint leaves
  • 10 lime cubes*
  • 2 ounces Bacardi Dragonberry Rum†
  • Club soda
  • Garnish: mint sprig, strawberry
  •  
    Preparation

    1. MUDDLE strawberry purée, mint leaves and lime cubes well in a shaker.

    2. ADD rum, pineapple juice and ice and shake with ice.

       

    mojitos-varied-hardrockcafe-230

    Strawberry and classic Mojitos. Photo courtesy Hard Rock Cafe.

     
    3. STRAIN into a Collins glass with optional ice; top with club soda. Garnish with a mint sprig and a notched strawberry.
     
    RECIPE: PINEAPPLE COCONUT MOJITO

    Ingredients For 1 Drink

  • 1 ounce/3 tablespoons Piña Colada mix
  • 4 pineapple chunks
  • 10 lime cubes*
  • 2 ounces Bacardi Coconut Rum
  • ½ ounce pineapple juice
  • Ice
  • Club soda
  • Garnish: mint sprig, toasted coconut
  •  
    *Cut each wedge of fresh lime into three “cubes.” This helps with the muddling.

    †Baccardi Dragonberry rum is flavored with strawberries and dragon fruit. Dragon fruit doesn’t have a lot of flavor per se, but it does enable a more interesting name than simply “strawberry rum.”

     

    MagicalMysteryMojito-cucumber-hardrockcafe-230

    Magical Mystery Mojito. The mystery: How
    can a gin-based drink be called a Mojito?
    Photo courtesy Hard Rock Cafe.

     

     
    Preparation

    1. MUDDLE colada mix, pineapple and lime cubes well in a shaker.

    2. ADD rum, pineapple juice and ice and shake with ice.

    3. STRAIN into a Collins glass with optional ice; top with club soda. Garnish with a mint sprig and a spoonful of toasted coconut.
     
    RECIPE: MAGICAL MYSTERY MOJITO

    We’re not sure why the Hard Rock Cafe calls this gin-based drink a Mojito. Gin does not a Mojito make, so don’t be confused: This is a teaching moment. We love the combination of gin, cucumber and elderflower liqueur. With another name, this is a tasty cocktail. (Our favorite use: elderflower liqueur and sparkling wine are a heavenly combination.)

    Ingredients For 1 Drink

  • ¾ ounce Monin Cucumber Syrup
  • 8-10 mint leaves
  • 1½ ounce Hendrick’s Gin
  • ½ ounce St. Germaine Elderflower Liqueur
  • 1 ounce fresh lime juice
  • Club soda
  • Ice
  • Garnish: cucumber spear and mint sprig
  •  

     
    ‡The cucumber is a fruit native to India; it spread to Europe during Roman times. Cucumber juice is used in traditional Mediterranean and Indian beverages for its cooling effect. Monin Cucumber Syrup can be added to sweet or savory teas, lemonades, cocktails and mocktails.

     
    Preparation

    1. MUDDLE the cucumber syrup and mint leaves well in a shaker.

    2. ADD gin, liqueur and lime juice and shake with ice.

    3. STRAIN into a Collins glass with optional ice; top with club soda. Garnish with a mint sprig and cucumber spear.

     
    MOJITO HISTORY

    The mojito (mo-HEE-toe) is a quintessential Cuban cocktail. The name derives from the African voodoo term mojo, to cast a small spell.

    According to Bacardi Rum, the drink can be traced to 1586, when Sir Francis Drake and his pirates unsuccessfully attempted to sack Havana for its gold. His associate, Richard Drake, was said to have invented a Mojito-like cocktail known as El Draque that was made with aguardiente, a crude forerunner of rum, sugar, lime and mint.

    Around the mid-1800s, when the Bacardi Company was established, rum was substituted and the cocktail became known as a Mojito. Here’s the original Mojito recipe.

      

    Comments

    PRODUCT: How To Enjoy Guava

    As we did an online search for “guava” recently, we were surprised to find that “What color is guava?” scored 2,900 searches last month. There’s obviously an interest in guava. But have you ever tried one?

    Guava, also known as guayaba (the Spanish name) and Bangkok apple, is a round to oval shaped subtropical fruit that is actually classified as a berry.

    Guava is native to Mexico, Central America and northern South America, but is now cultivated in tropic and subtropic belts around the world.

    The skin of the immature fruit is bright green in color, but becomes yellowish green, maroon or yellow when ripe. The flesh is creamy white or rosy pink, depending on the variety. The taste is reminiscent of a cross between an Asian pear and a crab apple: refreshing, fruity, mildly sweet and tart. The texture is firm and crisp, like an Asian pear.

    Guava can be eaten fresh, used in desserts or for nectar/juice, preserves or sauces. A guava contains about four times the amount of vitamin C as an orange.

       

    GUAVA-baldorfood-230

    Some guava varieties have white flesh, others have rosy flesh. Photo courtesy Baldor Food.

     
    Some varieties have an edible rind and small seeds which are also edible. When ripe, the exotic aroma is alluring. One bite will transport you to the tropics!

    Guavas are ripe when the aroma wafts up from the fruit: You can smell it, sweet and musky, without putting it to your nose. Ripe guavas have a two week shelf life if refrigerated, or about a week if left at room temperature.

     

    guava_cake_kuki-s-cookbook-230

    Guava cake, made with guava nectar. Photo courtesy My Recipe Magic. Here’s the recipe.

     

    WAYS TO SERVE GUAVA

    The first way to test the waters could be with a simple box of guava nectar. Ceres, Goya, Hero, Jumex, Kern’s and other brands are available in many food stores.

    You can drink the nectar or use it in recipes: baking, sauces, smoothies, etc.

    If you’re keen on the guava flavor, the next step is to buy a fresh guava and let it ripen. Use it in everyday recipes:

  • Barbecue sauce and salsa (replace other fruit with guava)
  • Cocktails and mocktails
  • Crêpes
  • Dip (mix equal parts of guava preserves and mayonnaise as a dip with shrimp, chicken fingers or crudites)
  • Fruit tarts, bars, fruit breads, etc.(replace peaches with guava in most recipes)
  • Glaze for chicken and pork
  • Sauce: a sweet sauce on cheesecake, ice cream, French toast and pancakes
  • Smoothies and shakes
  • Sorbet and ice cream
  •  
    Here are dozens of recipes from Emeril Lagasse and other Food Network chefs, who use guava in everything from grilled fish to pound cake.

    And here’s an easy savory sauce for grilled proteins from Melissa’s chef Ida Rodriguez.

    RECIPE: SAVORY GUAVA SAUCE

    Ingredients

  • 6 ripe guavas
  • 2 tablespoons vegetable oil
  • 1 small onion finely chopped
  • 1/2 cup vegetable stock
  • 2 teaspoons hot pepper sauce
  •  
    Preparation

    1. CUT each guava in half. Scoop out the pulp and place in a bowl.

    2. HEAT oil in a suacepan and sauté onions until they are soft and translucent. Stir in the remaining ingredients. Cook, stirring constantly, until the sauce thickens.

    By the way, guava is delicious with cream cheese. In our youth, our mom had a passion for cream cheese sandwiches with guava preserves. We always joined in.

      

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