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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 Recipes

TIP OF THE DAY: Blackberry Cheesecake

In the U.S. Blackberries typically peak during June in the South, and in July in the North. Crops are ready at various times of the month depending on which part of the state you are located. In order to produce good local Blackberries, producers depend on ideal spring and early summer weather conditions.

In this recipe from Driscoll’s, a deep purple blackberry purée spiked with blackberry liqueur dresses up a creamy cheesecake with a chocolate wafer cookie crust.

Today’s the perfect day to bake it: July 30th is National Cheesecake Day (see all the food holidays).

Prep time is 20 minutes plus cooling, cook time is 50 minutes plus cooling.

Don’t like blackberries? Can’t find any? Use another berry.

RECIPE: SWIRLED BLACKBERRY CHEESECAKE

Ingredients For 16 Servings
 
For The Crust

  • 3 cups chocolate wafer cookie crumbs (about 60 cookies)
  • 9 tablespoons unsalted butter, melted
  •    

    blackberry-cheesecake-driscolls-230r

    Celebrate National Cheesecakde Day. Photo courtesy Driscoll’s.

     
    For The Filling and Topping

  • 2 cups blackberries, divided
  • 1 tablespoon blackberry liqueur or 1 tablespoon vanilla extract
  • 1 cup plus 2 teaspoons sugar
  • 3 packages (8 ounces each) cream cheese at room temperature
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 3 large eggs
  • 1/2 cups sour cream
  • Garnish: mint leaves
  •  

    http://www.dreamstime.com/royalty-free-stock-image-blackberries-basket-image26804436

    In the U.S., blackberry season peaks in July.
    Photo © Pretoperola | Dreamstime.

     

    Preparation

    1. PREHEAT oven to 350°F. Combine chocolate wafer crumbs and melted butter in a medium bowl. Press into and up sides of 9-inch non-stick springform pan (if pan is not nonstick, brush first with melted butter). Bake about 14 minutes or until firm. Let cool completely. Reduce oven temperature to 300°F.

    2. MAKE the filling. Purée 1 cup blackberries in a blender or food processor and strain. Discard seeds. You should have about 1/3 cup purée. Stir in blackberry liqueur and 2 teaspoons sugar. Set aside until ready to use.

    3. MIX cream cheese and remaining 1 cup sugar in bowl of an electric mixer on low speed until blended. Add vanilla. Add eggs, one at a time, on low speed. Add sour cream and mix until blended. Spoon half batter into cooled crust.

    4. DROP half of the blackberry purée mixture into batter, one teaspoon at a time. Swirl into filling using a toothpick or wooden skewer. Repeat with remaining batter and blackberry purée mixture.

     

    5. BAKE about 50 minutes or until edges are just set and center jiggles slightly. Turn oven off and prop the door ajar with the handle of a wooden spoon. Let cool in oven for 1 hour. Remove from oven and cool completely. Place in refrigerator and chill until cold throughout, 4 to 6 hours or overnight.

    6. SERVE: Make a pile of the remaining blackberries on top of cheesecake and garnish with mint leaves.

     
    BLACKBERRY TIPS

  • Select plump, firm, fully black berries. Blackberries do not ripen off the vine; unripe berries will not ripen once picked.
  • Buy only what you need. Like all fresh berries, blackberries quickly mold when left at room temperature, and only last a couple of days in the refrigerator.
  • If you have more than you can use, you can easily freeze berries. Just wash, cut the hulls off and pop them into a freezer bag, removing as much air as possible.
  • Buy only what you need. Like all fresh berries, blackberries quickly mold when left at room temperature, and only last a couple of days in the refrigerator.
  • If you have more than you can use, you can easily freeze berries. Just wash, cut the hulls off and pop them into a freezer bag, removing as much air as possible.
  • One quart equals 1-1/2 pounds of fresh berries.
  • One cup of blackberries has just 62 calories, and is high in antioxidants.
  •   

    Comments

    TIP OF THE DAY: Fresh Fruit & Toast, a.k.a. Breakfast Tartines

    Many people spread jam on their toast. But in the summer season, why not use fresh berries instead?

    Pair those berries with your favorite dairy spread: cottage cheese, cream cheese, crème fraîche, fromage blanc, fromage frais/quark, goat cheese, mascarpone, sour cream, yogurt.

    In France, these would be called tartines: open-face sandwiches.

    You don’t have to toast the bread. Toast adds crunch and texture, but if fresh-baked bread is calling to you, enjoy it straight from the loaf.

    You can also enjoy these tartines as a snack. They’re just right for a mid-afternoon tea break.

    RECIPE: FRUIT TOAST / BREAKFAST TARTINES

    Ingredients

  • Fruit: berries, mango or other soft fruit
  • Bread of choice
  • Dairy spread
  • Optional garnish: fresh or dried herbs or other seasonings
  •    

    strawberry-toast-vermontcreamery-230

    Who needs jam when you have fresh fruit? Photo courtesy Vermont Creamery.

     

    radish-cheese-spread-latartinegourmande-c--230

    Not a fruit fan? Use vegetables; here, sliced
    radishes and fresh-snipped chives atop
    Greek yogurt. Photo courtesy La Tartine
    Gourmande
    .

      Preparation

    1. Choose some delicious bread: date nut bread, Irish soda bread, multigrain, peasant bread, pumpernickel, raisin bread, rye, sourdough, spelt, whole grain or other bread with great flavor and texture.

    You can also use crispbread, like Wasa. Mild breads like challah, English muffins and white bread are best left to another occasion. See the different types of bread.

    2. Pick your dairy product: cottage cheese, cream cheese, crème fraîche, goat cheese, Greek yogurt, mascarpone, sour cream, quark or other spreadable dairy.

    3. Pick your fruit: berries, dates, figs, mandarin or orange segments, mango and sliced stone fruits (apricots, nectarines, peaches, plums) are our favorites.

    4. Toast the bread (or not); spread with the dairy, top with the fresh fruit and enjoy. If you need more sweetness, drizzle with honey or cinnamon sugar.

     

    VARIATIONS

  • Herbs and spices. Sprinkle with a chiffonade of basil, chili flakes, cinnamon, ground black pepper or other favorite accents.
  • Veggies. Top with vegetables instead of fruit. We like grated carrots (and raisins!), tomatoes* with fresh herbs, radishes or shaved zucchini. With vegetable tartines, you can use other herbs such as cilantro, dill, oregano, parsley.
  •  
    *Yes, tomatoes are a fruit, but they are eaten a vegetable. Here’s why the tomato is fruit, not veggie.

      

    Comments

    FOOD FUN: Ice Cream Sandwich Sundae

    We found this “sundae” on the Smucker’s Facebook page.

    Maybe you want a more formal dessert to bring to the table. Or maybe you just want to have fun. Either way:

    1. CUT the ice cream sandwich at angles and place in a fancy dish.

    2. GARNISH with chocolate sauce, whipped cream, berries, sprinkles, candies (M&Ms, Reese’s Pieces, chocolate chunks), whatever.

    3. ENJOY the experience.

    Want to create an ice cream “mixed grill?” Add a scoop to the center of the “sundae.”

     

    ice-cream-sandwich-sundae-smuckersFB-230

    Turn a simple ice cream sandwich into a fancy sundae. Photo courtesy Smucker’s | FB.

     

      

    Comments

    TIP OF THE DAY: Make Fruit Punch

    fruit-punch-davidvenableQVC-230

    A recipe for summer: fruit punch. Photo
    courtesy QVC.

     

    Have you made a bowl of fruit punch yet this summer? Our mom never planned a cookout without punch. Her recipe: equal parts of grape juice, lemonade and orange juice, from frozen concentrate.

    Among the hundreds and thousands of punch recipes out there, here’s one from chef David Venable of QVC. He adds a bit of fizz with lemon-lime soda.

    The frozen fruit in the recipe offsets some of the ice so the punch doesn’t dilute. Another anti-dilution tip: Freeze some juice into “ice cubes.” Finally, consider the drink dispenser below, which has a central core to hold ice cubes apart from the punch. The cubes melt into the core and can easily be refreshed.

    For adults, you can keep a bottle of vodka, gin or tequila next to the punch.

    Here are 10 punch making tips from THE NIBBLE.

     
    RECIPE: BASIC FRUIT PUNCH

    Ingredients For 12-14 Servings

  • 2 cups cranberry juice
  • 3 cups pineapple juice
  • 2 cups orange juice
  • 1/4 cup lemon juice
  • 1/3 cup grenadine syrup*
  • 1 (1-liter) bottle lemon-lime soda, chilled
  • 16 ounces frozen strawberries
  • 16 ounces frozen peach slices
  •  
    *Here’s a recipe for homemade grenadine.

     

    Preparation

    1. COMBINE all of the juices and the syrup into a large pitcher and place into the refrigerator. Chill for at least 2 hours to allow the flavors to blend. Just before serving…

    2. POUR the fruit juice mixture into a large punch bowl (or a drink dispenser as shown in the photo). Add the lemon-lime soda, frozen strawberries, and peaches. If desired, serve the drink over ice cubes.

     
    MORE PUNCH RECIPES

  • Frozen Margarita Punch Recipe
  • Saké Punch Recipe
  • Tea Punch Recipe
  •  
    THE NEW PUNCH BOWL: A SPIGOT DISPENSER

    Forget the punch bowls of yore. For entertaining, this plastic beverage dispenser with spigot (see photo) is the neater option for pouring. Outdoors, it keeps the bugs out of the punch bowl.

    The model in the photo has a center ice core—a plastic insert for ice that doesn’t melt into the punch. Learn more about it on Amazon.com.

     

    fruit-punch-spigot-dispenser-budeez-amz-230

    The new punch bowl: This affordable plastic beverage dispenser has a central core to hold ice, so the punch stays cold without dilution. Get it on Amazon.com.

     

      

    Comments

    RECIPE: Edamame & Corn Salad

    SONY DSC

    Edamame and corn salad. Photo courtesy
    CitronLimette.com.

     

    Here’s a fusion recipe: Corn is native to America, soybeans are native to Japan. Here, they marry in a sprightly oregano vinaigrette—oregano being native to the Mediterranean region and the Middle East.

    You can make this recipe with frozen or canned corn, but the idea here is to head to the farm stand and buy fresh corn. Save the canned and frozen options for the rest of the year.

    Corn is a whole grain, and edamame, fresh green soybeans, are high in protein and fiber. You can find them in the frozen section of supermarkets. Buy them shelled to save time.

    Prep time is 20 minutes, cook time is 5 minutes.

    RECIPE: EDAMAME & CORN SALAD

    Ingredients For 10 2/3 Cup Servings

  • 1 package (16 ounces) frozen shelled edamame
  • 3 ears fresh corn, cooked and kernels cut from cob (2 cups)
  • 1 medium red bell pepper, coarsely chopped
  • 4 green onions, thinly sliced (1/2 cup)
  • 1/4 cup chopped fresh parsley
  • Optional: diced tomatoes
  • Optional: 1/4 teaspoon crushed red pepper
  •  

    For The Oregano Vinaigrette

  • 1/4 cup olive oil
  • 1/4 cup cider vinegar
  • 1 tablespoon oregano leaves
  • 1 teaspoon garlic powder
  • 1 teaspoon sea salt
  • 1/4 teaspoon black pepper
  •  

    Preparation

    1. BRING 2 quarts water to boil in medium saucepan on high heat. Add edamame; cook 4 minutes or until edamame are bright green and tender. Drain and rinse under cold water.

    2. MAKE the vinaigrette. Mix all ingredients in large bowl until well blended.

    3. ADD the edamame, corn, red bell pepper, green onions and parsley; toss well to coat. Cover and refrigerate at least 1 hour to blend flavors. Toss before serving.
     
    Variations

    Enjoy this recipe as a side dish. We also used it to top burgers and franks. The second time we made it, we added a bit of crushed red pepper heat.

    You can use it as the base of a luncheon salad by adding cubed proteins (chicken, grilled tofu, ham, etc.) We cut up a leftover pork chop.
     
      

    Comments

    TIP OF THE DAY: Olive Oil Cake

    Our first encounter with olive oil cake came at a trattoria in our neighborhood. It sounded strange to us: We were raised in a butter culture, with a palate trained to recognize buttery goodness over margarine and cake mixes made with salad oil.

    But, this olive oil and basil cake (also made by the restaurant in an olive oil and rosemary version) was love at first bite. The extra virgin olive oil—not canola or corn oil—donated wonderful flavor. And while cake isn’t exactly a good-for-you food, heart-healthy olive oil instead of cholesterol-laden butter was an excuse to have another piece. (Note, however, that this particular recipe does include some butter.)

    Use a fruity EVOO, not a peppery or grassy one. Fruity means that it tastes olive-y (see the different flavors of olive oil).

    You can make the tangerine marmalade to top the cake, enjoy the cake plain, or serve with berries and a dab of mascarpone or crème fraîche. By all means, add a chiffonade of fresh basil.

    The nine-inch cake serves eight.

    This recipe, by Sarah Copeland, is from The Newlywed Cookbook.

    RECIPE: OLIVE OIL CAKE

    Ingredients

  • 4 large eggs
  • 3/4 cup/150 g sugar
  • 2/3 cup/165 ml extra-virgin olive oil
  • 1/3 cup/75 ml melted unsalted butter
  •    

    olive-oil-cake-newlywedcookbook-230

    It’s not hard to make this delicious olive oil cake. Photo courtesy Chronicle Books.

  • Finely grated zest and freshly squeezed juice of 1 tangerine, orange, or lemon
  • 1-1/2 cups/175 g all-purpose/plain flour
  • 1 tablespoon baking powder
  • 3/4 teaspoon fine sea salt or iodized salt
  •  
    For The Tangerine Marmalade

  • 4 large tangerines, Minneolas, lemons, Meyer lemons or Temple oranges, or a mix (about 1-3/4 lbs/800 g)
  • 1 cup/200 g sugar
  •  
    For The Garnish

  • Crème fraîche or whipped cream/double cream
  •  

    bottle-with-tree-flavoryourlife-230

    Who knew: Olive oil tastes just as good as
    butter in certain cakes.FlavorYourLife.com.

     

    Preparation

    1. PREHEAT the oven to 325°F/165°C/gas 3. Lightly butter a 9-inch/23-cm springform pan with a removable bottom.

    2. COMBINE the eggs and sugar in a large bowl. Beat with an electric mixer on high speed until the eggs are thick and pale yellow, about 3 minutes. Drizzle in the olive oil and melted butter and continue to beat. Fold in the citrus zest and juice.

    3. WHISK together the flour, baking powder, and salt in a separate bowl. Add the dry ingredients gradually to the egg mixture and stir until evenly combined, scraping down the sides of the bowl with a rubber spatula to make sure there are no dry bits at the bottom.

    4. POUR the batter into the prepared pan. Bake until the top is lightly brown, and a skewer inserted into the center comes out clean, 40 to 45 minutes, rotating once during baking to make sure it cooks evenly. Cool the cake on a wire rack for about 10 minutes. When cool enough to handle, remove the pan sides and cool the cake completely on the rack.

     

    5. MAKE the marmalade: Scrub and dry the tangerines and trim off their tops and bottoms. Slice 2 of them as thinly a possible while still keeping their shape, about 1/8 to 1/4 inch (3 to 6 mm) thick, discarding the seeds as they appear. Place the tangerine slices in a small pot with a heavy bottom. Juice the remaining 2 tangerines (you should have a scant cup/240 ml of juice) and pour the juice over the sliced fruit. Set aside for 20 minutes.

    6. COOK the fruit over medium-high heat until the liquid comes to a boil. Decrease the heat slightly and simmer until the tangerine peel is soft, about 20 minutes. Don’t stir: It will destroy the pretty round shape of the citrus.

    7. ADD the sugar and continue cooking until the sugar is dissolved. Cook until thickened and the juice has gelled slightly and is syrupy, about 20 minutes. Remove from the heat and let it cool to room temperature.

    8. ARRANGE the candied citrus slices over the top of the cake, overlapping to make beautiful jeweled tiles of fruit. Drizzle some of the citrus syrup over the slices and allow it to drip down the sides of the cake. Slice and serve with crème fraîche or whipped cream/double cream.

      

    Comments

    PRODUCT: Tiger Figs

    What to look for in farmers’ markets and specialty produce stores: striped tiger figs. Or, buy them from Melissas.com.

    The Tiger Fig (also called Tiger Stripe fig and Candy Stripe fig) is prized as one of the most flavorful varieties in the marketplace. It is a light yellow, small to medium, pear-shaped fig with unique dark green stripes and crimson red interior fruit. It was bred in 1668, probably from a mutation.

    When fully ripe the fruit has a high sugar content and rich, jam-like texture and consistency. This taste yields a hint of strawberry or raspberry jam.

    You can eat it out of hand, dry it or make preserves. But something this special looking deserves to be showcased as a dessert or cheese course.

  • Serve with a frisée salad.
  • Pair with cheeses—everything from fresh goat cheese to your favorite strong cheeses.
  •    

    striped-tiger-figs-melissas-230

    Sweet tiger figs. Photo courtesy Melissas.com.

  • Make a light compote to top ice cream or cheesecake (recipe below).
  • Bake a delicious fig tart.
  • Cook with roast chicken or pork.
  • Slice onto a cream cheese or goat cheese sandwich on multigrain or raisin bread.
  •  

    fresh fig and parma ham salad

    Figs and frisée salad. Photo courtesy SXC.

     

    Have a green thumb? Live in the right climate (zones 5-9)? Plant your own tiger fig trees.

    FIG FACTS

    Figs do not ripen off the tree, so buy those that are soft to the touch. The skin around stem should have begun to twist and wrinkle.

    Along with olives and grapes, figs are believed to be among the first fruits cultivated by man. Native to Western Asia (the Middle East and the Near East), Ficus carica has been cultivated for more than 5,000 years.

    In order to develop flavor and sweetness, the fruit requires a long, warm season where temperatures regularly exceed 95°F. Figs, including the turkey fig, are grown in southern California. Turkey leads the world in fig production.

     

    RECIPE: FRESH FIG COMPOTE

    If the figs are very sweet, you may need only a scant amount of sweetener. You can use the compote as a bread spread and a condiment with sweet or savory foods.

    Ingredients For 2/3 Cup

  • 1 pound fresh figs
  • 1 to 6 tablespoons sugar or honey (or half as much agave)
  • 1/2 cup water
  • 1/4 to 1/2 teaspoon cinnamon
  •  
    Preparation

    1. REMOVE the stems from cleaned figs and cut into quarters. Place figs, sweetener, water and cinnamon in a small saucepan over low heat.

    2. COOK for 30 minutes, stirring occasionally. Remove from heat and stir in butter.

    3. PULSE, using an immersion blender or food processor, until desired consistency is reached. Store in an airtight container in the fridge.

      

    Comments

    FOOD FUN: Italian Hot Dogs

    mozzarella-pesto-turkey-dog-jennieo-230

    Hot dogs, Italian style. Photo courtesy
    Jennie-O.

      What do you like on your hot dog? Pickle relish and onions? Sauerkraut? Chili?

    How about marinara sauce, mozzarella cheese and pesto?

    That’s the suggestion from Jennie-O, maker of turkey franks.

    Prep time is under 15 minutes, total time is 30 minutes.

    RECIPE: ITALIAN HOT DOGS

    Ingredients For 4 Servings

  • 4 turkey franks
  • 4 hot dog buns, split
  • ½ cup marinara sauce
  • ½ ball (8 ounces) fresh mozzarella cheese, torn
  • ½ cup roasted red bell peppers strips
  • 1/3 cup basil pesto
  •  

    Preparation

    1. PREPARE grill for medium heat. Grill franks according to package direction.

    2. GRILL buns, cut side down, until golden brown. Spread inside buns with marinara sauce. Add mozzarella and bell peppers. Place on grill, close lid.

    3. GRILL 2 minutes or until cheese is melted. Remove from grill. Add franks. Top with pesto.
     
    Perhaps you should serve these with a glass of Chianti instead of a beer?
     
    MORE HOT DOG RECIPES

  • Gourmet Hot Dog Recipes, Part 1
  • Gourmet Hot Dog Recipes, Part 2
  • Bacon Cheese Hot Dogs Recipe
  •  
      

    Comments

    RECIPE: Parmesan Zucchini Crisps

    When we look at zucchini prices in the winter months, we think ahead to the summer months and all the zucchini dishes we’re going to make.

    This weekend, we’re serve these zucchini crisps with Prosecco, although they go with any wine, beer or cocktail and make a fine side dish or snack-in-front-of-the-TV.

    They’re baked, not fried; and combine the best aspects of cheese and salty snacks in the form of a serving of green vegetables. Yes, it’s another way to trick the veg-resistant into eating more veggies!

    The zucchini crisps (chips) are also easy to make. Thanks to XBar at the Hyatt Regency, Los Angeles, for the recipe.

    The better the Parmesan cheese you use, the tastier the crisps. If you’re a fan of panko, Japanese bread crumbs, you can use them to amp up the dish.

    RECIPE: PARMESAN ZUCCHINI CRISPS

    Ingredients For 2 Servings

  • Cooking spray
  • 2 medium zucchini
  • 1 tablespoon olive oil
  • 1/4 cup freshly grated Parmesan cheese
  • 1/4 cup plain dry bread crumbs
  • 1/8 tsp salt
  • Freshly ground black pepper
  •  

    zucchini-parmesan-crisps-xbarhyattregencyLA-230

    This salty snack includes a serving of vegetables! Photo courtesy Hyatt Regency | LA.

     

    Preparation

    1. PREHEAT oven to 450°F. Lightly coat a baking sheet with cooking spray.

    2. SLICE zucchini into 1/4-inch thick rounds. Toss the zucchini with olive oil in a medium bowl.

    3. COMBINE the cheese, bread crumbs, salt and pepper in a small bowl. Dip the zucchini rounds into the cheese mixture, coating each side. Place the rounds in a single layer on the baking sheet.

    4. BAKE the rounds until browned, about 25 to 30 minutes. Enjoy them warm or at room temperature.

      

    Comments

    TIP OF THE DAY: Pie Dough Crumb Topping Sundae

    It’s the reverse of pie à la mode; perhaps it should be called an ice cream crumble.

    Today’s tip was inspired by The Strawberry Barbara, a sundae from McConnell’s Ice Cream in Santa Barbara.

    McConnell’s marries strawberry ice cream, house made rhubarb sauce (think rhubarb pie filling) and pie crust crumbles, topped with whipped cream.

    You can build the sundae in a bowl or a sundae dish, on a dessert plate or even in a large wine goblet.

    You can also use the topping on puddings and yogurt.

    RECIPE: PIE DOUGH CRUMBLES #1

    Ingredients

    Ingredients For The Pie Dough Crumbs

  • 1/2 cup all-purpose flour
  • 1/4 cup sugar
  • 1/4 cup butter, softened to room temperature
  • Pinch salt
  •    

    strawberry-sundae-pie-dough-crumbles-mcconnellsicecream-230

    Strawberry ice cream with pie dough crumbles. Photo courtesy McConnell’s Fine Ice Creams.

     

     

    key-lime-ice-cream-pie-crumbles-mcconnellsicecream-230r

    Key lime ice cream on a bed of crumbles. Photo courtesy McConnell’s Fine Ice Creams.

     

    Preparation

    1. PREHEAT oven to 400°F.

    2. MIX ingredients together large, moist clumps form (we tend to like them on the larger size, about 1/2 inch diameter). If the ingredients stick together too much to make crumbs, add a bit more flour and sugar in a 2:1 ratio until the mixture becomes crumbly.

    3. BAKE on a sheet for 10-15 minutes until golden (but not brown). Let cool; store in an airtight container until ready to use.

    If you’d like crumbles with a deeper flavor, add brown sugar.

    RECIPE: PIE DOUGH CRUMBLES #2

    Ingredients For The Pie Dough Crumbs

  • 3/4 cup all-purpose flour
  • 1/3 cup packed light-brown sugar
  • 3 tablespoons granulated sugar
  • Pinch salt
  • 6 tablespoons cold unsalted butter, cut into small pieces
  •  
    ASSEMBLING THE SUNDAE

    Ingredients

  • Ice cream of choice
  • Pie crumbles
  • Whipped cream
  • Optional garnishes: chocolate shavings, diced fruit, sauce, sprinkles, etc.
  •  
    Preparation

    1. SCOOP ice cream onto a plate. Top with pie crumbles.

    2. ADD garnishes and serve

      

    Comments

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