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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

FOOD FUN: Popchip Snacks

popchips-guacamole-popper-230

Make Guacpops with guacamole. Photo
courtesy PopChips.

 

A boat-shaped chip demands filling.

So Popchips* created two snacks using its popular air-popped chips:

Guacamo Popper

Ingredients Per Chip

  • 1 Salt & Pepper Popchip
  • 1 dollop of spicy guacamole
  • Red and green jalapeño slices
  •  
    Nachopop

    Ingredients Per Chip

  • 1 Barbeque Popchip
  • Spicy beef
  • Grated cheese
  • Jalapeño slice
  •  

    Popchips are sold nationwide. While we personally love the original (Sea Salt), there’s something for everyone. Flavors include Barbecue, Cheddar & Sour Cream, Hint Of Olive Oil, Nacho Cheese, Salt & Pepper, Sea Salt, Sea Salt & Vinegar, Tuscan Herb, Ranch, Sour Cream & Onion and Sweet Potato.

    That’s a lot of popped chips!

    Here’s our review of the brand, which has been a NIBBLE Top Pick Of The Week.

    Discover more at Popchips.com.
     
    *The brand spells its name popchips, without a capital letter. But we, schooled in editorial techniques that still prevail, can’t leave a proper name uncapitalized.

     

    nacho-popper-230

    Another south of the border snack. Photo courtesy Popchips.

     

      

    Comments

    FOOD FUN: Football Pizza

    football-pizza-due-forni-LV-230ps

    Don’t fumble the pizza! Football pizza from Due Forni | Las Vegas.

     

    If you were at Due Forni restaurant, you could order a football pizza. But there’s no need to travel to Austin or Las Vegas: It’s easy to make your own.

    Using your favorite pizza recipe:

    1. STRETCH the dough into a more oblong shape. If you’re using a prepared round crust, you could trim it, but it’s easier to default to the round shape.

    2. PLACE the pepperoni in the center as shown.

    3. CUT strips of mozzarella for the laces.

    4. BAKE as ususal.

    Be sure to have extra pizzas ready to be made when this one is devoured!

     

     
      

    Comments

    TIP OF THE DAY: Non-Ketchup Dips For Fries & Onion Rings

    baconnaise-firebox-230

    Baconnaise, bacon-flavored mayo, is good
    stuff (but stick to the regular, not the Lite).
    Photo courtesy LiteBox.com.

     

    When Chef David Venable of QVC wrote us to suggest Beer-Battered Onion Rings with Horseradish Dill Dipping Sauce—the recipes are below—we thought: What else works as a condiment with French fries and onion rings instead of ketchup?

    For a change of pace or a special occasion, try these condiments, dips and sauces:

  • Aïoli (garlic mayonnaise), the classic for Belgian frites (recipe)
  • Bacon mayonnaise like Baconnaise
  • Blue cheese dip (here’s our favorite)
  • Chipotle ketchup, curry ketchup or sriracha ketchup (recipe)
  • Ginger-sesame sauce (recipe below)
  • Homemade lemon or lime mayonnaise (recipe—grate zest into the mayo to taste)
  • Korean dipping sauce, based on tofu, red pepper paste, soybean paste (recipe)
  • Ponzu sauce
  • Saffron mayonnaise (recipe)
  • Salsa, red or green
  • Spicy mayonnaise (like chipotle or wasabi mayo)
  • Vietnamese dipping sauce, sweet and tangy, with lime juice and Thai chiles (recipe)
  • Yogurt dip—tzatziki or raita
  •  
    RECIPE: GINGER-SESAME SAUCE

    Ingredients

  • 2-1/2 tablespoons soy sauce
  • 1 tablespoon sugar
  • 2 teaspoons crushed red pepper
  • 1 large garlic clove, very finely chopped
  • 1/2 tablespoon toasted sesame oil
  • 2 teaspoons finely grated fresh ginger
  • 1 teaspoon toasted sesame seeds
  •  
    Preparation

    1. WHISK together the ingredients in a small bowl.

     

    RECIPE: HORSERADISH DIPPING SAUCE

    Ingredients

  • 1 cup mayonnaise
  • 1/4 cup ketchup
  • 2 tablespoon horseradish
  • 1/4 teaspoon paprika
  • 1 teaspoon fresh dill, chopped
  •  
    Preparation

    1. WHISK together the mayonnaise, ketchup, horseradish paprika and dill in a small bowl. Set aside and cook the onion rings.
     
    RECIPE: FRIED ONION RINGS

    Ingredients

  • Canola oil, for frying
  • 2 cups all-purpose flour
  • 1 egg, lightly beaten
  • 2 tsp garlic powder
  • 2 tsp dried oregano
  • 1/8 tsp cayenne pepper
  • 1 teaspoon kosher salt
  • 1/2 tsp freshly ground black pepper
  • 1 bottle (12 ounces) beer
  •  

    onion-rings-horseradish-dipping-sauce-qvc-230

    Onion rings with horseradish dipping sauce. Photo courtesy QVC.

  • 3 large onions, preferably Vidalia, sliced into 1/4-inch rings and separated
  •  
    Preparation

    1. CLIP a deep-frying thermometer to the side of a deep, heavy pot. Add 2 inches of canola oil to the pot and slowly heat the oil to 350°F. While the oil is heating…

    2. WHISK together the flour, egg, garlic powder, oregano, cayenne, salt and black pepper in a bowl. Gradually whisk in the beer, stirring until a thick batter forms.

    3. DREDGE the onion slices in the batter. Using tongs, add four or five onion rings to the hot oil and fry for 1-2 minutes, until golden brown. Turn them halfway through cooking. (Cook the onion rings in batches or the oil won’t stay hot and the onion rings will be soggy rather than crisp.)

    4. USING tongs, remove the fried onions to a wire rack or paper towels to drain. Cook the remaining batter-dipped onion rings. Serve hot with the dipping sauce.

      

    Comments

    FOOD FUN: Turkey Bacon Pancakes

    turkey-bacon-pancakes-jennieo-230r

    The longest pancakes ever. Photo courtesy Jennie-O.

     

    Ladle pancake batter over strips of bacon, and long, fun pancakes result. This recipe from Jennie-O uses the company’s turkey bacon, but you can use any bacon you wish.

    Jennie-O uses better-for-you whole wheat flour in this recipe, but you can substitute refined white flour.

    RECIPE: TURKEY BACON PANCAKES

    Ingredients

  • 1 cup whole wheat flour
  • 2 teaspoons sugar
  • ½ teaspoon baking powder
  • ½ teaspoon baking soda
  • Pinch salt
  • 1 cup buttermilk
  • 1 egg
  • 1 tablespoon melted butter
  • 12 bacon slices, cooked according to package directions
  • Maple syrup
  • Optional garnish: berries or other fresh fruit
  •  

    Preparation

    1. HEAT the griddle pan to medium-high. In medium bowl, combine the flour, sugar, baking powder, baking soda and salt.

    2. WHISK together the buttermilk, egg and butter in small bowl. Add to the flour mixture. Stir until combined, do not over stir.

    3. PLACE two strips of bacon together every 4 inches apart on greased griddle. Ladle ¼ to ? cup of the pancake mixture over the bacon to form long pancakes. Cook for 2 minutes or until bubbles appear over surface of pancakes. Flip and cook 1 to 2 minutes longer or until golden brown.

    4. SERVE with maple syrup and optional fruit.
     
      

    Comments

    TIP OF THE DAY: Greek Layered Dip

    greek-7-layer-dip-foodnetwork-230

    This variation, from Cameron Curtis | The
    Food Network
    , uses artichoke hearts. Photo
    courtesy Food Network.

     

    How many times have you had a Mexican layered dip—a.k.a. Seven Layer Bean Dip or Seven Layer Taco Dip—a layering of chopped black olives, diced tomatos, grated Cheddar, guacamole, refried beans, sliced green onions and sour cream, served with tortilla chips?

    Sure, it’s popular. But for this year’s Super Bowl, how about a different spin: a seven layer Greek-style dip with pita chips? That’s what we’re making.

    Yo don’t need seven layers: You can choose as many or as few layers as you like. The one thing we personally insist on is layering the ingredients in a glass salad bowl, so everyone can enjoy the pretty layers before the chip-dippers get busy.

    PICK YOUR SEVEN LAYERS

    Spreads/Dips

  • Babaganoush
  • Hummus
  • Tzatziki
  •  
    Dairy

  • Feta cheese, crumbled
  • Plain Greek yogurt
  •  
    Vegetables

  • Artichoke hearts, well drained and chopped
  • Cucumbers, diced and seeded
  • Kalamata olives, chopped
  • Fresh tomatoes, chopped and seeded or sundried tomatoes, chopped
  • Red or yellow bell peppers, small dice
  • Chopped red onions or thinly sliced green onions
  •  
    Plus

  • Optional garnish: fresh dill, mint and/or parsley, snipped
  • Pita chips
  •  

    INDIVIDUAL LAYERED DIPS

    Here’s a simple recipe from Stacy’s Pita Chips. If you don’t have verrines (the small glasses in the photo), clear juice glasses or other appropriate vessels, you can buy plastic rocks cups (9 ounces).

    Ingredients

  • Hummus (you can use flavored hummus for one of the layers)
  • Tzatziki
  • Diced tomatoes (you can substitute red bell pepper when tomatoes are out of season)
  • Toppings: crumbled feta cheese, sliced black olives, minced red onion
  • Garnish: chiffonade of mint, pita chip
  •  
    Preparation

    1. PLACE a layer of hummus at the bottom of the glass, followed by a layer of tzatziki. Repeat.

     

    mini-layer-dip-stacyspitachips-230

    You can make layered dips as individual portions—a fun appetizer idea. Photo courtesy Stacy’s Pita Chips.

     

    2. ADD a layer of diced tomatoes. Top with the feta, olives, onion and mint. Crown with a pita chip.

      

    Comments

    RECIPE: Spreads With Wine

    butternut-goat-cheese-dip-mondavi-230

    Butternut squash spread, served warm. Photo
    courtesy Mondavi.

     

    If your crowd drinks red wine rather than beer during the Super Bowl, here are some dip ideas from Woodbridge by Robert Mondavi. The brand created recipes that go well with its Woodbridge by Robert Mondavi Pinot Noir and Cabernet Sauvignon. For good measure, a tablespoon of wine is added to each of the dips.

    If you’re a Super Bowl guest, offer to make the dip as well as bring the wine.

    RECIPE: ROASTED BUTTERNUT SQUASH & GOAT CHEESE SPREAD

    This dip is served warm.

    Ingredients For 4-6 Appetizer Servings

  • 1 pound butternut squash, cubed
  • 2 large carrots, peeled and chopped into large pieces
  • 3 bulbs garlic, diced
  • 2 tablespoons olive oil
  • 2 tablespoons pine nuts plus more for garnish
  • 2 tablespoons goat cheese plus more for garnish
  • 2 tablespoons fresh lemon juice
  • 1 tablespoon Pinot Noir
  • Zest of 1/2 lemon
  • Salt and pepper, to taste
  • Cayenne, to taste
  • Optional: 1 tablespoon fresh chives, finely chopped (we use scissors and snip them)
  • Plus:

  • Crackers and/or bread: baguette slices, ciabatta, pita triangles or other favorite
  •  

    Preparation

    1. PREHEAT the oven to 375°F.

    2. TOSS the first four ingredients in a medium bowl. Spread them out on a baking sheet and bake until the squash is fork tender, about 30 minutes.

    3. PLACE all ingredients in a food processor and pulse until smooth. Taste and adjust seasonings as necessary. (If you’re making the dip a day or more in advance, also taste and adjust when you’re ready to reheat it.)

    4. SPOON the dip into a serving bowl and top with extra pine nuts and goat cheese. Serve warm with the bread/crackers and a glass of Pinot Noir.

    TO MAKE IN ADVANCE: Hold back the goat cheese and pine nuts until you’re ready to reheat and serve. At the 25-minute mark, remove the dip from the oven and the sprinkle goat cheese and pine nuts over the top. Place it back in the oven on BROIL for the remaining 5 minutes to toast the pine nuts and warm the goat cheese.

     

    RECIPE: CARAMELIZED ONION SPREAD

    This dip is served at room temperature.

    Ingredients For 4-6 Appetizer Servings

  • 3 tablespoons unsalted butter
  • 1 large onion, sliced into half rings
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • ¼ teaspoon nutmeg
  • ½ teaspoon pepper
  • 1 tablespoon Cabernet Sauvignon
  • 8 ounces cream cheese, room temperature
  • ½ cup sour cream
  • ½ cup plain yogurt
  • 2 tablespoons chives, chopped
  •  
    Preparation

    1. MELT the butter over medium-low heat, then add the onions, salt, pepper and nutmeg. Slowly caramelize the onions by letting them sit for about 3 minutes, then stirring. Do not allow the onions to burn. If the pan gets too dry, add a small amount of water. When the onions are a rich brown color (about 30 minutes)…

     

    butternut-goat-and-caramelized-onion-mondavi-230

    Butternut squash spread, caramelized onion spread and some almond nibbles. Photo courtesy Mondavi. Photo courtesy Mondavi.

     

    2. ADD the Cabernet Sauvignon and cook for another three minutes or until the wine is completely absorbed. Remove the pan from the heat. Reserve 1-2 tablespoons of the caramelized onions for garnish.

    3. ADD the cream cheese, sour cream and yogurt to the bowl of an electric mixer and beat until smooth on medium low speed. Turn the mixer down to the lowest speed and add the onions. Add the seasonings to taste.

    4. GARNISH with the caramelized onions and chives and serve at room temperature.

    TO MAKE IN ADVANCE: Follow steps 1-3. Remove from the refrigerator 30 minutes to bring to room temperature. Garnish and serve.
     
    DIP OR SPREAD: THE DIFFERENCE

    Mondavi calls these recipes dips, but they’re actually spreads. What’s the difference?

    Both dip and spread call it like it is:

  • A spread is thicker and requires a knife to spread it, typically onto bread or crackers. If it requires a a knife, it’s a spread.
  • A dip is thinner and requires no utensil: Simply dip something into it—bread sticks, chips, crudités.
  •  
    Some recipes deliver a consistency between the two, and are dippable or spreadable. But if a chip breaks under the weight of the “dip,” it’s a spread.
      

    Comments

    TIP OF THE DAY: Meyer Lemons

    During the cold winter months with most fruits out of season, citrus become a go-to fruit. Calamondins, clementines, grapefruits, kumquats, lemons, limes, mandarins, oranges, pomelos, satsumas, sweet limettas, tangelo, tangerine, ugli fruit and even more exotic varieties: All are waiting for you to enjoy.

    Cut them into salads, mix them into sauces, turn them into desserts and enjoy [most of them] as hand fruit.

    While your local stores and farmers markets may not carry calamondins or sweet limettas, they should be able to scare up some Meyer lemons. Deep canary yellow, these citrus treats are sweeter and less acidic than other lemons.

    A cross between a true lemon and either a sweet orange or a mandarin, Citrus × meyeri was first brought to the U.S. from China in 1908 by Frank Nicholas Meyer, an employee of the United States Department of Agriculture who, as an “agricultural explorer,” discovered it there.

    Of course, it was no discovery to the Chinese, who had long been growing the lemon in pots as an ornamental tree. Ornamental trees were planted in California yards, and the Meyer became popular in the U.S. when “rediscovered” by Alice Waters at Chez Panisse in the 1990s. Other chefs and personalities like Martha Stewart began featuring them in recipes; groves were planted and the fruits showed up in markets.

       

    meyer-lemon-beauty-goodeggs-230

    Meyer lemons are much sweeter and more flavorful than the Bearss and Lisbon varieties commonly found in American grocery stores. Photo courtesy GoodEggs.com.

     
    Much smaller than the supermarket Lisbon lemon, with sweeter juice, less acid, brighter flavor, a thinner peel and more floral scent and flavor than other lemon varieties (more juice than Lisbon lemons, too!), Meyers are a hit among those who have brought them home. So today’s tip is: Bag a batch and decide how to use them.

    The rind and juice can be substituted wherever regular lemons are called for, in sweet and savory foods and beverages.

    Check out the different types of lemons in our Lemon Glossary.
     
    30+ WAYS TO USE MEYER LEMON

    If you find yourself addicted to Meyer lemons, here’s another tip: Squeeze the juice, freeze it in an ice cube tray and then store the cubes in double plastic freezer bags.

    Defrost a cube whenever you need a hit of Meyer lemon.

    MEYER LEMON IN BEVERAGES

  • Beer (squeeze a wedge into a lager, wheat beer or other lighter style)
  • Cocktails
  • Espresso (use the peel)
  • Hot or iced tea
  • Lemonade (recipe)
  • Meyer limoncello (recipe)
  • Regular or sparkling water
  • Simple syrup (recipe)
  •  

    meyer-lemon-trees-slt-230

    Meyer lemons were originally houseplants in China. You can still buy them as houseplants. These are from Sur La Table.

     

    MEYER LEMON IN SAVORY DISHES

  • Aïoli (recipe)
  • Any recipe that calls for lemon
  • Avgolemono soup or sauce (recipe)
  • Beurre citron (lemon beurre blanc), a delicious sauce for salmon or Arctic char (recipe below)
  • Freshly squeezed atop the dish
  • Hollandaise sauce (recipe)
  • Vinaigrette: replace half or all the vinegar and add some of the zest
  • Wedge garnish
  •  
    MEYER LEMON IN DESSERTS

  • Baked or frozen soufflé
  • Ice cream, sorbet, granita
  • Lemon chiffon cake
  • Lemon bundt, pound cake or cupcakes
  • Lemon custard (also delicious as layer cake filling)
  • Lemon meringue pie
  •  
    USES FOR GRATED MEYER LEMON ZEST

  • General garnish
  • Gremolata (minced parsley, garlic and lemon zest used as a condiment with meats—recipe)
  • Lemon shortbread (recipe)
  • Meringue cookies (recipe)
  • Whipped cream
  •  
    MORE USES FOR MEYER LEMON

  • Candied lemon peel
  • Fruit curd
  • Lemon centerpiece—enjoy the aroma for a few days before you use them
  • Preserved lemons
  •  
    RECIPE: LEMON BEURRE BLANC

    This recipe is adapted from Alton Brown, who offers this trick: You can make the sauce in advance and store it in a thermos, where it will stay hot until until ready to serve.

    Ingredients

  • 2 shallots, finely chopped
  • 8 ounces white wine
  • 2 ounces lemon juice
  • 1 tablespoon heavy cream
  • 12 tablespoons cold unsalted butter, cubed
  • Salt and white pepper, to taste
  •  
    Preparation

    1. COMBINE the shallots, white wine and lemon juice in a non-reactive saucepan over high heat. Reduce to 2 tablespoons.

    2. ADD the cream; when the liquid bubbles, reduce the heat to low. Add half the butter, one cube at a time, whisking continuously. Remove from the heat and then add the remaining cubes, continuing to whisk until the mixture is fully emulsified and has reached a rich sauce consistency.

    3. SEASON with salt and white pepper to taste.

      

    Comments

    RECIPE: Cherry Almond Rugelach

    Cherry-themed recipes work both for Valentine’s Day (February 14th) and Washington’s Birthday (February 22nd, celebrated nationally on President’s Day, which falls this year on February 16th).

    There’s nothing better with a cup of tea or coffee than homemade rugelach. Try this recipe from QVC’s David Venable.
     
    RECIPE: CHERRY ALMOND RUGELACH

    Ingredients For 64 Cookies
     
    For The Dough

  • 8 ounces cream cheese
  • 1/2 pound unsalted butter
  • 7 ounces almond paste
  • 2 cups flour
  •  
    For The Filling:

     

    cherry-almond-rugelach-davidvenable-230

    Cherry Almond Rugelach. Photo courtesy QVC.

  • 6 ounces dried cherries
  • 1/2 cup cherry-flavored brandy, kirschwasser, or 1 tablespoon brandy extract
  • 1/2 cup water (if using brandy extract, add an additional 1/2 cup water)
  • 1/2 cup sugar
  • 1/4 teaspoon ground cinnamon
  • 1/2 cup finely chopped almonds
  •  

    Additional Ingredients

  • 1 egg, beaten
  • White sparkling sanding sugar
  •  
    Preparation

    1. MAKE the dough: Cut the cream cheese, butter and almond paste into bits. Pulse the cream cheese, butter, almond paste and flour in a food processor until crumbly. Place the mixture onto a working surface and knead the dough together. Shape it into 4 equal disks, wrap each in plastic wrap, and chill for 2 hours or up to 2 days.

    2. PREPARE the filling: Place the cherries, brandy and water in a small saucepan and simmer over medium-low heat until all the liquid has been absorbed. Remove the pan from the heat. When the mixture has cooled to room temperature, place the cherries, sugar and cinnamon in the bowl of a food processor and purée until smooth. Transfer the mixture to a small mixing bowl and fold in the almonds. Set aside.

    3. MAKE the cookies: Preheat the oven to 350°F. On a well-floured work surface, roll 1 disk into a 12″ round (be sure to keep the other disks chilled until ready to roll). Spread a quarter of the cherry mixture over the dough, leaving a 1/2″ border. With a chef’s knife or pizza cutter, cut each round into 12 wedges. Roll the wedges from wide to narrow, so you end up with a point on the outside of the cookie. Repeat with remaining discs of dough.

    4. PLACE the cookies on ungreased baking sheets and chill the rugelach for 20 minutes. Brush each cookie with egg and sprinkle with sanding sugar. Bake for 30 minutes, or until golden brown.

    5. COOL and store in an airtight container.

      

    Comments

    TIP OF THE DAY: Slow Cooker Short Ribs

    We love short ribs, but they do take a long time to cook and tenderize. If you have a pressure cooker, you can do it in 45 minutes (here’s a recipe). If not, a slow cooker does just as nicely.

    With this recipe from McCormick, prep time is 30 minutes, slow cooker time is 8 hours.

    This short ribs recipe is “Asian fusion.” The inspiration is Sauerbraten (sour beef), the German classic that marinates the beef in a mixture of vinegar or wine (the “sour”), spices and seasonings.

    Here, the Asian twist comes from the use of rice vinegar, soy sauce and bok choy.

    Consider this dish for Super Bowl Sunday or Valentine’s Day. For Valentine’s Day, garnish the dish with some pomegranate arils.

    RECIPE: ASIAN-STYLE SLOW COOKER SHORT RIBS

    Ingredients For 8 Servings

  • 1 jar (1-1/2 ounces) mixed pickling spices (see recipe below)
  • 3 pounds boneless beef short ribs
  • 1/4 cup flour
  • 1 tablespoon oil
  •    

    Slow_Cooker_Asian_Style_Beef_Short_Ribs_mccormick-230

    It’s easy to make short ribs in a slow cooker. Photo courtesy McCormick.

  • 2 medium red bell peppers, cut into 1-inch chunks (about 2-1/2 cups)
  • 4 medium carrots, cut into 1/2-inch slices (about 2 cups)
  • 3 ribs celery, cut into 1-1/2-inch chunks (about 1-1/2 cups)
  • 2 medium onions, cut into 1-1/2-inch chunks (about 1-1/2 cups)
  • 1-1/2 cups beef stock
  • 3/4 cup reduced sodium soy sauce
  • 1/2 cup rice vinegar
  • 2 teaspoons ground ginger
  • 1 cup crushed gingersnaps, about 20 cookies
  • 1/2 head bok choy, cut into 1-inch chunks (about 4 cups)
  • 1 teaspoon toasted sesame seeds
  •  
    Preparation

    1. PLACE the pickling spice in the center of a piece of cheesecloth or a coffee filter. Tie tightly with a long piece of string. Set aside. Coat the short ribs with flour.

    2. HEAT the oil in a large, deep skillet or Dutch oven over medium-high heat. Add 1/2 of the short ribs; cook 5 to 10 minutes or until browned on all sides. Add the short ribs to slow cooker. Repeat with the remaining short ribs.

    3. PLACE the vegetables and the spice bundle over the short ribs. Mix the beef stock, soy sauce, vinegar and ginger. Pour over the top.

    4. COVER and cook for 8 hours on LOW or 4 hours on HIGH, or until the short ribs are tender. Stir in the crushed gingersnaps during last 30 minutes of cooking. Stir in the bok choy during the last 15 minutes of cooking. Discard the spice bundle. Serve the short ribs and vegetables over cooked Asian noodles.

     

    pickling-spices-chilefoundry-230

    Pickling spices. Buy them or blend your own using the recipe below. Photo courtesy McCormick.

     

    WHAT ARE ASIAN NOODLES?

    Ribbon pasta—long cut pasta—originated in Asia. This is the type of pasta “discovered” by Marco Polo and brought back to Venice.

    Because communications were not so great in those days, he didn’t know that Arab traders had brought pasta back with them centuries before, and introduced it to Southern Italy when they invaded in the 8th century. Pasta was a convenience food for travelers: One only needed to boil water to turn the dried pasta in one’s pocket into a nutritious meal.

    An even earlier Italian pasta was an Etrusco-Roman noodle made from durum wheat called lagane, the descendant of the modern word lasagna, which was mentioned way back in the first century C.E. It was not boiled, as it is today, but baked in an oven.

    But back to Asia, the motherland of pasta:

     
    There are numerous types of Asian noodles based on ingredients alone: arrowroot starch, bean curd skin, bean starch (cellophane noodles), buckhwheat (soba), mung bean threads, rice noodles, sweet potato starch, tofu and yes, wheat noodles (udon).

    Asian noodles are also made in a broad variety of shapes and sizes. The type of noodle used depends on country and purpose.

    Some Chinese noodles contain eggs, e.g. Chinese egg noodles, although the majority of Asian noodles do not.

    Unlike Italian noodles and other Western pasta, Asian noodles are generally not eaten with a sauce on top, but are stir-fried or used in soups and salads.
     
    WHAT ARE PICKLING SPICES?

    Picking spices are a blend of different spices, ground or whole. They are added to vinegar for making cucumber pickles and other pickled foods.

    You can purchase them ready-blended, or make your own from this easy combination:

  • 1 tablespoon each of black peppercorns, cloves, coriander seed and mustard seeds
  • 3 dried red chiles
  • 1-inch piece dried ginger root
  • 1-inch piece cinnamon stick
  • 3 dried bay leaves, broken up
  •  
    Preparation

    1. COMBINE the ingredients; measure and use as needed.

    2. KEEP the unused blend in an airtight container, away from light and heat.

      

    Comments

    RECIPE: Chocolate Chocolate Chip Bacon Cookies

    Make these Chocolate Chocolate Chip Bacon Cookies as a Valentine gift or for Super Bowl viewing. The recipe is from QVC’s chef David Venable.

    Personally, we prefer omitting the bacon bits and using only the bacon fat. The result will be a smoky, salty flavor that foodies can’t get enough of.

    If you want to soften the bacon flavor, simply Try it both ways and see which you prefer.

    RECIPE: CHOCOLATE CHOCOLATE CHIP BACON COOKIES

    Ingredients For 20 Cookies

  • 1–1/8 cups all-purpose flour
  • 1/3 cup cocoa powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1/4 teaspoon baking powder
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt
  • 1 stick unsalted butter, softened
  • 3 tablespoon bacon fat, reserved when cooking the bacon
  • 1/2 cup sugar
  • 1/4 cup light brown sugar, packed
  • 1 egg
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 3/4 cup milk chocolate chips
  •  

    chocolate-chip-bacon-cookies-davidvenableQVC-230

    Chocolate chocolate chip cookies with a hidden surprise: bacon! Photo courtesy QVC.

  • 12 thick-cut bacon strips, chopped and cooked until fat is rendered, lightly crisped and browned
  •  

    Preparation

    1. PREHEAT the oven to 350°F. Line 2 cookie sheets with parchment paper.

    2. COMBINE the flour, cocoa, baking soda, baking powder and salt in a large bowl.

    3. BEAT the butter, bacon fat and both sugars in the bowl of a stand mixer, fitted with a paddle attachment, until light and creamy. Add the egg and the vanilla and mix until fully incorporated. Add the flour mixture in 2 batches and mix well after each addition.

    4. ADD in the milk chocolate chips and chopped cooked bacon and mix until evenly distributed.

    5. SPOON heaping tablespoons of the cookie dough onto the prepared cookie sheets and bake for 10–12 minutes. Let cool before eating.

      

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