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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

RECIPE: Orange Date Ice Cream

orange-date-ice-cream-spiceislands-davidlebovitz-230

Different and delicious: Orange Date Ice
Cream. Photo courtesy SpiceIslands.com.

 

Here’s something special for ice cream lovers: Date-Orange Ice Cream, a citrusy-sweet, sophisticated combination crafted by David Lebovitz for Spice Islands. He happened upon a sale on dates and created what he calls “a uniquely delicious cross between a classic Creamsicle and exotic dates.”

If you want to dial up the orange flavor, says David, use an orange-flavored liqueur with the dates. You can also add a tablespoon of rum or orange-flavored liqueur to the custard just before churning.

RECIPE: ORANGE DATE ICE CREAM

Ingredients For 1 Quart

  • 5 ounces pitted dates, snipped into pieces
  • 1/3 cup dark rum or orange-flavored liqueur
  • 4 teaspoons Spice Islands orange peel
  • 1 cup whole milk
  • 2/3 cup sugar
  • big pinch of salt
  • 1-1/4 cups heavy cream
  • 5 large egg yolks
  • 1/2 teaspoon Spice Islands pure vanilla extract
  •  

    Preparation

    1. Combine the dates, rum (or orange-flavored liqueur) and orange peel in a small saucepan. Warm the mixture gently and let simmer for about a minute, or until almost all of the liquid is absorbed. Remove from heat, then cover and set aside.

    (You can do this the day before.)

    2. To make the ice cream, combine the milk, sugar and salt in a medium saucepan.

    3. Pour the cream into a medium-sized bowl, set a mesh strainer over the top and nest the bowl in a bigger bowl of ice.

    4. In a small bowl, whisk the yolks together.

    5. Warm the milk until the sugar is dissolved. Once warm, slowly pour the milk over the yolks, whisking constantly as you pour.

     

    medjool-dates-bowl-murrays-230

    Dates—“nature’s candy”—are delicious for snacking and with cheese. Photo courtesy Murray’s Cheese.

     

    6. Scrape the mixture back into the saucepan and cook over low heat, stirring constantly with a heatproof spatula, until the mixture just begins to thicken and coats the spatula. Do not overcook.

    7. Immediately pour the mixture through the strainer into the cream, add the vanilla and stir to cool. Once cool, chill the mixture thoroughly in the refrigerator.

    8. Freeze the ice cream mixture in your ice-cream maker according to the manufacturer’s instructions. Once churned, fold in the macerated dates and orange peel, along with any liquid that might still be in the pan. Chill in the freezer before scooping.

      

    Comments

    RECIPE: Gourmet Potato Tots (A.K.A. Tater Tots)

    sandwich-tater-tots-redduckketchup-230

    Heaven: sandwich, beer, potato tots. Photo
    courtesy Red Duck Ketchup.

     

    They’re not quite senior citizens, but Tater Tots® hit the big 6-0 this year. You could buy a box to celebrate, or you could make your own, tastier tots—bite-size potato croquettes—from scratch.

    The Idaho Potato Commission salutes the tot as both an inspired potato product and a springboard for potato creativity. Its website boasts a collection of innovative tot recipes and variations on the theme.

    For example, enhance the potato mixture with:

    ROBUST SEASONINGS

  • Aromatics, such as truffles
  • Herbs (parsley, rosemary, sage, thyme)
  • Onion or scallion—lots more than in Tater Tots*
  •  
    ELABORATE STUFFINGS

    Stuffed Tots with elaborate fillings:

  • Simple proteins (crumbled bacon, shredded crab, Parmesan, blue cheese)
  • Braised pork
  • Curried chicken
  •  
    HEARTY TOPPINGS

  • Breakfast scrambles
  • Chili
  • Nachos
  • Poutine (brown gravy and cheese curds†)
  •  
    *The ingredients in Tater Tots are potato, vegetable oil, salt, corn flour, onions, dextrose (a simple sugar also known as glucose), disodium dihydrogen pyrophosphate (an antioxidant that prevents potatoes from turning brown) and natural flavoring.

    *Traditional poutine consists of these toppings on fries, but we’re borrowing them for tots.
     

    TATER TOTS VS. POTATO TOTS

    The term Tater Tots is used generically, like Kleenex; although it’s a trademark of Ore-Ida, which invented the little potato bites in 1953. If you’re referring to anything but the Tater Tots brand, call them “potato tots.”

    Tater Tots are made from deep-fried, grated potatoes, resulting in crisp little cylinders of hash brown-style potatoes. Tater is American dialect for potato, and “tots” came from their small size.

    Ore-Ida founders, brothers F. Nephi Grigg and Golden Grigg, were considering what to do with leftover slivers of cut-up potatoes from their signature French fries. They chopped them up, mixed them with flour and seasonings, and pushed logs of the grated/mashed potato mixture through a form, slicing off and frying small pieces.

    Tater Tots began to arrive in grocery stores in 1954. They quickly caught on as a snack food, a side dish and the foundation for casseroles at dinner tables across America.

    The Ore-Ida brand was acquired by H. J. Heinz Company in 1965.

     

    LOADED POTATO TOTS

    This potato tot recipe borrows from the “loaded baked potato” concept, adding bacon, chives, shredded cheese and sour cream.

    Ingredients

  • 2½ pounds russet potatoes, divided
  • 2 ounces bacon, double-smoked, cooked, chopped
  • 6 ounces pepper jack cheese, shredded
  • 2 tablespoons chives, chopped
  • 1 ounce butter, melted
  • 1 ounce heavy cream
  • 1 tablespoon freshly ground black pepper
  • Salt, as needed
  • 2 cups flour
  • 6 each eggs, lightly whipped
  • 2 quarts vegetable oil for frying
  •  

    loaded-potato-tots-idahopotatocomm-230r

    Loaded Potato Tots. Photo and recipe courtesy Idaho Potato Commission.

     

    Preparation

    1. BOIL 2 pounds of potatoes. Cool, peel and mash.

    2. COMBINE bacon, cheese, chives, butter, cream, pepper and salt to taste in a large bowl; blend well. Roll into 1-ounce pieces, place on wax paper-lined sheet pan and chill overnight.

    3. SHRED remaining potatoes, using a box grater, into a shallow bowl.

    4. PLACE flour in another shallow bowl. Roll potato tots in flour to lightly coat then coat in egg. Roll in shredded potatoes to form crust. Return to sheet pan and chill.

    5. HEAT oil to 375°F in a heavy-bottomed pot, and fry balls until golden brown. Using a slotted spoon, transfer to paper towel to drain. Season with salt and serve.
     

    AND THERE’S MORE

  • Recipe: Baked Potato Tots
  • History of potatoes
  • Potato Types
  •   

    Comments

    RECIPE: Nutella French Toast

    nutella-jam-french-toast-bauli-230

    Nutella, jam and panettone French toast.
    Photo courtesy Bauli.

     

    Panettone (pah-neh-TOE-nay) began in medieval Italy as a Christmas bread; but today, the fluffy yellow yeast bread variously filled with raisins, other dried fruit and orange peel, is available year-round. There’s also a version with chocolate bits—an ingredient not available until the latter half of the 19th century.

    Bauli, whose panettone are imported into the U.S., creates year-round recipes Raspberry Jam & Hazelnut Spread Stuffed Panettone French Toast.

    We have more panettone recipes, too: Panettone Bread Puddin, Panettone Classic French Toast and a Panettone Nutella Sandwich.

    RECIPE: PANETTONE FRENCH TOAST WITH NUTELLA & JAM

    Think of this as the most indulgent peanut butter and jelly sandwich you’ve ever had—except that it’s chocolate hazelnut spread instead of peanut spread.

    You can make it for breakfast, but also eat it for dessert.

     
    Ingredients For 2 French Toast Sandwiches

    For The Whipped Cream

  • ½ cup heavy whipping cream
  • ¼ tsp. vanilla
  • 1 tablespoon powdered sugar
  •  
    For The French Toast

  • ½ cup milk or cream
  • 2 eggs
  • Pinch of cinnamon
  • ½ teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 4 slices Bauli Panettone, left out overnight if possible
  • 2 tablespoons butter
  •  
    For The Filling

  • ¼ cup hazelnut spread
  • ¼ cup raspberry jam or preserves
  •  

    Preparation

    1. WHIP the cream and vanilla with a hand mixer until soft peaks form. Add powdered sugar and mix until incorporated.

    2. WHISK together the milk, eggs, cinnamon and vanilla. Melt butter in a pan over medium heat. Soak Panettone slices in mixture for 30 seconds on each side. Place bread into the pan and cook until bottom is golden and crisp. Turn, and repeat with other side. Repeat with all of the bread, keeping it warm in a 200° oven.

    3. SPREAD 2 tablespoons of hazelnut spread and 2 tablespoons of jam on two of the bread slices. Top with remaining slices and a dollop of fresh whipped cream. Serve warm.
     

    ABOUT PANETTONE

    Panettone is a medieval Italian Christmas yeast bread, filled with candied fruits and raisins. The Milanese specialty, is tall, dome-shaped and airy, in contrast to the other famous Christmas bread, panforte, which is is short and dense (although there is a less common, flat version of panettone).

     

    bauli-panettone-box-230

    Panettone: It’s not just for the holidays! Photo courtesy Bauli.

     
    Panettone means “large loaf” in Italian. While the origins of a sweet leavened bread date back to Roman times, and a tall, leavened fruitcake can be seen in a 16th century painting by Pieter Brueghel the Elder, the first known mention of panettone with Christmas is found in the 18th century writings of Pietro Verri, who refers to it as “pane di tono.”

    The dough is cured for several days (like sourdough), giving the cake its distinctive fluffiness. Raisins, candied orange peel, citron and lemon zest, are added dry; some modern versions add chocolate (which was not available when the recipe originated); others are plain.

    The classic Panettone accompaniment is a sweet hot beverage or a sweet wine such as spumante or moscato; but any dessert wine will do. Some Italians add a side of crema di mascarpone, a cream made from mascarpone cheese, eggs, and amaretto (or you can substitute zabaglione).
     
    SEE THE DIFFERENT TYPES OF BREAD IN OUR BREAD GLOSSARY.

      

    Comments

    TIP OF THE DAY: Asian Vinaigrette

    Hungering for a salad dressing served at a local Asian restaurant, we made our own this weekend. It was so easy and delicious, we made up an extra-large batch to keep on hand for regular use.
     
    For lunch we tossed it with a package of shredded cabbage, essentially creating Asian cole slaw to go with sandwiches. Delicious! That evening, we served it with a conventional romaine tossed salad, with bell peppers, cherry tomatoes and red onions (plus some dried cranberries and slivered almonds we wanted to use up).

    This vinaigrette awaits everything from mesclun to Asian chicken salad, steamed vegetables to steamed rice.

    RECIPE: ASIAN VINAIGRETTE

    Ingredients For 1 Cup

  • ¼ cup rice vinegar
  • 1½ tablespoons soy sauce
  • 3 tablespoons dark sesame oil*
  • 9 tablespoons canola or other salad oil
  • 2 tablespoons sesame oil
  • ½ tablespoon fresh ginger, grated
  • ½ clove garlic, crushed
  • Optional: dash of sriracha or other hot sauce
  • Optional: 1/8 teaspoon toasted sesame seeds
  • Optional: fresh-ground black pepper, to taste
  •  

    balsamic-vinaigrette-33073960-JuanMonino-230

    Asian vinaigrette is delicious on any salad. Photo by Juan Monino | IST.

     
    *About The Oil

    We love the flavor of Asian dark sesame oil. It’s very strong, so you only need a touch. We mix a smaller proportion of it with a larger proportion canola oil; you can use your salad oil of choice.

    Don’t try to solve the problem by purchasing light sesame oil: The ones we’ve had tend to be bland and don’t deliver delicious sesame flavor.

    You can use olive oil instead of canola—but not your best EVOO, since the sesame flavor will cover up its flavor nuances.
     
    Preparation

    1. WHISK the ingredients together in a bowl (or use a blender). Let stand for 30 minutes or more to let the flavors meld.

    2. WHISK again before serving.

      

    Comments

    TIP OF THE DAY: Ají Sauce

    Hot sauce lovers should take a closer look at ají sauce, a standard in Ecuador and Peru. Aji amarillo is one of the most common types of chiles in the area, and is also one of the most important ingredients in the two countries.

    While, like all salsas, there are as many variations as there are cooks, a basic ají criollo is made from the ají amarillo (yellow ají*), along with cilantro, garlic, onion and lime.

    Each region and city has its own unique recipe. For example, ají de tomate de árbol—tree tomato or tamarillo ají—uses tamarillo as well as ají amarillo. (A recipe is below.)

    Andrés Dávila, executive chef of Casa Gangotena, TripAdvisor Travelers’ Choice Top Ten Hotel, offers tourists a journey through the different types of ají, with a selection of six sauces carefully paired with a dish that heightens the flavors of the local cuisine. He’s also sent us a standard recipe so you can make your own.

    Great for sauces and to kick up any meal with a great flavor and medium heat. Chewing on the chiles adds more heat.

  • Ají mixed with passion fruit, which colors the sauce a spectacular yellow, goes well paired with chicken or pork.
  • Ají with sambo squash seeds, a light green cream with a subtle smell and taste that goes well with white meats.
  •    

    aji-amarillo-perudelights-230r

    Ají amarillo, in shades of yellow and orange. Photo courtesy PeruDelights.com.

  • Manaba-style pickled ají, flavored and colored with carrots, is the perfect accompaniment to fish.
  • Orange ají is made with tree tomato (tamarillo) and chochos (lupines).
  • Purple ají, colored with beets, has a complex layering of fruit vinegar, grated carrots and pickle slices, goes well with both seafood and red meats.
  •  
    PICK UP A JAR OF AJÍ AMARILLO (YELLOW AJÍ) PASTE

    You can probably find a jar of ají paste in the Latin foods section of your supermarket. Goya makes it, of course, and you can find specialty brands such as Costa Peruana and Inca’s Food online.

    Aji paste is simply a purée of fresh ajis. “American fusion” uses include:

  • Mix a tablespoon with a cup of Alfredo or other white sauce, red sauce or brown sauce or gravy.
  • Add to soup (including chicken soup).
  • Add to a ceviche marinade.
  • Mix into condiments to add flavor and heat.
  •  
    *While ají is Spanish for chile pepper and amarillo means yellow, the color changes to orange as the chiles mature. You can see the deepening colors in the photo above.

     

    aji-amarillo-paste-incasfood-230

    Add bold flavor to many dishes with ají
    amarillo (yellow chile) paste. Photo courtesy
    Inca’s Food.

     

    RECIPE: HOMEMADE AJÍ SAUCE

    This classic ají sauce combines tree tomato (tamarillo), ají amarillo and chochos (lupines, or lupin beans). Lupins are a large yellow Italian bean. You can substitute lima beans or fava beans for the lupins.

    Ingredients

  • 4-5 tomatillos
  • 2 ajís (you can substitute serranos or other red chilies, or yellow habaneros for extra heat)
  • 2 tablespoons finely chopped white onion
  • 1 tablespoon finely chopped cilantro
  • 1 tablespoon lime or lemon juice
  • ¼ cup water
  • Salt to taste
  • Optional: cooked and peeled chochos (lupin beans)
  •  
    Preparation

    1. PEEL the tomatillos and boil them for 5 minutes.

    2. BLEND the tomatillos with ají chiles. For a milder sauce, seed and devein the chiles. You can always save a few seeds and add them in if it’s too mild.

    3. TRANSFER the mix to a small sauce pan, add the water (you can add more if you want a more liquid sauce) and cook on medium heat for 5-8 minutes. You can also skip the cooking part; the sauce will be fresher in taste, but will need to be consumed more quickly.

    4. ADD the onion, lime juice, cilantro, optional chochos and salt to taste. Serve warm or cold.

    VARIATION: Replace the water with oil (avocado, light olive oil or a mild flavored oil) for a creamier Cuencano-style ají, and do not cook it after blending.

    Recipe courtesy Laylita.com.

      

    Comments

    RECIPE: Date Nut Cookies

    Recently, for National Date Nut Bread Day (September 8th), we whipped up a batch of these date nut cookies. The last one met its maker yesterday, and we just may make another batch this weekend.

    If you like oatmeal raisin cookies, try them for a nice change of pace: Here, sweet dates and salty nuts combine with chocolate and oatmeal for a happy holiday treat.

    Food trivia: Before sugar arrived in Europe* from the Asia, dates were widely used as a sweetener in baked goods.

    RECIPE: DATE NUT COOKIES

    Ingredients For 5 Dozen Cookies

  • 1/2 cup (1 stick) plus 2 tablespoons butter, softened
  • 3/4 cup light brown sugar, packed
  • 1-1/2 cups sugar, divided
  • 1 egg
  • 1 teaspoon almond extract
  • 1-1/2 cups flour
  • 1 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 3 cups quick or old fashioned oats (uncooked)
  • 3/4 cup dates, chopped
  • 3/4 cup salted pistachios
  • 1 cup semi-sweet chocolate chunks or morsels
  •    

    medjool-superior-nut-company-amz-230

    Dates: the world’s first sweetener. Photo courtesy Superior Nut Company.

     

    date-nut-cookies-horiz-wmmb-230

    Tasty cookies with whole-grain oats. Photo
    and recipe courtesy Wisconsin Milk Marketing
    Board.

     

    Preparation

    1. PREHEAT the oven to 375°F. Beat together the butter, brown sugar and 1/2 cup sugar in large bowl with electric mixer until light and fluffy. Add egg and almond extract; mix to combine.

    2. COMBINE flour, baking soda and salt in separate bowl. Add to butter mixture, mixing well. Stir in oats until combined. Add dates, pistachios and chocolate; mix well.

    3. SHAPE the dough into 1-inch balls; roll balls in a shallow bowl containing 1 cup sugar.

    4. PLACE on parchment-lined baking sheets. Bake 8 to 10 minutes. Cool cookies on pan for one minute or until set; transfer to wire rack to cool completely.

    Store the cookies in airtight container at room temperature for up to 1 week.

     
    Here’s a recipe for date nut bread.
     
    *Sugar arrived in Europe around 1100, but was in very limited quantity and was not widely available until the 16th century.

      

    Comments

    RECIPE: Quick Quinoa “Paella”

    quinoa-paella-kaminsky-230

    A delicious vegetable “paella” of quinoa.
    Photo © Hannah Kaminsky.

     

    Paella is a Spanish pilaf traditionally made with saffron-seasoned white rice and, depending on regional preferences, different combinations of meat and seafood (here’s the history of paella and popular variations).

    Vegetarians can make vegetable paella with tofu. And in this recipe, from Plant Power: Transform Your Kitchen, Plate, and Life with More Than 150 Fresh and Flavorful Vegan Recipes, you can replace the white rice as well with far more nutritious and quick-cooking quinoa.

    “Every last recipe packed into this carefully crafted text are all worth making, not a single bit of fluff or page-filler to be found,” says NIBBLE contributor Hannah Kaminsky.

    “One recipe that stands out is the deceptively simple Quick Quinoa Paella, an excellent example of author Nava Atlas’s skill for presenting a sound foundation that can be adapted, reinterpreted, and recreated a hundred different ways with equal success.”

    You can add a conventional proteins—chicken, duck, fish, seafood. We happened to have leftover roast chicken, and added some fresh scallops and shrimp.

    But quinoa is the most protein-rich grain, a complete protein with more protein per serving than milk (and perhaps the most nutritious food on earth).

    Prep time is 30 minutes.

    RECIPE: QUINOA PAELLA

    Ingredients For 6 Servings

  • 1 tablespoon extra-virgin olive oil or 3 tablespoons vegetable broth or water
  • 3 to 4 cloves garlic, minced
  • 1 green bell pepper, cut into 2-inch strips
  • 1 red bell pepper, cut into 2-inch strips
  • 1 cup sliced baby bella (cremini) mushrooms
  • 2 cups vegetable broth
  • 1-1/2 teaspoons turmeric or saffron (see note below)
  • 1 cup uncooked quinoa, rinsed in a fine sieve
  • 2 teaspoons fresh or 1/2 teaspoon dried thyme
  • 1 can (14-ounces) artichoke hearts, drained and quartered
  • 2 cups frozen green peas, thawed
  • 2 cups diced ripe tomatoes
  • 2 to 3 scallions, thinly sliced (white and green parts)
  • 1/2 cup chopped fresh parsley
  • Salt and freshly ground pepper to taste
  • Optional proteins: poultry, seafood, etc.
  •  

    Preparation

    1. HEAT the oil, broth, or water in a large, deep skillet or stir-fry pan. Add the garlic, bell peppers, and mushrooms, if desired, and sauté over medium-low heat until softened, about 2 to 3 minutes.

    2. ADD the broth, turmeric, and quinoa. Bring to a simmer and cook, covered, for 15 minutes.

    3. STIR in the thyme, artichoke hearts, peas, tomatoes, scallions, and half the parsley. Check if the quinoa is completely done; if not, add 1/2 cup water. Cook, stirring frequently, just until everything is well heated through, about 5 minutes.

    4. SEASON with salt and pepper, then transfer the mixture to a large shallow serving container, or serve straight from the pan. Sprinkle the remaining parsley over the top and serve at once.

     

    plant-power-230

    Plant Power: delicious vegan recipes. Get it
    on Amazon.com. Photo courtesy HarperOne.

     
    Saffron Or Tumeric?

    As another departure from tradition, Hannah says that you can use turmeric rather than the customary saffron of paella. Saffron is harder to obtain and very expensive; but if you have it, by all means, use it. Dissolve the saffron threads in a small amount of hot water before adding to the recipe.
     

    GET THE BOOK

    Plant Power: Transform Your Kitchen, Plate, and Life with More Than 150 Fresh and Flavorful Vegan Recipes,” by bestselling vegan author Nava Atlas, was published last week.

    Pick up a copy and add more plant power to your diet.

      

    Comments

    TIP OF THE DAY: Make Delicious Appetizers With Wonton Wraps

    buffalo-chicken-cups-230

    An even more delicious way to enjoy the
    flavor of Buffalo wings. Photo courtesy
    Nasoya.

     

    You may not be ready to take on homemade dumplings, as we suggested yesterday.

    But if you’re looking for easy, impressive hors d’oeuvres for entertaining? Make them with won ton wraps.

    Of course, you’d buy won ton wraps to make homemade won tons. Savvy cooks know you can also use them to make ravioli. Like pasta, the wraps are made from wheat flour, eggs and salt, plus water, wheat gluten, vinegar and cornstarch.

    But did you think of making clever appetizers with them? They’re surprisingly easy. And the crispy baked wontons are far superior to other alternatives we’ve tried, like phyllo cups.

    Nasoya, an American producer of tofu, Asian-style noodles and wraps and Nayonaise vegan sandwich spread, treated us to the recipes below, created for Nasoya by blogger Kris Schoels of TheChicWife.com. We loved every bite.

    Look for the wraps in the produce section, next to Nasoya tofu. The all-natural wraps are easy to use. The line is certified kosher by OU.

    These three recipes are delicious for hors d’ouevres or a first course. Find more delicious recipes at Nasoya.com.

     
    RECIPE: BUFFALO CHICKEN CUPS

    These were so good, we were sorry we hadn’t made a double batch. (The photo is above.)

    Ingredients For 24 Pieces

  • 12 ounces cooked chicken, diced
  • 3 ounces blue cheese, crumbled
  • 1/4 cup of wing sauce (mild or hot)
  • 1/2 cup of cream cheese, softened
  • 1/4 cup of ranch dressing
  • 24 wonton wrappers
  • Extra blue cheese crumbles for topping
  • Cupcake pan
  •  
    Preparation

    1. PREHEAT the oven to 350°F. Place the chicken and blue cheese in a bowl and set aside.

    2. COMBINEthe hot wing sauce, softened cream cheese, and ranch dressing in a small bowl. Pour the cream cheese mixture over top of the chicken and crumbled blue cheese. Stir until just combined.

    3. PLACE one wonton wrapper in each cupcake opening; press down until it creates a cup. Fill each wrapper cup 3/4 of the way with the chicken mixture.

    4. BAKE for 10 minutes, or until the wrappers are golden brown and the cheese is bubbling. Top with more crumbled blue cheese for garnish, if you wish. Serve warm.

     

    RECIPE: BAKED AVOCADO & FETA WONTONS WITH
    AVOCADO-LIME DIPPING SAUCE

    We’d never have thought of combining avocado and feta, but the result is delicious!

    Ingredients For 24 Pieces

  • 24 wonton wrappers
  • 2 large avocados, chopped into bite sized pieces
  • 4 tablespoons chopped sundried tomatoes
  • 1/4 cup feta cheese
  • 1/2 tablespoon garlic, very finely diced
  • 2 tablespoons red onion, finely chopped
  • Pinch of salt and pepper
  • Small bowl with water for sealing
  •  

    Preparation

    1. PREHEAT the oven to 450°F. Line a large baking sheet with parchment paper.

    2. COMBINE the chopped avocado, sun dried tomatoes, feta, garlic, onion, salt and pepper in a large mixing bowl, taking care to not smash the avocado pieces too much.

     

    avocado-feta-wraps-230

    A delicious marriage of avocado and feta, for an appetizer or hors d’oeuvre. Photo courtesy Nasoya.

     

    3. FILL the wrappers: Working one wrapper at a time place 1 tablespoon of filling in the top third of the egg roll wrap. Brush the edges with water and roll like a burrito. Seal with more water. Place on the baking sheet. Repeat until all of the filling has been used.

    4. BAKE for 10-12 minutes, or until the tops are lightly browned.

    5. MAKE the dipping sauce (recipe below).
     
    RECIPE: AVOCADO-LIME DIPPING SAUCE

    Ingredients

  • 1 small ripe peeled avocado
  • 1/4 cup lowfat buttermilk
  • 2 tablespoons plain yogurt
  • 2 tablespoon fresh lime juice
  • 1 tablespoon cilantro, chopped
  • 1 teaspoon minced garlic
  • Pinch of salt and pepper
  • Optional: hot sauce
  •  
    Preparation

    1. PLACE all ingredients into a food processor; process until smooth. Season with additional salt, pepper and optional hot sauce.
     
    RECIPE: HAM & CHEESE BITES

    Think beyond “ham and cheese”: The flavor of these bites is quite sophisticated.

    Ingredients For 30 Pieces

  • 1 egg, lightly beaten
  • Pinch of salt
  • 2 cups cottage cheese
  • 1/2 cup cooked ham, finely diced
  • 1/2 cup shredded Cheddar cheese
  • Salt and pepper to taste
  • 1 egg white (set aside to be used later)
  • 30 wonton wrappers
  •  
    Preparation

    1. WHISK the egg in a bowl whisk and add the cottage cheese, mixing until smooth. Stir in the ham, cheddar, salt, and pepper. Place in the refrigerator until ready to cook the wontons.

    2. Prepare the wontons: Working one wrapper at a time, brush the outer edge of the wrapper with egg white (this will help seal the bites). Place 1 heaping teaspoon of the cheese mixture in the center of the wrap. Fold the wrapper in half into a triangle and seal with more egg wash if needed.
    3. PLACE on a baking sheet until ready to cook (note, these can be frozen and cooked later). Repeat until all of the cheese mixture has been used.

    4. HEAT a large skillet over medium heat, spray skillet with nonstick spray or use 1 tablespoon of olive oil. Once the skillet is warm, place the wonton wrap in the pan, being careful not to overcrowd it. Do it in several batches.

    5. COOK for 1 minute on each side; the outside will be lightly browned. Place on a paper towel lined plate, keeping warm until ready to serve. Here’s a photo of the cooked dumplings.

      

    Comments

    BOOK: Dumplings All Day Wong

    dumplings-all-day-wong-230

    A dumpling lover’s treasure. Photo courtesy
    Page Street Publishing.

     

    We loved chef Lee Anne Wong on the first season of Top Chef.

    She’s out with her first cookbook, Dumplings All Day Wong, focusing on Asian dumplings.

    Says Chef Lee Anne: “Biting into a hot, fresh, juicy dumpling can be a transcendent moment, the kind that makes your eyes roll to the back of your head, and one that can be repeated (often).”

    Yet unless you’re fortunate enough to live near an exceptional dim sum establishment, the dumplings you get at most Asian restaurants are purchased from outside suppliers, and often nowhere as flavorful as the ones you can making at home.

    That’s why this book is such a treasure. “The further you get into the book, the more you will begin to realize that your possibilities are truly endless. As with all styles of cooking, once you master the techniques and basic recipes, you’ll have the ability to build your own dumpling arsenal.”

    And what to do with this arsenal—which can be gluten free, traditional, modern, cutting edge, even technicolor (with colored dough)?

     
    Entertain! Become known for dumpling cocktail parties and brunches. Be the first one invited to parties (and bring some dumplings, of course).

    Do you have the patience to make dumplings? “While the idea of standing in one place all day making dumplings sounds intimidating or boring, I actually quite enjoy the repetitive motions of hand pleating dumplings. I consider it my ‘me time.’

    Our suggestion: Invite a friend to make dumplings with you. You’ll be able to make more varieties, and have “us time.”

    Then, thrill to your homemade gyozas, har gow, potstickers, shumai, wontons and more, with countless fillings and different cooking methods including baking, deep-frying, pan-frying and steaming.

    Get the book now, on Amazon.com; it’s available in paperback and Kindle versions.

     

    RECIPE: BRUSSELS SPOUTS & BACON DUMPLINGS

    Ingredients For 60 Dumplings

  • 1 pound bacon, diced into ¼ inch pieces
  • Oil for deep-frying
  • 2 pints (1½ pounds) fresh Brussels sprouts
  • Kosher salt and black pepper
  • 3 tablespoons minced garlic
  • 3 tablespoons brown sugar
  • 2 tablespoons cornstarch
  • 2 tablespoons fish sauce
  • 2 tablespoons black or balsamic vinegar
  • 2 tablespoons reserved bacon fat
  • 60 round dumpling wrappers
  •  
    Preparation

    1. COOK the bacon in a large sauté pan over medium-high heat until it is completely cooked and crispy. Strain the bacon and cool on a paper-towel lined plate. Reserve the bacon fat.

    2. PREHEAT a small pot of oil to 375°F. Trim the bottom and outer leaves of the Brussels sprouts and quarter them, leaving the root ends intact.

     

    Brussels-Sprouts-and-Bacon-Dumplings-dumplingsalldaywong-230

    A contemporary dumpling recipe from Dumplings All Day Wong: Brussels sprouts and bacon! Photo courtesy Page Street Publishing.

     

    3. DIVIDE the Brussels sprouts in half and deep-fry half of them in small batches for about 2-3 minutes until the leaves are caramelized and brown. Drain on paper towels and season lightly with salt. Once cooled, chop into small pieces or use a food processor.

    4. BRING a pot of salted water to boil. Blanch the remaining Brussels sprouts until tender, abut 3 minutes. Place in an ice water bath to stop the cooking. Dry the Brussels sprouts with paper towels and chop finely (or in the food processor).

    5. COMBINE the bacon, chopped Brussels sprouts and minced garlic in a large bowl. In a small bowl combine the brown sugar and cornstarch until well mixed. Sprinkle over the filling, add the fish sauce, vinegar and bacon fat and mix well until combined. Season with salt and pepper to taste. Refrigerate for at least an hour.

    6. FILL the dumplings with about 1 teaspoon of filling and fold in a pleat style. Heat a wok or large nonstick frying pan over high heat. Add ½ tablespoon of oil to the pan. Place the dumplings in a single layer and cook until the bottoms are gold brown, 1-2 minutes. Add ½ cup water and immediately cover the pan. Cook until all the water has been absorbed and the dumpling skins have cooked through about 4 to 5 minutes. Repeat with remaining dumplings. Serve with Fish Sauce Caramel.

    RECIPE: FISH SAUCE CARAMEL

    Ingredients

  • ½ cup rice vinegar
  • ½ cup brown sugar
  • ¼ cup granulated sugar
  • 2 tablespoons soy sauce
  • 2 tablespoons fish sauce
  •  
    Preparation

    1. COMBINE the rice vinegar, brown sugar, granulated sugar and soy sauce in a small saucepan. Bring to a boil and stir until the sugar dissolves.

    2. REMOVE the pan from the heat and add the fish sauce. Allow to cool to room temperature before serving.

      

    Comments

    FOOD FUN: Brownie Sandwiches With Buttercream

    Here’s an idea from Earl Of Sandwich: brownie sandwiches, filled with peanut butter buttercream or a frosting of your choice.

    Just bake your favorite brownies and sandwich two of them with your favorite flavor of buttercream: chocolate, coffee, maple, pistachio, strawberry, vanilla, etc. You can fill the brownie pan with less batter for flatter brownies (adjust the baking time accordingly).

    The Earl of Sandwich cuts the brownies into rounds. You can cut conventional squares or rectangles; but if you do cut them in circles or other shapes (use a cookie cutter), the odd-shaped leftover pieces are great with ice cream. You can keep them in the freezer until you’re ready to use them.

    RECIPE: PEANUT BUTTER CREAM

    Ingredients For 1 Cup

  • 2/3 cup creamy peanut butter
  • 8 tablespoons (1 stick) unsalted butter, softened
  • 3/4 cup confectioners’ sugar
  • Pinch salt
  •  

    Peanut butter- and chocolate filled brownie sandwiches. Photo courtesy Earl Of Sandwich.

     
    Preparation

    1. CREAM the peanut butter and butter in the bowl of an electric mixer fitted with the paddle attachment, on high speed.

    2. SWITCH to low speed and add the sugar and a pinch of salt until combined. Return to high speed and beat the mixture until fluffy and smooth, about 3 minutes.

      

    Comments

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