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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: Curried Egg Salad

curried-egg-salad-louisemellor-safeeggs-230

Curried egg salad on toast. Photo courtesy
Louise Mellor | SafeEggs.com.

 

To mark the end of National Egg Salad Week, we made a delicious curried egg salad recipe.

And we did it the easy way, purchasing pre-cooked and peeled hard boiled eggs from Trader Joe’s.

While we were at it, we picked up some pre-grilled chicken breasts across the aisle, and made a batch of curried chicken salad as well. We did some blending, and decided that we preferred egg salad and chicken salad separately, rather than combined.

A different on a traditional favorite, this curried egg salad is fresh and invigorating. The recipe is by Louise Mellor for SafeEggs.com.

Find more egg recipes at SafeEggs.com.

CURRIED EGG SALAD RECIPE

Ingredients For 4 Servings

  • 6 hard-boiled eggs
  • 3 tablespoons olive oil
  • 2 teaspoons Dijon mustard
  • 1/2 teaspoon sea salt or kosher salt
  • 1/8 teaspoon black pepper
  • 1 teaspoon curry powder
  • 2 tablespoons golden raisins
  • 2 tablespoons dried cranberries
  • 1 cup baby arugula
  •  
    Preparation

    1. CUT hard boiled eggs into small dice.

    2. COMBINE the eggs with the remaining ingredients in a small bowl and stir well to combine.

    3. FOLD in arugula and serve salad on whole wheat bread or with crackers.

     

    EGG MYTHS

    Davidson’s Safest Eggs are whole raw eggs that have been pasteurized in the shell, using special equipment. Pasteurization kills the salmonella, as does cooking unpasteurized eggs.

    We go out of our way to find Davidson’s Safest Eggs when we’re making Caesar salad, mousse, steak tartare and other recipes that require raw eggs that are not cooked—not to mention making raw cake batter and cookie dough safe enough to enjoy.

    Many people believe different myths about egg safety. Here, Davidson’s puts them to rest:

  • Myth: If the shell of a fresh egg is smooth and un-cracked, it’s safe to eat raw. Nope! Even the most perfect-looking fresh egg can harbor Salmonella germs inside. If the egg has a crack, even a hairline, bacteria from the environment can enter them.
  • Myth: If you wash eggs before use, they’ll be safe. Nope! That’s because the Salmonella bacteria, if present, are usually inside the egg. The microbes come from the reproductive tract of the hen and are passed to the inside of the egg before it hits the nest.
  •  

    trader-joes-package-elvirakalviste-230

    All peeled and ready to eat. Photo by Elvira Kalviste | THE NIBBLE.

  • Myth: You can pasteurize fresh eggs at home in the microwave. Nope! A brand like Safest Choice uses a patented process based on extensive scientific development and precision controls. Per the FDA, the equipment to pasteurize eggs isn’t available for home use, and it is not possible to pasteurize shell eggs at home without cooking the contents of the egg.
  • Myth: Organic eggs and brown eggs are safe from Salmonella. While organic eggs come from better fed, better cared for hens, they can still harbor salmonella. The color of the shells is determined by the breed of the hen, and likewise has no impact on safety.
  • Myth: Eggs from a local farm are safer than those from the grocery store. Nope! Chickens harbor Salmonella bacteria, and even eggs from the best family farms can harbor salmonella. Rodents, feed, flies, water, dust and other birds can deliver Salmonella to even the best-cared-for hens.
  • Myth: Generally, eggs that can make you sick will smell or taste “off.” Nope! The bacteria that cause spoilage and “off” aromas and flavors are different from those that cause foodborne illness. Salmonella bacteria in an egg can’t be seen, smelled or tasted.
  • Myth: Salmonella is only in the yolks of raw eggs. If you eat only the raw egg whites, you’re O.K. Nope. While the Salmonella is usually in the yolk, you can’t rule their presence in the egg white.
  • Myth: Egg pasteurization destroys nutrients. Nope! The all-natural water bath pasteurization process does not change the nutritional value of an ordinary egg in any way.
  •   

    Comments

    RECIPE: Scripture Cake For Easter

    gluttony-230-ps

    Fun for foodies: Gluttony focuses on the
    great feasts of history. Photo courtesy Ten
    Speed Press.

     

    In her new book, GLUTTONY: More IS More” (Red Rock Press), Nan Lyons, known for the wonderful novel and movie, Who is Killing the Great Chefs of Europe, describes some of the most lavish feasts and singular dishes through culinary history.

    From the ancient Greeks and Romans to the founding chefs of classic cuisine—Carême, Escoffier and Brillat-Savarin—to the breathtaking appetites of history’s prize eaters (King Henry VIII and Diamond Jim Brady, for example), Ms. Lyons plumbs the path of gluttony with wit and style.

    Travel the paths of the the rich and famous who enjoy history’s greatest banquets and richest dishes. The book is illustrated with classical art works of people enjoying their food.

    The icing on the cake: You and your guests can eat like these lucky gourmands. A portfolio of recipes, created by food editors and writers E. Clarke Reilly and Sylvia Carter, adapts some of the book’s luxurious dishes for contemporary cooks.

    The book is available in hardcover and Kindle editions.

     

    This recipe, from the recipe portfolio, is simple and Easter-appropriate: Scripture Cake, made with ingredients from the Bible.

     

    SCRIPTURE CAKE

    Ingredients

  • 1½ cups chopped dried figs (Nahum 3:12)
  • 1 teaspoon baking soda
  • 2¼ cups water (Judges 4:19)
  • 1 tablespoon cinnamon (Revelation 18:13)
  • 1 cup softened butter (Psalms 55:21)
  • 2 teaspoons ginger (I KINGS 10:2)
  • 2 cups sugar (Jeremiah 6:20)
  • ½ teaspoon ground cloves
  • 2 tablespoons honey (Exodus 3:8)
  • 1 teaspoon nutmeg
  • 6 eggs (Isaiah 10:14)
  • 1 cup milk (Genesis 18:8)
  • 3¾ cups flour (Leviticus 24:5)
  • 1¾ cups chopped almonds (Numbers 17:8)
  • 1 teaspoon salt (II Kings 2:20)
  • 1½ cups raisins (I Samuel 30:12)
  • 3 teaspoons baking powder (Amos 4:5)
  •  

    scripture-cake-gluttony-redrockpress-230r

    The Scripture Cake from Gluttony. Photo courtesy Sylvia Carter.

     

    Preparation

    1. PREHEAT oven to 300°F. Grease and flour a 10-cup bundt pan.

    2. SIMMER figs and water in a small saucepan over medium-low heat until figs are very soft, about 20 minutes. Let cool.

    3. CREAM together butter and sugar in an electric mixer bowl, until light and fluffy. Add honey. Then add eggs, one at a time, beating after each addition. Mix until well blended.

    4. PURÉE cooled figs and water until smooth. Strain purée through triple cheese-cloth to yield about a cup of fig essence.

    5. SIFT together flour, salt, baking powder, baking soda and spices in a clean bowl. Combine fig essence with milk and alternately mix fig milk and dry ingredients with egg mixture, ending with the dry mixture. Fold in chopped almonds and raisins.

    6. POUR batter into prepared pan and bake 1 hour and 35 minutes, or until toothpick inserted in center comes out with just a few crumbs on it.

    7. COOL for 20 minutes and then remove from pan and cool completely on cake rack. Makes 16 servings.
     
    We added a side of bourbon whipped cream as a garnish.

      

    Comments

    RECIPE: Lobster Grilled Cheese Sandwich

    lobster-grilled-cheese-marcforgione-tfal-230sq

    Add lobster to your grilled cheese sandwich.
    Photo courtesy T-Fal.

     

    April is National Grilled Cheese Month and April 12th is National Grilled Cheese Day. So it’s time to get out the bread and cheese, and turn on the stove.

    There are many wonderful grilled cheese recipes. But perhaps the most luxurious is lobster grilled cheese.

    T-fal “commissioned” the sandwich recipe below from Iron Chef Marc Forgione to launch its Mini Grilled Cheese Griddle. It’s a small, handled griddle that cooks a single, perfect grilled cheese sandwich.

    The small, non-stick pan heats up more quickly than larger pans; the flat griddle base ensures even heat distribution for perfect melting. It’s $5.29 at Amazon.com.

    Of course, you can use whatever pan you have; but a flat griddle of any size is best for uniform heating.

    Chef Forgione obviously likes heat; we’re not sure we like the extra sriracha sauce as a condiment on the side because the lobster is so delicate. But try it and see for yourself.

     

    RECIPE: LOBSTER GRILLED CHEESE SANDWICH

    Ingredients For 4 Whole Sandwiches

    For the Chili Lobster

  • 2 cups lobster stock (if you can’t find lobster stock at a fish store, get generic seafood stock)
  • 4 one-and-one-half pound lobsters, claws removed (we used the claw meat as well as the tails)
  • ¼ cup sriracha
  • 2 tablespoons low-sodium soy sauce
  • Juice of 2 limes
  • 6 ounces (12 tablespoons) unsalted butter, divided
  • 4 tablespoons canola oil
  • Kosher salt
  • Freshly ground black pepper
  • 2 tablespoons chopped fresh tarragon
  • 8 slices of Gruyère or fontina cheese (we prefer truffle cheese)
  • 4 slices Pullman Loaf or other high-quality thick sliced white bread, 1” thick (we used brioche)
  • Melted butter for brushing
  •  

    lobster-claw-cooked-hancocklobster-230

    We used the claw meat in the sandwiches, but you can enjoy it separately. Photo courtesy Hancock Lobster.

     

    Preparation

    1. CUT the tails off the lobster bodies, and into 1-inch pieces while the tails are still in their shells

    2. BRING the lobster stock to a simmer and add the sriracha, soy sauce and lime juice. Piece by piece, whisk in 6 tablespoons of butter until emulsified. Reduce the remaining sauce until it slightly thickens, about 2 minutes.

    3. TOSS the lobster tail pieces in oil with salt and pepper and cook for 1-2 minutes or until cooked through. Place the lobster pieces in a bowl and transfer to the fridge until cooled. When the lobster pieces have cooled, pop the meat out of the tails and set aside.

    4. TAKE two slices of bread per sandwich. Place one slice of cheese on top of the first slice, cover the cheese with some lobster meat, sprinkle ½ tablespoon of tarragon, cover with a second slice of cheese, and then top with the second piece of bread.

    5. BRUSH the outer sides of each slice of bread with melted butter and season with salt. Grill the sandwich on the T-fal Mini Grilled Cheese Griddle and serve with an optional small bowl of sriracha sauce on the side.

      

    Comments

    TIP OF THE DAY: Try A Tagine

    A tagine (tah-ZHEEN) is a Moroccan stew of vegetables with meat, poultry, fish or seafood. More specifically, it’s a Berber dish from North Africa that is named after the type of earthenware pot in which it is cooked, originally over coals. (A similar dish, tavvas, is made in Cyprus.)

    There are traditional clay tagines, some so beautifully hand-painted as to double as decorative ceramics; modern tagines, such as Le Creuset enamelware; and even electric tagines for people who don’t have stoves or ovens.

    You can buy a tagine, but you can make the stew in whatever pot you have.

     
    HOW A TAGINE WORKS

    The traditional tajine pot is made of clay, which is sometimes painted or glazed. It consists of two parts: a round, flat base pot with low sides and a large cone- or dome-shaped cover that covers it during cooking.

    The cover is designed to promote the return of all the liquid condensation back to the pot, allowing for a long simmer and moist chunks of meat. The stew is traditionally cooked over large bricks of charcoal that have the ability to stay hot for hours.

     

    chicken-tagine-lecreuset-230

    A modern enamelware tagine. Photo courtesy Le Creuset.

     
    Tajines can also be cooked in a conventional oven or on a stove top. For the stove top, a diffuser—a circular piece of aluminum placed between the tajine and burner—is used to evenly distribute the stove heat to permits the browning of meat and vegetables before cooking. Modern tajines made with heavy cast-iron bottoms replace them.

     

    black-white-tagine-230

    A traditional hand-painted tagine. You can
    buy this one online.

     

    MAKE A TAGINE

    This vegetarian tagine recipe is from FAGE Total Yogurt. You can serve it as a side or as a main dish with sliced grilled chicken, lamb or salmon.

    Prep time is 30 minutes, cook time is 1 hour, 10 minutes. Serve with couscous and a crisp salad.
     
    RECIPE: MOROCCAN CHICKPEA & VEGETABLE
    TAGINE WITH YOGURT DRESSING

    Ingredients For 4 Servings

  • 1/4 cup sunflower oil
  • 1/2 large onion, peeled and thinly sliced
  • 2 large garlic cloves, peeled and finely chopped
  • 1 teaspoon paprika
  • 1 teaspoon each of ground cumin, cinnamon and turmeric
  • ¼ teaspoon cayenne pepper, or to taste
  • 1-3/4 cup chickpeas
  • 1-3/4 cup chopped tomatoes
  • 1-1/4 cups vegetable stock
  • 1/2 cup eggplant, diced
  • 1/2 cup zucchini, diced
  • 1/4 cup baby corn
  • 1/4 cup sugar snap peas
  • 1/4 cup baby carrots
  •  
    For The Dressing

  • 1 cup Greek yogurt
  • 4 teaspoons chopped fresh parsley and coriander
  • Salt & pepper to taste
  •  
    Preparation

    1. HEAT half of the oil in a tagine or other pan. Add onion, garlic, and spices. Fry over a low to medium heat for 5 minutes until golden.

    2. ADD the chickpeas, tomatoes and stock. Cook for 20 minutes.

    3. STIR FRY the vegetables in a separate frying pan or wok with remaining oil, and then add to the chickpea mixture.

    4. BRING to a boil, cover and simmer for a further 20 minutes.

    5. MAKE the herb yogurt dressing: Mix the yogurt, chopped parsley and coriander together. To finish, add half the yogurt, adjust seasoning to taste and serve with the rest of the yogurt on the side. NOTE: Don’t boil the stew after adding the yogurt or it may separate.

      

    Comments

    TIP OF THE DAY: Create A Signature Breakfast Sandwich

    breakfast-sandwich-goat-cheese-melissas-230

    Go beyond the Egg McMuffin and create your
    fantasy breakfast sandwich like this one
    (recipe below). Photo courtesy Melissa’s.

     

    Ask an American to name a breakfast sandwich and you might hear “bagel and lox”; but “Egg McMuffin” is more likely to be the answer. It was invented by a McDonald’s franchisee, Herb Peterson, in the late 1960s and introduced nationwide in 1972.

    Popular as it is, the Egg McMuffin has not exactly spawned a major food trend in breakfast sandwiches.

    So today’s tip is: Create a signature breakfast sandwich and get your friends to do the same. Then, you can get together for breakfast sandwich brunches. We can’t wait!

    Peruse this list to put together your dream ingredients.

    BREAKFAST SANDWICH INGREDIENTS

  • Bread: bagel, baguette, biscuits, brioche, challah, focaccia, toast of choice (rye, sourdough, whole wheat, etc.), roll of choice (note that we’ve deliberately excluded donuts and pancakes)
  • Eggs: fried, poached, scrambled, soft boiled, sliced hard boiled
  • Cheese: blue, Cheddar, goat, Gruyère, mozzarella, pepperjack or other favorite
  • Meat: bacon types (including Canadian bacon and pancetta), chicken breast, chorizo or other sausage, ham, pork
  • Veggies: avocado, bell peppers (sautéed, grilled, diced fresh), fresh herbs, greens (sautéed arugula, broccoli rabe, kale, etc.), hash browns, jalapeños, onion (red or sweet), roasted poblanos, sprouts, tomato (fresh, sundried)
  • Condiments: aïoli, caramelized onions, chutney, extra virgin olive oil, gravy, honey, horseradish sauce, ketchup, mayonnaise, mustard-yogurt spread, pesto, salsa, sautéed peaches or other fruit, tomato sauce, vinaigrette
  •  
    You don’t need to include eggs or meat, as this recipe demonstrates:
     
    RECIPE: OPEN-FACED BREAKFAST SANDWICHES

    This sandwich (photo above) will wake you up sweetly, with chile-infused honey.

    If you don’t want the heat of the chiles, substitute a bit of fresh-ground black pepper for the ground cayenne, and don’t use the final chile garnish.

    Prep time is 20 minutes, plus 4 hours to infuse the honey.

    Ingredients For 4 Servings

  • 8 ounces honey
  • 2 fresh cayenne chiles, stems and seeds removed, finely diced, divided
    (about 2 tablespoons)
  • 4 thick slices whole-wheat French bread
  • 2 tablesppoons unsalted butter, divided
  • 1/2 cup creamy goat cheese (4 ounces)
  • 4 large eggs
  • Salt
  • Ground cayenne pepper or black pepper
  •  

    Preparation

    1. COMBINE honey and half of the cayenne chile in a glas container. Seal tightly and let sit 4 hours or overnight. Wrap and reserve remaining chiles in the fridge.

    2. TOAST bread; spread each slice with 1 teaspoon butter and 2 tablespoons goat cheese.

    3. HEAT the remaining 2 teaspoons butter in a large skillet over medium heat. Crack eggs into skillet; cook until yolks are set, about 1 to 2 minutes per side. Sprinkle with salt and cayenne pepper to taste.

    4. DRIZZLE each slice of toast with 2 tablespoons cayenne honey. Top with a fried egg; drizzle evenly with the remaining honey and garnish with the remaining fresh cayenne chiles.

     

    toad-in-the-hole-melissas-230

    Toad In The Hole is a British favorite. The recipe is below. Photo courtesy Melissa’s.

     

    A related recipe is Toad In The Hole (photo above), a British specialty that pan-fried day-old bead with an egg in the middle. The recipe’s colorful name no doubt appealed to children.

    With the added crushed chiles, this toad sure is hoppin’! If you don’t like the heat, leave off the chiles.

    RECIPE: HOPPIN’ TOAD IN THE HOLE

    Ingredients For 6 Servings

  • 6 one-inch-thick slices sourdough bread, toasted
  • 4 tablespoons (1/4 cup) unsalted butter
  • 2 dried de arbol chiles, stems and seeds removed, finely crushed
  • 6 large eggs
  • 1/2 cup (2 ounces) shredded pepperjack cheese
  •  
    Preparation

    1. CUT a 1-1/2-inch hole in the center of each slice of bread, using a small round cookie cutter or a juice glass.

    2. MELT 2 tablespoons butter over low heat in a large skillet. Add half of the crushed chile and cook until fragrant, stirring often, about 1 to 2 minutes.

    3. INCREASE heat to medium; arrange 3 bread slices in the skillet. Crack 1 egg into the hole of each slice, taking care not to break the yolks. Cook until eggs are just firm but the yolk is slightly runny, about 5 to 8 minutes.

    4. SPRINKLE evenly with cheese during the last 2 minutes of cooking. Remove from skillet and keep warm. Repeat procedure for the next three slices of bread.

    5. SPRINKLE with salt, pepper an paprika to taste. Serve.

      

    Comments

    PASSOVER: Flourless Persian Pistachio Cake

    This recipe comes via Chef Jennifer Abadi and Zabar’s. The aromatic, citrus notes of cardamom add flair to a simple cake.

    Preparation time is one hour; the cake yields eight to ten servings.

    RECIPE: FLOURLESS PERSIAN PISTACHIO CAKE
    WITH CARDAMOM SYRUP

    Ingredients

    Dry Ingredients

  • 2 cups shelled, unsalted pistachios
  • 1 cup matzoh meal
  • ¾ cup sugar
  • 1/8 teaspoon salt
  • Pinch ground cardamom
  •  
    Wet Ingredients

  • 3 extra large eggs (or 4 large eggs), lightly beaten
  • ½ cup vegetable or canola oil
  • ½ cup water
  •  

    flourlesss-persian-pistachio-cake-jenniferAbadi-zabars-230

    Ground nuts replace flour in cakes for Passover. Photo courtesy Zabar’s.

     
    For Decoration

  • 3 tablespoons shelled, unsalted pistachios, as decoration
  •  

    cardamom-pods-farmgirlgourmet-230

    Cardamom pods. Photo courtesy Heather
    Scholten | Farmgirl Gourmet.

      For Cardamom-Sugar Syrup

  • 1 cup sugar
  • Pinch salt
  • Few pinches black pepper
  • ½ cup cold water
  • 1/8 teaspoon ground cardamom
  • 4 crushed cardamom pods
  •  
    Preparation

    1. PREHEAT oven to 350°F.

    2. POUR pistachios into a food processor and pulse until they become a fine meal-like consistency, about 1 to 2 minutes. Add the matzoh meal and pulse together an additional minute.

    3. POUR ground pistachio mixture into a medium size bowl and combine with remaining dry ingredients.

    4. ADD the wet ingredients to the dry ingredients and mix well.

     

    5. POUR the batter into a greased 8- or 9-inch square baking pan and sprinkle with whole pistachios. Bake on the middle rack for 20 to 25 minutes, or until a toothpick inserted into the center comes out clean and center of cake is soft but not wet (cake should still be fairly moist). Meanwhile, prepare the syrup.

    6. COMBINE the sugar, salt, pepper, and water in a medium-size saucepan. Bring to a bubbling simmer over medium heat. Add the ground cardamom and cardamom pods, reduce the heat to medium-low and cook, uncovered, for 8 to 10 minutes, stirring occasionally (the liquid will thicken slightly). Remove from heat.

    7. REMOVE cake from oven and cool 15 to 20 minutes. Cut into squares and serve at room temperature sprinkled with the cardamom-sugar syrup.

      

    Comments

    TIP OF THE DAY: Cinnamon Coffee

    french-press-cinnamon-coffee-mccormick-230

    It’s easy to brew delicious cinnamon coffee
    with any coffee maker. Photo courtesy
    McCormick.

     

    If you enjoy cinnamon coffee, here’s a recipe from McCormick, that adds real cinnamon to your ground coffee for a far more exciting flavor. (Commercial cinnamon-flavored coffee uses an extract to flavor the beans.)

    The coffee is brewed with brown sugar, so no sugar bowl is needed. You can use any coffee maker.

    For dessert, you can top the coffee with whipped cream and a sprinkle of cinnamon. There are just 36 calories per cup, before the whipped cream.

    For a spiked version, add cinnamon liqueur, coffee liqueur or Irish cream liqueur. If you want to avoid the extra sugar, use whiskey (we like bourbon) or tequila.

     

    RECIPE: BREWED CINNAMON COFFEE

    Ingredients For 6 One-Cup Servings

  • 3/4 cup ground dark roast coffee, (regular or decaffeinated)
  • 1/4 cup firmly packed brown sugar
  • 2 tablespoons ground cinnamon
  • 1/2 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
  • 6 cups water
  • Optional garnish: whipped cream and sprinkled cinnamon
  • Optional: milk or cream
  • Optional liqueur: 1-2 tablespoons per cup
  •  

    Preparation

    1. PLACE coffee, sugar and cinnamon in a filter in brew basket of coffee maker (or directly into a French press).

    2. PLACE the vanilla in the empty carafe. Add water to coffee maker; brew coffee as usual.

    3. POUR into serving cups; add liqueur if desired. Top with whipped cream or serve with milk or cream. Garnish with an optional sprinkle of cinnamon.
     
    CINNAMON LIQUEUR

    There are more brands than there is shelf space to hold them all. And Bols makes both a cinnamon liqueur and a cinnamon schnapps (see the difference below). Some are more elegant, some are brash and sizzling.

    Cinnamon liqueur can be added to coffee and tea, sipped on the rocks, drunk as shooters and mixed into cocktails.

  • After Shock
  •  

    goldschager-bottle-230

    Dramatic and delicious: Goldschläger cinnamon schnaps with gold flakes. Photo courtesy Global Brands.

     

  • Bols Hot Cinnamon Liqueur and Gold Strike Cinnamon Schnapps
  • De Kuyper “Hot Damn!”
  • Fireball Cinnamon Whiskey Liqueur
  • Fire Water Hot Cinnamon Schnapps
  • Goldschläger, with flecks of edible gold, the most elegant of the cinnamon liqueurs
  • Leroux Cinnamon Schnapps
  • Kahlúa Cinnamon Spice
  • Tuaca Cinnaster Cinnamon and Vodka Liqueur
  •  
    CORDIAL, EAU DE VIE, LIQUEUR, SCHNAPPS: THE DIFFERENCE

    While many people use these terms interchangeably, and they are all flavored spirits, there are differences that are relevant to the consumer in terms of sweetness and color.

  • Liqueur (lih-KUR, not lih-CURE) is made by steeping fruits in alcohol after the fruit has been fermented; the result is then distilled. Liqueurs are typically sweeter and more syrupy than schnapps.
  • Schnapps (shnops) is made by fermenting the fruit, herb or spice along with a base spirit, usually brandy; the product is then distilled. This process creates a stronger, often clear, distilled spirit similar to a lightly flavored vodka. “Schnapps” is German for “snap,” and in this context denotes both a clear brandy distilled from fermented fruits, plus a shot that spirit. Classic schnapps have no added sugar, and are thus less sweet than liqueur. But note that some manufacturers add sugar to please the palates of American customers.
  • Eau de vie (oh-duh-vee), French for “water of life,” this is unsweetened fruit brandy—i.e.,schnapps.
  • Cordial has a different meaning in the U.S. than in the U.K., where it is a non-alcoholic, sweet, syrupy drink. In the U.S, a cordial is a sweet, syrupy, alcoholic beverage: liqueur.
  •  
    In sum: If you want a less sweet, clear spirit, choose schnapps/eau de vie over liqueur. For something sweet and syrupy, go for liqueur/cordial.

      

    Comments

    TIP OF THE DAY: April Fool—It Isn’t Tomato Soup & Grilled Cheese

    We’re cooking up some food fun for tomorrow, April Fool’s Day. This year, it’s trompe-l’oeil food.

    Trompe-l’oeil (pronounced trump LOY), French for “deceive the eye”, is an art technique that creates the optical illusion that a piece of two-dimensional art exists in three dimensions. You may have seen some amazing sidewalk art that fools you into thinking you’re about to step into a hole, a pool, etc.

    We’re adapting the “deceive the eye” reference to “food trompe-l’oeil”—food that looks like one thing but is actually another. Serve this “grilled cheese and tomato soup” dish, which is actually orange pound cake and strawberry soup.

    Thanks to Zulka Morena sugar for the recipes and fun idea. If you’ve got a great palate or simply preferred less processed sugar, try it. The top-quality sugar is minimally processed and never refined. You can taste the difference!

     

    strawberry-soup-orange-pound-cake-zulkasugar-230

    April Fool’s food: Standing in for tomato soup and a grilled cheese sandwich are strawberry soup and pound cake. Photo courtesy Zulka Sugar.

     

    RECIPE: ORANGE POUND CAKE

    Ingredients

    For The Pound Cake

  • 1 cup unsalted butter, room temperature
  • 1-1/4 cups sugar
  • 2 tablespoons orange zest
  • 5 large eggs, lightly beaten
  • 2-3/4 cups all-purpose flour
  • 1/4 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1/4 teaspoon sea salt
  • 8 ounces sour cream
  • 2 tablespoons orange juice
  •  
    For the Frosting

  • 1/2 cup butter
  • 2 cups powdered sugar
  • 1 teaspoon orange extract or juice
  • 2-5 drops natural orange food color
  •  

    zulka-morena-cane-sugar-2-230

    Zulka makes less processed, better tasting
    sugar. Photo courtesy Zulka Sugar.

     

    Preparation

    1. PREHEAT oven to 325°F. Butter and flour a standard loaf pan.

    2. CREAM together in a medium bowl the butter, sugar and orange zest until fluffy. Add the eggs in 3 parts, combining well after each addition. In a separate small bowl, combine the flour, baking soda and salt. Add flour mixture to butter mixture until just combined. Add the sour cream and orange juice and mix well.

    3. POUR into the prepared loaf pan, smoothing the top, and bake for 1 hour or longer, until a toothpick placed in the center comes out clean. If the top starts to brown too much before the cake is done, tent with a piece of foil.

    4. REMOVE from oven; cool in pan for 10 minutes then remove to wire rack to cool completely.

    5. MIX the frosting ingredients together until well combined. Add more food color as needed to reach desired color.

    6. ASSEMBLE: Slice the pound cake into 1/2 inch slices. Spread a small amount of butter on one side and grill on a griddle or skillet until toasted looking, being careful not to burn. Let cool completely. Repeat with remaining slices. Once all are cool, cut them each in half to make the two halves of each “sandwich.” Spread about a tablespoon of frosting on a non-toasted side of the cake, spreading some to the edges to make it look like melted cheese, and then top with the other half. Repeat with remaining slices.

     

    RECIPE: CHILLED STRAWBERRY SOUP

    Ingredients For 6 Servings

  • 2 pounds strawberries, stems removed and hulled
  • 2/3 cup sugar
  • 1/2 cup orange juice
  • 1/2 cup cranberry juice
  • 1-1/2 cups plain or vanilla yogurt
  • Optional: yellow food color
  • Optional garnishes: 1-2 tablespoons heavy cream, fresh basil leaves
  •  
    Preparation

    1. DICE the strawberries, sprinkle the sugar over the top and let sit for 15 minutes. Combine all the ingredients in a blender and purée until smooth. Let chill completely. If you want the color to be more orange, like tomato soup, add a few drops of yellow food color.

    2. DIVIDE among 6 bowls. Drizzle a little heavy cream over the top and garnish with basil leaves.

    APRIL FOOL’S DAY HISTORY

    The origin of April Fools’ Day, sometimes called All Fools’ Day, is obscure. The most accepted explanation traces it to 16th century France.

    Until 1564, the Julian calendar, which observed the beginning of the New Year in April, was in use. According to The Oxford Companion to the Year, King Charles IX then declared that France would begin using the Gregorian calendar, which shifted New Year’s Day to January 1st.

    Some people continued to use the Julian Calendar, and were mocked as fools. They were invited to bogus parties, sent on a fool’s errand (looking for things that don’t exist) and other pranks.

    The French call April 1st Poisson d’Avril, or April Fish. French children sometimes tape a picture of a fish on the back of their schoolmates, crying “Poisson d’Avril” when the prank is discovered.

    What a fish has to do with April Fool’s Day is not clear. But in the name of a kinder, gentler world, we propose eliminating this holiday. (Source: Wikipedia)

      

    Comments

    TIP OF THE DAY: Frisée Salad With Lardons (Salade Frisée Aux Lardons)

    One of our favorite salad greens, not served often enough in the U.S., is frisée (free-ZAY), curly endive that’s a member of the chicory family. In France, it is formally known as chicorée frisée. (See the different types of endive.)

    There are many ways to serve a salade frisée, but a universal favorite is frisée aux lardons, Lyonnaise-style frisée salad.

    This salad tops the frisée with a poached egg and lardons—crisp, browned chunks of pork belly—and a sherry vinaigrette. When you cut into it, the runny egg yolk gives the salad a wonderful, silky coat.

    Another favorite variation includes crumbled Roquefort cheese or goat cheese with a fan-sliced pear and a few toasted walnut halves. It’s a great flavor layering of bitter from the frisée, salty and smoky from the lardons, sweet from the fruit and tangy vinaigrette.

    You can serve salade frisée as a light lunch with crusty rustic bread, as a first course, or with soup for a light dinner.

     

    frisee-burrata-ilmulinoNY-FB-230

    An Italian touch: burrata cheese. Photo
    courtesy Il Mulino Restaurant | NYC.

     

    GETTING CREATIVE WITH FRISÉE

    You can create your own signature frisée salad by adding some of these mix-and-match ingredients:

    Fruits, Nuts, Vegetables

  • Apple or pear, red skinned, fan-sliced
  • Arugula or watercress
  • Avocado (pair it with grapefruit)
  • Citrus: grapefruit, orange, blood orange or mandarin
  • Dried fruit: cherries, cranberries, currants
  • Figs (combine with prosciutto)
  • Fresh herbs: chives, tarragon, thyme, parsley
  • Nuts, toasted: pecans, pistachios, walnuts
  • Red accent: diced red pepper, tomato or watermelon; halved grape tomatoes; pomegrante arils
  •  

    frisee-salad-michaelminaFB-230

    Chef Michael Mina varies the frisée salad by
    substituting a Scotch egg for the traditional
    poached egg. Photo courtesy Michael Mina.

     

    Proteins

  • Bacon, pork belly lardons, pancetta, prosciutto, slab bacon lardons
  • Cheese: burrata, fried cheese (recipe), goat cheese, Parmigiano-Reggiano, Roquefort or other blue cheese
  • Chicken or duck breast, sliced
  • Cracklings & sautéed liver: chicken or duck
  • Egg, poached (hen or quail)
  • Fish or seafood: crab, lobster, scallops, shrimp
  •  
    You can also add a touch of the sea with this side of white anchovy bruschetta.
     
    Dressings

    You can use a classic vinaigrette or a Dijon vinaigrette, but consider these special variations:

  • Bacon vinaigrette (recipe)
  • Sherry or red wine vinaigrette with olive oil
  • Truffle vinaigrette, with truffle oil
  • Walnut vinaigrette, with walnut oil
  •  

    For another special touch, warm the vinaigrette in the microwave right before dressing the salad.

    WHAT IS FRISÉE

    Frisée is a salad green with distinctive pale, very narrow, curly leaves that grow in a bush-like cluster and are feathery in appearance. The name means “curly.”

    Frisée is often included in mesclun and other salad mixes. It is extremely labor-intensive to grow, and therefore one of the costliest salad ingredients.

    For that reason, it isn’t a conventional supermarket item, but can be found at upscale markets and purveyors of fine produce.

    Frisée has a distinctive flavor and a delightful bitterness—less bitter than its cousins endive and radicchio. Its exotic feathery appearance has great eye appeal. Tips for using it:

  • As with many salad greens, tear it rather cut it with a knife, or the edges may brown. Tear it shortly before use.
  • The tough, external leaves are best used as a plate garnish or fed to the gerbil.
  • Dress the salad right before bringing it to the table, so that it doesn’t discolor or become waterlogged.
  •  
    The chicory genus is rich in fiber, vitamins and minerals, especially folate and vitamins A and K.
      

    Comments

    RECIPE: Kalamata Olive Bread

    olive-bread-pompeianFB-230ps

    Kalamata olives baked in a tasty loaf. Photo courtesy Pompeian.

     

    If you love olives, you’ll love olive bread. We’re lucky: Our neighborhood bakery typically has fresh-baked loaves. If you’re not so lucky, you can make your own.

    The loaves freeze nicely, so make more than one. A homemade loaf of bread also makes a nice house gift when you’re invited for dinner.

    This recipe is courtesy Pompeian, which uses its Pompeian Extra Virgin Olive Oil in the recipe.

    RECIPE: KALAMATA OLIVE BREAD

    Ingredients For One 1-3/4 Pound Loaf

  • 1/4 cup warm water
  • 1/4 teaspoon raw granulated sugar
  • 2-3/4 cups all-purpose flour
  • 1/2 cup pitted black oil-cured olives such as Kalamata or
    Picholine, coarsely chopped
  • 2 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
  • 3/4 teaspoon dry active yeast
  • 2/3 cup cold water
  • 1-1/2 teaspoon salt
  •  

    Preparation

    1. COMBINE the warm water, yeast and sugar in a 2-cup liquid measuring cup and let sit for 15 minutes or until the mixture starts to bubble.

    2. FIT food processor with the dough blade. Combine the flour and salt in the bowl. With the machine running, add the liquid ingredients slowly through the feed tube and process until the dough forms a ball. Continue processing for another 30 seconds.

    3. TRANSFER the dough to a floured wooden surface and flatten slightly into a disc. Top with the olives, roll up and form into a ball. Place the ball in a large, lightly oiled bowl, cover with plastic wrap and refrigerate for at least 1 hour before using.
    Variations

    4. TURN dough out onto lightly floured surface and round it into a smooth ball, pulling excess dough underneath and pinching to form a tight seal. Return dough to oiled bowl, cover loosely and let rise until doubled in size and the dough spring backs slowly to the touch, about 1 hour.

    5. PREHEAT oven to 425°F. Line a baking sheet with parchment paper.

     

    kalamata-coreylugg-230

    Kalamata olives. Photo by Corey Lugg | THE NIBBLE.

     

    6. TURN the dough out, seam side down, onto prepared baking sheet. Brush the bread lightly with water and cut a shallow X into the top of the loaf. Bake for 25 to 30 minutes or until well browned and loaf sounds hollow when tapped on the bottom. Let cool completely on a wire rack before serving.

    BAKE AHEAD OPTION

    This bread can be made well ahead of time and reheated in 300°F oven.

    It can also be frozen successfully:

  • Wrap the bread in aluminum foil and then in a freezer storage bag; place in the freezer.
  • When ready to serve, remove the bread from the bag, open the foil slightly and place in a 350°F oven for 10 to 15 minutes or until heated through.
  •  
    Enjoy the bread plain or dipped in olive oil!

      

    Comments

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