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    THE NIBBLE’s Gourmet News & Views

    Trends, Products & Items Of Note In The World Of Specialty Foods

    This is the blog section of THE NIBBLE. Read all of our content on TheNibble.com,
    the online magazine about gourmet and specialty food.

Archive for Recipes

TIP OF THE DAY: Cheese Hors d’Oeuvre For Entertaining Or Snacking

We found these photos on the Facebook page of Jarlsberg USA, and liked the idea for holiday entertaining as well as family snacking.

Make four or five different versions to serve with cocktails, or one or two types for a TV snack. For a children’s activity, you can set out ingredients and let kids assemble their own snacks.

The key to visual appeal is to offset the pale color of most cheeses with other, bright colored ingredients. Turkey and Swiss cheese may be a popular combination, for instance, but to the eye it’s beige and beige. Go for bright and appealing.

Then, all you need are four-inch skewers, plain or twisted (for a fancier touch). Or, check out our festive party picks for stars, evergreen trees metallic fringe and colored cellophane tips.

Use the list below to pick two or three ingredients to pair with the cheese. The skewers are plenty tasty as is, but you can serve them with a dish of honey mustard for dipping. You can buy honey mustard, or make your own by adding honey, sugar or noncaloric sweetener to mustard, in a proportion to your liking.
 
COLORFUL CHEESES

In addition to your favorite cheeses, consider options beyond beige. Check out these special cheeses with deep colors:

  • Cahill’s Farm Flavored Irish Cheddar in Elderberry (red marbled) or Porter (brown marbled) flavors (photo).
  •    

    skewers-jarlsbergUSA-fb-view2-230rev

    Two popular pairings with cheese: dried apricots and basil-tomato. Photo courtesy Jarlsberg USA.

     

  • Mimolette, a French cow’s milk cheese the color of a harvest moon, in the shape of a ball (photo).
  • Basiron Pesto looks like green cheese from the moon (photo).
  • Basiron Pesto Rosso, a Gouda-style cheese from Holland, with a harvest moon color that comes from the addition of tomatoes (photo).
  •  
    Then, it’s time to pick your add-ons:

     

    skewers-jarlsbergUSAFB-230rev

    Serrano ham and sundried tomatoes are bright additions to appetizer skewers. Photo courtesy Jarlsberg USA.

     

    PROTEINS

  • Ham cubes
  • Serrano ham slices
  • Pepperoni
  • Scallops
  • Shrimp
  •  
    VEGETABLES

  • Arugula
  • Basil
  • Blue or purple potatoes (cooked and sliced or cubed)
  • Cherry/grape tomatoes
  • Dilly beans
  • Gherkins/pickle slices
  • Pepperoncini
  • Pimento-stuffed olives
  • Red, orange or yellow bell pepper strips
  • Snow peas
  • Sundried tomatoes
  • FRUIT

  • Clementine/tangerine segments
  • Dried apricots
  • Kiwi
  • Mango cubes
  • Melon cubes
  • Pineapple cubes
  • Red or purple grapes
  •  
    Send us photos of your favorite creations!

      

    Comments

    TIP OF THE DAY: Cider Cocktails

    Cider cocktails: We don’t get enough of them. It’s our own fault, since we habitually order one of our three favorite cocktails instead of going for the seasonal specialty.

    Eating seasonally means drinking seasonally, too. So from now through the end of holiday season, we’re going to enjoy cocktails with fall and winter ingredients, returning on January 1st, National Bloody Mary Day, to our usual drink of choice.

    Thanks to ONEHOPE Wine for these two sparkling cocktails, made with regular cider and their sparkling wine (you can use any sparkler).
     
    RECIPE: PEAR & SPARKLING CIDER COCKTAIL

    Ingredients For 8 Cocktails

  • Rim: 2/3 cup sugar, 1/3 cup cinnamon, combinedd
  • 2 cups chilled pear nectar
  • 2 cups apple cider
  • 2 cups sparkling wine
  • 4 ounces Bourbon
  • Garnish: 1 pear, unpeeled and cored cut into thin slices
    lengthwise
  •    

    Pear and Sparkling Cider-svedka-230

    Pear nectar, apple cider and sparkling wine unite in a seasonal sparkler. Photo courtesy Svedka Vodka.

     

    Preparation

    1. RIM flutes with cinnamon and sugar mixture.

    2. COMBINE pear nectar, apple cider, sparkling wine and Bourbon in a pitcher. Serve immediately, garnished with sliced pear.

     

    Apple Cider Mimosa-svedka-230

    We’re not sure why it’s called a Mimosa (Champagne and orange juice). Think of it as
    a Mimosa for Scotch lovers. Photo courtesy Svedka Vodka.

     

    RECIPE: APPLE CIDER MIMOSA

    Ingredients For 1 Drink

  • 1 teaspoon brown sugar
  • 1 ounce Scotch
  • 2 ounces fresh apple cider
  • 4 ounces sparkling wine
  • Garnish: apple slices
  •  
    Preparation

    1. COMBINE brown sugar, Scotch and apple cider in a flute.

    2. TOP with sparkling wine and garnish with fresh apple slices.
     

    ABOUT ONEHOPE

    ONEHOPE is a social enterprise that integrates causes into products and services to make a social impact. ONEHOPE Wine, produced in California in partnership with Rob Mondavi, Jr., donates half of its profits to partner causes. Learn more at OneHopeWine.com.

     

      

    Comments

    RECIPE: Roasted Beets & Brussels Sprouts

    A marriage of two of our favorite fall vegetables with added bacon: What could be better? This side dish can take a place on your Thanksgiving or Christmas dinner tables, or be served as part of a weekday dinner.

    The recipe is from the new Paleo Takes 5—Or Fewer cookbook, which focuses on recipes with five or fewer ingredients.

    Slow roasting the vegetables caramelizes them, to create extra sweetness along with a savory crunch. There’s more about the process of caramelizing below.

    If you’re not a fan of Brussels sprouts, here’s an alternative recipe: beets and carrots.

    RECIPE: BEETS & BRUSSELS SPROUTS

    Ingredients For 4 Servings

  • 1 pound (454 g) bacon
  • 6 beets, cubed into small pieces
  • 24 Brussels sprouts, cleaned thoroughly
  • 4 cloves fresh garlic, quartered
  • 1 tablespoons (4 g) dried thyme or 3 tablespoons fresh thyme*
  • 1/2 teaspoon sea salt
  • 1/4 teaspoon ground pepper
  • 1/2 cup (62 g) pistachios, once cooked, and toasted
  • Optional garnish: fresh goat cheese, crumbled
  •    

    beet-brussels-sprouts-paleotakes5ckbk-230r

    A luscious marriage of fall vegetables from the new Paleo Takes 5—or Fewer cookbook.

     

    *The typical ratio to substitute dried herbs for fresh, or vice versa: 1/3 part dried herbs equals 1 part fresh herbs.
     

     

    paleo-takes-5-230

    This book has healthy Paleo Diet dishes that use far fewer ingredients than many Paleo recipes. Photo courtesy Page Street Publishing.

     

    Preparation

    1. PREHEAT the oven to 350°F (176°C).

    2. ARRANGE the slices of bacon on a baking sheet lined with aluminum foil. Bake for about 20 minutes in the oven until crispy. Remove with tongs and set aside on a plate to cool. Reserve the bacon fat for cooking the vegetables.

    3. ADD the beets, Brussels sprouts and garlic to a large roasting pan. Drizzle with the reserved bacon fat. Sprinkle with thyme, salt and pepper. Mix thoroughly using the tongs. Roast in the oven on the middle rack for about 45 minutes until everything has caramelized slightly. In the meantime…

    4. TOAST the pistachios on the stovetop in a small pan over medium heat. Transfer the contents of the roasting pan to a large bowl and top with pistachios. Use tongs to toss all ingredients together.

    5. ADD crumbled goat cheese and serve.

     
     

    WHAT IS CARAMELIZING?

    At its most basic level, caramelizing is chemistry. At 338°F, sugar begins to break down at a molecular level and form new compounds. To our eyes and understanding, this means it turns brown and becomes caramel—a broad term that extends to more than just candy and sauce.

    Let’s use onions as our example. Not only do they have a very high natural sugar content—which is helpful when caramelizing—but they are also the most typical item one caramelizes.

    Every time you caramelize an onion, you’re heating its molecules to 338°F, causing the water to evaporate and the sugars to change. It’s as simple as that.

    The process of caramelizing—the caramelization of the sugar inside the onion or other food—is a type of non-enzymatic browning, not involving amino acids, that is different from a Maillard reaction.† Instead, the sugar is oxidized.

     
    †The brown caramel color in certain foods comes from a reaction between the sugar and an amino acid in food. Called the Maillard (my-YARD) reaction after the French physician and chemist Louis Camille Maillard, it’s a form of non-enzymatic browning that usually requires heat. Each type of food has a very distinctive set of flavor compounds that are formed during the Maillard reaction. The color and flavor of toasted bread and nuts; barbecued, roasted and seared meats; and roasted coffee (and many other flavors) are the result of Maillard reactions. And of course, caramel candy is the result of a Maillard reaction.

      

    Comments

    RECIPE: Japanese Chicken Noodle Soup

    Today is National Chicken Soup for the Soul Day, honoring a series of books that have been warming hearts for twenty years with their inspirational stories.

    While some might use the day to feed the soul, we’re doing some traditional feeding with a twist on chicken noodle soup: Japanese chicken soup from Haru restaurant in New York City.

    Udon is a thick wheat flour noodle of Japanese cuisine, typically served in hot chicken broth.

    RECIPE: CHICKEN UDON SOUP: JAPANESE CHICKEN
    NOODLE SOUP

    Ingredients For 4 Servings

  • 5-1/2 cups chicken stock (low sodium)
  • 2 tablespoons mirin (Japanese sweet rice wine)
  • 2 tablespoons soy sauce or tamari sauce
  • 8 ounces boneless chicken breast, cut into slivers
  • 4 medium-sized shiitake mushrooms, sliced
  • 2 scallions, julienned into two-inch pieces
  • 4 handfuls baby or regular spinach, stems discarded
  • 1 package dried or frozen udon noodles
  • 1 tablespoon hot sesame oil
  •  

    clear-chicken-broth-haru-230

    The Japanese version of chicken noodle soup. Photo courtesy Haru Restaurant | NYC.

     

    Preparation

    1. COMBINE the stock, soy sauce and mirin in a medium saucepan over high heat, and bring to boil. Lower the heat and add the chicken and mushrooms. Simmer 4-5 minutes or until chicken is cooked through. In the meantime…

    2. BOIL the noodles per package instructions. Drain and split evenly between four bowls. Ladle the hot broth, chicken and vegetables into each bowl.

    3. DRIZZLE some in sesame oil and garnish with scallions. Serve immediately.

      

    Comments

    RECIPE: Crispy Sweet Potato Roast

    sweet-potato-chips-reclaimingprovincial-via-vtcreamery-230

    This roasted potato dish is similar to a
    Provençal tian. Even if you’re serving a
    traditional sweet potato dish, make these,
    too! Photo courtesy Reclaiming Provincial |
    Vermont Creamery.

     

    During the holiday season, one of America’s great producers of artisan butters, Vermont Creamery, creates a variation of their award winning Cultured Butter: Cultured Butter with Maple & Sea Salt.

    The contrast of salty crunch with the sweetness of maple is delicious on pancakes and waffles, stirred into hot oatmeal, baked into cookies, melted over roasted squash or other veggies, potatoes and rice, or simply spread over a warm piece of crusty bread or toast. The combination of sweet and savory is a hit.

    WHAT IS CULTURED BUTTER?

    In France and other parts of Europe, butter is cultured by adding live bacteria to the cream before churning. The fat content of the butter has to be a minimum of 82% (in the U.S. it can be as low as 80%). The culturing process enhances the sweetness of the butter and brings out a subtle tanginess.

    In the U.S, most butter isn’t cultured; the cream goes straight to the butter churn without added bacteria. This is known as sweet cream butter.

     

    Vermont Creamery’s cultured butter has an 86% butterfat content—the highest fat content you can obtain when making butter. Higher fat content means less moisture, and it provides a higher smoke point when pan searing, a more tender crumb or crust for baking and a much more flavorful table butter.

    RECIPE: CRISPY SWEET POTATO ROAST WITH HERBED COCONUT CRÈME FRAÎCHE

    This recipe comes to us Carey Nershi of the blog Reclaiming Provincial via Vermont Creamery. The combination of coconut milk, crème fraîche and sriracha add an unexpected twist. Find more exciting recipes at ReclaimingProvincial.com.

    For a related dish, check out the French Provençal dish, tian.

    This looks so great in the pan that we made ours in a casserole dish that could go straight from oven to table.

    Note that you can substitute quality unsalted butter (like Cabot’s) for the Vermont Creamery cultured butter. Add 1/8 teaspoon of maple sugar (or to taste) and a pinch of sea salt as a substitute.

     

    Ingredients

  • 4 pounds sweet potatoes (approximately 2.5 inches in
    diameter)
  • 3 tablespoons olive oil
  • 1.5 tablespoons Vermont Creamery Cultured Butter
  • 1.5 tablespoons Vermont Creamery Cultured Butter with Sea
    Salt & Maple
  • A few pinches of coarse sea salt
  • 1 cup coconut milk
  • Heaping 1/2 cup crème fraîche (purchased or homemade)
  • 4 teaspoons sriracha* or other hot sauce
  • 1/3 cup fresh cilantro, minced
  •  

    cultured-butter-maple-2-230sq

    So delicious, and well worth the splurge. Photo courtesy Vermont Creamery.

     
    Preparation

    1. PREHEAT the oven to 375°F. Melt the butters over low heat on the stove top, then mix together with olive oil and set aside.

    2. PEEL the sweet potatoes, then slice crosswise as thinly and evenly as possible (between 1/8” and 1/16” is ideal). A mandoline will make the task far easier.

    3. BRUSH a healthy coating of the butter and oil mixture over the inside of an 8” or 9” baking dish or skillet and sprinkle with a pinch of coarse sea salt. Arrange the potatoes in the dish, brush with the remaining butter and oil and sprinkle with the remaining salt.

    4. ROAST the potatoes for 1 hour and 15 minutes, or until the middle of the potatoes are tender and the tops begin to brown and crisp. (The exact time will depend on your oven and on how thinly you’ve sliced the potatoes. Test them with a fork to make sure they’re tender in the middle.) Remove from the oven and let rest for 10 minutes. While the potatoes are resting…

    5. WHISK together the coconut milk, crème fraîche, and sriracha in a saucepan over medium heat, until just warmed.

    6. POUR half of the sauce over top of the potatoes and sprinkle with half of the minced cilantro. Combine the remaining sauce and cilantro and serve alongside the potatoes, for guests to use as desired.
     
    *Sriracha, pronounced see-RAH-jah, is a Thai hot chili sauce. It is made from red chiles, distilled vinegar, garlic, sugar and salt; and is aged for three months or longer. Unlike American hot sauces such as Tabasco, which are vinegar sauces that are infused with hot chiles, sriracha is primarily puréed chiles, making it a much thicker sauce. The sauce is named after the coastal city of Si Racha in eastern Thailand, where it was first made and marketed.

      

    Comments

    RECIPE: Goat Cheese Sweet Potato Parfait Appetizer

    If you run with a gourmet crowd, here’s a suggestion for a first course that’s easy to make, yet impressive and unique. It is especially elegant when you use a ring mold to create a free-standing tower. However, an easy alternative is to layer the ingredients in a dessert glass or juice glass.

    You can find many more special recipes at VermontCreamery.com.

    RECIPE: GOAT CHEESE SWEET POTATO PARFAIT

    Ingredients
     
    For The Parfait

  • 3 medium apples
  • 2 sweet potatoes (about 1½ pounds)
  • Fine sea salt
  • Freshly ground white pepper*
  • 3 tablespoon olive oil
  • 10 ounces fresh goat cheese (chèvre), plain
  • 6 ounces crème fraîche
  • 1 small shallot, minced (about 1 tablespoon)
  • 1 tablespoon chives, sliced
  •  
    For The Crème Fraîche Sauce

  • 4 ounces crème fraîche
  • 1 tablespoon shallots, minced
  • 1 tablespoon parsley, chopped
  • 1 tablespoon chives, sliced
  • 2 teaspoons lemon juice
  • Fine sea salt and freshly ground pepper
  •    

    sweet-potato_goat_cheese_parfait-vtcreamery-230b

    For a sophisticated first course: sweet potato and goat cheese parfait. Photo courtesy Vermont Creamery.

     
    If you can’t find crème fraîche at the store, you can make it from scratch from heavy cream and buttermilk, with this recipe.
     
    For The Salad

  • 1 cup celery leaves
  • 2 tablespoons black olives, diced
  • 1 tablespoon lemon, diced
  • 1 tablespoon lemon juice
  • 2 tablespoons lemon oil
  • Salt and freshly ground pepper
  • ¼ cup celery, sliced on a bias about ¼ inch long
  •  
    Special Equipment

  • 6 ring molds, 2 inches in diameter by 3 inches high
  •  
    *White peppercorns are black peppercorns with the outer black skin removed. They lose some of the heat and flavor, which is contained in the skin. In the halls of haute cuisine, this was done to prevent black flecks of skin from marring the perfect whiteness of a sauce. However, today we live in a much more relaxed culinary society and are not bothered by black flecks.

     

    creme-fraiche-in-pail-beauty-vtcreamery-230

    Crème fraîche. Photo courtesy Vermont Creamery.

     

    Preparation

    1. PREHEAT the oven to 400°F. Season the apples and sweet potatoes with salt and pepper and drizzle with olive oil.

    2. INDIVIDUALLY WRAP the sweet potatoes and apples in aluminum foil, and place them in the preheated oven. The apples will be tender in about 20 minutes; the sweet potatoes will need about 35 to 40 minutes of cooking time. Once they are tender, remove them from the foil. When the apples and sweet potatoes are cool enough to handle, peel and dice into ¼-inch pieces and set aside. While the apples and sweet potatoes are cooling…

    3. COMBINE the parfait ingredients, the chèvre and and the crème fraîche in a bowl and mix completely. Stir in the shallot and chives. Season to taste with salt and pepper. Reserve in the refrigerator.

    4. MAKE the crème fraîche sauce: Mix the crème fraîche, shallots, parsley, chives and lemon juice in a stainless steel mixing bowl. Season with salt and pepper. Twenty minutes before serving, remove the chèvre mixture from the refrigerator and bring to room temperature.

     

    5. PLACE a ring mold in the center of each plate and spread 1 tablespoon of the chèvre mixture in the bottom. Top the chèvre with the diced sweet potato, then add another dollop of chèvre, then the diced apple, another dollop of chèvre, then the diced sweet potato. Finish with a layer of chèvre.

    6. TOSS the celery leaves, slices of celery, black olives, and lemon together. Drizzle with lemon juice and lemon oil and season with salt and pepper. Top each parfait with a bit of the celery salad, and then remove the mold. Place the parfait in the middle of a plate and drizzle the crème fraîche sauce around the plate and decorate with celery. Serve immediately.

      

    Comments

    TIP OF THE DAY: Pumpkin Risotto

    pumpkin-risotto-andrea-watman-230

    Pumpkin Risotto. Photo courtesy Zabars.

     

    The Italian mother of a friend always serves pumpkin lasagna and pumpkin risotto at Thanksgiving, along with the turkey. In addition to combining traditions, they offer a bonus: enticing vegetarian options for people who won’t eat the turkey.

    This pumpkin risotto recipe is from Zabars’ late, great creative director, Andrea Watman. For a vegetarian dish, use vegetable stock instead of chicken stock.

    Andrea makes the recipe memorable by serving individual portions in scooped-out small pumpkins, but you can go the traditional route and bring the risotto to the table in one serving bowl—or scoop out one larger, prettier squash like a buttercup or kabocha (see the photo below and check out the different types of squash).

    In terms of the pumpkin cut up for the risotto, Andrea suggests that you can use a jack-o-lantern pumpkin, cheese pumpkin pumpkin or butternut squash. (But for pies and desserts, The New York Times’ Melissa Clark tested different pumpkins and squash and gave a hands-down recommendation to butternut or acorn squash. Here’s the full article.)

     

    The risotto can be made as a main course, you can add mushrooms and even sausage meat (for a non-vegetarian version). Andrea’s recipe is easy to make. “Get ready to take a bow,” says Andrea, “because this is a crowd pleaser.”

    Here’s a more complicated pumpkin risotto recipe from Pom Wonderful, which uses pomegranate juice and arils.

    RECIPE: PUMPKIN RISOTTO

    Ingredients For 6 Servings

  • 6 small pumpkins (for serving)
  • 1 medium pumpkin
  • 2 sticks unsalted butter
  • 1/2 cup olive oil
  • 1 cup onion, chopped
  • 4 cloves garlic, minced
  • Optional: 1 cup mushrooms, sliced/diced
  • 2 cups arborio rice
  • 2 cups white wine
  • 5 cups of chicken stock
  • 1/2 cup grated Parmesan
  • Garnish: 4 ounces shelled pumpkin seeds (pepitas)
  • Optional garnish: fresh sage leaves, whole or chiffonade
  •  

    Preparation

    1. PREHEAT the oven to 325°F.

    2. NEATLY CUT the tops off of the six serving pumpkins; remove the seeds and fibrous strands. Place the serving pumpkins and the pumpkin tops on a baking sheet. Lightly coat the inner flesh with olive oil (we used olive oil spray). Bake for 15 minutes; the skin will begin to wrinkle. Don’t overbake the pumpkins or they won’t hold their shape.

    3. BRING a large pot of salted water to boil. Cut up the medium pumpkin, remove the seeds and fibrous strands and peel the outer skin with a vegetable peeler. Cut into cubes and add to the boiling water. Cook as you would potatoes for mashing, about 20 minutes.

    4. DRAIN well; mash with 1 stick of butter. Do not add salt or pepper.

     

    pumpkin-risotto-berlucchi-61-franciacorta-230sq

    You can use a larger squash such as kabocha (shown) as a serving bowl. Photo courtesy Berlucchi ‘61 Franciacorta.

     

    5. HEAT the olive oil in a large, heavy saucepan and sauté the chopped onion, garlic and mushrooms until tender. Do not brown.

    6. ADD the rice and stir with a wood spoon until the rice is coated. Then add 1 cup of white wine and 2 cups of stock, stirring continuously (or as often as possible) until all liquid is absorbed. Add the remaining wine and 1 cup more of stock and keep stirring. Once the liquid is absorbed add 1 more cup of stock, stir until absorbed and add the remaining stock if necessary. You want the rice to be cooked but not mushy.

    7. REMOVE from the heat and stir in the mashed pumpkin. Return the pan to the heat and stir in the remaining stick of butter and Parmesan. The rice will be almost creamy. Taste, and if you need to add salt or pepper, do it now.

    8. SPOON into the small pumpkins or a serving dish. Top with pumpkin seeds and optional sage; serve immediately.

      

    Comments

    RECIPE: Butternut Squash Mashed Potatoes

    butternut-squash-mashed-potatoes-potatogoodness-230r-rev

    Combine butternut squash with mashed
    potatoes. Photo © United States Potato
    Board.

     

    What do you get when you combine Roughly mash potatoes with mellow butternut squash and finish with fresh sage leaves crisped in brown butter? A hit!

    This combination will be a crowd pleaser at the Thanksgiving table, as well as for family dinners throughout the fall and winter.

    RECIPE: SMASHED POTATOES & BUTTERNUT SQUASH WITH BROWN BUTTER & SAGE

    Ingredients

  • 1 pound (3 medium) yellow-flesh potatoes, cut into 3/4-inch chunks
  • 1 small butternut squash (about 1 pound), peeled, seeded and cut into 1-inch chunks
  • Salt
  • 3 tablespoons butter, divided
  • 8-10 fresh sage leaves (2 to 3 inches long), stacked and cut across into ¼-inch strips
  • ½ cup or so milk
  • Freshly ground black pepper, to taste
  •  

    Preparation

    1. COOK potatoes and squash: In 3-quart saucepan, cover the vegetable chunks with water; add 1 teaspoon salt. Bring to boil over high heat; reduce heat, cover and cook until tender, 12 to 15 minutes. Meanwhile…

    2. COMBINE 2 tablespoons of the butter and all the sage in small skillet or saucepan over medium heat. Tilting pan and watching closely, cook about 3 minutes, until the butter foams and begins to brown. Keep warm.

    3. DRAIN the cooked potatoes and squash, return to pan and shake 1 to 2 minutes over low heat. Roughly mash with a hand masher, leaving the mixture chunky. Over low heat, gently mix in the remaining tablespoon of butter and enough milk for consistency desired.

    4. SEASON with salt and pepper. Spoon into a serving bowl and drizzle with the brown butter and sage.

     

    butternut-duo-beauty-goodeggs-230

    Butternut squash. Photo courtesy The Good Eggs.

     

    MASHED POTATOES VS. SMASHED POTATOES

    What’s the difference? Unlike mashed potatoes, which ideally are almost as smooth as a purée, smashed potatoes are a rough mash. More rustic (chunky) in appearance, they taste the same and require less labor to mash. A win!

      

    Comments

    TIP OF THE DAY: Pumpkin Layer Cake Instead Of Pumpkin Pie

    pumpkin-layer-cake-driscolls-230

    An impressive pumpkin layer cake. Photo
    and recipe courtesy Driscoll’s.

     

    Few desserts are more impressive than a towering triple-layer cake. This beauty is paired with raspberries and brandied whipped cream.

    While Thanksgiving menus tend to favor pie (apple, mince, pecan, pumpkin, sweet potato) rather than cake, if you set a fancy table, this cake is a fitting ending to your feast.

    Prep time is 30 minutes, bake time is 25 to 30 minutes. Assembly time is 10 minutes.

    RECIPE: PUMPKIN LAYER CAKE WITH RASPBERRIES
    & BRANDIED CREAM

    Ingredients For 10 To 12 Servings

    For The Cake

  • Softened butter and flour, for the cake pans
  • 2 cups all-purpose flour
  • 2 teaspoons baking soda
  • 1 teaspoon baking powder
  • 2 teaspoons ground cinnamon
  • 1/2 teaspoon ground ginger
  • 1/2 teaspoon freshly ground nutmeg
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 2 cups granulated sugar
  • 1 cup canola oil
  • 4 large eggs, room temperature
  • 1 can (15 ounces or 1-3/4 cups) solid pack pumpkin
  •  

    For The Brandied Cream

  • 1-1/4 cups heavy cream
  • 3 tablespoons confectioners’ sugar
  • 1 tablespoon brandy or Cognac (alternative: use vanilla extract)
  • Garnish: 3 packages (6 ounces or 1-1/3 cups) raspberries*
  •  
    *TIP: If the raspberries aren’t sweet enough, roll them in granulated sugar.

     

    Preparation

    1. PREHEAT the oven to 350°F. Lightly butter three 8-inch round cake pans. Line the pan bottoms with parchment paper (we like these the best—the pre-cut parchment rounds have handles for easy removal of the cake layer). Dust the insides with flour and tap out the excess.

    2. SIFT together the flour, baking soda, baking powder, cinnamon, ginger, nutmeg and salt in a medium bowl.

    3. BEAT until foamy, in a large bowl with an electric mixer—on high speed, the granulated sugar, oil and eggs (about 1 minute). Reduce the mixer speed to low. In thirds, beat in the flour mixture, alternating with two additions of the pumpkin. Mix, scraping down the sides of the bowl as needed, just until smooth. Spread evenly into the cake pans.

    4. BAKE the layers until a wooden toothpick inserted in the center of a cake comes out clean, 25 to 30 minutes. Let cool in the pan on wire cake racks for 10 minutes (check out this three tier cooling rack). Run a knife around the inside of each pan and invert onto a rack to unmold the cake. Remove the parchment paper and turn right side up. Let cool completely. (The cakes can be individually wrapped in plastic wrap and stored at room temperature for up to 2 days.)

     

    raspberries-cartons-morguefile-230

    Fresh raspberries. Photo by J. Eltovski | Morguefile.

     

    5. MAKE the brandied cream: Use a medium bowl and an electric mixer on high speed to whip together the cream, confectioners’ sugar and brandy. Whip until the mixture is stiff. The cream can be refrigerated for up to 8 hours. If it separates, beat until stiff.

    6. ASSEMBLE. Set one-third of the raspberries aside to garnish the cake. Using a small knife, split the remaining raspberries down their sides so they can be opened flat. Put one cake layer on a serving plate. Spread with one third of the cream and add one-half of the split berries. Add a second layer and repeat with another third of the cream and the remaining split berries. Top with the last layer of cake and remaining cream, garnish top with the reserved raspberries. The assembled cake can be refrigerated for up to 2 hours (then the whipped cream starts to deflate). Serve chilled.

      

    Comments

    RECIPE: Baked Potato Nachos

    Today is National Nachos Day. Here’s a twist on nachos from the United States Potato Board, which uses potatoes instead of tortilla chips.

    Prep time is 25 minutes, cook time is 35 minutes.

    RECIPE: BAKED POTATO NACHOS

    Ingredients For 4 Servings

  • 1-1/2 pounds russet potatoes
  • Olive oil
  • 1/2 teaspoon garlic salt
  • 1 teaspoon Mexican seasoning blend (recipe below)
  • Salt and pepper to taste
  •  
    Toppings

  • 1 cup shredded cheddar cheese, Mexican-flavored cheese (jalapeño, habanero) or pepper jack
  • 1/4 cup canned black beans, rinsed and drained
  • 1/4 cup diced tomatoes
  • 1/4 cup sliced black olives
  • 1/4 cup sliced green onions
  • 3 tablespoons canned diced green chiles
  •  

    SHORTEN-01

    Nachos with a twist: baked potatoes replace tortilla chips. Photo courtesy PotatoGoodness.com.

     
    Garnishes

  • Chopped avocado
  • Cilantro
  • Guacamole
  • Enchilada sauce for drizzling
  • Salsa
  • Sour cream or plain Greek yogurt
  •  
    Preparation

    1. PREHEAT oven to 425°F.

    2. WASH the potatoes, peel and slice into 1/2-inch-thick wedges. Toss and coat with olive oil, garlic salt and Mexican seasoning.

    3. PLACE potato wedges in a single layer on a nonstick baking sheet and bake for 25 minutes, stirring several times, until crisp and golden brown.

    4. REMOVE sheet from oven. Top potatoes with cheese, beans, tomatoes, olives, onions and chiles. Bake for 5 minutes more, until the cheese melts.

    5. SERVE with optional guacamole, salsa, sour cream, etc.
     
    MEXICAN SEASONING BLEND

    Ingredients

  • 2 tablespoons ground cumin
  • 2 tablespoons chili powder
  • 2 tablespoons paprika
  • 2 tablespoons dried oregano
  • 1 tablespoon garlic powder
  • 2 teaspoons cayenne
  •  
    Preparation

    1. BLEND all of the ingredients. Store in an airtight container.

      

    Comments

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