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THE NIBBLE’s Gourmet News & Views

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

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

Archive for Recipes

FOOD FUN: Ice Cream Bar Trifle

There are only a few days left of this year’s National Ice Cream Month. Here’s something a bit off the beaten track: an ice cream trifle. Is it a form of ice cream sundae or a variation of ice cream cake? Make it and take a vote.

Trifle is an English dessert dish made from layers of custard, diced fruit, syrup or fruit juice and cubes of sponge cake, topped with whipped cream. It was traditionally served in a footed glass bowl.

In QVC chef David Venable’s recipe, below, ice cream bars replace the custard and chocolate-covered pretzels replace the fruit and caramel takes over for the syrup.

Adapt the recipe as you like, for example, trading the pretzels for sliced strawberries, and exchanging the chocolate cake for pound cake or ladyfingers. Instead of caramel, we tried a version with custard sauce (crème anglaise).

David used Klondike bars in this recipe, easy to chop because there’s no stick. We prefer Magnum ice cream bars: better quality ice cream and chocolate coating, more flavor choices.

   

/home/content/71/6181571/html/wp content/uploads/Klondike Bar Triffle qvc 230

Ice cream bar trifle: Is it a jumbo ice cream
sundae or a different approach to ice cream
cake? Photo courtesy QVC.

 
RECIPE: ICE CREAM BAR TRIFLE

Ingredients

  • 3 packages frozen double-chocolate cake (10.8 ounces each) cut into 1″ pieces; we substituted fresh chocolate loaf cakes
  • 6 ice cream bars, each cut into 6 squares
  • 8 ounces dark chocolate-covered pretzels
  • 12 ounces caramel sauce
  • 16 ounces whipped cream or frozen topping
  •  

    /home/content/71/6181571/html/wp content/uploads/magnum almond icecreamBar 230

    Our favorite ice cream bar: Magnum. Photo courtesy Unilever.

     

    Preparation

    1. CUBE the cake first, then the ice cream bars. If using a fresh cake, freeze it first; it will be easier to cut. Freeze the cubes separately until ready to assemble.

    2. CRUSH the chocolate-covered pretzels gently into smaller pieces. Don’t over-crush—you want small pieces, not dust. Reserve 2 ounces to decorate the top of the trifle.

    3. PLACE 1/3 of the chocolate cake squares into a large trifle dish. Place 1/3 of the ice cream bar cubes on top, followed by 1/3 of the crushed chocolate-covered pretzels. Drizzle 1/4 of the caramel sauce over the pretzels and top with a 1/3 of the whipped cream. Repeat this order two more times, finishing with the whipped cream.

    4. ADD the rest of the caramel sauce and top with the reserved crushed chocolate-covered pretzels. Freeze immediately. David suggests that before serving, you should let the trifle sit at room temperature for 3–4 minutes so the cake can thaw slightly. We like eating frozen cake (especially in small cubes), and brought the trifle straight to the table.

     

      

    Comments

    TIP OF THE DAY: Elote & Esquites, Mexican Corn Recipes

    Elote is the Mexican version of corn on the cob, a popular street food. The ear of corn is roasted or boiled in the husk, then husked and served on a stick with condiments. If the kernels are removed from the corn and served in a bowl, the dish is called esquitas. These recipes are also made at home, where corn holders often replace the stick.

    Corn on a stick has become popular in the U.S. at state fairs, and as street food in areas as disperse as Chicago and Texas.

    Elote is the word for corn in the Nahuatl language of the Aztecs (the Spanish word for corn is maíz). The cooked corn is served with a range of condiments: butter, cotija cheese (and/or feta in the U.S.), chili powder, lemon or lime juice, mayonnaise, sour cream (crema in Mexico) and salt. Popular combinations include chili powder and lime juice in Mexico, butter and cheese in the U.S.

    In some areas of Mexico, the cooked kernels are cut into a bowl, topped with the same condiments and eaten with a spoon. This variation is called esquites (or ezquites) in southern and central Mexico, and troles or trolelotes in the north. (The word esquites comes from the Nahuatl word ízquitl, toasted corn.)

       

    /home/content/71/6181571/html/wp content/uploads/elote iwashyoudry 230

    Make elote at home. Photo courtesy IWashYouDry.com.

     
    CORN PORN

    Our colleague Hannah Kaminsky created what she calls “corn porn.”

    “The simplest elements of a meal,” says Hannah, “those unassuming side dishes that are all too often overshadowed by flashier, more expensive or more complex main dishes, serve up far more nuance than they’re given credit for. A perfect example of this is the humble ear of corn.

    “As summer marches on and those golden yellow kernels swell larger, juicier and sweeter underneath the hot sun, truly sumptuous fresh corn is a rare treat despite its ubiquity. A whole world of flavor can be found within those pale green husks, just beyond the tangled forest of corn silk, if only one knows how coax it out.

    “Finesse is the key to letting such a pared-down dish shine, accentuating the inherent flavor of is base ingredients without covering them up with a heavy-handed smattering of seasonings. Elote, served up either straight on the cob or sheared off and mixed up in the trolelotes presentation, is worth getting excited about.”

    A vegan, Hannah eschews the butter, cheese, mayonnaise and sour cream used to bind the seasonings. Instead, she created the vegan sauce recipe below and serves the corn esquitas-style, as kernels in a bowl.

     

    /home/content/71/6181571/html/wp content/uploads/trolelotes shopcookserve 230

    Trolelotes, garnished with butter, cheese, chili powder, lime and mayonnaise. Photo courtesy ShopCookServe.com. Here’s their trolelotes recipe.

     

     
    RECIPE: ELOTE OR ESQUITAS WITH CASHEW SAUCE

    Don’t want cashew sauce? Load up on the original condiments: butter, cotija cheese (substitute feta or use both), chili powder, lemon or lime juice, mayonnaise and sour cream.

    Ingredients For 6-8 Servings

  • 8 ears sweet corn, husked
  • 2 tablespoons oliveoil
  • 1 cup raw cashews
  • 1 clove garlic, eoughly chopped
  • 1/4 cup lime juice
  • 3 tablespoons nutritional yeast
  • 1 teaspoon light agave nectar
  • 1 teaspoon smoked paprika
  • 1/2 teaspoon cayenne pepper
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1/2 cup water
  • 1/4 cup fresh cilantro, minced
  • Optional garnish: chili powder
  • Preparation

    1. SOAK the cashews for 3 hours and thoroughly drain them.

    2. MAKE the sauce. Place the cashews, garlic and lime juice in a food processor and pulse to combine. Pause to scrape down the sides of the bowl with a spatula so that the nuts are fairly well broken down. Add the nutritional yeast, agave, paprika, cayenne and salt, pulsing to incorporate.

    3. DRIZZLE in the water, allowing the motor to run slowly to blend thoroughly. The sauce should still be a bit coarse in texture, and the small pieces of cashew that remain will emulate the traditional curds of cotija cheese.

    4. COOK the corn on a hot grill, or indoors on a large griddle over high heat. Depending on the size of your cooking surface, you may need to work in batches since the corn must make full contact directly with the surface. Lightly brush the corn with oil and grill the corn until lightly charred, turning as needed. This process should take approximately 10 minutes, but let the color of the corn serve as your guide. Set aside to cool.

    5. CUT the kernels off the corn cobs and place them in a large bowl. Pour the cashew sauce on top and mix thoroughly. Add the fresh cilantro, tossing to combine. Divide the corn into 6 to 8 cups or bowls and top with a sprinkle of chili powder.

      

    Comments

    FOOD HOLIDAY: Pisco Punch For Pisco Day

    /home/content/71/6181571/html/wp content/uploads/pisco porton 230

    Pisco Portón, one of the finest pisco
    brands. Photo courtesy Pisco Portón.

     

    Pisco (PEE-skoe), the national spirit of Peru, is celebrated with two holidays each year: Pisco Day on the fourth Sunday of July, and Pisco Sour Day on the first Saturday of February, honoring Peru’s national drink.

    So for Pisco Day, here are two pisco punch recipes that aren’t the Pisco Sour. Punches are good for a crowd, can be made a day in advance, and are easy to pour from a pitcher.

    Make the punch a day in advance, you can chill it thoroughly in the fridge so less ice will be required (it dilutes the drink as it melts). The larger the cubes, the slower they melt.

    RECIPE: EASY PISCO PUNCH

    Ingredients

  • Peels of three lemons, each cut into spirals with a vegetable peeler
  • ¾ cup sugar
  • ¾ cup fresh-squeezed, strained lemon juice*
  • 1 bottle (750 ml) pisco
  • 1 quart cold water
  • Garnish: 1 star fruit
  • Ice cubes
  •  
    *Juice the three lemons after you cut the peels

    Preparation

    1. MUDDLE the lemon peels and sugar together and let sit for at least 90 minutes. Muddle the lemon and sugar again, then stir in the lemon juice.

    2. ADD the pisco and the water and stir. Keep refrigerated until ready to serve.
     
    3. CUT the star fruit into ¼ to ½ inch slices right before serving. To serve, pour into a glass pitcher and float the star fruit slices. Add ice cubes as needed.

     

    RECIPE: PINEAPPLE PISCO PUNCH

    Ingredients

  • 1 bottle (750ml) pisco
  • 16 ounces pineapple juice
  • 6 ounces simple syrup (Simple Syrup Recipe)
  • ½ fresh pineapple in cubes
  • 7 ounces fresh strawberries, diced
  • Ice cubes
  • Mint leaves
  •  
    Preparation

    1. MIX all ingredients in punch bowl or pitcher.

    2. SERVE in rocks glasses; garnish with pineapple and strawberry squares and mint.

     

    pisco-punch-pitcher-piscoporton-230

    Pineapple Pisco Punch. Photo and recipe courtesy Pisco Portón.

     

    A BRIEF HISTORY OF PISCO

    As Spanish emigrés settled in Latin America, they needed to find local substitutes for products that took many months to come from Europe.

    Pisco, a replacement for European-distilled brandy, was first made in the 16th century from grapes grown in the fertile Pisco Valley.

    While most pisco brands imported to the U.S. are Peruvian, you can alo find some that are made in Chile.

      

    Comments

    TIP OF THE DAY: Ways To Serve Fresh Figs

    figs-blue-cheese-230b-r

    It doesn’t get simpler than this: halved ripe
    cheese topped with a bit of blue cheese or
    chèvre. Photo courtesy Castello USA.

     

    We were surprised not too long ago when a friend mentioned she liked figs, but had only eaten figs in their dried form. Why, we asked, since they are easily available?

    “I didn’t know what to do with them,” she replied.

    Today’s first tip: Never let unfamiliarity stop you from trying a new food. Buy it, bring it home, look it up.

    A sweet, soft and moist tree-ripened fig is luscious, eaten plain, with cheese or yogurt, or in many recipes. Just as with, say, fresh versus dried mango, it’s a completely different experience.

    And the season is now: In the U.S., figs have two seasons: a short season in early summer and a main crop that starts in late summer and runs through fall.

    Fresh figs are fragile and don’t travel well: The think skins easily split and the flesh can bruise. This makes fresh figs even more of a treat, worth seeking out.

    THE HISTORY OF FIGS

    Man has been cultivating figs for more than 11,400 years. It is now believed to be the first food cultivated by man, in the Near East* some 11,400 years ago. This is roughly 1,000 years before the other “earliest crops,” barley, legumes and wheat were domesticated in the region. [Source]

     
    Domestication of crops was a tipping point in the evolution of human thinking after 2.5 million years as nomadic hunter-gatherers: the decision to settle down and grow their own food rather than relying on finding food that was growing wild.
     
    *According to National Geographic, the terms Near East and Middle East are synonymous. Afghanistan, Armenia, Bahrain, Cyprus, Egypt, the Gaza Strip, Iran, Iraq, Israel, Jordan, Kuwait, Lebanon, Libya, Oman, Palestine, Qatar, Saudi Arabia, Sudan, Syria, Turkey, the United Arab Emirates, the West Bank, and Yemen are included in the definition. According to Wikipedia, different bodies—Encyclopedia Britannica and the United Nations, for example—may exclude some countries and add others. [Source]
     
    Figs Today

    The fig is a member of the Moraceae binomial family, sometimes called the fig family. It’s the family member that’s most familiar to us: Other members include the banyan, breadfruit, mulberry and Osage orange (which not an orange).

    There are almost 200 cultivars of figs, in a wide range of shapes, colors and textures. While most of think of figs as having skins that are brown, green, red or purple, take a look at the lovely yellow Tiger Stripe Fig.

    Figs are now grown in warm, dry and sunny climates in around the globe (fig trees can’t tolerate temperatures below 20°F).

    The top 10 fig producing countries are, by crop size, Turkey, Egypt, Algeria, Morocco, Iran, Syria, United States, Brazil, Albania and Tunisia.

     

    HOW TO ENJOY FRESH FIGS

    Since figs are sweet, we think of them in the context of desserts or sweet snacks. But sweetness is also an excellent counterpoint to bitter, salty and spicy/hot foods.

    Eat up: Figs are among the richest plant sources of calcium and fiber. They are rich in calcium, copper, iron, magnesium, manganese, phosphorus, potassium and vitamins B6 and K, and are a good source of flavonoids and polyphenols (antioxidants). They are sodium-free and cholesterol/fat-free.

    Don’t peel the figs. Enjoy them with breakfast cereal, yogurt or cottage cheese; sliced on sandwiches with fresh or aged cheese; chopped and added to rice; stuffed with cream cheese or goat cheese as an hors d’oeuvre; or raw or grilled as a side dish, cut in half and served with grilled meat or poultry.

    Figs For Breakfast

  • With yogurt or cottage cheese.
  • With pancakes, instead of berries.
  • On cereal, hot or cold.
  • Sliced as an omelet filling, with cream cheese or goat cheese.
  • In muffins and breakfast pastries.
  •  

    fig-fondue-californiafigs-230

    Fresh figs with a sweet mascarpone dip; figs dipped into chocolate fondue. Photo courtesy California Figs.

     
    Figs For Lunch

  • On panini with fig jam (recipe—add sliced figs atop the jam; use orange marmalade if you don’t have fig jam).
  • Cheese Soufflé With Figs (here’s a recipe with blue cheese but you can substitute fresh goat cheese).
  •  
    Figs In Appetizers, Hors D’oeuvre And Salads

  • Bacon or prosciutto-wrapped figs.
  • Brie & Fig Torte (recipe).
  • Endive Salad With Figs (recipe).
  • Figs In Prosciutto Bundles (recipe).
  • Fig & Radicchio Salad (recipe.)
  •  

    Cocktails With Figs

  • Fig & Maple Fizz (recipe).
  • Give A Fig Cocktail (recipe).
  • Fig-infused vodka (Fig Infused Vodka).
  •  
     
    Dinner Courses With Figs

  • Honey Balsamic Fig-Glazed Ham (recipe).
  • Bison With Fig Balsamic Reduction (recipe).
  • Pork Loin With Fig & Port Sauce (recipe).
  •  

    Desserts With Figs

  • Bonbons dipped in chocolate (like these from John & Kira’s).
  • Cheese plate with fresh figs.
  • Compote.
  • Fig Flower With Honey Goat Cheese (recipe).
  • Fig Fondue, quartered and dipped into your favorite chocolate or white chocolate fondue recipe.
  • Ice cream—we love this recipe from Charlie Trotter, but you can simply dice the figs, marinate them in brandy or Grand Marnier, and add them to softened vanilla ice cream before returning to the freezer. It’s a riff on rum raisin.
  • Roast Figs With Honey & Hazelnuts (recipe).
  •  
    TOO MANY FIGS?

    If you have too many ripe figs, you can place them on paper towels, cover with plastic wrap and refrigerate them for a few days. Or, place them in a freezer bag and freeze for up to six months.

    Or, purée the ripe figs and use the purée in cocktails (mixed with white spirits, for example), smoothies, or as a topper for ice cream or sorbet (add sweetener as necessary).
     
    Hungry yet?

      

    Comments

    RECIPE: Pineapple Gazpacho

    pineapple-gazpacho-urbanaccents-230

    Pineapple gazpacho, spicy and refreshing. Photo courtesy Urban Accents.

     

    Yesterday we featured a spicy Grilled Pineapple Cocktail, but only the garnish was grilled.

    Today, The pineapple is marinated in spices and lilme juice, then grilled to provide this chilled soup with a more complex flavor.

    The recipe is by Jim Dygas, president of Urban Accents, using Urban Accents’ Mozambique Peri Peri spice blend. The garnish was added by THE NIBBLE.

    Prep time is 15 minutes, cook time is 15 minutes. The gazpacho needs to be refrigerated for at least 2 hours or overnight. The flavor will be better the next day.

    RECIPE: PINEAPPLE GAZPACHO

    Ingredients For 6 Servings

  • 1 whole pineapple, skin removed & cut into 1-inch slices,
    cored and cut into wedges
  • 1 lime, zested and juiced
  • 2 tablespoons Urban Accents Mozambique Peri Peri
    or substitute*
  • 1 cup pineapple juice
  • 2 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
  • 1 seedless (English) cucumber, peeled and diced
  • 1 small red bell pepper, seeded and diced
  • 1 small onion, diced
  • 2 med garlic cloves, minced
  • 3 tablespoons fresh lime juice
  • 1 small jalapeño chile, seeded and minced
  • 2 tablespoons chopped fresh parsley
  • Salt and pepper to taste
  • Garnish: minced chives or thin-sliced scallions, or the
    garnish recipe below
  •  
    For The Garnish

  • 1/4 cup red bell pepper, seeded and finely chopped
  • 1/4 cup green bell pepper, seeded and finely chopped
  • 1/4 cup seedless cucumber, peeled and finely chopped
  • 1 medium jalapeño chile, stemmed, seeded and finely chopped
  • 1 tablespoon cilantro leaves, finely chopped
  •  
    *Urban Accents’ Mozambique Peri Peri has a base of crushed chile peppers and paprika combined with six herbs and spices plus citrus. You can make a less complex seasoning blend by combining crushed chile flakes and paprika with dried herbs of choice.
     
    Preparation

    1. PREHEAT the grill to med-high heat.

    2. COMBINE the lime juice, zest with Mozambique Peri Peri in a large bowl. Add the pineapple, stir and marinate for 15 minutes.

    3. GRILL the pineapple on all sides to get light grill marks. Remove from the grill, let cool slightly and cut into small chunks.

    4. PURÉE 1 cup of the pineapple chunks in a blender or food processor, along with the pineapple juice and olive oil until smooth. Transfer to a medium bowl, add remaining ingredients and stir to combine. Season with salt and pepper to taste. Refrigerate until ready to serve. While the soup chills…

    5. MAKE the garnish. Combine all ingredients. Refrigerate in an airtight container until ready to serve.

     
      

    Comments

    TIP OF THE DAY: Make Individual Ice Cream Cakes

    Don’t let National Ice Cream Month end without some ice cream cake. In today’s tip, you add to the fun by giving each person his or her own individual-size ice cream cake.

    All you need are two ingredients—cake and ice cream—plus an optional garnish. And a fun flavor pairing, although chocolate cake and vanilla ice cream work fine.
     
    RECIPE: INDIVIDUAL ICE CREAM CAKES

    Ingredients

  • Ice cream
  • Un-iced cake (loaf cake works best)
  • Individual custard cups, ramekins or other dishes (glass is best, to show off the layers)
  • Optional garnishes or “surprises”, such as:
  • >Berries
    >Candies
    >Caramel, chocolate or fruit sauce
    >Chocolate chips or shaved chocolate
    >Sprinkles
    >Whipped cream

     

    individual-ice-cream-cake-questnutrition-230

    Portion-sized ice cream cake. (Can we eat two?) Photo courtesy Eat Wisconsin Cheese.

     
    Preparation

    1. CUT and layer the cake and ice cream in the dish, leaving a bit of room at the top for sauce or other garnishes.

    2. HIDE surprises between the layers: mini chocolate chips, M&Ms, Reese’s Pieces, shaved chocolate, sliced strawberries. Place the layered dishes in the freezer until you’re ready to serve.

    3. GARNISH the top with anything you like. One of our favorite garnishes: miniature York Peppermint Patties (we buy them by the carton-full at Costco).
     
    TIPS

    SLICING: Peel the carton from the ice cream to slice the ice cream into layers. Trim and fit the variously-sized pieces of ice cream and cake in the individual dishes.

    SUBSTITUTE: If you have all the ingredients except the cake, you can substitute cookies or sweet muffins.

      

    Comments

    FOOD HOLIDAY: National Hot Dog Day

    cubano-dog-llightlife-230

    The Cubano Dog, adapted from the Cuban Sandwich. Photo courtesy Lightlife.

     

    June 23rd is National Hot Dog Day, and we’ve got a new hot dog recipe: the Cubano Dog. It’s a riff on the Cubano (Cuban) Sandwich, a variation of ham and cheese made with ham, roasted pork, Swiss cheese, sliced dill pickles and mustard on lightly buttered Cuban (or Portuguese) roll.

    Here, the hot dog and bun replace the pork and bread. Check out the different types of sandwiches.

    The recipe is from Lightlife, a Nibble Top Pick Of The Week that specializes in delicious meatless alternatives. But any dog works: beef, bison, chicken, turkey or veggie.

    RECIPE: CUBANO DOG

    You can use store-bought pickles instead of making your own (it’s quick and easy!).

  • 2 large Portuguese rolls or 4 hot dog buns
  • 4 hot dogs
  • 4 slices ham
  • 2 ounces Swiss cheese, sliced into 16 half-inch strips
  • Yellow mustard
  • For The Pickles

  • 1 cup very thinly sliced English cucumber, cut into half moons (see photo above)
  • 1/2 teaspoon dried dill
  • 1/4 cup white vinegar
  • 1 teaspoon sugar
  • 1/2 teaspoon mustard seed
  • ¼ -1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1/2 clove of garlic, cracked
  •  

    Preparation

    1. MAKE the pickles. In a heat-proof bowl, toss together cucumbers and dill. Set aside.

    2. HEAT the vinegar, sugar, mustard seed, salt and garlic in a small saucepan over medium-high heat for 3 to 5 minutes, until the liquid begins to simmer and the sugar dissolves. Pour the liquid over the cucumbers and toss to coat evenly. Cover and place in the refrigerator. The pickles can be prepared up to 2 days in advance.

    3. TOAST the rolls. If using Portuguese rolls, first slice them in half. You can toast them under the broiler at the same time as you broil the hot dogs. and the bread is toasted.

    4. TURN the oven to broil. First cook the hot dogs in a medium saucepan, covered with water. Bring to a boil; turn off the heat. Let the hot dogs sit in the water for 2 minutes.

    4. ROLL 1 slice of ham around each dog. Place on a baking sheet (along with the hot dog rolls) and broil for 2 minutes. Remove the baking sheet from from broiler and add 4 slices of cheese to each dog. Broil for an additional 1 to 2 minutes or until the cheese is melted.

    5. REMOVE from the oven. Top each dog with 1/4 cup of drained pickles. Serve with mustard.

     

    chili-cheese-hot-dog-230

    You’ve come a long way, baby. The original Coney Island hot dog can be dressed in many types of garnishes. Photo courtesy Body By Bison.

     
    HOT DOG VERSUS SAUSAGE: THE DIFFERENCE

    The hot dog—also called a frankfurter and a wiener—is a type of sausage: ground meat stuffed into a casing*. The American hot dog differs from other sausages based on ingredients, origin and size.

    The original name for the hot dog, frankfurter, comes from a small town called Neu-Isenburg, located on the road from Frankfurt to Darmstadt. Every town in Germany has its own sausage recipe: blend of meat, spicing, etc.

    The frankfurter, a slender sausage like today’s frank, was made from pork. The name “wiener” comes from Vienna, Austria; the German name for Vienna is Wien. The wiener is similar to the frankfurter in recipe, but slightly shorter in size.

    Sausages appear in print as far back as Homer’s Odyssey, about 850 B.C.E. The earliest possible reference to “hot dog” occurs in the late 17th century.

    The written record is incomplete, but a sausage maker from Coberg, Germany named Johann Georghehner may have invented a sausage he called “little dachshunds,” or “little dogs.”

    Recipes for the predecessor of the American hot dog came to U.S. with immigrant butchers of several nationalities. While as uncertain as the Georgehner story, it is believed that in 1871, Charles Feltman, a butcher from Germany, opened up the first Coney Island hot dog stand selling 3,684 “dachshund sausages” in a milk roll during his first year in business. [Source: HotDog.org]

    Since sauerkraut and mustard were typical accompaniments to German sausages, they found their place atop the hot dog, later to be joined by many other toppings; for starters, bacon, cheese, chili, ketchup, onions, pickles/pickle relish, salsa and slaw.

    While we don’t know the different recipes of the first American hot dogs, it is beef rather than pork that has prevailed—possibly, because Nathan’s, today the world’s biggest hot dog brand, was a kosher recipe.

    In 1916 Nathan Handwerker, a Polish immigrant, started a nickel hot dog stand on Coney Island with a $300 loan from two friends—Eddie Cantor and Jimmy Durante, both local boys. But it was his wife’s secret spice recipe that is attributed to the success over other vendors.
     
    *Sausage can also be vegetarian; and bulk sausage is available without the casing.

      

    Comments

    RECIPE: Spicy Pineapple Cocktail With A Special Garnish

    pineapple-grilled-ham-garnish-butter&scotch-230

    A spicy pineapple-tequila cocktail with chile
    liqueur. Photo courtesy Butter & Scotch |
    Brooklyn.

     

    At our request, mixologist Allison Kave of Butter & Scotch in Brooklyn sent us the recipe for her Grilled Pineapple Cocktail. The cocktail itself isn’t grilled, but the garnishes are.

    Allison uses a mix of tequila and mezcal, plus Ancho Reyes Ancho Chile Liqueur. If you like sizzle, Ancho Reyes is a real find. You can add heat to other cocktails, or sip it straight.

    And, give it as a host or holiday gift for those who share your spicy palate.

    While you do get lots of chile heat from the liqueur, it is balanced by the sweetness of liqueur—a dimension lacking in hot chile-flavored vodkas, such as Hangar One Chipotle Vodka.

  • If you can’t get your hands on Ancho Reyes (DeKuyper also makes a chile liqueur) make a less spicy cocktail with orange liqueur and a shake of hot sauce.
  • If you don’t have mezcal and don’t want to buy a bottle, replace it with more tequila.
  •  
    RECIPE: GRILLED PINEAPPLE COCKTAIL

    Ingredients For 1 Drink

  • 1 ounce tequila
  • .5 ounce Ancho Reyes Liqueur
  • .5 ounce mezcal
  • 1 ounce pineapple juice
  • .5 ounce lemon juice
  • .5 ounce simple syrup (recipe)
  • Cracked ice
  • Optional garnish: grilled or seared ham and/or pineapple cubes
  • Cocktail pick
  •  
    Preparation

    1. COMBINE all ingredients but the garnish in a cocktail shaker with cracked ice. Shake vigorously until chilled. (Bartender tip: when the shaker is frosty/misty on the outside, the drink is chilled.)

    2. STRAIN into a chilled coupe, Martini or other glass. Top with a skewer of garnishes.
     
    Garnish Variations

    The small cube of grilled ham looks elegant in the photo above. But frankly, if we’re going to grill ham or pineapple at home—or even serve it ungrilled—we’re going to turn it into a nibble.

    So, make the cubes as large as you like, and use as many as you like. Separately, you can make ham and pineapple skewers to serve with the drinks. You can add:

  • Sweet-hot pickled chiles (recipe below)
  • Peppadews (they come in sweet red, sweet golden and hot red varieties)
  • Sweet gherkins or pickle chips
  •  

    More Variations

    You can play with other ingredients in the recipe; for example:

  • Increase the pineapple juice.
  • Use chile vodka (or even spiced rum) instead of tequila.
  • Eliminate the heat, by substituting orange liqueur for chile
    liqueur.
  • Substitute lime juice for the lemon juice.
  • Add a sugar rim to offset the heat (turbinado sugar or other raw
    sugar—Sugar In The Raw is turbinado sugar).
  • Use fresh wedges of pineapple or boiled ham, instead of
    grilled/seared garnishes.
  •  
     
    CONFUSED BY THE DIFFERENT TYPES OF SUGAR?

    There are so many different types, it’s easy to get confused. Our Sugar Glossary explains them all.
     
     
    RECIPE: QUICK-PICKLED HOT & SWEET CHILES

     

    ancho-reyes-230

    Ancho chile-infused liqueur, for mixing or drinking straight. Photo courtesy Ancho Reyes.

     
    You can buy hot and sweet pickled chiles (check out these from Mrs. Renfro’s, Texas Pickle Works, or Texas Wild. And don’t forget hot peppadews.

    Or, you can make your own. They won’t taste the same as the commercial brands, but they’ll be very tasty and ready in an hour! If you want, you can toss pearl onions and/or garlic cloves into the pickling liquid, and use them with the cocktail above or for other recipes.

    Ingredients

  • 1/2 to 1 pound chiles, stems removed*
  • 1/8 teaspoon salt
  • 1 cup cider vinegar
  • 1 cup white vinegar
  • 1 cup light brown sugar (you can substitute table sugar, but brown sugar delivers better flavor)
  • Optional: Pearl onions and/or garlic, as desired
  • 1 tablespoon pickling spices
  •  
    *To reduce the chile heat, also remove the white pith and seeds. Whenever cutting hot chiles, be sure to wear gloves; then remove and wash them (or throw away disposables) to avoid getting burning capsaicin in your eyes.

     
    Preparation

    1. CLEAN and cut the chiles into 1/4 inch slices—you want them thick enough to skewer. If you have very small chiles, like bird’s eye or pequin, simply de-stem them and pickle them whole. Place them in a container with a lid.

    2. COMBINE all the other ingredients in a saucepan and bring to a boil. Reduce the heat and simmer for 10 minutes. Pour the hot liquid over the chiles; add the lid and shake to fully coat. Refrigerate for at least 10 minutes to bring to room temperature. They will stay firm in the fridge for up to 10 days.

      

    Comments

    RECIPE: Pasta & Sardines, Pasta Con Sarde

    spaghetti-sardines-taste.com.au-230r

    Spaghetti with sardines is an Italian classic.
    Photo courtesy Taste.com.au.

     

    Pasta with sardines is a popular Italian dish. Pasta con sarde has been called the national dish of Italy. It is often served with capers, red pepper flakes and bread crumbs. The sardines are laden with heart-healthy omega-3s; and if you use a whole grain pasta, this is a truly better for you dish.

    You don’t have to use the linguine specified in the recipe. You can use spaghetti, other ribbon pasta or even short cuts (bowties, tubes, etc.—see the different types of pasta). This recipe was adapted from one on VitalChoice.com, which sells premium canned sardines.

    RECIPE: PASTA WITH SARDINES

    Ingredients For 2 Servings

  • ½ pound whole-grain linguine
  • 1 tablespoon organic extra virgin olive oil
  • 2 tablespoons red onion, minced (substitute shallots or
    other onions)
  • 2 cloves garlic, minced
  • ¼ teaspoon red pepper flakes
  • 2 cups spinach leaves
  • ¼ cup radishes, sliced
  • 2 tablespoons white wine (or pasta water)
  • 2 tablespoons fresh lemon juice
  • 1 can premium sardine fillets or fresh sardines
  • Optional garnish: capers, fresh parsley, toasted bread crumbs
  •  

    Preparation

    1. COOK the linguine until al dente. Reserve some of the pasta water for the sauce. You can also use it to substitute for the white wine, if you don’t want to cook with wine.

    2. HEAT the olive oil on medium heat, then sauté the onion, garlic and red pepper flakes until translucent. Add white wine, spinach, radishes and half the sardines, and simmer until spinach is wilted.

    3. ADD the radishes, spinach and wine plus half of the sardines. Simmer just until the spinach was wilted, just a few minutes.

    4.REMOVE from the heat and stir in the lemon juice. Add salt and pepper to taste. Top with the remaining sardine fillets and garnish as desired.

     

    sardines-ramps-abboccato-230

    If you’re lucky enough to find fresh sardines, grill them first. Photo courtesy Abbocatto.com.

     
    RECIPE: TOASTED BREAD CRUMBS

    Ingredients

  • 2/3 cup panko or other bread crumbs
  • Olive oil
  • Seasonings as desired
  •  
    Preparation

    1. HEAT a small amount of oil in a skillet. Add the panko and cook until toasted and golden brown, about 2 minutes. Add an optional pinch of salt or fresh-ground black pepper, if desired. Stir as needed.

    2. REMOVE from the heat. If you won’t use them immediately, store the toasted bread crumbs in an airtight container for a day.

      

    Comments

    TIP OF THE DAY: Serve Food In A Martini Glass

    martini-glass-inspiredesignandcreate-230

    A Caprese salad, made with cherry tomatoes
    and bocconcini.* Photo courtesy Inspire,
    Design and Create. Here’s the recipe.

     

    If you own Martini glasses but don’t use them often enough to justify the space, send them from the bar to the kitchen. When they come out, filled with food instead of drink, family and friends will be delighted. If you have oversize Martini glasses, so much the better.

    12 WAYS TO USE MARTINI GLASSES—BEYOND DRINKS

  • Bread pudding, custard, mousse, other puddings
  • Caprese salad with cherry tomatoes and bocconcini substituting for sliced tomato and mozzarella (photo at left)
  • Chopped salad or green salad (see recipe below)
  • Gazpacho or other chilled soup
  • Fruit salad or compote (try watermelon salad, cubed or in balls, with feta and shredded basil)
  • Ice cream scoops or sundaes
  • Mashed potatoes (garnish with chives, bacon, grated cheese, whatever)
  • Nibbles with coffee (cookie bits, mini biscotti, chocolates, chocolate lentils, marshmallows, etc.)
  • Seafood salad (here’s a Vietnamese crab salad recipe)
  • Shrimp cocktail (try this shrimp cocktail with avocado recipe)
  • Sorbet with fruit or other toppings (you can marinate the fruit in brandy or fruit liqueur—recipe)
  • Yogurt parfaits
  •  

    RECIPE: APPETIZER SALAD WITH FRESH MOZZARELLA

    If you don’t like fennel, substitute ingredients you do like in the recipe below, from EatWisconsinCheese.com. Also take a look at this Dirty Martini Salad—simple greens with olives and an olive dressing (the dressing has chopped olives, vodka and olive oil).

    Ingredients For 4 Servings

  • 1 fennel bulb
  • 1 celery heart
  • 1 heart of romaine
  • 9 ounces fresh mozzarella cheese (or cheese of choice)
  • 1/2 cup extra-virgin olive oil
  • Juice of 1 lemon (1/4 cup)
  • 1 tablespoon mascarpone cheese
  • 1 teaspoon Dijon mustard
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt
  • 1 pinch ground white pepper
  •  

    fennel-salad-martini-glass-wmmb-230

    A Martini glass can be repurposed to
    serve different courses of food. Photo
    courtesy EatWisconsinCheese.com.

     
    Preparation

    1. WASH and thoroughly dry the fennel, celery and romaine. Cut the fennel into thin slices, about 2 cups. Cut the celery into julienne strips, about 1/2 cup. Reserve four well-shaped romaine leaves for garnish; then cut the remaining romaine into julienne strips, about 3 cups. Cut the mozzarella into thin strips. Place all into a large mixing bowl.

    2. PUT the olive oil, lemon juice, mascarpone, mustard, salt and pepper in a blender container. Blend until thick and smooth, about 5 seconds. Pour over the salad; toss to coat. Divide the salad, arranging on serving plates, using the reserved lettuce leaves for garnish.

     
    *Bocconcini are bite-size fresh mozzarella balls. You can substitute ciliegine (cherry size) or perlini (pearl size) if you can’t find bocconcini. Here’s a recipe that adds bowtie pasta for a Caprese pasta salad.

      

    Comments

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