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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: Crispy Fried Cauliflower (Lashooni Gobi)

Junoon is one of the most popular Indian restaurants among gourmand New Yorkers. The name, which means passion, interprets Indian cuisine with a modern spin. The space is large and comfortable, unusual for New York City. And the food: Well, it inspires passion.

While many American home cooks are wary of taking on Indian cuisine without the benefit of a class or an expert friend, here’s one of Junoon’s dishes that’s easy to make. The Indian name is Lahsooni Gobi, but Crispy Fried Cauliflower sounds so much more tempting.

We love cauliflower in all its forms, plain and fancy. But here, lightly battered and tossed in a tomato garlic sauce, this hearty appetizer or side will make even those who don’t typically crave cauliflower want more.

No eggs are used in the batter because in India, eggs are not part of a vegetarian diet (this recipe is actually vegan). This recipe is also gluten-free. Chef Vikas Khanna notes, “I use rice flour here, not just for its superior crisping quality but also for people who are gluten sensitive. It’s a warm and homey dish and can easily be adjusted in terms of heat and garlic to suit anyone’s palate.”

 

crispy-fried-cauliflower-junoon-worleygig-ps-230

Junoon’s delicious Crispy Fried Cauliflower. Photo courtesy Worleygig.

 

RECIPE: LAHSOONI GOBI, CRISPY CAULIFLOWER

Ingredients For 4 Servings

  • 1 medium sized head of cauliflower, cut into small florets
  • Vegetable oil for frying, plus 2 tablespoons to make the sauce
  • 2 teaspoons fine sea salt
  • ½ cup rice flour
  • ½ cup cold water
  • 2 teaspoons minced fresh ginger root
  • 2 cloves garlic, finely chopped, or more to taste
  • ¼ cup tomato purée
  • ¼ cup water
  • ¼ teaspoon cayenne pepper
  • Two pinches salt
  • Two pinches sugar
  • Two pinches ketjiap spice (recipe below)
  • Garnish: 2 sprigs cilantro
  •  

    cauliflower-beauty-goodeggs-230

    Turn an everyday cauliflower into something special. Photo courtesy GoodEggs.com.

     

    Preparation

    1. SPRINKLE 2 teaspoons of sea salt evenly over the cauliflower and let it sit at room temperature for 10 to 15 minutes.

    2. PREHEAT the oil to 350°F: Heat two tablespoons of oil in a heavy-bottomed skillet over medium heat. Add the chopped garlic and ginger, stirring constantly until golden brown, about 2-3 minutes.

    3. ADD the tomato purée, water, cayenne pepper, sugar, salt and ketjiap spice; mix well with a whisk until combined. Cook, stirring frequently, for 5 minutes. Taste for seasoning and adjust if necessary just before serving.

    4. PREPARE the batter by quickly blending the rice flour and water together in a large bowl. Coat the florets in the batter by placing all of the florets in the bowl. Toss gently and then carefully drop the florets into the hot oil. Fry the cauliflower until golden brown, about 5 minutes. Remove with a slotted spoon and drain on paper towels.

    5. BRING the sauce to a simmer over medium heat and then add the cauliflower to the pan. Stir and toss gently to coat the cauliflower with the sauce until well combined. Serve the cauliflower in a bowl garnished with cilantro.

     

    KETJIAP SPICE MIX

    Ketijap is a traditional Indonesian spice mix used for the many different sauces that are loosely called cat-siop and ketjiap (and other spellings*). A pinch or two livens up soups and sauces. You can keep the spice tightly covered in a cool, dark place for up to two months.

  • 1 tablespoon allspice berries
  • 1 tablespoon mace flakes†
  • 1 tablespoon whole black peppercorns, preferably tellicherry
  • 1 tablespoon cumin seeds
  • ½ teaspoon whole cloves
  • 1 tablespoon cinnamon powder
  •  
    Preparation

    1. LIGHTLY TOAST the whole spices in a small heavy bottomed skillet over medium heat for about one minute.

    2. COOL, then grind to a fine powder with the cinnamon in a spice grinder.
     
    *Yes, this is the origin of our word catsup/ketchup, although our familiar tomato ketchup was a New World invention. Here’s the history of ketchup.

    †It can be difficult to find mace flakes, also called mace blades, in consumer markets. Use ground mace instead.

      

    Comments

    FOOD FUN: Mashed Potato Stuffed Burger Recipe

    You’re used to fries or potato chips with your burger. But how about mashed potatoes?

    For some food fun, executive chef Craig (Andy) Beardslee of Hash House A Go Go in San Diego suggests a layer of Parmesan mashed potatoes between two eight-ounce burgers. This one-pound burger with mashed potatoes is not quite Paula Deen (who famously sandwiched a burger, fried egg and bacon between Krispy Kreme donuts), but it’s fun.

    About the name: It’s not really a potato-stuffed burger. It’s more of a potato-layered burger; otherwise, the potatoes would be stuffed inside the burger patties. As in recipe ingredients, in naming, strive for accuracy!

    We like onion with our burger; so when we tried this recipe, we added thinly sliced green onions (scallions) to the mashed potatoes. We also mashed the potatoes with basil oil, and on another occasion with truffle oil. Both are inspired choices, with or without the Parmesan cheese.

    RECIPE: MASHED POTATO STUFFED BURGERS

    Ingredients For 1 Serving

     

    mashed-potatoStuffed-burger-IdahoPotCom-230

    Mashed potato stuffed burger: Just in time for Super Bowl supping. Photo courtesy Idaho Potato Commission.

  • 2 8-ounce ground prime beef patties
  • 6 ounces mashed potatoes with fresh shaved Parmesan cheese, griddled
  • 2 bread and butter plank pickles
  • 2 tomato slices
  • 2 romaine lettuce leaves
  • 1 red onion slices
  • 2 applewood-smoked bacon strips
  • 1 ciabatta or sesame bun
  •  

    Preparation

    1. PLACE the mashed potatoes on a griddle in a pancake shape. Brown and turn.

    2. LAYER the lettuce, tomato, onion and pickles on bottom bun. Top with one beef patty.

    3. LAY on a mound of griddled mashed potatoes and add 2 strips cooked bacon. Top with the second beef patty, then the top half of the bun.

      

    Comments

    TIP OF THE DAY: Homemade Pork Ramen Soup

    ramen-soup-ws-230

    Get out your slow cooker and create this
    delicious Japanese comfort food. Photo
    courtesy Williams-Sonoma.

     

    While many Americans think of ramen soup as one of the cheapest ways to feed oneself comfort food, in Japan the finest Japanese ramen soups take considerable culinary skill and many hours to create. Ramen is hearty enough to be a proper main course with some vegetable sides; but you can also use it as a soup course.

    The Williams Sonoma cookbook, “Quick Slow Cooking,” offers a simplified, yet still delicious, version that uses plenty of succulent braised pork. Another key to a glorious dish is high-quality, fresh ramen noodles, available at Asian markets. If you can’t find them, use fresh thin Chinese egg noodles or fresh linguine. If you can’t get any fresh pasta, you can default to packaged ramen noodles.

    Another point of differentiation from packaged ramen soups: yummy toppings. These can include baby corn, baby spinach, bean sprouts, boiled egg, kamaboko*, kimchi, nori (the dried seaweed used to make sushi rolls), sliced braised pork, sliced green onions or deep-fried green onions, soft-boiled eggs, toasted sesame seeds and wakame seaweed.

    When you make your own soup, you can customize the toppings as you wish, and offer other diners the option to customize their own bowls of soup. This recipe specifies green onions and soft boiled eggs, but you can switch them out or add other toppings.

     
    This recipe uses a slow cooker. For more inspiring slow cooker recipes, check out Quick Slow Cooking by Kim Laidlaw.

    RECIPE: HOMEMADE PORK RAMEN SOUP

    Ingredients For 8 Servings

  • 3 pounds (1.5 kg) boneless pork shoulder, cut into 3 equal pieces
  • Kosher salt, to taste
  • 2 tablespoons canola oil
  • 1 yellow onion, coarsely chopped
  • 6 garlic cloves, chopped
  • 2-inch (5-cm) piece fresh ginger, peeled and chopped
  • 8 cups/64 ounces (2 l) low-sodium chicken broth
  • 1 leek, white and green parts, halved lengthwise and coarsely chopped
  • 4 ounces (125 g) cremini or button mushrooms, brushed clean and coarsely chopped
  • Low-sodium soy sauce for seasoning
  • Sesame or chile oil for seasoning
  • 1-1/2 pounds (750 g) fresh ramen noodles
  • Topping: 8 soft-boiled eggs
  • Topping: 4 green onions, white and pale green parts, finely chopped
  •  
    *Kamaboko is a type of surimi, a Japanese processed seafood product of which crab stick is another variety. To make surimi, white fish are pureed and mixed with flavor and color. Kamaboko is formed into a half moon-shaped loaf and the outside is colored pink over a white center.

     

    Preparation

    1. SEASON the pork with salt. Place a large sauté pan or the stove top–safe insert of a slow cooker on the stove top over medium-high heat. Add the oil and warm until hot. Working in batches if necessary to avoid crowding, add the pork pieces and sear them on the first side without moving them until well browned, 3 to 4 minutes. Turn the pieces and sear on the second side until well browned, 3 to 4 minutes longer. Transfer to a plate and set aside.

    2. POUR off all but 2 tablespoons of the fat from the insert or sauté pan and return the insert to medium-high heat. Add the yellow onion and sear, without stirring, until browned, about 5 minutes. Stir in the garlic, ginger, and 1 cup (250 ml) of the broth. Deglaze the sauté pan or insert, stirring and scraping up any browned bits from the insert bottom; then let simmer for 1 minute. If using a sauté pan…

    3. TRANSFER the contents of the pan to the insert of a slow cooker. Add the leek, mushrooms and the remaining 7 cups (1.75 l) of broth; stir to combine. Cover and cook on the low setting for 8 hours. The pork should be very tender and the broth should be fragrant.

     

    quick-slow-cooking-ws-230

    Make complex-flavored dishes in your slow cooker. Photo courtesy Williams-Sonoma.

     

    4. TRANSFER the pork to a cutting board. Using 2 forks, break the pork into bite-size chunks, removing and discarding any large pieces of fat. Strain the broth through a fine-mesh sieve into a bowl and discard the solids. Using a large spoon, skim off and discard any fat from the surface of the broth. Return the pork and broth to the slow cooker and season to taste with soy sauce and sesame or chile oil. Cover and cook on the low heat setting for about 30 minutes to warm through.

    5. COOK the ramen noodles according to the package directions. Put the eggs into boiling water and simmer for 5 to 6 minutes. Remove the eggs from the water, let cool until they can be handled and peel them. Cut each in half lengthwise.

    6. TO SERVE: Divide the noodles evenly among individual bowls. Ladle the broth and pork over the noodles, dividing them evenly, then sprinkle with the green onions. Top each bowl with two soft-boiled egg halves and serve immediately.
     
    THE HISTORY OF RAMEN

    Ramen is a dish of noodles in meat broth—chicken or pork—that originated in China. It differs from native Japanese noodle soup dishes, in that until ramen appeared, Japanese broth was based on either vegetables or seafood.

    The type of noodles and toppings used in ramen also came from China. It is believed that “ramen” is the Japanese pronunciation of the Chinese word “lamian,” meaning “hand-pulled noodles” (as opposed to noodles that are sliced with a knife).

    While some ramen dishes began to appear in Japan in the late 1600s, they didn’t become widespread until the Meiji Era (1868 through 1912), when Japan moved from being an isolated feudal society to a modern nation. Foreign relations and the introduction of meat-based American and European cuisines led to increased production of meat, and played a large role in the growing popularity of ramen. Almost every locality or prefecture in Japan created its own variation of the dish, served at restaurants.

    The growth of ramen dishes continued after World War II, but was still a special occasion that required going out.

    In 1958, instant noodles were invented by Momofuku Ando, founder and chairman of Nissin Foods. Named the greatest Japanese invention of the 20th century in a Japanese poll, instant ramen allowed anyone to make this dish simply by adding boiling water. Exported, these ramen soup packages soon became a pop culture sensation across the globe.

    Soup recipes and methods of preparation are closely-guarded secrets in many restaurants. Beyond regional variations, innovative Japanese chefs continue to push the boundaries of ramen cuisine. Curry ramen, invented in the Hokkaido region, became a national favorite, as has ramen based on the Chinese dish of shrimp in chili sauce. Non-Japanese ingredients such as black pepper and butter have found their way into recipes.

    Check out this article, which details the different type of ramen by region.

      

    Comments

    FOOD HOLIDAY: An Ice Cream Cake For National Strawberry Ice Cream Day

    strawberry-shortcake-ice-cream-waitrose-recipe-230

    Celebrate National Strawberry Ice Cream Day! Photo courtesy Waitrose.

     

    January 15th is National Strawberry Ice Cream Day. We love this easy strawberry ice cream cake adapted from British upscale grocery giant Waitrose. The company has a royal warrant to supply groceries, wine and spirits to Queen Elizabeth II and to Prince Charles.

    In this recipe, shortbread cookies substitute for the cake; but if you prefer, you can substitute finely cubed pound cake. You also can use strawberry ice cream instead of the vanilla.

    This dessert is also spot-on for Valentine’s Day, Mother’s Day and summer celebrations. Prep time is 15 minutes plus several hours or overnight for freezing.

    RECIPE: STRAWBERRY SHORTCAKE ICE CREAM “CAKE”

    Ingredients For 10 Servings

  • 1 pint strawberries, washed, patted dry and hulled
  • 1 quart vanilla ice cream
  • 7 ounces all butter shortbread cookies, broken into small pieces
  • 4 tablespoons caramel sauce (or fudge sauce if you prefer)
  • Optional garnish: caramel sauce or strawberry purée
  •  
    Preparation

    1. THINLY SLICE 4 of the strawberries and roughly chop the remainder. Line a loaf pan with a double layer of plastic wrap, allowing for some overhang. Arrange the sliced strawberries on the bottom (it will become the top when unmolded).

    2. ROUGHLY CHOP the ice cream using a large knife, then mix it with the chopped strawberries and the shortbread pieces. Spoon half of the mixture into the loaf pan, patting down firmly so there are no air bubbles.

    3. DOT the caramel sauce on top of the ice cream, then cover with the remainder of the mixture, firmly smoothing over the surface. Fold over the overhanging plastic wrap and place the pan in the freezer for several hours or overnight, until the ice cream very firm.

    4. TO SERVE: Gently lift out the ice cream using the plastic wrap as handles, and remove the plastic wrap. Allow to soften for 10–15 minutes as needed; then cut slices with a large knife.

    5. PLATE the slices with an optional drizzle or dotting (use a squeeze bottle to create dots around the rim of the plate) of caramel sauce or strawberry purée.

     
    More than 5,000 recipes can be found at Waitrose.com/recipes.

     
      

    Comments

    RECIPE: Savory Squash Cobbler With Cheddar Chive Biscuits

    squash-cobbler-goboldwbutter-230r

    The cobbler biscuits look familiar, but
    underneath is a savory vegetable blend
    instead of sweet fruit. Photo courtesy Go
    Bold With Butter.

     

    We never even thought of a savory cobbler before seeing this recipe from Taylor Takes a Taste on GoBoldWith Butter.com.

    A cobbler is a fruit dish cooked in a casserole. Shortcake batter or biscuit dough is dropped onto the fruit before baking. The dish got its name because the lumps of cooked dough resembled cobblestones.

    So it’s a short leap to substitute vegetables for the fruit and have a delicious savory cobbler.

    You don’t have to wait for the warm weather to make this Summer Squash Cobbler. It makes a great side dish for a weekday family meal or a large gathering. You can add optional chicken, ham, tofu or other protein cubes.

    In the original recipe, zucchini, yellow squash, and sweet summer corn are sautéed with onions and tossed with Parmesan cheese. You can substitute winter vegetables in the off season.

    This delicious filling is then topped with a layer of buttery cheddar and chive biscuits. Any leftovers are delicious the next day.

    For this recipe, prep time is 30 minutes, cook time is 1 hour, 10 minutes

     
    RECIPE: SUMMER SQUASH COBBLER

    Ingredients For 8 Servings

    For The Squash Mixture

  • 5 cups chopped zucchini (bite size pieces)
  • 5 cups chopped yellow squash (bite size pieces)
  • 2 cups fresh corn kernels (you can substitute something else when corn is not in season—edamame, lima beans, peas, etc.)
  • 3/4 cups chopped Vidalia or other sweet onion
  • 4 tablespoons unsalted butter, plus extra for casserole pan
  • 2 tablespoons chicken stock
  • 1 tablespoon fresh lemon juice
  • 3/4 teaspoon salt
  • 1/4 teaspoon coarse ground pepper
  • 1/2 cup grated Parmesan cheese
  • 2 tablespoons all purpose flour
  • Optional: 2 cups cubed ham or other protein
  •  
    For The Biscuits

  • 4 cups self-rising flour
  • 1/8 teaspoon cayenne pepper
  • 2 cups grated white cheddar cheese
  • 8 tablespoons unsalted butter, cold
  • 2 tablespoons chopped fresh chives
  • 1-1/2 to 1-3/4 cups buttermilk
  •  

    Preparation

    1. PREHEAT oven to 400°degrees. Butter a 9×13 casserole dish. Set aside.

    2. MELT melt 4 tablespoons of butter in large nonstick skillet over medium heat. Add onions and cook, stirring frequently, until onions are soft. Raise heat to medium high and add zucchini and yellow squash. Stirring constantly, cook squash for 5 minutes.

    2. ADD corn, chicken stock, lemon juice, salt and pepper. Reduce heat to medium and cook vegetables, stirring frequently for 5 minutes. Remove vegetables from heat and let them cool to room temperature. While vegetables are cooling…

    3. MAKE the biscuit dough. Place the self-rising flour in large bowl. Add the cayenne pepper. Stir until flour mixture is well blended. Cut cold butter into 16 pieces and add to flour mixture. Using pastry blender or two forks, cut butter into flour until it resembles coarse meal. Add grated cheese and chives to flour mixture and stir until well mixed.

    4. MAKE a well in the center of the flour. Add 1-1/2 cups of buttermilk and pull the flour from sides of bowl toward the center. Stir until dough starts to form. If the mixture seems too dry, add additional buttermilk.

     

    camouflage-zucchini-burpee-basket-230

    Pretty camouflage zucchini. The seeds are available from Burpee.com. Photo courtesy Burpee.

     

    5. KNEAD the dough in the bowl for 2 or 3 turns until a ball forms. Remove dough from bowl and place on floured surface. Pat dough out into a rectangle that is about 1/2-inch thick. Let the dough rest for a moment while preparing cobbler filling.

    6. MIX the Parmesan cheese and flour together in small bowl. Add the Parmesan mixture to the cooled squash mixture and stir to blend. Empty the squash filling into prepared casserole pan, smoothing into even layer.

    7. CUT the biscuit dough into circles. Place the biscuits on surface of squash so that edges of biscuits are just touching each other.

    8. BAKE the cobbler at 400°F for 15 minutes. Reduce the heat to 350°F and continue baking for 20 to 30 minutes, until squash is soft. Cover the top of the cobbler with foil if the biscuits begin to brown too much.

    9. REMOVE the casserole from oven and let cool for 10 minutes. Serve.

      

    Comments

    RECIPE: Better-For-You Mac & Cheese

    White_Cheddar_Mac_and_Cheese-mccormick-230

    Mac and cheese with less guilt. Photo courtesy Nicole Morrissey | Prevention RD.

     

    While your January better eating resolutions are still active, consider this remake of a family favorite recipe, macaroni and cheese. This mac and cheese recipe is better for you in three ways. It uses:

  • Whole wheat macaroni.
  • Reduced fat milk and cheese.
  • Cauliflower puréed into the cheese sauce, thickening it without the butter-flour roux (it also adds fiber).
  •  
    RECIPE: BETTER-FOR-YOU MAC & CHEESE

    Ingredients For 10 Servings

  • 1 package (16 ounces) whole wheat elbow macaroni
  • 3 cups reduced fat 2% milk
  • 1/4 cup flour
  • 1/2 large head cauliflower, cut into florets (3-1/2 cups)
  • 2 teaspoons garlic powder
  • 1 teaspoon dry mustard
  • 1/2 teaspoon thyme leaves
  • 1/2 teaspoon coarse-ground black pepper
  • 8 ounces reduced fat white Cheddar cheese, shredded
  • 1 cup shredded part-skim mozzarella cheese
  • 1/4 cup shredded Parmesan cheese
  • 2 ounces (1/4 package) Neufchâtel cheese (1/3 less fat than cream cheese), softened
  •  
    Preparation

    1. COOK the pasta in large saucepan as directed on the package for al dente pasta. Drain well and return to the saucepan. Keep warm. Meanwhile…

    2. MIX the milk and flour in a medium saucepan with a wire whisk. Bring to a simmer over medium-low heat, whisking constantly. Add the cauliflower florets; cook 12 to 15 minutes or until fork-tender, stirring occasionally.

    3. PURÉE the mixture in batches in blender on high speed until smooth, with the center part of the cover removed to let steam escape. Return the puréed mixture to the saucepan. (Alternatively, purée the mixture in a saucepan with an immersion blender.)

    4. STIR in the remaining ingredients; whisk until smooth. Pour the cheese mixture over the hot cooked macaroni; mix well. Let stand 2 minutes before serving.
     
    Variations

    You can customize the recipe with some equally good for you ingredients that add flavor and color. Mix them in or use them as a garnish.

  • Capers
  • Chopped herbs: basil, parsley
  • Caramelized onions
  • Chopped red onion
  • Diced pimento (roasted red pepper)
  • Diced fresh tomatoes or quartered cherry tomatoes
  • Sliced green onion (scallions)
  • Sliced olives
  • Sliced green onion (scallions)
  •  
    Idea: Set the options out in ramekins and let everyone customize his or her own recipe.
     
      

    Comments

    TIP OF THE DAY: Grilled Fish Or Chicken With Salsa

    Salsa has been America’s favorite condiment since 2000, when it supplanted ketchup in sales. But it actually has been a favorite condiment for thousands of years.

    The wild chile was domesticated about 5200 B.C.E. and tomatoes by 3000 B.C.E., both in Central America. The two ingredients were combined into a condiment, incorporating other ingredients like squash seeds and even beans (the predecessor of one of our favorites, tomato, corn and bean salsa). The Spanish conquistadors, taking over in 1529, called it “salsa,” the Spanish word for sauce.

    Salsa was not used as a dip for tortilla chips, which weren’t invented until the late 1940s in Los Angeles. It was a general sauce for meat, poultry, fish and vegetables. (Here are the history of salsa and the history of tortilla chips.)

    So today’s tip is: Take salsa back to its origins and use it as a sauce for fish and poultry. Here’s the easiest way, from Jillipepper, a New Mexico-based salsa maker.

  • Fish steaks or fillets, 4-6 ounces each
  • 1 salsa, jar or homemade
  •  
    Preparation

    1. BRUSH the fish liberally with the salsa.

       

    montreal-salsa-chicken-mccormick-230

    Salsa-coated chicken. Photo courtesy McCormick.

     
    2. COOK on a grill over medium heat or under the broiler. Turn and brush with salsa every 5 minutes until fish is done.
     

    When you use salsa with chicken or fish, it can be traditionally savory, or sweetened with fruit. (See the different types of salsa.)
     

    SWEET SALSA

    If you like things sweet—and easy—McCormick has a popular Salsa Chicken recipe that combines canned tomatoes with apricot preserves, and a Montreal Salsa Chicken that combines mild salsa with peach preserves.

    Both of those combine tomatoes with fruit, but you can also make a pure fruit salsa with no tomatoes.

    Peach salsa is the best-selling fruit salsa flavor in the U.S., beating mango and pineapple. While most bottled peach salsa is tomato-based salsa roja, you can make fresh peach salsa without tomatoes. Wait for peach season, though; then combine 2 cups peeled, finely diced peaches, 1/4 cup finely chopped sweet onion, 2 tablespoons finely chopped red bell pepper, 1 de-seeded and finely chopped jalapeño, juice of 1 lime, 2-3 tablespoons finely chopped cilantro or basil leaves and 1 clove minced garlic. Add salt to taste.

    Mango pineapple salsa is also easy to whip up. Combine 1 diced mango and 2 cups of diced pineapple with ½ medium onion, diced; ½ cup cilantro, diced; the juice of one lime, and salt and pepper to taste. You can also add minced jalapeño for heat.

    Cherry salsa goes nicely with chicken or fish. You can use fresh cherries in season, but frozen cherries work fine. Here’s a salmon recipe with cherry mango salsa.

    And when watermelon season returns, how about a watermelon, corn and black bean salsa?

     

    Grilled fish with a savory salsa. Photo from the cookbook, South American Grill, courtesy Rizzoli USA.

     

    SAVORY SALSA

    We prefer a largely savory salsa with grilled fish, sometimes with diced fruit—mango, peach or pineapple tossed in for balance, but never, ever with added sugar.

    While you can use salsa from a jar, making your own is easy and you can customize it with your favorite ingredients. You can also create your preferred texture, from chunky hand-diced to puréed in the blender.

    The possible combinations are [almost] endless”

    POSSIBLE SALSA INGREDIENTS

  • Tomatoes: in the off season, use cherry tomatoes
  • Fruit: grape, mango, melon, peach, pineapple or other fruit
  • Onions: green onion, red onion, sweet onion
  • Herbs: basil, cilantro, parsley
  • Acid: wine vinegar, lemon juice, lime juice
  • Heat: jalapeño or other fresh chile
  • Seasonings: salt, pepper, garlic
  • Enhancements: black beans, capers, corn kernels, gherkins, olives
  •  

    HOMEMADE SALSA RECIPE

    Ingredients

  • 3 pounds tomatoes, diced and seeded
  • Optional: 1/2 pound diced fruit
  • 1/2 small red onion (more to taste), small dice
  • 2 or 3 small jalapeño chiles
  • 1 clove garlic, minced
  • 1/2 teaspoon red wine vinegar (or more to taste)
  • 1/2 of a lemon or lime, juiced
  • Salt and pepper to taste
  • 1/2 cup or more cilantro (if you don’t like cilantro, substitute parsley)
  • 2 splashes of red wine vinegar (about a 1/2 teaspoon)
     
    Preparation

    1. REMOVE the stems from the cilantro. Remove the white membrane and seeds from the jalapeños and mince the flesh.

    2. COMBINE the tomatoes, fruit, onions, jalapeño and garlic. Add the seasonings (vinegar, citrus juice, salt, pepper, cilantro) and toss to thoroughly combine. Allow flavors to blend for a half hour or more (overnight is fine); then taste and adjust seasonings. You may want more vinegar, more jalapeño, etc.

    3. Pulse until desired consistency.
     
    This is making us hungry. Guess what we’re having for lunch!

      

  • Comments

    FOOD FUN: Sushi Lollipops

    Here’s a fun idea from RA Sushi in Orlando: sushi lollipops!

    While you may not have the skill to roll your own, it’s easy enough to buy ready-made sushi rolls and add this special spin to enjoy with cocktails.

    Just pick up some bamboo skewers and mix a dipping sauce. It could be as simple as soy sauce and wasabi or soy sauce, grated ginger, sesame seeds and minced chives (wasabi optional).

    Depending on the rolls, you could use sweet chili sauce or citrussy ponzu sauce.

    Here’s a recipe for homemade ponzu sauce—so much more delicious than store-bought (except for the deluxe ponzu sauce from Yakami Orchard).

    As always, have fun with it!

     

    sushi-lollipops-RASushi-orlando-230sq

    Sushi lollipops with a sweet chili dipping sauce. Photo courtesy RA Sushi | Orlando.

     

      

    Comments

    TIP OF THE DAY: Baked Oatmeal With Blueberries & Almonds

    Last year we published a recipe for baked oatmeal with strawberries. It was a big hit.

    Here’s a baked oatmeal dish with a different flavor profile: blueberry and almond, courtesy of the London-based blog, Pip & Little Blue. You’ll find many other delicious recipes on the website.

    “Pip” created this recipe to be heart-healthy, child-friendly and easy to make. “It has to be both one of the yummiest and healthiest breakfasts in my repertoire,” she says. “It may feel like you’re indulging and eating cake for breakfast, but this is jam-packed full of blueberries, oats, soy milk and almonds, all proven to be good for your heart and low in fat to boot. Way way better than [plain] porridge [see note below].

    You can reheat slices in the microwave at home or at work, for a nutritious breakfast every day in 30 seconds.

    RECIPE: BLUEBERRY & ALMOND BAKED OATMEAL

    Ingredients For 8 Servings

  • 1/2 cup butter (plus extra for greasing)*
  • 2/3 cup soft brown sugar
  • 2 eggs, lightly whisked
  • 2 cups cow’s milk or soy milk
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 3 cups rolled oats†
  • 1/2 cup ground almonds
  • 2 teaspoons baking powder**
  • 1 teaspoon cinnamon
  • Pinch salt
  • 1-1/2 cups fresh blueberries
  • 1/3 cup flaked almonds
  •    

    baked-oatmeal-pipandlittleblue-230

    It may look like cake, but it’s baked oatmeal for breakfast! You can use an oblong pan, but doesn’t the oatmeal look prettier in a round one? Photo © Pip & Little Blue.

     
    *Substitute margarine for a heart-healthy version, or dairy-free spread for a dairy-free version. (Many margarines have small amounts of dairy- or milk-derived ingredients in them.)

    †For a gluten-free version, use gluten-free certified oats and gluten-free baking powder.

     

    blueberries-basket-balduccis-230sq

    Fresh blueberries are not in season until summer. Instead of pricey imports, consider buying frozen blueberries. If they’re not sweet enough for you, toss them in your sweetener of choice before adding them to the recipe.

     

    Preparation

    1. PREHEAT the oven to 375°F/190°C and grease a 9-inch baking pan or dish.

    2. CREAM together the butter and sugar in a large bowl. Beat in the eggs, milk and vanilla extract. Stir in the oats, ground almonds, baking powder, cinnamon and salt until all the ingredients are incorporated.

    3. ARRANGE 1 cup of blueberries on the bottom of your baking dish. Spoon the oatmeal mixture on top, even the surface out and scatter the flaked almonds and remaining blueberries on top.

    4. BAKE for 40-45 minutes, or until the oatmeal is springy and golden on top. Serve warm , with extra fruit or a splash of milk.
     
    WHAT IS PORRIDGE?

    Porridge is a dish made by boiling ground, crushed, or chopped cereal grains in water or milk. Optional flavorings can be added, from spices to fruits or cheese.

    Porridge is usually served hot for breakfast, in a bowl or dish. It may be sweetened with sugar or served as a savory dish (cheese grits is an example).

     

    Any cereal grain can be turned into porridge. Buckwheat, oats, wheat (Cream of Wheat, Wheatena) and rice (Cream of Rice) are most popular in the U.S. Worldwide, barley, fonio, maize, millet, rice, rye, sorghum, triticale and quinoa are also made into porridge.

      

    Comments (1)

    RECIPE: Sundried Tomato Scones

    A cold day like today is a good reason to heat up the oven and bake something to enjoy warm. Thanks to Archana Ramesh of the blog Svaad for this recipe.

    Castelvetrano olives are not only delicious and one of our favorite varieties; they’re the brightest green olives. So these “red and green” scones are a nice recipe to remember for the holiday season. If you prefer black olives (or no olives), substitute accordingly.

    Prep time is 10 minutes, cook time is 15 minutes. Find more of Archana’s recipes at Svaad.Wordpress.com.

    Ingredients For 4 Servings

  • 1/2 cup unsalted butter
  • 1 cup all-purpose flour
  • 1 cup whole wheat or multigrain flour
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1 small clove garlic
  •    

    SONY DSC

    Warm from the oven: sundried tomato and olive scones. Photo ©Archana Ramesh.

  • 2 tablespoons milk (plus more if needed for consistency)
  • 1 tablespoons olive oil
  • 1/4 cup sundried tomatoes
  • 1/4 cup chopped Castelvetrano olives, pitted
  •  

     

    bellasunluci-julienne-bag-230

    Keep a bag of julienned Bella Sun Luci tomatoes in the pantry to add to any number of dishes. Photo courtesy Mooney Farms.

     

    Preparation

    1. MIX the flour with the salt, sundried tomatoes and garlic. Chop the olives and put add them to the mix.

    2. CUT the cold butter into this flour mixture with a pastry cutter or two knives, until its all crumbly.

    3. ADD the milk slowly, mixing until the dry mix turns into a dough. If the dough is too sticky, add some olive oil.

    4. SPREAD the dough onto a baking sheet. Using a pizza cutter, cut into triangles. (You can also make specialty shapes with cookie cutter.)

    5. BAKE at 425°F for 10 to 15 minutes, until the tops turn amber. Serve hot, plain or with butter or other spread.

     

      

    Comments

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