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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: Pulled Pork Sliders Or Sandwiches With Cabbage Slaw

Planning to host a group for Labor Day? If you have access to a smoker, Chef David Venable recommends Smoked Mexican Pulled Pork Sandwiches with Cabbage Slaw. Alternatively, you can buy a barbecued pork butt, ready to heat and eat; or make it in a slow cooker.

You can serve full-size sandwiches or smaller sliders.

“If you’re having a big party,” says David, “these Mexican Pulled Pork Sandwiches are a great way to really stretch your dollar and it’s easy to double or even triple the recipe. Smoking the large cut of meat packs in incredible flavor.”

Find more of David Venable’s recipes at QVC.com.

RECIPE: PULLED PORK SANDWICHES

Ingredients For The Pork Sandwiches

  • 4-5 pounds pork butt (bone-in or boneless)
  • 1 package taco seasoning
  • 1 envelope Sazón Adobo seasoning (Goya or other brand)
  • 10-12 of your favorite rolls for sliders or sandwiches
  •  
    Plus Your Favorite Toppings

  • Cheese
  • Cole slaw (recipe below)
  • Pickles
  • Red onion or sweet onion (like Vidalia)
  • Tomatoes
  •    

    pulled-pork-sliders-davidvenableQVC-230

    Top the pulled pork with the cabbage slaw. Photo courtesy QVC.

     
    Pork Preparation

    1. PREHEAT a smoker to 250°F and also prepare the wood chips. Using gloves, rub the taco seasoning and adobo liberally on the pork butt. Smoke for 4-5 hours, or until tender.

    2. REMOVE the pork butt and allow it to rest for 10-15 minutes. Then shred the meat into a bowl with two forks.

    3. ASSEMBLE the sandwiches: Place the desired amount of pork on the bottom half of a roll and top with the cabbage slaw.

     

    pulled-pork-sliders-davidvenableQVC-horiz-230

    Don’t want the bun? Eat it from the bowl! Photo courtesy QVC.

     

    RECIPE: CABBAGE SLAW (COLE SLAW)

    Ingredients

  • 3 cups green cabbage, shredded
  • 1 cup red cabbage, shredded
  • 1 red pepper, seeded and thinly sliced
  • 1 poblano pepper, seeded and thinly sliced
  • 1/2 cup corn kernels
  • 1/4 cup cilantro, coarsely chopped
  • 1/4 cup mayo
  • 1 tablespoon fresh lime juice
  • 2 tablespoons cider vinegar
  • 1 teaspoon honey
  • 1/4 teaspoon chili powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon ground cumin
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt
  • 1/4 teaspoon pepper
  •  
    Preparation

    1. COMBINE the cabbage, peppers, corn and cilantro in a large bowl.

    2. WHISK together mayo, lime juice, vinegar, honey, chili powder, cumin, salt and pepper in a small bowl. Add the dressing to the cabbage mixture and toss to coat.

    3. REFRIGERATE until you’re ready to assemble the sandwiches.
     
    WHO INVENTED SLIDERS?

    A slider is a small sandwich, typically around 3 inches in diameter, served in a bun. The term primarily refers to small burgers, but can also include any small sandwich served on a slider roll.

    According to citations in Wikipedia, the name may have originated aboard U.S. Navy ships in the 1940s or 1950s. The name was inspired by the way greasy burgers slid across the galley grill while the ship pitched and rolled. A “slider with a lid” was a cheeseburger. White Castle trademarked the spelling variant “Slyder.”

    Today, gourmet sliders—bison, venison, Wagyu beef, etc.—are served as an hors d’oeuvre, amuse-bouche, or in multiples as an entrée.

      

    Comments

    FOOD HOLIDAY: Lemonade Recipes For National Lemonade Day

    sparkling-melon-lemonade-zulka-230

    Melon lemonade, an inspired idea. Photo
    courtesy Zulka Sugar.

     

    According to chef and food historian Clifford A. Wright, the all-American summer drink, lemonade, may have had its origin in medieval Egypt. It’s hard to tell, because while the fruit originated farther to the east, the earliest written evidence of lemonade comes from Egypt.

    The wild lemon originated in Assam, India and northern Burma. It was cultivated, and travelers brought it to China, across Persia and the Arab world to the Mediterranean.

    The wild fruit was very acidic and filled with seeds. Given the scarcity of sweeteners, it was initially used as an ornamental tree in early Islamic gardens, producing fragrant blossoms.

    The trade in lemon juice and lemonade was quite considerable by 1104, says Wright. Documents from the Cairo Geniza, the medieval Jewish community in Cairo from the tenth through thirteenth centuries, show that bottles of lemon juice were mixed with lots of sugar, consumed locally and exported.

    So you can celebrate today, National Lemonade Day, with our classic lemonade recipe, make the Sparkling Melon Lemonade recipe below, or spike it with a clear spirit, particularly gin, tequila or vodka.

     
    The recipe is courtesy of Zulka Morena, manufacturers of premium quality sugars. You can find more sweet recipes on the website.

    RECIPE: SPARKLING MELON LEMONADE

    Ingredients For 3 Quarts

  • 8-10 cups chopped melon (you use any—watermelon, cantaloupe, honeydew, etc.—but a half watermelon is ideal)
  • 1-1/2 cups fresh lemon juice
  • 1 cup water
  • 1 cup sugar
  • Sparkling water or club soda
  • Optional garnish: melon balls and fresh mint
  •  
    Preparation

    1. MAKE a simple syrup: Combine water and sugar in a small sauce pan and simmer until the sugar is dissolved. Chill completely before using.

    2. PURÉE the melon in batches with some of the lemon juice and simple syrup, using a blender or food processor. Use even amounts of each ingredient each time. Combine all batches once blended in a large 3 quart pitcher, and chill at least 4 hours.

    3. TO SERVE: Fill large glasses with ice and then halfway with the melon mixture. Top with sparkling water and stir.

     

    MORE LEMONADE RECIPES

  • Lavender Lemonade Recipe
  • Peach Lemonade Recipe
  • Spicy Lemonade Recipe
  •  
    THE HARD STUFF: LEMONADE WITH SPIRIT

    RECIPE: LONDON LEMONADE GIN COCKTAIL

    This elegant cocktail is a world apart from bottled hard lemonade, and takes less than three minutes to put together. It’s perfect for brunch, outdoor parties, warm days and menus that go with lemonade.
     
    Ingredients Per Cocktail

  • 1 part gin
  • 1 part triple sec
  • 1 part fresh lemon juice
  •  
    Preparationl

    1. FILL a shaker with ice and add ingredients. Shake vigorously for one minute.

     

    london-lemonade-beefeater-230

    Add some gin, tequila or vodka for a lemonade cocktail. Photo courtesy Beefeater Gin.

    2. POUR into a collins glass. Garnish with mint leaves and serve with a straw.
     

    MORE LEMONADE COCKTAIL RECIPES

  • Blueberry Lemonade Cocktail Recipe
  • Lemonade 485 Cocktail Recipe
  • Limoncello Lemonade Recipe
  • Tequila Lemonade Recipe
  • Saké Lemonade Recipe
  •   

    Comments

    TIP OF THE DAY: Waffle Bowls (Ice Cream Cone Cups)

    strawberry-sundae-cup-230

    Strawberry sundae in a cone cup. Photo
    courtesy Joy Cone Co.

     

    Can’t decide between a cup of ice cream or a cone? Have two in one with a cone cup, a.k.a. waffle bowl.

    Perfect for customers who have trouble deciding whether they want their ice cream served in a cone or a dish, this waffle bowl from Joy Cone Company offers the best of both worlds!

    Joy, world’s largest ice cream cone company, has been family owned and operated since 1918. It’s proof that you can be the biggest and still turn out a top-quality product.

    The cones and cone cups are made with a blend of cake and pastry flours that produce a light-tasting cone with subtly sweet taste that does not overpower the ice cream—and can be used for savory recipes as well.

    The waffle bowl uses the same batter as the company’s waffle cone. Dark brown sugar is used in the recipe. Many other brands, says Joy, use white or liquid sugar with added molasses, which gives a burnt aftertaste when compared to Joy’s recipe.

    Beyond sundaes, you can use these bowls for numerous sweet and savory recipes. The sturdy waffle bowl does not get soggy.

     
    Sweet Foods & Snacks In Waffle Bowls

  • Apple pie a la mode: vanilla ice cream topped with apple pie filling
  • Custard, mousse, pudding, yogurt
  • Frozen yogurt, ice cream, sorbet
  • Fruit: grapes, fruit salad, apple slices and dip
  • Lemon meringue pie: prepared lemon pie filling and meringue topping
  • Oatmeal and other cereal
  • Snack cups filled with trail mix, candy corn, whatever
  •  

    Nonsweet Foods In Waffle Bowls

  • Asian chicken salad
  • Carrot salad, broccoli carrot slaw, apple slaw
  • Chicken salad with grapes
  • Crudités and dip
  • Shrimp salad
  •  
    Let your creativity be your guide.

    Here’s a store locator for the waffle bowls.

    ICE CREAM CONE HISTORY

    Most sources, including the International Dairy Foods Association, say that the first ice cream cone was produced in New York City in 1896 by Italo Marchiony. An Italian immigrant, he was granted a patent in December 1903 for “small pastry cups with sloping sides.” The bottoms were flat, not conical, much like today’s molded cones.

     

    broccoli-salad-230

    Broccoli salad, one of numerous savory salads that can be served in waffle cups. Photo courtesy Joy Cone Co.

     

    Another story cites an independent creation accidentally born at the 1904 World’s Fair in St. Louis. According to the story, Ernest A. Hamwi, a Syrian concessionaire, was selling a crisp, waffle-like pastry called zalabia*; as were other concessionaires. A neighboring ice cream vendor ran out of clean glass dishes. Hamwi rolled one of his waffles into the shape of a cornucopia; the fresh-made “cone” cooled in a few seconds and the ice cream vendor was able to put a scoop of ice cream in it. Three different ice cream vendors claimed credit. In a 1928 letter to the Ice Cream Trade Journal, Hamwi reported that it was either Arnold Fornachou or Charles Menches who ran the ice cream booth next to him.

    Others also lay claim. But while the ice cream cone was popularized in America, it was not invented here.

    Robin J. Weir, co-author of the book, Frozen Desserts, has spent years researching this topic. He purchased a print dated 1807 of a young woman eating an ice cream cone at the Gardens Of Frascati, a Parisian café known for its ices. Was it glass or edible? It’s hard to tell. An 1820 print of an ice cream seller in Naples shows glass cones on his cart.

    This is a story shrouded in the mists of history—and the real answer may still be out there. Here’s more about the invention of the ice cream cone.

      

    Comments

    FOOD FUN: Chioggia Beets

    chioggia-beets-matchsticks-beeraw-230

    Chioggia beets, candy striped by nature.
    Photo courtesy BeeRaw.com.

     

    Some vegetables just engender a smile. For us, watermelon radish and chioggia beets are two of these, both charmingly candy striped by nature.

    It’s so much fun to find them at farmers markets and add them to salads and crudité plates.

    This show-stopping salad is made of raw chioggia (pronounced kee-OH-juh) beets, also known as bullseye beets, candy cane beets and candy stripe beets.

    The chioggia is impressive for its dramatic presentation and in this recipe (photo at left) it is combined with other simple, bright flavors. A bonus: this variety of beet doesn’t bleed, which good news for those of us who have stained an item or two with beet juice.

    The recipe is courtesy Bee Raw honey, which made it with their clover honey.

    A beet-washing tip: While it can be tempting to scrub away at the beet skin with a vegetable brush, it’s delicate. Be gentle.

     
    Cooking Chioggia Beets

    If you think about cooking them in a subsequent recipe, note that heat causes the pink rings to fade. Sadly, what nature giveth, nature taketh away. This also happens with other unusually colored foods, like purple asparagus.

    You can boil them with a spoonful of lemon juice or white vinegar to keep the color from fading. But that’s why using them raw in a salad, or pickled, is ideal.

    You can find chioggia beets at farmers markets and some specialty food markets. Note that if you’re storing the beets, first cut the greens from the root; then place them in separate plastic bags in the fridge.

    RECIPE: RAW CHIOGGIA BEET SALAD WITH HONEY VINAIGRETTE

    Ingredients For 4 To 6 Servings

  • 3-4 medium chioggia beets (1-1/4 to 1-1/2 pounds) (substitute another beet variety if chioggia isn’t available)
  • 1/4 cup pistachios (substitute edamame)
  • 2 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
  • 2 tablespoons rice wine vinegar
  • 2 tablespoons lime juice
  • 2 teaspoons honey
  • Salt and pepper
  • Optional: We added sliced red onion (substitute green onions), a garnish of goat cheese (substitute feta) and a garnish of chopped fresh mint (substitute basil)
  •  

    Preparation

    1. WASH and dry the beets. Cut the beets into uniform matchstick-sized pieces; place in a medium to large bowl.

    2. CHOP pistachios; set aside.

    3. WHISK together the olive oil, vinegar, lime juice and honey in a small bowl. Toss with beets and optional onions. Season with salt and pepper to taste.

    4. PLATE salads on individual plates and and sprinkle with pistachios and optional goat cheese and herbs. Serve immediately.
     
    MORE ABOUT CHIOGGIA BEETS

    Beets, Beta vulgaris, are a member of the Amaranth family, Amaranthaceae, along with lamb’s quarters, purslane, Swiss chard and quinoa, among many others. Heirloom chioggia beets were noted in northern Italy before 1840. They are named after a fishing village near Venice. The variety arrived in the U.S. prior to 1865.

     

    chioggia-whole-and-sliced-goodeggs-230

    Chioggia beets, whole and sliced. Photo courtesy GoodEggs.com.

     

    The light red skin looks like many other beets, but the candy striped white and red rings inside are a visual treat. The flesh is very tender, mild and sweet without the earthiness that some people don’t like in conventional red beets.

    The beet is a root vegetable; it is known as beetroot in the U.K. and other Commonwealth countries. The wild beet is thought to have originated in prehistoric times in North Africa, and later grew wild along Asian and European seashores. Surprisingly, given the constant quest for food, early people ate the beet greens only.

    The ancient Romans were among the first to cultivate beets and eat the roots. The tribes that invaded Rome after the fall were carried beets throughout northern Europe. There, they were initially used as animal fodder and later for human consumption. [Source]

    Beets became more popular in the 16th century but really became prominent in the 19th century, when it was discovered that they were a concentrated source of sugar.

    Enjoy them baked, pickled, roasted, sautéed, steamed or sliced or grated raw in a salad. Consider baking them with yellow squash and/or zucchini and any herbs, tossed in olive oil for 30 minutes at 350°F (the pretty chioggia stripes will not survive the heat). These baked veggies are delicious plain, but toward the end you can add grated cheese for a gratiné.

  • You can also toss in leftover chicken, meat or fish, and a top of mashed potatoes (like shepherd’s pie).
  • Don’t forget to sauté the beet greens. Cook them like chard or spinach, in olive oil with a sliced garlic clove. It’s especially nice if you have some bacon fat to throw in.
  •  
    Beet Nutrition

  • Beets are very low in fat and have no cholesterol. They are a very good source of dietary fiber, folate, potassium and manganese, and a good source of iron, magnesium and vitamin C.
  • For those avoiding sugar should note that a 4.8 ounce serving has 9g sugar.
  • Betacyanin, the pigment that gives beets their red color, is a powerful antioxidant that is believed to protect against heart disease, birth defects and colon cancer, among others.
  •   

    Comments

    TIP: Easy Appetizer Napoleons

    mushroom-avocado-napoleons-calavocomm-230

    Avocado-portabella napoleon with lavash
    layers. Photo © Delicious Knowledge |
    California Avocado Commission

     

    When most of us think of napoleons, we think of a mille-feuille (millefoglie in Italian), filled with custard.

    Mille-feuille means “thousand leaves,” three rectangular sheets of puff pastry spread with Bavarian cream, pastry cream, whipped cream, custard, jam or fruit purée, often dusted with confectioner’s sugar, and cut into individual rectangular portions. When filled with custard and iced with chocolate, the pastry is called a napoleon.

    But there are savory napoleons too. And in this recipe by Alexandra Caspero | Redux Recipe for the California Avocado Commission, they’re a lot easier to make than their pastry counterparts.

    Instead of using the tricky puff pastry or phyllo, this recipe uses lavash, the Middle Eastern flatbread. You can substitute another soft flatbread, such as a tortilla.

    Napoleon History

    The mille-feuille is most likely a descendant of layered phyllo pastries like baklava. It is believed that the napoleon, and mille-feuille pastry, was developed by the great chef Antoine Carême. See mille-feuille. Three layers of puff pastry (pâte feuilletée) are filled with pastry cream and iced with fondant.

     
    An “American napoleon” has a heavily marbleized chocolate and vanilla fondant top, looking more like Jackson Pollack than the neat French napoleon. An “Italian napoleon” adds layers of rum-soaked sponge cake. Some variations layer fruit, such as raspberries, in the pastry cream.

    Food fact: The napoleon pastry was not named after France’s famous general and emperor. The name is believed to be a corruption of the word “napolitain” (napolitano in Italian), referring to a pastry made in the tradition of Naples, Italy.

    RECIPE: VEGETABLE NAPOLEON APPETIZERS

    This stack of grilled portabella mushrooms and creamy avocados layered between crispy lavash with a lemon-basil mayo, is a delicious vegetarian appetizer or a fancy snack.

    You can vary the vegetables.

  • For the mushroom: summer squash, zucchini or other grilled vegetable(s)
  • For the avocado: onion, tomato
  • For the spinach: arugula, watercress,
  •  

    You can also add another element or two; for example, thinly-sliced cucumber (plain or marinated) or sprouts.

    Ingredients For 2 Servings

  • 1 portabella mushroom cap*, sliced thin
  • 1 teaspoon olive oil
  • Salt and pepper, to taste
  • 1 large ripe avocado (about 8 ounces), peeled, seeded and
    sliced thin
  • 3 tablespoons mayonnaise
  • ½ lemon, zested and juiced
  • 2 tablespoons basil, chiffonade (thinly strips)
  • 1 handful spinach
  • 1 whole-wheat lavash wrap, cut into 6 equal pieces (substitute tortillas or other flavorful wraps)
  •  

    portabella-burpee-230

    Portabella mushroom caps. Photo courtesy Burpee.com.

     
    Preparation

    1. PREHEAT a grill or grill pan to medium-high heat. Lightly rub olive oil into mushroom slices, season with salt/pepper or all-purpose seasoning. When pan is hot, add mushroom slices and grill 3-4 minutes per side, until slightly charred. Remove from grill and set aside.

    2. ADD the sliced lavash pieces to the grill and heat 1-2 minutes per side until crispy. Remove and set aside.

    3. MAKE the lemon-basil mayonnaise: Combine the mayo, lemon juice, zest, and sliced basil.

    4. ASSEMBLE: Spread the mayonnaise on 4 slices of lavash bread. Stack with avocado slices, spinach and mushrooms. Top with a piece of lavash without spread. Add another layer of avocado, spinach, mushroom. Top with the final piece of lavash, spread side down.

     
    *Reserve the stems for an omelet or scramble, or slice for a salad.

      

    Comments

    FOOD HOLIDAY: National Vanilla Custard Day

    Creme Brulee served in ceramic bowl.

    Baked vanilla custard. Photo © Xiebiyun |
    Fotolia.

     

    We looked for a custard recipe to tweet today, National Vanilla Custard Day.

    But, zut alors, we didn’t have one. How can that be? It’s one of our favorite comfort foods (our mother always baked a batch when we were under the weather, scented with nutmeg).

    So, here’s a remedy: Mom’s recipe—although as you can see, it’s a pretty basic recipe. You can use nonfat, 1% or 2% milk for a less rich custard.

    Originally, all custard was flavored with vanilla, but simply called “custard.” Now there are chocolate custard, coconut custard, green tea custard, lemon custard, maple custard, pumpkin custard—any flavor can be added to, or infused into, the custard.

    Custard is typically prepared in individual porcelain ramekins or glass custard cups. But you can use whatever size-appropriate, individual oven-safe dishes you may have; or prepare the custard in a single casserole size.

    Note that most recipes are for a plain custard, garnished afterward with cinnamon or nutmeg. We love a nutmeg-infused custard, so mix it right into the custard prior to baking.

     
    If you want more fruit and less cholesterol, check out this beautiful recipe from Ruth’s Chris Steakhouse.

    You can also use the custard as a shell filling, to make custard pie, custard tarts or mini tarts.
     
    RECIPE: BAKED VANILLA CUSTARD

    Ingredients For 6 Servings

  • 4 eggs
  • 1/2 cup sugar
  • 1-1/2 teaspoons vanilla
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt
  • 3 milk
  • 1/8 teaspoon cinnamon or nutmeg*
  • Optional side: fresh berries
  •  
    *Or, instead of mixing it into the custard, use the cinnamon or nutmeg as a garnish only.

     

    Preparation

    1. BEAT together the eggs, sugar, vanilla and salt in a medium bowl, until well blended.

    2. HEAT milk in a saucepan until very hot (but not boiling); stir into the egg mixture.

    3. PLACE 6 lightly greased 6-ounce custard cups or one 1-1/2-quart casserole in a large baking dish. Pour egg mixture into cups or casserole. Place pan on rack in preheated 350°F oven.

    4. POUR very hot water into pan to within 1/2 inch of top of the cups or 1 inch of top of the casserole. Bake until a knife inserted near center comes out clean, about 30 minutes for cups or 40-60 minutes for casserole. Remove promptly from hot water. See the next section, “When Is The Custard Done?”

    5. COOL on wire rack about 5-10 minutes. Serve warm or refrigerate and chill thoroughly to serve cold. Garnish with ground cinnamon or nutmeg.

     

    84-0109-110-aeb-custard-cups--230

    Pouring the water into the bain-marie. Photo courtesy American Egg Board.

     
    When Is The Custard Done?

    Baked custard should be removed from the oven (and water bath) before the center is completely set. The center will jiggle slightly when the dish or cup is gently shaken.
    Custard will continue to cook after it’s removed from the oven, and the center will firm up quickly. Overbaked custard may curdle.

    The knife test: Test for doneness with a thin-bladed knife. Insert the knife about 1 inch from the center of a one-dish custard, or midway between center and edge of custard cups. If the knife is clean when pulled out, the custard is done. If any custard clings to the blade, bake a few minutes longer and test again.

    CUSTARD TIPS

    These tips are from the American Egg Board, IncredibleEgg.org.

  • Bain-Marie. Don’t skip the bain-marie, or hot-water bath. It insulates the custard from the direct heat of the oven and promotes even cooking so the edges don’t overcook before the center is done. Very hot tap water will do.
  • One-Dish Custard. The recipe can be baked in lightly greased 1-1/2 quart soufflé or baking dish. Pour hot water to within 1 inch of top of dish. Increase baking time to 35 to 40 minutes.
  • No-Mess Pouring. Make the custard in a bowl with a pouring lip, or transfer it to a large glass measure. This makes filling the custard cups easier and neater.
  • Perfectly Smooth Custard. Strain the custard through a sieve when filling the custard cups or baking dish. This removes any tough egg strands.
  •  
    WHAT IS CUSTARD?

    Custard is semisoft preparation of milk or cream and eggs, thickened with heat. It can be cooked on top of the stove or baked in the oven.

    Custards can be sweet or savory, from desserts and dessert sauces to quiche and savory custard tarts.

    What’s the difference between custard, crème caramel, flan and panna cotta?

    Check out the different types of custard in our Custard Glossary.

    The difference between custard and pudding:

    American pudding is a sweetened milk mixture thickened with cornstarch, then cooked. It has no eggs in it. In the U.K. and Europe, it is also known as blancmange, and is thickened with starch.

      

    Comments

    RECIPE: Panzanella & Fruit Salad

    mixed-fruit-panzanella-salad-kaminsky-230

    Fruit salad with bread (panzanella salad).
    Photo © Hannah Kaminsky | Bittersweet
    Blog.

      Our colleague Hannah Kaminsky spent the summer in California, enjoying the wealth of produce that sunny state provides.

    “As a little ode to my Californian summer, it was only fitting to gather up a small sampling of what I had on hand, along with the famed sourdough bread that beckons irresistibly from the windows of every bakery. Fresh mint plucked straight from my tiny windowsill garden completed this little love note to my temporary, adoptive home state.

    “Light, fresh, fast, it’s the kind of recipe that depends entirely on the quality of your ingredients. Consider it as a serving suggestion; more of an idea than a specific schematic, to be tailored to whatever fruits are fresh and in season in your neck of the woods.”

    She calls this recipe California Dreamin’ Panzanella: a creative interpretation of the classic bread salad with ripe California fruit.

    RECIPE: PANZANELLA FRUIT SALAD

    Ingredients For 6-8 Servings

  • 5 cups cubed sourdough bread
  • 2 cups pitted and halved cherries
  • 2 cups seedless grapes
  • 1 cup blackberries
  • 1/4 cup regular or light brown sugar, firmly packed
  • 3 tablespoons olive oil
  • 2 tablespoons lemon juice
  • 1/2 teaspoon ground black pepper
  • 1/2 cup roughly chopped walnuts
  • Fresh mint leaves, thinly sliced
  • Garnish: crème fraîche, mascarpone, whipped cream
  • Preparation

    1. PREHEAT oven to 350°F. Spread bread cubes on a baking sheet in one even layer and bake for about 15 minutes, until golden and lightly toasted all over. Let cool completely before proceeding.

    2. WHISK together the sugar, olive oil, lemon juice and pepper in a large bowl. Add all of the fruits and remaining ingredients (walnuts, mint).

    3. ADD in the toasted bread right before serving, to ensure that it stays crisp. Toss thoroughly so that everything is well distributed and entirely coated with the sugar dressing.

    3. SERVE immediately with a dollop of whipped cream.

     

    ABOUT PANZANELLA

    Panzanella is a savory Tuscan-style bread salad, made with a loaf of day-old (or older) Italian bread, cubed into large croutons and soaked in vinaigrette to soften it. Chopped salad vegetables are added.

    The translation we have found for “panzanella” is “bread in a swamp,” the swamp being the water or vinaigrette in which it is soaked.

    Here’s a classic panzanella salad recipe, with summer tomatoes, cucumbers, onions and fresh basil.
     
      

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    RECIPE: Lemon Ice Box Mini Tarts

    Aida-Mollenkamp-Meyer-Lemon-Icebox-Bites-Recipes-230r

    Meyer Lemon Icebox Mini Tarts. Photo
    courtesy Aida Mollenkamp.

     

    When you want just a bit of dessert, this recipe from Chef Aida Mollenkamp is fun finger food. Prep time is 20 minutes, plus 3 hours of baking and setting time.

    If you can’t find Meyer lemons, the juice of which is less acidic, you can use regular lemons (Eureka or Lisbon lemons—see the different types of lemons). Or, Chef Mollenkamp suggests, substitute equal parts of orange and lemon juice.

    These are not true “ice box tarts,” because the shells require baking in the oven. But the filling sets in the fridge, hence the reference from Chef Mollenkamp.

    RECIPE: MEYER LEMON ICE BOX MINI TARTS

    Ingredients For 48 Bite-Size Tarts

    For The Crust

  • 8 ounces vanilla wafers or graham crackers
  • 3 tablespoons unsalted butter, melted
  •  
    For The Custard

  • 1 cup Meyer lemon juice
  • 1/2 cup lemon juice
  • 1/4 cup cane sugar*
  • 1-1/2 teaspoons vanilla extract
  • 1 (14 ounce) container sweetened condensed milk
  • 1 (8 ounce) mascarpone cheese or cream cheese, softened
  • Pinch salt
  •  
    *Chef Mollenkamp uses organic (unrefined) cane sugar.
     
    For The Garnish

  • Whipped cream, for garnish
  • Candied citrus or ginger
  • Thinly sliced mango or kiwi, or garnish of choice (pomegranate arils add a red highlight)
  •  
    Preparation

    1. HEAT oven to 350°F and arrange a rack in the middle.

    2. MAKE the crust. Place wafers or graham crackers in a food processor and process until broken up (you want 2 cups total). Add butter and pulse until moist. Divide mixture among two mini muffin pans (24-wells) and press mixture evenly in the bottom and up the sides of the muffin wells. Bake until crust is golden brown, about 5 minutes; then remove from oven.

    3. MAKE the custard: Whisk or blend remaining ingredients together until smooth then divide among prepared crusts. Place in the oven and bake until edges are set but center is still a bit loose, about 5 to 10 minutes. Remove from oven and let cool completely, at least 1 hour.

    4. COVER and freeze until chilled and set, at least 2 hours or overnight. When frozen, run a small butter knife dipped in hot water around the perimeter of each tart and remove. Cover and return to freezer until ready to serve. (This can be done up to 2 weeks in advance.)

    5. SERVE frozen or chilled, topped with a dollop of whipped cream and, as desired, a piece of candied ginger or citrus or a slice of fresh kiwi, and serve.
     
    Note: These tarts are best eaten when still frozen or chilled. The tarts should be eaten within 30 minutes of removing from freezer for best texture.

     
      

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    FOOD FUN: Guacamole Verrine, A Layered Appetizer

    We discovered this photo on the Frontier Foods blog, where it was called a torta, a word that refers to different foods in different Spanish-language countries. But we’d call it a verrine (vair-REEN).

    Verre is the French word for glass; verrine, which means “protective glass,” is an assortment of ingredients layered “artfully” in a small glass.

    Verrines can be sweet or savory: The idea is to layer foods that provide delicious tastes in small bites: a variety of flavors, textures and colors. The result is both sophisticated and fun.

    While specialty verrine glasses exist, you most likely have vessels at home that will do the job just fine: juice glasses, rocks glasses, shot glasses, even small wine goblets.

    To make this avocado verrine, layer:

  • Guacamole
  • Chopped chiles of desired heat (instead of the green chiles shown, use red chiles for more color)
  • Crumbled queso blanco, queso fresco or other Mexican fresh cheese (you can substitute fresh goat cheese)
  • Slab bacon or pork belly strips
  • Pepitas (pumpkin seeds)
  • Optional garnish: fresh herbs
  •  

    torta_guacamole_fronterafoods-230s

    Layered appetizer: an avocado (or guacamole) verrine. Photo courtesy Frontera Foods.

     

    Here’s more on savory verrines, as well as dessert verrines—another treat.

    Have fun with it!

      

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    TIP OF THE DAY: Fruit Beer

    lindemans-pomme-lambic-230

    Not hard cider, but apple (pomme) lambic, a
    style of Belgian beer. Photo courtesy
    Lindemans.

     

    For a country so keen on fruity cocktails, we don’t drink much fruit beer. But summer is the perfect time for it, so plan to have a few before Labor Day.

    Fruit beers have been popular for centuries, beginning in Belgium, the country best known for them. Creative brewers there ignored the German Rheinheitsgebot, the “purity law” which specified that beer could only be made with three ingredients: barley, hops and water. (The law dates back to 1516; at the time no one knew that the yeast in the air was involved in the process. Yeast is, of course, the fourth ingredient.)

    Belgian lambic styles are produced in popular flavors like cherry (kriek), peach and raspberry. Traditionally, the fruit was fermented with the grain. Modern breweries may use flavored extracts as a shortcut to the finished product (and, not surprisingly, they don’t taste nearly as good). Check the label or online to find those brewed with real fruit.

    Today you can also find fruit beers in apple, apricot, banana, black currant, blueberry, strawberry and tangerine. But look for craft brews, as opposed to Bud Light’s Ritas line, flavored beers in Lime, Mango, Strawberry and Raspberry. They’re a different product entirely.

    Head to your best beer store and pull together a tasting of fruit beers, both domestic and imported. You may be able to find such tasty brews as:

  • Éphémère Blackcurrant Fruit Beer from Unibroue of Chambly, Quebec, Canada
  • Lindemans Pomme [Apple] Lambic, from Brouwerij Lindemans in Vlezenbeek, Belgium
  • #9 Not Quite Pale Ale, an apricot fruit beer from Magic Hat Brewing Company of South Burlington, Vermont
  • Peach Porch Lounger, a saison-style (farmhouse ale) beer from New Belgium Brewing of Fort Collins, Colorado
  • Raspberry Redemption Belgian-Style Dubbel, from Joseph James Brewing Company in Henderson, Nevada
  • Samuel Smith Organic Strawberry Fruit Beer, from Melbourn Brothers All Saints Brewery of Stamford, Lincolnshire, England
  • Smashed Blueberry Fruit Beer, from Shipyard Brewing Company of Portland, Maine
  • Tangerine Wheat Fruit Beer, from Lost Coast Brewery in Eureka, California
  • Three Philosophers Quadruple, from Brewery Ommegang of Cooperstown, New York
  • Wells Banana Bread English Bitter/Fruit Beer, from Wells & Young’s Brewing Company of Bedford, England
  •  
    HOW TO SERVE FRUIT BEER

    Fruit beers can quaffed as a refreshing cold drink, or paired with foods for breakfast, lunch, dinner and dessert. Consider:

  • Asian chicken salad
  • Brunch eggs, from a simple frittata to Eggs Benedict
  • Cheese courses
  • Chicken, duck or pork dishes made with fruits (apples, apricots, cherries, currants, prunes, etc.)
  • Dessert—fruit desserts, including pies and tarts; and of course, Belgian waffles
  • Shellfish—crab, lobster, plat de mer, scallops, shrimp and yesterday’s recipe for Moules Marinières, steamed mussels
  •  
    Let us know how you enjoy them.
     
      

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