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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: Apple “Jell-O” With Caramel Crème Fraîche

For sophisticated palates, here’s a riff on the Halloween caramel apple: apple gelatin with a cloak of caramel crème fraîche.

It’s from CookTheStory.com, the website of Christine Pittman, a recipe developer and photographer. Check out the website for more delicious recipes.

“For this recipe,” says Christine, “you combine apple juice and gelatin and then divide it among small jars before putting it in the fridge to set. Then you mix crème fraîche with caramel sauce and whipped cream and slip it on top of the jello. There’s a layer of nuts and caramel between the jello and the crème fraîche. Oh my!”

Note that while many people use the term Jell-O generically, it is a trademark of Kraft Foods, and refers only to the Jell-O brand. Everything else is properly called gelatin.

RECIPE: HOMEMADE APPLE GELATIN WITH CARAMEL CRÈME FRAÎCHE

Prep time is 25 minutes. The recipe can be made up to two days in advance.

Ingredients For 8 Servings

  • 4 cups apple juice, divided
  • 3 packets (0.25 ounce each) gelatin powder (2.5 tablespoons powder)
  • 2 tablespoons maple syrup or honey
  • ½ cup walnuts, chopped
  • ½ teaspoon cinnamon
  • 1½ cups caramel sauce, divided
  • 8 ounces crème fraîche (store-bought or homemade)
  •    

    apple-jello-caramel-creme-fraiche-cookthestory-230

    Photo courtesy CookTheStory.com.

  • 1¾ cup whipped cream (store-bought or homemade from 1 cup whipping cream)
  •  

    Preparation

    1. POUR 3 cups of the juice into a medium sauce pan. Bring it to a boil over high heat. Meanwhile…

    2. POUR the remaining cup of cold apple juice into a large bowl. Sprinkle the cold juice with the gelatin powder. Let stand for 1 minute. Add the boiling juice to the cold juice. Stir continuously for 3 minutes and then stir in the maple syrup or honey.

    3. DIVIDE the apple juice mixture among 8 jars, glasses or dessert bowls with an 8-10 ounce capacity. Refrigerate until set, about 3-4 hours. Once the jelly has set…

    4. COMBINE the walnuts with the cinnamon and ¾ cup of the caramel sauce. Divide evenly among the 8 containers. (Up until this point the recipe can be made up to 2 days ahead. Keep the containers refrigerated). When ready to serve…

    5. MIX the remaining ¾ cup caramel sauce with the crème fraîche in a large bowl. Add about 1/3 of the whipped cream and stir it gently. Add the remaining whipped cream and gently fold it in just until it is combined (it’s alright if there are ribbons of caramel color through the cream). Divide the caramel cream among the containers.

     

    creme_fraiche_vbc_230

    Crème fraîche. Photo courtesy Vermont Butter & Cheese Creamery.

     

    THE DIFFERENCE BETWEEN CRÈME FRAÎCHE & SOUR CREAM

    These two fresh dairy products are similar, and sometimes can be substituted for each other.

    Sour cream is:

  • Tangier than sour cream.
  • Made by thickening cream with lactic acid cultures.
  • Has a fat content of about 20%, and more protein—which is why heating it results in curdling.
  • Can include stabilizers and thickeners, such as gelatin, rennin (a protein-digesting enzyme that curdles milk) and vegetable enzymes.
  •  
    Crème fraîche is:

  • Thicker and richer than sour cream, with a fat content of about 30%.
  • Made traditionally made (in France) from unpasteurized cream that naturally contained the right bacteria to thicken it. In the U.S., which has pasteurized cream, crème fraîche is made by adding the bacteria with other fermenting agents.
  • Does not contain added stabilizers or thickeners.
  •  

    THE HISTORY OF JELL-O

    Gelatin (also spelled gelatine) has been made since ancient times by boiling animal and fish bones; aspic, a savory, gelatin-like food made from meat or fish stock, was a French specialty centuries before the day of commercial gelatin, and was very difficult to prepare, relying only on the natural gelatin found in the meat to make the aspic set.

    Powdered gelatin was invented in 1682 by Denis Papin. The concept of cooking it with sugar to make dessert dates to 1845 and an American inventor named Peter Cooper. Cooper patented a product that was set with gelatin, but it didn’t take off.

    In 1897, Pearle Wait, a carpenter in Le Roy, New York (Genesee County), experimented with gelatin and developed a fruit flavored dessert which his wife, May, named Jell-O. The first four flavors were orange, lemon, strawberry and raspberry.

    He tried to market his product but lacked the capital and experience, and in 1899 sold his formula to a fellow townsman and manufacturer of proprietary medicines, Orator Frank Woodward, for $450. Jell-O was manufactured by Andrew Samuel Nico of Lyons, New York.

    Alas, sales were slow and one day, Wait sold Sam Nico the business for $35. In 1900, the Genesee Pure Food Company promoted Jell-O in a successful advertising and by 1902 sales were $250,000. In 1923 management created the Jell-O Company, Inc., which replaced the Genesee Pure Foods Company, the purpose of which was to protect the Jell-O trade name and to keep it from becoming a generic term.

    That same year, the Jell-O Company was sold to the Postum Cereal Company, the first subsidiary of a large merger that would eventually become General Foods Corporation. Lime Jell-O was introduced in 1930.

    Today Jell-O is manufactured by Kraft Foods, a subsidiary of Phillip Morris, which also acquired both Kraft and General Foods in the 1980s and ultimately merged the two companies. There is a Jell-O Museum in Le Roy, New York.

      

    Comments

    TIP OF THE DAY: Easy Homemade Bibimbap

    One of our favorite Korean dishes is bibimbap (pronounced BEE-bim-bop), a comfort food recipe that’s easily customizable to your tastes. It combines rice, protein, fresh vegetables and spicy Korean barbeque sauce.

    The dish is traditionally made, mixed and served in a Korean stone bowl (also called hotstone or dolsot). You can use a regular skillet and a dinner plate.

    With a stone bowl, the rice on the bottom becomes extra crisp and crusty and is considered a bonus, like the socarrat on the bottom of paella pans.

    Already low in calories and healthful, if you substitute a [nontraditional] whole grain for the white rice, it becomes a very nutritious dish. Consider black, brown or red rice, or barley (bap is the Korean word for cooked rice). Quinoa fans: Go for it!

    Below are five easy steps to making bibimbap at home from Bibigo, maker of Korean pantry products.

    RECIPE: HOMEMADE BIBIMBAP

    Ingredients

       

    bibimbap-barnjooNYC-230

    Bibimbap served in a traditional stone bowl. Photo courtesy Barnjoo Restaurant | NYC.

  • Cooked rice—your choice of type, including steamed sticky rice
  • Cooked protein(s) of choice: bulgogi beef*, chicken teriyaki, chicken breast, ground beef, seafood, spicy pork or tofu, cooked in marinade (see Step 2 of recipe below)
  • Egg, cooked sunny-side up
  • Vegetables of choice: lightly-cooked carrots, mushrooms, onions, spinach or other favorites
  • Sauce: gochujang (see below) or other traditional sauce (Bibigo makes Hot & Spicy Bulgogi, kohot, ssam sauce, and citron soy)
  •  
    *Bulgogi is thinly sliced, marinated and grilled beef. The word literally means “fire meat” in Korean.
     
    Condiments

  • Gochujang paste (see below), available at Asian markets or online
  • Kimchi
  •  
    Optional Garnishes

  • Nori (dried seaweed sheets, or laver, used to make sushi rolls)
  • Toasted sesame seeds
  • Sliced green onions (scallions)
  •  
    ABOUT GOCHUJANG PASTE

    Gochujang (pronounced ko-chu-JONG, also translated as kochujang) is a Korean hot chile pepper paste, spicy, but not too hot. It is made from glutinous (sticky) rice, red chiles, fermented soy beans and salt.

    Gochujang is one of the three indispensable condiments in Korean households, along with doenjang, bean paste, and ganjang, Korean soy sauce.

    The popular condiment is used in bibimbap as well as in bulgogi (barbecued meat wrapped in lettuce leaves), tteokbokki (a snack food made from soft rice cake and fish cake), and in salads, stews, soups and marinated meat dishes.

    You can also spread it on burgers and sandwiches for some fusion flare, use it as a breakfast condiment with eggs or hash browns, or mix it with soy sauce, rice wine and a bit of brown sugar to make a delicious dipping sauce.

     

    homestyle-bibimbap-230sq

    Bibimbap served on a regular dinner plate.
    Photo courtesy Bibigo.

     

    RECIPE: BIBIMBAP

    This dish is primed for “freestyling.” You can add whatever ingredients appeal to you, from edamame to rice noodles, to create your own signature bibimbap.

    Ingredients For 2 Servings

  • 2 cups steamed medium-grain rice, rice of choice, or other grain
  • 2 cups mixed raw vegetables: bean sprouts, julienned or sliced carrot, cucumber, radish, zucchini, etc.—or—1 cup raw vegetables and 1 cup cooked vegetables, such as bok choy, mushrooms or spinach
  • 1 teaspoon soy sauce
  • 2 teaspoon sugar
  • 2 teaspoons garlic, minced (about 3 large cloves)
  • 1 teaspoon freshly grated ginger
  • 1 teaspoon toasted sesame oil
  • 1/4 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
  • 8 ounces cooked protein
  • 3 tablespoons gochujang sauce
  • 2 eggs
  • Garnish: julienned nori (seaweed sheets), kimchi, sliced green onion (scallions), toasted sesame seeds
  •  
    Preparation

    1. DIVIDE the rice and vegetables between two serving bowls; set aside.

    2. MAKE the marinade: Combine soy sauce, sugar, garlic, ginger, sesame oil and pepper in a mixing bowl.

    3. COMBINE the marinade and protein in a skillet over medium-high heat, and stir frequently until just cooked through.

    4. TOP the rice with the cooked protein, reserving the cooking juices. Mix the juices with the gochujang sauce.

    5. FRY the eggs sunny-side up and place one on top of each rice bowl. Garnish to taste and serve with gochujang sauce.

      

    Comments

    RECIPE: Goat Curry

    goat-curry-aglocal-230r

    Goat curry with naan, Indian flatbread.
    Photo courtesy AG Local.

     

    Got your goat?

    AgLocal has it! The e-tailer sources its meats from family farms that treat their animals well. The goal: a marketplace where consumers can easily purchase high quality meats while actively supporting the development of sustainable, regional farms. Learn more at AgLocal.com.

    And here’s some news: Goat is the most widely consumed protein in the world. It is also one of the most sustainable animals to raise, eating mostly brush and weeds.

    Yet, while Americans love goat cheese and other goat milk-based dairy products, we rarely eat goat meat. In fact, it’s hard to find outside of international markets and butchers. Even the Italian restaurants of our youth that had goat on the menu have it no more. Where has all the goat meat gone?

    This recipe, adapted by the AgLocal Test Kitchen from the August 2012 issue of Good Food Magazine, is an easy way to introduce goat into your cooking repertoire.

     
    RECIPE: GOAT CURRY

    Ingredients For 4-6 Servings

  • 1 pound goat stew meat
  • 1 large onion, roughly chopped
  • 10 garlic cloves
  • 1 tablespoon ginger, chopped
  • 1 tablespoon vegetable oil
  • 2-3 jalapeño chiles
  • Optional: small handful curry leaves
  • 3 thyme sprigs
  • 4 tablespoons mild curry powder
  • 2 teaspoons salt
  • 1 can (15-ounces) diced tomatoes
  • 2 cups beef stock
  • 1 can (15-ounces) pinto beans
  • 1-2 cups plain yogurt
  • 1-2 lemons, juiced
  • Small bunch of cilantro, chopped
  • Naan and/or rice for serving
  •  
    Preparation

    1. PLACE the onion, garlic and ginger in a food processor and purée. Heat oil in a Dutch oven and add the onion mixture. Cook for 5 minutes until softened. Add the peppers, curry leaves, thyme, curry powder and 2 teaspoons salt and cook for 2 minutes more until fragrant.

    2. ADD the goat meat and cook for 5 minutes until sides are browned. Add the tomatoes and stock and season with salt and pepper to taste. Increase the heat and bring to a boil. Reduce heat, cover, and leave to simmer for 2 hours.

    3. UNCOVER and cook for an additional 30 minutes. Add the beans to heat through. Slowly whisk in lemon juice and yogurt. Taste and add more yogurt and lemon juice to cut through spice if needed. Season to taste with salt and pepper and serve.

     
      

    Comments

    TIP OF THE DAY: Make Cinnamon Apple Chips

    apple-chips-beauty-kaminsky-230

    Make delicious apple chips. Photo by Hannah
    Kaminsky | THE NIBBLE.

     

    We love apple chips, a better-for-you sweet snack. We’re big fans of the Bare Fruit brand, which we buy online in both single serve and family size bags. The apples they use are so sweet that there’s no added sugar.

    When we’re out of Bare Fruit apple chips, we make our own with this easy recipe from Zulka Morena sugar. If you’re cutting back on sugar calories, you can make half with sugar, half without, and combine them; Splenda fans can try the noncaloric sweetener.

    RECIPE: CINNAMON APPLE CHIPS

    Ingredients

  • 3-4 apples, sweetest variety
  • 1/2 cup sugar
  • 1 tablespoon cinnamon
  •  
    Preparation

    1. PREHEAT oven to 225°F. Line 3 baking sheets with parchment paper. Mix the cinnamon and sugar together in a small bowl and set aside.

    2. REMOVE the apple cores with an apple corer. Use a sharp knife or mandolin slicer to thinly slice the apples into rings.

     
    3. PLACE the slices next to each other on the trays (they can overlap a bit). Sprinkle the cinnamon sugar mixture over the top of the apples.

    4. PLACE the sheets on the oven racks and bake for one hour. Remove each tray of apple slices, flip the slices and return the tray to a different oven rack than before to ensure even baking.

    5. BAKE for one more hour. Turn off the oven, leaving the apple chips inside for another 2-3 hours or until dried out. Store the chips in an airtight container for up to one week.
     
    Find more delicious recipes at Zulka.com.

     
      

    Comments

    FOOD HOLIDAY: National Homemade Cookie Day

    Start preheating the oven: October 1st is National Homemade Cookie Day.

    Here are some of our favorite cookie recipes.

    We could do chocolate chip, America’s favorite cookie; but we’re really in the mood for these Gingerbread Bars With Cream Cheese Icing.

    In honor of the month of October—the beginning of “pumpkin season”—we’ll add some pumpkin purée to the icing (a tablespoon or two of canned pumpkin purée).

    And, we’ll answer this question:

    WHY ARE BROWNIES COOKIES, NOT CAKE?

    You may wonder why brownies and other bar cookies are classified as cookies when they have a crumb (the professional word for the texture of baked goods, including bread and muffins) that is similar to cake.

    The answer is: Cookies are finger food, cakes are fork food. Brownies, lemon bars and other bars are finger food, not fork food. It’s that simple.

     

    What we’re baking for National Homemade Cookie Day: gingerbread bars with cream cheese frosting. Photo and recipe courtesy McCormick.com.

     
    Check out:

  • The history of cookies
  • The different types of cookies
  • How to store cookies
  •   

    Comments

    TIP OF THE DAY & FOOD HOLIDAY: National Kale Day

    kale-varieties-nationalkaleday.org-230r

    Three stems of curly kale with one of red
    Russian kale. Photo courtesy
    NationalKaleDay.org.

     

    Yesterday we focused on kale’s cousin, kohlrabi. But today is National Kale Day. If you’re one of the few better-eating-oriented food enthusiasts who hasn’t yet tried kale, today’s the day.

    This is the second annual National Kale Day, established as the first Wednesday in October. The holiday was established by Drew Ramsey, M.D. and chef Jennifer Iserloh, authors of 50 Shades of Kale.

    Their objective was to draw attention to the superfood, which continues to grow in popularity in both the retail and foodservice (restaurants, schools and other institutions, etc.) markets.

    The kale trend has driven up sales 20%-30% in the last year alone. As an illustration of how popular kale has become, mainstream producer Dole Fresh Vegetables recently rolled out new six salad mixes, all with kale, including a Kale Caesar salad kit.

    Kale is grown around the world, and has been cultivated for some 6,000 years. It’s easy to grow and hearty: A kale plant continues to produce late into winter, and after a frost, kale becomes even sweeter.
     
    TYPES OF KALE

    If you’re already a fan of green kale, visit farmers markets for specialty varieties. There are more than 50 varieties of kale, but in the U.S. you’re most likely to find:

     

  • Curly kale, the variety typically found in grocery stores. It can be bright green, dark green or purple in color with tight ruffled leaves. The fibrous stalks can be difficult to chop, but they’re easy to tear if fresh. The flavor is pungent, peppery and bitter. Seek out younger looking leaves for less bitterness.
  • Lacinato kale, also called black kale, dinosaur kale, Tuscan kale and other names*. It’s an Italian heirloom with blue-green leaves. Slightly sweeter and more delicate in flavor than curly kale, it has nutty, earthy notes.
  • Redbor kale, best known as ornamental kale, dark red or purple in color. It is certainly edible. You can grow it as a garden decoration and pick leaves as you need them, for cooking or garnishing.
  • Red Russian kale with flat leaves that resemble arugula leaves. It gets its name because the stems can have a red or reddish-purple tinge. It is considered one of the more flavorful kales, sweet and mild with just a bit of pepperiness. The stems, however, are too tough to digest and should be removed before cooking.
  •  
    *Lacinto kale is also called black kale, black Tuscan palm, cavolo nero (which means black cabbage in Italian), dinosaur kale, flat back cabbage, Italian kale, palm tree kale, Tuscan cabbage and Tuscan kale.

     

    To celebrate National Kale Day, make your favorite kale dish. Have you ever tried colcannon, a traditional Irish dish of kale (or cabbage) and mashed potatoes? We’re making it for dinner tonight, along with this kale salad:

    RECIPE: SHREDDED KALE WITH DATE PURÉE & PINE NUTS

    This recipe is from Svitana of ArtDeFete.com. She enhances a conventional vinaigrette with date purée for an exciting new flavor combination.

    Ingredients For 4 Servings

    For The Date Purée

  • 2 cups Medjool dates, pitted
  • 2 cups water
  • ½ teaspoon sea salt
  • Pinch nutmeg
  • Pinch cayenne pepper
  • ½ lemon, juiced
  •  

    shredded-kale-salad-with-date-puree-artdefete-230r

    Shredded kale salad with date purée. Photo courtesy ArtDeFete.com.

     
    For The Salad

  • 1 bunch kale, center ribs removed, leaves finely shredded
  • ¼ cup pine nuts, toasted
  • Optional garnish: ¼ cup Panko bread crumbs, toasted
  •  
    For the Dressing

  • 1½ tablespoons red wine vinegar
  • 2 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
  • 1 tablespoon date purée
  • Salt and freshly ground black pepper
  •  
    Preparation

    1. MAKE the date purée: In a food processor, combine dates, water, salt, nutmeg, cayenne and lemon juice. Blend until it resembles a smooth paste. Taste and adjust the seasoning. You can keep date purée refrigerated up to two weeks or freeze for three months. Use the rest in smoothies or stir into yogurt.

    2. MAKE the dressing: Whisk together the vinegar, olive oil and date purée until well combined. Season to taste.

    3. COMBINE the dressing and shredded kale in a large bowl; toss until well coated. Taste and adjust the seasoning.

    4. ASSEMBLE the salad: Spread a thin layer (1 tablespoon) of date purée on each plate and top it with kale salad. Sprinkle with toasted pine nuts and toasted bread crumbs. Serve.

      

    Comments

    RECIPE: Zucchini Nachos, “Healthy Nachos”

    Zucchini Nachos

    Replace the tortilla chips with zucchini slices.
    Photo courtesy The Pampered Chef.

     

    Here’s some food fun that makes better-for-you “nachos.” Replace replace the salt-and-refined-carb tortilla chips with slices of grilled zucchini. The recipe is courtesy The Pampered Chef.

    RECIPE: ZUCCHINI NACHOS

    Ingredients

  • 3 large zucchini
  • Olive oil
  • 1/2 to 1 cup shredded Cheddar or Jack cheese
  • 1 can black beans, rinsed and drained
  • 1 medium tomato, seeded and chopped
  •  
    Optional Toppings

  • 1 large avocado, chopped
  • 2 green onions, chopped
  • 1/4 cup cilantro, chopped
  • 1 lime
  •  

    Preparation

    1. HEAT a grill to medium for 3 to 5 minutes. Cut the zucchini into ¼”-thick rounds, ideally using a crinkle cutter.

    2. TOSS the zucchini in a bowl with enough oil to moisten, plus salt and pepper to taste. Place zucchini in a single layer in a grill pan or directly on the grill. Cook 4 to 6 minutes, turning once, until tender.

    3. SPRINKLE with ½-cup shredded cheese and cook until the cheese is melted, about one minute.

    4. ARRANGE nachos on a platter and add toppings: half (or more) of the black beans, chopped tomato and other favorite toppings. Squeeze with lime juice and serve immediately.

     
      

    Comments

    RECIPE: Strawberry Cream Pie

    StrawberryCreamPie-calmilkadvisoryboard-230

    Make a delicious strawberry cream pie. Photo courtesy California Milk Advisory Board.

     

    Today is National Strawberry Cream Pie Day.

    A cream pie is a plain pastry or crumb pastry shell with a pudding or pudding-like filling. Butterscotch, chocolate, frangipane and vanilla are most common, as are banana cream pie, coconut cream pie, strawberry or raspberry cream pie.

    What’s the difference between cream pie and creme pie? Just the spelling. Creme is an Americanization of the French word for cream, crème (pronounced KREHM), most likely adapted in the U.S. to make the dish sound more special. But why mispronounce another language’s word for cream? Unless it’s a French recipe, such as Coeur à la Crème, stick to “cream.”

    And celebrate the day by making this delicious strawberry cream pie recipe, courtesy of the California Milk Advisory Board.

    RECIPE: STRAWBERRY CREAM PIE

    Ingredients For 8 Servings

    For The Crust

  • 1-1/2 cups flour
  • 1/2 cup powdered sugar
  • 2/3 cup melted butter
  • For The Filling

  • 3/4 cup sugar
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt
  • 1/3 cup cornstarch
  • 2 cups milk
  • 4 egg yolks, beaten
  • 1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract (substitute almond extract, if desired)
  • 3/4 cup sour cream
  • 2 cups strawberries, washed and sliced
  •  

    Preparation

    1. PREHEAT oven to 350°F.

    2. MIX the flour and powdered sugar together. Add the butter. Mix together and press mixture into a 9-inch deep dish pie plate. Bake 12 to 15 minutes or until lightly browned then let cool.

    3. COMBINE the sugar, salt and cornstarch in medium size saucepan. Slowly whisk in the milk until smooth. Cook over medium heat until thick, stirring constantly. Boil 1 minute then remove from heat.

    4. STIR a small amount of the hot mixture into the beaten egg yolks. Pour back into the pan and cook for 2 minutes more without letting the mixture boil. Remove from heat and stir in vanilla; fold in sour cream. Cover and cool to lukewarm.

    5. LINE the pie shell with sliced strawberries and pour the filling over the berries. Chill well before cutting into wedges. Makes 8 servings.
     
    Also check out this raspberry cream pie recipe (National Raspberry Cream Pie Day is August 1st).

     

    berries-bowl-230

    Yummy strawberries are available almost everywhere. Photo courtesy California Strawberry Commission.

     

    See many more delicious recipes from the California Milk Advisory Board.

      

    Comments

    TIP OF THE DAY: Apple Crisps Are Easy To Make

    You may not make homemade pie because you don’t like crust that much—or just don’t like wielding it.

    You can enjoy the same baked apple flavor with a betty or crisp (a.k.a. crumble). The differences, along with dough-topped variations such as cobbler, grunt, pandowdy and slump, are below.

    BEST APPLES FOR BAKING

    When you bake apples, you need a variety with balance of sweet and tart flavors and, more importantly, flesh that doesn’t become mushy when cooked. These include:

  • Braeburn, with firm flesh and spicy-sweet flavor, also great for applesauce.
  • Cortland, related to the McIntosh (which is better for applesauce), both an eating and baking apple.
  • Fuji, sweet and juicy, good for eating and baking.
  • Gala, great for eating and baking, is sweeter than other apples, so you can cut back on added sugar.
  • Granny Smith, one of the most popular eating and baking apples.
  •    

    Apple_Pear_Crisp-mccormick-230

    Apple crisp: With a crumb topping, it is easier to make than a pie. Photo courtesy McCormick.

  • Honeycrisp, an all-around apple we love for eating, with a crispness and firmness that works for baking.
  • Jonagold, a cross of the Jonathan and Golden Delicious varieties; also great for applesauce.
  • Melrose, a cross between Red Delicious and Jonathan varieties.
  • Newtown Pippin, crisp with sweet-tart flesh.
  • Rhode Island Greening, very tart and distinctively flavored.
  • Northern Spy, harder crunchy and a great baking apple.
  • Rome Beauty, mildly sweet and tart, with a milder flavor than others.
  • Winesap, a tart-and-spicy apple that was our Nana’s favorite for baked apples.
  •  

    apple-streusel-betty-crocker-230

    Apple crisp à la mode. Photo courtesy Betty
    Crocker.

     

    RECIPE: EASY APPLE CRISP

    Ingredients

  • 7 cups apples peeled cored and sliced (you can substitute Asian pears)
  • 1/4 cup lemon juice
  • 1 cup sugar
  • 1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon
  • 1 cup water
  •  
    For the Cinnamon Topping

  • 1-1/2 cups all-purpose flour
  • 1 cup butter
  • 2-1/2 cups rolled oats
  • 1-1/2 teaspoons ground cinnamon
  • 1-1/2 cups brown sugar
  •  
    Plus

  • Optional garnish: crème fraîche, mascarpone, whipped cream or vanilla ice cream
  • Preparation

    1. PREHEAT oven to 350°F. Combine apples, lemon juice, sugar and cinnamon in a large baking dish. Pour water over apples.

    2. PREPARE the topping. In a separate bowl, using a fork, cut the butter into the other listed ingredients until the mixture resembles coarse crumbs.

    2. SPREAD the topping over fruit mixture. Bake in a 350°F preheated oven 50 minutes or until topping is golden brown. It’s that easy!
     

    CRISP, CRUMBLE, COBBLER, ETC.: WHAT’S THE DIFFERENCE?

    A crisp is a deep-dish fruit dessert made with a crumb or streusel topping and baked. Similar dishes include:

  • Betty, a crisp topped with buttered bread crumbs instead of streusel. Some later recipes substitute graham cracker crumbs.
  • Buckle, a baked, bottom cake-like layer with the fruit mixed in, topped with a crumb layer (alternatively, the cake, fruit and crumbs can be three separate layers).
  • Cobbler, with a pastry top instead of a crumb top. The pastry is dropped from a spoon, the result resembling cobblestones.
  • Crisp, baked fruit filling covered with a crunchy topping which is crumbled over the top.
  • Crumble, the British word for crisp.
  • Grunt, a spoon pie with biscuit dough on top of stewed fruit (fruit which is steamed, not baked).
  • Pandowdy or pan dowdy, a spoon pie with a rolled top crust that is broken up to allow the juices to come through.
  • Slump, another word for grunt, which can be baked or steamed, and can be made upside down.
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    RECIPE: Figgy Blue Cheese Bacon Bites

    fig-blue-cheese-bacon-bites-litehouse-230

    Bacon, blue cheese, figs and…Fig Newtons!
    Photo courtesy Litehouse Foods.

     

    Here’s what we’re making this weekend to go with Olive Oil Martinis: Figgy Blue Cheese Bacon Bites.

    The recipe was developed by Jennifer Fisher for Litehouse Foods. You can see the whole photo spread here.

    These appetizers are simple to make from just four ingredients that you can easily keep on hand. Says Jennifer, “An insanely delicious bacon aroma wafts through the house to alert everyone that good things are about to happen!”

    Prep and cooking time is 35 minutes.

    RECIPE: FIGGY BLUE CHEESE BACON BITES

    Ingredients For 12 Servings

  • 6 strips of hardwood-smoked thickly sliced maple bacon
  • 12 fig cookies (like Fig Newtons)
  • 4 ounces blue cheese
  • 6 dried Turkish brown figs
  • Plus:

  • Toothpicks
  •  

    Preparation

    1. PREHEAT oven to 375°F. Line rimmed baking sheet with foil.

    2. CUT bacon in half crosswise so that the 6 strips become 12 shorter strips.

    3. CUT blue cheese into 12 approximate ½ teaspoon chunks.

    4. SLICE dried figs in half lengthwise.

    5. ASSEMBLE: Top one fig cookie with blue cheese. Top blue cheese with fig, cut side down. Wrap with bacon, using a toothpick to secure.

    6. PLACE on the prepared baking sheet. If you have a rack or crisper sheet, set this on top of baking sheet for more even cooking. Place Figgy Blue Cheese Bacon Bites on the sheet and bake for approximately 25 minutes or until bacon is crisped and cheese is bubbling.

     

    fig-bacon-bites-raw-litehouse-230

    Ready to go into the oven. Photo courtesy Litehouse Foods.

     

      

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