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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: Butternut Squash Mashed Potatoes

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

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

 

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

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

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

Ingredients

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

    Preparation

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

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

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

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

     

    butternut-duo-beauty-goodeggs-230

    Butternut squash. Photo courtesy The Good Eggs.

     

    MASHED POTATOES VS. SMASHED POTATOES

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

      

    Comments

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

    pumpkin-layer-cake-driscolls-230

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

     

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

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

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

    RECIPE: PUMPKIN LAYER CAKE WITH RASPBERRIES
    & BRANDIED CREAM

    Ingredients For 10 To 12 Servings

    For The Cake

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

    For The Brandied Cream

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

     

    Preparation

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

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

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

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

     

    raspberries-cartons-morguefile-230

    Fresh raspberries. Photo by J. Eltovski | Morguefile.

     

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

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

      

    Comments

    RECIPE: Baked Potato Nachos

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

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

    RECIPE: BAKED POTATO NACHOS

    Ingredients For 4 Servings

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

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

    SHORTEN-01

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

     
    Garnishes

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

    1. PREHEAT oven to 425°F.

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

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

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

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

    Ingredients

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

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

      

    Comments

    TIP OF THE DAY: Revisit Nachos For National Nachos Day

    NAKED-NACHOS-230

    Naked Nachos: no cheese! Photo courtesy
    The Better Chip.

     

    November 6th is National Nachos Day, a snack created on the fly in 1943 at a restaurant in Mexico (the history is below).

    Here are three modern takes on the classic: Naked Nachos (without cheese), Cast Iron Nachos and Dessert Nachos.

    The recipes were developed by The Better Chip, whose delicious tortilla chips are round, colorful and a great platform for snacks, Made from double corn masa, 40% fresh veggies and enhanced with a smidgen of sea salt or natural seasoning for a better tasting and better dipping chip.

    The colorful chips include:

    • Beets: red
    • Chipotle: orange
    • Fresh Corn: yellow
    • Jalapeño: yellow
    • Spinach & Kale: green

    RECIPE: NAKED NACHOS

    This interpretation leaves off the cheese, but adds flavor through roasted tomatoes and corn. If you’re pressed for time, you can substitute a can of roasted tomatoes and a tub of fresh corn salsa.

    Ingredients

    • 1 bag (6.4 ounces) tortilla chips
    • 3-4 tomatoes, roasted
    • Fresh corn on the cob, roasted
    • Fresh basil, oregano rosemary or thyme
    • Olive oil

    Preparation

    1. ROAST the tomatoes: Preheat the oven to 350°F.

    2. CUT the tomatoes horizontally and remove the stem. Cover the bottom of a glass baking dish with olive oil. Place the tomatoes sliced side down; sprinkle with herbs. Bake for 1 hour. Add salt to taste; slice to serve.

    3. ROAST the corn: Preheat the oven to 450°F. Place the corn on a baking sheet—do not shuck. Roast for 15 minutes, turning occasionally. Remove from the oven and let cool. Shuck corn and cut the kernels from the ear.

    4. HEAT the oil in a large skillet over high heat. Add the corn kernels and sauté until heated through and golden yellow in color.

    5. LINE a baking sheet with the tortilla chips. Layer with the sliced roasted tomato and sprinkle on the corn. Garnish with fresh herbs. Broil on high for 2 minutes until edge of chips start to turn light brown. Serve.
     
    RECIPE: QUICK & EASY SKILLET NACHOS

    This version of nachos is super easy to make.

    Ingredients

    • 1 bag (6.4 ounces—The Better Chip recommends its Chipotles flavor)
    • 1 can pinto beans
    • Pepperoni, sliced
    • Aged sharp white cheddar cheese, shredded

    Preparation

    1. PREHEAT the oven to 350°F.

    2. COMBINE the ingredients in cast iron skillet. Place in the oven and cook for 5-10 minutes until the cheese is melted.

     

    RECIPE: GRANDMA’S CANDY APPLE NACHOS

    Ingredients

    • Tortilla chips (The Better Chip recommends its Fresh Corn or Spinach & Kale flavors)
    • 1 Granny Smith apple, diced
    • Caramel sauce
    • Chocolate sauce
    • Walnuts, chopped
    • Mini marshmallows

     
    Preparation

    1. DICE the apple into small pieces. Heat the chocolate and caramel sauces so that they are warm and easy to drizzle over chips.

    2. PLACE the chips on a plate, spoon the diced apples over the chips and drizzle the chocolate and caramel sauces over chips and apples.

    3. SPRINKLE the walnuts over the nachos and garnish with a few marshmallows.

     

    Dessert Nachos-230

    Dessert nachos. Photo courtesy The Better Chip.

     

    THE HISTORY OF NACHOS

    Nachos are an example of necessity being the mother of invention.

    As the story goes, in 1943 a group of Army wives from Fort Duncan, in Eagle Pass, Texas, had gone over the border to Piedras Negros, Mexico, on a shopping trip. By the time they arrived at the Victory Club restaurant, the kitchen was closed.

    But the accommodating maître d’hôtel, Ignacio “Nacho” Anaya (Nacho is a nickname for Ignacio), threw together a snack for the ladies from what was available in the kitchen: tortillas and cheese. He cut the tortillas into triangles, added shredded Cheddar cheese, quickly heated them and garnished the dish with sliced jalapeño chiles.

    When asked what the tasty dish was called, he answered, “Nacho’s especiales,” Nacho’s Special.

    In Mexico nachos are also called totopos, the word for tortilla chips. French fries, potato chips and even popcorn are sometimes substituted for the tortilla chips.

      

    Comments

    RECIPE: Autumn Bundt Cake

    thanksgiving-bundt-biritecreamery-230

    Treat yourself to a slice of autumn. Photo
    courtesy Bi-Rite Market | San Francisco.

     

    It’s easy to turn a plain bundt cake into a festive holiday dessert. Just top it with caramel sauce or glaze, candied pecans or walnuts and dried cranberries and/or cherries—an idea we snatched from Bi-Rite Market, a specialty food store in San Francisco (with a great ice cream parlor across the street).

    One of the benefits of using the nuts as a garnish instead of mixing them into the batter is that people who are nut-averse can pick them off and still enjoy the delicious dessert.

    1. PICK YOUR BUNDT CAKE FLAVOR

    While chocolate always works, think seasonally and consider:

    • Apple bundt cake (here’s a recipe)
    • Carrot bundt cake
    • Cranberry-orange bundt cake
    • Maple bundt cake
    • Pumpkin bundt cake
    • Rum bundt cake
    • Sticky toffee bundt cake
    It’s easy to find recipes online.
     

    2. PICK YOUR NUTS & FRUITS

    We personally like pecans with cranberries. Then, caramelize (candy) the nuts (here’s how).

     

    3. MAKE THE CARAMEL SAUCE

    Ingredients For 2 Cups

    This recipe was adapted from WickedGoodKitchen.com. Prep time is five minutes, cook time is 15 minutes.

    You can make a lighter caramel glaze, but the color will be pale and the flavor less deep.

    • 2 cups sugar
    • ¾ cup (1½ sticks) unsalted butter, cut into cubes, softened to room temperature
    • 1 cup heavy cream, room temperature
    • ½ teaspoon pure vanilla extract
    • 2 to 3 teaspoons fleur de sel or other sea salt (types of sea salt)
     

    salted-caramel-sauce-wickedgoodkitchen-230

    Salted caramel sauce. Photo courtesy WickedGoodKitchen.com.

     

    Preparation

    1. PLACE the sugar in a 2- to 3-quart, heavy-bottomed saucepan. Heat over medium-high heat and whisk as the sugar melts. Continue to whisk as the sugar begins to clump and turn into a light amber liquid. It will be completely melted into light amber caramel in 8 to 10 minutes. Once the sugar is completely melted, stop whisking and swirl the caramel by gently tilting the saucepan from side to side.

    2. COOK without whisking until the caramel reaches a medium or deep amber color (almost dark reddish-brown), about 5 to 7 minutes based on your color preference (the darker the caramel, the deeper the caramel flavor). It is important to pay attention and prevent the caramel from smoking. Use a candy thermometer: a reading of 350°F will deliver a deep amber caramel sauce.

    3. TURN off the heat, the remove saucepan from the heat and wait 20 to 30 seconds. Then add all of the butter at once and whisk vigorously until it is fully melted and combined into the caramel. The addition of the butter will cause the caramel to bubble up vigorously. Just keep whisking.

    4. WHISK in the cream slowly and carefully, along with the vanilla extract. Expect more bubbling, and just keep whisking until the caramel is smooth and the cream is fully incorporated. Add the salt and whisk until completely dissolved.

    5. SET the caramel sauce aside to cool slightly and thicken, about 10 to 15 minutes. Transfer to a glass jar. Cool completely before capping jars and refrigerating.

    6. ASSEMBLE the cake. Use a spatula to transfer the majority of the caramel to the cake. You can then melt the remainder and pour it on top for the “drippy” effect. Top with the nuts and fruits and admire your handiwork (then eat it!).

      

    Comments

    TIP OF THE DAY: Bread Salad With Butternut Squash

    butternut-squash-bread-salad-goboldwithbutter-230r

    Bread salad with butternut squash. Photo
    courtesy GoBoldWithButter.com.

     

    Bread salad is often thought of as a summer dish, marrying lush tomatoes in season with day-old bread, vinaigrette and other seasonings.

    But you can turn it into a fall favorite by substituting the tomatoes, now out of season, with butternut squash (or other winter squash), as blogger Karen, from the blog FamilyStyle Food, did in this recipe for GoBoldWithButter.com.

    RECIPE: BUTTERNUT SQUASH BREAD SALAD

    Ingredients For 6 Side Servings

  • 4 cups butternut squash, peeled and diced (about 4 pounds squash)
  • 1 red onion, thinly sliced
  • 2 tablespoons olive oil
  • 1 teaspoon salt (or to taste)
  • Freshly ground black pepper to taste
  • 2 tablespoons sherry or red wine vinegar
  • 1 bunch kale, stemmed and leaves torn into strips
  • 5 cups ciabatta or other Italian bread (from a 1 pound loaf), crusts removed, cut into 1-inch cubes
  • 4 tablespoons Flavored Butter or plain butter, melted
  • 1 cup shredded radicchio
  • Parmesan cheese for shaving
  • Preparation

    1. PREHEAT the oven to 400°F.

    2. TOSS the squash with the onion, olive oil, salt and pepper to taste on a large rimmed baking sheet. Add ¼ cup water. Roast until squash is tender and golden in color, 25 to 30 minutes.

    3. POUR the vinegar over the roasted squash and gently toss. Sprinkle the kale leaves over the hot squash and toss again to slightly wilt.

    4. PLACE the bread cubes on a rimmed baking sheet and toss with butter. Bake for 10 minutes or until the bread is crisp and toasted.

    5. SCRAPE the squash mixture into a large serving bowl. Add the bread and radicchio and toss. Serve with curls of Parmesan.

    Find more delicious recipes at GoBoldWithButter.com.

     
    HOW MANY DIFFERENT TYPES OF SQUASH HAVE YOU TRIED?

    Check out our delicious Squash Glossary.

     

    WHAT IS BREAD SALAD

    Bread salad, like French toast and croutons, is one of those recipes invented by necessity: Poor people needed to get another meal from leftover bread that had gone stale.

    Panzanella is a 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 was soaked.

    While today’s recipes are rich in ingredients, the original preparers foraged to pull together vegetables from the garden—cucumber, onion and tomato—and possibly purslane, a salad green that grows wild. Early recipes were heavy on the onions, the cheapest ingredient to pair with the bread. When there wasn’t enough oil to spare, the bread was moistened in water.

    Today, this peasant dish is a popular first course in Italy. It doesn’t appear often on menus of U.S.-based Italian restaurants. That’s too bad, because it’s a dish worth having often.

     

    butternut-squash-230

    Butternut squash. Photo courtesy Melissas.com.

     

    As long as you have vinaigrette-soaked bread, you can create the salad with almost anything from the pantry or fridge. It’s a great way to use up any leftovers—including beans, cheese, fish, meat and rice—and aging produce.
     
    MORE BREAD SALAD RECIPES

    • Bread Salad With Fruit Recipe
    • Greek Bread Salad Recipe
    • Grilled Chicken Bread Salad Recipe
    • Layered Mexican Corn Bread Salad Recipe
    • Mixed Vegetables Bread Salad Recipe

      

    Comments

    TIP OF THE DAY: Candied Chestnuts

    marron_glaces_pasticceriacucinella.it-230

    Let us at them! Photo of marrons glacés
    courtesy PasticceriaCucinella.it.

     

    Oh, do we love marrons glacés, candied chestnuts. They have been a favorite confection from our first childhood bite, atop a scoop of vanilla ice cream in a fancy silver dish in the tea room of a long-departed department store.

    Then, relatives visiting France would return with boxes of them, an annual treat. Sometime later, we discovered them in local specialty stores and we began to buy our own—until they became so pricey that we learned to make them. With today’s tip, you can, too.

    Following the fall harvest in France and Italy, local confectioners as well as large companies prepare marrons glacés, a popular holiday gift. They can be individually wrapped in gold foil or sold in a jar covered with sugar syrup.

    If you read the novel La dame aux Camélias (The Lady of The Camellias) by Alexandre Dumas fils, you’ll discover that marrons glacés are the only type of confection eaten by the heroine, courtesan Marguerite Gautier. Her clients were expected to keep her in good supply.

    But you don’t need admirers. Create your own supply with this recipe:

     

    RECIPE: MARRONS GLACÉS (CANDIED CHESTNUTS)

    Although it takes 1-2 days to complete the recipe, actual cooking time is less than 30 minutes. For the rest of the time, the candied chestnuts soak in their sugar syrup.

    Ingredients For 2 Pounds

  • 2 pounds chestnuts, shelled
  • 2 pounds granulated sugar
  • 2-1/2 cups water
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract or a vanilla bean
  •  

    Preparation

    1. PLACE the chestnuts in a large pot with just enough water to cover the tops. Bring the water to a boil and cook the for 15 minutes; drain and discard the water. Remove the chestnuts one at a time with a slotted spoon.

    2. RUB the thin, bitter membrane off the cooked chestnuts, using a clean towel or your fingers). The chestnuts will be soft, so be careful not to damage them.

    3. BRING the water, sugar, and vanilla/vanilla bean to a boil in a medium pot, stirring constantly until it boils. Continue to cook the mixture for 5 minutes, stirring occasionally. The syrup will thicken.

    4. ADD the prepared chestnuts to the boiling sugar syrup and stir until the syrup returns to a boil. Continue cooking, stirring frequently (and gently!), for 10 minutes.

    5. POUR the candied chestnuts and syrup into a large, wide-mouth container; cover when cooled. Let the chestnuts soak in the syrup for 12 to 18 hours.

    6. REMOVE the vanilla bean; the chestnuts are ready to use. You can spoon them into dessert dishes and top with whipped cream; or in shot glasses with some of the syrup.

     

    chestnuts-slicing-chefeddy-230

    Before cooking, cut an X into each chestnut. Photo courtesy ChefEddy.com.

     

    HOW TO ENJOY CANDIED CHESTNUTS

    Marrons glacés are an ingredient in many desserts and are also eaten on their own. Most fans agree that the best way to enjoy a candied chestnut is plain, with a cup of tea, as you might enjoy a bonbon or a macaron. But that’s just the beginning of a menu of delights:

    • As an ice cream topper, with the syrup. In fact, if the pieces break in the preparation, this is an ideal use for them.
    • In a “faux” Mont Blanc, atop a mound of whipped cream with some plain cookies or shortbread on the side. (Actual Mont Blanc uses sweetened chestnut purée instead of candied chestnuts.)
    • In ice cream. Mix chopped pieces and the syrup into a pint of softened vanilla ice cream and return it to the freezer to harden. (In France, you can buy it in pints, ready to eat.) Chestnut ice cream is delicious, but you don’t need marrons glacés to make it. Regular cooked chestnuts plus sugar do nicely, either chopped and mixed in or blended in as purée.
    • As sophisticated cupcake toppers, sliced or cut in half to make the delicacies go farther.
    • With fresh goat cheese or Brie. Serve candied chestnuts and your favorite mild bread or crackers (we like it best with toasted raisin semolina bread).
    • In holiday cakes and cookies. Add chopped candied chestnuts to cake batter or cookie dough. Try a batch with crystallized ginger or chocolate chips. Consider muffins, loaf cakes, bundts and other opportunities. Our grandmother used to add them to her coffee cake recipe.
    • The chestnut-infused sugar syrup can be used on ice cream, pancakes, toast, etc., with or without the chestnuts.

     
    THE HISTORY OF CANDIED CHESTNUTS

    The seasonal confection originated in southern France and northern Italy, where chestnut trees are plentiful. Prior to the Crusades (1095-1291 C.E.) there was no sugar in Europe. Sugar cane is native to Southeast Asia, from which it made its way to the Middle East, where it was discovered by the European crusaders. So the process of candying fruits in sugar syrup—and all of the other wonderful things we do with sugar—had to wait for the return of the crusaders to Europe.

    The first candied chestnut confections seem to appear at the beginning of the 15th century in the Piedmont region of Italy, among other places. The earliest written recipe is from the court of Louis XIV at the end of 17th century.

    In 1882 in the Ardèche département of south-central France, the first factory was built with the technology to produce marrons glacés industrially. However, many of the nearly twenty steps necessary from harvest to finished product are still performed manually, which is one reason why the treats are so pricey. [Source]

      

    Comments

    RECIPE: Maple Cheesecake

    While maple is a year-round flavor, we always enjoy it in the fall, as the leaves turn. We use it in a cup of coffee or tea instead of table sugar, we add a bit to mashed sweet potatoes, we drizzle it over baked squash and vanilla ice cream.

    And then, there’s cheesecake. This recipe, courtesy of Cabot Creamery, comes from Jacques and Pauline Couture of Missisquoi Valley Farm in Westfield, Vermont. The farm is a winner of Vermont’s Outstanding Farm of the Year.

    While Jacques runs the dairy farm, Pauline is busy managing their maple syrup business and bed and breakfast. This Maple Cheesecake is one of the many delightful treats prepared for their overnight guests.

    The Coutures make this recipe with Cabot Creamery’s salted butter and cream cheese.

    Make the effort to use maple sugar instead of table sugar: You’ll be pleased with the difference. (Check out the different types of sugar.)

    We also like to garnish the top of the cake with maple candies, shaped like maple leaves. They’re available in hard, clear amber leaf or a semisoft, opaque beige leaf.

    Prep time is 20 minutes, cook time is 55 minutes.

       

    MapleCheesecake-cabot-goboldwithbutter-230

    Maple cheesecake. Photo courtesy Cabot Creamery Cooperative.

     

    RECIPE: COUTURE’S MAPLE CHEESECAKE

    Ingredients For 12 Servings

    • 1 sleeve graham crackers (9 whole crackers)
    • 4 tablespoons salted butter, melted
    • 1/4 cup granulated maple sugar (or substitute white sugar)
    • 3 packages (8-ounces each) cream cheese at room temperature or softened in microwave (you can substitute reduced fat cream cheese)
    • 4 large eggs
    • 1 cup Grade A Dark Amber maple syrup (see the different grades of maple syrup)
    • Optional garnish: maple leaf candies in maple syrup or maple sugar

     

    maple-sugar-kingarthur-230

    Indulge yourself: Maple sugar makes a difference in delivering great maple flavor. Photo courtesy King Arthur Flour.

     

    Preparation

    1. PREHEAT the oven to 350°F. Wrap the bottom and sides of a 9- or 10-inch springform pan with aluminum foil (to prevent leakage while baking).

    2. PLACE the graham crackers in 1-gallon zip-close bag; crush into fine crumbs with rolling pin or heavy pan (you will have about 1-1/3 cups). Combine in a bowl with butter and sugar, stirring until well blended. Press the crumb mixture over the bottom and partly up the sides of the pan.

    3. COMBINE the cream cheese and eggs in a food processor and process until smooth. Add the maple syrup and process until combined. (Alternatively, in large mixing bowl, beat cream cheese with electric mixer on low speed until smooth. Beat in eggs one at a time just until blended, then beat in the maple syrup.) Pour the mixture into the crust. To ensure no cracks on the top of the cheesecake, create an optional bain-marie: Place cheesecake in large roasting pan and add boiling water partway up sides before baking.

    4. BAKE for 45 to 55 minutes or until set nearly all the way to the center. Transfer to a wire rack and let cool, then cover and refrigerate for 4 hours or overnight. Remove from pan, garnish with candies around the top rim and serve.

     

    WHAT IS MAPLE SUGAR

    Maple sugar was the preferred form of maple by First Nations/Native American peoples. Unlike the sap or syrup, the sugar could easily be transported.

    It is produced by evaporating the sap of the sugar maple tree (and some other maples). The sap is boiled until almost all of the water has been removed and the remainder has crystallized solid (the same process is used to boil sugar cane sap into table sugar).

    Maple sugar has a strong maple flavor and aroma, just like maple syrup. It sold in pressed blocks, granulated in bags, or molded into small shapes like maple leaves, to be enjoyed as candy.

    Maple sugar can be used in recipes in the same way as cane sugar is used, but is almost twice as sweet—so plan accordingly in recipes. A rule of thumb: When using maple sugar, use slightly more than half the amount specified for cane sugar.

    We enjoy using it:

    • In baking (it’s a nice surprise in a pie crust)
    • In coffee or tea
    • On oatmeal
    • In meat rubs

      

    Comments

    RECIPE: Churros With Three Chile Mole Fondue

    Fondue with a south-of-the-border accent.
    Photo courtesy McCormick.

     

    For Dia de los Muertos, celebrated today and tomorrow, serve something with a south-of-the-border theme. We’ve got an exciting chile mole fondue; use churros (South American crullers) for dipping.

    This recipe, uses three types of chilies—guajillo, chilies de arbol and chipotle—to give this Mexican-inspired dessert fondue a smoky kick. Bittersweet and semisweet chocolate, nutty peanut butter and warm cinnamon make it a luscious complement to churros, fresh fruit or assorted cookies. You can also try pumpkin tortilla chips, which have matching spices and a touch of sweetness.

    Here’s a recipe to make your own churros. You can buy them in Latin American grocery stores.

    Note that the serving size in this recipe (which is from McCormick) is 2 tablespoons. If you want a larger portion, double the recipe.

     
    RECIPE: THREE CHILE MOLE FONDUE (SPICY FONDUE)

  • 4 large dried guajillo chilies, stemmed and seeded
  • 4 dried chilies de arbol, stemmed and seeded
  • 1/2 cup heavy cream
  • 2 tablespoons light corn syrup
  • 4 ounces bittersweet chocolate, coarsely chopped
  • 4 ounces semi-sweet chocolate, coarsely chopped
  • 1/4 cup blackstrap or dark rum
  • 4 teaspoons creamy peanut butter
  • 1-1/2 teaspoons cinnamon, ground
  • 1/4 teaspoon dried ground chipotle
  • 1/2 teaspoon sesame seed, toasted
  •  

    Preparation

    1. HEAT a medium saucepan on medium-high heat for 2 minutes. Add the chiles; toast 30 seconds per side or until they begin to blister and change color slightly.

    2. LET the saucepan cool slightly. Add 2 cups water to cover the chiles and bring to boil. Reduce the heat to low; simmer 30 minutes until the chiles soften.

    3. REMOVE the chiles with kitchen tongs to a blender container. Add 1/2 cup chile soaking liquid from the saucepan; cover. Blend on high speed until smooth. Discard the remaining soaking liquid in the saucepan.

    4. STRAIN the chile purée through a large mesh strainer into the saucepan. Stir in the cream and corn syrup. Bring just to boil on medium heat, stirring occasionally. Remove from heat.

    5. ADD the remaining ingredients; stir until the chocolate is melted and mixture is smooth. Garnish with toasted sesame seed.

     

    churros-fuegos-melissas-230

    Homemade churros. Photo courtesy Melissas.com.

     

    ABOUT EL DÍA DE LOS MUERTOS

    Since pre-Colombian times, Mexicans have celebrated El Día de los Muertos, a ritual in which the living remember their departed relatives. From October 31 through November 2, graves are tended and decorated with ofrendas, offerings, and families expect a visit from loved ones who have passed.

    Ofrendas dedicated to the deceased, usually foods and beverages, are also put in homes on elaborately decorated altars with glowing votive candles, photos, chocolate and sugar skull heads (calaveritas).

      

    Comments

    RECIPE: Cheese Strata With Kale, Sausage & Caramelized Onions

    cheese-strata-kale-sausage-eatwischeese-230r

    Cheese strata with kale and sausage. Photo
    courtesy Eat Wisconsin Cheese.

     

    Today is gray and chilly, perfect comfort food weather. We’re whipping up this cheese strata, which was created by Annalise of the blog Completely Delicious for Eat Wisconsin Cheese. It’s another way to use stale bread, although fresh bread works fine.

    Enjoy it for brunch or lunch with a green salad.

    RECIPE: CHEESE STRATA WITH SAUSAGE,
    KALE & CARAMELIZED ONIONS

    Ingredients For 8 Servings

  • 2 tablespoons butter, divided
  • 1/2 pound pork breakfast sausage roll
  • 1-1/2 cups yellow onion, chopped
  • 2 cups packed kale, stems removed and coarsely chopped
  • 9 cups French or Italian bread, cut into cubes (about
    1 baguette)
  • 1-1/2 cups (6 ounces) Fontina cheese, shredded
  • 1/2 cup (2 ounces) Wisconsin Parmesan cheese, grated
  • 2-3/4 cup whole milk
  • 9 large eggs
  • 1 tablespoon Dijon mustard
  • 2 teaspoons salt
  • 1/2 teaspoon freshly ground pepper
  • 1/4 teaspoon ground nutmeg
  •  

    Preparation

    1. MELT 1 tablespoon butter in sauté pan over medium heat. Add sausage and cook until browned. Drain on paper towel. Add remaining 1 tablespoon butter and onions to pan and cook over low heat until onions are soft and caramelized, 15-20 minutes. Add kale and cook until wilted, stirring frequently.

    2. BUTTER a 9×13–inch baking dish. Distribute 1/3 bread cubes in bottom of dish. Top with 1/3 of sausage, kale and onions. Sprinkle with 1/3 of Fontina and Parmesan. Repeat layering with remaining ingredients.

    3. WHISK together in large bowl the milk, eggs, mustard, salt, pepper and nutmeg. Pour over baking dish, making sure all bread cubes are moistened. Press mixture down so it lays flush with the top of baking pan.

    4. COVER with buttered foil and refrigerate for at least 8 hours or overnight.

    5. PREHEAT oven to 350°F. Let the strata come to room temperature for 30 minutes. Bake uncovered 50-55 minutes. Let stand 10 minutes before serving. Store leftovers in fridge.

     

    lacinato-black-tuscan-dinosaur-kale-beauty-goodeggs-230r-r

    Kale, kale everywhere. Photo of Black Tuscan Kale (Dinosaur Kale) courtesy Good Eggs.

     

    WHAT’S A STRATA?

    A strata or stratta is a layered casserole dish, similar to a quiche or frittata. The base is a mixture of bread, eggs and cheese, to which any variety of ingredients can be added. Sausage or ham and vegetables are particularly popular.

    Strata is the plural of stratum, the Latin word for layer.

    According to Wikipedia, the earliest strata recipe known is from 1902, a gratin of layers of bread, white sauce, and cheese, but no eggs.

      

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