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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: No Bake Coconut Cheesecake

Hankering for cheesecake but don’t want to turn on the oven?

Here’s the third in our series of no-bake desserts, an idea from Jessica at How Sweet Eats. It was featured on VermontCreamery.com, which has delicious recipes using fresh goat cheese.

Jessica adapted the recipe from Martha Stewart’s No-Bake Cheesecake], a full-size cheesecake made with cream cheese. Jessica used a combination of goat cheese and cream cheese for a tangy twist.

Jessica serves the dessert in individual jars for panache. You can use ramekins, glass dishes or 5-ounce juice glasses, or whatever you have. You’ll find step-by-step photos at HowSweetEats.com

RECIPE: NO-BAKE COCONUT CREAM CHEESECAKE

Ingredients For 6 Individual Cheesecakes

  • 4 tablespoons unsalted butter, melted
  • 2/3 cup graham cracker crumbs
  • 6 ounces goat cheese, at room temperature
  • 8 ounces cream cheese, at room temperature
  • 1/2 cup sweetened condensed milk
  • 1/4 cup canned coconut milk
  • 1-1/2 teaspoons coconut extract
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 1/2 cup toasted coconut flakes for topping
  • Whipped cream or coconut whipped cream for topping
  •  

    coconut-cream-cheesecake-no-bake-vtcreamery-230

    It may not look like a classic cheesecake, but it has all of the satisfaction with none of the baking. Photo courtesy How Sweet Eats | Vermont Creamery.

     

    Preparation

    1. MIX together butter and graham crumbs in a small bowl until moistened. Press crumbs into the container of your choice (jar, ramekin, etc) with the back of a spoon.

    2. BEAT cream cheese and goat cheese in the bowl of an electric mixer, scraping down the sides when needed, until combined and smooth. With the mixer on low speed, slowly drizzle in the condensed milk and then the coconut milk, continuing to scrape down the sides until the mixture is very smooth. Add in extracts and stir.

    3. POUR cheesecake mixture evenly over top of crusts. Refrigerate for 4-6 hours, then top with whipped cream and toasted coconut.
     
    OTHER NO-BAKE DESSERTS

  • No Bake Pineapple Cheesecake Recipe
  • No-Cook No-Bake Cookbook
  •   

    Comments

    TIP OF THE DAY: Get A Food Ring

    crab-mango-avo-tower-theheatherman-portlandOR-230

    This fancy first course is not that hard to
    make. Photo courtesy The Heathman |
    Portland, Oregon.

     

    It isn’t hard to make fancy appetizers like the one in the photo. All you need is a food ring. It is also called a ring mold, although that term can also refer to a multi-serving container like the type used for gelatin molds.

    We admit to a fondness for molded, layered recipes, like this crab, mango and avocado stack served at The Heathman Restaurant and Bar in Portland, Oregon. Thanks to executive chef Michael Stanton for sharing his recipe, below.

    Chef Stanton tops his dish with wild arugula. In the northwest and elsewhere, wild arugula is often found growing in streams, there for the picking. You can substitute cultivated arugula from the market. More substitutions are offered below.

    In fact, part of the fun of cooking is taking the recipe in a different direction, with a substitution. No mango? How about fresh pineapple? No avocado? How about tuna tartare?

     

    RECIPE: DUNGENESS CRAB MANGO SALAD

    Ingredients Per Serving

  • 1/2 cup mango, chopped
  • 1 avocado, chopped
  • 1 cup Dungeness or other crab meat
  • Chive oil or other herb-infused olive oil (basil, rosemary)
  • 1 cup wild or cultivated arugula
  • Fresh press olive oil (to taste)
  • Food ring
  • Garnishes: citrus vinaigrette (recipe below) and chive oil*
  •  
    *If you don’t have/can’t find chive oil, use basil oil or rosemary oil.

     

    RECIPE: CITRUS VINAIGRETTE

    Ingredients

  • 3 tablespoons fresh citrus juice (lemon and/or orange, lime or yuzu)
  • 2 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
  • 1 teaspoon Dijon mustard
  • 1 clove garlic, minced
  • 8 leaves fresh basil, minced
  • Salt to taste
  • 1/4 teaspoon fresh-ground black pepper
  •  
    Preparation

    1. WHISK ingredients together until well-blended.

     

    food-ring-HICbrands-230sq

    The only food ring you’ll need: This one can be adjusted to different diameters. Photo courtesy HIC Brands.

     
    Assembly

    1. MOLD the chopped avocado in 2-3 inch ring atop the serving plate. Place the mango on top, followed by the crab.

    2. REMOVE the ring mold, swirl the vinaigrette and chive oil around the plate. Toss wild arugula in fresh olive oil and place on top.
     
    MORE AT THE HEATHMAN

    If you’re in Portland, stop by for afternoon tea. It’s served in the hotel’s historic Tea Court Lounge; reservations are required.

    The traditional tea menu, created by pastry chef John Gayer, includes Smoked Salmon Napoleon, Paté Maison, John’s Famous Lanai Banana Bread and Parisian Opera Cake, along with a wide selection of teas from Fonté Coffee and Tea Company, a Northwest micro roaster based in Seattle.

    The children’s Peter Rabbit Tea for Little Sippers sports Ants On A Log, Snickerdoodle Cookie, Devil’s Food Chocolate Cupcake and Peanut Butter and Honey Sandwich.

      

    Comments

    FOOD FUN: Deconstructed Blueberry Pie

    deconstructed-blueberry-pie-lindaanctil-230

    Deconstructed blueberry pie à la mode.
    Photo courtesy Linda Anctil.

     

    We are huge fans of Linda Anctil, a Connecticut-based chef and caterer whose blog, PlayingWithFireAndWater.com, makes us want to show up at meal time and befriend her. She’s a great deconstructionist chef and caterer, and it’s a pleasure to look at her concepts and photos.

    She deconstructed the all-American bluebeerry pie with:

  • Sous vide blueberries (see below)
  • Blueberry sauce
  • Blueberry “cheese”
  • Roasted flour nuggets
  • Lemon balm frozen yogurt
  • Garnish: lemon balm leaves
  •  
    You can see the full recipe here. It requires professional skills and equipment.
     
    But you can make an easy version even if your main skills are simply gathering and assembling.

     
    Here’s what we did:

    RECIPE: DECONSTRUCTED BLUEBERRY PIE

    Ingredients

  • Saucepan-cooked blueberries instead of sous vide
  • Blueberry purée (sauce) made from some of the cooked blueberries
  • Blueberry sorbet (purchased)
  • Greek frozen yogurt (purchased—plain, vanilla or blueberry, or vanilla ice cream)
  • Pie crust or tart crust balls, or sugar cookie dough balls (we rolled tart crust, which is firmer and more buttery, into balls. You can add sugar if you wish.)
  • Garnish: lemon balm or mint leaves
  •  
    Pre-scoop the small balls of sorbet and larger balls of frozen yogurt or ice cream and place them on a cookie sheet in the freezer for quick assembly.

    To assemble, follow Linda’s photo, above.

     

    WHAT IS SOUS VIDE?

    Sous vide, pronounced soo-VEED and meaning “under vacuum,” is a cooking technique developed in France in the 1980s. Since then, it has been used by the greatest chefs to assure consistency in turning out fine meals.

    Portions are prepared in individual, sealed plastic bags that are cooked in a water bath. Previously only available for the professional kitchen, a consumer model debuted in 2009. It’s for the serious cook.

    Some benefits of sous vide cooking:

  • Once you get the hang of it, it makes cooking easier. Whether for entertaining or for family meals you can prepare the food to precisely the temperature you want (no more meat thermometers!) in a fraction of the time.
  • If you’re cooking multiple portions of temperature-sensitive foods for a dinner party—fish or steak, for example—sous vide ensures that every piece is cooked exactly the same.
  • You can prepare in advance, partially cook the food in the individual portion bags, and then finish the cooking in minutes.
  • The individual sealed bags make plating and clean-up easy.
  •  
    Here’s more about sous vide cooking.

     

    sous-vide-set-230

    Sous Vide enables adventurous cooks to use an alternative cooking technique. Photo courtesy Sous Vide.

     

    BLUEBERRY TRIVIA

    There are two types of blueberries.

  • Highbush blueberries (Vaccinium corymbosum) grow on tall bushes; some cultivars reach a height of 6 to 8 feet. The berries are larger and more abundant than lowbush blueberries, although their flavor may be somewhat less intense and sweet.
  • Lowbush blueberries (Vaccinium angustifolium), also referred to as wild blueberries, grow in Maine and the colder regions of eastern North America. The shrubs grow no taller than two feet and may be smaller, depending on soil and climate, and produce small, exceptionally sweet bluish-black berries. If you want to plant a bush or two, these are hardy plants that do well in all soils, even poor, rocky types, providing the drainage is good.
  •  
    These statistics are from Wikipedia:

  • Michigan is the leader in highbush blueberry production. An old statistic in Wikipedia credits Michigan farms with producing 220,000 tonnes (490,000,000 pounds) of blueberries, accounting for 32% of those eaten in the United States. Other states with substantial commercial acreage of highbush blueberries are New Jersey, Florida, Georgia and North Carolina.
  • Maine produces 25% of all lowbush blueberries in North America with 24,291 hectares (60,020 acres) under cultivation. The wild blueberry is the official fruit of Maine.
  • Georgia, with about 10% of production (that’s 77 million pounds), has the longest harvest season in the U.S., lasting from late April through the end of July.
  • Hammonton, New Jersey claims to be the “Blueberry Capital of the World,” growing more than 80% of New Jersey’s blueberries.
  •   

    Comments

    RECIPE: Tart Cherry Fruit Soup

    tart-cherry-soup-choosecherries-230

    Tart cherry soup can be a starter or dessert.
    Photo courtesy ChooseCherries.com.

     

    Here’s a follow-up to our recent recipe tip on fruit soup, which included a recipe for chilled blackberry soup.

    This recipe is easy as can be, using tart cherry juice. You can serve it as a starter; we like it as a dessert, with an optional scoop of fruit sorbet: blueberry, lemon, lime, raspberry or strawberry, for example.

    If you’re not adding sorbet, consider a garnish of fresh or dried cherries.

    Prep time 20 minutes plus 2-4 hours chilling time.

    RECIPE: TART CHERRY SOUP

    Ingredients For 6-8 Servings

  • 2 cups tart cherry juice
  • 24 ounces frozen tart cherries
  • 1/2 cup red wine
  • 1/2 cup sugar
  • 1/8 teaspoon cinnamon
  • 2 teaspoon fresh lemon juice
  • Pinch of salt
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla
  • 1/4 cup sour cream
  • Optional garnish: crème fraîche, fresh cherries, dried cherries, Greek yogurt, sorbet, sour cream
  • Preparation

    1. GENTLY WHISK together tart cherry juice, red wine, sugar, cinnamon and lemon juice in a medium pot. Add frozen tart cherries. Heat over medium to high heat until mixture comes to a boil.

    2. REDUCE heat to medium to low and let simmer for 5 minutes. Remove from heat and allow to cool.
    (Optional: Spoon tart cherries out and blend in a blender until smooth; add back to soup)

    3. ADD vanilla and sour cream to cooled soup; stir to combine and chill for 2 to 4 hours in the refrigerator. Serve chilled with optional garnish.

    Check out more cherry recipes from the Cherry Marketing Institute, ChooseCherries.com.

     
      

    Comments

    TIP OF THE DAY: Heirloom Tomato Caprese Salad

    heirloom-tomato-caprese-greatperformancesFB-230

    Where’s the stack of mozzarella and tomato
    slices? This Caprese salad is deconstructed.
    Photo courtesy Great Performances | NYC.

     

    Take advantage of the beautiful tomatoes now at farmers markets to create an elegant Caprese salad like this. There’s just a small window each year to enjoy heirloom tomatoes, so budget to have them every day, if you can.

    Enjoy them in simple preparations to let their luscious flavor shine: in salads or on sandwiches, for example. One of the easiest yet most popular ways to enjoy them is in a Caprese salad.

    You can also get creative: Instead of piling the slices of mozzarella and tomato in a stack or spreading them in a fan, make the deconstructed Caprese salad shown in the photo. All you need apart from the standard ingredients (see below) are red and yellow tomatoes (or green, orange or purple—heirloom tomatoes offer a rainbow of options) of different sizes, and both large and small basil leaves.

    While you’re at the farmers market, pick up some exotic basil instead of the standard: dark purple opal basil, lemon basil or sweet Thai basil, for example.

    CAPRESE SALAD HISTORY

    Insalata Caprese (salad in the style of Capri) is a favorite of many people—perhaps all the more precious because one of its four ingredients, tomatoes (combined with basil, mozzarella di bufala and olive oil) are splendid for such a short period of each year.

     
    Food historians can’t determine if the Caprese salad actually originated on the Italian island of Capri or if it was simply “discovered” there by tourists, but it is credited to the Campania region of Italy, on the southwest coast.

    Basil is indigenous to Italy and mozzarella and olive oil have been made since ancient Roman times (olive oil is actually much older). The other key ingredients arrived much later:

  • Mozzarella di bufala, used today instead of cow’s milk mozzarella, arrived—around 1000 C.E.,* introduced by the Arabs to Sicily.
  • Tomatoes were brought back from the New World in 1529, but those original tomatoes—the size of cherry tomatoes—were first used as ornamental houseplants. Believed to be poisonous, they weren’t eaten until the mid-19th century.
  •  
    However, insalata caprese became popular throughout the Western world after it became a favorite of King Farouk of Egypt, who discovered it during the a vacation to Capri in the 1950s (and probably invented the first insalata caprese sandwich—said to be his favorite way of eating it).

    At some point, balsamic vinegar was offered as an addition to the plain olive oil (although fine olive oil as the sole condiment is sufficiently flavorful). Caprese salad is also called insalata tricolore, referring to the three colors of the Italian flag (green, white and red).

     

    CAPRESE SALAD VARIATIONS

    Outside of tomato season, radicchio, red bell peppers or sundried tomatoes can be substituted—as well as fruit, such as:

  • Mango Caprese Salad
  • Plum Caprese Salad
  • Watermelon Caprese Salad
  •  
    Vegans can enjoy a Tofu Caprese Salad, and those who don’t like mozzarella (is there anyone?) can make a Goat Cheese Caprese.

    You can also make a Caprese Pasta Salad.
     
    So, what’s for lunch?

     
    *Source: Consorzio per la Tutela del Formaggio Mozzarella di Bufala Campana. This is the current best historical guess. The history of mozzarella di bufala.

     

    caprese-olive-sundried-topping-mooneyfarms-230

    Another Caprese salad variation: Add olive pesto. Photo courtesy Mooney Farms.

     

      

    Comments

    RECIPE: Popcorn Ball Ice Cream Sandwiches

    Make an ice cream sandwich with a “popcorn
    ball” sandwich. Photo courtesy Popcorn.org.

     

    August 2nd is National Ice Cream Sandwich Day. Sure, ice cream between two cookies or thin slices of cake makes a great sandwich. But try something different this year: Make the “sandwich” part from popcorn balls.

    This recipe takes the ingredients for popcorn balls and makes them flat, in a baking pan, so they can be cut into rectangles for the sandwiches.

    RECIPE: POPCORN ICE CREAM SANDWICHES

    Ingredients For 12 Sandwiches

  • 2-1/2 quarts popped popcorn (fresh-popped or store-bought)
  • 1-1/2 cup light brown sugar
  • 3/4 cup dark corn syrup
  • 1/2 cup butter
  • 1 tablespoon vinegar
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1 6-ounce package chocolate chips*
  • 1/2 cup chopped walnuts
  • 2 pints brick-style (rectangular package)vanilla ice cream†
  •  
    *Variations: other baking chips (butterscotch, peanut butter, etc.), dried cherries, mini M&Ms, mini Reese’s Pieces or candy of choice.

    †If you can’t find brick-style pints, get a quart. Why do you need a rectangle? To slice the ice cream in a rectangle for the sandwiches. You can experiment with other ice cream flavors, but start with vanilla for a benchmark.

     
    Preparation

    1. COMBINE brown sugar, corn syrup, butter, vinegar and salt in a three-quart saucepan.

    2. COOK, stirring, until sugar dissolves. Continue to cook until hard ball stage (250°F on a candy thermometer). Pour syrup over popped popcorn; stir to coat.

    3. ADD chocolate pieces and nuts; stir just to mix. Pour into two 13 x 9 x 2 inch pans, spreading and packing firmly. Cool.

    4. CUT the popcorn mix in each pan into 12 rectangles. Cut each pint of ice cream into 6 slices. Sandwich ice cream between two popcorn rectangles.

    5. WRAP each sandwich in plastic and place in freezer until ready to serve.

    Find more recipes at Popcorn.org, the website of The Popcorn Board.

     

    WEST COAST ICE CREAM SANDWICH NEWS

    If we were in L.A. we’d celebrate National Ice Cream Sandwich Day, August 2nd, at Napoléon’s Macarons.

    Or maybe not, since the pâtisserie is giving away* free Maca’Longs today from 2-4 p.m. at the Glendale and Canoga Park locations. Imagine the crowds, and perhaps stay home and make your own ice cream sandwiches.

    Maca’Longs are macaron cookie ice cream sandwiches that use the bakery’s macaron expertise to create long, almond meringue-based shells for their made-from-scratch ice cream. (See our original post on Pierre Herme’s version).

    The Maca’Long debuts in four flavors: Hazelnut Lemon, Mocha, Raspberry Pistachio and Vanilla Pecan. For this we have just two words: Mmmm, mmmm.

    Discover more at NapoleonsMacarons.com.

     

    maca-long-w-meringue-napoleonsmacarons-LA-230b

    An ice cream sandwich on a meringue cookie sandwich. Photo courtesy Napoléon’s Macarons | L.A.

     

    EAST COAST ICE CREAM SANDWICH NEWS

    On the other side of the country, in Manhattan, Ristorante Asellina is serving up Crolatos: homemade gelato sandwiches on split croissants.

    While a buttery plain croissant works just fine, see if you can score some almond croissants or chocolate croissants.

      

    Comments

    RECIPE: Grilled Corn Salad

    corn-salad-davidvenableQVC-230

    Fresh grilled corn salad. Photo courtesy QVC.

     

    Got corn?

    Fresh-picked local corn has just appeared in our area. We celebrated by eating some of it raw (try it, it’s delicious), boiling some, and grilling some for this corn salad from QVC chef David Venable.

    David says, “I love to have a side dish that can be thrown on the grill so that it carries the smoky, char-broiled flavor into the rest of the meal.

    “This grilled corn salad is a perfect balance of bright, fresh flavors and smoky-sweet corn. Prepare your other ingredients first, so that you can tend to the grill without distraction.”

    Serve it as a side salad with anything. No matter how much you make, it will disappear quickly.

     
    RECIPE: GRILLED CORN SALAD

    Ingredients

  • 6 ears of corn (husked per directions below)
  • 1 medium red onion, diced
  • 1 large red pepper, diced
  • 1 jalapeño, seeded and minced
  • 1 clove garlic, minced
  • 1 avocado, diced
  • 1/3 cup cilantro leaves, chopped
  • 1/2 cup feta cheese, crumbled
  • 1 teaspoon chili powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon ground cumin
  • 4 tablespoons lime juice
  • 3 tablespoons olive oil
  • Salt and pepper, to taste
  •  
    Preparation

    1. PREHEAT a barbecue or indoor grill to medium.

    2. CAREFULLY PEEL back the corn husks leaving them attached at the bottom. Remove the silk. Rewrap the corn in the husks and secure with string. Completely submerge the corn in cold water for 15-20 minutes; drain.

    3. GRILL the corn for 20-25 minutes, or until tender, turning often. Allow it to cool and then remove the husks completely.

    4. PREPARE the salad: Cut the corn from each cob and place it in a medium-size mixing bowl. Add the remaining ingredients and fold to combine.

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

     
      

    Comments

    TIP OF THE DAY: Layered Salad

    Layering is trending as a light and refreshing approach that makes you want to eat more salad. The contrast of different colored vegetables (and fruits) make the food all the more tempting.

    This recipe is by Zac Benedict for the California Avocado Commission.

    This recipe uses 12-ounce mason jars, a main-dish size salad for each person. You can also use 16.5-ounce mason jars. The handled jars can be used for food or drinks.

    If you don’t want to buy mason jars, check to see what you already have; for example, glass dessert bowls or jumbo wine goblets. Use smaller jars for a side salad. Zac suggests collecting large baby food jars, and for the larger mason jars uses chopsticks, which easily reach the bottom of the jar.

    The idea is to eat the the layered salad from the jar, although Zac advises that you can also set out serving bowls for people who want to toss their salads.

    VEGETABLE & FRUIT OPTIONS

    Select vegetables with a variety of color. For example, if you like scallions but have too much green, substitute red onion. If you’re using red tomatoes, use orange and yellow bell peppers instead of read ones.

  • Green vegetables: broccoli, edamame (soybeans), herbs (basil, cilantro, dill, parsley), green beans, green peas (frozen are fine), mesclun or other salad greens, snow peas, spring peas, sugar snap peas
  •    

    7-layer-avocado-salad-in-jar-calavocom-230

    Is there a prettier salad? Photo courtesy California Avocado Commission.

  • Orange vegetables: bell pepper strips, carrots (baby carrots, sliced or shaved carrots), cherry tomatoes, heirloom tomatoes, kumquats, grape tomatoes, mandarin wedges, mango, sweet potatoes (cubed or sliced)
  • Purple vegetables: cauliflower, grapes, heirloom tomatoes, kale, Peruvian potatoes, red cabbage, purple raisins (you can plump them in cider)
  • Red vegetables: beets, bell pepper strips, cherry tomatoes, dried cherries or cranberries, grape tomatoes, lady apples, mini red jacket potatoes, pomegranate arils, radicchio, radishes, red grapes/champagne grapes, red onion, sundried tomatoes, tomatoes
  • Yellow vegetables: artichoke hearts, bell pepper strips, cherry tomatoes, heirloom tomatoes, lemon peel, miniature pattypan squash, star fruit (carambola), yellow squash
  • White vegetables: cauliflower, cucumbers, daikon, Granny Smith apples, grapes, mushrooms, water chestnuts, zucchini
  •  
    You can also add diced meats and cheeses, cooked grains, beans and legumes.

     

    7-layer-salad-ingredients-calavocomm-230

    Prepare the ingredients; then, it’s easy to
    layer. Photo courtesy California Avocado
    Commission.

     

    Preparation

    1. LAY out the rinsed, dried, cut produce ingredients.

    2. PLACE the heaviest ingredients on the bottom and the most crushable items at the top.

    Try to be as even as possible: The layers don’t have to be perfect but they look very nice when the ingredients are in neat rows.

    3. CHOOSE your dressing; keep it separate until ready to eat. This recipe uses a fresh citrus Dijon dressing, which is poured over the salad ingredients before serving. Then, seal with the lid and then gently invert the jar a few times to disperse the dressing.

    Another option is to place the dressing in the jar before layering the salad ingredients.

     

    RECIPE: 7 LAYER SALAD

    Ingredients For 4 Servings

  • 2 Persian cucumbers, diced with peel on
  • 1 cup red cabbage, shredded
  • 1 cup cooked, shelled edamame
  • 8 each orange and yellow mini bell peppers, stemmed, seeded and sliced into rings (or substitute equivalent large bell peppers)
  • 1 cup cooked artichoke hearts, coarsely chopoped
  • 1-1/3 cup tomatoes, diced
  • 1/4 cup red onion, sliced
  • 1 avocado, diced and sprinkled with citrus juice to prevent browning
  •  
    RECIPE: DIJON CITRUS VINAIGRETTE

    Ingredients

  • 3 tablespoons fresh citrus juice (lemon and/or orange or lime)*
  • 2 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
  • 1 tablespoon Dijon or spicy mustard
  • 1 clove garlic, minced
  • 8 leaves fresh basil, minced
  • Salt to taste
  • 1/4 teaspoon fresh-ground black pepper
  •  
    Preparation

    1. PLACE the ingredients in a small jar with a lid; shake until well-blended.

    2. POUR dressing over each of the layered salads. Seal with jar lid and serve.
     
    *You can make the dressing sweeter or more tart to your liking depending on which citrus juice you use.

    Find more delicious recipes at CaliforniaAvocado.com.
      

    Comments

    RECIPE: Blackberry Cheesecake

    In the U.S. Blackberries typically peak during June in the South, and in July in the North. Crops are ready at various times of the month depending on which part of the state you are located. In order to produce good local Blackberries, producers depend on ideal spring and early summer weather conditions.

    In this recipe from Driscoll’s, a deep purple blackberry purée spiked with blackberry liqueur dresses up a creamy cheesecake with a chocolate wafer cookie crust.

    Today’s the perfect day to bake it: July 30th is National Cheesecake Day (see all the food holidays).

    Prep time is 20 minutes plus cooling, cook time is 50 minutes plus cooling.

    Don’t like blackberries? Can’t find any? Use another berry.

    RECIPE: SWIRLED BLACKBERRY CHEESECAKE

    Ingredients For 16 Servings
     
    For The Crust

  • 3 cups chocolate wafer cookie crumbs (about 60 cookies)
  • 9 tablespoons unsalted butter, melted
  •    

    blackberry-cheesecake-driscolls-230r

    Celebrate National Cheesecakde Day. Photo courtesy Driscoll’s.

     
    For The Filling and Topping

  • 2 cups blackberries, divided
  • 1 tablespoon blackberry liqueur or 1 tablespoon vanilla extract
  • 1 cup plus 2 teaspoons sugar
  • 3 packages (8 ounces each) cream cheese at room temperature
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 3 large eggs
  • 1/2 cups sour cream
  • Garnish: mint leaves
  •  

    http://www.dreamstime.com/royalty-free-stock-image-blackberries-basket-image26804436

    In the U.S., blackberry season peaks in July.
    Photo © Pretoperola | Dreamstime.

     

    Preparation

    1. PREHEAT oven to 350°F. Combine chocolate wafer crumbs and melted butter in a medium bowl. Press into and up sides of 9-inch non-stick springform pan (if pan is not nonstick, brush first with melted butter). Bake about 14 minutes or until firm. Let cool completely. Reduce oven temperature to 300°F.

    2. MAKE the filling. Purée 1 cup blackberries in a blender or food processor and strain. Discard seeds. You should have about 1/3 cup purée. Stir in blackberry liqueur and 2 teaspoons sugar. Set aside until ready to use.

    3. MIX cream cheese and remaining 1 cup sugar in bowl of an electric mixer on low speed until blended. Add vanilla. Add eggs, one at a time, on low speed. Add sour cream and mix until blended. Spoon half batter into cooled crust.

    4. DROP half of the blackberry purée mixture into batter, one teaspoon at a time. Swirl into filling using a toothpick or wooden skewer. Repeat with remaining batter and blackberry purée mixture.

     

    5. BAKE about 50 minutes or until edges are just set and center jiggles slightly. Turn oven off and prop the door ajar with the handle of a wooden spoon. Let cool in oven for 1 hour. Remove from oven and cool completely. Place in refrigerator and chill until cold throughout, 4 to 6 hours or overnight.

    6. SERVE: Make a pile of the remaining blackberries on top of cheesecake and garnish with mint leaves.

     
    BLACKBERRY TIPS

  • Select plump, firm, fully black berries. Blackberries do not ripen off the vine; unripe berries will not ripen once picked.
  • Buy only what you need. Like all fresh berries, blackberries quickly mold when left at room temperature, and only last a couple of days in the refrigerator.
  • If you have more than you can use, you can easily freeze berries. Just wash, cut the hulls off and pop them into a freezer bag, removing as much air as possible.
  • Buy only what you need. Like all fresh berries, blackberries quickly mold when left at room temperature, and only last a couple of days in the refrigerator.
  • If you have more than you can use, you can easily freeze berries. Just wash, cut the hulls off and pop them into a freezer bag, removing as much air as possible.
  • One quart equals 1-1/2 pounds of fresh berries.
  • One cup of blackberries has just 62 calories, and is high in antioxidants.
  •   

    Comments

    TIP OF THE DAY: Fresh Fruit & Toast, a.k.a. Breakfast Tartines

    Many people spread jam on their toast. But in the summer season, why not use fresh berries instead?

    Pair those berries with your favorite dairy spread: cottage cheese, cream cheese, crème fraîche, fromage blanc, fromage frais/quark, goat cheese, mascarpone, sour cream, yogurt.

    In France, these would be called tartines: open-face sandwiches.

    You don’t have to toast the bread. Toast adds crunch and texture, but if fresh-baked bread is calling to you, enjoy it straight from the loaf.

    You can also enjoy these tartines as a snack. They’re just right for a mid-afternoon tea break.

    RECIPE: FRUIT TOAST / BREAKFAST TARTINES

    Ingredients

  • Fruit: berries, mango or other soft fruit
  • Bread of choice
  • Dairy spread
  • Optional garnish: fresh or dried herbs or other seasonings
  •    

    strawberry-toast-vermontcreamery-230

    Who needs jam when you have fresh fruit? Photo courtesy Vermont Creamery.

     

    radish-cheese-spread-latartinegourmande-c--230

    Not a fruit fan? Use vegetables; here, sliced
    radishes and fresh-snipped chives atop
    Greek yogurt. Photo courtesy La Tartine
    Gourmande
    .

      Preparation

    1. Choose some delicious bread: date nut bread, Irish soda bread, multigrain, peasant bread, pumpernickel, raisin bread, rye, sourdough, spelt, whole grain or other bread with great flavor and texture.

    You can also use crispbread, like Wasa. Mild breads like challah, English muffins and white bread are best left to another occasion. See the different types of bread.

    2. Pick your dairy product: cottage cheese, cream cheese, crème fraîche, goat cheese, Greek yogurt, mascarpone, sour cream, quark or other spreadable dairy.

    3. Pick your fruit: berries, dates, figs, mandarin or orange segments, mango and sliced stone fruits (apricots, nectarines, peaches, plums) are our favorites.

    4. Toast the bread (or not); spread with the dairy, top with the fresh fruit and enjoy. If you need more sweetness, drizzle with honey or cinnamon sugar.

     

    VARIATIONS

  • Herbs and spices. Sprinkle with a chiffonade of basil, chili flakes, cinnamon, ground black pepper or other favorite accents.
  • Veggies. Top with vegetables instead of fruit. We like grated carrots (and raisins!), tomatoes* with fresh herbs, radishes or shaved zucchini. With vegetable tartines, you can use other herbs such as cilantro, dill, oregano, parsley.
  •  
    *Yes, tomatoes are a fruit, but they are eaten a vegetable. Here’s why the tomato is fruit, not veggie.

      

    Comments

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