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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

TIP OF THE DAY: “Kaleidoscope” Summer Fruit Salad

Our mom, who could supreme a citrus fruit fast enough to qualify for the Cooking Olympics, made a huge bowl of fresh fruit salad for us to snack on over summer weekends. It was a healthier alternative, but still had eye- and palate appeal for kids.

Winter fruit salad colors were a mix of pink grapefruit, oranges and pineapple, green and red grapes. There were splashes of white from diced apples and pears.

When summer arrived, with vividly colored fruits galore, Mom switched from the winter lineup to what she called “Kaleidoscope Fruit Salad,” after the device we played with as kids (if you’ve never seen one, here’s an online kaleidoscope).

So today’s tip is: Make a Kaleidoscope Fruit Salad. Or if you prefer:

  • Make rainbow fruit kabobs, following the color of the rainbow, as in the photo below.
  • Serve a plate of bright-colored, sliced fruits with a bright colored dip (see the recipe for Blueberry Dip below).
  •  
    Or, turn the fruit salad into:

  • Breakfast, with yogurt or cottage cheese.
  •    

    /home/content/71/6181571/html/wp content/uploads/fruit salad mccormick close 230

    You can get much more colorful than this: Add blueberries and/or blackberries, for starters. Photo courtesy McCormick.

  • A luncheon salad or first course, placing the fruits on a bed of greens and topping them with crumbled cheese: blue, chèvre or feta.
  • Dessert, with a scoop of sorbet, flavored yogurt or cinnamon-accented sour cream. You can also marinate the fruit salad with a tablespoon or two of orange liqueur.
  •  
    You can do the same with a multicolored vegetable salad.

     

    /home/content/71/6181571/html/wp content/uploads/rainbow fruit kabobs dishmaps 230

    Make “rainbow” fruit kabobs. Photo courtesy Dishmaps.com.

     

    RECIPE: BLUEBERRY DIP FOR FRESH FRUIT

    This recipe, from the Highbush Blueberry Council, produces the most beautiful heliotrope-colored dip (a medium purple).

    Ingredients

  • 3 cups fresh blueberries, divided
  • 1/3 cup light cream cheese
  • 2 tablespoons apricot preserves
  •  
    Preparation

    1. PLACE 2 cups of the blueberries, the cream cheese and the preserves in the container of a food processor or blender. Whirl until smooth.

    2. TRANSFER to a serving bowl; cover and refrigerate until serving.

     
    THE COLOR WHEEL OF SUMMER* FRUITS

  • Brown fruits: dates, figs
  • Green fruits: apples, avocado, figs, grapes, gooseberries, honeydew, kiwi, plums
  • Orange fruits: apricot, cantaloupe/crenshaw melons, gooseberries, kumquats, mango, oranges, mandarins, papaya
  • Purple fruits: blackberries, blueberries, figs, grapes
  • Red and pink fruits: apples, blood orange, cherries, currants (also called “champagne grapes”), dragonfruit, gooseberries, grapes, guava, plums, pomegranate arils,raspberries, strawberries, watermelon
  • Yellow fruits: apples, carambola/starfruit, cherries (Queen Anne, Rainier), figs, golden kiwi, golden raspberries, goosberries, jackfruit, lemon, nectarines, peaches, plums
  • White and beige fruits: apple, Asian pear, banana, cherimoya, coconut, lychee, pear, rambutan, white peaches
  •  
    Go forth and make edible kaleidoscopes and rainbows.
     
    *The “summer fruits” list also includes fruits that are available year-round. If a peel of a different color is left on the fruit, we’ve double-counted it in both color groups (e.g., green apples with white flesh).
      

    Comments

    TIP OF THE DAY: Ways To Use Fresh Summer Tomatoes

    Sometimes, the government bodies that approve food holidays are way out of whack. Fresh Tomato Day is April 6th. National Tomato Day is June 1st. October is National Tomato Month.

    In California and Florida, the two states that grow the most tomatoes, you can probably get a fresh tomato in April and most certainly in June. But people in the majority of the U.S. will have to make do with cherry tomatoes or less flavorful locals or imports until the peak summer tomatoes arrive.

    Everyone knows that the most lush, juicy, locally-grown and freshly-picked tomatoes are available nationwide in August. So why promote tomatoes when the best ones are out of season?*

    Thus, for the first time, THE NIBBLE is declaring its own food holiday. For us, August is National Tomato Month!

    Whatever the time of day, there’s something delicious to be made with fresh tomatoes—even cocktails.

    There are lots of recipes that do well with canned tomatoes. Don’t waste pricey fresh tomatoes on them. Instead, go for uncooked or lightly cooked recipes, where the fresh tomato taste sings.

    Our summertime favorite is a simple combination of heirloom tomatoes, goat cheese, fresh basil, olive oil and balsamic vinegar (a Caprese salad with chèvre instead of mozzarella).

       

    tomato-crostini-gaeaoliveoil-230

    Tomato crostini, with both red and yellow tomatoes. The recipe is below. Photo courtesy Gaea Olive Oil.

     
    But this Saturday, we’re going whole hog (whole tomato?) with tomatoes in every dish of every meal. We put together this recipe list, and will decide exactly what to make on the big day. We know that a tomato tart will be on the list.

    FRESH TOMATOES FOR BREAKFAST

  • Diced and marinated fresh tomato with plain yogurt and/or cottage cheese (add fresh dill or basil)
  • Frittata
  • Omelet with diced fresh tomato, herbs and green onions
  • Poached eggs on toast with sliced tomatoes, or on a thick slice of tomato instead of toast
  • Shakshouka, spicy poached and baked eggs (shakshouka recipe)
  •  
    FRESH TOMATOES FOR LUNCH

  • BLT, with a luscious T
  • Grilled cheese with a big slice of tomato and fresh basil (try grilled mozzarella, tomato and basil—a grilled Caprese; if you don’t like basil, try arugula)
  • Pasta salad with diced fresh tomatoes
  • Pizza (top the sauce and mozzarella with sliced tomato) or flatbread topping
  • Sliced egg and tomato sandwich
  • Sliced on a burger (try one slice above the burger and one below)
  • With assorted cheeses and baguette slices
  • Sandwich or salad with fried eggplant and tomato slices and provolone or other favorite cheese
  • Tomato sandwich: sliced tomatoes, arugula or watercress, sprouts, sweet onion and any other veggies you like with flavored mayonnaise or compound butter, on good bread (we also toss on some capers and fresh-cracked black pepper
  •  
    FRESH TOMATOES WITH SOUP & SALAD

  • Caprese salad or stack (stack the ingredients into a small tower)
  • Gazpacho or hot tomato soup
  • Multicolor heirloom tomato salad with vinaigrette (we pair wedges cut from larger tomatoes with halved cherry tomatoes for a nice visual)
  • Tomato, watermelon and feta salad with with basil mint
  • Tomato, watermelon and peach salad with crumbled cheese (basil or mint also welcome)
  •  

    /home/content/71/6181571/html/wp content/uploads/grilled tomatoes peaches wmmb 230

    Fresh tomatoes and peaches, grilled with cheese. Photo courtesy Eat Wisconsin Cheese.

     

    FRESH TOMATOES IN FIRST COURSES, SIDE DISHES
    & MORE

  • Broiled or roasted tomatoes with blue cheese, chèvre or feta
  • Tomato basil garlic butter (compound butter) for bread spread and cooking (it’s very freezable)
  • Fresh raw corn and tomato salad with herbs
  • Fried green tomatoes: they’re what to do with tomatoes that fail to ripen before the first frost
  • Marinated tomatoes and fresh herbs, as a side or as a first course in an avocado half
  • Panzanella, summer bread and tomato salad (panzanella recipe)
  • Salsa—see how much better it tastes with great tomatoes
  • Tomato crostini or bruschetta (recipe below)
  • Tomato juice, seasoned for drinking or spiced for Bloody Marys
  • Tomato-stuffed endive leaves
  • Tomato tart/tartlet or galette with tomato and cheese; tomato, onion, eggplant and other summer vegetables like zucchini; or Greek style with feta and black olives
  •  
    FRESH TOMATOES FOR DINNER & DESSERT

  • Diced tomato garnish on mac and cheese, rice or grains
  • Fresh (uncooked) tomato sauce for pasta (you can also cook fresh tomatoes into a sauce)
  • Pasta with diced heirloom tomatoes, goat cheese and fresh herbs
  • Dessert: strong cheeses with fresh tomatoes and crusty bread
  • Dessert: tomato ice cream or sorbet (tomato ice cream recipes)
  •  
     
    RECIPE: SUMMER BRUSCHETTA OR CROSTINI (PHOTO AT TOP OF PAGE)

    Bruschetta and crostini are popular hors d’oeuvres that are easy to make. They also can be served as a first course or a light meal, with salad and/or soup.

    The difference between them is the size of the slice, plus grilling versus toasting. Bruschetta is made from a loaf of bread that’s three or four inches in diameter; the bread is then grilled. Crostini are cut from a loaf about two inches in diameter and toasted rather than grilled.

    Can you toast a larger slice and grill a smaller one? Go for it!

    Ingredients

  • Baguette
  • Optional: fresh goat cheese
  • Heirloom tomatoes, yellow and red
  • Fresh basil
  • Extra virgin olive oil
  • Balsamic vinegar
  • Salt and fresh-ground pepper
  •  
    Preparation

    1. CUT the tomatoes into triangular pieces (see photo at top of page) and place in a bowl. Chiffonade the basil leaves and add to the tomatoes. Season lightly with olive oil and balsamic vinegar, plus salt to taste.

    2. SPREAD the goat cheese on plain or lightly toasted baguette slices. If not using cheese, brush the slices lightly with olive oil. Top with the dressed tomatoes and basil. Finish with a grind of fresh pepper.
     
     
    *The answer: This happens with quite a few fresh foods. Companies and trade associations are eager to get publicity for their products and don’t want to wait for an appropriate month. The government officials who approve the holiday, from local to federal, just rubber-stamp the petition. Sometimes, producers especially want publicity in the off season when their products don’t sell well. That’s why June is National Turkey Month and February 6th is National Frozen Yogurt Day. These two are no big deal because you can get a good turkey or frozen yogurt anytime. But apricots are a summer fruit, so why is January 9th National Apricot Day? Why is February Berry Fresh Month—and so on, and so on? When we began THE NIBBLE in 2004, the concept was to match our content not just to American holidays (Christmas, St. Patrick’s Day, etc.) but to the hundreds of officially sanctioned daily/monthly food holidays. We also chose to promote food seasonally. But on an out-of-season holiday like National Apricot Day, all we can promote are apricot jam and apricot nectar!

      

    Comments

    RECIPE: Watermelon Pizza

    How about a watermelon pizza for National Watermelon Day, August 3rd? Here are two snack or dessert recipes, and they couldn’t be easier.

    The first is from the National Watermelon Promotion Board, Watermelon.org.

    RECIPE: WATERMELON PIZZA

    Ingredients For 6 Servings

  • 1 watermelon round, from a watermelon 8 to 10 inches in
    diameter, sliced 1 inch thick
  • 1 cup strawberry preserves
  • 1/2 cup white chocolate chips
  • 1/2 cup raisins
  • 1/2 cup chopped walnuts
  • 1 cup sweetened shredded coconut
  •    

    /home/content/71/6181571/html/wp content/uploads/watermelon pizza watermelon.org 230

    Pizza for dessert! Photo courtesy National Watermelon Promotion Board.

     
    Preparation

    1. DRAIN the watermelon round on paper towels to remove the excess moisture. Place on a serving platter and cut into 6 wedges, leaving them in the shape of a pizza.

    2. SPREAD the preserves (the “sauce” on top and sprinkle the toppings over the preserves. It’s ready to serve!

     

    /home/content/71/6181571/html/wp content/uploads/watermelon pizza zespriFB 230

    Easiest watermelon pizza: Just add sliced kiwi! Photo courtesy Zespri | Facebook.

     

    RECIPE: WATERMELON KIWI PIZZA

    The second watermelon pizza couldn’t be easier. If you like, you can add on additional fruits—whatever you have on hand, from stone fruit slices (peaches, nectarines, plums, etc.) to orange segments.

    Without the chocolate chips, coconut, raisins and walnuts, it qualifies as a “diet dessert.”

    Ingredients For 6 Servings

  • 1 watermelon round, from a watermelon 8 to 10 inches in
    diameter, sliced 1 inch thick
  • 1 kiwi, peeled and sliced
  • Optional: other sliced fruits, as desired
  • Optional garnish: shredded coconut “cheese”
  •  
    Preparation

    1. DRAIN the watermelon round on paper towels to remove the excess moisture. Place on a serving platter and cut into 6 wedges, leaving them in the shape of a pizza.

    2. PEEL and slice the kiwi. Place on slice on each watermelon wedge. Sprinkle with optional coconut.

      

    Comments

    TIP OF THE DAY: 20+ Ways To Use Pimento Cheese

    Pimento cheese is known as a Southern specialty, along with barbecue, catfish and hush puppies, grits, red velvet cake and sweet tea. Yet, according to a Southern culinary historian, the soft cheese and red bell pepper spread is a Northern invention.

    THE HISTORY OF PIMENTO CHEESE

    Today’s combination of grated Cheddar cheese, mayonnaise, seasonings and finely diced red pimento (the Americanized spelling of the Spanish pimiento, red bell pepper) started in the North as a cream cheese-based spread. It blended the newly-introduced blocks of cream cheese with canned pimentos, newly imported from Spain. The two ingredients may have been first combined by home economists, women who developed new recipes and other tips for homemakers that were eagerly read in books, magazines, newspapers and on product labels.

    In the 1870s, New York State farmers farmers began to make a soft, unripened cheese modeled after the French Neufchâtel cheese. Within a few decades, a recipe for cream cheese appeared, made by mixing cream into the Neufchâtel curd. The new soft cheese was molded into small wood block forms.

    Because the city of Philadelphia had a reputation for fine food, a New York-based manufacturer, Phenix Cheese Company, named its product Philadelphia Brand Cream Cheese. It was the leading brand then as now (J.L. Kraft and Bros., established in 1909, acquired Phenix Cheese Company in 1930; the company is now called Kraft Foods Group).

       

    /home/content/71/6181571/html/wp content/uploads/pimento cheeseburger gardeniaNYC 230

    The pimento cheeseburger served at Gardenia restaurant in New York City’s Greenwich Village. Photo courtesy Gardenia.

     
    THE PIMENTO CHEESE SANDWICH TAKES HOLD

    The cream cheese/pimento spread became a standard on tea sandwiches, and spread (no pun intended) from the tea party set to the working class. It found its way onto lunch carts, along with the egg salad and ham and cheese sandwiches; and into sandwich shops and diners.

    The first printed recipe unearthed so far is in Good Housekeeping magazine in 1908, for a sandwich filled that blended softened cream cheese, minced pimentos, mustard and chives. The following year, the Up-to-Date Sandwich Book published a simpler version: Neufchâtel cheese with chopped pimentos and a bit of salt on lightly buttered white bread.

    Before World War I, dozens of similar recipes appeared in magazines and cookbooks. Soon after World War I, southern farmers began growing pimentos. Locals mixed the canned domestic pimentos with grated Cheddar instead of cream cheese, which was then less available in the southern states.

    In the South, pimento cheese remains a choice on tearoom menus, sliced into triangles; and as finger sandwich with cocktails. Commercial brands of pimento cheese can be found in most supermarkets, to be spread on crackers at home. Every home cook has his or her favorite recipe.

    Back to the original for a moment: Philadelphia Brand actually sold two flavored cream cheeses in addition to the original plain: Chive and Pimento. All three were staples in our home. Alas, Philadelphia Pimento Cream Cheese was discontinued a few years ago in favor of a dozen more modern flavors, including Blueberry and Spicy Jalapeño. It seems that today’s consumers would rather have Garden Vegetable Cream Cheese than Pimento. Chive has survived as Chive & Onion.

    If you want a taste of the original pimento peerfection, you’ll have to blend your own diced pimentos into cream cheese. But if you want to embrace Southern-style pimento cream cheese, here’s how to do it, along with a recipe to make your own Cheddar-based pimento cheese:
     
    HOW TO SERVE IT: PIMENTO CHEESE FOR BREAKFAST

  • Breakfast tortilla: Warm a corn tortilla in a skillet or the microwave. Spread with pimiento cheese and top with two fried eggs and salsa. Optional garnishes: chopped green onions, sliced black olives, chopped fresh herbs.
  • Cheese omelet
  • Toast spread (bacon optional)
  • Poached eggs on pimento cheese toast
  •  

    /home/content/71/6181571/html/wp content/uploads/pimento cheese spread 230

    With wine, beer or cocktails: pimento
    cheese and crackers, toasts or sliced
    baguette. Photo by Katharine Pollak |
    THE NIBBLE.

     

    PIMIENTO CHEESE FOR LUNCH

  • Biscuit sandwich, with lettuce and tomato.
  • Cheeseburger: Spread a heaping knife-full of pimento cheese atop a grillled burger. Add the top bun and wait a minute for the cheese to melt.
  • Dip For fries: Dipping works better with a creamier style pimento cheese (see above). Or, thin the spread with milk, sour cream, mayonnaise or plain Greek yogurt.
  • Grilled cheese sandwich
  • General sandwich spread (ham, grilled vegetables, sliced egg, turkey, e.g.)
  • Stuffed grilled tomato or bell pepper
  • Taco/burrito: Warm a small tortilla and spread it with pimento cheese. Top with shredded lettuce, chopped tomato, taco-seasoned beef, grated cheese, sour cream and salsa. Sprinkle with chopped green onions; add shredded lettuce and tomatoes.
  • Toasted egg sandwich: Spread pimento cheese on toast; top with fried, scrambled or sliced hard-cooked eggs.
  • Wrap sandwich: Spread instead of mayo on a ham, turkey, grilled veggies or other wrap.
  •  
    PIMENTO CHEESE FOR HORS D’OEUVRE & SNACKS

  • Crudité dip (add more milk, cream or mayo to thin to the desired consistency)
  • Cracker/toast/crostini spread
  • Deviled eggs (mix with the yolks)
  • Stuffed celery
  • Stuffed cherry tomatoes or baby potatoes
  •  
    PIMENTO CHEESE FOR DINNER

  • Baked potato/stuffed potato
  • Macaroni and cheese
  • Potatoes gratin
  • Quick fondue
  •  
    RECIPE: PIMENTO CHEESE SPREAD

    You can find recipes made with Cheddar, Cheddar-cream cheese blends and other cheeses. This one sticks with classic Cheddar.

    Ingredients

  • 1-1/2 cups mayonnaise
  • 1 jar (4 ounces) diced pimiento, drained
  • 1 teaspoon Worcestershire sauce
  • 1 teaspoon finely grated onion
  • 1/4 teaspoon cayenne (ground red pepper)
  • 1 block (8 ounces) extra-sharp Cheddar cheese, finely shredded
  • 1 block (8 ounces) sharp Cheddar cheese, shredded
  •  
    Preparation

    1. COMBINE the mayonnaise, pimiento, Worcestershire sauce, onion and cayenne in a large bowl. Stir in the cheese.

    2. CHILL in the refrigerator to let the flavors meld. Serve at room temperature. The sprea can be stored in the fridge for up to 1 week.

     
    Variations

  • CAROLINA STYLE: Add 1/4 cup diced olives and jalapeños.
  • CREAMY: Make the spread creamier by blending in 4 ounces of cream cheese.
  • HOLIDAY: Add 1/4 cup cranberry sauce (preferably whole cranberry sauce).
  • MEXICAN: Add 1 tablespoon chipotle in adobo sauce, drained; or 1 teaspoon dried chipotle. Adjust quantity to taste.
  • ONION: Add finely-diced red onion and fresh parsley to taste.
  • SMOKY: Add 1/4 cup cooked bacon, drained and crumbled.
  • SWEET & TANGY: Add some pickle relish. Start with a heaping tablespoon, drained.
  •   

    Comments

    RECIPE: Salted Watermelon Milkshake

    For National Watermelon Day, August 3rd, try a salted watermelon milkshake.

    Salt with watermelon? Actually, as a pinch of salt helps most foods, it’s an old trick to bring out more flavor (here, sweetness) in the watermelon.

    This recipe is courtesy of The Milk Shake Factory in Pittsburgh. It requires watermelon sorbet; but if you can’t find it or don’t want to make it (here’s a watermelon sherbet recipe), substitute strawberry or raspberry sorbet.

    Or, make an easy watermelon granita with this watermelon granita recipe, minus the basil. No ice cream maker is used; just watermelon, sugar, water, lemon juice and an ice cube tray.

    Prep time for the milkshake is 10 minutes.

    RECIPE: SALTED WATERMELON MILKSHAKE

    Ingredients For 1 Large Or 2 Small Servings

  • 8 ounces watermelon sherbet
  • 4 ounces whole milk
  • Two 2-inch cubes seedless watermelon, rind removed
  • Pinch sea salt
  • 4 ounces soda water
  • Optional garnish: mini chocolate chips
  • Optional garnish: watermelon wedge
  •  

    /home/content/71/6181571/html/wp content/uploads/salted watermelon shake themilkshakefactory 230

    Salted watermelon milkshake. Photo courtesy The Milk Shake Factory | Pittsburgh.

     
    Preparation

    1. COMBINE the watermelon sherbet, milk, watermelon slices and a pinch of sea salt in a blender. Blend until the sherbet and watermelon slices break down, approximately 45 seconds. Add the soda water and blend 10 seconds more.

    2. POUR the mixture into a 20-ounce drinking glass or two 10-ounce glasses. Garnish with mini chocolate chips and skewer the watermelon wedge, or notch it deeply and anchor it to the rim of the glass. Serve immediately.

      

    Comments

    RECIPE: Ice Cream Sandwich Sundae

    /home/content/71/6181571/html/wp content/uploads/ice cream sandwich sundae grandhyattNYC 230

    Ice cream sandwich sundae. Photo courtesy
    Grand Hyatt Hotel | NYC.

      August 2nd is National Ice Cream Sandwich Day. We love this ice cream sandwich sundae, served at the New York Central Bar and Kitchen, located in the Grand Hyatt Hotel right above Manhattan’s Grand Central Terminal.

    You can make it at home by adapting New York Central’s recipe with your own favorite flavors. Theirs combines summery flavors and colors:

  • A lemon ice cream sandwich on house-made graham crackers
  • A slice of raspberry mousse cake topped with vanilla frozen yogurt
  • A drizzle of dessert sauce (caramel, chocolate or fruit purée)
  • Candied violet petals (substitute blueberries)
  •  
    According to the New York Times, the American ice cream sandwich was born in the Bowery neighborhood of Lower Manhattan in the early 1899s, when a pushcart vendor placed vanilla ice cream slices between two graham cracker wafers and sold them for a penny to shoe shiner boys and stockbrokers.*

     
    According to an article in The New York Tribune in July 1900, the pushcart vendor who was selling the sandwiches was so busy pressing them into a tin mold to order, that he didn’t have time to make change and insisted that customers pay the exact price of one cent.

    The treat was revolutionary: hand-held and portable (the cone had not yet taken hold).

    An earlier predecessor, without the wafers, was a slice of vanilla ice cream cut from a larger slab by Italian street vendors in London. It was known as an “okey-pokey,” the English adaptation of the vendors’ Italian phrase, “o che poco,” meaning “oh, how little [money].” The name which gave way to the “Hokey Pokey” song.

    The modern ice cream sandwich that we know, a slice of vanilla between two rectangular chocolate wafers, was invented in 1945 by Jerry Newberg, who sold ice cream sandwiches at Forbes Field in Pittsburgh.

    By the time we were kids, Nestlé’s ice cream sandwich was our favorite treat from the corner grocer’s ice cream case. (Our tastes have evolved to more premium goods.)

    Who ever thought the ice cream sandwich of childhood would become this elite?

     
    *Source: Sugar and Snow: A History of Ice Cream Making by Jeri Quinzio/

     
      

    Comments

    RECIPE: Fruit Salad With Shrimp

    We really like this idea from RA Sushi: A shrimp salad with watermelon cubes, kiwi slices, tangerine segments, baby arugula leaves and microgreens (you can substitute sprouts or herbs).

    RA Sushi serves it as an entrée, with a Watermelon Margarita to wash it down (the Margarita recipe is below). The fruit salad dressing recipes below are theirs.

    The natural juices from the fruits provide the “dressing,” but you can create a citrus vinaigrette, a honey vinaigrette, or simply toss with a bit of extra virgin olive oil and fresh lime juice (with salt and pepper to taste).

    Grilling the shrimp adds another flavor dimension, but boiled shrimp work as well. You can substitute crab, lobster, scallops, seared/grilled fish cubes or for vegetarians, grilled tofu.

    The fruit salad has a counterpoint of spicy greens (baby arugula, for example), but you can also add a base of lettuce if you’d like more roughage, and you can add heat as well. Use the recipe template below to customize your ideal salad. Aim to use three different fruits of varying colors, to add interest to the dish. Tropical fruits work very well with seafood.

    RECIPE: FRUIT SALAD WITH SHRIMP

    Customize your recipe by choosing from these groups:

       

    shrimp-fruit-salad-RASushi-230

    Shrimp and fruit salad. Photo courtesy RA Sushi Restaurant.

  • Fruits: banana, clementine/tangerine/orange, grapes, guava, kiwi, lychee, mango, papaya, pineapple, star fruit (caramboli)
  • Spicy greens: baby arugula or watercress
  • Other vegetables: herbs, lettuces, red jalapeño, red bell pepper
  • Optional garnish(es): pepitas (pumpkin seeds), sunflower seeds, toasted coconut, trail mix
  • Dressing: Citrus vinaigrette, honey vinaigrette or EVOO and lime juice
  •  
    RECIPE: CITRUS VINAIGRETTE

    Ingredients For 1-1/3 Cups

  • 1-1/2 cups fresh blood orange juice or half regular orange juice, half lime juice
  • 1 shallot, peeled and minced
  • 1 teaspoon minced fresh thyme leaves
  • 2 tablespoons balsamic vinegar
  • 1/2 teaspoon orange zest from blood oranges
  • 2/3 cup extra virgin olive oil
  • Kosher salt or sea salt to taste
  • Freshly ground black pepper to taste
  •  
    Preparation

    1. BRING the citrus juice to a boil in a medium saucepan. Lower the heat to a simmer and reduce to 1/3 cup.

    2. COMBINE the reduced citrus juice, vinegar, shallot, thyme and zest in a medium bowl. Slowly drizzle the oil into the mixture while whisking until the emulsion is combined and thick. Season with salt and pepper to taste. Refrigerate until needed.
     
    RECIPE: HONEY-LIME VINAIGRETTE

    Ingredients For 1-1/3 Cups

  • 1/4 cup fresh-squeezed lime juice
  • 1/8 cup honey
  • 3/4 cup olive oil
  • Seasonings: salt, pepper or cayenne pepper
  •  
    Preparation

    1. COMBINE the lime juice and honey in a blender and mix. Slowly drizzle in the olive oil.

    2. SEASON as desired.

     

    watermelon.org-margarita-230

    Watermelon Margaritas. Photo courtesy National Watermelon Promotion Board.

     

    RECIPE: WATERMELON MARGARITA

    Ingredients For 2 Large Cocktails

  • 2 cups (16 ounces) cubed, seeded watermelon
  • 6 ounces tequila
  • 3 ounces triple sec or other orange liqueur (Cointreau, GranGala, Grand Marnier, etc.)
  • Juice of 1/2 lime
  • Kosher salt or coarse sea salt for the glass rims
  • Ice
  • Optional garnish: watermelon spear, lime wheel or both
  •  
    Preparation

    1. PURÉE the watermelon in a blender. Add the tequila, triple sec and the juice of 1/2 lime.

     
    2. PLACE the salt on a plate. DIP the rims of the glasses into 1/4 inch of water in a shallow bowl, then twist the into the salt. Add ice, pour in the drink and serve.
     
    FOR TWO FROZEN MARGARITAS

    1. PURÉE 1-1/2 cups cubed, seeded watermelon in a blender.

    2. ADD 1 cup tequila, 1/2 cup orange liqueur and 1/2 cup fresh lime juice , plus 3 cups of ice. Blend until desired consistency is reached.

      

    Comments

    TIP OF THE DAY: Cook With Fresh Blueberries

    August is National Blueberry Month. The harvest is full, the prices are at the year’s low, and any food lover should relish the opportunity to eat lots of them.

    And cook with them. Beyond the all-American blueberry pie, you can make:

  • Baked treats: cheesecakes, cobblers, crumbles, fruit tarts, muffins, scone
  • Beverages: cocktails, lemonade, smoothies
  • Breakfasts: in cereal, muffins, pancakes, omelets, scones, yogurt and waffles
  • Frozen desserts: ice cream and sorbet
  • Salads: fruit salads and green salads
  • Soup: in chilled fruit soup, all blueberries or mixed berries
  •  
    We’ll focus on some of those tomorrow. Today, we’re starting with dessert; specifically, blueberry ice cream and blueberry pound cake. Both are easy to make, and won’t keep you in the kitchen for too long.

       

    /home/content/71/6181571/html/wp content/uploads/blueberry ginger ice cream driscolls 230

    Blueberry ice cream. Photo and recipe courtesy Driscoll’s berries.

     
    HOW TO BUY FRESH BLUEBERRIES

    Fresh blueberries should be firm and dry (no leakage or juice stains on the bottom of the container), with a smooth skin covered with a silvery white bloom. The color should be deep purple-blue to blue-black. Reddish blueberries aren’t ripe and won’t ripen once they are picked, but you can use them when cooking with added sugar.

    Refrigerate fresh blueberries, either in their original plastic pack or in a covered bowl or container. Before using, wash the berries, removing any stems, leaves and smashed fruit, plus berries that look soft, shriveled or dots of white mold.
     
    RECIPE: BLUEBERRY ICE CREAM

    Ingredients For 1 Quart

  • 2 cups blueberries
  • 3/4 cup sugar
  • 1/8 teaspoon salt
  • 1 cup milk
  • 1-1/2 cups heavy cream
  •  
    Preparation

    1. COMBINE the blueberries, sugar and salt in a saucepan and bring to a boil over moderate heat. Mash the softened blueberries and stir with a fork. Simmer for 5 minutes, stirring frequently. Remove from the heat and cool slightly.

    2. PURÉE the berry mixture and milk in a blender or food processor. When smooth, stir in the cream. Press the purée through a sieve into a bowl. Press on the solids with back of a spoon to extract the remaining juices.

    3. COVER and chill the mixture at least 2 hours, or until cold. You can make the recipe up to this step, up to 1 day in advance.

    4. PROCESS the cold mixture in an ice cream maker, according to the manufacturer’s instructions. Transfer it to an airtight container and place in the freezer to harden.

     

    /home/content/71/6181571/html/wp content/uploads/blueberry pound cake qvc 230

    Fresh blueberry pound cake with blueberry sauce. You’ll notice how much firmer and tastier fresh berries are, compared to baking with frozen berries. Photo courtesy QVC.

     

    RECIPE: BLUEBERRY POUND CAKE

    This easy recipe is from QVC’s chef David Venable. David tip: “Be sure that all of your ingredients are at room temperature before beginning. And, only use fresh blueberries in the sauce; it will have a better consistency.”

    The recipe is easy because David uses a pound cake mix. We made our own pound cake recipe from scratch, adding just the cup of blueberries and the sour cream from the cake ingredients below.

    Ingredients For 6-8 Servings

    Ingredients For The Cake

  • 1 cup blueberries
  • 2 tablespoons flour
  • 1 box pound cake mix or your own pound cake recipe
  • 2/3 cup water
  • 2 eggs
  • 5 tablespoons butter at room temperature
  • 1/8 cup + 2 tablespoons sour cream
  • Zest of a half lemon (zest the whole lemon; the rest goes into
    the sauce)
  •  
    Ingredients For The Blueberry Sauce

  • 3 cups fresh blueberries
  • 1/4 cup sugar
  • 1/8 cup water
  • 3 tablespoons lemon juice
  • Zest of half a lemon
  •  
    Garnish

  • Optional: whipped cream or vanilla or blueberry ice cream
  •  
    Preparation

    1. PREHEAT the oven to 350°F. Lightly grease a loaf pan. Set aside.

    2. PREPARE the cake: Toss the blueberries with flour in a bowl. Set aside.

    3. PLACE the remaining ingredients in a food processor and process for 3 minutes. Scrape the sides and process for 3 more minutes. Stir in the flour-coated blueberries with a spatula. Pour the batter into the prepared pan and bake for 45–55 minutes.

    4. MAKE the sauce: Place all the ingredients into a food processor and process for 4–6 minutes. Drizzle the sauce on top of the sliced pound cake. Top with whipped cream and serve; or make it a la mode with a scoop of ice cream.

      

    Comments

    TIP OF THE DAY: Our 20+ Favorite Ways To Use Mustard

    National Mustard Day is the first Saturday in August—which happens to be today. The holiday was initiated in 1988 by a mustard lover named Jill Sengstock, and was taken under the wing of the National Mustard Museum in 1991. If you’re anywhere near Middleton, Wisconsin, you can join in the day of mustard-centric family activities (or is that family-centric mustard activities?).

    Mustard has been cultivated for more than 5,000 years, beginning in India in 3000 B.C.E. It grew wild in the foothills of the Himalayas.

    The ancient Greeks and Romans used mustard as a condiment; some actually chewed the mustard seeds with their meat. Egyptian pharoahs were buried with seeds to use in the afterlife.

    Fast forward: By the 1400s, mustard had spread through Europe, with each region making its own style. Mustard came to the U.S. with European immigrants. Mustard came to America in the 1700s and immigrants established mustard businesses. The style of the day was strong, spicy and brown, but later, the yellow “ballpark” mustard style was born in the U.S.A. Here’s more history of mustard.

       

    /home/content/71/6181571/html/wp content/uploads/5 open jars mailleFB 230

    Five of the 20+ types of mustard made
    by Maille Mustard.

     
    Today, there are dozens of different types of mustard—far beyond the all-American yellow mustard (like French’s), brown mustard (Chinese mustard, like Colman’s), Dijon (like Grey Poupon) and whole grain (like moutarde à l’ancienne—one variety, moutarde de Meaux, is called the “king of mustards” by connoisseurs).

    For National Mustard Day, commit to trying any of these you aren’t familiar with, plus a flavored mustard. Beyond honey mustard, look for Roquefort mustard, tarragon mustard and walnut mustard—three of our favorites.

    20+ WAYS TO USE MUSTARD

    Beyond hot dogs, burgers and sandwiches, mustard is a natural complement to many foods. Before we start the conventional list, take a look at this first course: gravlax with mustard ice cream. There’s no sugar in the ice cream, just novelty. Think of it as a cold mustard cream sauce!

     

    /home/content/71/6181571/html/wp content/uploads/pate ground mustard duseks chicago 230

    Pâté with whole grain mustard (also called grainy mustard and in French, moutarde a l’ancienne). Photo courtesy Dusek’s |
    Chicago.

     
  • Barbecue: The essential in South Carolina mustard barbecue sauce, and a help to tomato-based barbecue sauces, to cut the sweetness.
  • Butter: Blend mustard with butter and lemon for a compound butter topping for toast, grilled meat or sauteed meat and seafood.
  • Canapés: Spread a base of bread or cucumber with a flavored mustard, then top with cheese, pâté, meat or other ingredients.
  • Charcuterie: As a condiment with bacon, ballotines, confits, galantines, ham, pâtés, sausages and terrines.
  • Cheese: Serve mustard as a condiment with strong cheeses (more about cheese condiments).
  • Chicken: Mustard brightens chicken stews and makes a delicious glaze for chicken breasts and wings.
  • Dip: Serve it straight or mixed with mayonnaise, sour cream or plain yogurt, with crudités, chips, fries and pretzels. Mustard is also an ingredient in beer and Cheddar dips. You can also add it to a Mexican queso dip.
  • Eggs: Mustard adds complexity to deviled eggs. It also makes a delicious sauce for poached eggs.
  • Fish: Sturdy fish like salmon and tuna are wonderful with a mustard crust. As a glaze, brush it on salmon fillets before broiling or on tuna before searing. Here’s a recipe for a mustard glaze for fish.
  • Glaze: In addition to fish, glaze chicken, ham, pork and lamb.
  • Grilled meats: Use mustard as your condiment for meats (including sausages) and poultry.
  • Ground Meat & Seafood: Add a spoonful along with other seasonings, to burgers, crab cake, meat loaf, etc.
  • Mussels: Swirl mustard into lager-steamed mussels and garnish with dill. Here’s a mussels and mustard recipe from Pierre Franey, chef of the legendary (and belated) Le Pavillon restaurant in New York City.
  • Mustard Sauce: Here’s a recipe for mustard sauce.
  • Pan Sauces: After sautéing chicken breasts or searing steaks, whisk the fond (the browned bits at the bottom of the pan) with a splash of wine and a dollop of mustard, into a tasty sauce.
  • Pasta: Add acidity to a cream sauce for pasta with a spoonful of mustard. Make a butter-mustard sauce for noodles with grainy mustard.
  • Potatoes: Add a spoonful of mustard to mashed potatoes. Then top it with crumbled bacon and minced chives or scallions! Add Dijon mustard to a gratin; add a bit to a sour cream or yogurt sauce for potatoes and vegetables.
  • Roasts: To create a beautiful crust for a leg of lamb, pork loin or turkey breast, rub it with an herb mustard before roasting.
  • Salads: Add a spoonful to the “protein” salads—chicken, egg, ham, tuna—and the side salads—cole slaw, potato salad and macaroni salad.
  • Sandwich Spread: Mix mayonnaise with mustard, half and half or to taste. It adds flavor and cuts the calories and fat of the mayo in half.
  • Soup: Add a spoonful to a pot of dull soup.
  • Tartar Sauce: Here’s a zingy recipe from Colman’s.
  • Vinaigrette: A mustard dressing is a classic with salad greens, but it’s also delicious with roasted vegetables (try it with parsnips and turnips!).
  •  
    Thanks to Colman’s Mustard for some of these yummy ideas. Click the link for recipes.

      

    Comments

    RECIPE: Reduced Sugar Raspberry Pie

    July 31st is National Raspberry Cake Day. You can make one easily, by using raspberry jam as a filling between two layers, using whipped cream to frost the cake, and decorating the top with fresh raspberries.

    But for calorie counters, substitute the cake for a pie, and make this reduced calorie raspberry pie from Driscoll’s. It replaces some of the sugar with a noncaloric sugar substitute. And August 1st is National Raspberry Cream Pie Day.

    You can add a garnish of whipped cream from an aerosol can. With all the air whipped into the sweetened cream, it has just eight calories per tablespoon.

    For this recipe, prep time is 25 minutes; cook time is 1 hour 5 minutes.

    If you don’t want a reduced-sugar pie, try this raspberry cream pie recipe.

    RECIPE: REDUCED-CALORIE RASPBERRY PIE

    Ingredients For 8 Servings
     
    For The Crust

  • 2 cups all-purpose flour
  • 1/2 teaspoon fine salt
  • 10 tablespoons unsalted butter, chilled and cut into small pieces
  • 1/4 cup vegetable shortening
  • 6 to 8 tablespoons ice water
  •  

    raspberry-pie-flower-crust-driscolls-230

    Raspberry pie with a leafy crust. Use small cookie cutters to cut leaves from dough scraps. Photo courtesy Driscoll’s.

     
    For The Filling

  • 3 packages (6 ounces each) Driscoll’s raspberries
  • 1/3 cup granulated Splenda (not from individual packets)
  • 1/3 cup dark brown sugar
  • 2 tablespoons lemon juice
  • 1 tablespoon cornstarch
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt
  • 1/4 teaspoon ground nutmeg
  • 1 large egg, beaten
  •  
    Optional Garnish

  • Aerosol whipped cream
  •  

    raspberries-cartons-MF-jeltovski-230

    Just-picked raspberries. Photo by J. Eltovski | Morguefile.

     

    Preparation

    1. MAKE the crust: Place the flour and salt in the bowl of a food processor and pulse until combined. Add the butter and shortening and pulse until the mixture resembles coarse crumbs. Add the ater, one tablespoon at a time, and pulse just until the dough comes together (be careful not to over-mix). Pat the dough into a disk and wrap in plastic wrap. Chill at least 1 hour.

    2. MAKE the filling: Roll out the dough on a lightly floured surface into a large circle about 1/4-inch thick. Cut out a 13-inch circle and gently transfer the dough to a 9-1/2-inch pie plate. Fold the edge of dough under the rim of the plate and crimp to make a decorative crust. Place in the freezer for 15 minutes. Cut the remaining dough into various small cutouts, using cookie cutters. (Here’s a set of mini leaf cutters. We use this linzer cookie cutter set with a heart, moon, sun and star.)

    3. PREHEAT the oven to 400°F. Top the pie dough shell with aluminum foil or parchment paper and fill it with pie weights or dried beans. (This large pie weight from Chicago Metallic avoids having to pick up the individual weights or beans.)

     
    4. BAKE the crust for 10 minutes, remove the foil and weights and continue to bake about 10 minutes more or until lightly golden.

    5. REDUCE the oven temperature to 350°F. Place the raspberries, Splenda, brown sugar, lemon juice, cornstarch, vanilla, cinnamon, nutmeg and salt in a medium bowl and stir until evenly combined. Spoon into prebaked crust. Brush crust with beaten egg and top with small cutouts. Brush cutouts with beaten egg.

    6. BAKE for 40 to 45 minutes or until the juices are bubbling and the crust is golden brown. Let cool slightly before serving, or chill completely.
     
    Find more delicious berry recipes at Driscolls.com.

      

    Comments

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