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Archive for Soups

RECIPE: Pineapple Gazpacho

pineapple-gazpacho-urbanaccents-230

Pineapple gazpacho, spicy and refreshing. Photo courtesy Urban Accents.

 

Yesterday we featured a spicy Grilled Pineapple Cocktail, but only the garnish was grilled.

Today, The pineapple is marinated in spices and lilme juice, then grilled to provide this chilled soup with a more complex flavor.

The recipe is by Jim Dygas, president of Urban Accents, using Urban Accents’ Mozambique Peri Peri spice blend. The garnish was added by THE NIBBLE.

Prep time is 15 minutes, cook time is 15 minutes. The gazpacho needs to be refrigerated for at least 2 hours or overnight. The flavor will be better the next day.

RECIPE: PINEAPPLE GAZPACHO

Ingredients For 6 Servings

  • 1 whole pineapple, skin removed & cut into 1-inch slices,
    cored and cut into wedges
  • 1 lime, zested and juiced
  • 2 tablespoons Urban Accents Mozambique Peri Peri
    or substitute*
  • 1 cup pineapple juice
  • 2 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
  • 1 seedless (English) cucumber, peeled and diced
  • 1 small red bell pepper, seeded and diced
  • 1 small onion, diced
  • 2 med garlic cloves, minced
  • 3 tablespoons fresh lime juice
  • 1 small jalapeño chile, seeded and minced
  • 2 tablespoons chopped fresh parsley
  • Salt and pepper to taste
  • Garnish: minced chives or thin-sliced scallions, or the
    garnish recipe below
  •  
    For The Garnish

  • 1/4 cup red bell pepper, seeded and finely chopped
  • 1/4 cup green bell pepper, seeded and finely chopped
  • 1/4 cup seedless cucumber, peeled and finely chopped
  • 1 medium jalapeño chile, stemmed, seeded and finely chopped
  • 1 tablespoon cilantro leaves, finely chopped
  •  
    *Urban Accents’ Mozambique Peri Peri has a base of crushed chile peppers and paprika combined with six herbs and spices plus citrus. You can make a less complex seasoning blend by combining crushed chile flakes and paprika with dried herbs of choice.
     
    Preparation

    1. PREHEAT the grill to med-high heat.

    2. COMBINE the lime juice, zest with Mozambique Peri Peri in a large bowl. Add the pineapple, stir and marinate for 15 minutes.

    3. GRILL the pineapple on all sides to get light grill marks. Remove from the grill, let cool slightly and cut into small chunks.

    4. PURÉE 1 cup of the pineapple chunks in a blender or food processor, along with the pineapple juice and olive oil until smooth. Transfer to a medium bowl, add remaining ingredients and stir to combine. Season with salt and pepper to taste. Refrigerate until ready to serve. While the soup chills…

    5. MAKE the garnish. Combine all ingredients. Refrigerate in an airtight container until ready to serve.

     
      

    Comments

    TIP OF THE DAY: Dinner In A Broth Bowl

    dinner-broth-bowl-duetbrasserie-230

    An elegant broth bowl, with duck breast and
    foie gras. Photo courtesy Duet Brasserie.

     

    Are bowl bowls trending? Last month we wrote about layered salad bowls. Today it’s broth bowls—a dish that dates back to prehistory*, as soon as vessels were made to hold soup.

    Homo sapiens (us modern humans) emerged about 200,000 years ago, and for the majority of our existence, we have had no soup. The earliest humans had nothing to boil liquids in. Boiling was not easy to do until the invention of waterproof containers, probably pouches made of clay or animal skin, about 9,000 years ago. Here’s the history of soup.

    But back to broth bowls: For a hot yet lighter summer dinner, serve your protein and veggies in a bowl of broth (photo at left).

    Inspired by this dish from Duet Brasserie in New York City’s Greenwich Village, we’ve been making our own. It’s easy, and you can get away with more vegetables and less meat, which is both healthier and less expensive.

    Duet’s chef created a gourmet broth bowl: duck consommé, smoked duck breast, duck foie gras, scallions, Chinese broccoli and a hard-boiled quail egg.

     
    Panera Bread has an earthier approach to the concept with soy-miso broth bowls. One version has soba noodles and chicken or edamame, with spinach, napa cabbage, mushrooms, onions, sesame seeds and cilantro. Lentil and quinoa bowls have brown rice and chicken or hard-boiled egg, kale, spinach and tomato sofrito.

    You can do just as well at home with chicken, beef, seafood or vegetable broth.

    While there’s nothing better than homemade broth, we took the quick and easy route and purchased ours from the Pacific Soup Starters line. Our favorite is their Organic Soup Starters Phö, in beef, chicken and vegetarian varieties.

    Food 101 Quickie: Phö, pronounced FUH (like duh but with a drawn-out “uh” and often spelled without the umlaut in the U.S.), is the beloved beef and rice-noodle soup of Vietnam. It may be the world’s greatest broth bowl, worth seeking out at the nearest Vietnamese restaurant. Phö means noodles, and the broth can be made with up to 30 ingredients—beef, cardamom, cinnamon, cloves, fish sauce, ginger, onions and star anise, for starters—exclusive of what you choose to add on top of the broth. Here’s more about phö.
     
    *The writing of language was invented independently in at least two places: Sumer (Mesopotamia) around 3200 BCE and Mesoamerica around 600 BCE. The writing numbers for the purpose of record keeping began long before the writing of language.
     
    WHAT TO PUT IN YOUR BROTH BOWL

    The combination are unlimited! Just a sampling:

  • Asian accents: bean sprouts, water chestnuts, lime (squeezed into the soup after serving)
  • Fresh herbs: basil, cilantro, spearmint
  • Grains: barley, corn, couscous, rice, quinoa, etc.
  • Heat: black pepper, chiles, nuoc mam (sriracha sauce)
  • Noodles: ideally flat rice noodles, but you can use any flat or round pasta
  • Proteins: any—fish/seafood, meat, poultry or tofu, cut or diced into stir fry-size pieces so no cutting in-bowl is needed
  • Vegetables: any! We like to use carrots (cut into flower shapes with a vegetable cutter) mushrooms, onion (green onion, leek, yellow onion), red bell pepper or tomato for color, zucchini
  • Seasonings: chipotle, garlic, salt and pepper
  • Wild card: anything else—you’re the chef!
  •  
    Cook each ingredient as appropriate. Add the hot broth into bowls, then the other ingredients in an artistic arrangement, and top with fresh herbs.

    THE DIFFERENCES BETWEEN BROTH, BONE BROTH, STOCK & MORE

    Aspic. Aspic is jellied broth made from meat or fish stock. It is refrigerated, where it becomes solid, like gelatin; then is cubed and used as a relish for meat, fish or vegetable dishes. Or, it is used as a filler in a molded dish that includes meat, fish or vegetables.

     

    Bone broth. Like stock (see below), bone broth is typically is made with bones and the small amount of meat adhering to them. As with stock, the bones are typically roasted first to improve the flavor of the broth. The key difference is that bone broth is simmered for a much longer time, 24 hours or more. This long cooking time helps to extract the maximum amount of minerals and other nutrients from the bones.

    Bouillon. Bouillon is a clear, thin broth made typically by simmering chicken or beef in water with seasonings (bouillon is the French word for broth). It is stock (see below) that is strained, and then served as a clear soup or used as a base for other dishes and sauces. Bouillon can be made from mixed sources, e.g. chicken and vegetables. It can be enhanced with other flavors—for example, sherry, herbs and spices. The key difference between bouillon and plain broth is that bouillon is always served plain (with an optional garnish), whereas broth can be made more substantive with the addition of a grain (corn, barley, rice) and vegetables.

     

    Panera-Soba-Noodle-Bowl-with-Chicken-230

    Broth bowl of chicken in soy miso broth with ramen and vegetables. Photo courtesy Panera Bread.

     

    Bouillon cube. No serious cook would use a bouillon cube to make bouillon, but it became an important kitchen ingredient for time-strapped home cooks to increase the flavor in dishes. The small, dense cube is dehydrated bouillon or stock with seasonings and a substantial amount of salt. Vegetarian and vegan cubes are also made, and bouillon is also available in granular form. Dehydrated meat stock tablets date back at least to 1735, but bouillon cubes were first commercialized by Maggi in 1908. By 1913, there were at least 10 brands available.

    Broth. Broth is typically made with meat and sometimes a small amount of bones. It is typically simmered for a far shorter period of time than bouillon—45 minutes to 2 hours. The result is very light in flavor and thin in texture, although rich in protein. Plain broth can be thickened with starch or the addition of rice, barley, vegetables or eggs. Examples with eggs include Chinese chicken egg drop soup, Greek avgolemono soup and Italian stracciatella soup. The terms bouillon and broth are often used interchangeably, but as you can see, there are differences.

    Consommé. Consommé is a refined broth, a clear liquid made by clarifying stock for a more elegant presentation. Typically, egg whites are added to the stock. The cloudy particles in the stock attach themselves to the egg whites and rise to the surface, where they are skimmed off. The word consommé means consumed or finished in French, indicating a more finished soup than a stock or a broth. In classic French cuisine, a bowl of consommé was often served at the beginning of a meal.

    Stock. Stock is typically made with bones and can contain a small amount of meat that adheres to the bones. The bones are often roasted before simmering, which improves the flavor. Stock is typically simmered for a longer time than broth, 3 to 4 hours. The result is rich in minerals and gelatin and more flavor than broth, extracted from the longer cooking time.

    Velouté. Velouté is broth thickened with eggs, butter and cream.
     
    DISCOVER MORE TYPES OF SOUP IN OUR SOUP GLOSSARY.

      

    Comments

    FOOD FUN: BLT Gazpacho

    BLT-gazpacho-munchery-230sq

    Bright red tomato gazpacho shows off the BLT topping. Photo courtesy Munchery.com.

     

    Like BLTs? Turn the concept into a soup, as Munchery.com did with this tomato gazpacho.

    There are as many recipes for gazpacho as there are people who make them. Each region of Spain has its own preferred style, dating back hundreds of years. And then, there are modern approaches, from mango gazpacho to gazpacho with beer (the recipe iinks are below).

    Here’s the history of gazpacho.

    The recipe below is a thin tomato purée. No chunky vegetables are used, in order that the BLT topping can stand out.

    But you certainly can place the garnish atop a chunky soup recipe (we have more of those at the bottom of this article).

    You can also use the BLT topping on hot tomato soup.

     
    RECIPE: SMOOTH TOMATO GAZPACHO

    Ingredients

  • 1 slice country-style bread, about 1″ thick, crusts removed
  • 2 small cucumbers, peeled, seeded, and chopped*
  • 2 pounds very ripe tomatoes, seeded and coarsely chopped
  • 1 cup water
  • 1 clove garlic, peeled and chopped
  • 2 tablespoons sherry vinegar
  • 1/2 cup extra-virgin olive oil
  • Salt to taste
  • 1 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
  •  
    For The BLT Garnish

  • Tomato gazpacho or tomato soup.
  • Crisp bacon, crumbled or chopped.
  • Baby arugula, representing the lettuce.
  •  
    If you want a BLTA, add some diced avocado. Munchery also added croutons, pickled onions and cubes of boiled potato.
     
    *If the tomatoes aren’t ripe enough or are too pricy, you can substitute 3 cups of tomato juice.

     

    Preparation

    1. SOAK the bread for a half hour in a small bowl, covered in water. Squeeze out the moisture with your hands.

    2. PURÉE the bread, cucumbers, tomatoes, garlic, vinegar, olive oil, and 1 cup of water in a food processor until very smooth.

    3. USE a coarse sieve to strain, pushing the purée through with the back of a wooden spoon. Season to taste with salt.

    4. CHILL the gazpacho in the refrigerator for at least 2 hours. Adjust the seasoning as needed. Serve in individual bowls or glasses, topped with the BLT garnish.
     
    MORE GAZPACHO RECIPES

  • Avocado Gazpacho, topped with shrimp
  • Gazpacho Verde (green gazpacho)
  • White Gazpacho with cucumber, leeks and sour cream
  • White Gazpacho with almonds, garlic and grapes
  • Mango Gazpacho with crème fraîche sorbet
  • Pineapple Gazpacho with chile heat
  • Yellow Bell Pepper Gazpacho
  • Tomato Gazpacho With Beer
  •  

    arugula-bowl-parkseed-230

    Baby arugula substitutes for the lettuce in this BLT garnish. You can also use it instead of iceberg or romaine lettuce on a BLT sandwich.

     

      

    Comments

    TIP: Use Soup As Sauce

    Want to serve your grilled proteins with some kind of sauce, but don’t have the time or the direction? An honored shortcut is to use a can or carton of soup.

    A packaged soup can quickly be turned into a tasty sauce, and add color and richness to dishes. By mixing the soup concentrate with herbs or spices, you can have your sauce in minutes.

  • Cream soups have long been used by busy housewives: Has anyone not had a sauce made from Campbell’s Cream Of Mushroom Soup? Don’t overlook Cream of Asparagus and Cream of Celery.
  • Non-cream vegetable soups (less fat and calories) are a particular favorite of ours. We often use the Pacific brand, an organic line with nice soup options: Butternut Squash, Cashew Carrot Ginger, Chipotle Sweet Potato, Curried Red Lentil (the soup is actually yellow), French Onion, Poblano Pepper & Corn, Roasted Red Pepper & Tomato, Rosemary Potato and Thai Sweet Potato, for starters.
  •  
    These two categories of soup, undiluted or diluted to the consistency you like, can be quickly heated in the microwave and placed on a plate, with the protein on top.

    You can also use broth—beef, chicken, mushroom, vegetable—but you need to use a bowl instead of a plate.

       

    soup-as-sauce-vitalchoice-230

    Soup topped with a fish fillet and garnished with sliced green onions and lots of fresh herbs. Photo courtesy VitalChoice.com.

     

    pacific-roasted-red-pepper-tomato-230

    Pick up a quality soup to use as your sauce. Photo courtesy Pacific Foods.

     

    But before you open the soup, think of what you have on hand to enhance the flavor and appearance:

  • Balsamic or flavored vinegar
  • Citrus zest
  • Crumbled soft cheese (just a dab)
  • Dots of cream or flavored olive oil (use a squeeze bottle or
    clean medicine dropper)
  • Herbs
  • Seeds or chopped nuts
  • Spices
  • Raw veggies (use a fine dice of anything)
  •  
    Even though you start with packaged soup, you end up putting your own stamp on the sauce.

    And, given the different soups and enhancements you can add to them, you have endless possibilities!

    So the next time you look at plain grilled chicken, fish or tofu, just open the pantry and fridge to see what you can turn into a soup-based sauce.

     

      

    Comments

    RECIPE: Cantaloupe Soup With Prosciutto

    Melon and prosciutto (Parma ham) are a classic Italian first course. Chef Ethan Stowell takes a big step beyond, combining the two ingredients into delicious summer soup.

    It’s a savory rather than a sweet soup; so if you bring home a cantaloupe that’s disappointing in its lack of sweetness, make soup!

    RECIPE: CANTALOUPE SOUP WITH PROSCIUTTO DI PARMA

    Ingredients For 4 Servings

  • 3 tablespoon extra virgin olive oil
  • ½ cup finely diced fennel
  • 1 small yellow onion, small dice
  • 1 large ripe cantaloupe, peeled, seeded, cubed
  • 4 slices prosciutto di Parma, sliced thin
  • Lemon juice, to taste
  • Salt and pepper, to taste
  • Garnish: chopped chives
  •    

    cantaloupe-soup-parmacrown-230

    It may look like butternut squash, but this is soup is made from cantaloupe melon. Photo courtesy ParmaCrown.com.

     

    Preparation

    1. HEAT 1 tablespoon of the oil in a large skillet over medium-low heat. Add the fennel and onion; cook without browning, about 5 to 7 minutes until transparent.

    2. ADD half of the cantaloupe; cook about 5 minutes, stirring frequently, until the cantaloupe is cooked through.

    3. TRANSFER the mixture into a food processor. Add remaining cantaloupe and, with processor running, slowly add the remaining 2 tablespoons olive oil. Process until the mixture is completely smooth, 2 to 3 minutes. Season to taste with lemon juice and salt.

    4. POUR the soup into four shallow soup bowls (yield: 3 cups). Top each with prosciutto, chives and pepper.

    VARIATION: We tried crisping/frizzling the prosciutto in a hot pan. While prosciutto connoisseurs would call this sacrilege, we liked it.

     

    prosciutto-di-parma-grissini-murrays-230

    Have leftover prosciutto? Wrap it around bread sticks as an antipasto or snack with beer, wine and cocktails. Photo courtesy Murray’s Cheese.

     

    PARMA HAM, A.K.A. PROSCIUTTO

    Prosciutto is the Italian word for ham. The term prosciutto is almost always used for a dry-cured ham that is usually sliced thinly and served uncooked; this style is called prosciutto crudo in Italian and is distinguished from cooked ham, prosciutto cotto.

    The word derives from the Latin pro (before) and exsuctus (past participle of exsugere “to suck out”), and refers to the sucking out of the moisture in the ham by the mountain winds, which whipped through the sheds where the hams were hanging. The modern Italian verb prosciugare means “to dry thoroughly.”

    The finest prosciuttos are PDO-protected: Prosciutto di Parma (Parma ham) is made only in the Parma* region of Italy. It is considered a “sweet” ham, cured only with salt but not too salty, and aged for 400 days. Most prosciutto is pressed by a machine to achieve the flat shape.
     
    *Prosciutto San Daniele, which is also PDO-protected, is made in the Friuli Venezia Giulia region of Italy.

     

    Check out the different types of ham.

      

    Comments

    CINCO DE MAYO: Make Menudo, A Hearty Mexican Soup

    menudo-tripe-norecipes-230

    Menudo, a Mexican stew made with tripe
    (chuck roast can be substituted). Photo
    courtesy NoRecipes.com.

     

    Chef Johnny Gnall’s mother grew up in Mexico City. She discovered her talent for cooking at a young age, and amassed recipes from friends and family while still a young girl.

    Her greatest teacher, however, was her nanny, Eulalia, a native Mexican. A tremendous source of knowledge on authentic Mexican cooking, many of Eulalia’s recipes dated back several hundred years. In honor of Cinco de Mayo, Johnny shares this one.

    “Menudo is a traditional Mexican soup made from tripe (cow stomach). It is very hearty and lore suggests it as a hangover cure. Foreign to most Americans, tripe is actually a lot better than it sounds. If cooked right, its flavor and texture become like that of great pot roast.

    “Buttery and velvety on your palate, the meat almost melts in your mouth and gives an unmistakable richness to the whole dish. If you’re still not convinced and the thought of stomach is a bit much (or your butcher doesn’t have any on hand), you can substitute chuck roast for a more American-friendly menudo.

    “Traditionally, you would use a casuela, a large earthenware pot; but any pot will do if you’re short on Mexican earthenware.”

    There is also an unrelated Philippine menudo, a stew made with sliced pork and calf’s liver in tomato sauce.

    RECIPE: MENUDO

    Ingredients

  • 2 pounds chuck roast or tripe
  • 1 large onion, sliced
  • 1 bulb of garlic, cloves peeled
  • 1 tablespoon each: marjoram, oregano and thyme
  • 1 bay leaf
  • A few pinches of salt
  • 4 cups of Peruvian corn (maiz—see note below)
  •  
    For The Chile Sauce

  • 5 fresno chiles
  • 3 cloves of garlic
  • 5 cloves
  • 5 peppercorns
  • 1 teaspoon cumin
  • Salt to taste
  •  
    Garnishes

  • Chili powder
  • Chopped white onion
  • Lime wedges
  • Oregano
  • Salsa(s)
  •  
    Plus

  • Warm tortillas
  •  

    Preparation

    1. PLACE the bay leaf, garlic and onion in a piece of cheesecloth tied with kitchen twine, or other device for easy removal.

    2. DICE the beef into half-inch pieces and place in a large pot. Add the onion, garlic, herbs and salt and fill the pot the remainder of the way with water. Bring to a boil and simmer for about 4 hours, or until the meat is fall-apart tender. Then turn off the heat and remove the bay leaf, garlic and onion.

    3. BOIL the corn in a separate pot until tender, about 20 minutes. Drain.

    4. COOK the corn. Cover to keep warm and set aside.

    5. MAKE the chile sauce. Soak the chiles in hot water for 20 minutes. Then combine them in a blender with the other ingredients plus enough of the beef broth to keep things spinning with ease. Once blended, strain and add to the pot of beef. Simmer for 20 more minutes, then add the corn.

    6. SERVE with the garnishes on the side so people can add what they like. Add some warm tortillas into the mix and you are good to go!

     

    peruvian-corn-choclo-peruviandelights-230r

    This is maiz, also called choclo in Peru and Peruvian corn in the U.S. Photo courtesy PeruvianDelights.com.

     
    MORE ABOUT MENUDO

    In Mexico, there are regional variations, which have been brought to Mexican-American communities in the U.S.

    There’s annual Menudo Festival in Santa Maria, California, where you can feast on the different varieties. Here’s more about menudo.
     
    WHAT IS PERUVIAN CORN

    Most historians believe that maize was domesticated in the Tehuacan Valley of Mexico. Numerous varieties were cultivated by the Olmecs and Mayas. Corn had spread throughout Mesoamerica by 2500 B.C.E.

    In a region with so many varieties of corn, names evolved. The type of corn grown in the U.S. is called elote (ee-LO-tay). Peruvian-style corn, with giant white kernels, is called maiz (ma-EES).

    It is also called choclo in Peru (more than 30 varieties of corn are grown in every color and size imaginable). These jumbo kernels have a different texture than American corn varieties and are less sweet. They were first cultivated in Cusco, the city high in the Andes that was once the capital of the Inca empire.

    Choclo has been a staple of the Peruvian diet for thousands of years. It is used to make everything from tamales to soups and pastries.

    It can typically be found frozen or dried at Latin markets and online.

      

    Comments

    TIP OF THE DAY: Leftover Grains As A Soup Garnish

    When we have leftover cooked grains—barley, bulgur, kasha, quinoa, rice, etc.—we start using them the next morning in breakfast omelets. By the time lunch comes, we’re ready to make grain salad.

    If we don’t have enough for a salad, we add the grains to soup. They can make quite a handsome garnish, and most grains go with any type of soup.

    In the photo, Brazilian steakhouse chain Texas de Brazil topped a mound of rice with a shrimp garnish.

    But you can use the grain plain, with a simple sprinkling of green herbs or something equally colorful (halved cherry tomato, sliced jalapeño or bell pepper).

    Or, take the occasion to use up leftover proteins to top the grain: bacon, fish, seafood, poultry, steak. It’s a great way to repurpose small bits of leftovers you can’t do much else with.

    Vegetarians can substitute a cube of grilled tofu, a cherry tomato, olive or leftover steamed vegetables.

    And, you can use leftover beans and pulses (chickpeas, lentils, peas) instead of the grains.

    Whatever you choose, a sprig of green—shredded basil (called chiffonade) or a small basil leaf, rosemary or parsley sprig, cilantro, chives, chopped green onions (scallions) or microgreens–is the final crown on what started out as a conventional bowl of soup.

     

    lobster-bisque-rice-garnish-texasdebrazil-230

    Turn rice into a base for even more garnishes. First mound the grain in the center of the bowl, then carefully pour the soup around it. Photo courtesy Texas de Brazil.

     
    It’s a nice change from croutons.

    Here are 20+ more ways to garnish soup.

      

    Comments

    TIP OF THE DAY: Homemade Pork Ramen Soup

    ramen-soup-ws-230

    Get out your slow cooker and create this
    delicious Japanese comfort food. Photo
    courtesy Williams-Sonoma.

     

    While many Americans think of ramen soup as one of the cheapest ways to feed oneself comfort food, in Japan the finest Japanese ramen soups take considerable culinary skill and many hours to create. Ramen is hearty enough to be a proper main course with some vegetable sides; but you can also use it as a soup course.

    The Williams Sonoma cookbook, “Quick Slow Cooking,” offers a simplified, yet still delicious, version that uses plenty of succulent braised pork. Another key to a glorious dish is high-quality, fresh ramen noodles, available at Asian markets. If you can’t find them, use fresh thin Chinese egg noodles or fresh linguine. If you can’t get any fresh pasta, you can default to packaged ramen noodles.

    Another point of differentiation from packaged ramen soups: yummy toppings. These can include baby corn, baby spinach, bean sprouts, boiled egg, kamaboko*, kimchi, nori (the dried seaweed used to make sushi rolls), sliced braised pork, sliced green onions or deep-fried green onions, soft-boiled eggs, toasted sesame seeds and wakame seaweed.

    When you make your own soup, you can customize the toppings as you wish, and offer other diners the option to customize their own bowls of soup. This recipe specifies green onions and soft boiled eggs, but you can switch them out or add other toppings.

     
    This recipe uses a slow cooker. For more inspiring slow cooker recipes, check out Quick Slow Cooking by Kim Laidlaw.

    RECIPE: HOMEMADE PORK RAMEN SOUP

    Ingredients For 8 Servings

  • 3 pounds (1.5 kg) boneless pork shoulder, cut into 3 equal pieces
  • Kosher salt, to taste
  • 2 tablespoons canola oil
  • 1 yellow onion, coarsely chopped
  • 6 garlic cloves, chopped
  • 2-inch (5-cm) piece fresh ginger, peeled and chopped
  • 8 cups/64 ounces (2 l) low-sodium chicken broth
  • 1 leek, white and green parts, halved lengthwise and coarsely chopped
  • 4 ounces (125 g) cremini or button mushrooms, brushed clean and coarsely chopped
  • Low-sodium soy sauce for seasoning
  • Sesame or chile oil for seasoning
  • 1-1/2 pounds (750 g) fresh ramen noodles
  • Topping: 8 soft-boiled eggs
  • Topping: 4 green onions, white and pale green parts, finely chopped
  •  
    *Kamaboko is a type of surimi, a Japanese processed seafood product of which crab stick is another variety. To make surimi, white fish are pureed and mixed with flavor and color. Kamaboko is formed into a half moon-shaped loaf and the outside is colored pink over a white center.

     

    Preparation

    1. SEASON the pork with salt. Place a large sauté pan or the stove top–safe insert of a slow cooker on the stove top over medium-high heat. Add the oil and warm until hot. Working in batches if necessary to avoid crowding, add the pork pieces and sear them on the first side without moving them until well browned, 3 to 4 minutes. Turn the pieces and sear on the second side until well browned, 3 to 4 minutes longer. Transfer to a plate and set aside.

    2. POUR off all but 2 tablespoons of the fat from the insert or sauté pan and return the insert to medium-high heat. Add the yellow onion and sear, without stirring, until browned, about 5 minutes. Stir in the garlic, ginger, and 1 cup (250 ml) of the broth. Deglaze the sauté pan or insert, stirring and scraping up any browned bits from the insert bottom; then let simmer for 1 minute. If using a sauté pan…

    3. TRANSFER the contents of the pan to the insert of a slow cooker. Add the leek, mushrooms and the remaining 7 cups (1.75 l) of broth; stir to combine. Cover and cook on the low setting for 8 hours. The pork should be very tender and the broth should be fragrant.

     

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    Make complex-flavored dishes in your slow cooker. Photo courtesy Williams-Sonoma.

     

    4. TRANSFER the pork to a cutting board. Using 2 forks, break the pork into bite-size chunks, removing and discarding any large pieces of fat. Strain the broth through a fine-mesh sieve into a bowl and discard the solids. Using a large spoon, skim off and discard any fat from the surface of the broth. Return the pork and broth to the slow cooker and season to taste with soy sauce and sesame or chile oil. Cover and cook on the low heat setting for about 30 minutes to warm through.

    5. COOK the ramen noodles according to the package directions. Put the eggs into boiling water and simmer for 5 to 6 minutes. Remove the eggs from the water, let cool until they can be handled and peel them. Cut each in half lengthwise.

    6. TO SERVE: Divide the noodles evenly among individual bowls. Ladle the broth and pork over the noodles, dividing them evenly, then sprinkle with the green onions. Top each bowl with two soft-boiled egg halves and serve immediately.
     
    THE HISTORY OF RAMEN

    Ramen is a dish of noodles in meat broth—chicken or pork—that originated in China. It differs from native Japanese noodle soup dishes, in that until ramen appeared, Japanese broth was based on either vegetables or seafood.

    The type of noodles and toppings used in ramen also came from China. It is believed that “ramen” is the Japanese pronunciation of the Chinese word “lamian,” meaning “hand-pulled noodles” (as opposed to noodles that are sliced with a knife).

    While some ramen dishes began to appear in Japan in the late 1600s, they didn’t become widespread until the Meiji Era (1868 through 1912), when Japan moved from being an isolated feudal society to a modern nation. Foreign relations and the introduction of meat-based American and European cuisines led to increased production of meat, and played a large role in the growing popularity of ramen. Almost every locality or prefecture in Japan created its own variation of the dish, served at restaurants.

    The growth of ramen dishes continued after World War II, but was still a special occasion that required going out.

    In 1958, instant noodles were invented by Momofuku Ando, founder and chairman of Nissin Foods. Named the greatest Japanese invention of the 20th century in a Japanese poll, instant ramen allowed anyone to make this dish simply by adding boiling water. Exported, these ramen soup packages soon became a pop culture sensation across the globe.

    Soup recipes and methods of preparation are closely-guarded secrets in many restaurants. Beyond regional variations, innovative Japanese chefs continue to push the boundaries of ramen cuisine. Curry ramen, invented in the Hokkaido region, became a national favorite, as has ramen based on the Chinese dish of shrimp in chili sauce. Non-Japanese ingredients such as black pepper and butter have found their way into recipes.

    Check out this article, which details the different type of ramen by region.

      

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    TIP OF THE DAY: Bone Broth

    Suddenly, everyone is talking about bone broth. Rich in nutrition, nourishing for body and soul, bone broth has long been used by cultures throughout the world for millennia, to sip straight or as cooking stock.

    Yes, bone broth is an alternative to stock, a flavorful liquid made by slowly simmering chicken or turkey bones, cartilage and tendons (with some bits of meat). The difference is that while stock can be made in three or four hours, bone broth is simmered for 24 hours or more, extracting the maximum amount of nutrition from the bones.

    Bone broth can be made from any type of animal bones, including fish. But Pacific Foods uses only the bones from organically raised, pastured or grass-fed animals. It is seasoned with onions, rosemary and apple cider vinegar.

    The Bone Broth is available in six delicious flavors:

  • Organic Bone Broth Chicken
  • Organic Bone Broth Chicken with Ginger
  • Organic Bone Broth Chicken with Lemongrass
  • Organic Bone Broth Chicken Original
  • Organic Bone Broth Turkey
  • Organic Bone Broth Turkey with Rosemary, Sage & Thyme
  •    

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    A quick hot drink as well as a cooking ingredient, Pacific’s Bone Broth comes in six varieties. Photo courtesy Pacific Foods.

     
    On a cold winter day like today, it more than hits the spot. And it’s a great base for leftovers: We variously added leftover barley, chicken, pasta, rice, shrimp and veggies to turn a cup of bone broth into a light meal.
     
    Sold in eight-ounce cartons, it is a hearty drink to sip it by the cup. Pour from the carton and enjoy instead of coffee or tea.

    Want to cook with it? It’s also sold in 32-ounce cartons. You can cook beans and legumes, pasta, rice and other grains in it for added protein and flavor, or use it as a base for soup. You can garnish plane bone broth with a splash of basil oil or chili oil.
     
    Why bone broth? Why now?

    According to a 2014 study by NDP Group, more than seven out of 10 consumers are looking to add more protein to their diets. With high protein, low calories and a myriad of reported wellness benefits, it’s in demand by health enthusiasts, Paleo diet practitioners and CrossFit-ers, many of whom have taken up the practice of making bone broth from scratch. (Want to make your own? Here’s a recipe. Note that we have seen comments that cage-raised chickens tend to produce stock that doesn’t gel as well. So try to find bones from organic or free-range poultry.)

     

    bone_broth-chicken-veg-wholesomeness.com.au-230

    Turn bone broth into a meal by adding proteins and vegetables. Photo courtesy Wholesomeness.com.au. Here’s their recipe for beef bone broth.

     

    THE HEALTH BENEFITS OF BONE BROTH

    Rich in amino acids and minerals and fat-free, the broth delivers 9 grams of protein per cup for only 355-40 calories. While the actual recipe simmers for days, you can enjoy this snack or first course in little more than 30 seconds.

    nourishing for both your body and your soul. If you’re fighting off a cold or the flu, homemade bone broth is excellent for speeding healing and recuperation from illness.

  • Digestion. The gelatin in bone broth is a hydrophilic colloid that attracts and holds liquids, including digestive juices, thus supporting proper digestion
  • Pain. Bone broth contains chondroitin sulfates and glucosamine—the components of joint pain pills—plus other compounds from the boiled down cartilage. They reduce joint pain and inflammation. The amino acids in bone broth—arginine, glycine and proline—also have anti-inflammatory effects
  • Bone Health. Bone broth contains high amounts of calcium, magnesium and other nutrients that help with healthy bone formation.
  •  

    THE DIFFERENCES BETWEEN BROTH, BONE BROTH, STOCK & MORE

    If you’re wondering how bone broth fits into the broth pantheon that includes aspic, bouillon, consomme and stock, here’s the scoop:

    Broth. Broth is typically made with meat and can contain a small amount of bones. It is typically simmered for a far shorter period of time—45 minutes to 2 hours. The result is very light in flavor and thin in texture, although rich in protein.

    Aspic. Aspic is jellied broth made from meat or fish stock. It is refrigerated, where it becomes solid, like gelatin; then is cubed and used as a relish for meat, fish or vegetable dishes. Or, it is used as a filler mold that holds meat, fish or vegetables.

    Bouillon. Bouillon is a clear, thin broth made typically by simmering chicken or beef in water with seasonings. It can be consumed in this state, or used as a base for other dishes, sauces, etc. Bouillon can be made from mixed sources, e.g. chicken and vegetables. Bouillon (not to be confused with bouillon cubes) is a stock that is strained, and then served as a clear soup. It can be enhanced with other flavors—for example, sherry, herbs and spices—and this is the key difference between bouillon and plain broth.

    Stock. Stock is typically made with bones and can contain a small amount of meat that adheres to the bones. The bones are often roasted before simmering, which improves the flavor. Stock is typically simmered for a longer time than broth, 3 to 4 hours. The result is rich in minerals and gelatin and more flavor than broth, extracted from the longer cooking time.

    Consommé. Consommé is a clear liquid made by clarifying stock for a more elegant presentation. Typically, egg whites are added to the stock; the cloudy particles in the stock attach themselves to the egg whites and rise to the surface, where they are skimmed off. The word means “consumed” or “finished” in French, indicating a more finished soup than a stock or a broth. In classic French cuisine, a bowl of consommé was often served at the beginning of a meal.

    Bone broth. Like stock, bone broth is typically is made with bones and the small amount of meat adhering to them. As with stock, bones are typically roasted first to improve the flavor of the broth. The key difference is that bone broth is simmered for a much longer time, 24 hours or more. This long cooking time helps to extract the maximum amount of minerals and other nutrients from the bones.

      

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    RECIPE: Tunisian Chickpea Soup (Leblebi)

    This recipe came to us from our friends at Rancho Gordo, a great purveyor of heirloom beans.

    In Tunisia, chickpea soup is a street food, served as a hearty breakfast to men on their way to work. But you can garnish it and serve it at any meal.

    Middle Eastern cookbook author Aglaia Kremezi’s advises:

    “Leblebi is yet another ingenious combination of legumes and all kinds of readily available vegetables, herbs, and spices that create an irresistibly satisfying dish. Slowly cooking the chickpeas in the oven, inside a clay pot, as Paula Wolfert suggests, makes a wonderfully flavored, silky base. But precooked frozen chickpeas, simmered briefly with garlic in their broth, will make excellent leblebi, flavored with homemade h’rous and sprinkled with Aegean herb and hot pepper mix.”

    Take a look at Aglaia Kremezi’s Mediterranean Vegetarian Feasts.

    RECIPE: TUNISIAN CHICKPEA SOUP (LEBLEBI)

    A note about the chickpeas: Don’t use them from a can, as easy as it is. Cooking them from scratch makes a huge difference. You can make them ahead of time, refrigerate, and reheat them when you want to serve your soup.

    Ingredients For 6-8 Servings

       

    tunisian-chickpea-soup-leblebi-MediterraneanVegetarianFeasts-abrams-230r-r

    Eat more beans and legumes for the new year. They’re high quality, inexpensive protein. Photo courtesy Stewart, Tabori and Chang.

  • ½ pound (225 g) chickpeas (garbanzo beans), soaked overnight in water to cover with a pinch of baking soda added
  • 2 cups (480 ml) vegetable broth or water, plus more as needed
  • 4 cloves garlic
  • 3 tablespoons olive oil
  • Salt
  • Freshly ground black pepper
  •  
    Toppings Per Person

  • 1 poached egg*
  • ½ cup (about 50 g) cubed day-old, whole-wheat bread
  • 1 tablespoon harissa, thinned with some water
  • 1 sun-dried tomato, soaked in warm water for 30 minutes and drained
  • Diced roasted red or green bell peppers (optional)
  • 1 pinch of ground cumin
  • Freshly ground black pepper
  • 4 to 5 black olives, preferably Kalamata
  • 1 tablespoon capers, rinsed
  • Good, fruity olive oil
  • 1 lemon wedge
  •  
    *If you don’t like runny poached eggs, substitute chopped or sliced hard-boiled eggs.

     

    Mediterranean-Vegetarian-Feasts-230

    More ways to eat the better-for-you Mediterranean diet. Photo courtesy Stewart, Tabori and Chang.

     

    GARNISHES

    Let people customize their soup garnishes. Select a variety from the following, and place them in ramekins or small bowls:

  • Canned tuna fish, flaked
  • Coarse sea salt or flaked salt
  • Croutons/crostini
  • Fresh cilantro, chopped
  • Fresh parsley, chopped
  • Fresh tomatoes, chopped
  • Green and red bell peppers, chopped
  • Lemon wedges
  • Pickled turnips
  • Preserved lemons, sliced
  • Scallions, thinly sliced
  •  

    Preparation

    1. PREHEAT the oven to 225°F (110°C). Drain the soaked chickpeas and place them in a clay casserole with a lid (a Dutch oven will work, too). Add the broth, garlic, olive oil, and salt and pepper to taste, and extra broth as needed to cover the chickpeas by 1 inch (2.5 cm). Bring to a boil over medium heat, cover, and place in the oven for at least 3 hours, until the chickpeas are soft and silky. (Note from Rancho Gordo: “Our chickpeas are so fresh, it may not take anywhere near this long to cook. Check frequently after about an hour.”)

    You can make the soup up to this point and store it in the refrigerator for up to 3 days. When you are ready to serve…

    2. REHEAT the chickpeas in their liquid while you poach the eggs. You should have one egg for each bowl of soup.

    3. POACH the eggs with this method from Paula Wolfert: Fill a bowl with ice water. In a pan of boiling water, add the eggs, still in their shells. Cover with the lid and turn off the heat. After 6 minutes, slip the eggs into the ice water to cool. Once they are cool, peel them carefully.

    4. PLACE a few cubes of bread in the bottom of a bowl and cover with some of the chickpeas and their cooking liquid. Set an egg on top and cut it so that the yolk runs. Drizzle some harissa over the top, add sun-dried tomato and roasted pepper (if using), and sprinkle with the cumin and black pepper. Top with olives and capers. Drizzle good, fruity olive oil on top and squeeze the lemon wedge over the soup. Repeat for each serving.

      

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