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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 Spreads & Dips

TIP OF THE DAY: Make Chimichurri Sauce

Each country in Latin America has a national salsa, or sauce. In Argentina, it’s chimichurri.

Chimichurri sauce is made of finely chopped parsley, minced garlic, olive oil, white or red vinegar and red pepper flakes. Oregano can be added. Cilantro can replace parsley in some regions; vegetable oil can replace the olive oil.

The original sauce is green from the parsley; later red versions add tomatoes, red bell peppers and/or hot chiles.

In beef-endowed Argentina chimichurri is the steak sauce of choice, also used with other beef-based dishes and any grilled meats.

As one story goes, the name name evolved from “Jimmy McCurry,” an Irishman who developed the recipe in Argentina. However, there is no written documentation of this.

Purportedly, McCurry was sympathetic to the cause of Argentine independence in the 19th century, and served in a troop under the command of General Jasson Ospina. The sauce was popular but “Jimmy McCurry” was difficult for Argentineans to say, so it became “chimichurri” sauce (pronounced chimmy CHOO-ree).

   

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Classic: grilled beef with chimichurri sauce. Photo courtesy D’Artagnan.

 
Another theory is that the name comes from the Basque settlers who arrived in Argentina in the 19th century. According to grilling expert Steve Raichlen, the name of the sauce comes from the Basque term tximitxurri, loosely translated as “a mixture of several things in no particular order.” [Source: Raichlen, Steven, “Planet Barbecue!,” Workman Publishing Company. p. 159. ]

It’s easy to make chimichurri in a blender or food processor; but purists may want to make it the original way, with a mortar and pestle. We find that pesto made this way tastes better than food processor pesto, even when the exact same ingredients are used.
 
RECIPE: BASIC CHIMICHURRI SAUCE

Ideally, make the chimichurri sauce a day in advance to allow the flavors to meld. The sauce will keep in the refrigerator for up to 1 week.

Ingredients For 1-1/2 Cups

  • 2 cups fresh Italian parsley leaves, tightly packed
  • 4 medium garlic cloves, peeled and smashed
  • 1/4 cup packed fresh oregano leaves or 4 teaspoons dried oregano
  • 1/4 cup red wine vinegar
  • 1/2 teaspoon red pepper flakes
  • 1/2 teaspoon kosher salt
  • Freshly ground black pepper to taste
  • 1 cup extra-virgin olive oil
  •  
    Preparation

    1. PLACE the parsley, garlic, oregano, vinegar, red pepper flakes, salt and pepper in the bowl of a food processor, fitted with a blade attachment. Process until finely chopped, stopping and scraping down the sides of the bowl with a rubber spatula as needed, about 1 minute total.

    2. ADD the oil in a steady stream, with the motor running. Scrape down the sides of the bowl and pulse a few times to combine.

    3. TRANSFER the sauce to an airtight container and refrigerate at least 2 hours or up to 1 day, allowing the flavors to meld. Stir, taste and adjust seasonings before serving.

     

    Grilled Halloumi With Chimichurri Sauce

    This chimichurri sauce has been made elegant by pureeing. It’s served with a vegetarian dish, Grilled Halloumi And trumpet Mushrooms. Photo courtesy Gardenia Restaurant | NYC.

     

    CREATE YOUR SIGNATURE CHIMICHURRI SAUCE

    You can adding or substitute other ingredients to create a signature chimichurri:

  • Substitute lemon or lime juice for the vinegar.
  • Use fresh or roasted chiles instead of the red pepper flakes.
  • Add minced onion.
  • Try balsamic or flavored vinegar instead of wine vinegar
  • Give it an Asian spin with fresh ginger and mint, or an Indian influence of green curry and cilantro.
  • Turn it into mint sauce by substituting mint for the parsley; or make a parsley-mint blend.
  • Substitute basil for “Caprese sauce.”
  • Add a spoonful of Dijon mustard.
  • Make red chimichurri sauce by adding red bell peppers and/or raw or roasted tomatos (Red Chimichurri Rcipe).
  • For elegance, purée the naturally textured sauce into a smooth one (see photo at left).
  •  
    21+ WAYS TO USE CHIMICHURRI SAUCE

    Like Italy’s pesto, chimichurri is a bright green, herb-based, versatile sauce that you can use with:

  • Beans and legumes
  • Burgers
  • Caprese salad dressing
  • Crostini (serve the toasts with grilled meats)
  • Eggs, any style
  • Egg salad, chicken salad, potato salad, tuna salad, etc.
  • Fries and onion rings
  • Grilled fish or seafood (recipe: Mango Grilled Shrimp With Chimichurri Grilled Mango-Citrus Chimichurri Shrimp)
  • Grilled halloumi or other grilling cheese (see photo above)
  • Grilled or roasted beef, chicken, lamb, pork
  • Hot dogs, brats and other sausages
  • Marinades (add more oil, vinegar, citrus juice or and/or water to thin out)
  • Mashed potatoes
  • Pasta (toss pasta lightly with EVOO before adding the chimichurri)
  • Rice and other cooked grains
  • Soup and stew garnish
  • Tacos
  • Tofu
  • Sandwich spread (mix with mayo or mustard)
  • Vegetarian dishes, including veggie wraps
  • Vinaigrette
  • Yogurt sauce (blend into plain Greek yogurt)
  •  
    Other ideas? Post them here.
     
    SEE THE DIFFERENT TYPES OF SALSA IN OUR SALSA GLOSSARY.

      

    Comments

    RECIPE: Blueberry Pineapple Salsa

    blueberry-pineapple-salsa-blueberrycouncil-230

    A salsa with something special: blueberries! Photo courtesy BlueberryCouncil.org.

     

    July is National Blueberry Month, and the price of the little blue nuggets should be at its lowest. In fact, experts recommend that blueberry lovers with lots of freezer space buy and freeze them to enjoy in winter. (Freezing tip: First freeze the berries in one layer in baking pan or rimmed cookie sheet so they don’t stick together; then store in freezer bags.)

    But our focus today is on summer and fruit salsa, with this recipe from the Blueberry Council. Use it with tortilla chips or to top grilled fish or chicken. We also like it as a topping for lemon sorbet (without the red onion)!

    RECIPE: BLUEBERRY PINEAPPLE SALSA

    Ingredients

  • 2 cups fresh blueberries
  • 1 cup finely diced fresh pineapple
  • 1 jalapeño, seeds and membrane removed, minced
  • 2 to 3 tablespoons lime juice, divided
  • 1/2 teaspoon lime zest
  • 3 tablespoons chopped cilantro
  • 1/4 cup diced red onion
  • Salt to taste
  • Preparation

    1. COMBINE the blueberries, pineapple, jalapeño, 2 tablespoons of lime juice, lime zest, cilantro and red onion. Season with salt, taste and add more lime juice as needed.

    2. SERVE with tortilla chips or as an accompaniment to fish or chicken.

    Find more delicious recipes at BlueberryCouncil.org. Check out the savory blueberry pizza!
     
    BLUEBERRY BUYING TIPS

    When you buy fresh blueberries, look for berries that are firm, dry, plump and smooth-skinned, with a silvery white surface bloom. If the bloom is gone, the berries are old.

    If you see juice stains on the bottom of the container of blueberries, the fruit can be bruised. Pick another carton.

    Berry size isn’t an indicator of maturity, but color is: The berries should be deep purple-blue to blue-black. Reddish blueberries aren’t ripe, and won’t ripen after they are picked (but you can use them in cooking).

    Refrigerate fresh blueberries when you get them home, either in their original plastic pack or in a covered bowl or container. Wash the blueberries just before using.

    Don’t buy more than you’ll use, and and eat them within 10 days of purchase (the sooner, the better).

     
      

    Comments

    TIP OF THE DAY: Homemade Salsa For National Salsa Month

    Five_Pepper_Salsa-melissas-230

    Salsa fresca, made with raw ingredients. Other salsas are cooked. Photo courtesy Melissa’s.

     

    Salsa, which has been America’s favorite condiment since 2000 (when it supplanted ketchup),actually has been a favorite condiment for thousands of years.

    The chile was domesticated around 5200 B.C.E., and tomatoes by 3000 B.C.E. both in Central America. The Aztecs combined the two, often along with other ingredients like beans and squash seeds, into a condiment, which the Conquistadors named “salsa,” or sauce. Here’s the history of salsa.

    May is National Salsa Month. If you’ve never made salsa at home, now’s the time.

    Basic salsa couldn’t be easier: salsa fresca, “fresh salsa” made with raw ingredients, is a combination of chopped tomatoes, onions, chiles and lime juice.

  • You can customize your salsa with beans, bell peppers, cilantro, corn kernels, and fresh herbs.
  • You can vary the texture: uncooked salsas can be puréed until smooth, chopped finely like pico de gallo or be served semi-chunky, in which case it is called a salsa cruda.
  •  

  • You can include Old World ingredients like garlic and olives.
  • You can add fruit—mango, nectarine, peach and pineapple are the most popular—for sweet heat.
  • You can make salsa verde, green salsa, by substituting tomatillos or avocado for tomatoes (guacamole is avocado salsa; the tomatillo is not a small green tomato but a relative of the gooseberry).
  • You can vary the chile flavor and strength, from mild to hot, from green and vegetal to smoky chipotle.
  •  
    If you want to make a cooked salsa, another world of ingredients opens, including roasted vegetables and sweet potatoes to.
     
    USING MORE THAN ONE CHILE

    There are many easy recipes for salsa fresca; most use jalapeño chiles. But you can layor the chile flavors by adding other varieties.

    We adapted this recipe from one for Five Chile Salsa from Melissas.com. It adds an Anaheim chile to the jalapeño.

    The Anaheim chile was developed around 1900 in Anaheim, California from New Mexican pasilla chiles. (See the different types of chiles.)

    The Anaheim is not a hot chile. It has a modest heat level, as low as 1,000 Scoville Heat Units (SHU). Jalapeños are about 10,000 SHU, while habaneros are 100,000 SHU or more.

    Bell peppers are also chiles (all chiles come from the genus Capsicum), but they have no heat. Chiles, new world fruits, were mis-named “peppers” by Columbus’s sailors, who compared their heat to black pepper (no relation).

    While much of the world continues to use the misnomer “pepper,” we use it only for bell peppers, calling all other varieties by their proper name, chile.

     

    RECIPE: THREE CHILE SALSA

    Ingredients

  • 3 roma* (plum) tomatoes
  • 1 yellow bell pepper
  • 1 orange bell pepper
  • 1 jalapeño
  • 1 Anaheim chile
  • 1/4 cup cilantro leaves
  • 1/4 cup red onion
  • Juice of one lime or lemon
  • Salt and pepper to taste
  •  
    Preparation

    1. SEED and dice the tomatoes and peppers, chop the cilantro and red onion.

    2. MIX the tomatoes and peppers in a bowl with the cilantro and red onion.

     

    salsa-baked-potato-TexaSweet-230

    Top a baked potato with salsa, with or without sour cream (or plain Greek yogurt). Photo courtesy TexaSweet.

     
    3. JUICE the lime or lemon over the other chopped ingredients, and season with salt and pepper.

    4. MIX the ingredients until well combined, serve with tortilla chips, or as a garnish.

     
    *Named after the city of Rome, Roma tomatoes are also known as Italian tomatoes or Italian plum tomatoes.
     
    WAYS TO ENJOY SALSA

    Breakfast

  • On eggs as a garnish
  • Mixed into frittatas and omelets
  •  
    Lunch

  • As a sandwich condiment—especially with grilled cheese or roasted veggies
  • Mixed into chicken, egg, macaroni, potato or tuna salad
  • With fries, instead of ketchup
  • With anything Tex-Mex
  •  
    Dinner

  • As a sauce for seafood cocktail (add some horseradish!)
  • Atop a baked potato, or mixed into mashed potatoes
  • Made into compound butter and served as a pat atop grilled meats
  • Mixed with cooked rice or other grains
  • With mac and cheese
  •  
    Snacks

  • Mixed into deviled eggs
  • Mixed into a dip with mayonnaise, sour cream or plain yogurt
  • On nachos
  • With chips
  • With crudités
  •  
    What’s your favorite use? Let us know!

      

    Comments

    RECIPE: Lobster Guacamole

    In the chips? Add lobster to your guacamole!

    This recipe is adapted from one sent to us by Dos Caminos restaurant in New York City.

    RECIPE: LOBSTER GUACAMOLE

    Ingredients For 4 Servings

  • 2 tablespoons finely chopped cilantro leaves
  • 2 teaspoons finely chopped white onion
  • 2 teaspoons minced jalapeño or serrano chilies (seeds and membranes removed for less heat)
  • ½ teaspoon kosher salt or coarse sea salt
  • 2 large ripe avocados, peeled and seeded
  • 1 small plum tomato, cored, seeded and finely chopped
  • 2 teaspoons freshly squeezed lime juice
  • 1 pound whole lobster or 4 ounces lobster meat, steamed, cleaned and rough chopped
  • Tortilla chips
  •    

    lobster-guacamole-temazcalcantinaboston-230

    Fancy schmancy: lobster guacamole. Photo courtesy Temazcal Cantina | Boston.

     

    Garnishes

  • Optional garnish #1: Japanese pickled ginger (a.k.a. gari or shoga—here’s a recipe to make your own)
  • Optional garnish #2: Diced tomatoes, extra lobster meat
  •  

    mango-lime-bowl-cabochips-230

    Tortilla chips taste so much better when warmed in the oven before serving. Photo courtesy Cabo Chips.

     

    Preparation

    1. MASH 1 tablespoon of cilantro, 1 teaspoon onion, 1 teaspoon minced chile and the salt together in a medium size bowl, using the back of a spoon to mash against the bottom of the bowl.

    2. ADD the chopped lobster to the bowl. Add the avocados and gently mash them with a fork until chunky-smooth.

    3. FOLD in the remaining cilantro, onion and chile. Stir in the tomatoes and lime juice; taste to adjust the seasonings.

    4. GARNISH with the pickled ginger or extra cilantro. Serve with warm corn tortilla chips.
     
    TO WARM TORTILLA CHIPS

    1. PREHEAT the oven to 350°F. Line a baking sheet or pan with parchment paper (optional, for easier clean-up).

    2. ADD the tortilla in a single even layer. Heat for 4 to 5 minutes or until the chips are warm.

     

      

    Comments

    APRIL FOOL’S DAY: Faux Cookie Dough Dip

    This is not a cookie dough dip, ready to be devoured.

    It has the texture of homemade cookie dough, and it does have chocolate chips. But it’s actually a better-for-you chickpea dip in disguise.

    April Fool!

    Thanks to our friends at Parents.com, who sent the recipe our way. Whip it up and see how many people you can fool.

    RECIPE: FAUX COOKIE DOUGH DIP

    Ingredients

  • 1-1/2 cups chickpeas (canned or cooked from scratch)
  • 6 tablespoons brown sugar
  • 1/4 cup peanut butter (look for a natural, unsweetened variety)
  • 3 tablespoons oats
  • 1 tablespoon milk
  • 2 teaspoons vanilla
  • 1/8 teaspoon salt
  • 1/8 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1/3 cup chocolate chips
  • For dipping: apple slices
  •  

    bean-dip-like-cookie-dough-MarkMantegna-FamilyFun-230

    Not chocolate chip cookie dough! Photo courtesy Parents.com.

     

    Preparation

    1. BLEND in a food processor the chickpeas, brown sugar, peanut butter, oats, milk, vanilla, salt and baking soda.

    2. FOLD in the chocolate chips. Serve with apple slices or other fresh fruit. And don’t tell anyone until they’re finished eating. Then you can say: April Fool: It was bean dip!

    The recipe, developed by Katie Higgins of ChocoalteCoveredKatie.com was originally published in the April 2014 issue of FamilyFun.

    Here’s last year’s trompe-l’oeil April Fool recipe, “Grilled Cheese Sandwich & Tomato Soup.”
     
    APRIL FOOL’S DAY HISTORY

    The origin of April Fools’ Day, sometimes called All Fools’ Day, is obscure. The most accepted explanation traces it to 16th century France.

    Until 1564, the Julian calendar, which observed the beginning of the New Year in April, was in use. According to The Oxford Companion to the Year, King Charles IX then declared that France would begin using the Gregorian calendar, which shifted New Year’s Day to January first.

    Some people continued to use the Julian Calendar, and were mocked as fools. They were invited to bogus parties, sent on a fool’s errand (looking for things that don’t exist) and other pranks.

    The French call April first Poisson d’Avril, or April Fish. French children sometimes tape a picture of a fish on the back of their schoolmates, crying “Poisson d’Avril” when the prank is discovered.

    What a fish has to do with April Fool’s Day is not clear. But in the name of a kinder, gentler world, we propose eliminating this holiday. (Source: Wikipedia)
      

    Comments

    ST. PATRICK’S DAY: Guacamole Recipe

    What’s Irish about guacamole, the quintessential Mesoamerican sauce, we wondered as we saw the headline in the email for St. Patrick’s Day Guacamole, sent to us by the California Avocado Commission.

    The answer: the integration of Irish ingredients—bacon, carrots, Cheddar, onion, parsley—into conventional guacamole. The idea was developed by Sabrina Modelle of TheTomatoTart.com.

    Alas, conventional Irish crackers (cream crackers, digestive biscuits, oat cakes) don’t go well with guacamole. Instead, default to tortilla chips.

    Food Should Taste Good makes Guacamole Tortilla Chips that have a slight green tinge, but we’re going with their Yellow Corn Dipping Chips.

    And some Irish beer.

    Prep time is 20 minutes. For a beautiful presentation, set aside a small portion of the Step 2 ingredients to use as garnish.
     
    RECIPE: ST. PATRICK’S DAY GUACAMOLE

    Ingredients For 6 Servings

  • 3 ripe Hass* avocados, seeded and peeled
  • ½ lemon, juiced
  • 1/8 teaspoon salt
  •    

    guacamole-sabrinamodelle-calavocomm-230

    Guacamole with “Irish” ingredients for St. Patrick’s Day. Photo courtesy TheTomatoTart.com.

  • 1/8 teaspoon fresh ground black pepper
  • ½ cup very finely diced carrots
  • ¼ cup very finely diced red onion
  • 1 clove garlic, crushed
  • ¼ jalapeño, seeded and very finely diced (optional)
  • 3 slices cooked bacon, chopped
  • ¼ cup very finely chopped parsley
  • 2 ounces Irish Cheddar cheese, crumbled (substitute other sharp Cheddar)
  • Tortilla chips, crudités or other dippers (how about green endive leaves?)
  •  
    *While there are much larger varieties of avocado, the Haas has the creamiest, most delicious flesh. As a result, 98% of the avocados grown in Mexico are Hass, a variety discovered as a seedling by Rudolph Hass, a California postman who planted it in his front yard in the 1920s. He patented the cultivar in 1935.

     

    avocados-board-hassavocado-230

    The avocado was long considered too sexual for “proper” people to eat. Photo courtesy Hass Avocado Board.

     

    Preparation

    1. MASH the avocado with lemon juice, salt, and pepper in a large bowl.

    2. STIR in the bacon, carrots, cheese, garlic, jalapeño, onion and parsley.

    3. GARNISH and serve.
     
    THE HISTORY OF GUACAMOLE

    Mesoamericans cultivated the avocado, a fruit which had grown there for millions of years. The conquering Aztecs called it ahuacatl; the “tl” is pronounced “tay” in Nahuatl, the Aztec language. When the Spanish conquistadors arrived in 1519 under Hernán Cortés, they heard ah-hwah-cah-tay as “aguacate,” the spelling and pronounciation they adopted.

    Guacamole was compounded in a molcajete, a mortar and pestle carved from volcanic stone.

     

    The name guacamole comes from Mexican Spanish via the Nahuatl “ahuacamOlli,” a compound of ahuacatl [avocado] + mOlli [sauce]. The chocolate-based mole sauce comes from that same word, mOlli.

    Ahuacatl means “testicle.” Aztecs saw the avocado as resembling testicles and ate them as a sex stimulant. According to Linda Stradley on the website WhatsCookingInAmerica.com, for centuries after Europeans came into contact with the avocado, it carried its reputation for inducing sexual prowess. It wasn’t purchased or consumed by anyone concerned with his or her reputation.

    American avocado growers had to sponsor a public relations campaign to dispel the myth before avocados could become popular. After then, their dark green, pebbly flesh also earned avocados the name, “alligator pear.”

      

    Comments

    TIP OF THE DAY: Hummus Beyond Dipping

    We are a huge fan of hummus. We can easily eat one 8-ounce package a day. We often make a meal of hummus and crudités. It’s a nutritious* meal when we don’t want to cook or eat anything more elaborate.

    But there’s so much more to do with this versatile spread than dipping vegetables or pita chips, or garnishing falafel. Here are some of the ways we’ve used it. Feel free to add your own!

    20+ WAYS TO USE HUMMUS BEYOND DIPPING

    Hummus For Breakfast

  • In an omelet with diced tomatoes, olives, bell pepper, onions, mushrooms or other favorite.
  • On a breakfast tostada, topped with sautéed greens and a fried egg.
  • In scrambled eggs or omelets: Stir a spoonful of hummus into the beaten eggs.
  • On an English muffin sandwich with fried, scrambled or hard-boiled eggs and some raw spinach or arugula leaves.
  • On toast or bagels, instead of butter or cream cheese.
  •    

    cucumber-hummus.angle-230

    Serve crunchy hummus cucumber cups with wine or cocktails. Photo courtesy Eat Well Enjoy Life.

     

    *Hummus is loaded with vitamins and minerals: calcium, copper, iron, magnesium and zinc; vitamins B6, C, E, folate, K and thiamin (B1); plus 20 essential amino acids. It is low glycemic. Calories are 27 per tablespoon, according to Caloriecount.about.com.

     

    hummus-wrap-sandwich-dontknow-230

    Use hummus on a sandwich instead of mustard or mayo, and check out these 20+ variations on a hummus sandwich.

     

    Hummus For Lunch Or Dinner

  • As a healthier sandwich spread, instead of mayo (or mix some mayo into the hummus). Check out our 20+ ways to make a hummus sandwich.
  • In tuna, chicken or egg salad instead of mayo.
  • On a turkey burger or veggie burger.
  • On flatbread or pizza, with artichoke hearts, mozzarella or jack cheese, olives or sautéed vegetables—bell peppers, mushrooms, onion, tomatoes. Bake at 425°F for 10 minutes; top with fresh herbs.
  • As a garnish for grilled or roasted fish, lamb, pork, portabello mushrooms or poultry. Alternatively, spread a light coat of garlic hummus, olive oil and sea salt over the protein before cooking.
  • As a sauce for kebabs.
  • In a vegetable pasta salad, instead of mayonnaise.
  • As a sauce for hot pasta: toss with hummus and season with cracked black pepper and fresh chives or parsley.
  • As a salad dressing: Mix with vinegar, and salt and pepper.
  • On a crouton (toast a slice of baguette) with a salad or bowl of soup.
  •  

    Hummus For Appetizers & Snacks

  • On a mixed appetizer plate: Mediterranean inspired with babaganoush, tabbouleh, feta and Greek olives; or with conventional favorites like pickled beets and other pickled vegetables, three bean salad, deviled eggs, etc.
  • In deviled eggs: Mix the yolks with hummus instead of mayo; or stuff them entirely with hummus.
  • As a filling for an avocado half.
  • In stuffed mushrooms and any variety of hors d’oeuvre.
  •  
    Hummus For Dessert

  • Dessert hummus (recipes).
  • Hummus ice cream (recipe).
  •  
    These should keep you in hummus heaven for a while.

      

    Comments

    RECIPE: Strawberry Salsa

    How about something special for National Strawberry Day (February 27th): strawberry salsa.

    In addition to serving with tortilla chips, strawberry salsa is delicious over grilled chicken, fish or pork.

    This recipes was adapted from TasteOfHome.com. You can customize it by adding other fruits to the strawberries. Mango, grapes, pineapple, pomegranate arils and stone fruits are a few options.

    TIP: Wear disposable gloves when cutting and seeding hot chiles; then clean the cutting board and knife, wash your gloved hands and dispose of the gloves. Accidentally touching your eye with the most minute amount of capsaicin fom the chile is an experience you never want to have.

    RECIPE: STRAWBERRY SALSA

    Ingredients

  • 1 cup strawberries, chopped
  • 1/4 red onion, chopped
  • 1 jalapeño chile, seeded and chopped
  • 1 tablespoon cilantro, finely chopped
  • 1 tablespoon orange juice
  • 1.5 tablespoons lemon juice
  • 1 tbsp extra virgin olive oil (do not substitute)
  • Optional: green, orange, red or yellow bell pepper, diced
  • Salt and black pepper to taste
  •  

    strawberry-salsa-tasteofhome-230

    Strawberry salsa made with optional bell pepper. Photo courtesy Taste Of Home.

     

    Preparation

    1. COMBINE all the ingredients. Refrigerate and let the flavors meld for an hour or more.

    2. SERVE with chips or as a protein garnish.

     
    Variations

  • Chunky Strawberry Salsa With Quartered Cherry Tomatoes Recipe
  • Strawberry Mango Salsa Recipe
  • Strawberry Salsa With Grape Tomatoes & Corn Kernels Recipe
  • Strawberry Salsa With Plum Tomatoes Recipe
  •   

    Comments

    TIP OF THE DAY: Ways To Use Eggplant Caponata

    Caponata is a Sicilian eggplant relish or eggplant salad, made from capers, eggplant, onion, pine nuts and tomatoes, usually served as a side dish or relish, part of an antipasto. In Sicily it’s called capunata.

    As with any recipe, there are numerous variations, including the addition of carrots, celery, green bell peppers, olives, potatoes, or raisins.

    According to food writer Clifford A. Wright, the famed Italian dish may be of Spanish origin. He quotes the Sicilian food authority Pino Correnti, that the dish is derived from the Catalan word caponada, a similar type of relish

    Th Catalan word means “something tied together like vines.” In Sicily, it first appears in 1709. Another contender is the word capón; capón de galera is a gazpacho or a caponata-like dish.

    A Sicilian cuisine scholar, Giuseppe Coria, suggests that the word derives from the Latin caupo, tavern, which served cauponae, a tavern food for travelers.

    Wright notes: “The earliest recipe I am familiar with of … a kind of caponata is the cappone di galera alla siciliana in Francesco Leonardi’s L’Apicio Moderno (The Modern Apicius), published in 1790. Here is his recipe:

       

    salmon-on-caponata-olionyc-230

    Caponata moves from appetizer dip or spread to a sauce for fish or poultry. You can place the caponata on top of the protein or use it as a bed, as shown in this photo. Photo courtesy Olio e Piú | New York City.

     

    “Dip a few fresh new beans [freselle maiorchine, an esteemed bean from Majorca] in Malaga wine, then arrange them on a serving platter, and put over them a garnish of anchovy fillets and thin slices of tuna salami, rinsed of its salt, capers, pieces of citron zest, stoned olives, fried shrimp and squid, oysters poached slightly in their own liquid and several fillets of fried linguattola [Citharus linguatula, a kind of flatfish] until the platter is well garnished and full. At the moment of serving pour over it a sauce made as follows: in a mortar pound two ounces of peeled green pistachios soaked in olive oil, vinegar, and tarragon or vinegar, salt, and ground pepper.”

    Whatever the origin and ingredients, today’s caponata easily moves from antipasto relish (our grandmother favored it with crackers or toasted baguette slices) to the main plate.

    This delicious and healthful garnish adds bright color to pale proteins. It works well on grilled, poached or sautéed fish, poultry or tofu.
     
    RECIPE: EGGPLANT CAPONATA

    Use fresh tomatoes in season. In the off season, use diced, canned tomatoes.

    Caponata tastes best the day after it is made, once the flavors have had a chance to blend and mellow. The recipe can be made two days in advance and refrigerated, covered. It can also be frozen.

    You can serve caponata warm, chilled or at room temperature, or cold.

     

    eggplant-caponata-black-bass-davidburkefromagerie-230

    Grilled bass with eggplant caponata. Photo courtesy David Burke Fromagerie.

     

    Ingredients

  • 5 tablespoons olive oil
  • 1 eggplant (about 1-1/2-pounds), unpeeled, cut into 1/2-inch cubes
  • 1 medium onion, cubed
  • 4 large garlic cloves, chopped
  • 1 can (14-1/2-ounces) diced tomatoes with Italian seasonings, including the juice
  • 3 tablespoons red wine vinegar
  • 2 tablespoons capers, drained
  • 1/3 cup fresh basil, chopped
  • Pine nuts, toasted
  •  
    Preparation

    1. HEAT the oil in heavy pot over medium heat. Add the eggplant, onion and garlic. Sauté until the eggplant is soft and brown, about 15 minutes.

     
    Preparation

    1. HEAT the oil in heavy pot over medium heat. Add the eggplant, onion and garlic. Sauté until the eggplant is soft and brown, about 15 minutes.

    2. ADD the diced tomatoes, vinegar and drained capers. Cover and simmer until the eggplant and onion are very tender, about 12 minutes, stirring occasionally.

    3. SEASON the caponata to taste with salt and pepper. Mix in the basil. Transfer to a serving bowl. Sprinkle with toasted pine nuts.

    This recipe was adapted from Epicurious.com.

     
    MORE WAYS TO USE CAPONATA

  • On bruschetta or crostini (the difference).
  • On omelets (or as a filling), or other egg preparations.
  • In a grilled cheese sandwich or panini.
  • Atop pasta, rice or other grain.
  • In a baked potato.
  • In crêpes.
  • In tartlets or phyllo pockets.
  • In lettuce cups.
  •   

    Comments

    TREND: Sriracha, The New “It” Flavor

    Each year, we notice a hot new food trend. Often it’s a new flavor, blasting through everything from salad dressing to popcorn. Notable past flavor explosions like chipotle, jalapeño and wasabi introduced new kinds of heat to the American palate.

    The current “it” flavor seems to be sriracha.
     
    WHAT IS SRIRACHA?

    Sriracha, pronounced see-RAH-jah, is a Thai hot chili sauce. It’s made from red chiles, distilled vinegar, garlic, sugar and salt; and is aged for three months or longer.

    Unlike American hot sauces such as Tabasco, which are vinegar sauces that are infused with hot chiles, sriracha is primarily puréed chiles, making it a much thicker sauce.

    The sauce is named after the coastal city of Si Racha in eastern Thailand, where it was first made and marketed. Different brands can be found in the Asian aisle of many supermarkets and in Asian groceries.

    The most popular brand is Huy Fong Sriracha Hot Chili Sauce. It looks imported but it’s made by a California manufacturer (it was created in 1980 by Chinese-Vietnamese Californian). It has a large rooster logo in the center of the bottle. The rooster has been knocked off by Red Rooster Louisiana Hot Sauce, a product of Louisiana-based Bruce Foods.

    The History Of Sriracha Sauce

       

    fiery-sriracha-background-230

    Tribe adds Asian-style hot sauce to Middle Eastern hummus. Photo of new Fiery Sriracha Hummus courtesy Tribe.

     
    According to multiple sources, including an article in Bon Appétit, the sauce was made more than 80 years ago in by a local woman, Thanom Chakkapak. She initially made the condiment for her family, and then for friends, to enjoy with the local seafood (think of it as a much hotter counterpart to American cocktail sauce).

    As is a common story in the specialty food business, they encouraged her to sell it commercially—and it became the best-selling chile sauce in Thailand. In 1984, Ms. Chakkapak sold her business to a major food company, Thai Theparos Food Products.

    What’s the correct spelling: sriraja, si-racha, sriracha or siracha?

    According to Andrea Nguyen, who wrote the article for Bon Appétit: Since Thailand does not adhere to one romanization system for Thai words, many variants have emerged, chosen by manufacturers who have created their own version of the original sauce.

    However, the most commonly accepted spelling is sriracha.
     
    NEW PRODUCT: TRIBE LIMITED EDITION FIERY SRIRACHA HUMMUS

    Tribe’s latest hummus flavor, Limited Batch Fiery Sriracha, is heatint up the hummus category when it hits grocery store shelves later this month.

    In addition to blending sriracha sauce into the hummus, the flavor is topped with red pepper flakes for an extra splash of heat.

    Is America going flavor-crazy with its hummus? According to Tribe, non-traditional hummus flavors represented nearly half of total hummus sales in 2014! Discover more at TribeHummus.com.

     

    sriracha-lime-230

    Snack Factory has introduced Sriracha Lime
    Pretzel Crisps. Photo by Faith Tomases | THE
    NIBBLE.

     

    NEW PRODUCT: PRETZEL CRISPS IN SRIRACHI LIME

    Snack Factory Pretzel Crisps are one of our favorite ways to enjoy pretzels. We like them for dipping, topping and pairing with soups and salads.

    The brand’s bevy of flavors (Original, Buffalo Wing, Everything, Honey Mustard & Onion, Jalapeño Jack, Sesame) have been joined by new Sriracha Lime.

    Discover more at PretzelCrisps.com.
     
    More sriracha to watch for:

  • Rogue Ales has added a sriracha beer to its line-up.
  • UV Vodka has introduced sriracha-flavored vodka.
  • Kettle brands sells sriracha chips.
  • Heinz has just launched Sriracha Tomato Ketchup.
  • Jack Links and other beef jerky brands feature a sriracha flavor.
  • Sugar Plum and other chocolatiers are making sriracha-infused chocolates.
  • Even fast food is taking it on: Pizza Hut is offering a honey sriracha sauce, and Taco Bell has debuted the Sriracha Quesarito.
  •  
    And we wouldn’t be surprised if American mayonnaise manufacturers hop on the sriracha bandwagon, following the mainstream expansion of sriracha mayonnaise beyond Japanese markets. (It’s the mayo used in spicy rolls at sushi bars.)

      

    Comments

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