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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 Tidbits (Food Facts)

TIPS: How Do You Properly Cook A Turkey?

The U.S. Department of Agriculture estimates that 80% of foodborne illnesses are linked to meat and poultry. Since we want to give thanks for our health, NSF International, a public health and safety organization, has provided food safety tips to help you properly thaw, cook and store your holiday turkey. We’ve combined them along with some of our own turkey-cooking tips.

Whether you’re a seasoned cook who would like a refresher or it’s your first time preparing the big bird (sorry, Big Bird!), these tips will help you follow proper food safety guidelines for a safer Thanksgiving and a tastier bird:

  • Buying The Turkey. Don’t let uncooked turkey sit at room temperature. Put the turkey in the cart last and get it home and refrigerated promptly. Bag the turkey separately and place it below other food in the refrigerator. For crisper skin, unwrap the turkey the night before roasting and leave it uncovered in the refrigerator.
  •  

    organic-turkey-freshdirect-230

    A fresh, organic, free-range turkey from FreshDirect.com.

  • Thawing The Turkey. Don’t attempt to thaw a frozen turkey quickly by leaving it to sit overnight on the kitchen counter—bacteria will grow. Either place the covered turkey in a shallow pan on the lowest shelf of the refrigerator (the safest method—but note that it takes approximately 3 days for a 20 pound turkey to fully defrost) or place the plastic-wrapped turkey in a pan of cold water, changing the water about every 30 minutes. Another option is to completely submerge the turkey under a stream of lukewarm (70°F) running water, but that’s not a good use of water.
  • Avoiding Bacterial Contamination. To avoid bacterial contamination, never place the turkey (or any raw poultry) directly on the counter. Keep it on a platter or in a roaster. Clean and sanitize the counter and utensils after handling raw turkey. Don’t use turkey utensils for other purposes until they have been cleaned. Similarly, be sure to wash your hands thoroughly after handling raw turkey, using plenty of warm water and soap.
  • Roasting. Trussing also helps any bird roast more evenly. Then, coat the skin with olive oil or other vegetable oil, season with salt and pepper and tightly cover the breast with aluminum foil to prevent drying. About 45 minutes before the turkey should be done, remove the foil from the breast to allow it to brown. Don’t open the oven to baste; it isn’t needed, and the temperature fluctuation only increases cooking time and dries out the bird.
  • Stuffing. Wait to stuff the turkey until right before putting it in the oven. Use only pre-cooked meats and vegetables in the stuffing mixture. Don’t pack the cavity; the turkey will cook more evenly if it is not densely stuffed. Cook overflow stuffing in a casserole dish—or cook all the stuffing in a separate casserole—it makes serving easier. Then, instead of stuffing, place some aromatic vegetables in the cavity (carrots, celery, garlic and/or onion) and tuck some fragrant herbs under the skin (we love rosemary). If cooked inside the bird, cook the stuffing until it reaches at least 165° F at the center. A Consider adding flavor by loosely filling the cavity with work nicely — or by carefully tucking fresh herbs underneath the breast skin. For the stuffing lovers, cook the dressing in a casserole dish on the side.
  • Is It Ready? At 350°F, a defrosted turkey should take about 20 minutes per pound, and a fresh turkey 10-15 minutes per pound. Use a meat thermometer to check the turkey for doneness, even if the turkey has a pop-up timer. When the temperature reaches 165°F in the thickest part of the thigh away from the bone (that deep spot between the leg and the breast), the turkey should be done. Remove it from the oven, tent it with foil and let it rest for about 15 minutes before carving to preserve the juices.
  • Carving Knife. Is your carving knife sharp? Dull knives cause accidents. There’s still time to sharpen those blades before the big day.
  • Turkey Leftovers. For food safety, refrigerate any leftovers immediately. Large portions should be separated into smaller containers and covered loosely to speed cooling.
  • A tip from THE NIBBLE: For a moister, juicier turkey, consider brining. We’ll try to post instructions; or else, they’re easy to find online.

    Need More Help With Your Turkey? Foster Farms, producers of both fresh and frozen turkeys, has its Foster Farms Turkey Helpline experts on-call 24 hours a day, seven days a week, now through November 30, including Thanksgiving Day. They can be reached at 1.800.255.7227.

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    PRODUCT: All About Cinnamon




    Grade A Korintje (Indonesian) cinnamon from PreparedPantry.com.
      A bit of news that may surprise you: The spice you know as cinnamon– the one you sprinkle on sugared toast and into cookie and cake batters; the one that adds depth to curries and bite to marinades– is not real cinnamon at all! In fact it’s from a tree called cassia. While professionals distinguish between cassia and true cinnamon, to the consumer, what is often sold as ground cinnamon is cassia (it doesn’t curl into cinnamon sticks like true cinnamon, so what you see in stick form is the real deal). Learn more about the differences between cassia and cinnamon (and the best ways to cook and bake with both) in our complete review of this complex spice and its history.

    You know how to cook with cinnamon. But do you know how to drink with it? Try the Cinnamon Cider Martini, one of our favorite spicy cocktails.

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    TIDBITS: The Truth About Daurade

    Daurade
    Identity crisis? The fish is variously called daurade, d
    orade, porgy, sea bream, tai, zeebrasem….
      Daurade: When you see it on a menu, doesn’t it sound elegant and exciting? Would it sound as exciting if it were called porgy or sea bream? We think not. We bring it up because a reader wrote to ask if daurade referred to the fish or the preparation. It’s a fish. In France, daurade refers to Sparus aurata, the gilthead seabream, a member of the porgy family. Daurade, also spelled dorade, is ubiquitous in France, where there are four varieties: gray, pink and marble dorade, known by their coloring, and royal dorade. The “royal” is so named because it has a gold-yellowish bump between the eyes that, with imagination, can be considered a crown. While “royal” also has the firmest flesh, the flesh of all varieties is delicate and can fall apart if filleted. Thus, monsieur le daurade is often cooked and served whole.
    The Japanese black porgy is a different species (Acanthopagrus schlegelii), as is the American porgy (Lagodon rhomboides). The flesh is firmer, so you’ll find daurade fillets in America (sometimes it’s flown ove from France, sometimes it’s porgy—because daurade sounds a lot better), and tai sushi and sashimi (tai being the Japanese word for porgy). No matter what part of the Sparidae fanily it comes from, you can tell from its teeth that the daurade/porgy is a carnivore (if you don’t like the eyes staring up at you from your plate, wait until you see those choppers). Those teeth help it feast on other fish, oysters and mussels (hey, save some for us). While the flesh can be delicate, the flavor of the fish is not shy. Cook it with lemon, wine, garlic, tomatoes, rosemary—any of your favorite hearty herbs and spices work. Learn more about fish, fisch, pesce, pescado, poission, etc. in the Fish, Seafood & Caviar Section of THE NIBBLE online magazine.

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    TIDBITS: The Difference Between Kettle Chips And Conventional Potato Chips

    What exactly are “kettle chips,” such as those made by Boulder Canyon, our Top Pick Of The Week (see the previous post)? Let’s start at the beginning. Potato chips, invented in 1853 in Saratoga, New York, were originally called Saratoga chips. Chips got soggy quickly in the days before vacuum packaging (or even airtight bags), and needed to be purchased fresh. By the 1920s, every town in the U.S. had its own chip maker, or “potato chipper.” The chip maker sliced up potatoes and fried them one batch at a time in a small kettle. The continuous fryer was invented in 1929, creating tremendous economies of scale and driving most of the small, kettle cookers out of business. By the 1940s, automation had evolved to change much of America’s artisan food production into mass production, including potato chips. Potato farmers bred the natural sugars out of potatoes to accommodate mass production, because the natural, variable sugar content required individualized attention to know when the batch was done. The result: Chips like Lay’s and Wise, which sell many millions of bags a year, but are only a shadow of the former gustatory glory of the potato chip.   Potato Chip Hors d’Oeuvre
    The right chip is not just a good snacker: It creates sexy hors d’oeuvres. Photo courtesy of Kettle Brand chips.
    Today’s “kettle chips” are a return to the thicker, small-batch chips made with top ingredients (you can use some of the best brands to construct fancy hors d’oeuvres, as shown in the photo). While today’s “kettles” are fryers much larger than the original stovetop kettle, they are still small in comparison to mass-produced chips.
    – Read more about potato chips in the Snacks Section of THE NIBBLE online magazine.
    – Read the history of the potato chip (you’ll learn how the potato chip bag was invented—a technology breakthrough of the time)
    – Fry your own kettle chips with this recipe.

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    TIDBIT: Chocolatier Vs. Confectioner

    What’s the difference between “chocolates” and “confections?” Is a “chocolatier” or chocolate shop the same as a “confectionary?” A confectionery (also spelled confectionary) is a confectioner’s shop—more popularly called a candy store or sweet shop. A chocolatier (a French word, pronounced cho-co-la-tee-YAY) is both the chocolate shop and the person who makes the chocolate. While both of these words are commonly used in American chocolate circles, the French words for confectioner, confiseur, and candy shop, confiserie, are not.

    – The term “confection” refers to all candies and sweets, including candy bars, candied nuts, chocolate, fudge, hard candies, licorice, lollipops, marshmallows, marzipan, nougat, mints, toffee and other products, from cotton candy and candy canes to gum drops and gummi bears.

    – The term applies to snack items, so any baked goods and ice cream sold at a confectionery are included.
      Nougat - Burdick ChocolateNougat (from Burdick Chocolate) is a confection.
    So…if chocolate is a confection, what’s the difference between a chocolate shop and a confectioner’s shop?

    – A chocolatier is a chocolate specialist, and generally makes some or all of the chocolates sold on the premises.

    – While a chocolatier often makes marshmallows, marzipan, toffee and other confections, most of what is sold is chocolate-based or chocolate-coated.

    – In a confectionary, you’ll find a balance of sweets, of which only a portion are chocolates.

    Read more about chocolate in the Chocolate Section of THE NIBBLE online magazine. If you want to find the confectionery, you’ll have to look in the Candy Section and under Cookies, Cakes & Pastries.

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