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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,
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Archive for Tip Of The Day

TIP: The Right Beer Glass Makes A Big Difference

We’re one of the many people who likes to drink beer straight from the bottle. We believed, as with sparkling wine, that the narrower the opening, the more the carbonation stays in. A cold bottle from the fridge keeps the beer colder than a room-temperature glass. And, we don’t particularly care for a foamy head.

But according to Spiegelau, a manufacturer of fine glassware in Bavaria, Germany, we have it all wrong. You only get about 15% of the flavor of the beer when you drink it from the bottle.

That’s because smell, not palate, is the major component of taste (and explains why you can lose your taste when you have a badly congested nose and can’t smell). You get zero aroma through the narrow neck of the beer bottle, covered by your mouth as you take each sip.

When you pour beer into a glass, the head* releases the bubbles (carbon dioxide) that burst into aroma.

On top of that, different types of beer benefit from different shaped glasses, engineered to bring out the special attributes of the beer (Riedel, the parent company of Spieglau, was the pioneer in developing different wine glass types).

   

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Engineered to bring out the best in American craft beers: from left, IPA, wheat beer and stout glasses. Photo courtesy Spiegelau USA.

 

Different regions have long made different glass shapes for their beers. Think beyond the German stein to the British pint glass; the tall, tapered Pilsner† glass; the stemmed snifter for Belgian ales and IPAs; the tankard for ales, lagers, stouts and porters; and others. See the different types of beer glasses in the chart below.

 
*The head is produced by bubbles of carbon dioxide gas that rise to the surface. The carbon dioxide is produced during fermentation.
†Pilsner is the English spelling of Pilsener, the German spelling. The name derives from the town of Pilsen, a city in western Bohemia in the Czech Republic, where the style was originally brewed in October 1842—a new, clear, pale golden beer created from new malts, Pilsen’s remarkably soft water, Saaz noble hops and Bavarian-style lagering. It was a sensation. The Czech spelling of the town is Plzen.

 
CRAFT BEER GLASSES FOR SPECIFIC STYLES OF BEER

Spiegelau has developed a Craft Beer Glass Collection, with custom-designed glasses for the three most popular American craft beer styles: IPA, Stout and Wheat Beer. Each glass is designed, according to the company, to highlight “the complexity of aromas on the nose while demonstrating the optimum beer texture, balance and flavor intensity on the palate.”

Riedel has done this for wine glasses with great success (you won’t believe how much better the wine tastes in a specially engineered wine glass than on a generic one). Now, they’ve done the same for beer.

An expert panel of master brewers tested multiple glass shapes before finding the optimum shape for each beer type. Here’s what resulted:

  • The IPA glass was engineered to “showcase the complex and alluring aromatic profiles of American ‘hop-forward’ IPA beers, preserve a frothy head, enhance taste and mouth feel, and present a comfortably wide opening for the drinker to savory each beer.”
  • The Stout glass is designed to “accentuate the roasted malt, rich coffee and chocolate notes that define the Stout beer style.”
  • The Wheat Beer glass (wheat beer is one of the world’s most popular styles‚, has a large, voluminous bowl to harness the delicate aromas. The mouth opening was designed to spread the beer across the palate to “enhance mouth feel and harmony of sweetness and acidity.” The “open bottom glass base drives beer and aromatic foam upward into the main bowl after every sip.”
  •  
    And you thought a glass was just a glass!

    Custom-shape beer glasses isn’t hype: It’s precision engineering and it works. Buy yourself a set and test it against what you’re currently using. We had great results with the Spiegelau glasses.

    Beer glasses are a great gift for beer connoisseurs, and other companies have gotten the custom-shape message.

     

    /home/content/71/6181571/html/wp content/uploads/three types of beer in pilsner glasses wisegeek 230

    Wrong! These are traditional Pilsner glasses, specifically designed to bring out the best qualities in a Pilsener beer. That means that they won’t enhance the flavors of stout (left) and amber ale (center). But wait: The Lenox Pilsner glasses are totally different—a stemmed tulip glass! Photo courtesy WiseGeek.com.

     

    MORE BEER STYLE-SPECIFIC GLASSES

    Lenox has a new line of beer glasses in four styles: IPA, Pint With Crown, Stemmed Pilsner and Wheat Beer. And surprise: The shapes are totally different from conventional designs—as well as from the Spiegelau designs.

    The Pilsner is a stemmed tulip, like the traditional Belgian Ale glass. The IPA and Wheat Beer glasses are tall and narrow with a tapered waist, like the conventional Pilsner glass. The Pint With Crown is a sleeker version of the pub pint glass.

    Here’s what they say about their shapes:

  • The Stemmed Pilsner’s tulip shape “traps the rich aromas and helps maintain a frothy head. The thin flared rim places the beer evenly on the palate, elevating the overall taste experience.” Lenox also recommends the shape for stouts and dark beers.
  • The India Pale Ale glass, tall and slender, “is a perfect complement for IPAs and lighter ales. The contoured shape preserves a frothy head, while maximizing aroma and enhancing taste.”
  • The Wheat Beer glass has a large mouth and a narrow body, “making it the ideal vessel for wheat beers and most pale or blonde beers. By tipping the glass back, the aromas that characterize these brews are pushed to the nose, thus allowing the drinker to enjoy the beer’s full flavor.”
  •  

  • The Pint With Crown is the English-style pub glass that serves an official imperial pint, approximately 20 ounces. “Ideally sized for generous pours of pale ales and lagers, this pint’s curved lip cultivates foamy heads.
  •  
    Frankly, we bet on the precision of the Spiegelau glasses. We’ve tasted with them, and they work! There are no better glassware engineers on earth than Riedel, the parent company of Spiegelau.

    We haven’t tried Lenox or other contenders, and you can’t be sure without trying. So we’ll keep testing, and will keep you posted.
     
    CAN’T WAIT TO TRY THE GLASSES?

  • Lenox Tuscany Beer Glass Collection, set of four styles, $32.12
  • Spiegelau Tasting Glasses, set of four styles, $34.99 (includes the glasses described above plus a lager glass)
  •  
    If you don’t care about precision engineering but like the idea of different glass shapes for different beers, try:

  • Libbey, set of six styles, $19.99 (these glasses are traditional styles, not made with modern engineering to optimize the flavors and aromas)
  •  

    TRADITIONAL BEER GLASSES
     
    /home/content/71/6181571/html/wp content/uploads/beer glasses dailyinfographic.eu original copy

    See the original chart at DailyInfographics.eu.

      

    Comments

    TIP OF THE DAY: Pozole (Posole) ~ Not Just For Special Occasions

    Much of what we know about Aztec customs is thanks to Bernardino de Sahagún (1499-1590), a Franciscan friar, missionary priest, scholar and ethnographer who traveled to New Spain* (current-day Mexico) after its conquest. Arriving in 1529, he learned the Nahuatl language of the Aztecs and spent more 61 years documenting their beliefs, culture and history.

    He wrote extensively about Aztec cuisine. This article focuses on pozole (poe-SOE-leh, and often spelled posole in the U.S.), a hearty soup or stew made of hominy, meat, chiles and other seasonings.

    The dish has either a red or green color depending on the chiles used for the soup base; there’s also white pozole. In addition to the traditional pork, later variations used beans, beef, chicken and seafood.

    Pozole† is actually the Aztec word for hominy, corn that is hulled (the bran and germ have been removed) by bleaching the whole kernels in a lye bath (called nixtamalization).

    In Sahagún’s time, pozole was cooked only on special occasions. Later, it became a popular holiday and “Saturday night” dish.

       

    /home/content/71/6181571/html/wp content/uploads/pork pozole chefIngridHoffmann 230

    Pork pozole, garnished with cabbage,
    cilantro, lime and radishes. Photo courtesy Chef Ingrid Hoffmann.

     
    Today, pozole is customized by each individual at the table, with garnishes that include avocado, cilantro, diced red onion, lime or lemon wedges, oregano, radishes, salsa, shredded cabbage, sour cream and tortilla chips or tostadas.

    NOTE: Don’t confuse pozole with pozol, a porrige-like drink made from fermented corn dough.
     
    *After an 11-year struggle for independence, New Spain became the sovereign nation of Mexico in 1821.

    †Also spelled posole, pozolé and pozolli; the original Nahuatl spelling is name is potzolli.
     
    CLASSIC POZOLE RECIPES

  • Beef Pozole With Red Chiles (Pozole Rojo)
  • Green Pozole With Chicken (Pozole Verde)
  • Red Pozole With Chicken (Pozole Rojo)
  • Red Pozole With Pork (Pozole Rojo)
  • Shrimp & Scallop Pozole (Pozole Blanco)
  • Vegetarian Pozole With Beans (Vegan Pozole Rojo)
  • White Pozole With Chicken (Pozole Blanco)
  •  
    A modern variation:

  • Pozole-Stuffed Grilled Onions
  •  

    /home/content/71/6181571/html/wp content/uploads/pozole salad kaminsky 230

    Pozole interpreted as a salad, for a first course or side. Photo courtesy Hannah Kaminsky | Bittersweet Blog.

     

    Today we feature a vegan pozole salad from Hannah Kamimsky of Bittersweet Blog. It is intended as a first course or a side dish.
     
    RECIPE: POZOLE SALAD

    Ingredients For 8 Side Servings

  • 2 pints cherry or grape tomatoes
  • 1/2 cup red onion, diced
  • 2 tablespoons olive oil
  • 1 teaspoon dried oregano
  • 1/2 Savoy cabbage ((1-1/4 pounds), shredded
  • 1 can (29-ounces) cooked white hominy kernels (not hominy grits), drained and rinsed
  • 2 ripe avocados, diced
  • 1 jalapeño, seeded and finely minced
  •  
    For The Cilantro Dressing

  • 1/2 cup fresh cilantro
  • 1/4 cup sundried tomatoes
  • 1 clove garlic
  • 1/4 cup fresh lime juice (2-3 limes depending on size and juiciness)
  • 1-1/2 tablespoons chili powder
  • 2 teaspoons ground cumin
  • 1 teaspoon light agave nectar
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1/4 cup olive oil
  •  
    Preparation

    1. PREHEAT the oven to 425°F. Toss the cherry tomatoes and onion with the olive oil and oregano, and spread them in one even layer on a rimmed baking sheet. Roast for 15-25 minutes, until the tomatoes are blistered and beginning to burst. Let cool. Meanwhile…

    2. PREPARE the dressing: Add the cilantro, sundried tomatoes and garlic to a food processor or blender, and slowly pour in the lime juice while running the machine on low. Thoroughly purée, pausing to scrape down the sides of the bowl or blender jar as needed. Once the purée is mostly smooth, add the agave, chili powder, cumin and salt next, and drizzle in the olive oil (with the motor running) to emulsify.

    3. TOSS together the tomatoes and onions, cabbage, hominy, avocados, and jalapeños in a large bowl. Pour the dressing on top and toss to coat. Chill for at least an hour before serving to allow the flavors to fully meld.

      

    Comments

    TIP OF THE DAY: Make Blueberry Salt

    Sea salt is produced by simple evaporation of sea water. Depending on the body of water, the salt will have different qualities: not just in flavor, based on the minerals in the local water, but also in the size and shape of the crystals. See our Salt Glossary for more on the different types of salt.

    A subset of sea salt is artisan salt, which is created with added flavor is added. With the growing enthusiasm of chefs and home cooks, the flavor options have exploded. Saltopia, an online seller, offers dozens of flavored salts, including:

  • Fruit flavored salt: caper, coconut, habanero, jalapeño, lemon, lime, orange, peach, pineapple, pomegranate, strawberry, tomato
  • Herb flavored salt: basil, cilantro, dill, fennel, garlic, lavender, lemongrass, mint, peppermint, rosemary, saffron, thyme, wasabi
  • Spice flavored salt: Aleppo pepper, anise, black pepper, cardamom, cinnamon, clove, curry, ginger, mustard, sumac, vanilla
  • Smoked salt: applewood, alderwood
  • Sweet flavored salt: brown sugar, honey, maple
  • Vegetable flavored salt: mushroom, onion, truffle
  •    

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    Blueberry salt: You can buy a jar or make your own. Photo courtesy Saltopia.

  • And beyond: balsamic vinegar, Cabernet Sauvignon, chocolate, rose
  •  
    Today, how about making a batch of blueberry sea salt? All you need are blueberries and salt!

    There isn’t extensive blueberry flavor because the salt overwhelms it; but the color is gorgeous—a glorious garnish or finishing salt.
     
    HOW TO USE BLUEBERRY SALT

    Sprinkle it as in ingredient or a garnish:

  • Baking, especially with lemon (lemon muffins, shortbread, garnish a lemon tart)
  • Bread dipper with olive oil and herbs
  • Confections: salted caramels and salted chocolate
  • Cottage cheese, soft cheeses, yogurt
  • Dessert: cobblers, puddings
  • Finishing salt: beef lamb, pork, poultry, seafood, smoked fish
  • Food garnish
  • Fruit salad or grilled fruit (a bit of salt brings out the sweetness)
  • Glass rimmer: Blueberry Mojito, lemonade, Margarita, etc.)
  • Ice cream
  • Pasta
  • Plate garnish (sprinkle bits on the plate for splashes of color)
  • Popcorn seasoning
  • Potatoes: baked, mashed, any pale recipe
  • Rice and other pale grains
  • Salted nuts
  • Sorbet
  • Salads and cooked vegetables
  •  

    /home/content/71/6181571/html/wp content/uploads/blueberry salt saltopia 230

    Are you inspired to make your own? Photo courtesy Saltopia.

     

    RECIPE: BLUEBERRY SALT

    You can buy the blueberry sea salt or make your own. You can make batches as gifts, too.

    Start with a small batch (this recipe makes one cup of blueberry salt). Prep time is 35 minutes, cook time: is 1 hour to 1 day, depending on whether you choose to oven dry (1 hour) or let dry naturally (24 hours or more).

    After you make this recipe, you can customize it with other ingredients: balsamic vinegar, citrus peel, thyme, rosemary or any of the ideas above.

    The recipe is courtesy of the U.S. Highbush Blueberry Council, which has lots of delicious blueberry recipes

    Ingredients For 1 Cup

  • 1 cup fresh blueberries
  • 1/2 cup water
  • 1 cup coarse sea salt (substitute kosher salt, or for a beautiful flake salt, use Maldon salt, with unique, pyramid-shaped crystals)
  • Preparation

    1. LINE two baking sheets with parchment paper; set aside.

    2. SIMMER the berries and water in a saucepan over medium heat until the berries pop and release their juices, about 5 minutes. Remove from the heat.

    3. PRESS the blueberries with a potato masher or the back of a large spoon, reserving the juice. Further strain the berries with a fine wire sieve, pressing out as much liquid as possible; discard the solids. Line the sieve with cheesecloth and strain out the finer particles.

    4. RETURN the juice to the saucepan. Bring to a boil and reduce to a simmer. Simmer (watching closely so the juice doesn’t burn) until the juice is reduced to a syrup thick enough to coat a spoon. You should have 2 to 3 tablespoons of juice.

    5. REMOVE from the heat. Stir in the salt until the crystals are evenly coated, then spread the salt onto baking sheets. Let it air dry, stirring occasionally, until dry. This will take 4-24 hours, depending on the humidity. Alternatively, bake the salt in a 150° convection oven, stirring frequently until dry, about 1 hour.

    TIP: For a deeper purple salt, add food color to the blueberry juice in Step 4.

      

    Comments

    TIP OF THE DAY: Okra’s In Season, What Should You Cook?

    Most people think of gumbo is a soup or stew from Louisiana, typically made with chicken or shellfish, Andouille sausage, bell peppers, celery and onions, and thickened with okra pods.

    But in the beginning, “gumbo” was simply the word for okra in the African Bantu language.

    Okra came to America with the slave trade and was introduced to the Southern white population by their African cooks. Okra became the vegetable associated with the American South*.

    Okra is a flowering plant in the mallow family, Malvaceae, which also includes cacao, cotton, hibiscus, the kola nut (the base flavor of cola drinks) and the “king of Asian fruits,” the durian, known for its strong aroma and large, thorny husk.

    The valuable part of the okra plant is its edible green seed pods. The geographical origin of okra is disputed, with champions of Ethiopian, West Africa, even South Asia. Today, the vegetable is cultivated in tropical, subtropical and warm temperate regions around the world. [Source]

    Okra is used in casseroles, soups, stews and sides; added, cooked, to salads and sandwiches (try an okra grilled cheese). They can be fried or stuffed (like poppers).

       

    /home/content/71/6181571/html/wp content/uploads/red and green okra starlingyardsFB 230

    Okra pods were originally green, but mutations have led to the development of red and burgundy varieties. Look for them in your farmers market. Photo courtesy Starling Yards.

     
    But perhaps our favorite way to enjoy okra is Rick’s Picks Smokra, the most amazing smoked okra pickles. We always buy the six-packs and love them as low-calorie snacks, as exciting garnishes for dinner guests and to give as gifts.
     
    *Okra is also an important ingredient in cuisines in areas as far-flung as Africa, Asia and Latin America.
     
    HOW SHOULD YOU COOK OKRA?

    We consulted the experts on the best ways to use okra. Here are Southern Living’s recommendations of the 12 best okra recipes:

  • Baked Polenta With Cheese & Okra, a special brunch casserole
  • Fried Okra Salad
  • Fried Pecan Okra
  • Okra & Corn Maque Chou (a corn and okra salad)
  • Okra Creole
  • Okra Rellenos, fried okra filled with cheese
  • Peppery Grilled Okra with lemon-basil dipping sauce
  • Pickled Okra
  • Pickled Okra & Shrimp
  • Shrimp & Okra Hush Puppies, fried cornbread bites
  • Skillet-Roasted Okra and Shrimp
  • Smashed Fried Okra
  •  

    /home/content/71/6181571/html/wp content/uploads/okra fries ulelerestaurant 230

    Okra fries. Photo courtesy Ulele Restaurant |
    Tampa.

     

    But where’s the gumbo?

    We looked into THE NIBBLE archives and found:

  • Chicken Andouille Gumbo from Chef Emeril Lagasse
  • Easy Chicken & Sausage Gumbo from Chef David Venable
  • Easy Chicken & Sausage Gumbo using Swanson Louisana Cajun
    Flavor Infused Broth
  •  
    HOW TO ELIMINATE OKRA “SLIME”

    Some people avoid okra because of the “slimy” texture. That okra just hasn’t been cooked correctly. Here are slime-busting tips from Okra, a Savor the South cookbook by Virginia Willis.:

  • Choose small fresh okra pods. The smaller the okra, the less slime.
  • Cook okra at high heat: roasting at high temperatures, searing in a cast iron pan, deep fat frying or grilling are techniques that limit the slime.
  • Wash and dry the pods very thoroughly. Wet okra will steam, causing it to “slime.”
  • Cook okra in small batches. Overcrowding brings the heat down, which starts steaming and sliming the okra/
  • Add an acid when cooking okra. Citrus juice, tomato, vinegar and wine add flavor while limiting the slime.
  •  
    Up first for us: fried okra with ketchup!

      

    Comments

    TIP OF THE DAY: Make A Savory Tomato Pie Or Tart

    Tomatoes are the second most widely consumed vegetable in the U.S., after potatoes. That’s not all sliced tomatoes, mind you, but tomato sauce on pasta and pizza, tomatoes in ketchup and salad.

    According to the USDA, Americans consumed 31.1 pounds of tomatoes per capita in 2013, 59% of them in canned form (much of which, presumably, went into tomato sauce).

    Botanically speaking, the tomato is a fruit, but 122 years ago the U.S. Supreme Court ruled it, for tax reasons, a vegetable. (Ah, if the enlightened justices of today would just reverse that misguided decision. More about it is below.)

    Thanks to Restaurant Hospitality for passing along this recipe from Chef Jack Gilmore of Jack Allen’s Kitchen in Austin, Texas.

    Serve it as you would a quiche: in small wedges as a first course, as a main with a salad.

    RECIPE: TOMATO BASIL PIE

    Ingredients

  • 3 ripe tomatoes, thinly sliced
  • ½ cup Cheddar cheese, grated
  • ½ cup Monterey Jack cheese, grated
  • ½ cup Parmesan cheese, grated
  • 1 prepared pie shell (purchased or homemade)
  • 6 large basil leaves, cut or torn into pieces
  • 2 eggs
  • 1 cup mayonnaise
  •    

    /home/content/71/6181571/html/wp content/uploads/tomato basil pie jackskitchenAustinTx 230r

    This pie is filled with sweet summer tomatoes and three types of cheese.
    Photo courtesy Jack Allen’s Kitchen |
    Austin.

     

    Preparation

    1. SEASON the tomato slices lightly with salt and pepper, and allow them to drain on a paper towel (the salt draws out the water).

    2. PREHEAT the oven to 300°F. Combine the cheeses in small bowl.

    3. LAYER the tomatoes in the pie shell. Place basil pieces on top of them. Sprinkle the cheese mixture on top of the basil.

    4. WHISK together the eggs and mayonnaise in small bowl, and pour evenly over the pie ingredients. Bake for approximately 45 minutes, until golden brown and bubbly.
     

     

    /home/content/71/6181571/html/wp content/uploads/cherry tomato tart unpetitchefwordpress 230

    Here’s a showier concept—a cherry tomato tart with Gruyère and a crust of pâte brisée. Here’s the recipe. Photo courtesy UnPetitChef.Blogspot.com.

     

    WHY A TOMATO IS CALLED A VEGETABLE INSTEAD OF A FRUIT

    Who would think, when looking at the seriousness of the Supreme Court’s docket today, that in 1893 they would take up the argument of whether the tomato should be classified as a vegetable rather than a fruit. The eight or nine cases the Court can adjudicate each year cover Constitutional rights and federal law.

    United States Supreme Court decisions have shaped history. So how does the classification of the tomato fit in? It made it onto the docket because of a federal law regarding import taxes.
     
    It Was All About The Import Tax

    The Tariff Act of 1883 stipulated that a 10% import tax be paid on imported vegetables, but no tax was levied on imported fruit*. John Nix, an importer of tomatoes, filed the action against Edward L. Hedden, Collector of the Customs House for the Port of New York. Nix wanted to recover back taxes he had paid on tomatoes. His case asserted that he was importing a fruit, but being taxed as if it were a vegetable.

     
    *We’ve tried to research why fruit was exempt, but haven’t yet found the answer. Typically, it involves special interests.  

    How To Tell If It’s A Fruit

    Botanically speaking the tomato is a fruit. A fruit is the ripened ovary, formed together with seeds, from from the flowers of a plant. This how the tomato is formed.

    In easier terms, here’s how to think of a fruit:

  • Does it carry its seeds inside, like apples, citrus, melons, squash and tomatoes?
  • If the seeds are absent from the produce—as in beets, carrots, celery, herbs, lettuce and potatoes—it is botanically a vegetable.
  •  
    The issue is not how any particular culture chooses to consume a particular item of produce (sweet or savory, raw or cooked, etc.), but the botanical structure of the item. Thus, avocado is a fruit (it’s a tree fruit, like apples and pears) as are cucumbers (relatives to melons).

    With science on his side, vendor Nix sued customs collector Hedden, and the case made its way through the court system—all the way to the Supreme Court.
     
    But The Court Disagreed With Science

    In a unanimous opinion, the Court held that the Tariff Act of 1883 used the ordinary meaning of the words “fruit” and “vegetable,” as people thought of them, instead of the scientific, botanical use. The opinion delivered by Justice Gray stated:

    “Botanically speaking, tomatoes are the fruit of a vine, just as are cucumbers, squashes, beans, and peas. But in the common language of the people, whether sellers or consumers of provisions, all these are vegetables which are grown in kitchen gardens, and which, whether eaten cooked or raw, are, like potatoes, carrots, parsnips, turnips, beets, cauliflower, cabbage, celery, and lettuce, usually served at dinner in, with, or after the soup, fish, or meats which constitute the principal part of the repast, and not, like fruits generally, as dessert.” (Source: caselaw.lp.findlaw.com)

    Wrong perspective, Justice Gray. The laws of nature should stand as is, not subjected to interpretation to fit cultural norms. Today, you can find tomato desserts (ice cream and sorbet, for starters). There are other crossovers. For example, rhubarb, a vegetable, is often prepared for dessert.

    And you should have had better clerks do your research: Beans and pea are legumes, not vegetables.

    Politically, the decision also meant more tax revenue for the United States. We guess we’re not going to get the Supreme Court to reverse the decision.

      

    Comments

    TIP OF THE DAY: Slow Roasted Cherry Tomatoes

    From our friends at Good Eggs in San Francisco, here’s how to enjoy cherry tomatoes when the tomatoes are at their sweetest and the prices are at their lowest.

    Slow-roast them and all of that rich, summer tomato sweetness will get concentrated into each bite.

    Buy two or three times as many as you need this week—ideally, an assortment of red, orange and yellow. Set aside what you’ll use fresh. Then:

  • Slice the rest of the cherry tomatoes in half.
  • Place them cut-side up on a baking sheet or pan lined with a sheet of parchment. Slow roast at 225°F for three hours.
  • Let cool and store in an airtight container in the fridge for up to two weeks. Cover with olive oil if desired.
  •  
    But before those two weeks are up, you can easily use them up:

  • In scrambled eggs and omelets
  • On plain yogurt, with oregano and/or fresh basil and dill
  • On sandwiches and burgers
  •    

    /home/content/71/6181571/html/wp content/uploads/slow roasted cherry tomatoes goodeggs 230

    It’s easy to slow-roast a batch of cherry tomatoes. Photo courtesy Good Eggs.

     

    /home/content/71/6181571/html/wp content/uploads/dried tomatoes crostini mixedgreensblog 230r

    Crostini with sundried tomatoes and fromage blanc. Photo courtesy Mixed Greens Blog.

     
  • In green salads and protein salads (egg, chicken, tuna, etc.)
  • On pasta and pizza
  • On canapés
  • On crostini (see photo)
  • As a colorful polka-dot-like garnish for any savory food
  •  
    RECIPE: SUNDRIED TOMATO CROSTINI

    One of our favorite snacks, crostini with sundried cherry tomatoes, can be made in a minute (or as fast as it takes to toast the bread.

  • SPREAD toasted or grilled slices of baguette with goat cheese, other soft cheese, even Greek yogurt or sour cream.
  • TOP with sundried cherry tomatoes in olive oil.
  • GARNISH with minced basil or a shake of oregano.
  •  
    It’s easy enough for snacking, and impressive enough to serve as an hors d’oeuvre or a first course.

      

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    TIP OF THE DAY: Burger Salad & Salad Burger

    For years we have been enjoying the Burger Salad at Five Napkin Burger in New York City. It’s evolved over time, but initially consisted of a big bowl of beautifully arranged baby greens and colorful veggie complements, in a perfect vinaigrette. Atop was a plump burger: beef, salmon, turkey, veggie or a solid piece of grilled tuna.

    We love good bread and can [alas] eat loaves of it. But burger buns—even when heavily seeded or made of brioche—rarely fall into that group. And they get soggy.

    So when Five Napkin Burger presented a menu of burger salads in addition to conventional burgers, we tried a salad and were hooked. We were never a neat burger eater, so enjoyed the bonuses: no meat juices or ketchup dripping onto us when we raised the burger to our mouth.

    While it could be a calorie- and carb-cutting alternative for some, let us hasten to say that we enjoy our burger salad along with the establishment’s excellent onion rings, sweet potato fries, and a beer.

    Today’s tip is not just a burger salad, but for those who still want their bun, a salad burger (below).

       

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    Our favorite way to enjoy a burger this burger salad from Five Napkin Burger. Photo courtesy Five Napkin Burger | NYC.

     
    HOW TO CREATE A GREAT BURGER SALAD RECIPE

    To start, think of your favorite salad and assemble the ingredients. Is it spinach salad? Cobb salad? Chopped salad? Salade Niçoise? Spicy greens (arugula, radish, watercress)? Tortilla salad?

    Create your burger salad from those ingredients; and if the original salad contained chicken, turkey or other meat, consider adding small amounts of them—a mixed grill burger salad, as it were.

    You can make a bacon cheeseburger salad or a diet burger burger salad. You can add seeds for more nutrition. And there are ways to cut calories. But here’s a list of options for starters:

     
    BASIC SALAD INGREDIENTS

  • Lettuce: mixed greens (we love to add arugula and cress, but have peaked on kale)
  • Salad veggies: bell pepper, carrots, celery, cucumbers, fresh herbs (basil, cilantro, dill, mint, parsley), radishes
  • Tomatoes: cherry, grape, sliced, sundried—or substitute pimento (roasted red pepper)
  • Onions: green (scallions), red, sweet
  •  
    SALAD ADD-ONS

  • Cheese: crumbled, cubed, julienned, shaved ribbons or shredded
  • Extra veggies: broccoli florets, cauliflower, chiles, fennel, green beans, mushrooms—raw, pickled, roasted or steamed
  • Fruits: berries, dried fruit, mandarin or orange segments, sliced stone fruit, apples or pears
  • Luxury veggies: artichoke hearts, avocado, endive, hearts of palm, radicchio, water chestnuts
  • Seasonal veggies: for example, asparagus and green peas in spring; corn, yellow squash and zucchini in summer
  • Proteins: bacon, beans or legumes (chickpeas, lentils), ham, hard-boiled eggs, tofu/seitan, seafood (we recently created a modern surf and turf burger salad with grilled shrimp), slices or cubes of poultry, salami, sausage, etc.
  • Starch: boiled potatoes, cooked grains, small pasta shapes
  • Garnishes: anchovies, croutons, nuts, olives, peppadews, pepperoncini, pickles, seeds (chia, flax, pepita/pumpkin, sunflower, toasted sesame), sprouts
  •  
    SALAD DRESSING

    A burger salad begs for a delicious vinaigrette. Here’s our template for making a vinaigrette recipe you’ll love.

  • Some people are calorie and fat counters. If that’s you, go for a dressing of plain balsamic vinegar (conventional or white balsamic). It makes a delicious dressing with just 14 calories per tablespoon.
  • Another direction is to use lemon, lime or yuzu juice. Yuzu is imported from Japan and pricey, but worth it.
  • Low-calorie salsa also works, plain or mixed with a bit of salad oil. For a creamy dressing, mix salsa with plain Greek yogurt.
  •  
    However, before you avoid salad oil, ask any nutritionist, the FDA or the American Heart Association: Two tablespoons daily of a heart-healthy oil are important for general health and specific conditions*. The recommended oils are monounsaturated, and include avocado oil, canola oil, olive oil and peanut oil.

    It’s time to stop looking old-school at “calories” and “fat”—an old school way of looking at diet—and focus your choices on health and nutrition.
     

     

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    Plan B: Top your burger with a salad.
    Photo courtesy Umami Burger | Hudson
    Eats.

     

    THE SALAD BURGER

    Instead of topping salad with a burger, you can top a burger with salad.

    Far more than a bunless burger or “diet burger”—the type served by our local diner and others, which plates a burger patty with lettuce, tomato, onion and a scoop of cottage cheese—a salad burger tops your burger with a flavorful salad.

    As you can see in the photo, it can be simple mixed greens, very lightly dressed. Since the burger is America’s favorite food, if you’ve been meaning to add more salad to your diet, here’s your chance.
     
    *A BIG FOOTNOTE ON HEALTHY FATS

    Monounsaturated fats deliver many health benefits, including:

  • Decreased risk for breast cancer.
  • Reduced cholesterol levels. The American Heart Association recommends the consumption of monounsaturated fats to improve one’s blood lipid profile.
  • Lower risk for heart disease and stroke. The FDA recommends that .8 ounce daily—about 2 tablespoons—may “possibly prevent coronary disease.”
  • Weight loss, when switching to monounsaturated fat from polyunsaturated fats (corn oil, safflower oil and soybean oil, among others) and saturated fats (largely from animal products: meat, dairy, eggs).
  • Less severe pain and less stiffness for sufferers of rheumatoid arthritis. Diet plays a role in reducing the pain and stiffness of those who already have rheumatoid arthritis.
  •   

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    TIP OF THE DAY: Go Rustic, Make A Crostata Or A Galette

    Before there were pie pans, there were crostatas and galettes. But let’s start with a brief history of pie, to provide some perspective before we get to a delicious crostata/galette recipe.
     
    THE HISTORY OF PIE

    Culinary historians trace the origin of pie to ancient Egypt, where savory fillings were baked in woven reeds as the vessel. A form of flat, free-form pastry, now called a crostata (Italian) or galette (French), evolved, consisting of a crust of ground grain (barley, oats, rye, wheat) and filled with honey.

    The concept was brought to Greece, and then to Rome. Ancient Greeks are believed to have created pie pastry, and the trade of pastry cook was distinguished from that of baker.

    In the millennia before modern bakeware was created, the Romans made an inedible pastry of flour, oil and water to hold meat and poultry as they baked (its main purpose was to keeping in the juices). The Roman Legions brought the technique with them as they forged through Europe.

    It was the use of lard and butter, in northern Europe, that led to a dough that could be rolled out and molded into what became a tasty modern pie crust.

       

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    A galette is sometimes called a rustic tart. Photo of a pear and apple galette courtesy Waitrose.

     
    According to the American Pie Council, “pye” first appears in the written record in England in the 12th century. The crust of the pie was referred to as a “coffyn,” rectangular like its namesake. The walls were thick to hold the shape, and there was more crust than filling. Often, the legs of a fowl were placed to hang outside of the coffyn and used as handles!

    The predecessor of modern cake and pie pans was a metal hoop that was placed on a baking sheet. Ultimately, bakeware was made from tin or pottery. It is believed that the rounded shape rather than square or rectangular, as well as the shallowness of the pan, were devised to create a smaller space in which to stretch limited ingredients.
     
    WHAT IS A CROSTATA OR GALETTE?

    A crostata or galette was an early way to form a pie crust in the absence of pie pans—and before anyone even realized a pie pan was desirable! The dough was rolled flat, the filling placed in the middle, and the edges turned up and folded (see the photos) to contain the filling. It was used for savory and sweet pies, and could be made free-form or in a rectangle, round or square.

    And, even after the emergence of tin and ceramic pie pans, for poor folk as well as the itinerant, no purchase of a pie pan was needed. This is a pie made without bakeware (well…a baking sheet helps the modern baker, instead of the older practice of using the floor of the oven or fireplace).

    Even today, it is simple to make; and we find it a fun undertaking, uniting us with all of those ancestors who baked without pans. No technique to create an even, fluted crust is necessary. There’s no worry about tearing the dough as you lift it into the pie pan. No one cares if the final result isn’t perfectly round or rectangular: The rusticity is the charm.

    And, the ease of creating a crostata/galette may get you to make pie more often—not just a fruit pie, but savory pies of vegetables, meat, even fish and seafood. Tip: It’s fun to make “leftovers pie,” tossing in everything from pasta, rice or grains to cooked meats and vegetables, cheese, whatever (go on a scavenger hunt through the fridge and pantry).

     

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    Galettes can also be made in individual sizes. Photo courtesy California Strawberry Commission.

     

    RECIPE: FRUIT GALETTE (CROSTATA)

    This recipe below works for any fruit, but for a classic apple galette, this recipe adds cinnamon.

    You can make the dough up to three days in advance.

    Ingredients For The Dough

  • 1-1/3 cups all-purpose flour
  • 1 tablespoon/15 grams sugar
  • ½ teaspoon salt
  • 1 large egg
  • Heavy cream, as needed
  • 1 stick cold unsalted butter, cut into pieces
  • 2 teaspoons lemon juice
  • Optional: ½ teaspoon grated lemon zest
  • Optional: jam in a matching or complementary flavor*
  •  
    *Spreading jam on the bottom of an unbaked crust is a tip that adds a more fruit flavor and some extra sweetness to the pie.

    For The Filling

  • 3 cups fruit of choice, sliced or cubed (berries can be left whole)
  • ½ cup to 3/4 cup sugar, based on the sweetness of the fruit, with 1 tablespoon reserved
  • Pinch of salt
  • Optional: juice and grated zest of 1/2 lemon
  • 3 to 4 tablespoons cornstarch
  •  
    Preparation

    1. MAKE the crust: In a food processor fitted with a steel blade, or in a large bowl, pulse or mix together the flour, sugar and salt. Lightly beat the egg in a measuring cup; then add just enough cream to get to 1/3 cup. Lightly whisk the egg and cream together.

    2. ADD the butter to the flour mixture and pulse, or use a pastry cutter or your fingers to break up the butter into chickpea-size pieces. If using a food processor, do not over-process the dough or it gets tough.

    3. DRIZZLE up to 1/4 cup of the egg mixture over the dough and pulse or stir until it just starts to come together (but is still mostly large crumbs). Mix in the lemon zest.

    4. PLACE the dough on a lightly floured surface and pat it into one uniform piece. Flatten it into a disk, wrap in plastic and chill for 2 hours and up to 3 days. When ready to bake…

    5. PREHEAT the oven to 400°F. Roll the dough into a 12-inch round—or as close to round as is easy for you. Transfer the dough to a rimmed baking sheet lined with parchment paper and chill while preparing the filling.

    6. PREPARE the filling: Toss together the fruit, all but 1 tablespoon of the sugar, the salt, the lemon juice and zest, and the cornstarch. Use more cornstarch for juicy fruits like apples, berries and peaches, and less for drier fruits like figs.

    7. SPREAD the optional jam over the center of the dough circle, then place the fruit in the middle, leaving a border of 1½ to 2 inches (some people like the look of an even higher crust). Gently fold the pastry over the fruit, pleating to hold it in. Brush the pastry with the leftover egg and cream mixture. Sprinkle the reserved tablespoon of sugar on the crust.

    8. BAKE for 35 to 45 minutes, until the filling bubbles up vigorously and the crust is golden. Cool for at least 20 minutes on a wire rack. Serve warm or at room temperature.

    This recipe was adapted from one in the New York Times.

      

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    TIP OF THE DAY: Serve Food In A Rocks Glass

    One way to make food more interesting is to serve it in (or on) an unusual vessel. Chefs at better restaurants are always looking for more interesting presentations, serving food on everything from bricks of Himalayan Pink Salt to slate tiles and cutting boards.

    Consumer magazines contribute their own ideas, styling food in hollowed-out oranges or butternut squash shells, mini flower pots and re-purposed oyster shells.

    For today, consider something much simpler: your tumblers or rocks glasses. In addition to a fun factor, they’re also good for controlling portion sizes of macaroni and cheese and other fattening food, and to constrain runny foods from running into neighbors on the plate.
     
    A rocks glass, also called an Old Fashioned glass, is a form of tumbler. With a capacity of nine to twelve ounces, it is used for a simple cocktail or plain spirit served over ice cubes—i.e., “on the rocks.”

       

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    Tartare in a tumbler. Photo courtesy Bo’s Kitchen and Bar Room | NYC.

     
    While you don’t have a cocktail with every meal, you do serve food that can be presented in those idle rocks glasses. Some ideas:
     
    Breakfast In A Rocks Glass

  • Cereal, cold or hot
  • Fruit salad
  • Scrambled eggs
  • Yogurt or cottage cheese
  •  
    Lunch & Dinner In A Rocks Glass

  • Beans and legumes
  • Ceviche
  • Condiments (e.g. pickles and olives)
  • Garnishes (e.g. croutons, grated cheese, gremolata, salsa)
  • Layered parfaits (e.g., guacamole, salsa, sour cream)
  • Pasta
  • Rice or other grains
  • Salad or slaw
  • Shrimp cocktail
  • Sides, from thick (like mashed potatoes) to runny (like sauerkraut)
  • Soup (no spoon required!)
  • Steak, salmon or tuna tartare
  •  

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    Serve a side salad in a tumbler. Photo courtesy Elegant Affairs Catering.

     

    Desserts In A Rocks Glass

  • Berries
  • Compote
  • Dirt cake
  • Fruit soup
  • Garnishes (e.g. chocolate chips, shredded coconut)
  • Ice cream or sorbet
  • Mini meringues or other small cookies
  • Parfaits
  • Pudding or mousse
  •  
    Snacks In A Rocks Glass

  • Candies (we love a glass of gummies)
  • Cheese spread or cubes
  • Chips or pretzels with dip
  • Cookies
  • Crackers or Goldfish
  • Crudités with hummus or other dip
  • Popcorn
  • Nuts
  • Trail mix
  •  
    Our list is far from exhaustive. So the next time you open the cabinet door to select plates or bowls for serving food, think: Would this food be more fun in a rocks glass?

    If you don’t have enough tumblers, use wine goblets or Champagne coupes, also called sherbet Champagne glasses.

    The latter are so-called because, contrary to Marie Antoinette’s preferences, we now know that they shouldn’t be used for sparkling wines (the bubbles dissipate too quickly). But they work just great for sorbet, ice cream, pudding and mousse.

      

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    TIP OF THE DAY: Is Sambal Oelek The Next Sriracha?

    The taste buds of the nation have changed since the 1960s, when immigration laws were relaxed and more Asians moved to the U.S., bringing their culinary traditions with them. Their bolder flavors began to attract Americans who had only known a blander European-based diet.

    There were American hot sauces, but they were popular largely in the South and Southwest. Hot sauce manufacturing in the U.S. began in Louisiana with Tabasco brand pepper sauce in 1868. While it was distributed in other regions, most people didn’t know about it. Much later, in 1947, Dave Pace combined tomatoes, jalapeños and onions into “picante sauce,” refining the recipe over the next decade.

    With the national expansion of Tex-Mex restaurants beginning in the 1960s, more people were introduced to hot sauce, and the demand began to expand. Around the same time, the expanding popularity of the Bloody Mary meant that a bottle of Tabasco could be found in many households.

    The most recent hot sauce to take hold in the category is Sriracha, a recipe from Thai port of Sri Racha that is produced in California by the Huy Fong company. “Rooster bottles” of the hot chili pureé (the logo is a red rooster), with its ketchup-like sweetness and notes of garlic and spice, have found their way into restaurants and homes alike.

       

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    A spoonful of sambal olek, an Indonesian chile paste. Photo courtesy Ryan Spilken.

     
    Sriracha has gone from an Asian condiment few people had heard of, to the go-to hot sauce for millennials. Sriracha sauce has found its way onto burgers, breakfast eggs, fries, noodles, salads, sandwiches, stir-frys and wings. Chefs have added it to everything from rémoulade sauce to brownies, ice cream and other desserts.

    There are even Sriracha-specific cookbooks, including:

  • The Sriracha Cookbook: 50 “Rooster Sauce” Recipes that Pack a Punch (including Peach-Sriracha Sorbet) and its companion book…
  • The Veggie-Lover’s Sriracha Cookbook: 50 Vegan “Rooster Sauce” Recipes that Pack a Punch (including Maple-Sriracha Doughnuts and Watermelon Sriracha Sangria)
  • Sriracha Sauce Cookbook: Top 50 Easy Sriracha Recipes to Satisfy Your Spicy Food Addiction! (including Baked Sriracha Spaghetti Squash and Strawberry Sriracha Margaritas)
  •  
    Here’s the history of Sriracha sauce and the popular Huy Fong Sriracha Hot Chili Sauce that gave the product its nickname, “rooster sauce.”

    O.K., we know that Sriracha is mainstream, appearing in everything from hummus to potato chips. But in the words of fickle foodies and millennials everywhere, what’s next?

    It could be sambal oelek!

     

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    A thick paste, sambal oelik has vinegar tartness and fruity sweetness (like ketchup). Top photo courtesy RyanSpilken.com, bottom photo courtesy Huy Fong.

     

    WHAT’S SAMBAL OELEK?

    Vinegar-based sambal oelek is a staple in Indonesian, Malaysian and Thai cooking. The first packaged brand was Indonesian; and the name, Javanese in origin, means “ground by stone mortar.”

    Sambal is sauce typically made from a hot chiles and other ingredients, which can include fish sauce or shrimp paste, garlic, ginger, lime juice, rice vinegar or other vinegar, scallion, shallot and sugar.

    Tart and vinegary, with fruity notes, it is a paste rather than a thin liquid. And it’s definitel for heat lovers: The vinegar makes the heat even more intense.

    The folks at Huy Fong are at the ready, with jars of sambal oelek also bearing their familiar rooster logo.

    You can find it at Asian markets or online.

    And here’s a trick from Paul McMillan, executive chef at Wyoming Seminary, a prep school where the students love Sriracha:

  • Spread Sriracha over parchment or wax paper on a sheet pan and dry it in the oven at 180 degrees for at least an hour.
  • Remove from the oven, cool, and then break it up into crunchy crumbles that you can sprinkle on soups, salads, baked potatoes, rice and…anything.
  •  

    Industry experts predict that next on the hot sauce horizon is gochujang sauce (pronounced ko-choo-CHONG), a pungent, hot red chili paste from Korea. It’s made from fermented soybeans, glutinous rice, red chiles, garlic, honey and salt.

    The gochujang chili paste is also is made in a sauce version, for easy sprinkling.

    But for the rest of the details: That’s another story.

      

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