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    THE NIBBLE’s Gourmet News & Views

    Trends, Products & Items Of Note In The World Of Specialty Foods

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Archive for Tip Of The Day

TIP OF THE DAY: Kabob Sandwiches

For your grilling pleasure, here’s an alternative to burgers and other red meat from Williams-Sonoma Kitchen.

Food on a stick is great fun for kids, and the entire family can help prepare this simple kabob recipe.

Children can skewer the meat, which cooks in minutes on a grill or indoor George Foreman-type grill. Then everyone assembles his/her own pita sandwich, customizing the garnishes to their preferences.

This recipe is classic Greek: roasted meat with tzatziki, the Greek yogurt-cucumber sauce, and whatever garnishes you like:

  • The basics: lettuce, onion, tomato
  • The “extras”: bell pepper rings, thin-sliced cucumber, radish or cucumber salad
  • The “whatevers” from the fridge: fresh or pickled chiles, crumbled feta, pepperoncini, pickles and of course, “whatever”
  • And did we mention, it’s quick?

       

    kabob-sandwiches-ws-recipe-230

    Find more delicious recipes at Williams-Sonoma.com. Photo courtesy Williams-Sonoma.

     

    RECIPE: QUICK KABOB PITA SANDWICHES WITH TZATZIKI

    Ingredients For 4 Servings

  • 2 teaspoons sweet paprika
  • 1/2 teaspoon ground cumin
  • 1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon
  • 1/4 teaspoon ground ginger
  • 1 teaspoon kosher salt or coarse sea salt (more to taste)
  • 1 pound filet mignon, lamb loin or boneless, skinless chicken breasts, cut into 1-inch cubes
  • 1 tablespoon canola oil
  • 4 pita bread rounds
  • Garnishes: shredded romaine lettuce, diced tomatoes and shaved red onion
  • More garnishes: bell pepper, chiles, feta, pepperoncini, pickles, whatever you’ve got
  •  
    For The Tzatziki (Yogurt Sauce)

  • 1 cup low-fat Greek yogurt
  • 1/2 English cucumber, peeled, seeded and cut into 1/4-inch dice
  • 2 tablespoons fresh lemon juice
  • 2 tablespoons total chopped fresh dill and/or mint
  • Salt to taste
  •  

    lamb-kabobs-sliding-skewers-WS-230

    Iconic Greek lamb (shish) kabobs, made even easier with these stainless sliding skewers. Photo courtesy Williams-Sonoma.

     

    Preparation

    1. MAKE the tzatziki. Combine all ingredients and stir well. Add salt to taste and set aside. This can be made several days in advance and stored in the fridge; serve it at room temperature.

    2. PREHEAT the outdoor grill to medium-high. For an indoor grill, place the grill plate on the lower level and the griddle plate on the upper level (Williams-Sonoma used the Cuisinart Elite Griddler). Preheat both sides to 450°F.

    3. STIR together in a small bowl the paprika, cumin, cinnamon, ginger and salt. In another bowl, toss the meat with the oil and 1 tablespoon of the spice mixture.

    4. THREAD 5 or 6 meat cubes onto each skewer and place on the grill (or the grill side of the electric griddle). Cook, turning the skewers occasionally, until the beef/lamb is cooked to medium, about 8 minutes, or the chicken is cooked through, about 12 minutes. Transfer to a plate and cover loosely with aluminum foil. Meanwhile…

     

    5. LIGHTLY toast the pita bread rounds on the grill or the griddle side of the electric griddle, 1 to 2 minutes per side.

    6. CUT the toasted pita rounds in half crosswise, then pry open. Fill the pockets with the meat, lettuce, tomatoes, onion other garnishes. Top with the tzatziki and serve immediately.

     
    OUR FAVORITE NEW SKEWERS

    Grilled kabobs is easy until it’s time to remove the cooked food from the skewer. New skewers from Williams-Sonoma (photo above)solve the problem with a sliding disk that lets you push food onto the plate in one swift motion.

    An added bonus: The square shape of the rod prevents foods from spinning when you turn kabobs on the grill. You’re guaranteed even cooking!

    This Williams-Sonoma exclusive is dishwasher safe, too. A great gift for grilling enthusiasts.

    Get yours at Williams-Sonoma.com.

      

    Comments

    TIP OF THE DAY: Grilled Pizza The Right Way

    When you fire up the grill, make a pizza! Grilled pizza is celestial, with a crispy, chewy and slightly charred crust and the light, smoky flavor picked up by the cheese and toppings.

    Grilling caramelizes the crust the way a wood burning pizza oven does. But you don’t need the wood-burning oven—just the backyard grill you already have.
     
    IT’S EASY TO GET THE RIGHT RESULTS

    Some people have tried grilling pizza at home without success. The new cookbook Grilled Pizza The Right Way provides the fail-safe technique to do it perfectly.

    Award-winning chef and barbecue pitmaster, John Delpha, has been grilling pizza for 20 years. He honed his skills at the famed Al Forno pizzeria in Providence, Rhode Island that is credited with popularizing* grilled pizza.

    Loaded with photos, this book of more than 85 grilled pizza recipes gets you started with the right techniques. Hot off the presses, it’s a must-have for home grillers, and a great gift to bring whenever you’re invited over by a griller.

       

    grilled-pizza-the-right-way-230

    The book that will change your summer grilling. Photo courtesy Page Street Publishing.

     

    Once you know Chef Delpha’s technique, the grilling combinations are endless, including sweet dessert pizzas (oh, the Bananas Foster pizza!).

    The instructions are easy to follow; you can make the dough and toppings ahead of time for a quick weeknight pizza, or use store-bought dough for even quicker eating.
     
    CONVENTIONAL & CREATIVE TOPPINGS

    Channel your inner pizza chef with varieties galore, from pizza parlor standards to gourmet toppings (goat cheese, lamb and many others) to porting over concepts from other favorite foods—Reuben and cheeseburger pizzas for example.

    This weekend we’re making our own combo of ingredients we had in-house—asparagus, bacon, caramelized onions and corn—plus the book’s recipe for pickled jalapeño crema.

    We’re are also experimenting with toppings of pâté, cornichons and Dijon crema thanks to a gift of luscious pâtés we received from the pâté pros at Le Trois Petits Cochons.

     

    grilled_pizza_jimlahey-details.com-230

    Beyond pepperoni, here’s a creative grilled pizza and the recipe. Photo courtesy Details.com.

     

    GET YOUR COPY

    Hungry yet? Click over to Amazon.com to get your copy of “Grilled Pizza the Right Way,” plus more for gifting.

    Then plan to throw grilled pizza parties all summer. Guests will clamor for the next flavor to come off the grill.

    Can’t wait for the book to arrive? Start this weekend with a recipe and tips from Jim Lahey of New York City’s Co Pane restaurant and pizzeria.

    His grilled beauty in the photo at left uses béchamel sauce, grated Parmesan, mozzarella, garlic, fresh basil and red-pepper flakes, topped with cherry tomatoes and raw corn.

    Find the full recipe at Details.com.

     
    *A QUICK HISTORY OF PIZZA: Al Forno didn’t invent the grilled pizza, as often attributed, but reinvented it. The precursor of pizza predates written history, but flatbread topped with cheese and cooked in the fire could date as far back as 5500 B.C.E.

    Melted cheese on bread was common fare for millennia around the Mediterranean, but the tomato didn’t arrive from the New World until the 16th century. The fruit was the size of modern cherry tomatoes and thought to be poisonous; the plant was used as house decor!

    During a famine the 18th century, the starving poor of Naples were reduced to eating anything. They tried the tomatoes, found they were not poisonous but delicious, and began to add it to their cheese and flatbread (often with anchovies!). Thus, modern pizza was born. Here’s the history of pizza plus 12 gourmet pizza recipes.

      

    Comments

    TIP OF THE DAY: Add More Flavor To Everything You Grill

    Ready, set, grill! While you may have had the grill on for a while, Memorial Day is considered the launch of grilling season in the Northeast, where we live.

    McCormick & Company, a leader in what’s hot in flavor, has released a grilling edition of its 2015 Flavor Forecast, with links to yummy recipes.

    Of course, they have all the hot flavors you need to perk up your food, from burger mix-ins to marinades to seasoned grilling salts.

    The the hottest trends to enhance your grilled flavors all season are:

  • Backyard Brunch: Bacon, eggs and even donuts are grilled to add smoky flavor and and served outside.
  • Boss Burgers: Forget plain ketchup and sliced onions. Now, it’s all about the build. Add mix-ins to burgers, then build flavor with toppers and condiments like grilled avocado, mango slaw or lime mayo. Check out this Southwestern Smoky Ranchero Burger with Grilled Avocado and this Vietnamese Banh Mi Burger with Sriracha Mayo.
  •    

    Bacon_and_Eggs_Flatbread-mccormick--230

    Grill your bacon and eggs, with spinach and Gruyère cheese. Here’s the recipe. Photo courtesy McCormick.

  • Grilling Salts: Shake up classic salt and pepper by adding other flavors to the shaker. McCormick makes it easy with pre-filled sea ssalt grinders. See more about them below, and use them to add texture and flavor.
  • Reverse Sear: There’ll be no more dry chicken coming off your grates with this technique. Check out this recipe for Sweet Soy Bourbon Chicken infused with bourbon, brown sugar and soy sauce.
  •  

    Chipotle-Sea-Salt-Blend-230

    Chipotle Sea Salt, one of four trending flavored sea salts available in grinders.
    Photo courtesy McCormick.

     
  • Smokin’ Veggie Starters: Most people love grilled veggies, but don’t wait for the main course and sides to serve them. For starters, try this Grilled Vegetable Antipasto Bruschetta, a fusion of Italian bruschetta on top of Middle Eastern hummus.
     
    GRILLING SALTS

    One of the easiest ways to add flavor, during and after cooking, is with seasoned salts.

    McCormick’s easy-to-use sea salt grinders are favorites of ours. Flavors include:

  • Chipotle Sea Salt Blend
  • Lemon Zest Sea Salt Blend
  • Smoked Sea Salt
  • Sweet Onion Sea Salt Blend
  •  
    As gifts for grilling hosts, we like to package all four inside a related gift like this Weber grilling basket that keeps mushrooms, chiles and other small vegetables from falling onto the coals

     

      

    Comments

    TIP OF THE DAY: Put Bourbon In Your Barbecue Sauce

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    Add bourbon to your barbecue sauce. Photo courtesy Whiskey.Wikia.com.

     

    Are you making barbecue sauce for the holiday weekend? Consider adding some bourbon, which is trending with chefs.

    According to Datassential MenuTrends, bourbon barbecue sauce, which first became popular in the South and Midwest, appears on 32% more restaurant menus than it did four years ago. The trend is spreading nationwide.

    Bourbon adds notes of smokiness and wood (like oak does for wine). Other ingredients to add to your sauce include brown sugar, garlic, liquid smoke, maple syrup, molasses, onion, sriracha sauce (or fresh chiles) and tamarind.

    In addition to burgers, chicken, pulled pork, ribs and wings, bourbon barbecue sauce is also ending up in “Texas Eggs Benedict,” inspired by the classic with pulled pork instead of Canadian bacon and bourbon barbecue sauce instead of the hollandaise (or along with it).

    For starters, try the recipe below. It’s extremely easy to make—just combine the ingredients and heat!

    If you’ve already purchased a bottle of barbecue sauce, you can use it as a base. Place it in a saucepan with the bourbon and any of the other ingredients below, to taste.

     
    RECIPE: BOURBON BARBECUE SAUCE

    This recipe was adapted from Epicurious.com. It can be made up to two weeks in advance.

     

    Ingredients For 2 Cups

  • 1 cup ketchup
  • 1/2 cup bourbon
  • 3 tablespoons brown sugar
  • 3 tablespoons light (mild) molasses
  • 3 tablespoons apple cider vinegar
  • 2 tablespoons Worcestershire sauce
  • 1 tablespoon soy sauce
  • 1 tablespoon Dijon mustard
  • 1-1/2 teaspoons liquid smoke
  • 1 teaspoon onion powder
  • 1 teaspoon garlic powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon dried crushed red pepper
  • 1/2 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
  •  

    Preparation

    1. BRING all ingredients to boil in saucepan over medium heat, stirring occasionally.
     

     

    ribs-sauce-EZForyu-IST-230

    Make your own barbecue sauce, or enhance one that you’ve purchased with bourbon. Photo by E.Z. Foryu | IST.

    2. LOWER the heat and simmer until the sauce is reduced to 2 cups, stirring often (about 10 minutes).

    3. REMOVE from the heat; cover and chill. Bring to room temperature before using.

      

    Comments

    TIP OF THE DAY: Make A Trifle

    Want to make a fancy dessert but don’t want to turn on the oven? Make a trifle.

    TRIFLE HISTORY

    A trifle is a classic English dessert, called by a variety of names including Tipsy Cake, Tipsy Parson, Tipsy Squire and Tipsy Hedgehog. “Tipsy” indicates the addition of spirits, typically sherry.

    Trifle was an evolution of the fool, a simpler dessert of puréed fruit and whipped cream. The trifle emerged as a way to use stale cake.

    Today, a classic English trifle layers fruit, whipped cream, egg custard and sponge cake that’s been soaked in sherry. Zuppa inglese is the Italian version.

    According to What’s Cooking America, the recipe was brought to America in the mid-1700s by Brits settling in the coastal South. The combination of cake or biscuits with custard and alcohol became a popular dessert, served in an elegant cut-glass trifle bowl.

    The recipe below is an evolution still, using modern America’s outdoor grills to add another note of flavor to the fruit. Of course, you can make the recipe without cooking the fruit. The recipe is from QVC’s chef David Venable.

       

    chocolate-strawberry-trifle-qvc-230

    Chocolate trifle with grilled strawberries. Photo courtesy QVC.

     

    RECIPE: CHOCOLATE BERRY TRIFLE

    Strawberries are usually the most economical berry, but you can substitute other berries (and matching preserves). While this recipe uses whipped topping, we vastly prefer whipped cream.

    Use a large glass trifle bowl or salad bowl to assemble the trifle. If you don’t have one or can’t borrow one, a glass mixing bowl works, too; the idea is to show the visual appeal of the layers. But you can default to a lovely [opaque] porcelain bowl or soufflé dish.

    There’s no sherry in this recipe, but if you want it, sprinkle it over the cake.

    Ingredients For 14-16 Servings

    For The Grilled Strawberries

  • 2 pounds strawberries, hulled and halved
  • Juice of 1 lemon
  • 1/3 cup sugar
  • 1/2 cup strawberry preserves
  •  
    For The Trifle

  • 2-1/2 cups whole milk
  • 1/4 cup cold strong coffee
  • 2 packages (3.9 ounces each) chocolate fudge instant pudding mix
  • 1 container (16 ounces) whipped topping, or whipped cream stiffened with gelatin (recipe below), divided
  • 1 chocolate cake, cut into 1″ pieces*
  • 1 package Oreos (14.3 ounces), crumbled
  •  
    *We typically buy an uniced loaf cake or bake a bundt—it’s easier to cut into cubes than an iced cake.

     

    whipped-cream-kuhnrikonFB-230sq

    For all you Cool Whip lovers: Fresh whipped cream is so much better! For fillings and icings, you just need to stabilize it with gelatin (recipe below). Photo courtesy Kuhn Rikon.

     

    Preparation

    1. PREPARE the grilled strawberries: Preheat an outdoor grill over high heat. Place the halved strawberries, lemon juice and sugar in a medium-size bowl. Toss until the strawberries are fully coated and place them in a nonstick grill pan. Cook for 5–6 minutes, tossing constantly.

    2. PLACE the berries back into the bowl and add the strawberry preserves. Mix until evenly combined. Cover with plastic wrap and refrigerate for 2 hours, or until completely cold.

    3. PREPARE the pudding: Whisk together the milk, coffee and instant pudding in a large bowl until the mixture is thick. Fold in half of the whipped topping until fully incorporated. Press a piece of plastic wrap directly onto the surface of the pudding to prevent a skin from forming. Refrigerate for at least 2 hours, or until completely cold.

     
    4. ASSEMBLE the trifle: Place 1/3 of the chocolate cake pieces into the bowl; then layer 1/3 of the pudding mixture, 1/3 of the grilled strawberries and 1/3 of the remaining whipped topping. End with 1/3 of the crushed Oreos. Repeat this process 2 more times, finishing with the whipped topping and crushed Oreos. Refrigerate until ready to serve.
     
    RECIPE: STABILIZED WHIPPED CREAM WITH GELATIN

    Ingredients

  • 1 teaspoon unflavored gelatin
  • 4 teaspoons cold water
  • 1 cup heavy whipping cream
  • 1?4 cup confectioner’s sugar, sifted
  •  
    Preparation

    1. COMBINE the gelatin and cold water in a small pan; let stand until the mixture is thick. Then place the pan over low heat, stirring constantly, until the gelatin dissolves. Remove from the heat. Let it cool, but do not allow it to set.

    2. WHIP the cream with the sugar until slightly thick. While slowly beating, add the gelatin to whipping cream. Whip at high speed until stiff.

      

    Comments

    TIP OF THE DAY: Homemade Rhubarb Ketchup

    rhubarb-ketchup-tasteofhome-230

    Rhubarb and tomato ketchup. For a smooth texture, use an immersion blender or food processor. Photo courtesy Taste Of Home.

     

    Need something to bring to a Memorial Day cook-out? How about homemade ketchup? Pack it into mason jars and tie a ribbon around the neck.

    Go one step further and make rhubarb ketchup, a condiment from yesteryear.

    A combination of the familiar tomato and the less-familiar tang of rhubarb (now in season), the recipe below adds notes of cinnamon and pickling spices to burgers, fries, sandwiches and other foods.

    It’s how ketchup used to taste, before the bland tomato sweetness of major national brands took over.

    It’s very easy to make ketchup at home. Prep time is just five minutes, plus an hour to simmer and another hour to chill.

    This recipe is courtesy of Taste Of Home.

     

    RECIPE: RHUBARB KETCHUP

    Ingredients For 6-7 Cups

  • 4 cups diced fresh or frozen rhubarb
  • 3 medium onions, chopped
  • 1 can (28 ounces) diced tomatoes, undrained
  • 1 cup sugar
  • 1 cup packed brown sugar
  • 1 cup white vinegar
  • 2 teaspoons salt
  • 1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
  • 1 tablespoon pickling spice
  •  

    Preparation

    1. COMBINE all ingredients except the pickling spice in a large saucepan.

    2. PLACE the pickling spice on a double thickness of cheesecloth, gather the corners of cloth to enclose and tie securely with string. Add to saucepan.

    3. COOK 1 hour or until thickened. Discard the spice bag. Cool the ketchup. Smooth with an immersion blender, if desired.

    4. STORE in airtight containers in the refrigerator.

     
    MORE KETCHUP

  • Here’s a homemade tomato ketchup recipe that uses honey instead of sugar. It includes variations for chipotle, cranberry, curry, garlic, horseradish, jalapeño and sriracha ketchup flavors.
  • Check out the history of ketchup, a condiment and table sauce that originated in Asia and wasn’t made with tomatoes until centuries after it was brought to the West. The Asians made it with pickled fish and the Brits made it with mushrooms. Tomato ketchup was born in the U.S.A.
  •  

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    Rhubarb, ready to turn into ketchup. Photo courtesy Good Eggs | New York.

     

    BEYOND BURGERS & FRIES: 10 USES FOR KETCHUP

    Burgers, fries and other fried or breaded food—chicken, mozzarella sticks, onion rings, zucchini fries—are obvious. Meat loaf sandwiches are a given, as are breakfast eggs. Here are ten more everyday condiment uses for ketchup.

  • Baked Beans: Mom topped her baked beans recipe with ketchup and bacon strips before placing the dish in the oven.
  • Barbecue Sauce: Read the labels—most have a ketchup base! Browse homemade BBQ sauce recipes and add your own favorite ingredients.
  • Cocktail Sauce: Mix with horseradish.
  • Dip: Mix ketchup with plain yogurt, or serve it straight with potato chips.
  • Hot Dogs: We grew up with mustard on hot dogs, and discovered well into adult hood that many people use ketchup instead.
  • Meat Loaf Glaze: A favorite topping in American meat loaf recipes: Add a tablespoon of apple cider vinegar to 1 cup of ketchup.
  • Russian Dressing: Combine equal proportions of ketchup and mayonnaise.
  • Steak Sauce: Melt a stick of butter in a sauce pan, add three minced garlic cloves, simmer a bit and stir in a cup of ketchup. Serve hot or room temperature.
  • Sweet & Sour Sauce: Add Thai fish sauce and fresh lime juice.
  • Thousand Island Dressing: Combine ketchup with mayonnaise ans sweet pickle relish.
  •   

    Comments

    TIP OF THE DAY: Pasta Made Tricolor With Veggies

    mediterranean-chicken-pasta-urbanaccents-230

    Mediterranean Pasta With Chicken. Photo
    courtesy Urban Accents.

     

    Doesn’t this pasta dish look more exciting than a conventional red-sauced plate? It uses vegetables to make “tricolor pasta” instead of pasta colored green and red with spinach and tomatoes.

    Tricolor pasta—green and red plus white—looks appealing in the bag but typically fades when cooked. So try a more colorful approach with veggies!

    In this recipe, color comes from red cherry tomatoes, purple kalamata olives and green spinach. If you want to use a red sauce, simply switch out the red tomatoes for orange or yellow varieties.

    Whether you use a red, white or colorless sauce (e.g. olive oil), adding two, three or four vegetable colors to your pasta dish provides great eye appeal as well as more flavor and nutrition.

     
    YEAR-ROUND COLORFUL VEGETABLES

    While green ingredients are a given, look for ingredients from the other produce “color groups.” For reference with other recipes, we’ve included fruits along with vegetables in this list.

  • Green: edamame (soybean), herbs (basil, cilantro, dill, parsley), Granny Smith apples, grapes, green beans, green peas (frozen are fine), mesclun or other salad greens, olives, snow peas, sugar snap peas
  • Orange: bell pepper strips, carrots (baby carrots, sliced or shaved carrots), kumquats, grape tomatoes, mandarin wedges, mango, sweet potatoes (cubed or sliced)
  • Purple/blue: blackberries, blueberies, cauliflower, grapes, kalamata olives, kale, Peruvian potatoes, red cabbage red raisins (plumped in cider)
  • Red: beets, bell pepper strips, cherry tomatoes, dried cherries or cranberries, grape tomatoes, lady apples, mini red jacket potatoes, pomegranate arils, radicchio/red endive, radishes, red grapes/champagne grapes (currants), red onion
  • Yellow: bell pepper strips, golden raisins (plumped in cider), lemon peel, miniature pattypan squash, star fruit (carambola)
  •  

    RECIPE: TRICOLOR MEDITERRANEAN PASTA
    WITH CHICKEN

    This Mediterranean Pasta With Chicken is an easy one-pot dinner, with a goat cheese-based sauce accented with sundried tomatoes, olives and Mediterranean herbs. It was adapted from Urban Accents, which used its Athenian Herb Dryglaze seasoning blend, which pairs sundried tomato with honey and thyme flavors.

    Prep time is 10 minutes, cook time is 30 minutes.

    Ingredients For 4 Servings

  • 1 tablespoon extra virgin olive oil
  • 1 pound boneless, skinless chicken breasts
  • 1 packet Urban Accents Athenian Herb Dryglaze, divided seasoning
  • 1 pound penne, rigatoni or other medium tubular pasta
  • 1 cup sundried tomatoes (not oil-packed), roughly chopped
  • 5 ounces soft goat cheese, crumbled
  • 1 cup Kalamata olives, sliced lengthwise and pitted
  • 1/3 cup chopped arugula, parsley or spinach
  • Salt and pepper to taste
  •  
    For The Seasoning

  • 1-1/2 tablespoons dried oregano
  • 1 tablespoon dried thyme
  • 1/2 tablespoon dried basil
  • 1/2 tablespoon dried marjoram
  • 1-1/2 teaspoons dried minced onion
  • 1-1/2 teaspoons dried minced garlic
  •  

    penne-rigate-sxc-230

    Penne rigate. Rigate refers to the ridges, which help the sauce adhere. They give their name to rigatoni, ridged tubes. The difference between penne rigate and rigatoni and is the end cut: Penne (“quills”) are cut at an angle, rigatoni are cut straight. Also, rigatoni tend to be slightly larger. See the different pasta shapes in our Pasta Glossary.

     

    Preparation

    1. BLEND the seasoning ingredients. Bring a large pot of salted water to a boil, for the pasta. As the water heats…

    2. RUB the chicken breasts with 1 tablespoon olive oil and place in resealable plastic bag. Add the seasonings, reserving 2 tablespoons of seasoning for later use. Seal the bag tightly and gently shake so that breasts are coated evenly; refrigerate for 30 minutes.

    3. PREHEAT the stovetop grill pan for medium heat; spray with non-stick cooking spray. Cook chicken breasts, turning once, until cooked through and instant read thermometer indicates 170F. Slice cooked chicken breasts on angle. While chicken cooks…

    4. COOK the pasta for 3 minutes less than package instructions. Add the sundried tomatoes to water and cook for 3 minutes. Reserve 1 cup of the pasta water. Drain the pasta; return the pasta and the sundried tomato mixture to the pot.

    5. ADD the goat cheese, reserved seasoning and cup of pasta water to hot pasta. Wait 1-2 minutes, then stir gently to combine. Add additional pasta water if you prefer a saucier dish. Stir in the olives and sprinkle with the arugula/parsley/spinach. Divide the pasta among 4 plates and top with slices of chicken.

      

    Comments

    TIP OF THE DAY: Chef Tips For Exciting Sandwiches

    porchetta-Hilton-Chicago-flavorandthemenu-230

    A porchetta sandwich served with fennel
    slaw, roasted red pepper, crispy fried onion
    threads and sriracha aïoli. Photo courtesy
    Flavor & The Menu.

     

    What’s trending in restaurant sandwiches?

    Proteins are still a first-round decision: Do you want chicken, ham or roast beef, for example.

    But these days, according to chefs interviewed by restaurant trade magazine Flavor & The Menu, produce makes the sandwich.

    Here are five quick tips and a link to the full article. We’ll tell you what chefs are doing, then offer some easier home solutions.

    1. CONDIMENTS COUNT

    Sweet, sour, savory and pungent: Chefs use any number of chutneys, conserves, marmalades, pestos, pickles, salsas and sauces for a creative flavor boost.

    Chefs create special condiments like broccoli marmalade, celery leaf pesto, fried caper aïoli and pumpkin agrodolce*. At home, we make an easy mayo substitute nonfat Greek yogurt, flavored with diced smashed garlic and dill (creating a form of “yogurt aïoli”).

    There are trending condiments that you can buy in the store: bacon mayonnaise, fig Dijon mustard, onion marmalade (caramelized onions) and sriracha ketchup.

    Any of them will add “wow” notes to a sandwich.

     
    *Agrodolce is an Italian sweet and sour sauce made by reducing vinegar and sugar with other ingredients.
     

    2. GO VIBRANT WITH VEGGIES

    Forget bland lettuce and out-of-season tomatoes. Chefs are substituting specialties like tempura turnips, fried shallots and Vidalia onion purée, and are also getting creative with veggie sandwiches.

    They’re using root vegetables for bold sandwich flavors. The new tuna melt may just be a roasted broccoli and cauliflower melt.

    Whatever the base, it works with pickled vegetables. From pickled carrot slices to pickled beets, it’s easy to pickle vegetables at home. Don’t forget to pickle your favorite hot chiles!

    Home-pickled veggies can be ready in an hour; but if you have no time, just pick up a jar of giardiniera, assorted pickled vegetables that typically include carrots, cauliflower, celery, red bell pepper and optional hot chiles.

    At home, you may already add sliced avocado or guacamole to sandwiches. But how about:

  • Asian vegetables: Asian pear slices, bean sprouts, blanched bok choy, shiso or water chestnuts.
  • Fresh herbs: Basil, cilantro, dill, green onion†, parsley or sage.
  • Potato: Add lots of fresh herb and onion to potato salad and put it on the sandwich, instead of to the side. Try curried potato salad with currants and sliced almonds. Or, slice leftover plain white or sweet potatoes, season and add to the sandwich instead of tomato.
  • Slaw: Go beyond traditional to Asian, Indian, Middle Eastern and other flavors. Try this BLT Slaw recipe with a ham or turkey sandwich.
  • Shaved vegetables: Shave raw asparagus, broccoli, Brussels sprouts, carrots and/or celery as a “crudité” addition that adds crunch and flavor.
     
    While they’re not exactly vegetables, a trending sandwich addition is:
  • Chips: potato, tortilla or veggie chips.
  •  
    †Onion is botanically classified as a perennial herb that grows from a bulb. So are other members of the Allium genus, including chives, garlic, leek, scallion and shallot.

     

    3. ADD FRUIT

    Who says that a slice of fruit doesn’t belong on a sandwich, along with—or instead of—the lettuce and tomato.

    Raw, roasted or pickled, fruit flavors are a perky counterpoint to meaty, salty and savory ingredients.

    Start with apples, pears, plums or other stone fruit in season, and try them alternative raw (sliced thin) and pickled. Both provide a nice crunch.

    If you want fruit without effort, you can default to a jar of fig conserve or red pepper jam. Peruse the shelves of specialty food stores to see what calls your name.

     
    4. USE NUT OR SEED SPREADS

    The explosion of hummus flavors at the grocer’s was the first hint that you can season old standards to deliver new flavors.

    Certainly, use flavored hummus as a spread. But chefs are also mixing peanut butter with Middle Eastern spices, hummus with chocolate and sunflower butters with fruit preserves.

     

    roast-beef-sandwich-mccormick-230

    Roast beef panini with sage pesto and pickled onions. Photo courtesy McCormick.

     
    Take spreads made from nuts and seeds and enhance them with your own favorite flavors, to deliver new punch to everyday sandwiches.

    One of THE NIBBLE’s first Top Picks Of The Week, back in 2004, was a line of savory peanut butters called Peanut Better (alas, it is no longer produced).

    Think onion parsley peanut butter on turkey or ham sandwiches, Southwestern-spiced PB on roast beef sandwiches, hickory smoked PB with hot or cold turkey, ham, and roast chicken. Go Thai by adding ginger, crushed red pepper and a splash of soy sauce.

    Next step: Get a jar of plain peanut butter and get to work!

     
    5. BEANS & LEGUMES

    Chefs are spreading sandwiches with mashed curried chickpeas, white bean purée and pickled black-eyed peas.

    Beans and legumes provide velvety texture and lots of extra protein. Turn your leftover beans and legumes into sandwich spreads or fillings—with cheese or grilled vegetables as well as with meats.

    We added leftover lentil salad to a turkey sandwich along with some pickled onions. Delicious!
     
    OUR FINAL TIP

    Think outside the box, like a creative chef. Every recipe we eat didn’t exist until someone first put the ingredients together.

      

    Comments

    TIP OF THE DAY: Cauliflower Mac & Cheese

    cauliflower-mac-and-cheese-michaelsymon-castello-230

    Forget the pasta: This “mac and cheese”
    substitutes better-for-you cauliflower. Photo
    courtesy Castello.

     

    Chef Michael Symon has a solution for mac and cheese lovers who want to cut back on the pasta: Substitute cauliflower for the pasta.

    For some time now, cauliflower “mashed potatoes” have been a favorite substitute for mashed potatoes: lower in calories, higher in nutrition.

    In this recipe, Chef Symon does a vegetable-for-starch switch with macaroni.

    His recipe has the creamy cheesiness of mac and cheese (Chef Symon uses used Castello Creamy Havarti), the crunchiness of the bread crumbs, extra cruciferous* vegetables in your diet and and delicious comfort food with reduced calories.

    Make it tonight!

    RECIPE: CAULIFLOWER MAC & CHEESE

    Ingredients For 4-6 Servings

  • 1 large head of cauliflower, cut into small florets
  • Salt to taste
  • Freshly ground black pepper, to taste
  • 2 cups heavy cream
  • ½ cup mascarpone (if you cannot find it, cream cheese will work in a pinch)
  • 1 cup havarti
  • Hot sauce, to taste
  • ½ cup chives, finely chopped
  • ½ cup panko bread crumbs
  •  

    Preparation

    1. BRING a large pot of water to a boil and add a tablespoon of salt. Add the florets to the water and cook until tender but still crisp, about 5 minutes. Drain well and pat between several layers of paper towels to dry. Set aside.

    2. PREHEAT the broiler to high. While the cauliflower is cooking, heat a 2-quart Dutch oven† over medium heat. Add the cream, salt, pepper and hot sauce to the pot and bring it to simmer. (Chef Symon used 1 teaspoon of salt and 1 teaspoon of hot sauce, but adjust the seasonings to your liking.) Reduce the cream by 1/3, about 3 minutes.

    3. WHISK in the mascarpone and havarti and stir to incorporate. When the cheese is melted and incorporated, keep the sauce at a simmer. The sauce will be slightly thickened at this point.

     

    cauliflower-beauty-goodeggs-230

    Turn it into “mac and cheese.” Photo courtesy GoodEggs.com.

     

    4. ADD the cauliflower and chives, stirring well to coat the cauliflower. Pour into an ovenproof dish; then top with the bread crumbs, sprinkling them in an even layer. Place the dish under the broiler for 2-3 minutes, until golden brown and bubbly. Remove from the broiler and let set for 5 minutes before serving.

     
    *The highly nutritious, anti-carcinogen Brassicaceae family of vegetables is also called the cruciferous family from cruciferae, New Latin for “cross-bearing.” Their flowers consist of four petals in the shape of a cross. The family include arugula, bok choy, broccoli, Brussels sprouts, cabbage, cauliflower, collard greens, horseradish, kale, kohlrabi, mizuna, mustard, radish, rapeseed/canola, rapini (broccoli rabe), rutabaga, tatsoi and turnips. Eat up!

    †Also called a French oven, a Dutch oven is a thick-walled cooking pot with a tight-fitting lid. It is usually made of cast iron. In France it is called a cocotte, the French word for casserole.

      

    Comments

    TIP OF THE DAY: Havarti, A Great Melting Cheese

    havarti-danishblue-emmirothusa-230

    A tower of regular and flavored havartis. Photo courtesy Emmi Roth USA.

     

    Americans love cheese: atop pizza, on burgers, in mac and cheese. But most of us don’t know that havarti, a Danish cow’s milk cheese, is a great melter as well as a table cheese.

    The semisoft, rindless cheese with small eyes is popular as a table cheese and a sandwich cheese. Now, get to know it as a recipe cheese.

    We actually know who created havarti: Hanne Nielsen, who operated an experimental farm called Havarthigaard, north of Copenhagen, in the latter half of the 19th century. She kept it close, though; havarti was not introduced commercially until around 1920.

    With its buttery aroma and flavor, the cheese was a hit. As it ages, it becomes saltier and nutty, with a slightly crumbly texture.

    Havarti pairs well with beer, Chardonnay, Sauvignon Blanc and light-bodied Pinot Noir.

    If you like havarti, also try Danish tilsit, also known as tilsit havarti. It’s a more intensely flavorful version of havarti, but milder than German tilsit.

     
    Like havarti, tilsit is a good melter, excellent on regular and grilled sandwiches, burgers, and delightful melted over potatoes and other vegetables.

    We recommend that you avoid a product called cream havarti, which may sound tempting but isn’t. It’s made from ultrapasteurized milk to raise yields. The process produces more cheese, but alters the taste and texture.
     
    FLAVORED HAVARTI

    Havarti blends beautifully with other flavors. As a result, there’s a wealth of flavored havartis: basil, caraway, chive, coconut, cranberry, dill, garlic jalapeño and red pepper, among others.

    Beyond the cheese plate, how should you serve havarti? For starters, use it instead of other cheeses in your favorite recipes.

     

    WAYS TO USE HAVARTI

  • Breads: Use havarti to make cheese bread, biscuits and muffins.
  • Cocktails: Skewer cubes of havarti as a garnish for Bloody Marys and Martinis. Try caraway or dill havarti.
  • Crostini: Crunchy crostini are a perfect medium for melted or unmelted havarti. While most crostini are savory, for a delicious snack or dessert use plain havarti with sour cherry preserves or Nutella.
  • Grilled cheese and other sandwiches: With regular or flavored havarti. Try plain havarti with Nutella!
  • Fondue: It’s especially fun with flavored havarti.
  • Ravioli: Fill cheese ravioli with havarti in any flavor. Chef Michael Symon makes “Reuben ravioli” with corned beef and caraway havarti.
  • Other cheese dishes: Use havarti in casseroles, gratins, mac and cheese. Consider flavored havarti for even more flavor.
  •  

    crostini-beer-castellohavarti-230

    Havarti crostini with beer. Photo courtesy Castello Cheese.

     
    Find recipes at CastelloCheese.com, whose delicious, award-winning havartis—plain and flavored—are available in food stores nationwide.
     
    Have a great time cooking with havarti!

      

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