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Archive for Tip Of The Day

TIP OF THE DAY: Summer Fruit Compote

Berry Compote

Apple Compote

Compote Dish

Top: Mixed berry compote atop ice cream (photo courtesy Good Eggs). Center: Compote as the main event, topped with mascarpone (photo courtesy Recipes101.com). Bottom: A modern variation of the fancy stemmed compote dishes of centuries past (photo courtesy Williams-Sonoma).

 

With summer fruits proliferating, here’s an alternative to berry, cherry or peach pie: compote. It’s like eating homemade pie filling—hold the crust.

You can also use it as pancake or oatmeal topping; with plain yogurt, cottage cheese or ricotta; as a toast spread, on cheesecake or angel cake, and so on.
 
WHAT’S A COMPOTE?

Compote is a cooked fruit dish that was very popular in medieval European. It faded out of style in the mid-20th century. People of means served it from special stemmed compote dishes.

A compote is a mix of fruits cooked in a syrup. In fact, the name derives from the Latin compositus, mixture. It is also referred to as poached or stewed fruit.

Compote denotes a mixed fruit recipe, but if you have a bumper crop of one particular fruit, you can bend the rules. One of our favorite combinations is blueberries with peaches and/or nectarines and cherries.
 
RECIPE: SUMMER RUIT COMPOTE

This recipe takes just 20 minutes on the stove top and is equally delicious warm or chilled. Enjoy it plain or garnished with:

  • Cream: heavy cream, ice cream, whipped cream
  • Cheese: mascarpone or ricotta or cannoli cream (recipe below)
  • A fresh strawberry or stemmed cherry
  • Dried fruit: apple or other fruit chip, whole apricot or prune
  • A wafer cookieor gaufrette
  •  
    Ingredients For 4 Cups

  • 4 pints fruit, washed and patted dry, non-berry fruit cut into bite-size pieces
  • ¼ to ½ cup sugar to taste (less is better and lets the fruit flavor shine through)
  • 1 lemon or small orange, zested
  • ½ cup water
  • Optional: 1/4 teaspoon spice—allspice, cardamom, cinnamon, ginger or a combination
  • Optional: 1/4 to 1/2 cup pecan or walnut halves
  • Garnish of choice
  •  
    Preparation

    1. COMBINE the fruit, sugar, zest, water and optional nuts and spices in a saucepan. Cook over medium heat for 20 minutes, stirring occasionally. The fruit should be soft but not mushy.

    2. COOL slightly and serve, or refrigerate. Compote will keep in the fridge for a week, in a sealed container.
     
    3. TO SERVE: Beyond a conventional dessert bowl, you can show off your compote in a glass dish, a goblet, or a pretty porcelain tea cup. In earlier times, special compote dishes were used.
     
    Variation: Add a tablespoon or two or orange juice along with the water.

     
    RECIPE: CANNOLI CREAM AS A TOPPING

    You can slightly sweeten plain ricotta to garnish a compote (spice optional), or can make a smooth cannoli cream with more layers of flavor. This recipe has been modified to use as a dessert topping instead of cannoli filling.

    Ingredients For 2 Cups

  • 2 cups ricotta cheese
  • 3/4 cup powdered sugar, sifted
  • 1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
  • 1/4 teaspoon allspice
  • 1/4 cup heavy cream
  • 1 lemon or small orange, zested
  •  
    Preparation

    1. WHISK the ricotta until smooth in a medium bowl. Add the powdered sugar, cinnamon and allspice and mix to thoroughly combine.

    2. BEAT the heavy cream in a separate bowl until almost stiff. Gently fold it into the ricotta mixture, using a rubber spatula. Refrigerate for at least 30 minutes.

    3. STIR in the lemon zest, or sprinkle it on the top of the compote.

     
      

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    TIP OF THE DAY: Frozen Fruit “Ice Cubes”

    We love to flavor water with fresh fruit, and to add fruit to ice cubes.

    Here’s a twist on conventional ice cubes: Use frozen fruit instead of ice cubes.

    We have long made “party ice cubes” with a strawberry or other fruit (plus herbs, or savory ice cubes like cherry tomatoes and basil) embedded in an ice cube, but with frozen fruit only, there’s no surrounding ice to dilute the drink.

    The only advisory:

  • Plain frozen fruit alone works better for drinks that are already chilled.
  • Fruits embedded in ice cubes will keep frozen longer, and are better for room temperature drinks.
  • However, watermelon, with its higher water content, can be cut into ice cube shape. The flavor doesn’t work with every beverage, but when it does, it’s terrific!
  •  
    THE “RECIPE”

  • Wash and pat dry fresh strawberries or other fruit. If the leaves on strawberries are perky-looking, you can leave them on.
  • Place the fruit in the freezer in a pan, spaced so they don’t freeze together. When the fruit is frozen, you can remove it to a storage bag.
  • The easy way: Purchase bags of frozen fruit and use two or more varieties in each glass—strawberries and sliced peaches, for example.
  • Match the fruits to the flavors and colors of the drinks: cherry ice cubes, citrus (we love blood orange or grapefruit), cucumbers, grapes (use mixed colors), melon (try melon balls), other berries and sliced stone fruits.
  • Don’t stockpile the frozen fruit or fruit ice cubes: Make only what you’ll use within a week.
  •  
    MORE ICE CUBE IDEAS

  • Coconut Water Ice Cubes
  • Flower Ice Cubes
  • July 4th Ice Cubes
  • Strawberry-Thyme Ice Cubes
  • Tea, Coffee Or Lemonade Ice Cubes
  • Wine Ice Cubes
  •  

    frozen-strawberry-calpizzakitchen-230sq

    Fruit Ice Cubes

    Top: Freeze fruit to substitute for ice cubes (photo courtesy California Pizza Kitchen). Bottom: The more conventional way: Add fruit or herbs to the water before freezing the ice (photo courtesy Zespri| Facebook).

     

      

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    TIP OF THE DAY: Steak Marinades

    Yesterday we presented four different marinades for grilled fish. A quick recap:

  • Marinades are the easiest way to add flavor to foods, and to make chewier foods more tender. Mix a few simple ingredients, place them in a plastic storage bag and marinate the food overnight, turning it once or twice.
  • No time to marinate? Use a FoodSaver Quick Marinator and your food will be ready to grill in 30 minutes or less, instead of several hours or overnight.
  •  
    All cuts of beef can benefit from marinating, but you definitely want to marinate a tougher cut and an in-between cut (not all of the following would be grilled).
     
    CUTS OF BEEF BY LEVEL OF TENDERNESS

  • Tough cuts: brisket, chuck roast, rump, shank, shoulder roast, short ribs, round (top, bottom, eye).
  • In-Between: chuck steak, flank steak, skirt steak, top blade steak.
  • Tender cuts: Porterhouse/T-bone steak, rib-eye steak, sirloin steak, standing rib roast, strip loin, strip steak, tenderloin/filet mignon, tri-tip.
  •  
    RECIPE #1: SPICY GARLIC-SERRANO MARINADE

    This marinade gives steak with a fiery bite, with just the right balance of garlic and spice. You can go light on the chiles or add extra chiles, depending on how much you like heat.
     
    Ingredients

  • 2 pounds of flank steak (London Broil)
  •  
    For The Marinade

  • 1-1/2 tablespoons Worcestershire sauce
  • 4 cloves garlic, minced
  • 2 teaspoons red pepper flakes
  • 1/2 teaspoon paprika
  • 1/4 cup red wine vinegar
  • 3/4 cup Tabasco or other hot sauce
  • 1 teaspoon crushed pepper
  • 1/3 cup brown sugar
  • 1-1/2 tablespoons horseradish
  • 1 Serrano chile, seeded and chopped
  • Dash salt
  •  
    Preparation

    1. WHISK all the marinade ingredients together and pour over the steak. Marinate for several hours or overnight; or for a least 20 minutes in a FoodSaver Quick Marinator.

    2. USE the remaining marinade for basting.

     

    Steak Kabobs

    Grilled Flatiron Steak

    Grilled Porterhouse Steakx

    Top: A marinade gives more tenderness to sirloin kabobs (photo courtesy Sur La Table). Center: Hot off the grill, a flatiron steak (photo courtesy LifesAmbrosia.com). Bottom: Even a Porterhouse, one of the tenderest cuts, gets a bit of marinade for flavor (photo courtesy Omaha Steaks).

     

    RECIPE: SOY GINGER MARINADE

    This recipe is a perfect match for steak kebabs with pineapple.This recipe is a perfect match for steak kebabs with pineapple.
    If you’ve never used fresh ginger in your marinade before, you’ll be delighted.

    Ingredients

  • 2 pounds of flank steak (London Broil)
  • Optional: 2 limes for garnish
  •  
    For The Marinade

  • 1-1/2 tablespoons fresh ginger, minced
  • 1/2 cup soy sauce
  • 1 tablespoon honey
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 1 teaspoon black pepper
  • 1/4 cup sesame oil
  • 1 teaspoon lime juice
  •  
    Preparation

    1. WHISK all the marinade ingredients together and pour over the steak. Marinate for several hours or overnight; or for a least 20 minutes in a FoodSaver Quick Marinator.

    2. SQUEEZE the optional limes on the steaks as they grill (you can pre-squeeze the juice and lightly baste with it).
     
     
    KNOW YOUR CUTS OF BEEF

    Check out our Beef Glossary.

      

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    TIP OF THE DAY: Summer Marinades For Fish

    Grilled Fish In Grilling Basket

    Grilled Fish In Grill Pan

    Grilled Fish Fillets

    Top and Center: Fish, especially fillets, is delicate and thus easier to break and fall through the grates, unlike meats. The solution: a grill basket or grill pan, like these from Williams-Sonoma. Bottom: A different type of grilling basket from Sur La Table.

     

    Summer begins today, officially at 6:34 p.m. Eastern Daylight Time. It’s the day when the sun reaches its northernmost point over the equator, the highest point of the year, the longest day of the year with the most hours of sunlight.

    Just as most of us switch to heartier fare in the fall and winter, summer warmth is an incentive to eat more lightly.

  • Iced coffee and tea instead of hot.
  • Fruit salad and fruit soups.
  • Summer fruits—berries and melons—instead of the citrus and apples of winter.
  • Fruit salad and fruit soups.
  • Corn on the cob and grilled vegetables.
  • Gazpacho and other chilled soups instead of hot soup.
  • Grilling instead of frying and roasting.
  • Macaroni and potato salad sides.
  • White wine and sangria.
  • Saison summer ales and wheat beers, lambics and ciders instead of IPAs, porters, stouts and Trappist ales.
  • More fish.
  •  
    You can “summerize” anything, from ice cream flavors to your vegetables.

    And your marinades!

    Marinades are the easiest way to add flavor to foods, and to make chewier foods more tender. Mix a few simple ingredients, place them in a plastic storage bag and marinate the food overnight, turning it once or twice.

    No time? Use a FoodSaver Quick Marinator and your food will be ready to grill in 30 minutes or less.
     
    RECIPE #1: LEMON OR LIME MARINADE FOR FISH

    With this classic marinade, be sure to use fresh herbs instead of dried: The prices are lower in summer.

    Ingredients

  • Juice from 2 lemons
  • 1/3 cup olive oil
  • 1 tablespoon fresh thyme, chopped
  • 1 tablespoon fresh basil, chopped
  • 2 cloves garlic, minced and crushed
  • Salt and pepper to taste
  •  
    Preparation

    1. COMBINE the ingredients in a bowl and mix well.

    2. POUR the mixture into the bag or marinator or bag, marinate, and cook as desired.

     
    RECIPE #2: SPICY ASIAN MARINADE FOR FISH

    This fragrant and spicy marinade goes well with heartier fish, such as swordfish, salmon or halibut.
     
    Ingredients

  • 1 bunch parsley
  • 6 cloves garlic, minced and crushed
  • 1 bunch cilantro
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 1 tablespoon red pepper, crushed
  • 1 tablespoon cumin, ground
  • 1/4 cup lemon juice
  • 1/2 cup olive oil
  •  
    Preparation

    1. PLACE the parsley, garlic and cilantro in a small saucepan. Add the salt, pepper, cumin, lemon juice and olive oil. Stir well and heat the mixture for 5 minutes on medium heat. Do not bring to a boil.

    2. REMOVE the saucepan from the heat and allow the mixture to cool before using.

     

    RECIPE #3: ORANGE HONEY MARINADE

    The citrus notes of orange and the sweetness of the honey enhance the natural flavor of salt water fish.
     
    Ingredients

  • 1/2 cup fresh orange juice
  • 1/4 cup honey
  • Juice from 1 lemon
  • 2 cloves garlic, minced and crushed
  • 1/4 cup soy sauce
  • 1 teaspoon fresh ginger, grated
  •  
    Preparation

    1. MIX together the orange juice, honey, lemon juice, garlic, soy sauce and ginger.

    2. COAT the fish in the marinade and leave for 30 minutes if using the FoodSaver Quick Marinator, or 1 hour or more if using a bag.
     
    RECIPE #4: SPICED YOGURT MARINADE

    This Indian marinade is bursting with flavorful spices and yogurt, a natural tenderizer. When cooked, this marinade will be a light, flaky texture.
     
    Ingredients

  • 1 cup plain yogurt
  • 1/2 teaspoon turmeric
  • 1 tablespoon coriander, ground
  • 1 teaspoon cayenne, or more to taste
  • 2 inches ginger, grated
  • 3 cloves garlic, minced and crushed
  • 2 tablespoons cilantro, chopped
  • Salt to taste
  •  

    Grilled Fish With Greek Salad

    Grilled Branzino

    Top: Grilled salmon atop a Greek Salad is a real crowd-pleaser (photo courtesy Tio Gazpacho). Bottom: Grilled branzino with a head of grilled garlic (photo courtesy Olio Restaurant | NYC).

     
    Preparation

    1. STIR together in a bowl the yogurt, turmeric, coriander, cayenne, cumin, ginger, garlic, cilantro and salt.

    2. USE your hands to toss and coat the filets in the marinade; then transfer to the bag or marinator.

     
     
    NEXT: STEAK MARINADES.

      

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    TIP OF THE DAY: Guasacaca Sauce

    Guasacaca Sauce Ingredients

    Blender Sauce

    /home/content/p3pnexwpnas01 data02/07/2891007/html/wp content/uploads/guasacaca bowl theamusedbouche 230

    Top: The ingredients for guasacaca. Center: Simply add them to a blender or food processor. Bottom: The finished sauce in its original consistency. Photos courtesy Cory of TheAmuseBouche.com. Here’s her recipe.

     

    A few nights ago we had a revelation. A great chef did an irresistible spin on guasacaca, the popular Venezuelan green sauce for grilled meats.

    Chef Karlos Ponte, who ws born in Venezuela and worked at El Bulli and Noma, is now executive chef at Taller in Copenhagen. He and his team came to New York City to cook a one-night-only tasting dinner at The Pines in Brooklyn.

    Chef Ponte changed the proportions of the classic guasacaca sauce: less avocado, more vinegar. In fact, we tasted herbs and acid instead of avocado.

    While Venezuelan guasacaca is often made thick and chunky like guacamole, his interpretation is thin and acidic, like a French persillade (parsley, garlic, herbs, oil and vinegar).

    This balance was perfection: We actually turned our backs to the room and licked the sauce off the plate. Thanks go to Taller’s general manager Jacob Brink Lauridsen (born in Venezuela, raised in Denmark), for taking this as a compliment.
     
    WHAT IS GUASACACA SAUCE?

    Guasacaca (wa-sa-KA-ka) combines avocado with vinegar and herbs. It can be made with with bit of jalapeño or hot sauce, although like guacamole, it is not intended to be a hot and spicy sauce.

    Guasacaca is served with beef, chicken and sausage grilled on a parilla.* It’s also a popular condiment with arepas and empanadas.

    We generously received a container of the sauce “to go,” and have since served it with eggs, fish and seafood; as a salad dressing; and as a dip with crudités.

    Chef Ponte’s sauce was so splendid, that our group of sophisticated palates used it with the breads (Chef Ponte’s recipes, also splendid), and drank some of it from the container on the way home from the restaurant.

    Here’s the catch: We now have to work out proportions similar to Chef Ponte’s. We started by eliminating one avocado and doubling the red wine vinegar. Our first batch was delicious, but not yet perfection.

    In the interim, here’s the classic guasacaca recipe, a real find for summer grilling. Add less oil for a dip.

     
    RECIPE: GUASACACA SAUCE

    Prep time is just 10 minutes, no cooking involved!

    Ingredients For 2 Cups

  • 2 ripe Haas avocados, roughly diced
  • 1 medium onion, roughly chopped
  • 1 green bell pepper, stemmed, seeded, roughly chopped
  • Optional: 1 medium jalapeño, stemmed, seeded, and roughly chopped
  • 2 medium cloves garlic
  • 1 cup loosely packed, roughly chopped fresh cilantro leaves†
  • 1 cup loosely packed, roughly chopped fresh parsley leaves†
  • 1/3 cup red or white wine vinegar
  • 1 tablespoon fresh lime juice
  • 1 cup olive oil olive oil‡ (start with 1/3 and add more oil—or water—to desired consistency)
  • 1 tablespoon salt, or to taste
  • Freshly ground black pepper
  •  
    Preparation

    1. PLACE all ingredients except the olive oil, salt and pepper into a food processor or blender. Pulse until the vegetables are finely chopped, scraping down the sides of the container as needed. Process until smooth.

    2. DRIZZLE in the olive oil in a continuous stream through feed tube (or top of blender), with the motor running. Process until smooth.

    3. TASTE and season with salt and pepper to taste. Let stand at room temperature for an hour for the flavors to blend. Taste again and add more seasoning as desired.

    4. SERVE the sauce at room temperature. You can make it in advance and store it in the fridge, but bring the sauce to room temperature before serving.

    NOTE: If made in advance, the avocado portion can darken. Tamp a piece of plastic wrap on the surface of the sauce.
     
    _____________________
    *A a parilla is a simple grill comprising an iron grate over hot coals.

    †You can use less herbs—as little as 1/2 cup parsley and 1/4 cup cilantro—to taste. Save the stems for stock, soup or other recipes. You can also chop them and toss them into green salads.

    ‡In Venezuela, corn oil is used instead of olive oil.

     
      

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    TIP OF THE DAY: French Toast Sandwiches

    With Father’s Say tomorrow, we couldn’t wait to test these French Toast recipes.

    First up: French Toast sandwiches. Use French Toast slices as bread to make a sandwich.

    We made a wonderbar French Toast sandwich with smoked salmon, soft goat cheese (substitute cream cheese), onion and tomato. Then we tried other favorite fillings:

  • Brandied Peaches (sauté sliced peaches in butter; add Grand Marnier or other brandy to taste)
  • Chicken Liver Mousse & Sliced Vidalia Onion
  • Cream Cheese & Jelly
  • Fried Egg, Bacon & Baby Arugula
  • Grilled Ham & Cheese
  • Grilled/Roasted Vegetables
  • Mascarpone & Caramelized Onions
  • Mozzarella, Tomato & Fresh Basil
  • Nutella & Bananas
  • Peanut Butter & Bananas
  • Peanut Butter & Jelly
  • Sautéed chicken livers, mushrooms and onions
  • Add your favorite filling here
  •  
    To make Grilled Cheese French Toast: Sauté the second side of the bread to a lighter “toast,” add the cheese (and ham or other meat), add the top slice, and grill until the cheese melts.

    RECIPE: APPLE PECAN FRENCH TOAST

    This recipe isn’t a sandwich, but was such a delight that we had to include it.

    The recipe is from Zulka Morena, producers of top-quality, minimally processed sugars (granulated, confectioner’s, brown) made with freshly-harvested sugar cane. The sugars are not refined, which helps preserve the fresh flavor and natural properties of the sugar cane. You can taste the difference in a cup of tea. Zulka makes.
     
    Ingredients

  • 1 loaf day old French bread, sliced into 1 inch thick pieces
  • 8 eggs
  • 2 cups whole milk
  • 1½ cups heavy cream
  • 3/4 cup sugar, divided
  • 2 tablespoons vanilla extract
  • 2 tablespoons cinnamon
  • 4 medium apples
  • ½ cup pecans, chopped
  • 1 tablespoon butter
  • Garnish: maple syrup for drizzling
  •  
    Preparation

    1. CORE, peel and quarter the apples, then slice into ¼ inch thick slices. Place in a bowl and toss with 1 tablespoon cinnamon and ¼ cup of the sugar, making sure the apples are well coated. Set aside.

    2. WHISK together the eggs, ¼ cup of sugar, remaining tablespoon of cinnamon, vanilla, milk and cream in a large bowl.

    3. GREASE the bottom of a large baking pan with the butter. Dip half of the slices of bread in the egg mixture quickly so they are not saturated, one at a time, and place in the pan. Spread half of the apple mixture over the bread. Repeat with the remaining bread and apple mixture. Then pour the remaining egg mixture over the top of the pan.

    4. SPRINKLE the top with the chopped pecans and remaining ¼ cup of sugar. Cover with foil and refrigerate overnight.

    5. PREHEAT the oven to 350°F. Remove the pan from the refrigerator 30 minutes before baking, to warm to room temperature. nd bake 45 minutes, covered. Remove foil and bake an additional 10 minutes. Serve warm, drizzled with maple syrup.
     
    FIND MORE FRENCH TOAST RECIPES

     

    French Toast Sandwich

    Nutella French Toast

    Pepper Jack French Toast

    Apple Pecan French Toast

    Top: French Toast sandwich with fig jam. Second: French Toast sandwich with Nutella and jam on pandoro yeast bread with fruit (photo courtesy Bauli). Third: Grilled Cheese French Toast—even richer than grilled cheese because of the egg-milk batter (photo courtesy Arla USA). Bottom: Not a sandwich but a delicious recipe with apples and pecans (photo courtesy Zulka).

  • Pull down the “Gourmet Foods” menu at the right; select “Breakfast.”
  • Go to TheNibble.com main website and search for “French Toast Recipe.”
  •   

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    TIP OF THE DAY: Off-Season Coconut Macaroons

    Chocolate Dipped Macaroons Recipe

    Coconut Macaroons

    Coconut Macaroon Inside

    Top: Chocolate-dipped macaroons (photo courtesy McCormick). Center: Plain coconut macaroons (photo courtesy Recchiuti Confections). Bottom: Up close (photo by Georgie Grd | Wikipedia).

     

    If you like coconut, don’t wait until Passover* to make coconut macaroons. They’re a great treat year-round, and gluten-free. Bring them as house gifts: They travel well without breaking.

    We adapted this recipe from one by Serena Rain of VanillaQueen.com, purveyor of top-quality vanilla beans, extracts, pastes, powders, sugars and salts.
     
    RECIPE: COCONUT MACAROONS

    You don’t need to add chocolate to macaroons; but if you want to, there are two options:

  • Dip the macaroons in a chocolate glaze.
  • Mix chocolate chips into the dough. This is an especially good option for warm-weather months.
  •  
    Ingredients For About 24 Cookies

  • 3 cups unsweetened coconut
  • 1/4 cup almond meal†
  • 3/4 cup sugar
  • 4 egg whites
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • Optional: 4 ounces semisweet chocolate chips (for the dough)
  • Optional: 4 ounces quality chocolate bar (for a glaze)
  • Option: 1 teaspoon grated orange peel
  •  
    Preparation

    You can incorporate the orange peel into the dough or the glaze. We like the “lift” it gives to the recipe.

    1. PREHEAT the oven to 350°F. Line baking pans with parchment paper.

    2. COMBINE the ingredients in a medium bowl and stir until well incorporated. Use a spoon to scoop tablespoon-sized mounds of the coconut “dough.” Shape into round balls and place on the parchment paper. Alternative: You can drop the dough as unshaped mounds. See the difference between the top photo (dropped) and the bottom photo (shaped).

    3. BAKE for about 20 minutes or until golden brown (aim for the color in the center photo). Let cool.

    4. MAKE the glaze. Place the chocolate in a bowl and microwave for 30 seconds. Stir, and if necessary, heat for 30 more seconds until fully melted. Dip the bottoms of the cooled macaroons into the chocolate. Alternatively, place the cookies on a tray lined with parchment paper and drizzle the tops with chocolate; let cool until set. Some people prefer the glaze on top: a chocolate dome. Take your pick.

     
    THE HISTORY OF MACAROONS

    Macaroons appeared in the late 15th or early 16th century in Italy. The historical record isn’t clear, but they are believed to have been created by monks. There were thousands of monasteries in medieval Europe, and monks created different types of beers, brandies and liqueurs, cheeses, pretzels, sweets, wines and spirits.

    The first macaroons were almond meringue cookies similar to today’s amaretti cookies, with a crisp crust and a soft interior. They were made from egg whites and almond paste.

    Italian Jews adopted the cookie because it had no flour or leavening‡, so could be enjoyed during the eight-day observation of Passover. It was introduced to other European Jews and became popular as a year-round sweet. Over time, coconut was added to the ground almonds and, in some recipes, replaced them. Today in the U.S., coconut macaroons are the norm.

    Macaroons came to France in 1533 with the pastry chefs of Catherine de Medici, wife of France’s King Henri II. In France they evolved into delicate meringue cookie sandwiches filled with ganache or jam.

    Here’s more about the different types of macaroons.
     
    _____________________
    *During the week of Passover, in April, celebrants eat no leavened grains. Macaroons (all varieties) are grain free.

    †Almond meal, or almond flour, is ground from whole, blanched sweet almonds. The nuts are very low in carbohydrates and very nutritious.

    ‡Leavening is the agent that raises and lightens a baked good. Examples include yeast, baking powder and baking soda. Instead of these, macaroons (all types) are leavened with egg whites.
     
      

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    TIP OF THE DAY: Steak Grilling Tips

     
      

    Raw Ribeye Steak

    Grilled Ribeye Steak

    Grilled Filet Mignon

    Steak Thermometer

     

    Grilling steaks for Father’s Day? Check out these tips from Wolfgang’s Steak House.

    Wolfgang’s is owned by a father and son who started with one location in Manhattan, dry-aging their own beef. Now they have four Manhattan restaurants and a total of 12 worldwide, from Beverly Hills to Hawaii to Korea and Japan.

    Executive chef Amiro Cruz wants you to help you home-cook your steaks like the professionals do. Here are his tips to cook a perfect steak:

    1. Buy USDA prime cuts. Yes, USDA prime is the most expensive beef and the very best you can buy. You get what you pay for: a truly superior taste and texture. Here are the different grades of beef.

    2. Buy for rib eye steaks. Rib eye is the connoisseur’s favorite cut, considered the most flavorful.

    3. Use only kosher salt and freshly-ground pepper for seasoning. When you have such a high-quality piece of meat, you don’t need marinades and herbs: You want to taste the essence of that steak. You don’t need to add any oil or other fat. The grill will be hot enough so the meat won’t stick.

    4. Don’t worry about the temperature of the raw steak. You may have been told to bring the meat to room temperature before grilling, but it doesn’t matter. Chef Cruz takes his steaks straight from the fridge, at 41°F (which is what the FDA recommends).

    5. Get the grill blazing hot. Once the grill is hot, clean it with a kitchen towel dipped in oil, making sure to handle the towel with a pair of tongs so you don’t burn yourself. Then, throw on meat. Steakhouse chefs prefer to char the steak. Some people don’t like a ton of char, and you might be nervous about burning the meat; but charring gives steak the right flavor. Once the first side is appropriately charred (after about four minutes for medium rare), flip it to the other side and repeat.

    6. Use a meat thermometer. Simply touching the meat to see if it’s done is the technique professional chefs use. But if you grill steak only occasionally, a meat thermometer is a foolproof way to know exactly how done your steak is. Rare is 130°F, medium rare is 135°F, medium is 140°F and so on, with five-degree increases. Don’t have a meat thermometer? Run to the nearest hardware store or kitchen goods department, or order one online.

    7. Rest the meat. Once it’s done cooking, don’t dig in right away. Let the meat rest for 5-10 minutes so the juices inside can distribute. If you cut it right away, they will drain out and you’ll lose the juiciness.

    8. Cut against the grain. If you’re slicing a steak to serve more than one person, be sure to cut against the grain. While cutting against the grain is more important for tougher cuts like London broil, even with a top steak it makes for a softer chew. Just look for the lines that run through the meat and cut perpendicular to them.
     
    Don’t forget to put some fresh vegetables on the grill. Even people who don’t like to eat raw bell peppers, onions, etc. enjoy them grilled.

    Here are the best vegetables to grill.
     
    HOW MANY DIFFERENT CUTS OF STEAK HAVE YOU HAD?

    Check out the photos in our Beef Glossary.

     
    PHOTO CAPTIONS: Top: A raw rib eye steak, a connoisseur’s favorite (photo Margo Ouillat Photography | IST). Second: A long-bone rib eye on the grill (photo courtesy Allen Bros). Third: Grilled, bacon-wrapped filet mignon and grilled radicchio (photo courtesy Omaha Steaks). Bottom: Use a meat thermometer to check for doneness (photo courtesy Habor).

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    TIP OF THE DAY: Bake Doughnuts For Father’s Day

    National Doughnut Day is celebrated on the first Friday of June, but there’s an even better reason to make doughnuts on the third Sunday: Father’s Day.

    If Dad loves doughnuts, get up an hour earlier and bake a batch for his breakfast.

    Yes, bake them—no frying required with these cake-like doughnuts from King Arthur Flour.

    To bake doughnuts you’ll need a doughnut pan to hold their shape. If you don’t want to invest in one (they’re $16.95 at King Arthur Flour), see if you can borrow one.

    You can serve them plain, with a sugar coating or with a chocolate glaze.

    What could be better? We added crisp, chopped bacon to top the doughnuts from King Arthur Flour.

    RECIPE: BAKED DOUGHNUTS, CAKE-STYLE

    Prep time is 20 to 30 minutes; bake time is 15 minutes; icing time is 5 minutes, then a few minutes to let the icing set.

    Ingredients For 12 Doughnuts

  • 2/3 cup Dutch-process cocoa
  • 1-3/4 cups unbleached all-purpose flour
  • 1-1/4 cups light brown sugar
  • 1 teaspoon baking powder
  • Optional: 3/4 teaspoon espresso powder (substitute instant coffee)
  • 1 teaspoon baking soda
  • 3/4 teaspoon salt
  • 1 cup chocolate chips
  • 2 large eggs
  • 3/4 cup milk
  • 2 teaspoons vanilla extract
  • 2 teaspoons white or cider vinegar
  • 1/2 cup (8 tablespoons) melted butter (substitute 1/3 cup vegetable oil)
  •  
    For The Optional Sugar Coating

  • 1 tablespoon granulated sugar
  • 1/2 teaspoon cocoa powder
  •  
    For The Optional Chocolate Icing

  • 1 cup good chocolate bar*, chopped (substitute chocolate chips)
  • 4 tablespoons milk or half-and-half
  •    

    Chocolate Fudge Doughnut

    Bacon Doughnuts

    Apple Cider Donuts

    Top: It’s easy to bake doughnuts (photo courtesy King Arthur Flour). Center: We added chopped bacon as a garnish (photo courtesy d’Artagnan | Facebook). Bottom: Don’t want chocolate? These apple cider doughnuts pre-date chocolate in history (photo Karo Syrup).

  • Optional garnish: crumbled bacon, chopped nuts, dragées, pretzel pieces, sprinkles, etc.
  •  
    Plus

  • Doughnut pans
  •  
    ______________________
    *If your palate knows great chocolate, a good bar (Chocolate, Dove, Green & Black’s, Godiva, Guittard, Lindt, Perugina, Scharffen Berger, etc.) is better than chips—unless you use Guittard chocolate chips, our favorite.

     

    Lemon Glazed Donut

    Pretzel Donuts

    Top: For a lemon glaze, add a teaspoon of lemon juice and grated peel to the icing (photo courtesy GoBoldWithButter.com). Bottom: Another sweet-and-salty doughnut, topped with pretzels (photo courtesy ACozyKitchen.com).

     

    Preparation

    1. PREHEAT the oven to 350°F. Lightly grease the wells of two standard doughnut pans. If you don’t have two pans, just bake the batter in two batches.

    2. WHISK together the cocoa, flour, sugar, baking powder, espresso powder, baking soda, salt, and chocolate chips in a large mixing bowl. Set aside.

    3. WHISK together the eggs, milk, vanilla, and vinegar in a large measuring cup or medium-sized mixing bowl. You may notice some curdling of the milk, which is normal.

    4. ADD the wet ingredients, along with the melted butter or vegetable oil, to the dry ingredients, stirring to blend. There’s no need to beat the batter; just make sure everything is well-combined. Spoon the batter into the prepared pan(s), filling them between 3/4 and full.

    5. BAKE the doughnuts for 12 to 15 minutes, or until a toothpick inserted into the center of one comes out clean. Remove the doughnuts from the oven; after 30 seconds, loosen their edges, turn the pan upside down over a rack, and gently let the doughnuts fall onto the rack.

    5a. For sugar-coated doughnuts, immediately shake the doughnuts in 1 tablespoon granulated sugar; add 1/2 teaspoon cocoa powder to the sugar for an additional touch of chocolate.

    6. COOL the doughnuts completely before icing. Combine the chocolate chips and milk or half-and-half in a microwave-safe bowl or measuring cup. Heat until the half-and-alf is steaming and starting to bubble. Remove from the microwave, and stir until the chips have melted and the icing is smooth.

    7. DIP the top of each doughnut in the icing; or spread icing over the top. Garnish as desired.
     
    A BIT OF DOUGHNUT HISTORY

    Although dough was fried in oil as far back as ancient Rome, food historians generally credit the invention of deep-fried yeast doughnuts to Northern Europeans in Medieval times. The word “doughnut” refers to the small, round, nutlike shape of the original doughnuts—the hole came later. “Donut” is an American phonetic rendering from the 20th century.

     

    Doughnuts were introduced to America in the 17th century by Dutch immigrants, who called them oliekoecken, oil cakes (i.e., fried cakes). In the New World, the doughnut makers replaced their frying oil with lard, which was plentiful and produced a tender and greaseless crust.

    Other immigrants brought their own doughnut variations: The Pennsylvania Dutch and the Moravians brought fastnachts to Lancaster, Pennsylavnia and Winston-Salem, North Carolina, respectively; the French brought beignets to New Orleans.

    The word “dough-nut” first appeared in English in the 17th century. The word evolved from dough-nut to doughnut to donut. The airy, yeast-leavened dough-nuts (like Krispy today’s Kremes), were joined by cake doughnuts, leavened with baking powder or baking soda (like Dunkin Donuts).

    By 1845, recipes for “dough-nuts” appeared in American cookbooks. Chemical leavening (baking powder) was substituted for yeast to produce a more cakelike, less breadlike texture; and inexpensive tin doughnut cutters with holes came onto the market.

    Why a hole? For efficiency, the cooked doughnuts were staked on wooden rods.
     
    The Dawn Of National Doughnut Day

    Spell it doughnut or donut, the holiday was created in 1938 by the Salvation Army, to honor the women who served donuts to servicemen in World War I (at that time, it was called the Great War).

      

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    TIP OF THE DAY: Kobe Beef Hot Dogs

    Kobe Beef Hot Dogs

    Kobe Beef Hot Dogs

    American Kobe Beef hot dogs (photos courtesy Snake River Farms).

     

    If Dad is a hot dog fan, consider treating him to what may be the world’s best hot dogs for Father’s Day: American-style Kobe beef hot dogs from Snake River Farms (also called Wagyu—the difference). The package label calls them “haute dogs.”

    These gourmet dogs elevate the familiar to a new, delicious level. Snake River Farms American Wagyu hot dogs are crafted from 100% American Wagyu beef combined with a signature blend of spices, then slowly smoked over hard wood.

    Even the casings are special: These are skin-on dogs with an authentic firm bite that’s the hallmark of a truly authentic hot dog (and will surprise you if you’ve only had skinless dogs).

    You get what you pay for. One pound of franks, five pieces, is $16, or $13 for packages of four or more, at SnakeRiverFarms.com.

  • The hot dogs are Northwest source-certified Wagyu crossed with high quality Angus.
  • They are 100% beef and 100% natural, with no added hormones.
  • The dogs are smoked using authentic hardwoods.
  •  
    BIG DECISIONS

    How do you serve the world’s best hot dog?
     
    First, pick a great bun.

  • We’re fortunate to have a supply of them in our area: brioche, ciabatta, and seeded hot dog buns. As an alternative, many people prefer Martin’s potato rolls to the standard squishy white rolls that fall apart when the moisture of condiments hits them.
  • We prefer King’s Hawaiian (a NIBBLE Top Pick Of The Week), but often can’t find them (the supermarkets in New York City are teeny compared to suburban markets).
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    Next, select the condiments.

  • Keep them light the first time: You want to taste the quality of the beef, not the chili cheese [or whatever] topping.
  • We like an upgrade on old school. For mustard, we default to Dijon but prefer the greater complexity of Moutarde a l’Ancienne, a whole grain mustard (deli mustard is also a type of whole grain mustard) or Moutarde de Meaux Royale, the “king of mustards,” flavored with Cognac. Here are the different types of mustard.
  • For kraut, we’re fans of Farmhouse Culture Kraut. It’s too elegant to be called sauerkraut.
  • Finally, some pickle slices. Sweet pickle chips are a nice counterpoint to the kraut, mustard and spices and earthiness of the grilled dog.
  •  
    If you’re looking for something more elected, check out yesterday’s tip on gourmet hot dog toppings.

     
    IF THIS DOESN’T WORK FOR YOU ON FATHER’S DAY, NATIONAL HOT DOG DAY IS ON JULY 25TH.
     
    THE HISTORY OF HOT DOGS.

    THE DIFFERENCE BETWEEN KOBE & WAGYU.
     
    ABOUT SNAKE RIVER FARMS

    Snake River Farms meats are served three-star Michelin-rated restaurants. Products include American Wagyu beef, fresh Kurobuta pork, ham (a NIBBLE favorite).

    The family-owned business began more than a decade ago with a small herd of Wagyu cattle from the Kobe region of Japan. The Wagyu bulls were crossed with premium American Black Angus to form a proprietary herd that has developed into one of the finest groups of Wagyu/Angus cross cattle in the U.S.

    From its Wagyu beef and Berkshire pork, Snake River Farms also makes gourmet hamburgers, sausages, frankfurters and hardwood-smoked bacon. All items are prepared with only the finest ingredients, and deliver an exquisite eating experience. We love them!

      

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