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    THE NIBBLE’s Gourmet News & Views

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    the online magazine about gourmet and specialty food.

Archive for Tip Of The Day

TIP OF THE DAY: Ways To Serve Fish

Did you give up meat for Lent? Are you looking for different ways to add fish to your diet?

Here are recommendations from Chef Charlie Baggs, of Charlie Baggs Culinary Innovations in Chicago, to which we’ve added some of our own suggestions.

The original article was written for Flavor & The Menu, a magazine and website for chefs that made these suggestions for their menu during the six weeks of Lent when seafood sales soar.

Chef Baggs offers different techniques for cooking seafood in both traditional and more modern preparations. You can try a different one every day!

  • Baked: clams/oysters/clambake, en papillote; quiche; Salmon Wellington, smoked cod flan, wrapped in phyllo dough with dill and lemon sauce.
  • Boiled/steamed: crab, fish boil, gefilte fish, lobster, mussels, quenelles, shrimp cocktail, whole fish/fillets.
  • Cured/raw: carpaccio, ceviche, clams/oysters on the half shell, gravlax, sashimi/sushi, tartare.
  • Deep-fried: battered (calamari, clams, fish & chips, fish sticks, nuggets, poppers, tempura), breaded, fritters.
  • Dips and spreads: crab dip, smoked trout or whitefish, taramasalata.
  •    

    bouillabaisse-mackenzie-230

    Make a hearty bouillabaisse. Photo courtesy MackenzieLtd.com.

     

    shrimp-fondue-230

    How about shrimp fondue? Photo courtesy The Melting Pot.

     
  • Grilled/broiled: fillets or whole fish—cod, mixed grill, octopus, salmon, sardines, skate, shrimp, snapper, squid, whitefish or other favorite; skewers/kebabs.
  • International: curry, fish tacos, seafood paella, stir-fried, Szechuan Fish, many more.
  • Pan-fried/sautéed: blackened, croquettes, frogs’ legs, trout, soft-shell crab, sablefish (black cod), salmon or trout patties.
  • Pickled: herring or salmon.
  • Poached: Salmon and whitefish; using shallow and deep poaching techniques.
  • Roasted: Whole fish, fillets or steaks
  • Roe/caviar: lumpfish, salmon roe, tobiko and whitefish caviars.
  • Smoked: halibut, kippered haddock (finnan haddie), herring, mackerel, salmon, scallops, smoked fish platter with bagels and cream cheese; sturgeon, trout, turbot, whitefish.
  • Soups: bouillabaisse; fish or seafood bisque or chowder.
  • Stews/casseroles: bouillabaisse, cioppino, etouffee, gumbo, New Orleans barbecued shrimp.
  • Stir-fried: Asian-style stir fry.
  • With starch: blini (buckwheat pancakes), crêpes/pancakes, jambalaya, pasta, pizza with clams, pot pie, risotto, shrimp and grits.
  • Other: Caesar salad with anchovies, escargots, lobster roll, crab/lobster/shrimp salad, seafood mousse, shrimp fondue.
  •  
    We’re sure we’ve left out other favorites. Don’t hesitate to let us know.
     
    Read the full article about Lenten dishes on Flavor & The Menu.

      

    Comments

    TIP OF THE DAY: Food In A Cone

    Perhaps eight years ago, we saw an article in a trade magazine about a pilot pizza chain in California. All the pizza varieties were served in cones made of pizza dough. The founder’s concept was to make it easy to walk down the street eating from a cone instead of a drippy slice.

    We loved the idea, but to our knowledge, the business never went anywhere.*

    Recently, we discovered a pizza cone kit from Pizzacraft that enables you to turn out pizza cones at home. The kit is less than $19, is easy to use and includes everything you need to make two pizza cones at a time (you supply the food items).

    You can eat most any food in a cone, and as an alternative to pizza dough, can make waffle cones on a round waffle maker or a pizzelle maker. (Leave the sugar out of the recipe unless you’re using them for dessert.)

    Then, fill with any of your favorite fixings, including:

  • Scrambled eggs, cheese and pico de gallo
  • Chicken salad, egg salad, tuna salad, etc.
  •  

    pizza-cones-pizzacraft-amz-230

    Pizza in a cone. Photo courtesy Pizzacraft.

  • Chopped salad (a way to get kids to east more salad?)
  • Reverse chicken and waffles, with diced crispy chicken, Granny Smith apples and maple syrup
  • Taco fillings
  • Meatballs
  • Any diced or sliced protein and veggies
  •  
    Can’t wait? Neither can we!
     
    *UPDATE

    Right after we published this, we read today’s newsletter from Nation’s Restaurant News and learned, by pure coincidence, about Kono Pizza. The franchise chain has breakfast, lunch/dinner and dessert cones. The concept was created in Italy and is “popular around the world,” with 140 locations. The first franchise just opened in Edison, NJ, with Orlando and Iowa scheduled next.

      

    Comments

    TIP OF THE DAY: Prosciutto Salad, The Sophisticated Ham Salad

    prosciutto-salad-olionyc-230

    Slices of prosciutto topped with a salad of
    baby arugula and watercress, topped with
    Parmigiano-Reggiano. Photo courtesy Olio e
    Piú | NYC.

     

    When you hear the words “ham salad,” you think of diced ham, possibly the leftovers from a holiday ham or Sunday dinner.

    Diced or minced ham is mixed with diced bell pepper, celery and onion or other favorite raw vegetables; perhaps with some hard-boiled eggs, boiled potatoes, pickle relish or green peas; and bound with mayonnaise (we use a mayo-Dijon blend).

    It’s one of those traditional Anglo-American sandwich salads, along with chicken salad, egg salad and tuna salad.

    It’s also served sans bread on a bed of green salad ingredients, perhaps with a scoop of another protein salad or a starch-based salad such as potato salad, macaroni salad or chopped vegetable salad.

    But there’s another, more sophisticated way to serve ham salad: as a first course with prosciutto or Serrano ham.

    Prosciutto, or Parma ham, is classically served as a first course with melon in Italian cuisine.

    At Olio e Piú in New York’s Greenwich Village, the chef takes a different direction, adding a salad of vinaigrette-dressed bitter greens (we like baby arugula, watercress or a mix) atop the prosciutto and topping it with some fresh-shaved Parmigiano-Reggiano cheese.

     

    WHAT ARE BITTER GREENS

    Bitter greens are part of the larger family of leafy greens, which include the lettuces, known as “sweet greens.” The bitterness can be mild or strong. Greens harvested earlier in the season tend to be less bitter than more mature plants harvested later.

    Many bitter greens are dark green in color, although some are pale (endive, frisée) and some are red or have red accents (amaranth, chard, radicchio). If you like your veggies, you’ve likely had more than a few of these:

     

  • Amaranth
  • Arugula
  • Belgian endive
  • Beet greens
  • Broccoli rabe/rapini
  • Chard
  • Chicory
  • Cress
  • Collard greens
  • Curly endive
  • Dandelion greens
  • Escarole
  • Frisée
  • Kale
  • Mizuna
  • Mustard greens
  • Nettles
  • Radicchio
  • Spinach
  • Tatsoi
  • Turnip greens
  •  

    red-white-belgian-230

    Not all “bitter greens” are green. Above, white endive and red endive, the latter also known as radicchio. Photo courtesy Endive.com.

     

    PROSCIUTTO & SERRANO HAMS: THE DIFFERENCES

    Both prosciutto and Serrano hams are dry-cured: salted and hung in sheds to cure in the air. Both are served in very thin slices. Country ham, preferred in the U.S., is smoked, and a very different stye from dry-cured hams.

    While prosciutto and Serrano hams can be used interchangeably, they are different.

  • Prosciutto, from Italy, is cured for 10-12 months with a coating of lard. Serrano, from Spain, can be cured for up to 18 months (and at the high end, for 24 months). The differing times and microclimates affect the amount of wind that dries the hams, and thus the character of the final products.
  • They are made from different breeds of pigs: Prosciutto can be made from pig or wild boar, whereas Serrano is typically made from a breed of white pig.
  • The diet of the pigs differs. Parma pigs eat the local chestnuts, and are also fed the whey by-product of Parmigiano-Reggiano.
  • Italian-made prosciutto is never made with nitrates. American made prosciutto, as well as both domestic and Spanish Serrano-style hams, can have added nitrates.
  • Prosciutto is considered more salty and fatty. Serrano is considered more flavorful and less fatty.
  •  
    MORE HAM

  • The different types of ham
  • American hams
  • Serrano ham vs. jamón ibérico
  •   

    Comments

    TIP OF THE DAY: Hummus Beyond Dipping

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

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

    20+ WAYS TO USE HUMMUS BEYOND DIPPING

    Hummus For Breakfast

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

    cucumber-hummus.angle-230

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

     

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

     

    hummus-wrap-sandwich-dontknow-230

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

     

    Hummus For Lunch Or Dinner

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

    Hummus For Appetizers & Snacks

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

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

      

    Comments

    TIP OF THE DAY: Cooking In Parchment (En Papillote)

    carrots-en-papilotte-paperchef-230r

    Proteins and vegetables cook easily and
    mess-free in parchment pouches. Photo
    courtesy PaperChef.

     

    Many of us use parchment paper to line baking sheets. But if you haven’t yet used that parchment for en papillote cooking, you’re in for a treat: less mess and fewer calories, for starters, along with juicier, moister food.

    Cooking en papillote (pah-pee-YOHT), French for “in parchment,” is a classic technique where food, often in individual portions, is enclosed in a folded pouch and steamed in the oven.

    This simple yet refined culinary tradition works by trapping the moisture from the food in the pouch. It helps the food cook quickly, with little or no added fat, without losing flavor and retaining luscious aromas.

    And there’s no pot or pan to clean. Just dispose of the pouch.

    The technique dates to the early days of cooking food, where people took local foliage—banana leaves, corn husks and grape leaves, for example—and wrapped food in them prior to placing them on the fire. The leaves/husks took the place of pots and pans.

    These days in the U.S., aluminum foil and parchment paper are the wrappings of choice, and the food is placed in the oven (or microwave) along with herbs and/or other seasonings. No special equipment is required. Poultry, seafood and vegetables are popular foods for en papillote cooking.

     

    You’ll immediately discover the joy of infusion. Topping a piece of fish with a slice of lemon or fresh herbs infuses the protein with those flavors. You’ll have fun playing with the flavors of broths, herbs, juices and spices.

    Steaming en papillote (pah-pee-YOHT) requires no special equipment, just the food and a roll of parchment paper or aluminum foil.

  • Parchment can be used with any food, but is especially important when steaming foods with a salt rub or acid (citrus juice, vinegar). Anything but the lightest touch of the latter can cause discoloration or a chemical aroma from reaction with aluminum.
  • Another benefit of parchment is environmental: it decomposes easily in landfill.
  • And if you’re not good at folding paper into pouches, Paper Chef has a solution: parchment bags. Just put the ingredients inside and fold the top to close. (See the photo below.)
  •  
    Why doesn’t the paper bag or folded pocket leak? Parchment baking paper has been treated with an acid and coated with silicone. The result is a liquid-proof, burn-resistant paper (the parchment will brown but not burn, up to 450°F). It’s also nonstick; hence, its popular use as a baking sheet and cake pan liner.

     

    How To Buy Parchment Paper

    You can buy parchment in rolls, bags and individually-cut sheets. Rolls provide the most flexibility for baking sheets as well as pockets.

    What about bleached versus unbleached parchment paper?

    Environmentalists go for unbleached parchment. It’s more expensive, but also more environmentally friendly.

    Bleached parchment uses not only chlorine, but typically employs both chlorine and Quilon®, a cheaper alternative to silicone.

    Quilon is a chemical solution that contains chrome, a heavy metal. When incinerated it becomes toxic and leaves trace elements. It is approved by the FDA and the USDA, but that doesn’t mean it’s environmentally friendly.

    If you have leisure time this weekend, get some parchment and cook en papillote. You can start with these videos from PaperChef.com, which also has plenty of recipes.

     

    parchment-bag-paperchef-230r

    No more need to fold pouches: Just add the ingredients to parchment bags. Photo courtesy PaperChef.

     

      

    Comments

    TIP OF THE DAY: Kumquats

    kumquat-whiteflowerfarm-230

    Kumquats are the size of large olives. Photo courtesy White Flower Farm.

     

    How can it be that we’ve never published a piece about the kumquat? Today’s tip remedies that oversight.

    Native to China and now grown throughout Southeast Asia (plus the U.S. and elsewhere), the kumquat is a tiny citrus fruit that is entirely edible, skin and all. The orange flesh is juicy, acidic and tart (some varieties have are more tart than others). The skin is fragrant and sweet.

    Kumquats grow on small trees or bushes. They looking like wee, oval oranges, the size and shape of a large olive.

    The word “kumquat” comes from the Cantonese kin kü, meaning golden orange. The earliest historical reference appears in China in the 12th century.

    The tiny fruits were introduced to Europe in 1846 by Robert Fortune, a collector for the London Horticultural Society. Not long after, they arrived in North America, and found a happy growing ground in Florida.

     
    HOW TO SERVE KUMQUATS

    People who have never tried kumquats may look at them in the produce aisle, wondering what to do with them. As a citrus fruit, they work wherever other citrus fruits are employed. You don’t peel them or juice them, but serve them halved, sliced or whole. Some opportunities:

  • Braised, with fish or poultry
  • Breakfast breads and muffins
  • Cakes, cookies, pies, frostings
  • Candied
  • Dressing/stuffings
  • Fruit salads (sliced)
  • Garnishes/decorations, including cocktail garnishes
  • Green salads (sliced)
  • Ice cubes, whole, haved or sliced
  • Jelly/marmalade/preserves
  • Liqueur
  • Tea, hot or iced (sliced)
  •  

    Here are dozens of kumquat recipes from Kumquat Growers of Florida—from kumquat ice cream to kumquat tea to kumquat cranberry relish.
     
    Kumquat recipes from THE NIBBLE:

  • Field Salad With Kumquats And Strawberries (recipe)
  • Limoncello-Kumquat Cocktail (recipe)
  • Pernod Fruit Salad (recipe)
  •  
    A final idea: halved kumquats, topped with cream cheese and pepper jelly, as an hors d’oeuvre or tea time snack.
     
    BUYING & STORING KUMQUATS

    Look for firm, blemish-free fruit with a fresh scent. Avoid kumquats with green skins—they aren’t ripe and won’t ripen off the vine.

    You can refrigerate kumquats whole for up to one month, in a plastic storage bag. Freezing is not recommended.

     

    limonce-kumquat-cocktail-230

    Use kumquats in cocktails or as a garnish. Photo courtesy Limonce Limoncello.

     

      

    Comments

    TIP OF THE DAY: Ways To Use Eggplant Caponata

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

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

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

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

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

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

       

    salmon-on-caponata-olionyc-230

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

     

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

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

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

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

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

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

     

    eggplant-caponata-black-bass-davidburkefromagerie-230

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

     

    Ingredients

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

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

     
    Preparation

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

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

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

    This recipe was adapted from Epicurious.com.

     
    MORE WAYS TO USE CAPONATA

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

    Comments

    TIP OF THE DAY: Roots & Shoots

    Even when nature isn’t in full bloom, you can add interest to meals by seeking out less ordinary versions of conventional foods.

    All you have to do is look for them—at specialty produce stores, farmers markets and online (check out Melissas.com and OmahaSteaks.com, among others).

    What will you find? The bounty varies by region, but you can find these veggies nationwide:

  • Baby leeks
  • Celery root
  • Microgreens
  • Mixed potatoes
  • Multicolor* beets
  • Multicolor* bell peppers
  • Multicolor* carrots
  • Multicolor* hothouse cherry tomatoes
  • Specialty radishes
  •  
    *Typically, they’re available in orange, purple, red or yellow. You can also find white carrots and brown bell peppers and tomatoes.

       

    celery-root-salad-kaminsky-230

    A double salad: celery root remoulade topped with vinaigrette-dressed baby greens. Photo by Hannah Kaminsky | Bittersweet Blog.

     

    Purple potatoes

    Purple potatoes can be served in any style conducive to waxy potatoes. How about purple mashed potatoes! Photo by Mona Makela | IST.

     

    You may also be able to find:

  • Garlic roots
  • Garlic shoots
  • Micro popcorn shoots†
  • Pea tendrils
  •  
    Whether you use these veggies to make exciting salads, roast them for sides or more complicated vegetable recipes, most of these artisanal veggies will add color splashes to the table during the winter doldrums.

    Proteins and starches tend to be brown or beige. That’s why you need the right veggies to enliven your meals.

    There are countless vegetable recipes online; or treat yourself to a vegetable cookbook. Take a look at Williams-Sonoma’s Vegetable of the Day: 365 Recipes for Every Day of the Year.

     
    *Used for many years in European, popcorn shoots are gaining popularity among top chefs in the U.S. The shoots are intensely sweet and attractive. They make a surprise garnish for any dish. Here’s more about them; click the second photo.

      

    Comments

    TIP OF THE DAY: Black Radish

    As part of our Winter Vegetable Doldrums Series, today’s focus is the black radish*, Raphanus sativus niger. It’s a member of the anti-carcinogenic Brassica family of cruciferous† vegetables.

    Available year round, black radishes peak in winter and early spring. Significantly larger than traditional radishes, it average threes to four inches in diameter or length, and can be round or cylindrical and elongated, depending upon the variety.

    The skin is black or dark brown and the flesh is familiarly radishy, crisp, white and slightly bitter with a hot bite. A lot of the bite is int he skin, so the radish can be peeled for a milder flavor.

    SERVING IDEAS

    Black radishes can be enjoyed raw or cooked in a variety of different preparations.

  • Sauté or braise them as a side dish.
  • Cook them like turnips, and toss with butter.
  • Dice and add them to soups, stir-fries and stews. They’ll add some bite.
  • Grate or chop them into matchsticks and add to mixed green salads.
  • Slice them and add to the crudité plate.
  • Use slices as the base for canapés.
  •    

    black-radish-thechefsgarden-230

    It’s a black radish. Look for it in better produce sections (we found ours at Whole Foods) and farmers markets. Photo courtesy The Chef’s Garden.

     
    Here’s a general radish tip: If the radish has too much bite, you can tone down the peppery heat. Simply slice, salt and rinse with water.
     
    *Other names include Spanish radish, Gros Noir d’Hiver, Noir Gros de Paris and the Black Mooli.

    †Other Brassica family members include bok choy, broccoli, brussels sprouts, cabbage, cauliflower, collard greens, kale and mustard greens, among others.

     

    black-radish-salad-thechefsgarden-230

    Black radish salad. Photo courtesy The Chef’s
    Garden.

     

    BLACK RADISH RECIPES

  • Baked Black Radish Chips Recipe
  • Blood Orange & Black Radish Salad Recipe
  • Black Radish & Potato Salad Recipe
  • Black Radish & Shrimp Salad Recipe
  • Sauteed Black Radish Recipe
  • Smoked Fish, Horseradish & Black Radish Terrine Recipe
  •  
    BLACK RADISH HISTORY & NUTRITION

    Believed to be a relative of the wild radish, the black radish was first cultivated in the eastern Mediterranean. An ancient vegetable, radishes were grown in Egypt before the pyramids were built.

    Black radishes are an excellent source of vitamin C and also provide iron, magnesium, potassium and vitamins A, E and B. They are known for their ability to fight off infection and promote healthy digestive function. A component, raphanin, has been shown to be beneficial in treatment of thyroid imbalances. The leaves have a liver detoxifying effect.

     

    The black radish has long been used in folk medicine in both Europe and China, to stimulate bile function and improve gall bladder health promoting. In Chinese medicine, the black radish is also used to promote pulmonary and respiratory health.

    To store black radishes, remove the greens and wrap the bulbs in plastic. They will keep crisp if refrigerated, for up to two weeks.

      

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    TIP OF THE DAY: Make Banana Bread

    banana-bread-chips-nuts-LuluDurand-230

    Banana bread with chocolate chips and nuts.
    We highly recommend the optional chocolate
    glaze in the recipe (not shown). Photo
    by Lulu Durand | IST.

     

    You’d think we could get a decent piece of banana bread in this town, but it’s surprisingly tough. Most of what we purchase at specialty food stores has only a nodding acquaintance with bananas. With no banana punch but a high level of spices, it could be zucchini bread.

    One does do better at bakeries; but alas, bakeries are fast becoming extinct here due to low margins and astounding rents. So since today is National Banana Bread Day, grab the bananas and a loaf pan and start baking.

    One reason that some recipes fall short on banana flavor is that the recipe requires overripe bananas. When they’re brown and splotchy and unappealing, that’s when you want to bake. The more brown/overripe, the sweeter the banana flavor.

    A trick for always having the perfect ripeness on hand: Buy the bananas before you need them. (If you’re lucky, you’ll find overripe ones that have been marked down.) Once they become overripe, peel them, wrap them tightly and freeze them. They thaw quickly at room temperature when you’re ready to bake.

    We always bake a double batch and put the second one in the freezer; although work colleagues, hairdressers, friends and neighbors would be grateful for a slice.

    This recipe was adapted from one by Charles Masters for the Food Network.

     
    Ingredients For the Bread

  • 1 1/4 cups all-purpose flour
  • 3/4 cup granulated sugar
  • 1 teaspoon baking powder
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 1/2 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon
  • 1/2 teaspoon grated nutmeg
  • 1 cup semisweet chocolate chips
  • 2 large eggs
  • 1 stick unsalted butter, melted and cooled, plus more for the pan
  • 1/2 cup sour cream
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • Optional: 1 teaspoon grated orange zest
  • 1 cup mashed banana (2-3 very ripe bananas)
  •  
    For The Glaze

  • 1 cup confectioners’ sugar
  • 2 tablespoons unsweetened cocoa powder
  • 2 tablespoons milk
  • 1/4 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • Pinch of salt
  •  

    Preparation

    1. PREHEAT the oven to 350°F. Lightly butter a 9″ x 5″ loaf pan.

    2. COMBINE the flour, sugar, baking powder, salt, baking soda, cinnamon and nutmeg in a large bowl. Add the chocolate chips.

    3. WHISK the eggs, melted butter, sour cream, vanilla and orange zest in a medium bowl. Stir in the mashed banana, then fold the mixture into the flour mixture until just combined.

    4. ADD the batter to the prepared pan. Bake until a toothpick inserted into the center comes out clean, about 55 minutes. Cool for 30 minutes in the pan on a rack, then turn the bread out onto the rack to cool completely.

    5. MAKE the glaze: Whisk the confectioners’ sugar, cocoa powder, milk, vanilla and salt in a bowl. Pour over the cooled banana bread and let set, 15 to 20 minutes.

     

    overripe-bananas-bakinglibrary.blogspot-230

    Make banana bread with overripe bananas. These are just beginning to get ripe enough. The splotchier, the better. Photo courtesy Baking Library | Blogspot.

     

    DIFFERENCE BETWEEN “BREAD” & CAKE

    There is a transition between sweet breads and lower-sugar cakes that are baked in loaf pans, such as carrot bread and banana bread.

    What’s the difference between a banana bread and a banana cake? The obvious difference is that the bread is baked in a loaf pan while the cake is baked in a round, square or rectangular cake pan.

    A less obvious distinction is that the bread style of cake, as a quickbread*, is leavened with baking soda instead of yeast, which makes them quicker to rise.

    In general, loaf cakes or “breads” also have a denser crumb, a rougher texture and often less sugar than their cake counterparts.

    While the origin of the “bread” style of cake is unknown, food historians believe that it was originated in the 18th century with housewives experimenting with pearl ash. Banana bread became common in American cookbooks in the 1930s, with the popularization of baking soda and baking powder, and very popular in the 1960s, when variations with simple inclusions (nuts, chocolate morsels) created simple but delicious snack cakes.

     
    *Other quickbread examples include biscuits, cornbread, muffins, scones and soda bread.

      

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