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TIP OF THE DAY: Cut The Calories In Thai Iced Tea & Thai Iced Coffee

Thai Iced Tea

Thai Iced Coffee
The milky swirl of Thai iced tea or coffee is a visual treat (photo #1 courtesy Wife Mama Foodie, photo #2 courtesy Hella Good).

Homemade Sweetened Condensed Milk

[3] Want to make your own sweetened condensed milk? Here’s the recipe, from Gluten Free On A Shoestring.

 

June is National Tea Month, time for an article on a type of iced tea not yet as broadly served in the U.S. as we think it should be. The easy recipe follows.

For those who already know and love Thai iced tea or coffee but not the overload of sugar, we have a solution below. But first, some history about the drinks.

WHAT IS THAI ICED TEA?

Thai iced tea, known as cha-yen in Thailand (cha is the word for tea), is served in Thailand, Vietnam, elsewhere around the Pacific Rim and in Thai restaurants around the world. It is made from strong-brewed black tea—typically Ceylon tea—and sweetened condensed milk, which adds creaminess, body and mouthfeel.

For visual appeal, the deep amber tea and white sweetened condensed milk (and often, evaporated milk) are swirled together or layered. The drink can be topped off evaporated milk, coconut milk, half and half or whole milk. It is sweetened with lots of sugar (local to the the South Pacific), and often served over crushed ice.

The brewed tea can be enhanced with spices, such as cardamom, clove, nutmeg, orange blossom water, star anise and tamarind. If you like chai tea with milk and sweetener, you are likely to enjoy Thai iced tea.

The countries where it’s most popular are known for hot, steamy summers. Thai iced tea is a welcome refreshment—and a complement to spicy food. If your neck of the woods is as hot and steamy as ours is, it’s time to try the recipe.

THE HISTORY OF THAI ICED TEA

In hot countries before refrigeration, where fresh milk was hard to come by, evaporated milk and sweetened condensed milk were used in coffee, desserts and other recipes requiring milk (including Key lime pie).

The precise birth date of what is now known today as Thai tea is uncertain. Americans and Europeans living in Asia brought evaporated milk and sweetened condensed milk—first available in 1856—for their tea and coffee [source].

One source suggests that “It was probably introduced during the time of Field Marshall Pibul Songkram [1938 to 1944] who seemed to favour Western habits as being civilized” [source]—hence the ice and milk in tea, previously only a hot drink.

Tea is a relatively new crop in Thailand, brought in by the Chinese in the 1880s to supplant opium as a cash crop to [hopefully] curb drug trafficking. The tea became a street food staple [source]. The British and other foreigners in Thailand had their own supply of tea.

Why is the tea often very orange in color? After the tea was brewed for the master, the domestic workers took used leaves that would have been discarded, to brew tea for themselves. The flavor and color of this second infusion were faded, so orange color and flavoring were added to make a more appealing brew.

The tradition of orange color became a tradition of Thai brewed tea [source]. (See photo #4, below.)

Thai iced coffee followed much later, in the postwar 20th century.

 
WHO INVENTED EVAPORATED MILK & SWEETENED CONDENSED MILK?

Both products were invented by Gail Borden, who subsequently formed the dairy company that bears his name.

In 1852, Borden was traveling transatlantic when the cows aboard ship became too seasick to provide milk (there was no refrigeration in those days to keep milk fresh). He began to experiment, and two years later produced a canned milk that did not go sour at room temperature for three days after the can was opened.

Borden received a patent for sweetened condensed milk in 1856 and began commercial production the following year. Unsweetened condensed milk, now called evaporated milk, took more time to perfect since it didn’t have the sugar to inhibit bacteria growth. It was finally canned successfully in 1885.

In the days before refrigeration, both evaporated and sweetened condensed milk were used more than fresh milk in households, because they were less likely to spoil and harbor harmful bacteria.
 
 
THE DIFFERENCE BETWEEN EVAPORATED MILK AND SWEETENED CONDENSED MILK

The quickest explanation is in the names: sweetened condensed milk has added sugar and evaporated milk doesn’t. It is also much thicker: Evaporated milk pours like regular milk, but sweetened condensed milk pours like molasses. They are not interchangeable in recipes, but both can be used in coffee.

  • Evaporated milk is fresh cow’s milk from which about 60% percent of the water has been removed by evaporation. It’s then homogenized, fortified with vitamins and stabilizers, canned and sterilized. The heat from the sterilization gives the milk a bit of a caramelized flavor, and makes the color slightly darker than fresh milk. Evaporated milk was originally called unsweetened condensed milk, although that term is no longer used.
  • Sweetened condensed milk also has about 60% percent of the water removed, then sugar is added as well as vitamin A. Condensed milk contains 40% to 45% sugar, but it means that no (or less) added sugar is required in the recipe. Condensed milk requires no sterilization, since sugar is a natural inhibitor of bacteria growth. It is darker and more yellow in color than evaporated milk.
  •  

    THAI ICED TEA OR ICED COFFEE RECIPE

    Substitute strong-brewed coffee for the tea, with spices as desired (here’s the recipe for Thai Iced Coffee).

    You can chill the drink in the fridge, for enjoyment without the dilution of ice cubes.

    Ingredients

  • 3/4 cup black tea leaves (approximately 3 ounces)
  • Optional spices: cardamom, ground tamarind, nutmeg, star anise or others (cinnamon works for us), to taste
  • 6 cups boiling water
  • 1/2 cup sugar (or equivalent noncaloric sweetener)
  • 1/2 cup sweetened condensed milk
  • 1 cup evaporated milk to top (you can substitute coconut milk, half and half or whole milk)
  • Crushed ice
  •  
    Preparation

    1. STEEP the tea leaves (and any optional spices) in boiling water for 5 minutes. Strain out the tea leaves. Using an infuser (tea ball) makes this step easier.

    2. STIR in sugar while the tea is still hot, until dissolved; then stir in condensed milk.

    3. COOL to room temperature or ideally, chill in the fridge.

    4. ADD ice to tall iced tea glasses and pour in tea mixture until glasses are roughly 3/4 full. Slowly top off glasses with evaporated milk.
     
    VARIATIONS

    If you find yourself in the Pacific Rim, you can have what Americans think of as iced tea.
     

  • Dark Thai iced tea (cha dam yen) is simple iced tea without the milk, sweetened with sugar.
  • Lime Thai tea (cha manao) is dark Thai iced tea flavored with lime. Mint may also be added.
  • Boba Thai iced tea, a modern fusion, adding the black tapioca balls used for Chinese bubble tea.
  •  

    Thai Iced Tea

    Thai Iced Tea Pops Recipe

    [4] Thai iced tea and [5] iced tea pops with added boba (tapioca balls). The orange color is a Thai tradition. Here are both recipes from Pineapple and Coconut.

     
    For Low Sugar Thai Iced Tea

    If you’re looking for unsweetened iced tea in the Pacific Rim, you may be out of luck. It’s the birthplace of sugar.

    But use the low-calorie or low-glycemic sweetener of your choice (Splenda, agave), and use evaporated milk instead of sweetened condensed milk.

    You’ve created a low-calorie Thai iced tea.
     
     
    A BRIEF HISTORY OF SUGAR

    Sugar is native to Southeast Asia. Three species seeming to have originated in two locations: Saccharum barberi in India and Saccharum edule and Saccharum officinarum in New Guinea.

    Originally, people chewed on the raw sugar cane stalks to enjoy the sweetness. Refined sugar appears around 500 B.C.E., when residents of what is now India began to make sugar syrup from the cane juice. They cooled it to make crystals that were easier to store and transport. These crystals were called khanda, which is the source of the word candy.

    Indian sailors carried sugar along various trade routes. In 326 B.C.E., Alexander the Great and his troops saw farmers on the Indian subcontinent growing sugar cane and making the crystals, which were called sharkara, pronounced as saccharum.

    The Macedonian soldiers carried “honey bearing reeds” home with them. But sugar cane remained a little known crop to most Europeans for the next thousand years, a rare and costly product that made sugar traders wealthy.

    In the 12th century, Crusaders brought sugar back to Europe from the Holy Land, where they encountered caravans carrying the “sweet salt.” Venice began to produce sugar in Lebanon to supply Europe, where honey had been the only available sweetener (beet sugar was not isolated until 1747). By the 15th century, Venice was the chief sugar refining and distribution center in Europe.
     
    HOW MANY TYPES OF SUGAR HAVE YOU HAD?

    Check out the different types of sugar in our Sugar Glossary.

      

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    TIP OF THE DAY: Salmagundi On A Platter

    Grilled Chicken Salad Platter
    [1] Salmagundi #1: a “hodgepodge” of dinner salad ingredients.

    Marinated Red Onions
    [2] Marinated red onions. These are so tasty, you may want to quadruple the recipe.

    Yogurt Salad Dressing
    [3] Making the dressing.

    Icelandic Provisions Skyr
    [4] The base of the dressing.

    Steak Salad
    [5] Salmagundi #2: steak salad.

    Nicoise Salad

    [6] Salmagundi #3: Lobster Niçoise salad. Photo #4 courtesy Icelandic Provisions; all other photos courtesy No Crumbs Left).

     

    A little salad history: Since man first gathered wild greens, before the invention of fire*, mankind’s hominim ancestors ate what we call salad greens.

    Fast forward to ancient Greece and Rome: Salads—defined as mixed greens with dressing—were a common dish on the table.

    The Romans had many salad varieties, quite a few of which differed little from present-day ones: a selection of raw vegetables with a dressing of some sort.

    That dressing was oil, vinegar, and often brine. The brine actually gives salad its name:

    The key ingredient of salad, as opposed to raw vegetables (crudités), is the dressing. Our name for the dish derived from Vulgar Latin herba salata, literally, salted herb.

    Dinner salads, as they are called today—a salad with proteins (cheese, chicken, eggs, fish, steak) as the entrée—were popular during the Renaissance, and continued to be refined.

    By the early 17th century in England, composed salads (not tossed but laid out in a pleasing way) comprised cooked meats, seafood, vegetables, fruit, leaves, nuts and flowers and dressed with oil, vinegar and spices [source].

    They were called salmagundi, from the French word salmagondis, meaning a hodgepodge of widely disparate items. In English, the word came to mean a mixture or assortment. Here’s more on salmagundi.

    MAKE YOUR OWN SALMAGUNDI

    When we received the following recipe from Icelandic Provisions Skyr, developed by No Crumbs Left, we looked at it and thought: dinner salad ingredients look so nice served family-style on a platter. Salmagundi, anyone?

    Thus today’s tip: Get out your platters and serve family style when appropriate—and not just salads. Food looks so much more festive on a platter than passing around bowls of sides, or serving everything pre-plated (known as Russian-style serving). With a platter, people can take exactly what they want.

    RECIPE: SALMAGUNDI PLATTER

    Since this is salmagundi, you can use whatever ingredients you like. The recipe is just one of endless combinations: Any “hodgepodge” works.

    Pick vegetables and fruits as they come into season, vary the dressings, take inspiration from global cuisines. You’ll eat healthfully and never be bored.

    The ingredients and instructions that follow start with the final assemblt. Recipes for the components should be made before cooking the chicken. (We saved time with pre-cooked, boneless chicken breasts from Trader Joe’s—well seasoned, ready to slice, and our favorite time-saver).

    Ingredients For 2 Servings

  • 1/4-1/2 cup marinated red onions (recipe below)
  • 2 roasted chicken breasts, see recipe below
  • Potato crisps (recipe below)
  • 5 ounces baby romaine lettuce, or your favorite greens
  • 1 cup parsley (we used half parsley, half basil)
  • 5 radishes, thinly sliced (the photo shows watermelon radishes)
  • 6 pepperoncini
  • 12 kalamata olives, pitted
  • 1 bunch green grapes
  • 2 cups pomegranate seeds
  • Sliced fruits and vegetables
  • Skyr dressing (recipe below)
  •  
    Preparation

    1. ASSEMBLE the salad, arranging the greens and herb(s) on a platter. Add the sliced vegetables and fruits. Add the marinated onions (don’t worry if the marinade comes along with them) and sprinkle with pomegranate seeds. Serve the dressing on the side, or drizzle it over the platter.

    RECIPE: TANGY SKYR DRESSING

    Skyr (pronounced skeer) is similar to yogurt, but has a slightly different recipe and more protein. Here’s more about skyr.

    Ingredients

  • 1/2 cup plain skyr
  • 2 tablespoons lemon juice
  • 2 tablespoons olive oil
  • 1 tablespoon white wine vinegar
  • 2 cloves garlic, minced
  • 2 teaspoons honey
  • 1/2 teaspoons Dijon mustard
  • 1 teaspoon horseradish
  • 2 tablespoons fresh mint, chopped
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1/4 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
  • 1-2 tablespoons water to thin, if needed
  •  
    Preparation

    1. PLACE all ingredients except the mint in a bowl; whisk to combine.

    2, ADD the the mint and stir. For a thinner consistency, add 1-2 tablespoons of water.

     
    RECIPE: MARINATED RED ONIONS

    Ingredients

  • 1 small red onion
  • 1 tablespoon dried oregano
  • 1 tablespoon red wine vinegar
  • ¾ cup olive oil
  •  
    Preparation

    1. Thinly slice the red onion. Place the slices in a container and top with the oil and vinegar. Add the dried oregano. Cover and let sit at room temperature to marinate for at least an hour.
     
    RECIPE: ROASTED CHICKEN BREASTS

    Ingredients

  • 2 chicken breasts, bone-in and skin-on
  • Olive oil
  • Kosher salt
  • Freshly ground black pepper
  •  
    Preparation

    1. PREHEAT the oven to 350°F. Rub every crevice generously with olive oil, then sprinkle with plenty of kosher salt and black pepper. Bake for about 35 minutes, then brush the top of the chicken with the juices. Return to the oven for 5 minutes to brown the tops. Remove from the oven. Let rest for 10 minutes, then slice.
     
    RECIPE: POTATO CRISPS

    Ingredients

  • 2 russet potatoes or 4 large Yukon Gold potatoes
  • 2 tablespoons olive oil
  • Salt
  • Freshly ground black pepper
  • Pinch of cayenne pepper
  •  

    Preparation

    1. PREHEAT the oven to 425°F. Slice the potatoes into 1/4 inch circles and place in a bowl with the oil, salt, pepper and cayenne. Coat each potato slice evenly.

    2. PLACE the slices evenly on a baking sheet covered with parchment paper. Bake for 15 minutes, remove, flip, and return to the oven for 15 more minutes. Repeat this step until the edges are brown and crisp and the inside of the potato is soft.

    ________________

    *The oldest unequivocal evidence of man-made fire, dated to 300,000 to 400,000 years ago, was found at Qesem Cave in Israel. It was used at different times by both Homo sapiens and Neanderthals. However, archaeologists have discovered what appear to be traces of campfires that are 1 million years old, with charred animal bones and ashed plant remains. These fires were found in South Africa’s Wonderwerk Cave, a site of early hominin, and later human (Homo sapiens) habitation dating back two million years [source].

     
      

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    TIP OF THE DAY: When Life Gives You Limes, Make Limeade

    Summer is lemonade season. But what about limeade, it’s oft-ignored sister?

    You can easily make a quart of limeade with a can of frozen concentrate. Limeade is a refreshing base for a cocktail. Fill a rocks or highball glass with limeade and ice; then add gin, tequila or vodka to taste.

    While frozen concentrate is slightly easier, this limeade recipe can be made in 15 minutes. Give it a try: Friends and family will find it more special, since its so much more rarely served than lemonade.

    RECIPE: LIMEADE

    We adapted this recipe from one by Elise Bauer of Simply Recipes. Prep time is just 15 minutes, plus chilling (or if you can’t wait, add ice cubes).

    As with any cold drink, it’s easier to make simple syrup rather than trying to get straight sugar to completely dissolve. It takes only as much time as the water to boil. If for whatever reason you don’t want to make simple syrup, superfine sugar is a second choice.

    For a more exciting lime flavor, the simple syrup is infused with lime zest. Grate extra lime zest for a glass rimmer.

    The proportion of sugar is a guideline. You can use less if you like your drink less sweet. Also, limes can have different levels* of tartness. If you want to hedge your bets, use only 3/4 of the simple syrup, taste the finished limeade, and decide if you want to add the rest.

    Ingredients For 1 Quart

  • 1 tablespoon grated zest (from 1 lime)
  • 1 cup lime juice (from about 4-6 Persian/Tahitian limes)
  • 3/4 cup to 1 cup granulated sugar
  • 3 cups water
  • Fresh mint sprigs
  •  
    Preparation

    1. MAKE the simple syrup: In a small saucepan, combine the sugar, one cup of water and the lime zest, and bring to a boil. Stir to dissolve any remaining sugar granules, remove the pot from the heat and set aside to cool.
    The amount of sugar is a guideline, it depends on how sweet you like your limeade and how tart your particular limes are.

    2. STRAIN out the lime zest: Place a strainer over a bowl or serving pitcher and pour the sugar syrup through it, straining out the zest.

    3. ADD the lime juice and 2 cups of water and taste. If it’s too sweet, add a bit more lime juice. Add several sprigs of fresh mint.

    4. CHILL or serve immediately over ice.

    Variations

  • Berry lemonade: Mix in berry purée (recipe). The limeade in photo #3 is deep purple from a cup of blueberries. Raspberry limeade is also terrific.
  • Cucumber lemonade: Peel and dice 1 large cucumber and purée in a blender with the simple syrup and lime juice [photo #4]. Garnish with a cucumber wheel. Add some gin or vodka!
  • Fizzy lemonade: Substitute sparkling water for one or both cups of the tap water.
  • Glass rim: Mix equal amounts of zest and coarse sugar in a shallow bowl. Dip the rims of the glasses 1/4 inch into a bowl of water, then twist in the zest-sugar blend [photo #2].
  • More intense flavor: Muddle mint leaves or cucumber slices in the pitcher for more mint/cucumber flavor.
  • Patriotic lemonade: For Memorial Day, Independence Day and Labor Day festivities, set out three pitchers: raspberry lemonade (red), plain lemonade (white) and blackberry lemonade (blue).
  • ________________

    *Limes have a slightly higher acid content: On average, it’s about 6% for limes and 4.5% for lemons. Lemons have more fructose (fruit sugar): 2% for lemons, and between 0.5% and 0.75% for limes. Sugar has a suppressive effect on the perception of sourness, so lemon juice will appear to taste a bit less sour than lime juice. The composition of acids in the two also differ. The acid in lemon juice is almost entirely citric acid, which also makes up most of the acid in limes. However, limes include about 10% each of succinic acid and malic acid which have an effect on their flavor. Source: Craft Cocktails at Home by Kevin Liu.

     

    Limeade Recipe
    [1] Mint is a delicious complement to limeade (photo Elise Bauer | Simply Recipes).

    Limemade Lime Zest Rim
    [2] Make a lime zest and sugar rim (photo courtesy Saint Marc Pub-Cafe | Huntington Beach, CA.

    Blueberry Limeade
    [3] Blueberry limeade, Here’s the recipe from Ciao Florentina.

    Cucumber Lemonade

    [4] Cucumber limeade: Just add sliced cucumbers. Here’s a recipe from Saveur.

     
    THE HISTORY OF LIMES

    It is believed that lemons derived from limes. In fact, if limes are left on the tree to fully ripen, they turn yellow and are indistinguishable from lemons. They’re harvested when green to prevent confusion at the market.

  • Persian lime. The principal supermarket lime, the Persian/Tahitian lime, originated somewhere in the Pacific Rim but more than that is unknown. It is believed to be a hybrid of the Key/Mexican/Bearss lime and citron, a variety of lemon. It may or may not have been hybridized in Persia; the Key/Mexican lime appears to have arrived in the Middle East and Africa, via Arab traders, by 1000 C.E. Crusaders brought it to Western Europe in the 12th and 13th centuries; however, mosaics of lemon and lime trees have been found in remains of Roman villas. The lime was first grown in large quantities in Persia (Iran) and Babylonia (Iraq).
  • Key lime. The Key lime/Mexican lime lime (small, round, yellow flesh) arose in South East Asia, in the Indo-Malayan region.
  • The names lemon and lime are derived from the same Arabic word, limun.
  •  
    The first known mention of limes in Western literature is Sir Thomas Herbert’s Travels, published in 1677. He speaks of finding “oranges, lemons, and limes” on the island of Mohelia off Mozambique.

    Here’s a full lime history, the difference between Persian/Tahitian and Key/Mexican limes, and a photo glossary of the different types of limes the world over.

    Our favorite example: The blood lime of Australia is red inside and out!

      

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    TIP OF THE DAY: Turkey For July 4th & All Year ‘Round

    Jennie O Oven Ready Turkey

    Jennie-O Oven Ready Turkey

    Sweet Potato Salad

    [1] and [2] Roast turkey is a year-round treat, especially when all you have to do is put a frozen turkey in a bag in the oven (photos courtesy Jennie-O). [3] Sweet potato salad made summery with corn and tomatoes. Here’s the recipe from Averie Cooks.

     

    June is National Turkey Lover’s Month.

    There are turkey burgers and turkey hot dogs, ground turkey for meatballs or meat loaf, and turkey sandwiches from turkey breast or [far less appealing] turkey roll.

    But the turkey everyone looks forward to is the Thanksgiving turkey (well, except a few folks like our friend Terry’s dad, who doesn’t like poultry).

    So why is a roast turkey on the table only once a year?
     
    THE EASIEST ROAST TURKEY YOU CAN MAKE, ANYTIME

    You can have a delicious turkey (photo #1) year-round with very little effort, with an oven-ready frozen turkey from Jennie-O. It’s our best discovery so far this year.

    The turkey comes in a bag with a handle for easy carrying (photo #2). Thanks to whomever thought of this (and other turkey producers, take note).

    Just take the turkey from the freezer, remove the outer bag, and place the frozen turkey, housed in an inner bag, into the oven.

    That’s it: There’s nothing to baste or watch over. It cooks up super-moist and juicy. And clean-up is minimal.

    We received our Jennie-O Oven-Ready Whole Turkey as a sample. We couldn’t believe it would be as easy as described, or produce as good a turkey as the typical frozen turkey, thawed before roasting.

    But it is! Jennie-O has a new customer in us, and we’ll have whole roasted turkey much more often, and soon (see the next section).

    We also will likely forgo our annual heirloom bird at Thanksgiving, because Jennie-O Oven Ready is just too easy to pass up. (And who likes to scrub a roasting pan?)

    TURKEY FOR JULY 4TH

    We’re having a roast turkey on July 4th. Turkey was almost America’s national bird, after all. As for those burgers, franks, chicken and steaks: We have them all the time. They’re not exactly a celebration.

    There won’t be stuffing or cranberry sauce. We’re making summer sides: sweet potato salad, and a farmers market green salad with a dried cranberry vinaigrette.

    We have three bags of cranberries in the freezer, and are planning cranberry sorbet for dessert.

    Some participants have been asked to bring potluck dishes that complement a summer roast turkey. We know two of them: corn salad and zucchini ribbon “pasta” salad. We can’t wait to see what the others bring!
     
    BACK TO JENNIE-O…

    Jennie-O Oven Ready Whole Turkey is also available with Cajun seasonings. Both come with a packet of gravy.

    The gravy included with our turkey is not the greatest; but we added Gravy Master, and then bourbon, which helped.

    Truth to tell, the turkey is so moist and flavorful, no gravy is necessary. Or, you can make gravy from the drippings in the bag.

     
    Don’t like dark meat? Jennie-O offers Oven Ready Turkey Breast options: Bone In, Cajun Bone In, and Boneless.

    Check out the line of Jennie-O turkey products including fresh, natural turkeys; cutlets; franks and brats; burgers and ground meat; tenderloins; sausages; meatballs, bacon; even turkey pot roast!

    Need turkey tips? Visit Jennie-O for:

  • How to Buy a Whole Turkey
  • How to Thaw a Frozen Turkey
  • How to Brine a Turkey
  • How to Marinate a Turkey
  • How to Rub a Turkey
  • How to Cook a Turkey
  • How to Ensure a Juicy Turkey
  • How to Grill a Turkey, Gas Or Charcoal
  • How to Smoke a Turkey
  • How to Carve a Turkey
  • How to Store Leftover Turkey Properly
  • How To Slow Cook A Turkey Breast
  •  
    THE HISTORY OF THE TURKEY
     
      

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    TIP OF THE DAY: Make A Recipe You’ve Been Saving “For The Right Time”

    We have the bad habit of collecting recipes. Not making them, mind you, just collecting them.

    Whether torn from magazines or saved digitally, we have so many recipes, we could publish a cookbook series called “Recipes We Never Tried.”

    Yesterday, we tore from The New York Times the this recipe for namoura, a Lebanese semolina pan cake, soaked in a flavored sugar-syrup and garnished with almonds.

    It sounded delicious and we wanted to try it, but we wondered if we’d ever get around to making it. And then we created a tip for ourselves:

    A Really Good Idea

    Once a month, go through the collection of Recipes We Never Tried and make one, just one. At the same time, toss 10 recipes we’re not likely to make anytime soon, if ever.

    If you do this on a Friday night or Saturday morning, you have the weekend to cook the chosen recipe.

    Following the accounting principle of FIFO—first in, first out—we’re making namoura on Saturday. If we don’t get to Kalustyan’s for lavender extract, we’ll use rose water.

    What We’re Tossing Today

    Digging through the pile, we came across the recipe below, from Whole Foods. We’re not sure why we saved it; we make crostini with goat cheese and strawberries often.

    But since it’s summer and strawberries are a nice summer crostini topping, before we hit the delete button, we share it with you, adapted from the original.

    More Summer Crostini Suggestions

    Try this BLT guacamole crostini recipe with juicy summer heirloom cherry tomatoes.

    For entertaining, set up a DIY crostini bar (or if you’re outdoors near a grill, a DIY bruschetta bar.

    The difference between crostini and bruschetta starts with the bread: crostini is toasted; bruschetta is rubbed with a garlic clove, brushed with olive oil and grilled.

    RECIPE: GOAT CHEESE & STRAWBERRY OR TOMATO CROSTINI

    Ingredients

  • 12 slices baguette, lightly toasted
  • 4 ounces fresh goat cheese or other spreadable cheese
  • 1 cup diced strawberries (or berries of choice, or tomatoes)
  • 1 tablespoon extra-virgin olive oil
  • 2 teaspoons balsamic vinegar
  • 1/4 cup fresh basil leaves, chopped
  • Freshly ground black pepper
  •  
    Preparation

     

    Feta-Pear Crostini

    Strawberry Goat Cheese Crostini

    Pint Of Strawberries

    Cherry Tomatoes

    [1] and [2] The crostini recipe (photos courtesy Whole Foods) with [3] strawberries (photo courtesy Good Eggs). Or, [4] substitute tomatoes for the strawberries (photo courtesy Sunset Produce).

     
    1. SPREAD the toasted baguette slices with goat cheese and top with strawberries and basil, pressing to help the strawberry pieces adhere.

    2a. DRIZZLE with olive oil and balsamic vinegar and sprinkle with basil and a generous amount of black pepper.

    2b. VARIATION: Instead of drizzling, toss the diced berries and basil in oil and vinegar.

    The variation makes the crostini less drippy than if they were drizzled with oil and vinegar; and it better integrates the strawberries and basil. The net taste remains the same.

    FOOD 101: THE DIFFERENCE BETWEEN APPETIZERS & HORS D’OEUVRE

    These terms are often used interchangeably, but there is a difference:

    Hors d’oeuvre, pronounced or-DERV, a French term that refers to finger food(s) served with drinks prior to the meal. The name means “outside the work,” i.e., not part of the main meal.

    Hors d’oeuvre were traditionally one-bite items, artistically constructed, like canapés (a subgroup of hors d’oeuvre). Today, in the U.S., the category of has expanded to include such bites as mini quiches and tarts, skewers, baby lamb chops, stuffed mushrooms, etc.

    Note that in French, there’s no extra “s” for the plural: It’s the same spelling as the singular form.

    An appetizer is a first course, served at the table and, in larger portions than hors d’oeuvre.

    While you can plate multiple hors d’oeuvres as an appetizer, an appetizer can be many things—from a crab cake to a plated slice of quiche to a salad (in the U.S.—the French serve salad after the main course).

    What about crackers and cheese, crudités and dips, salsa and chips, and other American snack foods served with pre-dinner drinks?

    Since they are finger foods, technically you can call them hors d’oeuvre. Or, as the French might say (sneer?), American hors d’oeuvre.

      

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