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THE NIBBLE’s Gourmet News & Views

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Archive for Tip Of The Day

TIP OF THE DAY: Use The Leaves As Dishes

What’s the beautiful dish in the photo? Balsamic Brussels Sprouts, nested in a leaf from the stalk on which they grow. In French this presentation is called “en feuille” (pronounced “on FUY”–think of a very shortened “phooey”). The English translation is “in the leaf” or “in its leaf.”

The Brussels sprouts in this photo were grown at The Chef’s Garden in Huron, Ohio. But you can look for stalks with leaves at your local farmers market. If the leaves have already been removed, ask the farmer to bring stalks with the leaves intact next time.

In our house, buying a handsome stalk of Brussels sprouts from the farmers market is a rite of fall. But even if you buy the sprouts already trimmed from the supermarket, you can make the delicious Balsamic Brussels Sprouts recipe below.

Using the leaves of cruciferous vegetables for presentation is a free way to add interest to food. Beyond serving as a bowl or plate, the leaves can be torn into a salad not dissimilar to the now-ubiquitous kale (which is also cruciferous), julienned and stir-fried and otherwise cooked.

And of course, you can use the leaves to hold other foods.

Even the stalk of the plant has culinary uses. Use Brussels sprouts stalks as you would use broccoli stalks.



Balsamic Brussels sprouts in a Brussels sprouts leaf. (You should put a plate under yours.) Photo courtesy The Chef’s Garden.

Some people get it into their heads that they should only eat the florets, but the stalks are just as delicious. If you feed those who won’t eat the stalks, slice them into rounds and steam them or sauté them with garlic.


  • 2 pounds Brussels sprouts
  • 1/2 cup extra virgin olive oil
  • 1/2 cup balsamic vinegar
  • 2 teaspoons garlic powder
  • 2 teaspoons salt
  • 1 teaspoon ground black pepper
  • 4 ounces pancetta, 1/4-inch-diced (substitute turkey bacon)
  • Sea salt/kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper
  • Optional: 1/4 cup pine nuts, chopped pecans, dried cranberries, raisins; 1/2 cup grated Parmesan

    1. PREHEAT the oven to 425°F. Trim the cores of the Brussels sprouts and cut them in half vertically. Save any loose leaves that fall off and cook them as well.

    2. TOSS the Brussels sprouts in a large bowl with the pancetta, olive oil, balsamic, garlic, salt and pepper. Spread in an even layer on a rimmed baking sheet, place in the oven and roast until deep golden brown (30 to 35 minutes), tossing once during roasting.

    3. REMOVE from the oven and toss with the optional ingredients. Transfer to a serving plate and serve hot.



    Brussels sprouts on the stalk. Photo © Carole Topalian | Edible Madison. All rights reserved.



    The Brussels sprouts plant (Brassica oleracea) is a beauty: A stalk that grows to about four feet tall, crowned with large, wide graceful leaves. The sprouts, edible buds which resemble tiny heads of cabbage, grow from the bottom of the stalk to the top, in an charming progression from smallest to largest.

    If Brussels sprouts look like tiny cabbages, it’s because both are members of the cruciferous family of vegetables. Other members include arugula, bok choy, broccoli and broccoli rabe, cabbage, cauliflower, cress, daikon/radish, horseradish/wasabi, kale, kohlrabi, mizuna, mustard greens, rutabaga, tatsoi and turnips.

    While they are thought of as a cool weather crop, Brussels sprouts can be found in markets year-round. The peak season is September through February.

    Few foods are more unpleasant than overcooked Brussels sprouts. The same is true with other cruciferous members: Excessive heat releases an unpleasant-smelling and -tasting chemical compound. But cook them lightly, and they are bites of pleasure.

    Similarly line: Don’t store raw Brussels sprouts for more than a few days. The flavor gets stronger.

    Brussels sprouts are exceptionally rich in protein, dietary fiber, vitamins, minerals and antioxidants, including glucosinolate, a phytochemical and an important cancer-fighting phytonutrient. All cruciferous vegetables contain glucosinolates, but Brussels sprouts are especially loaded.

    They are also cholesterol-fighters. Steamed Brussels sprouts actually have a have better cholesterol-lowering effect than raw brussels sprouts. The plant fibers do a better job of binding when they’ve been steamed.

    Brussels sprouts are an excellent source of vitamin C; one cup provides more than your daily requirement. Vitamin C, along with vitamins A and E, also found in the sprouts, protect the body by trapping harmful free radicals. Brussels sprouts are one of the best vegetable sources for vitamin K, which strengthens bones and helps to prevent, or at least, delay the onset of Alzheimer’s disease.

    Is there a better reason to eat them often?


    As strange as “Brussels sprouts pizza” sounds, it is delicious. Other cruciferous members, like broccoli and arugula, often find themselves topping a pizza. Consider adding some fresh goat cheese in addition to the mozzarella and tomato sauce.

    Or, try these:

  • Brussels Sprouts Caesar Salad
  • Brussels Sprouts Potato Salad
  • Buffalo Brussels Sprouts Grilled Cheese Sandwich
  • Roasted Beets & Brussels Sprouts
  • Roasted Fingerling Potatoes & Brussels Sprouts

  • Bigger is not better. The most tender sprouts, with the sweetest flavor, are 1 to 1-1/2 inches in diameter.
  • Choose sprouts of similar size so they’ll cook evenly.
  • When cooking whole sprouts, make a shallow “X” on the bottom. This allows the heat to penetrate more effectively and cook them evenly.


    TIP OF THE DAY: Fall Salad

    We were inspired by this Pear and Endive Salad from Barrel & Ashes in Studio City, California. It’s garnished with goat cheese, walnuts, and a maple balsamic vinaigrette.

    That’s a perfect salad recipe in our book. But how else can you make a fall-inspired salad? Start with your favorite lettuces. Then, add two or more selections from the fall produce list.

    Aim for fall colors: a bit of orange,


    Use them diced or sliced, raw or cooked:

  • Apples, skin on
  • Asian pear or American pear varieties, skin on
  • Huckleberries
  • Kumquats
  • Muscadine grapes
  • Orange slices or mandarin segments
  • Passionfruit
  • Persimmons
  • Pomegranate arils

  • Acorn, buttercup and butternut squash
  • Beets, red and yellow
  • Broccoli
  • Brussels sprouts
  • Cardoon (an artichoke relative, worth seeking out)
  • Carrot
  • Cherry tomatoes, ideally red and yellow mixed or heirloom shades
  • Cauliflower
  • Daikon radish
  • Endive
  • Jerusalem artichoke (sunchoke)
  • Kohlrabi (a cabbage relative)
  • Mushroom
  • Pumpkin
  • Radicchio
  • Red cabbage, shredded
  • Red onion
  • Red, yellow and orange bell peppers
  • Sweet potato
  • Swiss chard
  • Turnips

    You can get lots of inspiration just by strolling up and down the produce aisles, looking for appealing colors and flavors.


    Fall Salad

    beet & orange salad

    /home/content/71/6181571/html/wp content/uploads/broccoli salad souplantation 230r

    TOP: Fall salad with maple balsamic vinaigrette. Be sure to add at least one fall color (deep yellow, orange, red). Photo courtesy Barrel and Ashes | Studio City. MIDDLE: Beets and oranges scream fall. Photo courtesy Socarrat Paella Bar | NYC. BOTTOM: Broccoli and cashew salad on pinto beans with red onion and red bell pepper. Photo courtesy Souplantation.


    Yellow Beet Salad

    Raw yellow beets, cooked red beets and long strips of carrot add fall colors to a green salad. Photo courtesy Tender Lettuce.



    Before you add the greens, fill the salad bowl with cooked beans, greens or legumes.

  • Beans
  • Legumes: black-eyed peas, lentils, split peas
  • Rice
  • Whole grains (barley, brown rice, bulghur, quinoa, wild rice, etc.)

  • Bacon strips or lardons
  • Cheese, especially in harvest colors (Aged Gouda, Cheddar, Gjetost, Shropshire Blue and these);, cubed, julienned or shredded
  • Corn kernels
  • Chickpeas (garbanzos)
  • Dried apple or pear slices
  • Dried cranberries
  • Nuts: almonds, cashews, peanuts, pecans and walnuts; candied, raw or toasted
  • Seeds: pumpkin seeds (pepitas), sunflower seeds



  • 1/3 cup balsamic or cider vinegar
  • 2 tablespoons pure maple syrup
  • 1 tablespoon Dijon mustard
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt
  • 1/4 teaspoon pepper
  • 2/3 cup olive oil
  • Optional: 1 teaspoon finely chopped garlic, 1 shallot finely diced
  • Optional: 1/2 teaspoon sage or thyme, or 1/4 teaspoon pumpkin pie spice

    1. COMBINE all ingredients. We like to emulsify it in the blender to prevent separation.



    TIP OF THE DAY: 25+ Uses For Apple Butter

    We were recently searching for something in the back of a friend’s pantry—at her request—and came across a jar of apple butter that looked past its prime. We checked the date. Yep, way gone.

    “Do you know you have expired apple butter?” we queried. “Oh that,” she replied. “Someone gave it to me years ago and I didn’t know what to do with it.”

    Apple butter is not butter, we explained. It’s a fruit spread so creamy, it spreads like butter. There’s no dairy in it. Think of it as creamy apple jam.

    Today’s tip is for anyone who needs suggestions for using apple butter, and for those who want to make their own from the fall crop of just-picked apples. There’s a slow cooker recipe below.


    Apple butter is a highly concentrated form of apple sauce, as dense as a spread. While the skins are used, since the apples are cooked to a point where the sugar in the flesh caramelizes and the flesh turns brown, the color of the apple doesn’t make a difference.


    /home/content/71/6181571/html/wp content/uploads/apple butter tasteofhome 230

    Ready, set spread your delicious homemade apple butter. Photo courtesy


    In the Middle Ages, the first monasteries with large fruit orchards began to appear in Europe. Apple butter, developed at that time, turned out to have a long shelf life (due to the concentration of sugars). It was an ideal way to conserve part of the apple crop.

    Villagers made their own apple butter, and a popular bread spread was born. As imported spices became more affordable, apple butter was enhanced with allspice, cinnamon, clove and nutmeg.

    Fast forward some centuries to the colonization of North America: Housewives brought the technique for making apple butter with them. In the 1700s, the German Rhinelanders and Moravians who settled into the Blue Ridge Mountains, especially in Kentucky, North Carolina, Tennessee and West Virginia, “really honed apple butter-making to a deliciously fine art.” (Source:

    In the 1800s, another German immigrant group, the Pennsylvania Dutch (a misspelling of Deutsch), established the tradition in southeastern Pennsylvania. In the latter half of the century, with the invention of the Mason jar, apple butter was “put up” by even more households. These days, you can freeze it.

    Apple butter’s popularity declined in the 20th century, with the proliferation of store-bought brands of jam and jelly providing a wide variety of fruit options year-round.

    You can use any apples, but soft apples work best because they cook down the fastest. Choose one (or more) of these varieties, and you’ll have apple butter in no time:

  • Braeburn
  • Cortland
  • Fuji
  • Gravenstein
  • Jonamac
  • Jonagold
  • Ida Red


  • On oatmeal
  • On toast or biscuits
  • On pancakes and waffles
  • As a topping for yogurt or cottage cheese
  • Muffin surprise (cut a channel, scoop out and fill, replace the top)

  • Panini: ham or turkey, brie or cheddar (or other cheese), apple butter
  • Sandwich spread, including with cheese: grilled cheese, cream cheese, semihard cheese
  • PB&AB, or instead of the PB, apple butter with almond butter and sliced bananas
  • Turkey burger


    All you need to turn apple butter into a homemade gift is a ribbon! Photo courtesy



  • As a condiment for pork chops or roast
  • In barbecue sauce (recipe)
  • In a baked potato with sour cream or yogurt
  • Instead of applesauce
  • Ham glaze
  • Sauce for chicken
  • On baked sweet potatoes, or as a dip with sweet potato fries

  • A cup of apple butter as dessert, with heavy cream or whipped cream.
  • Crepe filling, topped with cinnamon sugar (substitute tortillas for crepes)
  • Warmed or melted over vanilla ice cream and garnished with pecans
  • Cookie sandwiches
  • Baking†
  • Loaf cake sandwiches
  • Snack

  • On crackers
  • On a spoon, right from the jar
  • In a smoothie*

    Because the apples cook for a long period, this is a recipe best made in a slow cooker. Plan to start cooking early in the morning. For gifting, use 8-ounce Mason or Ball jars, or other attractive jars. Note that the apple butter won’t have any preservatives, so should be refrigerated or frozen. This recipe is courtesy Taste Of Home.
    Ingredients For 4 Pints

  • 5-1/2 pounds apples, peeled and finely chopped (we kept the peel on)
  • 4 cups sugar‡
  • 2 to 3 teaspoons ground cinnamon
  • 1/4 teaspoon ground cloves
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt
  • Optional: 1 teaspoon cider vinegar

    1. PLACE the apples in a 3-quart slow cooker. Combine the other ingredients, pour over the apples and mix well. Cover and cook on high for 1 hour.

    2. REDUCE the heat to low; cover and cook for 9-11 hours or until thickened and dark brown, stirring occasionally. Stir more frequently as the spread thickens, to prevent sticking.

    3. UNCOVER and cook on low 1 hour longer. If desired, stir with a wire whisk until smooth.

    4. SPOON into jars or freezer containers, leaving a half inch of space at the top. Cover and refrigerate or freeze.
    *Freeze apple butter in an ice cube tray; blend frozen cubes with almond milk and banana, with spices to taste.

    †You can use apple butter like applesauce, as a replacement for oil, eggs and butter, in most baked good recipes. Like applesauce, it provides sweetness and moistness in breads, cakes, cookies, muffins, pancakes and waffles. Look for tested recipes.

    ‡You can cut back on the sweetness, or try one batch and then adjust it.



    TIP OF THE DAY: Chermoula Sauce

    Last night at a nine-course feast at the home of our wine editor, we were served a dish of scallops, sautéed greens and a hearty topping of freshly-made pesto.

    A conversation ensued among the nut-averse and lactose-intolerant in attendance, that they didn’t use pesto because of the cheese or the nuts.

    There’s an easy alternative: chermoula, a Middle Eastern marinade and sauce popular in the cuisines of Algeria, Libya, Morocco and Tunisia.

    As with pesto recipes, there are countless regional variations both in ingredients and proportions. But chermoula usually starts with a mixture of fresh herbs (especially cilantro), olive oil, lemon juice, cumin, garlic and salt.

    Flavorful chermoula is typically used with fish and seafood, and its green color adds brightness to what we personally refer to as “beige and brown foods.” It is also used to flavor meat, poultry and vegetable dishes.


    /home/content/71/6181571/html/wp content/uploads/chermoula offthemeathook 230

    At Off The (Meat) Hook, it’s used to coat broiled halibut. Here’s the recipe. Photo courtesy


    Variations include black pepper, fresh coriander, ground chiles, onion, pickled lemons and saffron, among other ingredients.

  • The preferred recipe in Sfax, a port city in Tunisia, incorporates a purée of dried dark grapes, with onions sautéed in olive oil, black pepper, cumin and chiles, but also cinnamon and cloves.
  • Two countries to the west, in Morocco, one popular recipe uses dried parsley, cumin, salt and pepper with paprika as the variable seasoning. It’s often served with grilled meat and fish.

    /home/content/71/6181571/html/wp content/uploads/chermoula lamb pumpkin broadbeans .au 2301

    Chermoula on lamb chops, rice and vegetables. Photo courtesy



    In the Middle East, chermoula is traditionally made with a mortar and pestle. In our tests making pesto, the mortar and pestle produced a more flavorful pesto than the food processor. So we pulled it out to make this recipe. Feel free to switch on the food processor instead.

    This recipe is a Moroccan variation, with paprika. As with pesto, it is easy to make. Prep time is just 10 minutes. You can make extra and freeze it.

    Ingredients For 1 Cup

  • 1 cup cilantro leaves*
  • 2 cups flat-leaf parsley leaves
  • 3 to 4 cloves garlic
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 2 teaspoon cumin
  • 1 teaspoon sweet or smoked paprika (or a combination)
  • 1/4 teaspoon red chili flakes or 1/2 jalapeño, seeds and membrane removed
  • Large pinch saffron
  • 1/3 cup of extra-virgin olive oil†
  • 1/4 cup freshly-squeezed lemon juice (about 1 large lemon)
    You can put your own stamp on the recipe, of course. We had some leftover fresh mint, so added it to the second batch.

    1. COMBINE all the ingredients in a mortar or food processor. Grind or pulse into a thick paste. It’s that easy!

    2. STORE the chermoula in a jar with a tight-fitting lid. It will last for up to 3 weeks in the fridge, needing only to be stirred.

    3. FREEZE extra in the compartments of an ice cube tray that has been sprayed with nonstick olive oil spray. When the cubes have frozen, remove them to a freezer bag.

    This weekend we perused a book that had been sent to us on The Food of Oman, a sultanate on the southern end of the Arabian Peninsula.

    When we pulled it out of its packaging, our first reaction was, “We have no time to figure out the cooking of Oman.” But as we thumbed our way through the book, we wanted to eat everything!

    If you enjoy learning new cuisines, or know someone who does, pick up a copy. The author, an American food writer who lived in the Middle East, takes readers on a journey that is delightful.

    *You can include the small stems that attach the leaves to the main stalks.

    †A fruity style (as opposed to peppery) is preferable.



    TIP OF THE DAY: Cherry Tomato Pasta Sauce

    October is National Pasta Month, and we’ll be sharing different takes on pasta. We start with tomato sauce.

    Some people use fresh summer tomatoes to make their sauce, freezing batches to last through the year. Others used canned tomatoes year-round. Less often, cherry tomatoes are employed.

    For us, since lush summer tomatoes have drifted into memory until next year, cherry tomatoes are the go-to for homemade sauce.

    While cherry tomatoes can be puréed into a conventional smooth sauce, first up is a version that roasts the cherry tomatoes and uses them whole, rather than cooking them on the stove top and pureeing in a conventional sauce.

    Essentially, your sauce is seasoned whole roasted cherry tomatoes in olive oil; and beyond pasta, it can accompany rice and grains, polenta, eggs, grilled cheese, burgers and sandwiches, even savory waffles.

    Since the cherry tomatoes keep their shape, this is especially beautiful when made with mixed-color heirloom cherry tomatoes, or a combination of red and gold.


    /home/content/71/6181571/html/wp content/uploads/ravioli cherry tomato saucedelfinarestaurant 230

    Colorful cherry tomatoes are a beautiful accent to beige pasta. Photo courtesy Delfina Restaurant | San Francisco.

    You can simply sauté cherry tomatoes in olive oil with seasonings. Or, here are two recipes that impart a bit more complexity.



  • 1-1/2 pounds cherry tomatoes, washed and patted dry
  • 3 cloves garlic, peeled and sliced
  • 1/2 cup extra-virgin olive oil
  • 2 tablespoons balsamic vinegar
  • 1 tablespoon fresh thyme
  • 2 teaspoons packed light-brown sugar
  • 1 teaspoon coarse salt
  • Optional: chopped or sliced, pitted olives (2 tablespoons); drained capers (1 tablespoon); lemon zest (1 tablespoon); minced, seeded jalapeño (1-2 tablespoons) or crushed red pepper (1/2-1 tablespoon)

    1. PREHEAT the oven to 325°F. Place the tomatoes in a nonreactive* 9-by-13-inch baking dish and sprinkle with the garlic. Whisk together the oil, vinegar, thyme, brown sugar, salt and optional ingredients in a bowl. Drizzle over the tomatoes.

    2. BAKE for about 1 hour, until the tomatoes are softened and caramelized. Serve warm or at room temperature.
    *Reactive vs. Non-Reactive Cookware: Aluminum, cast iron and copper are popular for cookware because of their superior heat-conducting properties. However, these metals can react with acids in a recipe (citrus, tomato, vinegar, etc.), imparting a metallic taste and discoloration of light-colored foods. This is also true with mixing bowls and utensils. Non-reactive materials include enameled metal, glass, plastic and stainless steel.


    /home/content/71/6181571/html/wp content/uploads/Spaghetti chunky tomato sauce ps 230r

    Here, 1 pint of the cherry tomatoes have been quartered instead of pulsed, for a chunky sauce. Photo courtesy McCormick.



    In this recipe, the tomatoes are pulsed in the food processor so do not maintain their shape, as in the recipe above. The reason to use them is because of superior flavor in the off season, and/or to take advantage of good prices.

    Ingredients For 4 Cups

  • 6 garlic cloves, peeled and sliced
  • 1 medium onion, large dice
  • 1/4 cup olive oil
  • 3 pints cherry tomatoes, rinsed
  • 1 tablespoon dried oregano
  • Salt and pepper
  • Optional: chopped or sliced, pitted olives (2 tablespoons); drained capers (1 tablespoon); lemon zest (1 tablespoon); minced, seeded jalapeño (1-2 tablespoons) or crushed red pepper (1/2-1 tablespoon)

    1. PURÉE the garlic in a food processor. Add the onion and pulse 3-4 times, until finely chopped.

    2. HEAT the olive oil in a large skillet over high heat. When hot, reduce the heat to medium and add the onion and garlic mixture. Cook, stirring occasionally, until they soften, about 5 minutes.

    3. CLEAN the food processor bowl, add 1 pint of the cherry tomatoes and pulse 3-4 times, until coarsely chopped. Transfer to a large bowl and repeat to process the remaining 2 pints of tomatoes.

    4. ADD the chopped tomatoes to the skillet. Simmer, stirring frequently, until they turn into sauce (about 15-20 minutes). Add salt and pepper to taste.



    TIP: How To Remove That Burnt Popcorn Smell

    October is National Popcorn Poppin’ Month. We love popcorn, a whole grain snack that’s low in calories when seasoned simply with spices and herbs. You can also use your FDA-sanctioned two daily tablespoons of heart-healthy olive oil.

    But chief among our kitchen foibles is burnt microwaved popcorn. It not only imparts a horrendous lingering odor; it also stains the inside of the microwave with yellowish blotches. We sought help from

    Ready to begin? Gather your weapons.

    For The Odor

  • Fresh-ground coffee
  • White vinegar
  • Mug and small bowl as a saucer
    For The Stains

  • Dish detergent
  • Bowl or small bucket
  • Soft cloth or paper towels
  • Nail polish remover (100% acetone)
  • Soapy and clean water
  • Optional: rubber gloves
    Now get to work.


    Heirloom Popcorn Kernels

    Because burnt popcorn is so ugly, we elect to show only beauty, like these heirloom kernels. Photo by Katharine Pollak | THE NIBBLE.


    To rid your home of that burnt popcorn smell, there are two approaches: the coffee method and the vinegar method. Ground coffee absorbs odors, and vinegar neutralizes them.
    The Coffee Method

  • Fill a coffee mug or small bowl with 2 tablespoons of ground coffee and ½ cup of water. Set the cup in a small bowl to catch any overflow as it boils, and microwave on high for 2 minutes.
  • Carefully remove the hot mug. Repeat as necessary with fresh ingredients.
    The Vinegar Method

  • Fill the bowl halfway with vinegar. Heat it in the microwave until it develops a good amount of steam. Stop the heating and let the steam diffuse for 10 minutes.
  • Wipe out the microwave with water and a soft cloth or paper towels. A vinegar smell may remain in the microwave, but it will dissipate in a day or two and is far more pleasant than the burnt popcorn smell.
  • If the odor gets into the vents of a microwave, it may just take some time to air out. If you can take it outside and open the microwave door to fresh air—or set it in front of an open window—do so.
  • To neutralize the smell in the kitchen, add half a cup of vinegar to a quart of water and simmer on the stove for a 10 minutes.You can also burn a cinnamon stick in an ashtray.
  • If the odor still lingers, check out the article, Removing Smoke Smells, on

    /home/content/71/6181571/html/wp content/uploads/popcorn beauty bellechevreFB 230r

    No burnt popcorn here! Photo courtesy Belle Chevre | Facebook.



    This method should remove most, if not all, of the discoloration of the inside walls of a microwwave.

  • Mix a few drops of dish detergent with hot water in a large bowl or small bucket. Dip the cloth in the soapy water and wring it out thoroughly.
  • Wipe down the inside and outside of the microwave to remove any surface dirt and grime.
    If you have manicured nails, put on rubber gloves for the next step:

  • With a clean cloth or paper towel, apply nail polish remover to the walls and scrub away the yellowish stains. Wipe any residue from the walls with the soapy water and rinse.
  • You may need to repeat a couple of times depending on the severity of the discoloration.



    TIP OF THE DAY: Café Liégeois

    We made this recipe yesterday, for National Coffee Day.

    Instead of our favorite after-dinnner coffee—a steaming cup of French or Italian roast with a shot of coffee liqueur, substituting for dessert—we celebrated with a Café Liégeois (lee-eh-ZHWAH). It’s a parfait with layers of iced coffee, ice cream and whipped cream (which is called chantilly—shon-tee-YEE—in French).

    We highly recommend it as an easy-to-make dessert for coffee (and especially iced coffee) lovers.

    While the original recipe does not contain alcohol, no one is stopping you from adding a shot of coffee, chocolate or vanilla liqueur.

    If you don’t have parfait or sundae dishes, use what you do have: beer glasses, wine goblets, any tall glasses, glass mugs. You can even make the recipe in conventional coffee cups, although part of the eye appeal is looking at the layers through glass.


    Ingredients Per Serving

  • 1 cup iced coffee, black or lightly sweetened
  • 2 scoops coffee ice cream
  • 1 scoop vanilla ice cream
  • Whipped cream
  • Optional liqueur

    /home/content/71/6181571/html/wp content/uploads/cafe liegois benoitbistro 230

    A modern variation of Café Liégois. Photo courtesy Benoit Bistro | NYC.

  • Optional garnish: crushed roasted coffee beans or chocolate-covered coffee beans, shaved chocolate

  • Add a layer of cubed brownies, pound cake, or crumbled cookies.
  • The Chocolate Liégeois replaces coffee ice cream with chocolate ice cream for a mocha effect.
  • In the photo above, Philipe Bertineau, pastry chef at Benoit Bistro in New York City does his own take: coffee granité, chocolate ice cream, chocolate sauce and whipped cream.

    Chocolate Liégois. Photo courtesy Relais de l’Entrecôte | Hong Kong via Kee Hua Chee.



    1. MAKE the coffee and refrigerate. Also refrigerate or freeze the dishes or glasses. When ready to serve…

    2. FILL each dish or glass with ice cream and pour over the iced coffee and the optional liqueur. Add the whipped cream, garnish as desired and serve immediately.


    According to Wikipedia, Café Liégeois did not originate in Liège, Belgium; it was originally known in France as Café Viennois (vee-en-WAH), Viennese Coffee.

    Following the Battle of Liège in World War I, in which the city of Liège put up a resistance to the advancing German army with its Austrian-made guns—Paris’s cafés changed the name of the dessert from Viennois to Liégeois. Curiously, notes Wikipedia, in Liège itself, the dessert continued to be known as Café Viennois for a while.


    In the U.S., both ice cream desserts are made from the same ingredients. The difference is in how the ingredients are presented.

  • An American parfait shows its ingredients in layers: ice cream, syrup, fruit. It is traditionally served in a tall, narrow, short-stemmed glass, and topped with whipped cream.
  • A traditional sundae dish is a wider, tulip shape with a scalloped rim. First ice cream is scooped into the dish, and it is topped with syrups, fruits, wet walnuts and crowned with whipped cream a maraschino cherry (today a fresh strawberry is often substituted). Crushed nuts and sprinkles can also be added. The sundae was invented in the U.S. Here’s the history of ice cream.
  • A French parfait differs from the American version. It is a frozen dessert made by folding fruits, nuts and/or other ingredients into whipped cream or egg custard—more like a semifreddo or frozen soufflé. See the different types of ice cream.


    TIP OF THE DAY: How to Recycle Coffee Grounds


    You can toss your coffee grounds, or re-use
    them in multiple ways. Photo courtesy


    September 29th is National Coffee Day. If you brew your own coffee, what do you do with the spent grounds?

    Here are green alternatives from Folgers Coffee and our own archives.



  • Body scrub: Add grounds to warm water or coconut oil and use as an exfoliating scrub.
  • Antioxidant facial: Mix two tablespoons of grounds with an equal amount of cocoa powder. Add three tablespoons of whole milk or heavy cream and a tablespoon of honey. Spread on your face; remove in 15 minutes.

  • Dye clothing or “antique” paper.
  • Scented candles: Mix the grounds into the wax of homemade candles. You’ll get a coffee scent as they burn.
  • Soap: Add grounds to homemade soap. They work as an exfoliator also impart some caffeine through the skin.

  • Marinate meat: The acid in the grounds is a tenderizer. A small amount added to a marinade gets great results without imparting the taste of coffee.

  • Use as plant food: The nitrogen-rich coffee grounds nurture houseplants and garden plants. Mix one part coffee grounds with four parts water, and water your plants with it once every other week. You can also sprinkle the grounds directly over the soil or blend them into the soil. Don’t use un-brewed coffee; it’s too high in acid and can burn the plants.
  • Compost, along with the paper coffee filter.


  • Touch up wood scratches with grounds and a cotton swab.
  • Clean the fireplace: Scatter grounds over the ashes to reduce the spread of dust as you sweep it up.
  • Use as a deodorizer, to remove strong smells (curry, fish, garlic). Rub some grounds over your hands or kitchen counter; then wash them off.
  • Remove unpleasant odors from garbage cans, closets, shoes, etc. Leave a cup of coffee grounds (or a smaller amount as appropriate) inside them overnight.

    Folgers has an online coffee calculator to tell you exactly how much water and ground coffee you need, based on the number of people.

    Note that in the coffee industry, a serving size is 6 fluid ounces. An American mug typically holds 12 ounces.


    /home/content/71/6181571/html/wp content/uploads/coffee soap offbeatandinspired 230

    Homemade coffee soap. Here’s the recipe from




    TIP OF THE DAY: Harvest Cobb Salad

    Harvest Cobb Salad

    Grilled squash and corn replace tomatoes and cheese in this Harvest Cobb Salad. Photo courtesy


    Today’s tip comes from Audra Fullerton, The Baker Chick, one of our favorite food bloggers (and food photographers).

    She created a Cobb Salad with fall ingredients, that serves as the inspiration to many other fall salads to come.

    Since tomatoes are now entering the sub-optimal period, she uses grilled squash in her Cobb Salad. She doesn’t use cheese, but if you want to, make it a deep orange or gold color*.

    As another shout-out to the fall season, there’s maple vinaigrette.

    Audra does it all in a little New York City apartment with a tiny kitchen and no grill. She says, “The chicken and corn are fabulous on the grill. I used my large cast iron skillet to cook pretty much everything—squash, corn, bacon and chicken. Either way works.”

    Salads are very adaptable, and you can add your favorite mix-ins, from dried cranberries to toasted pecans.

    Our own signature fall salad is modeled after Thanksgiving dinner:

    It’s a mesclun mix topped with cubed turkey and sweet potatoes, dried cranberries and toasted walnuts; the vinaigrette is mixed with a tablespoon of chunky cranberry sauce. Sometimes we add a scoop of stove top stuffing, since it’s easy to make and croutons just don’t equate.

    Ingredients For 4 Servings

    For The Salad

  • 10 cups of salad greens
  • 1 small acorn squash
  • 1 ear of corn
  • 10 strips of bacon
  • 3 eggs
  • 2 boneless, skinless chicken breasts
  • Olive oil as needed
  • 1 avocado
    For The Vinaigrette

  • 3 tablespoons maple syrup
  • 3 tablespoons apple cider vinegar
  • 3 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
  • Salt and pepper to taste
  • A few dashes of paprika
  • Option: beets, diced or crumbled cheese*, roasted or raw apples, pecans for added crunch
    *For a deep harvest orange or gold cheese, check out Basiron Pesto Rosso, Cahill’s Farm Flavored Irish Cheddar, English Cheddar With Harissa, Extra Triple Aged Gouda, Huntsman Cheese, Mimolette, Pecorino With Chile Flakes and Saxonshire Cheese.


    Audra notes: “The ingredients for the salad can be prepped in any fashion/order you choose, but I have laid out the process which found to be pretty efficient, both in terms of time and dishes used.”


    1. PREPARE the squash: Using a sharp serrated knife, cut the squash into 1-inch strips. Use a vegetable peeler or paring knife to remove the skin and scoop out the seeds.

    2. HEAT a cast-iron skillet to medium high. Drizzle a bit of olive oil into the pan; when hot, add the squash rings in one layer. Add 2 tablespoons of water and cover the skillet—you want to create steam. Steam for 3-5 minutes; flip and repeat. When the squash is browned and tender, transfer to a cutting board. When cool, cut into chunks.

    3. WIPE the pan and reheat to medium high. Add another drizzle of olive oil. Place the ear of corn in the center of the pan and let it cook without flipping for 3-5 minutes; rotate slightly and repeat. (Letting it sit on the heat for a few minutes is what makes it char.) Keep flipping the corn until it is golden and a bit charred. Remove from the heat and transfer to the cutting board. When cool enough to handle, use a sharp knife to remove the kernels from the cob. Set aside


    /home/content/71/6181571/html/wp content/uploads/cobb salad beets calpizzakitchen 230

    California Pizza Kitchen creates a Cobb Salad with beets and blue cheese. Photo courtesy KPC.

    4. COOK the bacon. Wipe the pan and cook the strips on medium heat, using tongs to flip until evenly cooked and crispy. (You may need to do this in 2 batches.) Set aside to cool, then coarsely chop or crumble. Pour out the bacon grease (you can reserve it to cook eggs, potatoes, whatever) and wipe out the skillet about 75% of the way; you want a little of the bacon grease and fond (the crisp tiny bit) to cook the chicken in.

    5. COOK the chicken. Season the breasts with salt and pepper and a bit of paprika for color (you can add other spices if you wish). Cook on medium heat, adding a touch of olive oil if pan seems dry. Flip each breast after 3-5 minutes depending on thickness. Cook for another 3-5 minutes or until cooked through. Transfer to a cutting board and chop into bite-size pieces.

    6. COOK the eggs. This part can be done while some of the other ingredients are cooking. Place 3 eggs in a small pot of water and turn the heat to high. Once boiling, cook for 5 minutes. Drain the hot water and immediately submerge the eggs in cold water for a few minutes. Peel and slice the eggs.

    7. MAKE the dressing. Whisk together the maple syrup, vinegar and olive oil, tasting to see if you’d like it sweeter or more vinegary. Add salt and pepper to taste.

    8. ASSEMBLE the salad. Top the greens with all the prepared ingredients except the avocado and bacon. Halve, cube and add the avocado right before serving. Drizzle the dressing over the top. Add the bacon at the table (or immediately before bringing the dishes to table) so it acquire moisture from the salad and lose its crunch.

    Cobb Salad was invented in Hollywood. Late one evening in 1937, Bob Cobb, owner of The Brown Derby restaurant, was scrounging in the kitchen’s refrigerator for a snack. He grabbed a mix of ingredients: a head of iceberg lettuce, an avocado, some romaine, watercress, tomatoes, a cold breast of chicken, a hard-boiled egg, chives, cheese and some old-fashioned French dressing.

    He then took some crisp bacon from a chef’s station and started chopping. He shared the snack with his friend Sid Grauman of Grauman’s Chinese Theatre, who came back and asked for a “Cobb Salad” the next day. It was put on the menu and became an overnight sensation. Movie mogul Jack Warner regularly dispatched his chauffeur to pick one up.



    TIP OF THE DAY: Ways To Use Ginger Beer

    Ginger beer is not alcoholic, but a stronger, spicier version of ginger ale. There are lots of cocktails made with ginger beer, the most famous of which are:

  • Dark And Stormy: ginger beer and Gosling’s Black Seal Rum (a black or dark rum).
  • Moscow Mule: ginger beer, lime juice, vodka (trivia lovers, it was the first vodka cocktail created in America, and is also called a Vodka Buck).
  • Other Mule Drinks: There’s quite a selection, from a Kentucky Mule with Bourbon to Swedish Mule with Aquavit (the different types of mule drinks).
  • Black and Tan Mocktail: a mix of ginger ale and ginger beer (after the Black and Tan beer cocktail, made from a blend of a pale ale or lager with a dark beer).
  • Ginger Beer Mojito: a mocktail or cocktail of ginger beer, fresh lime juice, fresh mint leaves and—for the cocktail—white rum (recipe).
    We far prefer the heft and sizzle of ginger beer to the more pallid ginger ale.

    You can buy ginger beer in grocery stores, or you can easily make your own. Here’s a shortcut recipe from Chef Jamie Oliver, no fermenting required.


    /home/content/71/6181571/html/wp content/uploads/dark and stormy marcussamuelsson ps 230

    The Dark and Stormy is named for the “storm cloud” effect created by pouring dark rum into ginger beer. Photo courtesy


    Ginger beer goes well with all spicy or highly-seasoned foods, as well as foods with sweet glazes and sauces, like barbecue or glazed ham. Find recipes below.


    Mule and buck are old names for mixed drinks made with ginger ale or ginger beer, plus citrus juice. They can be made with any base liquor.

    Some experts claim that a Buck is made with ginger ale, while a Mule uses the spicier ginger beer.

    Why buck? Why mule? That answer is lost to history, but here’s a detailed discussion.

    A bit of cocktail history: The Moscow Mule was invented in 1941 by John C. Hublein, importer of the than-not-well-known-or-popular Smirnof vodka. Here’s the history

    A Dark ‘n’ Stormy is traditionally made with Gosling’s Black Seal rum. Ginger beer was brought to the Caribbean by the English colonists, and full-bodied dark rum was first made by the Gosling family in 1860. It wasn’t a big jump to combine the two (one historian notes that Bermuda is only 20 square miles).


    /home/content/71/6181571/html/wp content/uploads/goslings ginger beer diet 230

    Avoid refined sugar and save calories with Gosling’s Stormy Diet Ginger Beer. It’s sweetened with sucralose and acesulfame potassium. (Stormy is the name of the seal mascot. the ginger beer is also available in the conventional sugar-sweetened form). Photo courtesy Gosling’s.



    The main differences between today’s ginger beer and ginger ale are the sweetness and spiciness. Ginger beer is less sweet than ginger ale and has a sizzling ginger kick. The spicier ginger beer provides a bite to cocktails, while the lighter ginger ale provides more sweetness and effervescence.

    Historically, both were fermented. Today only ginger beer is fermented, a reason for the higher price. Here’s more about fermented soft drinks.

    According to an enlightening article by Bill Norris, mass-produced ginger-based soft drinks began to appear in the U.S. by the mid-1800s. Back then, the ginger flavoring extract was aged in oak barrels for four years before use!

    Ginger ale was the most popular soft drink in the U.S. until the 1930s (Coca-Cola first was bottled for distribution in 1899 more).

    These early ginger ales were closer to what we now call ginger beer, described as “powerfully spicy.”

    Canada Dry ginger ale was introduced in 1907; the “dry” style prevails today. It gained favor around the time of Prohibition (1920-1933). Dry ginger ale has a more mellow ginger flavor and is easier drinking—what most Americans seek in a soft drink.


    Create a spicy, lightly sweet sauce for meat and poultry with a base of ginger beer. Try:

  • Corned Beef In Ginger Beer (recipe)
  • Ginger Beer And Tangerine Glazed Ham (recipe)
  • Grilled Chicken In Ginger Beer Sauce (recipe)
  • Pork Tenderloin With Pears & Ginger Beer Sauce (recipe)


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