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Archive for Tip Of The Day

TIP OF THE DAY: Garnishing With Lilacs

White Wine With Lilacs

Cake With  Fresh Lilac Garnish

[1] White wine with a scattering of lilac blossoms (photo courtesy Tay Tea). [2] Decorate desserts and other foods. Check out these recipes from Brit.co.

 

We received the top photo from Tay Tea, a lovely tea salon in Delhi, New York, some three hours northwest of New York City. The proprietor spent years as a blender of premium teas, and departed from owning tea salons in New York City to the country.

Fortunately for her fans, she sells her teas online. The blends are beautiful to look at, and you can’t make a wrong choice.

Back to the lilacs:

Lilac blossoms are edible, though they smell better than they taste, so are best used in small amounts as a garnish (only use those that have not been sprayed with pesticides). They typically blossom in April and May.

According to an article on Care2.com, you can “drink in the beauty and aroma” by making a cold-water infusion.

  • Add washed lilac blossoms to a pitcher and fill to the top with spring water. Steep for an hour or more.
  • Strain, chill and serve.
  • You can make multi-note flavors by adding citrus slices, strawberries, herbs, etc.
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    MORE WAYS TO CONSUME LILACS
    You can also:

  • Garnish wine and cocktails, iced tea or other nonalcoholic beverages.
  • Scatter atop green salads, crêpes, desserts, etc.
  • Candy to preserve as decorations for cakes and cupcakes (also called crystallized or sugared flowers; here’s a recipe).
  • More uses for edible flowers.
  •  
    Check out these nine lilac recipes, from cocktails to desserts.
     
    THE MYTH OF THE LILAC

    The common lilac (Syringa vulgaris), one of 12 species of lilac, is a member of the Oleaceae family, commonly called the olive family.

    The family comprises flowering aromatic woody plants that includes, among others, ash, forsythia, jasmine and privet. Lilac is native to Eurasia.

    And it has a legend.

     
    In Greek mythology, a beautiful nymph named Syringa had caught the eye of Pan, the god of the forests and fields. He chased her through the forest; but she eluded him by turning herself into a lilac bush. Pan found himself holding hollow reeds instead of Syringa.

    (Note that in real life, lilac twigs are not hollow. They can, however, be easily drilled out.)

    Pan’s sighs, combined with the wind and the reeds, made harmonious sounds. Hermes, the fleet-footed messenger and god of boundaries and transitions, suggested that seven reeds of different lengths, bound together, could make what we now call pan pipes, an early flute. The flute was called Syrinx in honor of the nymph.

    Did Syringa spend the rest of her life as a lilac bush, to avoid Pan? The record is silent; but we thank her for inspiring the flute and other hollow tubes, such as sryinges for medicine and mechanical uses.

     
      

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    TIP OF THE DAY: Gluten-Free Quiche With A Potato Crust

    Gluten Free Sausage Quiche

    Idaho Red Potatoes

    Caramelized Onions

    [1] Sausage and caramelized onion quiche with a gluten-free crust of hash brown potatoes. [2] Idaho red potatoes (both photos courtesy Idaho Potato Commission). [3] Caramelized onions. Photo courtesy Pompeian | Facebook.

     

    May 20th was National National Quiche Lorraine Day. We make a quiche every year, to celebrate the holiday. (In our college days, quiche was all the rage and we made several a week.)

    There are numerous types of quiche, but we’ve never seen one as imaginative as this gluten-free recipe from Jennie Phaneuf of One Sweet Mess for the Idaho Potato Commission.

    This quiche, packed with sausage and caramelized onions, has a crust made from hash brown potatoes, making it gluten free. You may enjoy a potato crust even more than a gluten-free flour crust.

    You can also try a cauliflower crust and pack in some brassicas. Here’s a recipe.

    You can serve quiche at breakfast, lunch, or dinner—or as a snack with wine or beer. In France, it is often served as a first course with dinner. In the U.S., it’s more common to serve it as a light entrée with a green salad.

    Spicy sausage, sweet caramelized onions, and creamy blue cheese get combined with fluffy eggs and baked to perfection.

    If you don’t like blue cheese, substitute gruyère.

    Instead of purchasing ground sausage, we bought Bilinski chicken sausages (pick your flavor), removed the casings and crumbled the meat.

    RECIPE: SAUSAGE & ONION QUICHE WITH A HASH BROWN POTATO CRUST

    Ingredients
     
    For The Crust

  • 5 medium red Idaho potatoes, peeled
  • 4 tablespoons canola oil
  • 1 tablespoon butter
  • Salt and pepper
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    For The Filling

  • 1 pound ground sausage
  • 1 tablespoon canola oil
  • 1 tablespoon butter
  • 3 large onions, sliced
  • Salt and pepper
  • 8 eggs
  • 3/4 cup half and half
  • 1 cup crumbled blue cheese
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    Preparation

    1. PREHEAT the oven to 350°F. Grate the peeled potatoes and add them to a large bowl. Cover the potatoes with cold water and allow them to soak for 10-15 minutes. While the potatoes are soaking…

    2. HEAT a 12-inch cast iron skillet over medium heat. Add the sausage and cook until brown, breaking up the meat as you go, about 8-10 minutes. Remove the sausage from the pan and set aside.

    3. ADD 1 tablespoon of canola oil and 1 tablespoon of butter to the same pan. Turn the heat down to medium low and add the sliced onions. Add a generous pinch of salt and pepper to the onions and stir to combine.

     
    Continue to cook until the onions are amber in color and caramelized, stirring often, about 35-40 minutes. If the onions begin to over-brown, turn the heat down to low. Remove the onions from the pan and set aside (you can add them to the same bowl as the sausage). While the onions are cooking…

    4. DRAIN and rinse the grated potatoes. Press down on the potatoes to remove as much of the water as possible. Transfer the potatoes to a clean tea towel and pat them dry with paper towels.

    5. ADD 4 tablespoons of canola oil and 1 tablespoon of butter to the same pan. Turn up the heat to medium-high and add the grated potatoes. Season with salt and pepper; stir to combine. Press the potatoes into an even layer in the bottom of the pan. Cook for 8-10 minutes, or until crispy and golden brown.

    Using a thin metal spatula, lift up on the bottom of the hash brown to release them from the pan. Flip and cook on the other side for 8-10 more minutes. It’s okay if the hash browns don’t flip perfectly; just arrange them back in the pan and continue to cook. While the hash browns continues to get crispy…

    6. ADD the eggs and half-and-half to a large bowl; whisk to combine. Gently season with salt and pepper, because the blue cheese is salty. If you’re using a less salty cheese, you can add more salt.

    7. TURN off the heat. Arrange the sausage and onions evenly over the hash browns. Sprinkle the crumbled blue cheese over the top, and then pour the eggs over the entire mixture. Transfer the pan to the oven and bake for 30-40 minutes, or until the eggs are cooked through and the center is set.
     
     
    MORE DELICIOUS POTATO RECIPES
     
     
    THE DIFFERENT TYPES OF POTATOES

     
      

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    PRODUCT: Red, White & Blue Champagne

    Chandon, Moet et Chandon’s sparkling wine from Napa Valley, has been issuing a limited-edition red, white and blue bottle of its brut sparkling wine for the past six years; a different design each year.

    Founded in 1973 by venerable French champagne house Moët & Chandon, Chandon was the first American sparkling wine venture established by a French Champagne house in Napa Valley. Its Napa Valley vineyard holdings, Chandon grows the traditional French champagne grapes: chardonnay, pinot noir and pinot meunier.

    They also create limited-edition bottles for New Year’s Eve; but let’s get back to the red, white and blue.

    The bottles of Chandon Brut in American flag colors bottle was so popular, that three years ago the winery launched a companion bottle of Chandon Rosé.

    If you’re pouring bubbly over Memorial Day and Independence Day weekends, these peak-chic bottles are the ones to pour.

    It’s the same delicious Chandon Brut and Rosé, in standard sizes and minis—the latter a festive party favor.

    The bottles, officially called the American Summer Limited Edition, are available Memorial Day through Labor Day at select retailers.

    If your wine and liquor store doesn’t carry them, they can order them for you by the case. You can purchase them at Chandon.com as well.

  • Limited Edition Brut Classic Summer 2017 is $26.00/750 ml bottle, $310/case. Minis (quarter bottles) are $8/bottle, $192/case.
  • Limited Edition Rosé Summer 2017 is $28.00/50 ml bottle, $336/case. Minis are $9/bottle, $262/case.
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    WHY IS ROSÉ CHAMPAGNE MORE EXPENSIVE?

    Whether from Champagne or another region of the world that produces sparkling wines*, sparkling rosé champagne is typically more expensive than sparkling white wine.

    That’s because making it is more labor-intensive and time-consuming.

    There are two ways to make rosé champagne. We’ll start off with the fact that there are two main wine grapes grown in the Champagne region: chardonnay (white grapes) and pinot noir (black grapes†). Champagne can be made from:

  • All white grapes, called blanc de blanc (meaning, white wine [champagne] from white grapes), made from chardonnay grapes and possibly some blending grapes. Taittinger Comtes de Champagne Blanc de Blancs is an example (here are more). “Blanc de blancs” will be on the label.
  • All red/black grapes, called blanc de noirs, made from pinot noir and/or pinot meunier grapes. The term means literally “white of blacks,” a white wine made from black grapes), These are more limited and more costly. Examples include Bollinger Vieilles Vignes Francaises Blanc de Noirs and Krug Clos d’Ambonnay (here are others). Here are others.
  • A combination. Most champagnes are a blend of chardonnay and pinot noir.
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    How Sparkling Rosé Is Made

    Making a rosé takes extra steps. The most common method in the Champagne region is to blend still red wine into the champagne. The red wine produces deeper, more robust red fruit aromas.

    The other approach, used by the top houses, is more complicated and more costly. During the part of the juice fermentation called maceration, the winemaker allows skin contact of the red grape skins, with the pressed white juice.

     

    July 4th Champagne

    Moet et Chandon Champagne

    Rose Champagne Flutes

    [1] Chandon’s 2017 American Summer Limited Edition sparkling wines (photo courtesy Chandon). [2] Moet and Chandon, the famed French champagne, planted its grape vines in Napa Valley to produce Chandon. [3] Rosé bubbly adds even more festiveness (photo Jacek Kadaj | Fotolia).

     
    The process is very carefully monitored to extract the color, tannin and flavor compounds from the skin. It produces a more delicate flavor than blending in red wine.

    (Champagne trivia: The coveted pale salmon color known as oeil-de-perdrix, partridge eye, which dates to the Middle Ages in Champagne. It gave its name to a style of rosé wine made in Switzerland. Here’s more information.)

    Champagne houses pride themselves a consistent house style. The challenge with either approach to making rosé champagne is to create the same color year after year, even though the blend of grapes changes based on the harvest (i.e., the sweetness and other properties of the harvested grapes).

    But…back to summer sipping: A sparkling wine lighter than champagne is best in the outdoor heat. Here are the different types of sparkling wine and sparkling rosé.

    ________________
    *Legally, only sparkling wine produced in the French region of Champagne can be called champagne. Everything else is properly called sparkling wine.

    †Red wine grapes are referred to as black in the industry. Depending on varietal, they can range from dark red to purplish black in color.

    ‡By law, arbane, petit meslier, pinot blanc and pinot gris can also be used in the blend. Some producers use them to round out the flavors; but these grapes comprise just a fraction of the the grapes grown in the region.

      

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    TIP OF THE DAY: How To Fix Runny Fruit Pies

    Fruit pies are one of the joys of summer. But once you cut into your beautiful pie, the juice and fruit can spill out of the crust and into the space of the piece of pie you’ve just removed.

    Unhappily called a lava flow, pan puddle or slump—or simply runny pie—you can eliminate it through experimentation with types and amounts of thickeners.

    You want your pie filling to hold its shape. Where do you begin? Here’s a detailed matrix from P.J. Hamel of King Arthur Flour, who advises that every recipe needs testing until it meets your satisfaction. There is no one perfect solution.

    Why? Each fruit has a different amount of pectin, a natural thickener. Each type of added thickener has a different thickening power, based on the percentage of starch it contains.

    For this reason, recipes from reliable sources use a specific type and amount of thickener for a specific type of fruit. Don’t substitute either the fruit or the thickener and expect optimal results.

    For example:

  • Apples contain a lot of pectin, a natural thickener. Although they release juice when cooked, they are not nearly as juicy as stone fruit or berries.
  • Stone fruits have less pectin than apples, but more than berries. They need an in-between amount of thickener.
  • Berries are the juiciest, and need the most thickener. Frozen berries release even more liquid, and require more thickener.
  • Blueberries have the most pectin of the berry group. They need a bit little less thickener than other berries.
  • Fresh cherries need less thickener than canned or frozen cherries.
  •  
    That being said, we’re just talking runniness. Even a runny pie will still taste good.

    FRUIT PIE THICKENERS

    Pie thickeners prevent the valuable juices from running out when the pie is sliced.

    The following thickeners are listed in order from least thickening agent, with the least amount of starch, to the strongest, starchiest thickener. (The thickening power is known as gel strength among professionals.)

  • All-purpose flour. The standby for generations past, flour produces a somewhat cloudy filling. Plus, you need to use more of it than you would higher-starch thickeners.
  • Quick-cooking/instant tapioca. makes filling bright and clear, but also gives it a stippled (and for some, “gluey”) texture. Filling mixed with tapioca needs to rest 15 to 30 minutes before baking, for the tapioca to soften.
  • Instant ClearJel is a product available from King Arthur Flour, that keeps fillings thick through a broad range of temperatures. This makes it ideal for pies that will be frozen, either before or after baking.
  • Pie Filling Enhancer, another product available from King Arthur Flour, thickens fruit pie fillings the same way Instant ClearJel does. Its advantage is added ascorbic acid (a flavor enhancer), and superfine sugar, which prevents it from clumping. Pie Filling Enhancer is about half sugar; so you’ll want to reduce the sugar in your recipe as directed below. It’s OU kosher.
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    Blackberry Pie

    ClearJel Pie Thickener

    Pie Gate - Pie Sealer

    [1] A blackberry pie, properly thickened, holds its shape. Here’s the recipe from The Baker Chick. [2] A great thickener for frozen pies: Instant ClearJel (photo courtesy King Arthur Flour). [3] Another solution: a pie sealer or pie gate (photo courtesy Progressive International).

  • Cornstarch, like flour, gives a cloudy, semi-transparent look to filling. It can also give filling a chalky or floury taste. When using cornstarch, make sure the pie filling is bubbling up through the crust before removing your pie from the oven.
  •  
    A note: Our mom used cornstarch in her renowned apple and blueberry pies. No one ever noticed any cloudiness, and her pies were always in demand.

    MORE TIPS TO THICKEN THE JUICES

  • Reduce the juice. After you sugar the berries, let them sit for 20 minutes or so, until juice starts to collect in the bottom of the bowl. Drain the juice into a pan, reduce it, and add it back to the berries.
  • Use a top crust with openings, such as lattice (photo #1) or cut-outs (photo #3). These allow some of the moisture in the juice to evaporate, thickening the filling. When baking a lattice or open-top pie, reduce the thickener by 1/4 teaspoon per cup of filling.
  • Golden crust and bubbling fruit does not mean the pie is finished. It may still need another 5 to 10 minutes to fully activate the thickener. This is especially true if flour or cornstarch are used.
  • Some fruit fillings will continue to thicken for 24 hours after baking. Instant ClearJel will increase the thickeners by about 15% from day 1 to day 2; quick-cooking tapioca and Pie Filling Enhancer, about 30%. Fillings thickened with flour or cornstarch will not thicken further.
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    TIP OF THE DAY: Homemade Hot Dog Rolls (Or Buns, If You Insist)

    Hot Dogs & Buns

    New England Style Hot Dog Rolls

    New England Hot Dog Pan

    Slotdogs

    [1] Classic hot dog rolls have tapered edges (photo courtesy Murray’s Cheese). [2] New England-style hot dog rolls have straight edges, which get crisp when toasted (photo courtesy King Arthur Flour). [3] A New England hot dog pan (photo courtesy USA Pan). [4] Woo hoo: Slotdogs (photo courtesy Gadgetify).

     

    Following up on yesterday’s homemade hamburger roll recipes, today we present the hog dog roll recipes from King Arthur Flour.

    Hot dog is an American term for what initially was called a frankfurter, a style of sausage favored in Frankfurt, Germany. It was brought to the U.S. by German immigrants in the 1880s. Here’s the history of hot dogs.

    While any hot dog or hamburger dough recipe works in any hot dog pan, you do need special baking pans to shape the rolls.

    First decide if you want to make rolls with classic rounded edges (photo #1) or the straight-edge New England style (photo #2).

    We prefer the latter, because it’s also the classic lobster roll style (lobster rolls originated in New England); and perhaps more importantly, the straight edges get crisp when toasted.

    Next, decide on the size of the pan. We vote for the larger, 24-bun size. If you won’t use all of them, freeze the rest.

    Take a look at:

  • New England Hot Dog Pan (makes 8 rolls with straight sides)
  • Classic Hot Dog Pan (makes 24 rolls or 18 rolls)
  •  
     
    RECIPE #1: CLASSIC HOT DOG ROLLS

    This classic recipe can be used for hot dog or hamburger rolls.

    An egg wash places a shiny glaze on the rolls.
     
     
    RECIPE #2: BUTTERY HOT DOG ROLLS, NEW ENGLAND-STYLE

    While not exactly brioche, this recipe produces very buttery buns—also great for lobster rolls.

    Speaking of which: here are 20 other uses for hot dog rolls.
     
     
    RECIPE #3: NEW ENGLAND STYLE HOT DOG ROLLS

    Don’t want the extra butter of recipe #2?

    Whether you want your rolls classic- or New England-style, try this recipe.

    It’s different from recipe #1, in that it adds potato flour and an egg to enrich the dough. Recipe #1 uses the egg in an egg wash, to glaze the rolls; and only all-purpose flour.
     
     
    SLOTDOGS: ADD SOME PIZZAZZ TO YOUR DOGS

    While looking at hot dog pans, we came across SlotDogs (photo #4), a device that makes criss-cross cuts in the dog before grilling.

    They’re easy to make with the special Slotdog cutter.

    Kids may think they look like dragon scales; we just enjoy the geometrics.

    In addition to looking way cool, the cuts allow the smoky grill flavor to penetrate more deeply, and enables the juices to caramelize the edges.

    Plus, as with penne rigate and other pasta shapes with ridges, the toppings cling better, too.
     
     
    BUNS, ROLLS AND BISCUITS: THE DIFFERENCE

    We use the word roll instead of bun to denote hot dog-specific bread.

    There is no official difference: Both are single-serve breads, and the FDA only stipulates that buns and rolls weigh less than one-half pound (as opposed to loaves of bread, which must weigh one pound or more).

    Manufacturers and retailers use whichever term they want. However, the American Institute of Baking uses this distinction (but good luck getting people to change the words they use):

  • Rolls is the term generally used for individual breads that hold a filling—either pre-filled like cinnamon rolls or sandwich bread like Kaiser rolls. The notable exception is hot cross buns, which are filled with currants or raisins and thus should be hot cross rolls. However, the first recorded use of the term “hot cross bun” appears in 1733, when there was no distinction.
  • Buns typically do not contain a filling, but can be eaten plain, with a spread (butter, jam), or used as a sop, i.e., to wipe up a liquid food: gravy, sauce, soup, stews.
  • Bunne was the word used in Middle English. The use of roll to describe a small bread came much later. The oldest reference we could find is to Parker House rolls, in 1873.
  • Biscuits use a different leavening. Biscuits use baking powder to rise; buns and rolls use yeast.
  • Texture: Rolls can be hard (crusty) or soft, buns are soft, and biscuits are pillowy soft (from the baking powder).
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    FUN HOT DOG RECIPES

  • Bacon Cheese Dogs
  • Cubano Dog
  • Gourmet Hot Dogs 1
  • Gourmet Hot Dogs 2
  • Italian Hot Dogs
  • Mini Corn Dogs
  • Tater Tot Hot Dog Skewers
  • Top 10 Hot Dog Toppings
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