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    THE NIBBLE’s Gourmet News & Views

    Trends, Products & Items Of Note In The World Of Specialty Foods

    This is the blog section of THE NIBBLE. Read all of our content on TheNibble.com,
    the online magazine about gourmet and specialty food.

Archive for Tip Of The Day

TIP OF THE DAY: Stone Crab

Our friends at the Grand Central Oyster Bar in New York City remind us that stone crab is now in season. Florida stone crabs are legal for harvest from October 15th through May 15th. Frozen stone crab is available year-round, but the true palate pleaser is the fresh crab.

The stone crab (Menippe mercenaria), also known as the Florida stone crab, lives in the western North Atlantic, from Connecticut down to Belize; and the Caribbean, including the Bahamas, Cuba and the Gulf of Mexico.

The stone crab is a cousin of the Maryland blue crab (Callinectes sapidus, also known as the blue crab, Atlantic blue crab or Chesapeake blue crab) and the Gulf stone crab (Menippe adina), a closely related species. It tastes like a cross between the blue crab and the Maine lobster—less definitive than lobster but more so than crab.

The body is relatively small without much meat; the part that is eaten is the big, meaty claw, which is very distinctive in appearance with black tips. When harvesting, one or both claws are removed on the boat and the live crab is returning to the ocean, where it will regenerate its claws.

Sustainability-oriented fishermen remove only one claw, so the crab can protect itself while the other regenerates. The Monterey Bay Aquarium’s Seafood Watch has given the Florida stone crab industry its highest rating of “Best Choice,” for maintaining high fishing standards and working hard to keep the stone crab population viable.

The claws are strong enough to break an oyster’s shell—like us, stone crabs love to eat oysters. Claws are sold by size, generally in four sizes: medium, large, jumbo, and colossal.

   

Florida-Stone-Crab-claw-frugeseafood-230r

A stone crab claw. Photo courtesy Fruge Seafood.

 

RECIPE: STONE CRAB CLAWS

The easiest way to serve stone crab claws is to boil them, and serve them hot or chilled with melted butter or other sauce (the two most popular are mustard sauce and remoulade sauce).

What looks like a very impressive dish couldn’t be easier to make. The difficult part comes when the diners have to extract the meat from the shell—you may have heard of the “Maryland crab bash,” where diners get a bib and a hammer. Or, you can remove the shells yourself, prior to serving (instructions are below).

Note that there is a hard center membrane inside the meat, so take care if biting into what looks like a large lump of meat. It’s better to pull the meat off with a fork.

 

stone-crab-claws-cracked-uberstonecrabs-230

Ready to dip and eat. Photo courtesy
UberStoneCrabs.com.

 

Ingredients

  • 1 to 1-1/2 pounds stone crab claws per person
  • 1/4 stick butter per person
  • Lemon or lime wedges
  • Optional garnish: dill or parsley
  •  
    Serve With

  • Cole slaw
  • Mixed green salad
  • Mixed vegetables: Brussels sprouts, carrots, other favorites
  • Garlic bread
  •  
    Optional Dips

  • Compound butter: chipotle, olive, red pepper, shallot herb, etc. (recipes)
  • Mustard sauce (recipe)
  • Remoulade sauce (recipe)
  •  

    Preparation

    1. BRING a pot of 12 cups of water, plus a teaspoon of salt, to a rapid boil; remove from the heat. When the water stops bubbling, place the crab claws in the water for about five minutes. Do not submerge the claws into the rapidly boiling water, as they can toughen.

    2. DRAIN the crab claws into a colander (warning: the claws and water will be very hot) and rinse under cold water to make them easier to handle.

    3. PREPARE the dip. The easiest is to combining 4 tablespoons of butter with minced garlic and salt or other seasoning of choice (for example, Old Bay Seasoning). Microwave butter mixture until melted, about 90 seconds (time will vary by microwave).

    4. SERVE with melted butter and wedges of lemon.
     
    How To Crack The Crab Claws

    1. PLACE the claw on a cutting board or other hard surface. Then, place a plastic bag over the claw to prevent the juices from splattering.

    2. USE a mallet or hammer (cleaned, of course!) and lightly crack the claw in the first and second knuckles; then crack slightly harder in the center of the claw.

    3. PEEL the shell from the claw and then separate the two knuckles from the main pincher. Serve with sauce and citrus wedges.

    NOTE: Crack only as many as claws as you plan to eat at one meal. Once cracked, the claw meat will not hold up well for a long period of time.

     
    THE DIFFERENT TYPES OF CRAB: A CRAB MEAT GLOSSARY

      

    Comments

    TIP OF THE DAY: Seasonal Breakfast Bread

    pepperidge-farm-pumpkin-spice-swirl-230

    Swirl into holiday season with these delicious
    breads. Photo courtesy Pepperidge Farm.

     

    We just finished our last slices of Pepperidge Farm Blueberry Swirl Bread, a limited edition hoarded from the height of the summer in our freezer.

    Now, we’re moving on to two fall flavors: Caramel Apple Swirl Bread and Pumpkin Spice Swirl Bread, both available for a short time this fall.

    They make delicious toast and French toast. As toast, they combine the crunch of toasted bread with the sweetness of a breakfast pastry.

    Check the store locator to see where you can find them.

    And if you can’t find the seasonal specialties, content yourself with the year-round swirls: Cinnamon Swirl, Raisin Cinnamon Swirl, Brown Sugar Cinnamon Swirl and 100% Whole Wheat Cinnamon Swirl With Raisins.

    Our goal is to keep an eye out for other seasonal swirl breads, a fun new way to “eat seasonally.”

     

      

    Comments

    TIP OF THE DAY: Apricot Jam-Glazed Pork Tenderloin Roast

    We’ve been obsessed with pork roast since we saw one made recently on a TV cooking show. We visited two restaurants we’d hoped had it on the menu, but no cigar. We did, however, enjoy a wonderful calamari and Italian sausage with jalapeño, capers and balsamic reduction; and a tasty lamb osso bucco over risotto.

    But we still wanted roast pork.

    So we were happy when Crofter’s Organic sent us an easy recipe that beginning cooks learn: a pork roast glazed with a jar of apricot jam. How could we resist? We called the butcher and had a pork roast delivered that day.

    The apricot jam glaze trick can be used on any meat roast, and it’s tasty and easy. But today’s tip is to be sure that the glaze has more than one-dimensional sweetness—beyond just apricot jam. The fruity glaze in the recipe below is done the right way, with counterpoints of bitter (such as herbs and zest), pungent (such as garlic) and tangy (such as mustard, which also supplies heat).

    You can also use the glaze with chicken, duck or lamb.

    We enjoyed our pork roast with sides of quinoa (you can use any whole grain); cubed, roasted butternut squash (we roasted it along with the tenderloin); and a mixed green salad with dried cranberries and slivered almonds.

       

    apricot-roasted-pork-tenderloin-croftersorganic-230

    Oh, how delicious! Photo of a glazed pork roast courtesy Crofters Organic.

     

    RECIPE: APRICOT GLAZED PORK TENDERLOIN

    Ingredients

  • 1/4 cup olive oil
  • 1/3 cup apricot fruit spread or jam
  • 1 teaspoon fresh rosemary
  • 1 clove minced garlic
  • Zest of 1/2 orange
  • juice of 1/2 orange
  • 1 teaspoon dry mustard
  • 2 tablespoons white wine
  • 1 pork tenderloin
  • Garnish: fresh rosemary sprigs or leaves
  •  

    crofters-apricot-spread-230

    Fruit spread contains less sugar than jam,
    jelly, marmalade or preserves. Photo
    courtesy Crofters Organic.

     

    Preparation

    1. BLEND all ingredients except wine and pork in a food processor or blender. Place the tenderloin in a cast-iron pan and spoon the mixture over it. Let sit for 1/2 hour at room temperature.

    2. HEAT the oven to 400°F; place the pan in the middle of the oven and sear for 10 minutes. Reduce heat to 350°F and continue to cook, 25 minutes per pound.

    3. REMOVE cooked tenderloin from the pan and let rest. Meanwhile…

    4. DEGLAZE the pan with 2 tablespoons of white wine. Drizzle over sliced tenderloin and garnish with fresh rosemary.

    Check on the company website for coupons for Crofter’s spreads.

     

    WHAT’S THE DIFFERENCE BETWEEN JAM & FRUIT SPREAD?

    Crofter’s makes both apricot jam and apricot fruit spread. The difference is in the level of sweetness. Savory recipes like roast pork don’t need the extra sugar, so you can use fruit spread rather than jam.

    Jam consists of chopped, crushed or puréed fruit cooked down with sugar—a recipe as old as refined sugar. Fruit spread began to appear in the 1970s as a reduced-calorie product, made with alternative sweeteners such as juice concentrate.

    There are distinct differences between chutney, conserve, jelly, jams, marmalades and the rest of the sweet spread category. Take a minute and take a look.
     
    MORE WAYS TO USE THE JAM OR FRUIT SPREAD

    Breakfast

  • Hot Cereal. Use a dab of fine jam instead of sugar.
  • Pancake/Waffle Topping. Substitute jam for syrup.
  • Yogurt. Add jam to plain yogurt to customize your perfect fruit yogurt.
  •  
    Lunch

  • Grilled Cheese. Sharp cheeses like blue cheese and Cheddar are perfect pairings for jam. Grill the jam with the cheese or serve it on the side as a condiment. For more flavor, use rye or a textured whole grain bread.
  • Salad Dressing. Warm a spoonful of jam and whisk it into salad dressings.
  • Sandwich Spread. Spread jam on the bread with a sandwich of cheese, ham, lamb, poultry or roast pork. To cut the sweetness, you can mix the jam with plain yogurt.
  •  
    Appetizers/Snacks

  • Canapés. Top a cracker or slice of baguette with cheese, ham, turkey or other favorite and a bit of jam.
  • Cheese Condiment. Wonderful with a cheese plate (more cheese condiments) or atop a baked Brie. The popular appetizer of jam poured over a brick of cream cheese or a log of goat cheese, and served with crackers, is vastly improved with fine jam. On a slightly different note, a dab is delightful with cottage cheese.
  • Dipping Sauce. Mix jam in a small bowl with sriracha, a hot chile and vinegar-sauce; or with plain hot sauce plus vinegar. You can also make a dip with fresh grated ginger and soy sauce.
  • Pepper Jelly. Mix in some red pepper flakes or dried or fresh minced chipotle, jalapeño or other chile (the different chile types).
  • Pretzel or Breadstick Dip. Mix with Dijon or other mustard. For a sweet-and-hot profile, add some hot sauce.
  •  
    Dinner

  • Meat Glaze. Particularly delicious on poultry and pork. Mix with fresh herbs and garlic.
  • Sauce For Meat & Seafood. Use jam with wine or vermouth to deglaze the pan. Add some to the pan while you’re cooking chicken, pork chops, fish, scallops or shrimp and let the flavor coat the meat.
  •  
    Dessert

  • Cheesecake. Fine jam makes a wonderful topping or a condiment on the side.
  • Cookies. Thumbprints and rolled cookies with a jam swirl are classics.
  • Crêpe Filling. Delicious plain or with fresh goat cheese or mascarpone.
  • Dessert Sauce. Mix with plain or vanilla yogurt or sour cream.
  • Ice Cream & Sorbet Topping. Crown a scoop of sorbet with a dab of fine jam. Lightly warm the jam so it flows like a sauce over ice cream.
  • Layer Cake Filling. A coat of jam between the layers is a classic: Think Sacher Torte! Apricot or raspberry jam is delicious with chocolate cake; any flavor works with lemon cake.
  • Tarts & Tartlets. Fill tart or tartlet shells with jam. Top with a dab of crème fraîche, Greek yogurt, mascarpone or sour cream.
  •   

    Comments

    TIP OF THE DAY: Make Easy Tuna Tartare & Steak Tartare

    If you‘re looking for a fine-dining restaurant in the heart of South Beach or in Cleveland, check out Red, The Steakhouse. The menu is loaded with steakhouse specialties (look here if you want to develop an appetite).

    They kindly shared their recipes for Tuna Tartare and Steak Tartare with us. These are two dishes we adore, and don’t get often enough. Yet, they’re easy to make at home, using top-quality proteins. The only challenge is cutting the tuna or steak into small enough pieces.

    So if you enjoy making small dice and love a good tartare, get the proteins, sharpen the knife, and get going!
     
    RECIPE: TUNA TARTARE

    Ingredients Per Appetizer Serving

  • 4 ounces sushi grade tuna
  • Kosher salt
  • Freshly ground black pepper
  • 1 tablespoon extra virgin olive oil
  • Optional garnish: fried plantain chips
  • Crostini or gourmet potato chips
  •    

    Tuna_Tartare-redthesteakhouse-southbeach-230

    Tuna tartare, one of our favorite foods. Photo
    courtesy Red, The Steakhouse.

     

    RECIPE: TUNA TARTARE VINAIGRETTE

    Ingredients

  • 1/2 cup shallots, finely chopped
  • 1/2 teaspoon kosher salt
  • 1/2 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
  • 1/4 cup fresh lime juice
  • 1/2 teaspoon mirin
  • 1/4 cup fresno chiles (substitute jalapeño or serrano chiles)
  • 1 teaspoon rice wine vinegar
  •  
    Preparation

    1. MAKE the vinaigrette. Finely chop the shallots and season them with the kosher salt. Stir in the rest of the ingredients, saving the extra-virgin olive oil for last. Set the mixture aside.

    2. CHOP the tuna with a sharp knife into very small pieces. Place in a small bowl and season with kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper to taste.

    3. ADD 1 tablespoon of the vinaigrette and mix until it is evenly combined with the tuna.

    4. PLATE as desired into individual servings or a single serving plate. Serve with crostini, gourmet potato or plantain chips.

     

    Steak_Tartare-redthesteakhouse-southbeach-230

    Steak tartare, so easy to make at home. Photo courtesy Red, The Steakhouse.

     

    RECIPE: STEAK TARTARE

    Ingredients For 1 Appetizer Serving

  • 4 ounces prime tenderloin
  • Kosher salt
  • Freshly ground black pepper
  •  
    RECIPE: STEAK TARTARE VINAIGRETTE

    Ingredients

  • 1/2 cup shallots, finely chopped
  • 1/2 teaspoon kosher salt
  • 1/2 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
  • 1/4 cup fresh lemon juice
  • 1 tablespoon plus 1 teaspoon chopped capers
  • 1/2 cup extra virgin olive oil
  • 1 tablespoon Dijon mustard
  • 1/8 teaspoon hot sauce
  • 2-1/2 teaspoons Worcestershire sauce
  •  

    Preparation

    1. MAKE the vinaigrette. Finely chop the shallots and season with the kosher salt. Stir in the rest of the ingredients, saving the olive oil for last. Set the mixture aside.

    2. CHOP the tenderloin with a sharp knife into very small pieces. Place in a small bowl and season with kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper.

    3. ADD 1 tablespoon of the vinaigrette and mix until evenly combined with the tenderloin.

    4. SERVE with crostini.

      

    Comments

    TIP OF THE DAY: 50+ Ways To Eat Pierogi

    October 8th is National Pierogi Day.

    Pierogi* are dumplings of Central and Eastern European origin, traditionally stuffed with cheese, fruit, ground meat, mashed potato or sauerkraut. They can be served boiled baked or fried/sautéed, usually in butter with sautéed onions.

    Pierogi is the Polish word. In Russian the term is pelmeni (don’t confuse pierogi with pirog, the Russian word for pie); in Ukrainian it is varenyky.

    The Polish word pierogi is plural. The singular form, pieróg, is rarely used since a typical serving consists of multiple pierogi.

    The dumplings are usually semicircular, but in some areas are rectangular or triangular.

    Here’s how to celebrate: 50 ways to eat pierogi, culled from a list of 100 ways at PolskaFoods.com.
     
    *Also spelled perogi, pierogy, perogy, pierógi, pyrohy, pirogi, pyrogie, or pyrogy.
     
    PIEROGI & DIP

  • Dipped in honey mustard or Dijon mustard
  • Dipped in Greek yogurt
  • Dipped in ranch dressing
  • Dipped in sour cream and hot sauce (spicy dip)
  • Dipped in sour cream and chopped green onions (onion dip)
  •    

    LN Fast Snack Cheese Pierogy Bites-230

    Pierogi topped with melted Cheddar. Photo courtesy Lewis & Neals.

     

    PIEROGI TOPPERS

    Boil, fry or saute the pierogi and serve:

  • Topped with Alfredo Sauce
  • Topped with apple sauce (cheese pierogi)
  • Topped with Bearnaise Sauce
  • Topped with butter and chives
  • Topped with caramelized onions in butter & paprika sour cream
  • Topped with caramelized onions, sage and jalapeño
  • Topped with caramelized onions and Polish sausage
  • Topped with caramelized onions, finely chopped bacon and garlic
  • Topped with caramelized onions and sour cream
  • Topped with chili con carne
  • Topped with Greek yogurt, dill, diced cucumber and red onion
  • Topped with green curry sauce
  • Topped with jelly or jam and optional sour cream (cheese pierogi)
  • Topped with mango peach salsa (cheese pierogi)
  • Topped with marinara sauce and cooked ground meat
  • Topped with melted butter
  • Topped with melted Cheddar cheese
  •  

    AUTUMN_PIEROGIES_APPLES-MrsTs-230

    Pierogi with sautéed apples. Photo courtesy
    Mrs. T’s.

     
  • Topped with mushroom sauce
  • Topped with pesto sauce
  • Topped with roasted eggplant and tomatoes
  • Topped with roasted tomatoes and garlic
  • Topped with salmon or whitefish caviar (cheese or potato pierogi)
  • Topped with sautéed apples
  • Topped with smoked salmon, thinly sliced onions and capers (cheese pierogi)
  • Topped with sour cream, fresh basil and green onion
  • Topped with sour cream and fresh salsa: chopped onion, garlic, tomatoes, cilantro, lime
  • Topped with sour cream, garlic and chives
  • Topped with spicy salsa
  • Topped with whitefish, sable, smoked salmon, lettuce, tomato, red onion, cucumbers, and capers (cheese pierogi)
  • Topped with yogurt, garlic and herb sauce
  •  
    MORE ELABORATE PREPARATIONS

  • Bacon wrapped pierogi appetizers
  • Baked pierogi casserole with bacon, tomato and cheese
  • Pierogi casserole dish with your favorite casserole ingredients
  • Pierogi crostini topped with mushrooms, scallions and spicy fresh salsa
  • Pierogi tossed with garlicky string beans, onion, bell pepper and bacon
  • Pierogi “salad”: cold or hot pierogi on a bed of lettuce with honey Dijon mustard sauce or vinaigrette
  • Pierogi “salad” with other favorite ingredients (vegetables, ham, turkey, spinach, etc.)
  • Pierogi tossed with fried mushrooms, bacon and onions
  • Pierogi tossed with onions, peppers, and chicken sausage
  • Pierogi with melted mozzarella, caramelized onions and sautéed mushrooms
  • Pizza Pierogi: potato or cheese pierogi with pizza sauce, melted mozzarella cheese and pepperoni
  • Salmon skillet with pierogi, onions, capers, lemon, dill, and garlic
  • Sautéed pierogi in butter, topped with chili, cheese, sour cream and habanero sauce
  • Sautéed pierogi in butter, topped with steamed broccoli and melted cheese
  • Sautéd pierogi in olive oil with onion, kale, fresh garlic, lemon and oregano
  • Sautéd pierogi in sesame oil with kale, fresh garlic, red bell pepper and sesame seeds
  • Vegetable pierogi frittata with asparagus and garlic
  •  
    This should keep you busy through the next National Pierogi Day!

      

    Comments

    TIP OF THE DAY: Autumn Chocolates

    While Halloween chocolate is creeping into stores—chocolate ghosts, pumpkins, candy corn and other holiday specialties—you have a few weeks to enjoy some “autumn chocolate” until Halloween week.

    Until then, how about some “autumn chocolates” that are in chocolate shops until the Christmas flavors come in? Today, we feature two of our favorite chocolatiers, with very different products.

    RECCHIUTI CONFECTIONS: AUTUMN DRAGÉE SAMPLER

    San Francisco-based chocolatier Michael Recchiuti is known for his fine chocolates, made with a custom blend of Valrhona chocolate. His popular Dragée Sampler, available year-round, includes Burnt Caramel Almonds, Burnt Caramel Hazelnuts, Peanut Butter Pearls and Cherries Two Ways.

    From now through the end of November you can enjoy the flavors of the limited-edition Autumn Dragée Sampler: Burnt Caramel Almonds, Candied Ginger enrobed in 64% cacao dark chocolate and Tart Cranberries enrobed in 70% cacao chocolate.

       

    recchiuti-autumn-dragees-230

    Autumn Dragée Sampler. Photo courtsy Recchiuti Confections.

     

    A lovely treat or gift: a 12-ounce black gift box (sturdy and reusable) tied with an orange satin ribbon is $29.00. Get yours at Recchiuti.com.

    WHAT ARE DRAGÉES?

    Dragées (drah-ZHAY) are a French word for almonds encased in a hard-shell coating. The almonds can also have a chocolate coating underneath the sugar. They are a popular wedding favor, representing good luck. Hazelnuts, which can be made in the same manner, are a more modern variation.

    “Dragée” is also used to describe tiny, round balls of sugar, often coated with edible silver or gold, and used to decorate baked goods; and to refer to sweet, medicated lozenges. The commonality is the sugar coating. In French, dragée also refers to nonpareils; dragée à la gelée de sucre is a jelly bean. And finally, dragée is French slang for bullets (small shot).
     
    Panned Products

    Dragées are part of a confection category known as panned products. Panning is one of the basic methods of coating chocolate onto a center (mostly hard centers such as nuts and crystallized ginger; the other methods are enrobing and molding or shell molding).

    In panning, chocolate is sprayed onto the centers as they rotate in revolving pans; cool air is then blown into the pan to harden the chocolates. On a small scale (and before the industrial revolution), nuts are coated on a pan on the stove top; they can be rolled in cocoa powder or other coating before they harden.

    Discover more about chocolate in our Chocolate Glossary.

     

    apple-cider-caramels-lakechamplain-230

    Apple Cider Caramels. Photo courtesy Lake
    Champlain Chocolate.

     

    LAKE CHAMPLAIN CHOCOLATES: CHOICES GALORE

    On the other side of the country in Vermont, Lake Champlain Chocolates is our go-to source for delicious American-style chocolates. We love thechocolate-dipped dried apricots and orange peel, buttercrunch, nut clusters and many other treats. The couverture chocolate is Callebaut from Belgium, and line is certified kosher by Star-K.

    For fall, there are:

  • Assorted Milk and Dark Chocolate Truffles give you a taste of the season via Spiced Pumpkin, which joins French Roast, Hazelnut, Legendary Dark and Raspberry, $16.
  • Autumn Chocolate Coins, a mix of milk and coins, foil-wrapped in festive foliage colors.
  • Autumn Chocolates of Vermont, an autumn-themed gift box of chocolates, $25.50
  • Caramel Chocolate Leaves, $13.00.
  • Milk Chocolate Apple Cider Caramels, $35.00.
  • Peanut Butter Chocolate Leaf Bag beckons to lovers of peanut butter cups, $13.00.
  •  

    Find them at LakeChamplainChocolates.com.

      

    Comments

    TIP OF THE DAY: Make Cinnamon Apple Chips

    apple-chips-beauty-kaminsky-230

    Make delicious apple chips. Photo by Hannah
    Kaminsky | THE NIBBLE.

     

    We love apple chips, a better-for-you sweet snack. We’re big fans of the Bare Fruit brand, which we buy online in both single serve and family size bags. The apples they use are so sweet that there’s no added sugar.

    When we’re out of Bare Fruit apple chips, we make our own with this easy recipe from Zulka Morena sugar. If you’re cutting back on sugar calories, you can make half with sugar, half without, and combine them; Splenda fans can try the noncaloric sweetener.

    RECIPE: CINNAMON APPLE CHIPS

    Ingredients

  • 3-4 apples, sweetest variety
  • 1/2 cup sugar
  • 1 tablespoon cinnamon
  •  
    Preparation

    1. PREHEAT oven to 225°F. Line 3 baking sheets with parchment paper. Mix the cinnamon and sugar together in a small bowl and set aside.

    2. REMOVE the apple cores with an apple corer. Use a sharp knife or mandolin slicer to thinly slice the apples into rings.

     
    3. PLACE the slices next to each other on the trays (they can overlap a bit). Sprinkle the cinnamon sugar mixture over the top of the apples.

    4. PLACE the sheets on the oven racks and bake for one hour. Remove each tray of apple slices, flip the slices and return the tray to a different oven rack than before to ensure even baking.

    5. BAKE for one more hour. Turn off the oven, leaving the apple chips inside for another 2-3 hours or until dried out. Store the chips in an airtight container for up to one week.
     
    Find more delicious recipes at Zulka.com.

     
      

    Comments

    TIP OF THE DAY & FOOD HOLIDAY: National Kale Day

    kale-varieties-nationalkaleday.org-230r

    Three stems of curly kale with one of red
    Russian kale. Photo courtesy
    NationalKaleDay.org.

     

    Yesterday we focused on kale’s cousin, kohlrabi. But today is National Kale Day. If you’re one of the few better-eating-oriented food enthusiasts who hasn’t yet tried kale, today’s the day.

    This is the second annual National Kale Day, established as the first Wednesday in October. The holiday was established by Drew Ramsey, M.D. and chef Jennifer Iserloh, authors of 50 Shades of Kale.

    Their objective was to draw attention to the superfood, which continues to grow in popularity in both the retail and foodservice (restaurants, schools and other institutions, etc.) markets.

    The kale trend has driven up sales 20%-30% in the last year alone. As an illustration of how popular kale has become, mainstream producer Dole Fresh Vegetables recently rolled out new six salad mixes, all with kale, including a Kale Caesar salad kit.

    Kale is grown around the world, and has been cultivated for some 6,000 years. It’s easy to grow and hearty: A kale plant continues to produce late into winter, and after a frost, kale becomes even sweeter.
     
    TYPES OF KALE

    If you’re already a fan of green kale, visit farmers markets for specialty varieties. There are more than 50 varieties of kale, but in the U.S. you’re most likely to find:

     

  • Curly kale, the variety typically found in grocery stores. It can be bright green, dark green or purple in color with tight ruffled leaves. The fibrous stalks can be difficult to chop, but they’re easy to tear if fresh. The flavor is pungent, peppery and bitter. Seek out younger looking leaves for less bitterness.
  • Lacinato kale, also called black kale, dinosaur kale, Tuscan kale and other names*. It’s an Italian heirloom with blue-green leaves. Slightly sweeter and more delicate in flavor than curly kale, it has nutty, earthy notes.
  • Redbor kale, best known as ornamental kale, dark red or purple in color. It is certainly edible. You can grow it as a garden decoration and pick leaves as you need them, for cooking or garnishing.
  • Red Russian kale with flat leaves that resemble arugula leaves. It gets its name because the stems can have a red or reddish-purple tinge. It is considered one of the more flavorful kales, sweet and mild with just a bit of pepperiness. The stems, however, are too tough to digest and should be removed before cooking.
  •  
    *Lacinto kale is also called black kale, black Tuscan palm, cavolo nero (which means black cabbage in Italian), dinosaur kale, flat back cabbage, Italian kale, palm tree kale, Tuscan cabbage and Tuscan kale.

     

    To celebrate National Kale Day, make your favorite kale dish. Have you ever tried colcannon, a traditional Irish dish of kale (or cabbage) and mashed potatoes? We’re making it for dinner tonight, along with this kale salad:

    RECIPE: SHREDDED KALE WITH DATE PURÉE & PINE NUTS

    This recipe is from Svitana of ArtDeFete.com. She enhances a conventional vinaigrette with date purée for an exciting new flavor combination.

    Ingredients For 4 Servings

    For The Date Purée

  • 2 cups Medjool dates, pitted
  • 2 cups water
  • ½ teaspoon sea salt
  • Pinch nutmeg
  • Pinch cayenne pepper
  • ½ lemon, juiced
  •  

    shredded-kale-salad-with-date-puree-artdefete-230r

    Shredded kale salad with date purée. Photo courtesy ArtDeFete.com.

     
    For The Salad

  • 1 bunch kale, center ribs removed, leaves finely shredded
  • ¼ cup pine nuts, toasted
  • Optional garnish: ¼ cup Panko bread crumbs, toasted
  •  
    For the Dressing

  • 1½ tablespoons red wine vinegar
  • 2 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
  • 1 tablespoon date purée
  • Salt and freshly ground black pepper
  •  
    Preparation

    1. MAKE the date purée: In a food processor, combine dates, water, salt, nutmeg, cayenne and lemon juice. Blend until it resembles a smooth paste. Taste and adjust the seasoning. You can keep date purée refrigerated up to two weeks or freeze for three months. Use the rest in smoothies or stir into yogurt.

    2. MAKE the dressing: Whisk together the vinegar, olive oil and date purée until well combined. Season to taste.

    3. COMBINE the dressing and shredded kale in a large bowl; toss until well coated. Taste and adjust the seasoning.

    4. ASSEMBLE the salad: Spread a thin layer (1 tablespoon) of date purée on each plate and top it with kale salad. Sprinkle with toasted pine nuts and toasted bread crumbs. Serve.

      

    Comments

    TIP OF THE DAY: Kohlrabi

    kohlrabi-beauty-goodeggs-230

    Violet kohlrabi. There’s also a light green variety. Photo courtesy The Good Eggs.

     

    You’ve just gotten used to kale. Are you ready for another cruciferous vegetable, kohlrabi?

    A member of the powerful anti-carcinogenic Brassica family (formerly Crucifera), which also includes bok choy, broccoli, Brussels sprouts, cabbage, cauliflower, collards, kale, mustard greens, rutabaga, turnips and others) to emerge on mainstream menus in a big way.

    Kohlrabi (Brassica oleracea), also called German turnip or turnip cabbage. It tastes like cabbage but is sweeter. The flavor has been described as a cross between apples and mild turnips, to broccoli stems with a hint of radish and cucumber. What look like bulbs, beet-shaped, are actually swollen stems that grow just above the ground.

    Kohlrabi typically is served cooked in Europe. But American chefs and recipe developers, understanding how much we enjoy crunchy foods, have taken to serving it raw:

     

  • Shaved, julienned or cut into disks or matchsticks as a salad garnish.
  • Shredded or julienned and dressed as “kohl slaw,” mixed purple and green kohlrabi, mixed with shredded cabbage and carrots, etc.
  • Cut into cubes or wedges, marinate in vinaigrette and served with toothpicks instead of crudites.
  • Cut into batons, cubes or wedges and pickled in your favorite pickling recipe, and served instead of cucumber pickles or other pickled vegetables.
  •  

    Flavor & The Menu, which covers food trends for chefs, encourages the preparation of hot kohlrabi dishes as well. Their recommendations:

  • Add cubes or wedges to meat-based soups and stews.
  • Braise the mild green tops using your favorite greens recipe. The leaves are a milder version of collards.
  • Julienne and stir fry.
  • Quarter, oven roast and toss with butter and herbs.
  • Shave and deep fry or bake for kohlrabi chips.
  •  

    kohlrabi-sweet-vienna-burpee-green-230

    Green kohlrabi. Photo courtesy Burpee.

     
    KOHLRABI HISTORY

    Although it has been cultivated for several thousand years, the first written record of the domesticated plant dates to Greek and Roman times, when it was a popular garden vegetable.

    According to Wikipedia, kohlrabi was bred into other Brassica cultivars, including broccoli, cabbage and cauliflower.

    The name derives from the German words kohl, cabbage and rabi, turnip. This unusual looking vegetable originated in northern Europe and was not known 500 years ago. Kohlrabi did not become known in the United States until 1800. Kohlrabi tastes like cabbage but is sweeter.
     
    FINDING KOHLRABI: If your regular grocer doesn’t carry it, head for the nearest farmers market.

      

    Comments

    TIP OF THE DAY: Apple Crisps Are Easy To Make

    You may not make homemade pie because you don’t like crust that much—or just don’t like wielding it.

    You can enjoy the same baked apple flavor with a betty or crisp (a.k.a. crumble). The differences, along with dough-topped variations such as cobbler, grunt, pandowdy and slump, are below.

    BEST APPLES FOR BAKING

    When you bake apples, you need a variety with balance of sweet and tart flavors and, more importantly, flesh that doesn’t become mushy when cooked. These include:

  • Braeburn, with firm flesh and spicy-sweet flavor, also great for applesauce.
  • Cortland, related to the McIntosh (which is better for applesauce), both an eating and baking apple.
  • Fuji, sweet and juicy, good for eating and baking.
  • Gala, great for eating and baking, is sweeter than other apples, so you can cut back on added sugar.
  • Granny Smith, one of the most popular eating and baking apples.
  •    

    Apple_Pear_Crisp-mccormick-230

    Apple crisp: With a crumb topping, it is easier to make than a pie. Photo courtesy McCormick.

  • Honeycrisp, an all-around apple we love for eating, with a crispness and firmness that works for baking.
  • Jonagold, a cross of the Jonathan and Golden Delicious varieties; also great for applesauce.
  • Melrose, a cross between Red Delicious and Jonathan varieties.
  • Newtown Pippin, crisp with sweet-tart flesh.
  • Rhode Island Greening, very tart and distinctively flavored.
  • Northern Spy, harder crunchy and a great baking apple.
  • Rome Beauty, mildly sweet and tart, with a milder flavor than others.
  • Winesap, a tart-and-spicy apple that was our Nana’s favorite for baked apples.
  •  

    apple-streusel-betty-crocker-230

    Apple crisp à la mode. Photo courtesy Betty
    Crocker.

     

    RECIPE: EASY APPLE CRISP

    Ingredients

  • 7 cups apples peeled cored and sliced (you can substitute Asian pears)
  • 1/4 cup lemon juice
  • 1 cup sugar
  • 1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon
  • 1 cup water
  •  
    For the Cinnamon Topping

  • 1-1/2 cups all-purpose flour
  • 1 cup butter
  • 2-1/2 cups rolled oats
  • 1-1/2 teaspoons ground cinnamon
  • 1-1/2 cups brown sugar
  •  
    Plus

  • Optional garnish: crème fraîche, mascarpone, whipped cream or vanilla ice cream
  • Preparation

    1. PREHEAT oven to 350°F. Combine apples, lemon juice, sugar and cinnamon in a large baking dish. Pour water over apples.

    2. PREPARE the topping. In a separate bowl, using a fork, cut the butter into the other listed ingredients until the mixture resembles coarse crumbs.

    2. SPREAD the topping over fruit mixture. Bake in a 350°F preheated oven 50 minutes or until topping is golden brown. It’s that easy!
     

    CRISP, CRUMBLE, COBBLER, ETC.: WHAT’S THE DIFFERENCE?

    A crisp is a deep-dish fruit dessert made with a crumb or streusel topping and baked. Similar dishes include:

  • Betty, a crisp topped with buttered bread crumbs instead of streusel. Some later recipes substitute graham cracker crumbs.
  • Buckle, a baked, bottom cake-like layer with the fruit mixed in, topped with a crumb layer (alternatively, the cake, fruit and crumbs can be three separate layers).
  • Cobbler, with a pastry top instead of a crumb top. The pastry is dropped from a spoon, the result resembling cobblestones.
  • Crisp, baked fruit filling covered with a crunchy topping which is crumbled over the top.
  • Crumble, the British word for crisp.
  • Grunt, a spoon pie with biscuit dough on top of stewed fruit (fruit which is steamed, not baked).
  • Pandowdy or pan dowdy, a spoon pie with a rolled top crust that is broken up to allow the juices to come through.
  • Slump, another word for grunt, which can be baked or steamed, and can be made upside down.
  •   

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