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    THE NIBBLE’s Gourmet News & Views

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

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Archive for Tip Of The Day

TIP OF THE DAY: Serrated Peeler

Every kitchen has a standard vegetable peeler to slice the skin from carrots, cucumbers, potatoes and other veggies.

But there’s also a serrated peeler, which works better on softer produce like mangoes, nectarines, peaches, plums and that toughest of peeling challenges, tomatoes.

Most home cooks who have both use the word “love,” as in, “I love the serrated peeler!”

Of course, you can use a serrated peeler where you’d use a conventional peeler, on anything from asparagus to zucchini. But we use both, so we don’t dull the serrated blade on potatoes when we want to keep it sharp for those pesky tomatoes.

The standard technique to peel thin-skinned produce is to blanch the item in boiling water, then chill it in ice water, then remove the skin with a sharp knife or fingers. A serrated peeler is the better way.

 

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Peeling tomatoes, bell peppers and mangoes is easy with a serrated peeler. Photo courtesy Crisp.

 

And instead of charring bell peppers over a flame to remove the skin, just use a serrated peeler.

How can you resist?

  • The angled-head serrated peeler from Crisp is $8.99 at CrispCooking.com. It also has an “eyer” at the top.
  • The highly regarded Messermeister serrated swivel peeler is $7.95 at Amazon.com.

  

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TIP OF THE DAY: Pudding Toppers, Pudding Party

creme-caramel-brittle-kaminsky-230

Butterscotch pudding with brittle. Photo ©
Hannah Kaminsky | Bittersweet Blog.

 

Here’s a fun dessert idea, whether for a weekday family dinner or a pudding bar at your next party.

You can make pudding or buy it. Making it is better and lots more fun. We’ve been spending more and more time with Puddin’: Luscious and Unforgettable Puddings, Parfaits, Pudding Cakes, Pies, and Pops.

The book, by the owner of a pudding store in New York City, has foolproof pudding recipes, from standards to modern twists. Get your copy here.

PICK A PUDDING

  • Banana pudding
  • Butterscotch pudding
  • Chocolate pudding
  • Coffee pudding
  • Lemon pudding
  • Pistachio pudding
  • Tapioca pudding
  • Rice pudding
  • Vanilla pudding
  • Modern puddings: Dulce de Leche, Key Lime, Malted Milk, Nutella, Peanut Butter and many others
  • Seasonal favorites like Eggnog, Maple and Pumpkin Pie puddings
PICK A TOPPING

Cookie & Cake Toppings

  • Brownie crumbs
  • Cake cubes (from any type of cake)
  • Graham cracker crumbs
  • Vanilla wafer crumbs
  • Other cookie crumbs

 
Sauce Toppings

  • Caramel sauce
  • Dulce de leche
  • Fudge sauce
  • Fruit sauce: berry, cherry, peach melba
  • Marshmallow creme
  • Whipped cream

 

Candies & Nuts

  • Baking chips: chocolate, butterscotch, mint, peanut butter, vanilla
  • Candied nuts (any type, including honey roasted nuts)
  • Candied orange peel
  • Chopped brittle or toffee
  • Gummies
  • Mini candies (malt balls, M&Ms, marshmallows)
  • Mini pretzels, chopped chocolate covered pretzels
  • Reese’s Pieces
  • Sprinkles

 
Wild Card

  • Candied bacon
  • Coconut
  • Dried berries: cherries, cranberries
 

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Puddin-licious: an entire book of pudding recipes. Photo courtesy Spiegel & Grau.

 

FOR A PARTY PUDDING BAR

1. MAKE the pudding in large bowls. Consider adding dairy free (vegan) and sugar free options.

2. KEEP each bowl on a bed of crushed ice.

3. PLACE the toppings in smaller bowls, each with its own serving spoon. Refilling topping bowls as needed.

  

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TIP OF THE DAY: Pairing Breads & Spreads

queso-fresco-chipotle-baby-bell-peppers-230r-s

Make crunchy, Mexican-style snacks with baby
bell peppers. Photo courtesy The Laughing
Cow.

 

The Laughing Cow makes eight flavors of spreadable cheese, and sent us suggestions for pairing the different spreads with complementary breads and crackers.

These fun snacks can be served as hors d’oeuvre with beer, cocktails or wine; as a casual first course; or as an anytime snack. The ideas below can be ported to pairing any cheese, spread or dip. In addition to bread, the cheese spreads are paired with crackers and veggies.

In fact, the next time you’re planning a cheese course or a cheese platter, think of choosing more interesting breads and crackers, such as:

  • Arepas (a thicker version of a tortilla)
  • Banana bread and date nut bread (especially delicious with double-creme and triple-creme cheeses like Brie)
  • Corn bread (great with chile-based cheeses like Pepper Jack)
  • Irish soda bread (try with everything from fresh, soft cheeses to aged Cheddar and Gouda)
  • Onion bread (especially for adding a kick to mild cheeses)
  • Pretzel bread (a universal favorite)
  • Pumpernickel or dark rye bread (delicious with firm, hearty cheeses)
  • Raisin semolina bread (a partner for everything from mild to hearty cheeses)

 
Find many other types of bread in our yummy Bread Glossary.

 

MILD PAIRINGS

Spread: Creamy Original Swiss
Pairing: Banana Bread With Walnuts

Banana bread and other fruit breads (such as date nut bread and raisin bread) are delicious with fresh cheeses and double-crème cheeses like Brie. The sweet bread really turns the cheese course into dessert. It the walnuts aren’t already baked into the banana bread, add them as a garnish.

Spread: Creamy Light Swiss
Pairing: Kale Leaf

What selection of recipes would be complete without kale? Here, crunchy kale substitutes for bread (or the more conventional endive leaf), and a slice of turkey roll adds protein to this better-for-you “Swiss and turkey wrap.” Garnish with halved cherry or grape tomatoes.

 

TANGY PAIRINGS

Spread: Creamy Swiss Garlic & Herb
Pairing: Pita Bites or Pita Chips

Dress up plain old pita garlic and herb cheese spread, sliced black olives and strips of roasted red pepper (pimento). Optional garnish: snipped chives.

 
Spread: Creamy White Cheddar Flavor
Pairing: Pretzel Crisps (Or Other Pretzel Flats)

Pretzel flats are an under-used pairing with cheese. They work with any cheese, from mild to spicy. Optional garnish: snipped herbs.

 
Spread: Creamy Mozzarella, Sun-Dried Tomato & Basil
Flavor
Pairing: Mini Bagel

Make a “white pizza” with mini bagels, or use bagel chips for a crispy change of pace. Optional garnish: oregano.

 
Pairing: Pretzel Crisps (Or Other Pretzel Flats)

This smoked salmon pairing also works with mini bagels and bagel chips. Optional garnish: snipped chives or minced red onion.

 

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No hummus today: a new way to enjoy pita. Photo courtesy The Laughing Cow.

 

SPICY PAIRINGS

Spread: Creamy Spicy Pepper Jack
Pairing: Mini Cornbread Muffins

You can toast the muffins if you like; and if you have day-old muffins that are starting to dry out, it’s tasty “save.”

 
Spread: Creamy Queso Fresco Chipotle
Pairing: Baby Bell Peppers

This south-of-the-border approach is a new way to use those adorable baby bell peppers. Stuff with The Laughing Cow Creamy Queso Fresco Chipotle and top with some salsa fresca.

Find more snack ideas at TheLaughingCow.com.

  

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TIP OF THE DAY: Choucroute Garnie

Now that there’s as chill in the air, the people of Alsace have been cooking up their famous recipe, Choucroute Garnie—pronounced shoo-CROOT gar-NEE and translating to dressed sauerkraut.

The “dressing” consists of sausages and other salted meats and, typically, potatoes. It’s stick-to-your-ribs goodness on a chilly day. You know it’s autumn when the dish appears on restaurant menus (call your local French restaurant to check). If you don’t have time or inclination to make your own, it’s available throughout France microwavable packages and canned form.

Sauerkraut originated in German and Eastern Europe, the but the French annexation of Alsace and Lorraine added it to the repertoire of French chefs. It has since become popular throughout France.

Like cassoulet and pot au feu, it’s an inexpensive, everyday dish. Any combination of hot sauerkraut, meat and potatoes works, but traditional recipes utilize:

  • Three types of sausage, such as Frankfurt sausages, Strasbourg sausages and Montbéliard sausages (use whatever sausages you like—we used boudin blanc, knockwurst and smoked sausage).
   

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Pork chop, back bacon, potatoes plus a bonus of baby carrots on a bed of sauerkraut. Photo courtesy TourDeFranceNYC.com.

  • Fatty, inexpensive or salted cuts of pork: back bacon, ham hocks or shank, pork knuckles and shoulders, salt pork.
  • Boiled potatoes (toss them with fresh parsley).
  • Seasonings: bay leaf, black peppercorns, cloves, garlic.
  • Sauerkraut, simmered in Riesling and juniper berries (we added some caraway seed, a personal favorite with sauerkraut).
  • Optional: chopped onion, sliced apples.
  • Mustard: we served three options, Dijon, grainy and horseradish mustards.

 
Plain shredded cabbage can be added along with the sauerkraut to produce a less tangy, less acidic version. Hungarian recipes include stuffed cabbage leaves in addition to the other ingredients.

 

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Individually plated, with sliced potatoes. Photo © Quentin Bacon | Food & Wine. Here’s the recipe.

 

For a high-end variation, Choucroute Royale is made by augmenting the basics with some more expensive ingredients:

  • Champagne instead of Riesling
  • Foie gras, goose, wild game
  • Fish
  • Duck choucroute garni, replacing the pork products with duck confit leg, duck sausage and duck breast.
  • A newer riff, seafood sausage choucroute is a meat-free option that includes seafood sausage, scallops, shrimp and flaky white fish on a bed of braised cabbage (not sauerkraut) with lobster sauce.

While it takes a bit of time to prepare, the steps to a delicious choucroute garnie are easy:

1. SIMMER sauerkraut with Riesling and juniper berries. Riesling has a very distinctive flavor, but if you don’t want to buy a bottle and drink the rest with dinner, use another dry white wine. We like to snip fresh parsley, sage or thyme into the cooked sauerkraut before plating.

2. COOK your favorite cuts of pork: pork belly, pork chops, sausages, whatever. Boil the potatoes.

3. PLACE the sauerkraut on a serving plate and top with the meat and potatoes. Uncork a bottle of Rieling. Voilà.

 

Choucroute garnie can be served individually plated or family style, on a large platter.

Here’s a complete recipe from Jacques Pépin for Food & WIne magazine.

  

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TIP OF THE DAY: Pumpkin Custard With Maple Pecan Crunch

As an alternative to pumpkin pie—or perhaps in addition to it—how about some pumpkin custard? It’s eggier and richer than conventional pumpkin pie filling, and because there’s no crust, it’s gluten free.

This lovely recipe, from Nielsen Massey, is a guaranteed crowd pleaser. If you don’t have ramekins or custard cups, use 6-ounce tea cups.

How is this custard different from flan and other custards? Check out the different types of custard in our delectable Custard Glossary.

RECIPE: PUMPKIN CUSTARD WITH MAPLE PECAN CRUNCH

Ingredients For 8 Servings

  • 1½ cups half-and-half
  • 2 tablespoons Irish cream liqueur
  • 4 large eggs, lightly whisked
  • 2/3 cup packed light brown sugar
  • 2 teaspoons pure vanilla extract
  • 1½ teaspoons ground cinnamon
  • ½ teaspoon freshly grated nutmeg
  • ¼ teaspoon ground cloves
  • ¼ teaspoon salt
  • 1 can (15-ounces) 100% pure pumpkin
  •    

    pumpkin-custard-maple-pecan-crunch-nielsenmassey-230

    Pumpkin custard topped with maple pecan crunch. Photo courtesy Nielsen-Massey.

     

     

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    Nielsen-Massey pure vanilla extract. Photo by Claire Freierman | THE NIBBLE.

     

    Preparation

    1. PREHEAT oven to 325°F. Place 8 six-ounce ramekins onto a rimmed sheet pan or a roasting pan; set aside.

    2. COMBINE the half-and-half and liqueur in a small saucepan over medium-low heat. Heat and stir, just until the mixture is warmed. Remove from the heat.

    3. COMBINE the eggs, sugar, vanilla extract, cinnamon, nutmeg, cloves and salt in a large bowl. Whisk thoroughly until well combined. Add the pumpkin and whisk until it is incorporated. Slowly pour the heated half-and-half mixture into the pumpkin mixture; whisk continuously until combined.

    4. POUR the custard mixture into ramekins. Place in the oven; then carefully pour warm water into the sheet pan, so custards are surrounded and the water depth is about ¾-inch high (this technique is known as a bain-marie). Bake until done, about 40-45 minutes. Remove ramekins from pan, cool completely on wire rack and place in the refrigerator to chill. You can serve the custard chilled or at room temperature.

     

    RECIPE: MAPLE PECAN CRUNCH

    Ingredients

  • ¼ cup pure maple syrup
  • ½ teaspoon pure vanilla extract
  • 1/8 teaspoon cayenne pepper
  • 1 cup pecans, chopped
  • Garnish: coarse sea salt
  •  
    Preparation

    1. LINE a rimmed baking sheet with parchment paper; set aside.

    2. COMBINE syrup, vanilla and cayenne pepper in a small bow. Whisk to combine; set aside.

    3. LIGHTLY COAT a large skillet with cooking spray; place over medium heat. Add the nuts to skillet and toast until golden brown, about 2 to 3 minutes, stirring occasionally.

    4. CAREFULLY POUR the syrup mixture over the nuts. Cook and stir until the nuts are coated; then remove from heat. Place the nut mixture evenly onto the prepared baking sheet and cool.

    5. TO SERVE: Top the cooled custards with Maple Pecan Crunch. Finish with a pinch of coarse salt.

    Store any unused Maple Pecan Crunch in an airtight container. You can use it to top anything from baked sweet potatoes to green salad to vegetables to ice cream.
     
    EVERYTHING YOU NEED TO KNOW ABOUT VANILLA

    Did you know that vanilla beans are the fruit of a species of orchid? Of the 110 species in the orchid family, the vanilla orchard is the only one used for food.

    While the fruit is called a vanilla “bean,” it has no close relationship to the actual bean family. After the plant flowers, the fruit pod ripens gradually for 8 to 9 months, eventually turning black-brown in color and giving off a strong aroma. Both the exterior of the and the seeds inside are used to create vanilla flavoring.

    Check out the history of vanilla, types of vanilla products (including vanilla paste and different terroirs of vanilla extracts and vanilla beans), how to buy vanilla, and our reviews of the best vanilla extracts and vanilla beans.

    Start here.

      

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    TIP OF THE DAY: Pumpkin Beer & Pumpkin Ale

    pumpkin-beer-w-pumpkin-craftbeer.com-230

    Even George Washington was a fan of
    pumpkin beer. He brewed his own, of course.
    Photo courtesy CraftBeer.com.

     

    Thanks to Julia Herz of CraftBeer.com for today’s tip: Pick up some pumpkin beer or ale. In fact, have a pumpkin beer tasting for Halloween (with or without costumes), and bring it instead of wine to your Thanksgiving dinner hosts.

    This seasonal brew is so well liked that in the month of October, it rivals the popularity of India Pale Ale (IPA), the top-selling craft beer style in the U.S.

    The body is richer, thanks to the addition of actual pumpkin into the vat; and brewers typically add hints of pumpkin pie spices. The flavors can vary widely depending on whether the brewer uses fresh, frozen or canned pumpkin (or a related squash).

    But pumpkin beer is no recent craft beer invention. It’s been made since the Pilgrims of Plymouth Rock Colony discovered pumpkins (indigenous to the Americas) and added them to their brews.

    Why did they brew with pumpkin?

    There were plenty of them. Since good malt was not readily accessible in the early days of the colonization of America, fermentable sugars had to come from elsewhere. In those early pumpkin beers, the flesh of the pumpkin took the place of malt. (Later, with dependable supplies of malt, both were used.)

    Pumpkin beer remained a staple throughout the 18th century, but its popularity began to wane by the early 19th century as quality malts became accessible everywhere.

     

    Fast forward 200-plus years to the Bay Area in the 1980s. The father of American micro-brewing, Bill Owens, read in a brewing book that George Washington added pumpkin to his mash. Owens thought it was an idea in need of resurrection. The result, Buffalo Bill’s Pumpkin Ale, is an amber-style ale based on Washington’s recipe (and a NIBBLE Top Pick Of The Week).

    Although most pumpkin ale and beer are brewed with pumpkin and flavored with cinnamon, cloves, ginger and nutmeg, don’t expect pumpkin pie in a bottle. With most products, there’s no obvious pumpkin taste analogous to the pronounced flavors of fruit beers.

    This season, retailers will sell some 400 pumpkin beers from craft brewers. You can put together a nice selection for a tasting party. Or, pick up a selection for your own personal enjoyment. Just a sampling of what you might find:

     

    buffalo-bill-6pack-pumpkin-230

    Bring a six-pack or two to your Halloween or Thanksgiving host(s). Photo courtesy Buffalo Bill’s Brewery.

    • Boxcarr Pumpkin Porter | Starr Hill Brewery | Crozet, Virginia
    • Flat Jack Pumpkin Ale | Flat 12 Bierwerks | Indianapolis, Indiana
    • Gourd Shorts (pumpkin ale) | Florida Beer Co. | Cape Canaveral, Florida
    • Kentucky Pumpkin Barrel Ale | Alltech Lexington Brewing and Distilling Company | Lexington, Kentucky
    • Mavericks Pumpkin Harvest Ale | Half Moon Bay Brewing Co. | Half Moon Bay, California
    • Oak Jacked (imperial pumpkin ale) | Uinta Brewing Co. | Salt Lake City, Utah
    • Potosi Stingy Jack Pumpkin Ale | Potosi Brewing Co. | Potosi, Wisconsin
    • Pumking | Southern Tier Brewing Co. | Lakewood, New York
    • Post Road Pumpkin Ale | Brooklyn Brewery | Brooklyn, New York
    • Pumpkin Ale | Blackstone Brewing Co. | Nashville, Tennessee
    • Pumpkin Ale | Buffalo Bill’s Brewery | Hayward, California
    • Pumpkin Ale | Rivertown Brewing Co. | Lockland, Ohio
    • Pumpkinfest | Terrapin Beer Co. | Athens, Georgia
    • Punkin Ale | Dogfish Brewery | Milton, Delaware
    • Roadsmary’s Baby (rum-aged pumpkin ale) | Two Roads Brewing Co. | Stratford, Connecticut
    • Rum Punk (Rum barrel-aged pumpkin beer) | Joseph James Brewing Co., Inc | Henderson, Nevada
    • Samhain Pumpkin Porter | DESTIHL Brewery | Bloomington, Illinois
    • Samuel Adams Fat Jack (double pumpkin ale) | Samuel Adams | Boston, Massachusetts
    • Smuttynose Pumpkin Ale | Smuttynose Brewing Co. | Hampton, New Hampshire
    • Wick for Brains Pumpkin Ale | Nebraska Brewing Co. | La Vista, Nevada
    • Witch’s Hair Pumpkin Ale | Twisted Manzanita Ales & Spirits | East County San Diego, California

     
    KNOW YOUR BEER TYPES

    Check out the different types of beer in our Beer Glossary.

      

    Comments

    TIP OF THE DAY: Apple Cider Donuts

    apple-cider-glaze-donuts-karosyrup-230

    Fresh, warm donuts with an apple cider
    glaze. Photo courtesy Karo Syrup.

     

    On Thursday we purchased an apple cider donut at our local farmers market. It was just OK, with no detectable hint of apple cider. So we went home, got out the recipe file and made our own with a recipe from Karo Syrup.

    That’s the difference between these and the one we purchased: corn syrup and apple cider combine for a delicious glaze.

    Prep time is 35 minutes, rest time is 45 to 60 minutes. You can fry them or bake them (bake time is an additional 15 minutes).

    RECIPE: APPLE CIDER DONUTS

    Ingredients For 15 Doughnuts

    • 3-1/4 to 3-3/4 cups all-purpose flour
    • 2 envelopes Fleischmann’s RapidRise Yeast
    • 2 tablespoons sugar
    • 1 teaspoon salt
    • 1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
    • 1 cup plus 2 tablespoons milk
    • 1/4 cup butter
    • 3 egg yolks
    • Corn oil for frying

    For The Apple Cider Glaze

    • 1 cup apple cider
    • 2 cups powdered sugar
    • 1 tablespoon light corn syrup

     

    Preparation

    1. COMBINE 2 cups flour, undissolved yeast, sugar, salt and cinnamon in a large mixer bowl.

    2. HEAT milk and butter to very warm (120°F to 130°F). Add to flour mixture with egg yolks; beat for 2 minutes at low speed. Continue adding flour until a soft dough forms.

    3. KNEAD on a lightly floured surface until smooth and elastic (4 to 6 minutes). Cover and let rest for 10 minutes.

    4. ROLL out the dough on a lightly floured counter into a 12-inch circle, about 1/2-inch thick. Using a 3-inch cookie or biscuit cutter, cut out as many rounds as possible. Cut out the centers with a 1-inch cookie cutter (or poke a hole through the center with your finger).

    5. PLACE the doughnuts 2 to 3 inches apart on a lightly greased or parchment lined baking sheet. Re-roll and cut the remaining dough. Cover the doughnuts and let rise for 45 minutes to 1 hour.

    6. TO FRY: Heat at least 2 inches of oil to 350°F in a deep fryer or deep pan. Fry 2 to 3 doughnuts at a time, turning occasionally until well browned, about 2 to 3 minutes. Remove from oil and drain on paper towels. TO BAKE: Preheat the oven to 375°F. Bake the risen doughnuts for 8 to 10 minutes. FOR BOTH: Cool a few minutes, then transfer to wire rack.

     

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    Light corn syrup. Photo courtesy ACH Food Companies.

     
    7. MAKE the glaze: Boil the apple cider in a small saucepan until reduced by half, 7 to 10 minutes. Place the powdered sugar in medium bowl. Whisk in the hot cider and corn syrup until smooth.

    8. GLAZE: Drizzle the donuts with the apple cider glaze or, using tongs, dunk the doughnuts into the glaze. Serve warm.
     
    Enjoy the donuts warm, with a hot cup of coffee or a cool glass of milk or apple cider.
     
    CORN SYRUP VERSUS HIGH FRUCTOSE CORN SYRUP

    Corn syrup and high fructose corn syrup (HFCS) are two different sweeteners. The latter is a sweeter form of corn syrup made from corn starch. It is 20% cheaper and easier to transport than sugar; hence, a more profitable sweetener for manufacturers to use. The process was developed in the 1970s and introduced widely into American processed foods in the 1980s. Here’s more about high fructose corn syrup.

    Corn syrup, called glucose syrup outside the U.S. and Canada because it is composed mainly of glucose, is made from corn starch. It was invented in 1812 by a German chemist, Gottlieb Kirchhoff, and has long been used to sweeten soft drinks, ice cream, ketchup, breads and many other mass-produced foods. Before commercial brands (Karo Light and Dark Corn Syrup products were introduced in 1902), housewives would carry their syrup jugs to the grocery store to be filled from the barrel.

    Light corn syrup is almost clear, with a delicate flavor; dark corn syrup has a more pronounced, molasses-like flavor. They can be used interchangeably in most recipes.

    Corn syrup is a good product that is often confused with the highly processed high fructose corn syrup. The best manufacturers use it in because corn syrup doesn’t crystallize and turn grainy in cold temperatures. It thus keeps a good consistency for products like fudge and caramel sauces and and candies. In mass production, baked goods made with corn syrup are moister and stay fresher longer than those made with sugar.
     
    CHECK OUT THE DIFFERENT TYPES OF SWEETENERS IN OUR SUGAR & SWEETENERS GLOSSARY.

      

    Comments

    TIP OF THE DAY: Pair Cheese & Nuts

    candied-walnuts-asiago-wmmb-230

    Asiago cheese with candied walnuts and
    raspberries. Photo courtesy Wisconsin Milk
    Marketing Board.

     

    Yesterday was National Nut Day, so the folks at the Wisconsin Milk Marketing Board sent us some popular cheese and nut pairings.

    In addition to fruits, breads and crackers, nuts a flavor and crunch counterpoint. Try these pairings the next time you serve cheese:

    • Almonds: Available in several forms—candied, raw, roasted, salted, smoked, spiced—almonds are a great choice for pairing with most cheese varieties that are semi-soft to firm (hard).
    • Pecans: With their natural sweetness, pecans complement the salt in cheese. Try a candied or spiced pecan (recipe) alongside salty cheeses, such as feta or romano.
    • Pistachios: The delicate, buttery flavor of these popular nuts goes best with soft cheeses such as brie or ricotta .
    • Walnuts: The earthy flavor and dry texture of walnuts pair nicely with aged cheeses, such as an aged asiago or cheddar. Or, drizzle with honey to pair with a softer cheese, especially blue cheeses like gorgonzola.

    MORE TO MUNCH ON

  • Candied Nuts Recipe
  • Cheese Condiments: many more foods to pair with cheese
  • Glossary Of Cheese Terms
  • The History Of Cheese
  • How To Taste Cheese
  •  
      

    Comments

    TIP OF THE DAY: Halloween Ice Cream

    While crafty cooks are inspired to turn ice cream cones into witches’ hats and use candies to create ghost and black cat faces on a scoop of vanilla or chocolate, specific Halloween ice cream flavors don’t typically come to mind. (When did you last see pumpkin ice cream?)

    Baskin Robbins will sell you an ice cream cake in the shape of a jack o’lantern or a haunted house.

    But our friends at Talenti inspired us by carving a jack o’lantern face into their Alphonse Mango Sorbetto, naturally colored like a harvest moon.

    Perfect, we thought; and promptly bought a few pints to carve and then pass, lid on, around the dinner table as a Halloween surprise.

    With its deep orange color, we nominate mango a Halloween flavor, served plain or with a scoop of vanilla for a delicious “Creamsicle” effect. For extra panache, layer the flavors in a glass parfait or sundae dish or a wine goblet.

    More Halloween ice cream ideas:

       
    talenti-mango-jack-o-lantern--230

    Mango sorbet: a great holiday color. Photo courtesy Talenti.com.

     

     

    Carmel-Apple-Pie-talenti-230

    Another seasonal option: Caramel Apple Pie.
    Photo courtesy Talenti.

     
    • Substitute orange sorbet for mango, or serve them together.
    • Freeze orange or mango sorbet into balls and make jack o’lantern faces with a tube of black decorating gel.
    • Top ice cream with a Halloween cookie, such as Limited Edition Pumpkin Spice Oreos, Pepperidge Farm Pumpkin Cheesecake Cookies (soft, oversize cookies you can use as a base for the ice cream), or Lucy’s Gluten Free Pumpkin Patch Cookies. We also discovered a local brand of ginger snaps shaped like jack o’lanterns (plain ginger snaps will do) and pumpkin spice cookie mixes from Betty Crocker and Pillsbury.
    • Candy corn: a few kernels create a seasonal garnish for vanilla or chocolate ice cream.
    • Try eyeball candy instead of a maraschino cherry.

     
    Other ideas? Let us know!

     

      

    Comments

    TIP OF THE DAY: Make Pumpkin Cider

    pumpkin-cider-hkaminsky-230

    Pumpkin cider, with or without rum. Photo ©
    Hannah Kaminsky | Bittersweet Blog.

     

    People speak of comfort foods; this is a comfort drink. Thick, flavorful, fragrant pumpkin cider made with pumpkin purée is a seasonal treat that can be served to kids or turned into a cocktail with spiced rum.

    RECIPE: SPICED PUMPKIN CIDER

    Ingredients For 2 Drinks

  • 1 cup pumpkin purée (not pumpkin pie mix, which is seasoned)
  • 2-1/2 cups apple cider
  • 1-1/2 teaspoons pumpkin pie spice
  • Cinnamon stick
  • 1/3 cup spiced rum (or substitute more apple cider)
  • Garnish: whipped cream, fresh-ground nutmeg
  •  

    Preparation

    1. COMBINE the pumpkin, cider, spice and cinnamon stick in a medium-large pot. Bring the mixture to a boil; then simmer for 20 minutes. If you’d prefer a thinner drink, add more cider to achieve desired consistency.

    2. REMOVE the cinnamon stick; strain the mixture to remove any clumps. Add the rum stir. Garnish with optional whipped cream or nutmeg. Serve warm.

      

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