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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,
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Archive for Tip Of The Day

TIP OF THE DAY: Skillet Fondue

Skillet Fondue

Skillet fondue is easy and fun. Photo
courtesy La Brea Bakery.


Skillet fondue enables you to serve a warm, gooey cheese treat very easily, for brunch, lunch, a dinner first course or snacking. It’s also a good way to use up smaller pieces of cheese leftover from a cheese tray. We cribbed the idea from La Brea Bakery; this photo appeared in an ad celebrating the bakery’s 25th anniversary.

Skillet fondue requires no fondue pot, although if you have a hot plate or warming tray, or the base of a fondue set with a heat source, you can use it to both raise the hot skillet from the table and keep the cheese warm.

This isn’t a fondue in the classic sense, where melted cheese is blended with white wine, lemon juice and garlic. It’s mostly cheese melted in a skillet, although you add seasonings of choice, and can top the melted cheese with all sorts of goodies instead of using the goodies as dippers.

We made this recipe in a broiler, although you can as easily use the oven. We used a cast iron skillet for “atmosphere”; you can use anything heatproof with a handle.

We happened to have Cheddar and Gruyère on hand. You can use whatever melting cheeses you have, including any of the Swiss cheeses, the Hispanic melting cheeses, Fontina, Gouda, Havarti and others. Don’t hesitate to blend multiple cheeses.

While regular fondue uses cubes of day-old bread speared with fondue forks, skillet fondue uses crostini, toasted baguette slices, which we sliced and toasted in the oven (or you can grill them). Instead of dipping and swirling cubes with a fondue fork, you scoop up the cheese with crostini. If you’re short on bread, you can use crackers.



  • 1-1/2 to 2 pounds cheese
  • 4 garlic cloves, thinly sliced
  • 1 teaspoon fresh thyme leaves, finely chopped (substitute dried oregano)
  • 1 teaspoon fresh rosemary leaves, finely chopped (substitute dried sage or savory)
  • 1/4 cup extra virgin olive oil (flavored oil is O.K.)
  • Salt and freshly-ground black pepper to taste (or substitute red chili flakes for the pepper)
  • Toppings: apple or fig slices, dates, grapes, cornichons, piquillo chiles, cubed ham, sliced sausage, raw or cooked veggies (bell pepper strips, broccoli and cauliflower florets, cherry tomatoes, sliced boiled or roasted potatoes, zucchini or whatever you have
  • Crostini


    1. TOAST the baguette slices. To toast in the oven, preheat it to 400°F. Slice the baguette diagonally into 1/4-inch slices and place in a single layer on a baking sheet. Brush each slice with olive oil and sprinkle with salt and pepper. Bake for 15 to 20 minutes or until the crostini are crisp and browned. Let cool.

    2. REMOVE any rind and dice the cheese. Prepare the toppings and place them on the table in individual ramekins or bowls. (Instead, you can place some of each on individual dinner plates for each diner.) Preheat the broiler.

    3. PLACE the cheese in an even layer in a 9-inch cast-iron skillet. Scatter with the herbs plus salt and pepper to taste; drizzle with olive oil.

    4. PLACE under the broiler, ideally five inches from the heating element, for 5-6 minutes. The cheese should be melted, bubbling and starting to brown. Remove with silicone pot holders or oven mitts, onto a brazier on the table (or other heat-resistant base).


    La Brea Loaves

    Three of the loaves you may find at your supermarket. Photo courtesy La Brea Bakery.

    5. SERVE immediately, passing the toppings (an old-fashioned lazy susan or any type of kitchen turntable is great here).
    The History Of Cheese Fondue

    The history of fondue and a classic cheese fondue recipe

    28 Fondue Recipes


    Twenty-five years ago, Los Angeles was a bread wasteland. When Nancy Silverton and her then-husband Mark Peel were preparing to open their restaurant, Campanile, they found a location with room to open a bakery next door, to make their own sourdough bread.

    The bread became a sensation, and retail loaves sold out early each day.

    In 2001 the bakery was acquired by an investment group, enabling expansion throughout Southern California; and now, to quality food stores nationwide.

    Is there La Brea sourdough near you? Check out the store locator on the company’s website.



    TIP OF THE DAY: Homemade Marshmallow Fluff

    Marshmallow Cream Garnish

    /home/content/p3pnexwpnas01_data02/07/2891007/html/wp content/uploads/Chocolate Marshmallow Fluff cinnamonspiceandeverythingnice 230

    TOP PHOTO: Elegant drops of homemade
    marshmallow cream at Guard and Grace
    | Denver. BOTTOM PHOTO:
    Chocolate “Fluff” from Sugar and Spice and
    Everything Nice


    For the upcoming holiday season, something special is the name of the game. Today’s tip was inspired by Guard and Grace in Denver, where dessert plates are garnished with their own version of Marshmallow Fluff, instead of whipped cream.

    Homemade Marshmallow Fluff, it seems, is a popular undertaking. This first recipe is from Kimberly Reiner of Momma Reiner’s Fudge.

    You’ll need a candy thermometer, ideally a clip-on thermometer or an all-purpose thermometer with a good range; as well as a stand mixer. A simple hand mixer and a bowl won’t do because you’re working with boiling syrup, and need guaranteed stability. We also recommend thick clothing and a vinyl (waterproof) apron to guard against spatters.

    You can vary the flavors of the marshmallow creme beyond vanilla; for example, with lemon extract or maple extract, or a tablespoon of instant coffee or cocoa powder. A recipe for gingerbread marshmallow creme is below.



  • 3 large egg whites
  • 2/3 cup plus 2 tablespoons sugar
  • 1/3 cup water
  • 3/4 cup light corn syrup
  • 1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract

    1. BEAT the egg whites with an electric beater or an electric stand mixer with the whisk attachments, until light and frothy. With the mixer running, slowly incorporate 2 tablespoons of sugar. Beat until soft peaks form.

    2. COMBINE 1/3 cup water, the corn syrup and 2/3 cup sugar in a large saucepan. Cook over medium heat until the mixture boils, watching constantly and stirring occasionally. Raise the heat to medium high and cook until the mixture reaches the soft-ball stage, 240°F on a candy thermometer (10-15 minutes). If the hot syrup bubbles up the sides, briefly lower the heat or remove the pan from the heat. When the syrup goes back down to level, raise the heat and continue cooking.

    The next step requires care, since the hot mixture can spatter and burn you. In addition to long sleeves and an apron, drape a kitchen towel over the front and side of the mixing bowl, leaving an open side to pour in the syrup.

    3. WITH the mixer on low, slowly add the hot syrup to the beaten egg whites. Increase the mixer speed to high and continue beating for 6-8 minutes. Add the vanilla and continue to beat until mixture looks like marshmallow creme, 2-4 minutes more.

    4. COOL and store in an airtight jar. It will keep in the fridge for up to a month. We particularly like it atop a cup of hot chocolate.




    Here’s a holiday-flavored version of marshmallow creme, from Reeni of Cinnamon Spice and Everything Nice. She has also created a strawberry marshmallow cream.

    Renni advises: “Please keep children and pets clear of the kitchen while making this. The sugar syrup reaches temperatures that can burn should an accident occur.”

    Ingredients For 2-1/2 Cups

  • 3/4 cup sugar
  • 1/4 cup light corn syrup
  • 1/4 cup unsulphured molasses
  • 1/4 cup water
  • 1/8 teaspoon salt
  • 2 large egg whites, at room temperature
  • 1/4 teaspoon cream of tartar
  • 3/4 teaspoon ground ginger
  • 1/3 teaspoon ground cinnamon
  • 1/8 teaspoon ground nutmeg
  • 1/8 teaspoon ground cloves
  • 1-1/2 teaspoons vanilla extract


    Photo © Cinnamon Spice and Everything Nice.Who has also created strawberry marshmallow cream


    1. STIR together the sugar, corn syrup, molasses, water and salt in a medium saucepan over medium-high heat, with a clip candy thermometer attached to the side. Bring to a boil stirring occasionally, until it reaches 240°F. Meanwhile…

    2. ADD the egg whites and cream of tartar to the bowl of an electric mixer fitted with the whisk attachment. Start whipping the egg whites to soft peaks on medium speed.

    3. MEASURE the spices into a small bowl or ramekin. When the syrup reaches 240°F, set the mixer to low speed. Slowly drizzle in a couple of tablespoons of the hot syrup to warm the mixture (if you add too much hot syrup at once, the egg whites may scramble.). On low speed, slowly drizzle in the rest of the syrup, the vanilla and all the spices; then increase the speed to medium-high. Beat until the marshmallow creme is stiff and glossy, 8-10 minutes.

    4. COOL and use immediately, or store in an airtight container in the refrigerator for up to 2 weeks.

    Marshmallow dates back to ancient Egypt. The marsh mallow plant that was plentiful along the banks of the Nile has a slippery sap that forms a gel when mixed with water. The Egyptians mixed the “juice” with honey to make a confection, reserved for the wealthy and the gods.

    The Roman scholar Pliny the Elder credited the sap with curing all sorts of diseases, and encouraged people to drink the juice daily, although it wasn’t very palatable (what happened to the honey?). Still, for centuries the sap was used to treat sore throats, skin conditions and other maladies.

    In the mid-19th century, a pharmacist in Paris came up with the idea of whipping the sap with sugar and egg whites into a light, sweet, fluffy throat remedy. A variation soon became popular as marshmallow candy.

    By the late 19th century, confectioners had determined how to mass-produce marshmallows, which included eliminating the sap entirely and replacing it with gelatin. (Prepared gelatin was patented in 1845; prior to then it was laborious to render and clarify gelatin from cattle and pig bones, skin, tendons and ligaments; and in addition to setting aspics, it was desirable as glue, a use that dates back to ancient Egypt.).

    Marshmallow sauces were popular in the early 20th century (see Marshmallow History). But to make marshmallow sauce or frosting required that the cook first make marshmallow creme. It was a two-step process: make a sugar syrup, melt marshmallow candy in a double boiler, and combine them with the syrup.

    In 1910 a marshmallow creme called Marshmallow Fluff was sold to ice cream parlors by Limpert Brothers, a company that still exists in New Jersey. You can see the original packaging here.

    Snowflake Marshmallow Creme was available around 1914. The first commercially successful, shelf-stable marshmallow creme, it was produced by the Curtis Marshmallow Factory of Melrose, Massachusetts.

    They ultimately bought the Marshmallow Fluff brand from the Lippert Brothers (details). Marshmallow Fluff wasn’t the first marshmallow creme, but it’s the one that endured: 94 years later, the brand is still around.

    Unlike conventional marshmallows, which require gelatin (an animal product) or a seaweed equivalent to set, marshmallow creme is a kosher product made from corn syrup, sugar, water, egg whites, artificial flavor, cream of tartar, xanthan gum and artificial color.

    Marshmallow Fluff is OU Kosher, Kraft Jet-Puffed Marshmallow Creme is OK Kosher. Ricemellow Creme, manufactured by Suzanne’s Specialties, Inc., is a vegan equivalent.



    TIP OF THE DAY: Asian-Style Pasta (It’s Called Noodles)

    Pasta originated in China. Scholars credit the Chinese with making noodles from rice flour as early as 1700 B.C.E., the 17th century before the common era (or before Christ, if you still use the old system).

    The pasta-centric Italians believe pasta dates back to the ancient Etruscans, who inhabited the Etruria region of Italy (the central western portion of Italy, what now are Tuscany, Latium and Umbria). They occupied the area from the Iron Age into Roman times (the 11th century B.C.E. to the 1st century B.C.E.).

    Around 400 B.C.E., the Etruscans began to prepare a very wide, lasagna-type noodle made of spelt, an early version of wheat.

    The Romans who followed made what they called lagane, a kind of lasagna, from a dough of water and flour. However, both the Etruscans and the Romans baked their noodles in an oven; boiled pasta had yet to be born in Italy. Here’s more on the history of pasta.

    But let’s circle back to Asia. What happened to pasta in that large region?

    It’s called noodles, and it’s plentiful. Different Asian cuisines developed different types of noodles; not just from wheat, as in Italy, but from other starches that happen to be gluten-free, such as rice, sweet potato, arrowroot starch, bean curd skin, potato starch and tofu. You can feast on Asian noodle dishes in a splendid variety.



    Asian rice noodle salad with pan-fried tofu. Cook the noodles and tofu, toss with vegetables of choice, rice vinegar, a bit of oil (we like sesame oil) and cilantro. Add an optional sprinkle of toasted sesame seeds or shichimi togarashi, a Japanese mixture of dried chiles and other spices. Photo courtesy Lightlife.



    We’ve done our best to put together the list below. You may see some familiar names, but there are a lot of Asian noodle types to get to know. You can find them in Asian markets and of course, online.

    The one challenge is that there is no standardization. Spellings will vary by region, as will the width of the noodles. We’ve included analogous Italian pasta names to give you an approximate visual.
    The Differences Between Asian Noodles & Italian Pasta

    Although they may look similar, Asian noodles and Italian pasta have key differences. Most pasta is designed to be cooked to an al dente texture, but Asian noodles vary widely: Some are meant to be eaten soft; others have a firm bite. Some are chewy, others are springy.

    A second difference: Italian pasta is boiled in water or broth (even baked pasta is boiled first). Chinese noodles can be boiled in water, cooked in soup or stir-fried. And third, unlike Italian pasta, most Asian noodle dishes do not have a sauce on top. If there’s a sauce, they are tossed in it. Asians also add noodles to salads, a treatment not typically found in the West.

    Unlike the short cuts developed in Italy (bowties, elbows, tube pasta, etc.), all Asian pasta is strand or ribbon pasta. Finally, some Chinese noodles contain eggs, but the majority of Asian noodles do not.
    Types Of Asian Noodles

  • Wheat Noodles: Chow Mein (Chinese, like spaghetti but often cut and stir-fried), La Mien (Chinese, hand-pulled, like spaghetti or spaghettini), Lo Mein (Chinese, flat like linguine), Mee Pok (yellow and flat like fettuccine, a Chinese-style noodle used in Malaysia, Singapore and Thailand), Misua (salted Chinese noodles from Fujian, very thin like angel hair), Naengmyeon* (Korean long thin handmade noodles like spaghettini), Ramen (Japanese soup noodles, often the thickness of spaghetti**), Soba (Japanese buckwheat noodles), Udon (thick Japanese soup noodles, like spaghettoni), Wonton Mee (a Chinese soup noodle like spaghetti, not the same as wonton dumplings)
  • Rice Noodles: Chee Cheong Fun (a Cantonese rolled rice noodle), Chow Fun (wide, flat Chinese noodles like pappardelle), Mi Xian (a Yunnan rice noodle made from ordinary [non-glutinous rice], generally sold fresh), Kway Teow (rice cake strips from Malaysia and Singapore), Lai Fun (or bánh canh, long or short Vietnamese noodles the thickness of spaghettoni [there is also a wheat-based Chinese version]), Rice Paper Noodles (these are the thin rectangles used to roll Vietnamese spring rolls), Rice Sticks (thin, flat Thai noodles the thickness of linguine), Rice Vermicelli (thin, flat noodles the width of angel hair, used in almost all Asian cuisines), Silver Needle (like Lai Fun, but with a tapered end), Tteok (Korean rice cakes made with glutinous rice flour, like gnocchi)
  • Other Starches: Jap Chae (Korean sweet potato noodles the shape of spaghetti), Mung Bean Threads (cellophane noodles), Shirataki (spaghetti-like Japanese noodles made from the konjac yam)
    Hungry? How about a stellar version of the Americanized chicken chow mein? This recipe is from Melissa’s The Great Pepper Cookbook, now available in paperback.
    *They can be made from buckwheat, but also from potatoes and sweet potatoes.

    **We’re talking real ramen, not the instant fast food.


    Chicken Chow Mein

    Chicken Chow Mein, the way it should be. Photo courtesy




  • 1/2 cup soy sauce, divided
  • 3 tablespoons hoisin sauce, divided
  • 3 teaspoons oyster sauce, divided
  • 1/2 teaspoon chili oil
  • 1/2 teaspoon toasted sesame oil
  • 3/4 pound skinless, boneless chicken thighs
  • 1 pound dried chow mein noodles
  • 3 tablespoons peanut oil divided
  • 1 tablespoon unsalted butter
  • 1/4 (1 cup) pound button mushrooms, quartered
  • 3 garlic cloves, minced
  • 4 green onions, trimmed and sliced diagonally
  • 1/2 pound fresh cherry belle† chile peppers, stems and seeds removed,thinly sliced
  • 1/4 pound sugar snap peas, strings removed, halved crosswise
  • Salt and freshly ground black pepper
    *†Substitute any cherry pepper or mild to medium chile.

    1. COMBINE 1/4 cup soy sauce. 1 tablespoon hoisin sauce, 1 teaspoon oyster sauce, and chile and sesame oils in a large bowl. Add the chicken and cover the bowl with plastic wrap. Place in the fridge and let marinate, stirring often, for 1 hour.

    2. PREPARE the noodles according to package directions. Rinse with cold water; drain.

    3. PREHEAT the oven to 350°F. Heat 1 tablespoon peanut oil and the butter in a large wok or ovenproof skillet. Add the chicken and cook 2 minutes per side. Transfer to the oven and bake until the chicken is completely cooked through and a meat thermometer inserted into the thickest part reads 165°F, about 15 minutes. Cool the chicken until it can be handled, then shred it.

    4. HEAT the remaining 2 tablespoons of peanut oil in a wok or large skillet over high heat. Add the mushrooms and cook, stirring occasionally, for 2 minutes.

    5. ADD the garlic and the remaining 1/4 cup soy sauce, and the remaining hoisin and oyster sauces, the noodles, green onions, chiles and sugar snap peas. Cook, stirring constantly, until the vegetables are crisp-tender.

    6. ADD the shredded chicken to the pan and cook until heated through. Stir in the salt and black pepper to taste. Serve.

    1. COOL the cooked chicken until you can handle it; it should still be warm. Remove any skin.

    2. USE one hand or a fork to steady the chicken. With the other hand, use a second fork to scrape and tear the flesh into shreds. When the fork gets clogged with chicken shreds, use your fingers or another fork to move them into a bowl.



    TIP OF THE DAY: 25+ Uses For Bacon Fat, Bacon Grease, Drippings Or Whatever You Call It

    Our mom loved to cook bacon: She loved the aroma. She also had a great exhaust hood, a kitchen with pocket doors to prevent the aroma from escaping to the rest of the house, and a window and a back door to let in fresh air.

    She bought thick-cut bacon and cooked it slowly over medium-low heat in a stainless steel skillet big enough to hold the entire pound of strips without crowding. At a lower heat, all the fat renders (melts into liquid) while the bacon crisps. Once, we recall, she received a block of slab bacon in a gourmet gift basket, cut it in a small dice and cooked it the same way.

    Call it bacon fat, bacon grease or bacon drippings: She strained it and stored the fat in a jar in the fridge, where it turned a creamy beige. She used it for pie crusts, for cooking eggs and a number of the uses below. And she always advised us never to pour it down the drain, or it would congeal and clog.

    You can store bacon fat in an airtight container in the refrigerator for up to a month. Use it instead of butter or oil—or in combination with them—to add hints of bacon flavor to your recipes.

    Then, when you’re ready to cook, you can:

  • Grease the pan with bacon fat.
  • Drizzle bacon fat over the ingredients.
  • Toss ingredients with bacon fat instead of oil.

    Bacon Cooking In Pan

    Cook the bacon, save the fat. Photo by Claire Freierman | THE NIBBLE.

  • Mix melted bacon fat into the recipe instead of melted butter or oil.
    Before you comment on the consumption of bacon fat: Yes, we know that cardiologists don’t support the consumption of any component of bacon. But that doesn’t stop Americans from eating 18 pounds of pork bacon each, per year. [Source]


    Beer & Bacon Potato Salad


    TOP PHOTO: Potato salad with bacon fat (recipe below). Photo courtesy Samuel Adams. BOTTOM PHOTO: See how Sandy of Fancy Food Fancy uses bacon fat in her pie crusts. Photo courtesy Fancy Food Fancy.


  • Fry eggs, hash browns and pancakes.
  • Grease the cornbread pan.

  • Bacon barbecue sauce (recipe)
  • Bacon mayonnaise or aïoli (recipe)
  • Caramelized onion dip (recipe)
  • French fries
  • Fried rice (recipe)
  • Grilled cheese and panini (instead of butter to pan-fry the
  • Loaf breads (grease the pan)
  • Salad with warm bacon vinaigrette (recipe)

  • Baked potatoes: rub bacon fat instead of oil on the skins before baking.
  • Brussels sprouts and bacon (recipe)
  • Cocktails: bacon-infused bourbon or other spirit (recipe)
  • Pan-fried potatoes.
  • Potato pancakes, roasted potatoes
  • Sauté cabbage, greens, mushrooms, onions and other veggies.
  • Stir-frys
  • Wine and bacon pasta sauce (recipe)

  • Bacon-bourbon ice cream (recipe)
  • Bacon brownies (recipe)
  • Bacon caramel corn (recipe)
  • Bacon caramels (recipe)
  • Bacon milkshake (recipe).
  • Cookies: in chocolate chip or other cookies, substitute bacon fat for half the butter
  • Gingersnaps (recipe)
  • Pie crust (recipe)


    People who love bacon may already have discovered German potato salad, also called Alsatian potato salad. It is typically mixed with a vinagrette and the grease from the cooked bacon, and served warm with grilled sausages. Here’s a recipe.

    This recipe is by chef Michele Ragussis for Samuel Adams.

    Ingredients For 6-8 Servings

  • 3 bottles Samuel Adams Boston Lager or equivalent
  • 3 pounds baby potatoes
  • 8 eggs
  • 1 package bacon
  • ½ red onion, diced
  • Half head celery, diced
  • 1 bunch scallions, finely sliced
  • ¼ bunch dill
  • 16 ounces mayonnaise
  • 1 teaspoon yellow mustard
  • 3 dashes red wine vinegar
  • 1 tablespoon bacon fat

    1. PREHEAT the oven to 375°F. Bring the beer to a boil in a large pot. Add the potatoes and boil in beer for about 15 minutes or until fork tender. Drain and let cool. Set aside.

    2. BRING a large pot of water to boil, and hard boil the eggs for about 12 minutes. Let the eggs cool, then peel and chop.

    3. COOK the bacon in a large sheet pan until crispy; then dice. Set aside.

    4. MIX the diced red onion, scallions, celery, bacon, eggs and dill in a large bowl.

    5. Once potatoes are cool, add to bowl of ingredients and smash together so they are half mashed.

    6. ADD all wet ingredients, salt and pepper and mix well. Add about a tablespoon of the bacon grease for flavor.



    RECIPE: Pumpkin Lasagna & Pumpkin Ravioli Lasagna


    Pumpkin lasagna made in a Dutch oven.
    Photo courtesy Williams-Sonoma.


    How about a festive pumpkin lasagna for Halloween or Thanksgiving?

    One of the tips to enjoy a rich, hearty dish like lasagna is to serve it in smaller portions as a first course. Our friend Ruth’s Italian-American mother always served a pasta course before the Thanksgiving turkey.

    You can buy delicious pumpkin ravioli and serve it with any sauce—Alfredo, butter, olive oil, pumpkin or tomato. You can make pumpkin mac and cheese, and for more fun serve it in a hollowed-out baby pumpkin garnished with shelled pumpkin seeds (pepitas).

    You can add diced pumpkin (or its stand-ins, acorn or butternut squash) to cooked pasta, purée the pumpkin into a sauce (here’s a recipe) or both.

    The first recipe is from Williams-Sonoma. You don’t need a lasagna pan because it’s made in a Dutch oven. Find more delicious recipes on the website.

    Our second lasagna recipe is even easier, because it’s a ravioli lasagna: ravioli is used instead of lasagna noodles.


    Ingredients For 8 To 10 Servings

  • 1 pound whole milk ricotta cheese
  • 1 tablespoon julienned fresh sage
  • 1/4 cup (1/3 ounce) chopped fresh flat-leaf parsley
  • 1/2 teaspoon minced garlic
  • Kosher salt and freshly ground pepper, to taste
  • 2 yellow summer squash, cut into rounds 1/4 inch (6 mm) thick
  • 2 zucchini, cut into rounds 1/4 inch thick
  • 2 tablespoons olive oil
  • 1 large yellow onion, thinly sliced
  • 1 jar (24 ounces) pumpkin pasta sauce or sauce of choice
  • 12 sheets dried ruffle-edged lasagna noodles, cooked to al dente
  • 1 pound Fontina cheese, shredded (substitute Emmental, Gruyère or Provolone

    1. PREHEAT the oven to 450°F. Line a baking sheet with aluminum foil.

    2. STIR together the ricotta, sage, 3 tablespoons of the parsley and all the garlic in a bowl. Season with salt and pepper and set aside.

    3. TOSS the yellow squash and zucchini with 1 tablespoon of the olive oil in a large bowl, and season with salt and pepper. Arrange in a single layer on the prepared baking sheet. Transfer to the oven and roast until tender and lightly browned, about 15 minutes. Meanwhile…

    4. WARM the remaining 1 tablespoon of olive oil in an oval Dutch oven over medium heat. Add the onion and cook, stirring occasionally, until softened and lightly browned, about 15 minutes. Transfer to a bowl and add the yellow squash and zucchini. Reduce the oven temperature to 400°F.

    5. SPREAD 1/2 cup pasta sauce in an even layer on the bottom of the Dutch oven. Arrange a single layer of lasagna noodles on top, tearing them as needed to fit. Spread 1/2 cup of the ricotta mixture on the noodles and scatter 1 cup of the vegetable mixture on top. Spread 1/2 cup pasta sauce over the vegetables and sprinkle 1 cup of the Fontina on top. Layer the noodles, ricotta, vegetables, sauce and fontina 3 more times, omitting the sauce and fontina on the last layer. Top with the remaining noodles, sauce and Fontina.

    6. TRANSFER to the oven and bake until the sauce is bubbly and the cheese is melted and browned, 45 to 50 minutes. Sprinkle the remaining tablespoon of parsley on top. Let the lasagna rest for 15 minutes before serving.



    If you don’t make lasagna often, you may find yourself struggling with the lasagna noodles. Bless the person who first thought of this trick: use cooked ravioli instead of lasagna noodles. Alternatively, you can use penne or other tube pasta, but ravioli supplies added filling.

    This recipe from Taste Of Home takes 25 minutes to prep and 40 minutes to bake.
    Ingredients For 6-8 Servings

  • 1 pound ground beef, pork or turkey*
  • 1 jar (28 ounces) pumpkin pasta sauce or sauce of choice
  • 1 package (25 ounces) frozen cheese or sausage ravioli
  • 1-1/2 cups (6 ounces) shredded part skim mozzarella cheese
  • Herbs of choice: basil, chili flakes, garlic, oregano, thyme

    Pumpkin Ravioli Lasagna

    In this lasagna, ravioli substitutes for the lasagna noodles. Photo courtesy Taste Of Home.



    1. PREHEAT the oven to 400F. Cook the meat in a large skillet over medium heat until no longer pink; drain the fat.

    2. LAYER in a greased 2-1/2-quart baking dish: a third of the spaghetti sauce, half of the ravioli and beef and 1/2 cup cheese; sprinkle with herbs. Repeat the layers. Top with the remaining sauce, cheese and herbs.

    3. COVER and bake at 400°F for 40-45 minutes or until heated through. Yield: 6-8 servings. If you have leftover fresh herbs, sprinkle them over the cooked lasagna.

    *Vegetarians can substitute TVP, textured vegetable protein.



    TIP OF THE DAY: Carrot Tartare


    Carrot Tartare

    TOP PHOTO: Carrot tartare at 11 Madison
    Park, served in custom-designed platters.
    Photo courtesy Trip Advisor. BOTTOM PHOTO:
    Simple but elegant carrot tartare at
    Restaurant Niven | The Netherlands. Photo


    Today’s tip is an illustration of how to turn the ordinary into the extraordinary. Take the humble carrot.

    Carrot tartare is turning up at the finest venues around the world. We recently had it as part of the 13-course tasting menu at 11 Madison Park in New York City. A walk away, it is served at the equally fashionable NoMad.

    We found other preparations as far apart as New Zealand and The Netherlands.

    At 11 Madison Park, the dish is culinary theatre. A shiny meat grinder is brought tableside. Beautiful farmers market carrots are ground as if they were sirloin.

    The shreds of carrot are then plated and served to each person with condiments, set into a custom wood platter. At 11 Madison Park, it’s all about the mix-ins, customized as you like. The assortment of condiments can vary.

  • On one occasion we had pickled chopped chives; quail egg yolks; quince mustard; sea salt, shaved smoked and dried beets; sunflower oil; sunflower seeds; shaved horseradish; pickled quince and pickled mustard seeds, served with mini squeeze bottles of spicy curried vinaigrette and mustard vinaigrette.
  • On a second occasion, our mix-ins included apple mustard, chives, grated horseradish, mustard flowers, pickled apple, pickled ginger, pickled quail egg yolk, smoked blue fish, sea salt and sunflower seeds, with squeeze bottles of mustard oil and spicy carrot vinaigrette.
    As with steak tartare, there’s a side of toast, here in the form of toasted whole grain bread. You can see the whole process here on YouTube.
    But you don’t need a meat grinder or a specially designed platter to hold the carrots and mix-ins. You can present the dish ready to eat.


    Here’s a recipe that arrives ready to eat. Great thanks go to Denise Kortlever, a Dutch cookbook author and creator of the website The Littlest Things, for obtaining the recipe. You must see her website; we want to eat everything on it!

    Her carrot tartare recipe comes from Niven Kunz of Restaurant Niven in The Netherlands. A young, Michelin star chef, his philosophy is “80/20”: 80% vegetables and 20% meat or fish. (His book of that title is not yet available in English.)

    You can make it in just 10 minutes. It can be served as a first course, or plated with an entrée protein.

    We also have a recipe for Beet Tartare.



    Serving Size: 4 Appetizer Servings

  • 1 bunch of carrots, peeled (we used a blend of yellow, orange, red and purple carrots from Trader Joe’s)
  • 1 very fresh egg yolk*
  • 1 shallot, finely diced
  • 4 anchovy† fillets, finely chopped
  • 1 tbsp capers, drained and finely chopped
  • 1 dill pickle, finely chopped
  • 1 tablespoon Dijon mustard
  • 1 teaspoon Worcestershire Sauce
  • Garnish: fresh microgreens, sprouts, or a chiffonade of basil leaves
    *It’s best to use organic eggs. If you’re concerned about salmonella, use SafeEggs pasteurized eggs or this technique to pasteurize eggs at home.

    †Don’t like anchovies? Substitute 2-3 tablespoons of a tiny dice of Granny Smith or other tart apple.

    1. GRATE the carrots coarsely on a box grater, Microplane or shredding disk of a food processor.

    2. BLEND with the other ingredients into a smooth tartare. Season with salt and pepper to taste.

    3. PLATE with a cooking ring (a.k.a. egg ring, English muffin ring or pancake ring). Place the cooking ring on a plate, fill with the tartare and press down with the back of a cooking spoon. Garnish with a green leaf.



    Carrot Tartare

    TOP PHOTO: Carrot tartare served with lamb loin and drops of black garlic, pea purée and turnip purée at Chameleon Restaurant and Bar in Wellington, New Zealand. Photo courtesy Trip Advisor. BOTTOM PHOTO: At Harvest On Hudson, local goat cheese is mixed into the carrot tartare. It’s garnished with arugula pesto and red beet vinaigrette. Photo courtesy Harvest On Hudson.



    Steak tartare, or tartar steak, is a meat dish** that got its name from the legend that the ever-invading Tartars†† did not have time to cook their meat, so ate it raw as they traveled on horseback.

    Steak tartare is made from finely chopped or minced raw beef or horse meat, plus seasonings. With its growing popularity over the last 30 or so years, other recipes have adopted the name. Salmon tartare, tomato tartare and tuna tartar are examples.

    **The typical steak tartare recipe comprises ground raw beef mixed with onions, capers, Worcestershire sauce and a raw egg, served with toast points. A French variation, tartare aller-retour, is tartare patty lightly seared on one side. Steak tartare is often served with frites (French fries). In Belgium, the dish is known as filet américain. American? What happened to the Tartars?

    ††The Tartars, also spelled Tatars, are an ethnic group from Eastern Europe and Northern Asia. Most Tatars live in the Russian Federation. To Americans, the most famous of the Tartars is Genghis Khan, whose troops invaded Europe in the 13th century. The most famous Tartar-American is the actor Charles Bronson.



    TIP OF THE DAY: European Style Butter From Land O’ Lakes

    We grew up with a mom who had a wicked palate, and if she was brand loyal, you knew that brand was the best in its category. Mom only used Land O’Lakes butter; in fact, that’s how we came to know, at the tender age of five, that Minnesota is the “Land of 10,000 Lakes.”

    Mom was a great baker as well as cook, and she’d have loved the new Land O’Lakes European Style Butter, now available in select markets across the country (check out Kroger, Safeway, Super Target and Walmart). The suggested retail price is $3.79 for a half-pound package of two individually wrapped sticks, in both salted and unsalted varieties.

    We have long used Plugrá, an American brand made in the European style, and Kerrygold Pure Irish Butter, which, as an import, is even pricier ($4.98 for a half-pound at our specialty food store). Both have 82% milkfat. We love the extra flavor they give to pastries, pie crusts and laminated dough, such as croissants; in fact, you can definitely taste the difference in a buttery croissant. Heavenly!

    Professional bakers who make artisan products have long used European-style butter, purchased in bulk. American consumers could find Kerrygold and Plugrá in some specialty food stores; and to a lesser extent, the 86% fat European-style butters from Straus Family Creamery of California and Vermont Creamery.

    But now, with Land O’ Lakes’ national distribution, European-style butter is available to most people—just in time for the holiday baking frenzy. It also enhances butter-based sauces.

    Note, though, that Land O’ Lakes’ and Kerrygold’s 82% butter still give the advantage to the 86% varieties from Straus Family Creamery and Vermont Creamery, if you want to pay for the best.

    Beyond baking and cooking, you can use European-style butter as a bread spread on artisan bread. As an indulgence for bread and butter lovers, there’s nothing better than Vermont Creamery’s Cultured Butter Blended with Sea Salt & Maple spread on a slice of fine baguette.


    Land O Lakes European Style Butter

    Linguine With Lobster

    TOP PHOTO: The new butter in town is even richer and creamier than regular butter. BOTTOM PHOTO: Yum: Linguine and lobster in a butter sauce. The recipe is below. Photos courtesy Land O’ Lakes.

    U.S. butter consumption has been steadily on the rise, and—counter-intuitive to the healthier foods movement— have embraced higher-fat butters as well. The American Butter Institute reports that per-capita consumption in 2014 was 5.6 pounds, a 40-year high. According to Mintel, younger consumers (between ages 18-34) are also using more butter annually.

    European-style butter, also called cultured butter, is slow churned for a longer time to give it an extra-creamy texture, lower moisture content and higher milkfat (butterfat) content. In the case of Land O’ Lakes, the brand’s conventional 80% milkfat is increased to 82%.

    In the U.S., butter with more than 82% milkfat is considered European-style. While European-style super premium butters comprise only about 1% of the entire U.S. market volume, the category is growing.

    Churning for a longer time decreases the moisture content and increases the fat content. It allows more flavor to develop in the cream. Butter with less fat contains more water, which can act as an unwelcome binding agent, gluing down layers of dough to create a tougher pastry. More fat, less moisture is better for baking, especially for crusts, flaky pastries and laminated dough like croissants. It also adds more flavor and texture to sauces.

    Why isn’t all American butter made in the richer European-style? It’s more expensive to take the time to churn out the moisture to create a higher-fat butter. The USDA says that butter must have a minimum of 80% milkfat, so that’s what most brands provide.

    For more information, visit

    European-style butter is just one type of butter. See our butter glossary for the different types of butter.


    Nothing shows off the quality of butter better than shortbread. This recipe from Land O’ Lakes makes shortbreadeven richer, with a buttery topping. Prep time is 10 minutes, total time is 2 hours.

    Ingredients For 24 Pieces

    For The Crust

  • 1 cup all-purpose flour
  • 1/2 cup European Style Butter, softened
  • 1/3 cup powdered sugar
    For The Topping

  • 1 tablespoon water
  • 2 tablespoons light corn syrup
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla
  • 6 tablespoons European Style Butter, softened
  • 3/4 cup sugar
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt
  • 1 egg
  • 1 cup plus 2 tablespoons all-purpose flour
  • Optional: powdered sugar for garnish

    Gooey Butter Shortbread

    Make this gooey butter shortbread with European-style butter. Photo courtesy Land O’ Lakes.



    1. HEAT the oven to 350°F. Line an 8-inch square baking pan with aluminum foil. Spray the foil lightly with non-stick cooking spray. Set aside.

    2. COMBINE all the crust ingredients in a bowl and beat at medium speed just until the mixture resembles coarse crumbs. Press the dough evenly into bottom of prepared pan. Bake for 15 minutes, remove from the oven and cool for 10 minutes.

    3. MAKE the topping: Combine the water, corn syrup and vanilla in a small bowl and set aside. Place the tablespoons butter, sugar and salt in bowl and beat until well combined. Add the egg and beat until well mixed. Add the flour alternately with the corn syrup mixture, beating until well mixed after each addition.

    4. SPREAD the topping evenly over the shortbread crust. Bake 25-30 minutes or until golden brown. Cool completely. Remove from the pan and sprinkle with powdered sugar, if desired.


    Here’s another yummy recipe from Land O’ Lakes. It’s National Pasta Month, so treat yourself. Prep time is 10 minutes, total time is 25 minutes.

    Ingredients For 4 Servings

  • 6 ounces linguine pasta, cooked al dente, drained but not rinsed
  • 1/4 cup European Style Butter
  • 1 tablespoon finely chopped leek
  • 1/2 cup low sodium or unsalted chicken stock
  • 2 tablespoons Pernod liqueur*
  • 8 ounces lobster meat, cut into 2-inch pieces (substitute 8 ounces large raw, peeled shrimp)
  • 1/4 cup heavy whipping cream
  • Salt, to taste
  • Optional garnish: copped fresh parsley

    1. MELT the butter in a 10-inch skillet over medium heat until sizzling. Add the leek and cook 1 minute. Add the chicken stock and Pernod; cook 1 minute or until there is bubbling around the edges.

    2. ADD the lobster pieces; cook 3-4 minutes or until the lobster turns pink. Remove the lobster from sauce and cover to keep warm. Continue cooking the sauce another 4-5 minutes until the sauce is reduced to about 3/4 cup.

    3. STIR in the cream and salt. Add the pasta; toss lightly to coat. Cook 1-2 minutes or until the sauce has thickened. Place the pasta onto a serving dish; top with the lobster. Sprinkle with parsley and serve immediately.
    *If you don’t have Pernod, you can substitute absinthe or Herbsaint. Don’t substitute anise liqueur in this recipe—it’s too sweet for a savory dish. However, you can make a close-enough substitute with anise: Combine 1 tablespoon of anise seeds, ideally toasted in a dry pan for a 2 minutes, with 1 cup of vodka in an airtight jar. Let it infuse for a week in a dark place. If you don’t have the time, simmer the seeds in the vodka for 20 minutes strain them out.


    Where would we be without butter? Here’s the history of butter, which dates back to 2,000 years before Christ in the written record.

    Land O’Lakes, Inc. is a dairy cooperative based in Minnesota, focusing on the dairy industry. The third largest co-op in the U.S., it is one of the largest producers of butter and cheese in the country, and handles 12 billion pounds of milk annually.

    In addition to milk and butter products, it also markets Alpine Lace cheese and Kozy Shack pudding, among other products.



    TIP OF THE DAY: Top 10 Pasta Cooking Tips

    It seems like a no-brainer to boil pasta, yet there are several “best practices.”

    For National Pasta Month, here are some basic pasta tips that many people—including our interns—don’t know.

    1. USE A LARGE, LIDDED POT. Pasta needs room to cook without sticking: 4-5 quarts of water per pound of pasta. Although it may seem counter-intuitive, after the pasta is added, a larger pot of water will return to a boil faster. Especially with long cuts (strand or ribbon pasta), more water helps to reduce sticking, by washing away the exuded starch* from the pasta surface more efficiently. A six-quart stock pot is perfect for boiling pasta.

    2. SALT THE WATER. Salt the water before you boil it—1-2 tablespoons for a large pot. You need the salt or the pasta will be bland.

    3. NEVER ADD OIL TO THE POT. This longstanding “tip” was a marketing ploy from a salad oil company back around the 1960. The company sought ways for consumers to use more oil, and convinced many people that adding oil to the water prevents the pasta from sticking. However, the practice covers the pasta with a slick of oil so the sauce doesn’t stick.


    Stock Pot for Pasta

    This six-quart stock pot from Tramontina has a removable drain spout: No colander is needed to drain the pasta.


    4. PLACE A LID ON THE POT to EFFICIENTLY bring the water to boil. It takes long enough boil with a lid holding in the heat. You’ll be waiting forever (and water will evaporate) without one.

    5. SCOOP UP A CUP OF PASTA WATER and set it aside before you drain the pasta. This starchy water can thicken your sauce. Add a tablespoon to the sauce, or more as desired. This is especially important with egg-based sauces like carbonara, since it also helps prevent the egg from curdling when it touches the hot pasta.

    6. NEVER RINSE THE PASTA AFTER YOU DRAIN IT. This washes away the remaining surface starch, which you need in order for the sauce to stick to the pasta.



    Another tip: Cut down on carbs by serving smaller portions of pasta as a first course, followed by a protein course. Photo courtesy Steak & Whisky.


    7. QUICKLY TOSS THE HOT PASTA WITH THE HOT SAUCE. While restaurants in the U.S. often place the sauce on top of the pasta, that’s a visual enhancement rather than a flavor enhancement. A top restaurant will serve the pasta already tossed with the sauce. The hotter both the pasta and the sauce are, the more flavor the pasta will absorb. Have the sauce heated in a covered pot (or in the microwave), ready to go when you drain the pasta.

    8. USE THE POT TO BLEND THE PASTA AND SAUCE. After you’ve drained the pasta pot, dump the pasta back in, along with the sauce. Cover the pot and let the pasta absorb the sauce for a minute; then stir again and serve immediately.

    9. ADD SOME MINCED FRESH HERBS. You can toss them with the pasta and sauce, or use it as a garnish on top of the dish. We also have a peppermill filled with crushed red chili flakes, to grind into the pasta or for self-service at the table.

    10. USE REAL PARMESAN CHEESE. The best way to get the most robust cheese flavor is to keep a wedge and pass it around the table with a grater, so people can freshly grate as much as they like.


    Here’s advice from Barilla:

  • One pound of dry short-cut pasta (bow ties, elbows, penne, rigatoni, etc.) yields nine cups cooked. One pound of spaghetti or linguine yields seven cups cooked.
  • As a main course, plan for 1/4 cup of dried pasta (4 ounces) per person. A one-pound package should provide four dinner-size servings.
  • If you’re serving pasta as a first course or a side dish, plan for 1/8 cup of dried pasta (2 ounces) per person.
  • The final cooked amount will vary by shape. Spaghetti and macaroni shapes (short cuts) can double in volume when cooked. Read the package information. For example, it may say that 1/2 cup elbow macaroni = 1 cup cooked pasta, 3/4 cup penne = 1 cup cooked pasta, 1/8 pound spaghetti = ¼ cup cooked pasta, etc.
  • Egg noodles do not expand significantly when cooked; and fresh pasta, which contains a lot of moisture, doesn’t expand at all. For these varieties, plan three ounces for a first course or side dish and five ounces for a main dish.
    Rule Of Thumb Measurements

  • Small to Medium Pasta Shapes (bow ties, elbow macaroni, medium shells, mostaccioli, penne, radiatore, rigatoni, rotini, spirals, twists, wagon wheels): 8 ounces uncooked = 4 cups cooked.
  • Long Pasta Shapes (angel hair, bucatini, fettuccine, linguine, spaghetti, vermicelli): 8 ounces uncooked or 1½ inch diameter bunch = 4 cups cooked.
  • Egg Noodles: 8 ounces uncooked = 2½ cups cooked.


    *When you drop pasta into a pot of boiling water, the starch granules on the surface of the pasta instantly swell up and pop. This discharges the surface starch and briefly, the pasta’s surface is sticky with the released starch. Most of this surface starch will dissolves into the water.



    TIP OF THE DAY: Sunchokes Are In Season

    Fresh from California, sunchokes are in season. Their flavor gets even better after at a light frost. This brings us to the question:


    Sunchokes, a modern term for Jerusalem artichokes (Helianthus tuberosus) are edible tubers that grow underground, similar to potatoes. The word is a contraction of “sunflower chokes”; sunchokes are close relatives of sunflowers. They are both in the botanical family Asteraceae and the genus Helianthus.

    Sunchokes taste like a cross between potatoes and artichoke hearts (although they are related to neither), with a slightly nuttiness. Although many people peel them before cooking, we enjoy the earthy flavor of the skins. (We also loved baked potato skins, if that’s any measure.)

    Root vegetables are generally storage organs, enlarged to store energy in the form of carbohydrates. True roots include:

  • Taproots, such as beet, burdock, carrot, celeriac, daikon, dandelion, jicama, parsley root*, parsnip, radish, rutabaga, salsify and turnip, among others not well-known in the U.S.
  • Tuberous roots, such as cassava/yuca/manioc, Chinese/ Korean yam, and sweet potato, among others.
  • Other root vegetables include:

  • Bulbs (fennel; garlic, green onion/scallion, leek, onion, shallot and the rest of the Allium family)
  • Corms (Chinese water chestnut, taro)
  • Rhizomes (arrowroot, galangal, ginger, ginseng, lotus root, turmeric)
  • Tubers (Chinese artichoke/crosne, Jerusalem artichoke/ sunchoke, potato, ube, yam)
    Sunchoke tubers are elongated and uneven, typically 3-4 inches long and 1.2–2 inches thick. The color is often light brown, but some varieties are purple, red or white. Brown sunchokes vaguely resemble ginger root in appearance, and can be eaten raw or cooked.
    *Parsley root is not related to parsley, the herb, but is a beige root vegetable that resembles a parsnip or turnip. The edible leaves that grow above the ground do resemble curly parsley leaves, but taste like celery. Parsley root is also called turnip-rooted parsley. In Germany it is known as Hamburg parsley, and is a popular winter vegetable in Germany, Holland and Poland.


    Jerusalem Artichoke (Sunchoke)

    Jerusalem Artichoke Plant

    TOP PHOTO: The Jerusalem artichoke, or sunchoke, is the root of a sunflower-like plant. Some subscpecies are purple, red or white. Photo courtesy Culinary Vegetable Institute. BOTTOM PHOTO: You can see the resemblance of this Jerusalem artichoke plant to its cousin, the sunflower. Photo by PJF | Wikimedia.



    Sunchokes & Kale


    TOP PHOTO: Mix sunchokes with mashed potatoes or other roots, or combine it into a hash with kale and farro. Recipe from Food & Wine. BOTTOM PHOTO: Crispy Jerusalem Artichokes from Here’s the recipe.



    Jerusalem artichokes are native to eastern North America and were first cultivated by Native Americans, long before the arrival of the Pilgrims and Puritans. The plant grew wild along the eastern seaboard from Georgia to Nova Scotia.

    The explorer Samuel de Champlain first encountered it in 1605, growing in a Native American vegetable garden in Cape Cod, Massachusetts. The Native Americans called the food sun roots, and introduced them to the Pilgrims, who grew them as a staple food.

    By the mid-1600s, Jerusalem artichokes had become a common vegetable for human consumption in France, where they were transported by de Champlain. In New England, they were a staple for the settlers. They were also used as livestock feed on both continents.

    The French worked their culinary magic on the tuber, which reached peak popularity at the turn of the 19th century. But if you fast-forward two centuries, some glory remains: The Jerusalem artichoke was named “best soup vegetable” at the 2002 Nice Festival For The Heritage Of The French Cuisine. [Source]

    The Jerusalem artichoke is not part of the artichoke family but is a member of the sunflower family. The tall yellow flowers are decorative; the tasty part is the root in the ground.

    Why is it called Jerusalem, when the Jerusalem artichoke is native to North America?

    De Champlain felt the tuber tasted like artichokes, and he brought plants back to France with the name Jerusalem artichokes (the modern French name is topinambour). The Puritans referred to their settlement as “New Jerusalem” (after the Book Of Revelations), which may account† for the first part of the name.

    †The Italian word for sunflower is girasole (gee-rah-SO-lay), which could have evolved to “Jerusalem” over time. However, Jerusalem artichokes predated any significant Italian immigration to America by two centuries. A better explanation for the name is that it derives from the Puritans gave their New World settlement: New Jerusalem.

    Around the 1970s, California growers realized that they had a marketing problem with Jerusalem artichoke. Just as the unexciting “prunes” became “dried plums”—and the Patagonian toothfishbecame the very popular Chilean sea bass—a more tantalizing name was sought. A suggestion of “sunflower artichoke” was contracted to sunchoke.

    Other names include earth apple, and sunroot.

    Sunchokes can be cooked like potatoes: boiled, fried, grilled, mashed, microwaved or steamed. Raw, it is reminiscent of jicama, and can be added raw to salads. in stir-fries and soups and simply blanched and sauteed with garlic. They can be mashed or blended into mashed potatoes.

    And there’s nothing like a medley of roasted root vegetables, such as beets, carrots, parsnips, turnips and sunchokes. Here are more elaborate recipes:

  • Brioche-Crusted Fish With Sunchoke Purée and Sunchoke Pickles (recipe)
  • Fried Sunchoke Chips With Rosemary Salt (recipe)
  • Hanger Steak With Shallots & Sunchokes (recipe)
  • Olive Oil Poached Salmon With Sunchoke Purée (recipe)
  • Roast Sunchokes (recipe)
  • Sunchoke & Arugula Salad (recipe)
  • Sunchoke & Kale Hash With Farro (recipe)
  • Sunchoke Purée (recipe)
  • Sunchoke Soup WIth Pumpkin Seeds (recipe)
  • Tamarind-Braised Short Ribs with Truffle Sunchoke Purée, Watercress Purée, and Glazed Chanterelle Mushrooms (recipe)
    Before cooking, scrub sunchokes well with a vegetable brush under running water. They can be eaten raw, but have been known to cause gastric upset in some people. It you have a tender tummy, first try a small piece of the raw root.

    Choose chokes that are firm, with no soft spots. As with potatoes, avoid nicks or cuts in the peel.

    Store in a cool, dry place, or keep the sunchokes in the crisper drawer of the fridge, wrapped in a paper towel to absorb excess moisture.

    One cup of sunchokes has 109 calories, 0 fat or cholesterol, 6 mg sodium, 643 mg potassium, 26 g total carbohydrte, 2.4 g dietary fiber, 14 g sugar and 3g protein.

    Most significant among vitamins and minerals, one cup contains 10% DV of vitamin C and 28% DV of iron.



    TIP OF THE DAY: Pears At Every Fall Meal

    Who doesn’t like to bite into a perfectly ripe pear, soft to the touch, dripping with juice? Whether in a packed lunch or as a grab-and-go snack, pears are one of the delights of fall.

    But pears don’t have to be ripe to be delicious. Hard pears can be baked, cooked (especially poached), even grated as a garnish onto cake, pudding, pancakes and yogurt.

    Here are suggestions from USA Pears, the national trade association, for incorporating pears into cooked recipes. There are many delicious pear recipes on the organization’s website.

    At the least, treat yourself to pear purée, the pear version of applesauce that can be served at any time during the day, as a condiment, side, topping or dessert. You can also use it in pear-accented cocktails. Peartini, anyone?

    Here’s a quick recipe to try with a ripe pear. A hard pear can be cooked first.


    Ingredients For 1 Serving

  • 1 ripe pear
  • Dash of lemon juice
  • Optional: cinnamon or added sweetener, to taste

    1. PEEL and core the pear. You can leave the skin on the pear; it will provide vibrant flecks of color in the purée.

    2. CUT into chunks and purée in a food processor or blender until smooth. The splash of lemon juice helps prevent the purée from browning.

    3. TASTE and adjust for sweetness as needed. Add a dash of cinnamon as desired.


    Pear-Butternut Squash Soup

    /home/content/p3pnexwpnas01_data02/07/2891007/html/wp content/uploads/pear puree usapears 230

    TOP PHOTO: Pear-Butternut Squash Soup. BOTTOM PHOTO: Pear Purée (like applesauce). Images courtesy USA Pears.

    Preparation For Hard Pears

    Poach the pears before pureeing. Pears can be poached in red and white wine, fruit juice, beer, sake, coconut milk or water. Add some spice to your poaching liquid: cloves, cinnamon, salt, black pepper, vanilla bean, orange zest, nutmeg, cardamom.

    1. PEEL THE pears, leaving stem and core intact. Heat the poaching liquid over medium heat until it starts to simmer. Reduce the heat to low and continue simmering while fully immersing pears into the poaching liquid. Simmer until pears are soft and easily pierced with a fork, 5 to 15 minutes depending on the size of the pear.

    2. REMOVE the pears from liquid and let cool. Core the pears, remove the stems, cut into chunks and purée in a food processor or blender until smooth. Taste and adjust sweetness; add spices as desired.

  • Cheddar Pear Scones (recipe)
  • German Pancake with Caramelized Pears (recipe)
  • Pear and Maple Breakfast Sausage (recipe)
  • Pear and Quinoa Breakfast Custard (recipe)
  • Pear-Stuffed French Toast (recipe)

  • Curried Butternut Squash & Pear Bisque (recipe)
  • Curried Pear & Chicken Salad (recipe)
  • Ham, Brie & Pear Sandwich (recipe)
  • Pear & Cabbage Slaw (recipe)
  • Pear & Quinoa Salad With Greens (recipe)
  • Pear, Sausage & Fontina Calzones (recipe)
  • Pear, Spinach & Parmesan Salad (recipe)
  • Red Wine Poached Pear Salad (recipe)
  • Shaved Pear & Beet Salad (recipe)
  • Shrimp Tacos With Pears & Slaw (recipe)
  • Turkey Burgers with Caramelized Pears and Sweet Onion (recipe)

  • Feta & Pear Crostini (recipe)
  • Pear, Blue Cheese & Walnut Flatbread (recipe)
  • Pear Hummus (recipe)
  • Pear Martini With Pear Purée (recipe)
  • Walnut Pesto Toast with Sliced Pears and Gorgonzola Cheese (recipe)

    /home/content/p3pnexwpnas01_data02/07/2891007/html/wp content/uploads/pear hummus usapears 230

    TOP PHOTO: Pear hummus. BOTTOM PHOTO: Pears Belle Hélène (poached pears with chocolate sauce). Images courtesy USA Pears.



  • Braised Pork with Pears and Sherry Vinegar (recipe)
  • Grilled Pork Chops with Pears and Rosemary Butter (recipe)
  • Korean Barbecue Beef (recipe)
  • Pear Barbecue Sauce (recipe)
  • Pear and Sesame Glazed Beef (recipe)
  • Penne With Roast Pear & Feta (recipe)
  • Pizza With Pears, Shaved Ham and Fresh Basil (recipe)
  • Soba Noodles With Tea-Poached Pears (recipe)

  • Anjou Pear and Red Potato Gratin (recipe)
  • Grilled Pears Stuffed With Mascarpone & Bacon (recipe)
  • Braised Cabbage With Pears (recipe)
  • Pear Purée (recipe)
  • Savory-and-Sweet Ham, Pear, and Gruyère Strata (recipe)
  • Quinoa Pilaf With Carrots, Ginger & Pears (recipe)

  • Cider & Bourbon Poached Pear Tart (recipe—note that the recipes says “torte,” but it’s actually a tart. A torte is a cake. Torte means cake in German.)
  • Cider-Poached Pears With Pound Cake (recipe)
  • Pears Belle Hélène (recipe)
  • Pear-Caramel Galette (recipe)
  • Pear Cranberry Bread Pudding (recipe)
  • Pear Sorbet (recipe)
  • Pear & Frangipane Tart (recipe—also delicious with chocolate sauce)
  • Pumpkin Ale-Poached Peas In Caramel Sauce (recipe)


    Pears are one of the world’s oldest cultivated and beloved fruits. The trees thrive in cool temperate climates, and there is evidence of pears as food since prehistoric times. Many traces of it have been found in Switzerland’s prehistoric lake dwellings. [Source]

    In the pear genus Pyrus, some 3,000 varieties are grown worldwide, The tree is thought to have originated in present-day western China, and to have spread to the north and south along mountain chains. In 5000 B.C.E., one Chinese diplomat was so enamored of them that he resigned his post to develop new varieties.

    In The Odyssey, the Greek poet Homer lauds pears as a “gift of the gods.” Roman farmers documented extensive pear growing and grafting techniques. Pliny’s Natural History recommended stewing them with honey and noted three dozen varieties.

    Seventeenth-century Europe saw a great flourishing of pear cultivation, especially in Belgium and France. Many of the modern varieties began to emerge.

    Early colonists brought the first pear trees to America’s eastern settlements, where they thrived until crop blights proved too severe to continue widespread cultivation. Fortunately, pioneers had brought pear trees brought to Oregon and Washington in the 1800s, where they thrived in the agricultural conditions of the Pacific Northwest. It remains the major pear-growing center of the U.S.



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