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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 Vegetables/Salads/Herbs

TIP OF THE DAY: The New Layered Salad Bowls

What’s hot in fast-casual restaurant dining? Layered salad bowls!

The bowls have a bed of salad greens, with layers of toppings such as beans, cheese, corn, dips (guacamole, hummus, salsa), grains, legumes, noodles, proteins, sour cream, tomatoes and more. Each layer of ingredients adds more flavor and texture.

According Katie Ayoub’s article in Flavor & The Menu, Chipotle’s Burrito Bowl now surpasses its burritos in sales. Jamba Juice added five Energy Bowls to its lineup last September. Panera rolled out Broth Bowls in January and KFC launched two new Chicken & Rice Bowls. On The Border introduced Border Bowls in April. The list goes on.

Bowls cross comfort-food and global flavors with better-for-you fresh vegetables and smaller portions of protein. They provide tastes of multiple favorites in one dish. They’re a hit.

Make your own bowls at home with the layer-by-layer guide to ingredients below, and add your own to the list.

A tip: If you plan your menus for a few days, you can have leftover beans, grains and proteins with which to construct your bowls.

 

steak-bowl-gimmedelicious-230

A homemade version of Chipotle’s Steak Burrito Bowl (hey, where’s the grated cheese?). Here’s the recipe, from GimmeDelicious.com.

 
BASE

Salad greens plus:

  • Grains: Quinoa, farro, oats, rice (basmati, brown, cilantro, coconut, etc.)
  • Pasta: cappellini, penne rigate, ramen, rice noodles, soba noodles, whole wheat noodles
  • Potatoes: mashed/smashed white or sweet potato, diced boiled potatoes vinaigrette
  • Pulses: beans, lentils, edamame
  •  
    PROTEIN

  • Beef: braised beef or short rib, cubed or sliced steak
  • Chicken: grilled and cubed or sliced
  • Egg: fried, hard or soft-boiled, pickled
  • Lamb: cubed or sliced
  • Meatballs: beef, chicken, lamb, pork, turkey
  • Shrimp: habanero-mango glazed
  • Salmon: mini salmon cakes
  • Fish: grilled, pepper-crusted
  • Pork: pulled/shredded
  • Vegetarian: baked/grilled tofu or seitan, falafel, vegetarian “meatballs”
  •  

    Shrimp-Border-Bowl-OnTheBorder-Flavor-Menu-230

    From On The Border, the popular Shrimp Border Bowl, with grilled shrimp and
    Tex-Mex fixings.

     

    PRODUCE

  • Charred: beans, broccoli, carrots, greens, onions
  • Fresh: arugula, avocado, baby kale, basil, cilantro, corn, jicama, mint, mixed greens, peas/snow peas, radish, tomato, watercress, zucchini
  • Fruit: apple or pear slices, berries, cranberry sauce, grapefruit or orange segments, stone fruit slices
  • Grilled: corn, eggplant, green beans, mushrooms, peaches, red onion, zucchini
  • Roasted: bell pepper, jalapeño, mushrooms, onions, shallots, squash, tomato
  •  
    FLAVOR BINDERS

  • Broth: beef, chicken, miso, roasted vegetable, seafood (add ingredients that work in a soup bowl)
  • Other: Greek yogurt, hummus, sour cream, tzatziki, vinaigrette
  • Salsa: chimichurri, pico de gallo, roasted tomatillo
  • Sauce: chipotle sauce, guacamole, pesto, red curry paste, roasted harissa, peanut sauce, tikka sauce (to drizzle)
  •  
    TOPPINGS

  • Cheese: grated cheddar or mozzarella, crumbled fresh or aged cheeses
  • Dried fruit: apricot, cherry, cranberry, dates, fig
  • Fermented produce: cabbage, cucumber, kimchi, turnip greens
  • Nuts and seeds: candied, fire-roasted, glazed, spiced, toasted
  • Pickled produce: beets, carrots, onions, peppers, radish, slaw, watermelon
  •  
    We can’t wait until lunchtime!

      

    Comments

    TIP OF THE DAY: Goat Cheese, Beets & Nuts

    One of our favorite salads is appealing year-round: for its green, red and white palette during holiday season, and for color, flavor and texture anytime.

    With a delicious shipment from Love Beets, we’ve been enjoying it every day. It’s a mesclun salad with beets, goat cheese and nuts. You can turn it into a lunch salad by adding a protein.

    You can also toast or candy the nuts. We think that toasted walnuts or pecans work best.

    For extra flavor and nutrition, you can roll the goat log in seeds (chia, pepitas, sesame, sunflower) or minced herbs before slicing.

    RECIPE: MIX & MATCH GOAT CHEESE & BEETS SALAD

    Ingredients

  • Log of fresh goat cheese (chèvre)
  • Lettuce: mesclun mix, bibb/Boston, frisée, romaine or other favorite
  • Beets: baby beets, diced or sliced beets
  • Nuts: hazelnuts, pecans or walnuts
  • Vinaigrette (recipe)
  •    

    beets-goat-nuts-bellechevre-taigan-230

    Ingredients for the salad. You can send this box as a gift! Photo courtesy Taigan.com.

  • Optional: halved cherry or grape tomatoes (look for orange or yellow, to contrast with the beets)
  • Optional protein: beef, chicken, hard-boiled eggs, lamb, pork or shrimp
  •  
    Preparation

    1. SLICE the goat cheese into rounds.

    2. TOSS the lettuce and tomatoes with the vinaigrette and place on plates. Arrange goat cheese rounds and beets atop lettuce (cut them in half if you like). Sprinkle with nuts.

     
    GIFT PACKAGE

    Want to send the ingredients as a gift? Check out this gift box from Belle Chevre (BYO fresh lettuce).

     

    love-beets-vinegar-230

    Love Beets sporting new packaging. Photo courtesy Love Beets.

     

    ABOUT LOVE BEETS

    If you like beets and have attempted to cook them, you know they can be a mess: peeling the irregular surface, getting red beet juice over everything (it stains!).

    Canned and jarred beets are pretty good substitutes, but Love Beets takes things a bit further, in minimal packaging and a broad choice of styles flavors.

    Our favorites are the flavored baby beets in: Honey + Ginger, Mild Vinegar, Sweetfire (with chili), White Wine + Vinegar and Organic White Wine + Vinegar. The seasoning add pizzazz to salads and other recipes.

    Certified kosher by OU, with organic options, the company also sells snack trays (beets, cheese and crackers, for example) and beet juice.

    Find the Love Beets nearest to you with this store locator.

     
    There are lots of creative recipes on the website. Beet Margarita, anyone? (It’s made with beet juice. We actually can’t wait to try it.)
     

    BEETS & BURGERS

    In Australia, a true Oz-style burger must be topped with a slice or two of beets. Even McDonalds and Burger King serve it.

      

    Comments

    TIP OF THE DAY: Sumac With Spiced Roasted Carrots

    This recipe from the Williams-Sonoma Test Kitchen was so breathtaking, we traipsed through three different farmers markets to hunt down the beautiful heirloom carrots (and finally found them at Trader Joe’s).

    The recipe gave us an excuse to purchase sumac, a slightly tart and fruity spice popular in North African and Middle Eastern cooking. We’d never worked with it, and we like lemony tartness. (More ways to use it are below.)

    RECIPE: SPICED ROASTED CARROTS

    Ingredients For 4-6 Servings

  • 1 teaspoon ground sumac
  • 1/2 teaspoon ground cumin
  • 1/4 teaspoon ground coriander
  • 1/4 teaspoon red pepper flakes
  • 1/2 teaspoon kosher salt
  • 2 bunches rainbow carrots, peeled and trimmed, larger carrots halved lengthwise
  • 1 tablespoon olive oil
  •    

    spiced-roasted-rainbow-carrots-ws-230

    Who could refuse to eat their vegetables? Photo courtesy Williams-Sonoma.

  • Flaky sea salt for finishing (check out Maldon sea salt, beautiful pyramid-shaped flakes)
  •  
    Preparation

    1. PREHEAT the oven to 425°F (220°C).

    2. STIR together the sumac, cumin, coriander, red pepper flakes and salt in a small bowl.

    3. TOSS the carrots with the olive oil in a large bowl. Sprinkle the spice blend on top of the carrots and toss until the spices are evenly distributed.

    4. HEAT a frying pan over medium heat until warm. Add the carrots and toss two or three times. Transfer to the oven and roast until the carrots are just tender, 25 to 30 minutes.

    5. TRANSFER to a serving dish and finish with a sprinkle of sea salt. Serve immediately.

    Find more terrific recipes at Blog.Williams-Sonoma.com.

     

    Sumac-silkroadspices.ca-230

    Sumac, a popular spice in the Middle East. Photo courtesy The Silk Road Spice Merchant.

     

    WHAT IS SUMAC?

    Sumac comprises some 35 species of flowering plants that grow in subtropical and temperate regions throughout the world. If you were a Boy Scout or Girl Scout, you likely learned to spot one of the varieties, the poison sumac shrub, in the woods. (Like poison ivy and poison oak, skin contact generates a nasty rash.)

    The fruits of the bush form in dense clusters of what we might call little round red berries—like holly berries—but are actually drupes. The dried drupes of some species are ground to produce a tangy, crimson spice; the word “sumac” comes from the old Syriac Aramaic summaq, meaning red.

    The spice is also a component of the popular spice blend, za’atar.

    In Middle Eastern cuisine, sumac is used to add a lemony taste to meats and salads. It is used to garnish meze like hummus, and rice.

     
    Try it with recipes where you’d like lemony tartness as well as some bright red color.

    You can find sumac online or at Middle Eastern markets. If you can’t get hold of any, add some lemon juice. Its tart flavor is an alternative to the tart-sour sumac profile.

      

    Comments

    TIP OF THE DAY: Fun With Radishes

    Low in calories, high in crunch, often with a hot pepper spiciness, radishes (Raphanus sativus) can be a fun food. They’re nutritious*, too.

    If you’re old enough, you may remember the time when radish “roses” were almost as common a plate garnish a sprig of parsley. You sliced the rose in a certain way (or used a radish cutter), then dropped the radish into cold water, where the slices opened up into “petals.” As a child, we ate them petal by petal.

    There are numerous varieties of radish beyond the red globe “supermarket radish” (Burpee alone sells 30 varieties). They have different levels of heat-spiciness, mostly depending on growing conditions: soil, water, hot vs. cold weather, early vs. late harvest and other factors. Some people like them hot, others not so much. Unfortunately, you have to sample one to know what you’ve got.

     

    ministick-radishes-bowl-dandy-230

    Add radish matchsticks for crunch and spice. Photo courtesy Duda Farm Fresh Foods.

     
    The wild radish may have originated somewhere in southeast Asia, and developed by farmers in central Asia, China and India. Radishes enter the written record in the third century B.C.E. and appear in Greek and Roman texts in the 1st century C.E., which describe small, large, round, long, mild and sharp varieties.

    Burpee currently sells 30 varieties of differing shapes, sizes and colors. Our favorite is the watermelon radish: When sliced, it resembles a slice of watermelon. Runner up: Mardi Gras radishes, a mix of seeds that yield black, purple, white and yellow radishes. And we love Candy Stripe radishes—concentric circles of red and white—but can never find them.
     
    *Radishes are rich in folic acid, potassium and vitamin C.
     
    WAYS TO SERVE RADISHES

    Appetizer & Snack

  • Crostini or tea sandwiches. For crostini, toast slices of baguette and top with sweet butter or pesto, thinly-sliced radish, a bit of cress or other green, and a pinch of sea salt. For tea sandwiches, trim the crusts from un-toasted white or whole wheat bread.
  • Raw, with butter and sea salt. It’s a popular dish in France. If you can find longer-shape radishes, cut a slice lengthwise, drop into cold water to open a channel, and pipe in softened butter. Otherwise, slice round radishes in half horizontally, butter the bottom half and serve like poppers.
  • Pickled. Any type of radish can be quickly and easily pickled, for snacking, sandwiches, garnish, etc. Here’s the recipe.
  • With ricotta. Put together a plate of fresh radishes and a dish of mild ricotta drizzled with olive oil. We enjoy this as a weekend breakfast with crusty rustic bread.
  • Crudités and dip! In decades past, the predecessor of the crudité plate was the relish tray, with celery, radishes and olives.
  •  

    radish-tic-tac-toe-230

    Three varieties available from Duda Fresh Farm Foods: whole with ends trimmed, crinkle-cut coins and matchsticks. Photo courtesy Duda.

     

    Lunch & Dinner

  • Julienned. Toss radish strips into salads, scrambled eggs, rice and grains and anything that needs some color and crunch. Duda Farm Fresh Foods sells radishes already trimmed, sliced into matchsticks and coins (see photo).
  • Boiled or steamed. Top with a cheese sauce, Eastern European-style.
  • Garnishes: Sandwiches (a must on Vietnamese bánh mì), burgers, tacos, soups, sides.
  • Salads: In addition to green salads, see the Radish Salad recipe below.
  • Roasted or braised: A great solution to deal with radishes that are too hot. The heat of the oven removes much of the heat from the radishes, making them sweet and buttery. If you don’t want to turn on the oven, braise on the stove top in butter until tender.
  • More: Kabobs, chilled radish soup and as many options as you can research or invent.
  •  
    RECIPE: RADISH & CUCUMBER SALAD

    This recipe from Natasha’s Kitchen is a Ukranian influence.

    The sour cream dressing helps to neutralizes the pungency of the radishes. Easy to make, prep time is just 10 minutes. It goes very nicely with grilled meats and anyplace you’d serve cole slaw.

    Ingredients For 6 Side Servings

  • 1 English cucumber, thinly sliced
  • 2 bunches radishes, thinly sliced
  • 1 large red bell pepper, diced
  • 1 bunch scallions, chopped
  • 3/4 cup sour cream
  • 1 teaspoon Dijon or whole grain mustard (more to taste)
  • 3/4 to 1 teaspoon salt, or to taste (substitute half garlic salt for a touch of garlic flavor)
  • Fresh-ground black pepper to taste
  • 2 teaspoons fresh chopped dill (more to taste)
  •  
    Preparation

    1. COMBINE the cucumbers, radishes, bell pepper and green onion in a medium salad bowl

    2. COMBINE the sour cream, dill and salt in a small bowl.

    3. STIR the sour cream dressing into the salad just before serving.
     
    WHAT ABOUT THE RADISH TOPS?

    If the radish leaves are fresh and sprightly, consider leaving them on. They’re edible and pretty.

    In fact, the leaves are the most nutritious part of the plant. They have a very mild flavor, like lettuce.

      

    Comments

    TIP OF THE DAY: Fried Cheese For The Cheese Course

    Sophisticated diners in the U.S.—and many people in Europe—have long finished dinner with a cheese course and small salad, instead of a sweet dessert.

    How about a twist: fried cheese with salad on top—or underneath?

    There are many fried cheese recipes; today’s is a Sicilian specialty. Caciocavallo, which means “cheese on horseback,” is a cheese that dates back to Roman times. Two large, pear-shaped cheeses are tied with rope and slung over a wooden board to drain and age.

    Believed to have been so shaped to make it easy to transport by slinging over pack animals, the cheese duo evokes the image of saddlebags, hence the name (here’s a photo).

    Caciocavallo is hard to find in conventional U.S. markets, although you can find it at Italian specialty stores and online from cheesemongers like Murray’s Cheese.

       

    fried-caciacavallo-esquaredhospitality2

    Fried caciacavallo cheese topped with salad. Photo courtesy E-squaredhospitality.

     
    Or, substitute halloumi, kasseri, provolone, scamorza, smoked mozzarella or queso de freier (Mexican frying cheese). You’ve got plenty of options!

    RECIPE: FRIED CHEESE COURSE

    Ingredients For 4 Servings

  • ¼ cup olive oil
  • 4 large cloves of garlic, crushed
  • 3/4 pound of Caciocavallo, cut into 4 slices
  • ½ teaspoon oregano
  • Pinch of pepper
  • 4 tablespoons vinegar
  • ½ tablespoon sugar
  • Italian bread, sliced
  • Salad of choice (we like arugula, basil, cress, endive, chives or sliced green onions and sometimes, fennel; but you can use absolutely anything, very lightly tossed with vinaigrette to slightly moisten)
  •  

    fried-cheese-eatwisconsincheese-230

    Fried caciacavallo served atop the salad. Photo courtesy EatWisconsinCheese.com.

     

    Preparation

    1. HEAT the oil in a nonstick skillet over medium heat. Add the garlic and slices of cheese and lower the heat.

    2. COOK covered for 1 minute; then turn the cheese over and cook covered for an additional minute, or until the cheese is golden in color.

    3. REMOVE the skillet from the heat, add the oregano and pepper and transfer the fried cheese to the serving plates.

    4. ADD the vinegar and sugar to the hot oil in the pan and cook for about 1–2 minutes until some of the liquid evaporates. This creates a sweet and sour sauce.

    5. DECIDE if you want your salad on top or underneath the cheese. Add the salad accordingly.

    6. TOP the cheese with the sauce if the cheese is on top of the salad; or use it to dot the plate if the salad is on top. Use the garlic as garnish and serve immediately with slices of fresh Italian bread.

     

    ABOUT CACIOCAVALLO CHEESE

    Caciocavallo, a popular cheese in southern Italy and Sicily, is typically made from unpasteurized cow’s or sheep’s milk. Two pear-shaped cheeses, about 4 pounds each, are joined at the neck by a rope to age.

    Like burrata, mozzarella, provolone and scamorza, caciocavallo is a pasta filata, a cheese made by stretching and forming the curd by hand.

    It is then aged for two to three months, and optimally for one year. Because the pairs of tied cheeses hang from rods in the air to age, instead of sitting on shelves like other cheeses, more microbes can enter the cheese, where they help to develop sharp, spicy flavors, deep, earthy undertones and fruity aromas.

    The result is a layered, complex cheese that is typically sliced and served with fresh fruit, plus a glass of hearty red wine. The yellow rind is edible.

    There are different types of caciocavallo:

  • Caciocavallo Silano, a PDO* cheese made in the southern Italian regions of Basilicata, Calabria, Campania, Molise and Puglia.
  • Caciocavallo Ragusa, a PDO* cheese made in Ragusa, Sicily.
  • Caciocavallo affumicato, smoked caciocavallo.
  • Caciocavallo piccante, spicy caciocavallo.
  • Caciocavallo primaverile, made from milk gathered in the spring, which has subtle flavors of the aromatic herbs in spring pastures.
  •  
    MORE FRIED CHEESE RECIPES

  • Cashew-encrusted fried cheese recipe.
  • Fried cheese curds recipe.
  • Grilled halloumi cheese recipe.
  •  
    *PDO, Protected Designation of Origin, is a designation of authenticity from the European Union. In the case of Caciocavallo Silano or Ragusa, it guarantees that the milk used comes only from local herds.

      

    Comments

    RECIPE: Apple Ginger Cole Slaw

    apple-ginger-cole-slaw-wmmb-230

    Go gourmet with apple ginger cole slaw. Photo courtesy EatWisconsin Cheese.com.

     

    When we attend summer cookouts, we always offer to bring the cole slaw. That way, we know it will be a great recipe. With respect to the simple prepared slaws of shredded cabbage and a bit of carrot doused with sweetened mayonnaise—we’ve eaten our share—cole slaw deserves as much attention and finesse as any other recipe.

    For Memorial Day, we’re whipping up this Apple Cole Slaw with Lemon Ginger Yogurt Dressing. The recipe, from Eat Wisconsin Cheese, uses queso blanco; but you can substitute Monterrey Jack or even mozzarella.

    RECIPE: APPLE COLE SLAW

    Ingredients For 8 Servings (About 12 Cups)

  • 1 large apple, cored and julienned
  • Juice and zest of 1 lemon*
  • 1 1/2 cups plain yogurt
  • 1/2 cup mayonnaise
  • 1 clove garlic, minced
  • 1 tablespoon fresh ginger, grated
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 1 teaspoon pepper
  • 6 cups green cabbage, shredded
  • 6 cups purple cabbage, shredded
  • 1 cup carrots, peeled and julienned
  • 1 cup queso blanco cheese, cubed
  •  
    *Approximately 4 tablespoons juice and 1 teaspoon zest.

     
    JULY 4TH INGREDIENTS

    Use all red cabbage, plus:

  • Blueberries, fresh or dried
  • Red grapes, halved
  • Radishes, sliced or matchsticks
  •  
    Preparation

    1. TOSS the apple, lemon juice and zest in medium bowl; set aside.

    2. WHISK together in a large bowl the yogurt, mayonnaise, garlic, ginger, salt and pepper. Stir in the green and purple cabbages, carrots, cheese and lemon-apple mixture.

    3. SEASON to taste with additional salt and pepper. Cover and refrigerate until ready to serve.

     
    ANOTHER COLE SLAW RECIPE

    For July 4th, try this BLT Cole Slaw recipe. Garnished with cherry tomatoes, it’s red, white (the cabbage) and blue (blue cheese).

     
    WHAT’S A SLAW? WHY IS IT COLE?

    Long part of the culinary repertoire, “koolsla” or “koolsalade” in Dutch means cabbage salad. Cabbage, the “kool” is pronounced “cole.” “Sla” is short for “salade.”

    Instead of being pulled into bite-size pieces like lettuce, the cabbage was sliced.

    The term got anglicized in the 18th century as cole slaw (and sometimes, cold slaw). In English, “slaw” came to specify a salad of shredded vegetables.

    Over time, shredded cabbage slaw was joined by carrot slaws and more recently, broccoli slaw.

      

    Comments

    TIP OF THE DAY: Pasta Made Tricolor With Veggies

    mediterranean-chicken-pasta-urbanaccents-230

    Mediterranean Pasta With Chicken. Photo
    courtesy Urban Accents.

     

    Doesn’t this pasta dish look more exciting than a conventional red-sauced plate? It uses vegetables to make “tricolor pasta” instead of pasta colored green and red with spinach and tomatoes.

    Tricolor pasta—green and red plus white—looks appealing in the bag but typically fades when cooked. So try a more colorful approach with veggies!

    In this recipe, color comes from red cherry tomatoes, purple kalamata olives and green spinach. If you want to use a red sauce, simply switch out the red tomatoes for orange or yellow varieties.

    Whether you use a red, white or colorless sauce (e.g. olive oil), adding two, three or four vegetable colors to your pasta dish provides great eye appeal as well as more flavor and nutrition.

     
    YEAR-ROUND COLORFUL VEGETABLES

    While green ingredients are a given, look for ingredients from the other produce “color groups.” For reference with other recipes, we’ve included fruits along with vegetables in this list.

  • Green: edamame (soybean), herbs (basil, cilantro, dill, parsley), Granny Smith apples, grapes, green beans, green peas (frozen are fine), mesclun or other salad greens, olives, snow peas, sugar snap peas
  • Orange: bell pepper strips, carrots (baby carrots, sliced or shaved carrots), kumquats, grape tomatoes, mandarin wedges, mango, sweet potatoes (cubed or sliced)
  • Purple/blue: blackberries, blueberies, cauliflower, grapes, kalamata olives, kale, Peruvian potatoes, red cabbage red raisins (plumped in cider)
  • Red: beets, bell pepper strips, cherry tomatoes, dried cherries or cranberries, grape tomatoes, lady apples, mini red jacket potatoes, pomegranate arils, radicchio/red endive, radishes, red grapes/champagne grapes (currants), red onion
  • Yellow: bell pepper strips, golden raisins (plumped in cider), lemon peel, miniature pattypan squash, star fruit (carambola)
  •  

    RECIPE: TRICOLOR MEDITERRANEAN PASTA
    WITH CHICKEN

    This Mediterranean Pasta With Chicken is an easy one-pot dinner, with a goat cheese-based sauce accented with sundried tomatoes, olives and Mediterranean herbs. It was adapted from Urban Accents, which used its Athenian Herb Dryglaze seasoning blend, which pairs sundried tomato with honey and thyme flavors.

    Prep time is 10 minutes, cook time is 30 minutes.

    Ingredients For 4 Servings

  • 1 tablespoon extra virgin olive oil
  • 1 pound boneless, skinless chicken breasts
  • 1 packet Urban Accents Athenian Herb Dryglaze, divided seasoning
  • 1 pound penne, rigatoni or other medium tubular pasta
  • 1 cup sundried tomatoes (not oil-packed), roughly chopped
  • 5 ounces soft goat cheese, crumbled
  • 1 cup Kalamata olives, sliced lengthwise and pitted
  • 1/3 cup chopped arugula, parsley or spinach
  • Salt and pepper to taste
  •  
    For The Seasoning

  • 1-1/2 tablespoons dried oregano
  • 1 tablespoon dried thyme
  • 1/2 tablespoon dried basil
  • 1/2 tablespoon dried marjoram
  • 1-1/2 teaspoons dried minced onion
  • 1-1/2 teaspoons dried minced garlic
  •  

    penne-rigate-sxc-230

    Penne rigate. Rigate refers to the ridges, which help the sauce adhere. They give their name to rigatoni, ridged tubes. The difference between penne rigate and rigatoni and is the end cut: Penne (“quills”) are cut at an angle, rigatoni are cut straight. Also, rigatoni tend to be slightly larger. See the different pasta shapes in our Pasta Glossary.

     

    Preparation

    1. BLEND the seasoning ingredients. Bring a large pot of salted water to a boil, for the pasta. As the water heats…

    2. RUB the chicken breasts with 1 tablespoon olive oil and place in resealable plastic bag. Add the seasonings, reserving 2 tablespoons of seasoning for later use. Seal the bag tightly and gently shake so that breasts are coated evenly; refrigerate for 30 minutes.

    3. PREHEAT the stovetop grill pan for medium heat; spray with non-stick cooking spray. Cook chicken breasts, turning once, until cooked through and instant read thermometer indicates 170F. Slice cooked chicken breasts on angle. While chicken cooks…

    4. COOK the pasta for 3 minutes less than package instructions. Add the sundried tomatoes to water and cook for 3 minutes. Reserve 1 cup of the pasta water. Drain the pasta; return the pasta and the sundried tomato mixture to the pot.

    5. ADD the goat cheese, reserved seasoning and cup of pasta water to hot pasta. Wait 1-2 minutes, then stir gently to combine. Add additional pasta water if you prefer a saucier dish. Stir in the olives and sprinkle with the arugula/parsley/spinach. Divide the pasta among 4 plates and top with slices of chicken.

      

    Comments

    RECIPE: BLT Slaw With Bacon, Lettuce, Tomatoes & More!

    bistro-blt-slaw-safeeggs-230r

    A BLT salad with blue cheese and avocado in
    addition to bacon, lettuce and tomato. In this
    photo, the tomato is blended into the
    dressing; but we added extra cherry
    tomatoes as a garnish for a pop of color.
    Photo courtesy SafeEggs.com.

     

    We tend to use either shredded cabbage (packaged cole slaw) or romaine as a base for our lunchtime salads, loading them with an assortment of whatever ingredients we have on hand. But we never thought to combine the two until we saw this recipe for BLT Slaw.

    In the basic, the tomato of the “BLT” is blended into the dressing. But we added extra cherry tomatoes as a garnish for a pop of color.

    WHAT’S A SLAW?

    Long part of the culinary repertoire, “koolsla” or “koolsalade” in Dutch means cabbage salad. Cabbage, the “kool” is pronounced “cole.” “Sla” is short for “salade.”

    Instead of being pulled into bite-size pieces like lettuce, the cabbage was sliced.

    The term got anglicized in the 18th century as cole slaw (and sometimes, cold slaw). Over time, shredded cabbage slaw was joined by other options, like broccoli and carrot slaws. In English, “slaw” came to specify a salad of shredded vegetables.

    We adapted this recipe from one called Bistro BLT Slaw on the SafestEggs.com website.

     
    The recipe accessorizes slaw with not just with bacon and tomato, but accents of avocado and blue cheese. Blended with a homemade, mayo-like slaw dressing, this combination of fresh flavors is high in fiber and low in carbs. (If you don’t offer extra dressing in Step 4, it’s lower in calories, too.)

    You can also add diced chicken or other protein to turn the salad into a main course.

    USING PASTEURIZED EGGS

    Because the dressing contains raw eggs, like Caesar salad, pasteurized eggs like Safest Choice guarantee against the possibility of rare, though still plausible, salmonella poisoning.

    To pasteurize eggs, an all-natural, gentle water bath kills the potentially harmful bacteria in the eggs without changing the texture or nutrition. The eggs still look, cook and taste like raw eggs. Here’s more on pasteurized eggs.

    RECIPE: BLT SLAW
     
    Prep time is 25 minutes.

    Ingredients For 8 Side Servings

    For The Slaw

  • 1 package (10 ounces) cole slaw (plain shredded cabbage, or broccoli slaw if you prefer)
  • 6 cups thinly sliced hearts of romaine lettuce
  • 1 large avocado, diced
  • 1/3 cup diced red onion
  • 6 crisp cooked bacon strips, coarsely crumbled
  • 1/3 cup crumbled blue cheese (substitute goat cheese)
  • 1 pint sliced cherry tomatoes or equivalent diced heirloom tomatoes in season
  • Optional: 1 teaspoon celery seeds (encouraged!)
  • Optional: extra cherry tomatoes for garnish
  •  

    For The Dressing

  • 2 pasteurized eggs
  • 1 cup chopped tomato
  • 1/4 cup red wine vinegar
  • 2 tablespoons chopped parsley
  • 1 teaspoon Dijon mustard
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1/2 teaspoon ground pepper
  • 2/3 cup olive oil or vegetable oil
  •  
    Preparation

    1. COMBINE the salad ingredients in a large bowl.

    2. MAKE the dressing. Place the eggs in a food processor or blender and process about 30 seconds. Add the tomato, vinegar, parsley, mustard, salt and pepper. Process until smooth. With the machine running, add the oil in thin steady stream until combined.
     

     

    coleslaw-dole-230

    Shredded cabbage, the traditional base for cole slaw. As an alternative, use a food processor to shred a whole head of cabbage, and consider red cabbage for color and the fun factor. Photo courtesy Dole.

    3. TOSS half of the dressing with slaw to coat. Garnish with the optional cherry tomatoes.

    4. PASS the remaining dressing for those who want more.

      

    Comments

    RECIPE: Asparagus & Prosciutto Wraps

    asparagus-prosciutto-rolls-castelloUSA-230

    We love these delicious, fancy yet very easy Asparagus & Prosciutto Wraps. Photo courtesy Castello USA.

     

    Need something fancy—and easy? Here’s a lovely first course to make with spring asparagus. We serve the wraps individually plated with some watercress salad, to which we add some snipped chives or thin-sliced green onion.

    The recipe is from Castello Cheese, which crumbles their Danish blue cheese as a garnish.

    RECIPE: ASPARAGUS & PROSCIUTTO WRAPS

    Ingredients

  • 8 slender* asparagus per person
  • 1 tablespoon extra virgin olive oil
  • 2 teaspoons balsamic vinegar
  • 1 teaspoon minced garlic
  • 1 slice prosciutto or other Serrano ham
  • 1 teaspoon crumbled blue cheese per person
  • Optional: watercress plus chives or green onion
  •  
    Preparation

    1. TRIM the woody ends from the asparagus. Bring a large pot of salted water to a boil. Blanch the asparagus for 30 seconds (90 seconds for thick spears), until the asparagus just bends. Alternatively, lightly steam the asparagus in a microwave.

     

    2. PLUNGE the asparagus into ice water to stop the cooking. Blot dry with paper towels and set aside.

    3. WHISK together the olive oil, vinegar and garlic and roll and marinate asparagus in vinaigrette 30 minutes at room temperature. Make extra vinaigrette if you are serving the watercress.

    4. GATHER the asparagus into bundles of 8 (if thin, 4 if thick) and wrap each bundle with a prosciutto slice. Arrange on a platter or individual plates. Decorate with crumbled blue cheese.

    5. TOSS the optional watercress with vinaigrette and add to the plate.

    6. PASS a peppermill for fresh-ground black pepper.
     
    THE DIFFERENCES BETWEEN PROSCIUTTO & SERRANO HAM

    This is a complex question, because the authentic breeds of pig and curing techniques differ in Europe from what is permitted in the U.S. But a simple answer is: Both products are air-cured hams, with some differences in the breed and diet of the pig.

  • Prosciutto, from Italy, tends to be fattier and more mild.
  • Serrano, from Spain, tends to be more flavorful.
  •  
    But it’s hard to state something definitively when you buy the product in the U.S. The best approach: Buy a small amount of each and decide which you prefer. If you’re buying it freshly carved (not pre-packaged), ask the counterperson what the brand is, and keep notes.
     
    *Slender asparagus are easier to wrap; but if you can only find thick spears, use half as many.
      

    Comments

    TIP OF THE DAY: Cauliflower Mac & Cheese

    cauliflower-mac-and-cheese-michaelsymon-castello-230

    Forget the pasta: This “mac and cheese”
    substitutes better-for-you cauliflower. Photo
    courtesy Castello.

     

    Chef Michael Symon has a solution for mac and cheese lovers who want to cut back on the pasta: Substitute cauliflower for the pasta.

    For some time now, cauliflower “mashed potatoes” have been a favorite substitute for mashed potatoes: lower in calories, higher in nutrition.

    In this recipe, Chef Symon does a vegetable-for-starch switch with macaroni.

    His recipe has the creamy cheesiness of mac and cheese (Chef Symon uses used Castello Creamy Havarti), the crunchiness of the bread crumbs, extra cruciferous* vegetables in your diet and and delicious comfort food with reduced calories.

    Make it tonight!

    RECIPE: CAULIFLOWER MAC & CHEESE

    Ingredients For 4-6 Servings

  • 1 large head of cauliflower, cut into small florets
  • Salt to taste
  • Freshly ground black pepper, to taste
  • 2 cups heavy cream
  • ½ cup mascarpone (if you cannot find it, cream cheese will work in a pinch)
  • 1 cup havarti
  • Hot sauce, to taste
  • ½ cup chives, finely chopped
  • ½ cup panko bread crumbs
  •  

    Preparation

    1. BRING a large pot of water to a boil and add a tablespoon of salt. Add the florets to the water and cook until tender but still crisp, about 5 minutes. Drain well and pat between several layers of paper towels to dry. Set aside.

    2. PREHEAT the broiler to high. While the cauliflower is cooking, heat a 2-quart Dutch oven† over medium heat. Add the cream, salt, pepper and hot sauce to the pot and bring it to simmer. (Chef Symon used 1 teaspoon of salt and 1 teaspoon of hot sauce, but adjust the seasonings to your liking.) Reduce the cream by 1/3, about 3 minutes.

    3. WHISK in the mascarpone and havarti and stir to incorporate. When the cheese is melted and incorporated, keep the sauce at a simmer. The sauce will be slightly thickened at this point.

     

    cauliflower-beauty-goodeggs-230

    Turn it into “mac and cheese.” Photo courtesy GoodEggs.com.

     

    4. ADD the cauliflower and chives, stirring well to coat the cauliflower. Pour into an ovenproof dish; then top with the bread crumbs, sprinkling them in an even layer. Place the dish under the broiler for 2-3 minutes, until golden brown and bubbly. Remove from the broiler and let set for 5 minutes before serving.

     
    *The highly nutritious, anti-carcinogen Brassicaceae family of vegetables is also called the cruciferous family from cruciferae, New Latin for “cross-bearing.” Their flowers consist of four petals in the shape of a cross. The family include arugula, bok choy, broccoli, Brussels sprouts, cabbage, cauliflower, collard greens, horseradish, kale, kohlrabi, mizuna, mustard, radish, rapeseed/canola, rapini (broccoli rabe), rutabaga, tatsoi and turnips. Eat up!

    †Also called a French oven, a Dutch oven is a thick-walled cooking pot with a tight-fitting lid. It is usually made of cast iron. In France it is called a cocotte, the French word for casserole.

      

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