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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: Fun Ways To Use Healthy Foods

Mmmm…a fun way to eat more veggies.
Photo courtesy Nature Box.

 

Trying to turn over a new leaf, eating more kale and other good-for-you veggies, without giving up flavor and fun?

One of the major paths to better eating is to eat less meat and more vegetables. Yet many of us are veg-averse. Even if we like them, there’s always something we’d rather have (think pasta, pizza or a burger and fries, where the only veggies might be slices of tomato and onion and a piece of lettuce).

The secret is to serve recipes where the veggies can be “disguised” (see our favorite ideas below). Bright colors also work. What doesn’t seem to work with many people today is Mom’s approach: putting a protein on the plate with a side of string beans and a side of broccoli. So get creative on how to serve the beans and broccoli.

We picked up this idea from NatureBox.com, an e-tailer that delivers wholesome snacks and blogs on tasty, better-for-you foods. The fun and tasty spring rolls were developed by Lori Yates, a Detroit-area recipe developer, food writer and cooking instructor. She contributes healthier recipes with lots of visual appeal to the NatureBox blog, such as Thai Tofu Pizza and Salmon & Crispy Chickpea Salad and on her own blog, Foxes Love Lemons.

 
These spring rolls are a better-for-you snack or first course. Crunchy veggies are rolled in rice paper wrappers and served with a spicy creamy dipping sauce. The sweet potatoes are raw and sliced thin, for a texture like jicama but with more flavor and nutrients. Prep time is 25 minutes.
 
RECIPE: KALE & SWEET POTATO SPRING ROLLS

Ingredients For 6 Servings (18 Rolls)

For The Spring Rolls

  • 18 rice paper wrappers
  • 1 bunch kale, stems removed and leaves torn into large pieces
  • 1 can (15.5 ounces) black beans, rinsed and drained
  • Kernels from 2 ears of corn (about 3/4 cup)
  • 1 medium sweet potato, peeled and thinly sliced
  • 1/2 red onion, thinly sliced
  •  
    For The Dipping Sauce

  • 1/2 cup light sour scream or plain Greek yogurt
  • 1-1/2 tablespoons hot sauce
  •  

    Preparation

    1. MAKE the dipping sauce: Stir together sour cream or yogurt and hot sauce. Set aside.

    2. WORKING one at a time, wet wrappers for 15 seconds and transfer to damp towel. Place kale in center of each wrapper and top with some beans, corn, sweet potato and onion.

    3. BRING the bottom edge of the wrapper tightly over the filling, rolling from bottom to top until the top of the sheet is reached, being careful not to tear the wrapper. Repeat with remaining wrappers and filling. Serve immediately.
     
    MORE WAYS TO EAT BETTER: FAMILY CONTEST

    Get everyone into the act, thinking about how to “healthify” family favorites. Provide “healthy cookbooks” for reference: Cooking Light, Giada’s Feel-Good Food and the Eating Well Healthy In A Hurry Cookbook. Give a monthly prize to the best idea.

     


    Another better-for-you dish: chili that’s heavy on the veggies. Photo courtesy Swanson.

     

    Some of our most popular switches:

  • Chili that is more veggie than beef or beans. Here’s a tasty recipe from Swanson that “disguises” the veggies among the bean.
  • Mashed cauliflower with olive oil and Greek yogurt instead of mashed potatoes with butter and sour cream. Many people just assume the mashed cauliflower is potatoes.
  • Pasta primavera, with at least 50% veggies (aim for whole wheat pasta).
  • Salad pizza,” piled high with six or more of your favorite veggies (and a whole wheat crust!).
  • Stir frys—check out the Everything Stir Fry Cookbook with 300 recipes!
  • Also see:

  • Sneak More Veggies Into The Pasta
  • 5 Ways To Sneak More Veggies Into Your Diet
  •   

    Comments

    RECIPE: Stuffed Baked Potatoes With Beets & Feta

    Here’s an easy Valentine dish: baked potato filled with beets and feta, with a refreshing mint salad on the side. The idea is to stuff the baked potato with beets and feta instead of sour cream and chives.

    Love Beets, which developed this recipe, likes to serve it with a protein of choice and a mint salad. It takes only 10 minutes of prep time, plus an hour-plus to bake the potatoes.

    If you don’t want a side salad of mint, you can use the leaves in the beet and feta salad; or substitute another herb chiffonade with the beets and feta (basil is a good choice).

    Ingredients For 4 Servings

  • 4 large baking potatoes, scrubbed & pricked with a fork
  • Optional: butter
  •  
    For The Salad

  • 3 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
  • 1 tablespoon red wine vinegar
  • 1 teaspoon superfine or regular table sugar
  •  

    Baked potato stuffed with beets and feta. Photo courtesy LoveBeets.com.

  • Salt & freshly ground black pepper
  • Small bunch fresh mint, leaves destemmed and chopped roughly
  • 2 tablespoons pine nuts
  • 2 packs* traditional cooked beets, cut into ½ inch cubes
  • 1 small red onion, finely sliced
  • Handful black olives (optional)
  • 11 ounces (about 1-1/3 cups) feta cheese, cut into ½ inch cubes
  •  
    *Precooked Love Beets are 8 ounces per package, for a total 16 ounces of beets. You can also use canned beets.
     
    Preparation

    1. PREHEAT the oven to 400°F. Place the potatoes directly on the oven rack and bake for 1¼ to 1½ hours until soft when pierced with a fork. Alternatively, you can par-cook in a microwave on high for 10-15 minutes, then put in the oven to finish baking, reducing the cooking time accordingly.

    2. MAKE the salad: Whisk together the oil, vinegar and sugar in a large bowl. Season to taste with a little salt and freshly ground black pepper. Use 2 teaspoons to lightly dress the mint. If you don’t want a side salad of mint, make a chiffonade of some of the leaves, to taste, and add them to the beet salad along with the feta, in step 4.

    3. TOAST the pine nuts in a dry frying pan until golden brown. Add to the salad dressing, along with the beets, onion and black olives. Set aside for the flavors to mingle.

    4. MIX the feta cheese into the salad just before serving. Cut open each baked potato with an X, breaking up the inside a bit with a fork (add a little butter if desired). Spoon the beet and feta salad into the potatoes and serve immediately.

      

    Comments

    TIP OF THE DAY: Technicolor Salad

    Salads don’t have to be boring. The more varied the ingredients, the more interesting they are. Colors, textures are as important as flavors.

    While winter might seem to be a tough season for salad, there’s actually a lot you can do to liven things up. Take this “Technicolor Salad.”

    While green ingredients are a given, look for ingredients from the other produce “color groups.”

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

     

    spring-market-salad-calpizzakitchen-230

    “A technicolor salad.” Photo courtesy California Pizza Kitchen.

  • Nuts and seeds
  • Any other ingredients you like (cheese, dinner salad proteins, e.g.)
  • Dressing of choice
  •  
    A complex salad should be paired with a light dressing, like a vinaigrette. If you like a creamy dressing, try the yogurt vinaigrette recipe below.

    Preparation

    1. COMBINE ingredients in a serving bowl.

    2. DRESS and serve. Professionals toss the salad ingredients with clean hands or plastic gloves. We use the clean hands technique. If you don’t want to do either, use two large spoons to lift and flip the salad. But you’ll get much more even coverage with the hand-toss technique.

     

    yogurt-vinaigrette-bettycrocker-230

    Yogurt vinaigrette. Photo courtesy Betty
    Crocker.

     

    RECIPE: GREEK YOGURT VINAIGRETTE

    Ingredients For 1 Cup

  • 3 tablespoons red wine vinegar
  • 1/2 cup olive oil
  • 4 tablespoons plain Greek yogurt
  • 1 teaspoon Dijon mustard
  • 2 large garlic cloves, minced
  • Salt and pepper to taste
  • Optional: minced herbs (we used dill)
  •  
    Preparation

    1. COMBINE all ingredients in a bowl or jar; whisk or shake until thoroughly blended.

     

      

    Comments

    RECIPE: Beet Tartare

    Deep red beets are a natural for Valentine’s Day. In fact, our heart beets for them.

    Top chefs agree. Here’s a recipe from one of our favorite Top Chef finalists, Fabio Viviani.

    Among his other pursuits, Chef Fabio serves as the brand ambassador for Bertolli Olive Oil (which happens to be the world’s number one brand). He is also the host of the award-winning web series “Chow Ciao!” on Yahoo!

    We can’t get to Fabio’s Firenze Osteria in North Hollywood, California; but we can whip up his recipe.

    Fabio serves the beet tartare with lobster tail poached in olive oil. You can substitute shrimp for the lobster; or serve the tartare as a side or a first course, presented with whatever you like.

    Prep and cooking time: 45 minutes.

     

    beet-tartare-fabioviviani-230

    Beet tartare (under the edible flower) and poached lobster. Photo courtesy Fabio Viviani.

    RECIPE: LOBSTER WITH BEET TARTARE

    Ingredients For 1 Serving

  • 2 cups extra virgin olive oil
  • 1 clove garlic
  • Zest from 1 lemon
  • 4 sprigs fresh thyme, chopped
  • 1 lobster tail (or equivalent amount of shrimp)
  • 1 large red beet, parboiled until fork tender
  • 1 tablespoon shallots, chopped
  • 1 teaspoon orange zest
  • 1 teaspoon Dijon mustard
  • 1 tablespoon white balsamic vinegar
  • Optional garnish: edible flower, fresh herbs
  •  

    detroit-red-beets-beauty-goodeggs-230

    We love fresh beets, but they are one of the
    rare vegetables where the precooked,
    plastic-packaged or canned versions taste
    just as good. Photo courtesy Good Eggs.

     

    Preparation

    1. PREPARE the beets: Dice the beets into small pieces so they resemble chopped tuna. Place in a bowl and add the shallots, orange zest, mustard, vinegar and 1 tablespoon olive oil. Season to taste with salt and pepper.

    2. PREPARE the lobster: Place the olive oil, garlic, lemon zest and 2 sprigs of thyme into a small pot and place over low heat. Once the garlic starts to sizzle, add the lobster. Cook for about 5 minutes or until the lobster is cooked through (but not overcooked—it will be tough and dry). Remove and set aside.

    3. PLATE: Add the diced beets to a mold or ramekin; place on the plate with the lobster and garnish as desired.

     

    WHAT IS TARTARE?

    Steak tartare, or tartar steak, is a meat dish* named after the legend that Tartars† did not have time to cook their meat, so ate it raw 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, tuna tartar are some examples.

     
    *The typical recipe is round raw beef mixed with onions, capers, Worcestershire sauce and a raw egg, served with toast points. A 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 in 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.

      

    Comments

    CHINESE NEW YEAR: Chinese Long Beans

    It’s Chinese New Year: The Year Of The Horse begins today (the actual year is 4712). Make a Chinese-inspired dish.

    Chef Daniel Boulud take Chinese long beans, steamed them and tied them into knots, topped with chicken (see the photo below).

    What a fun way to get people to eat more green beans!

    Our recipe, below, is much simpler, and the Chinese-style beans can be served with any dish that pair with green beans.

    You can find Chinese long beans in Asian markets, or plan ahead and grow your own yard-long string beans with these string bean seeds from Burpee.

    You can substitute regular green beans, which are just as tasty, if not as striking in appearance.

     

    Chinese long beans. Photo courtesy Burpee.

     

    RECIPE: CHINESE LONG BEANS

    Ingredients For 6 Servings

  • 1 tablespoon peanut or sesame oil
  • 2 cloves garlic, thinly sliced
  • 1 pound fresh green beans, trimmed
  • 1 tablespoon white sugar
  • 2 tablespoons oyster sauce*
  • 2 teaspoons soy sauce
  •  
    *Available in the Asian products section of most supermarkets, in Asian specialty stores and online; Lee Kum Kee is a quality brand. See more about oyster sauce below. You can substitute Hoisin sauce, but it gives the dish a sweeter flavor than the pungent oyster sauce.

     

    Daniel Boulud’s long bean knots with
    chicken. Photo by Richard Patterson |
    RichardPattersonPhoto.com | Restaurant
    Daniel.

     

    Preparation

    1. HEAT peanut oil in a wok or large skillet over medium-high heat. Stir in the garlic, and cook until the edges begin to brown, about 20 seconds.

    2. ADD the beans; cook and stir until they begin to soften, about 5 minutes.

    3. STIR in the sugar, oyster sauce and soy sauce. Continue cooking/stirring for several minutes until the beans have attained the desired degree of tenderness.
     
    WHAT IS A CHINESE LONG BEAN?

    Its botanical name is Vigna unguiculata subsp. sesquipedalis. It is best known as the long bean or Chinese yardlong bean, but also as the asparagus bean, bora, long-podded cowpea, pea bean, snake bean and yardlong bean. The pods are actually about half a yard long; the subspecies name sesquipedalis means “one and a half feet long” (half a yard).

     

    While its flavor is similar to the green bean (Phaseolus vulgaris), it is from a different genus. In fact, it is a member of the cowpea species, which includes blackeyed peas.

     
    WHAT IS OYSTER SAUCE?

    A popular condiment in Chinese and Filipino cuisines, oyster sauce is often used in stir fries and as a topping for steamed vegetables.

    The viscous sauce is prepared from oysters and brine. A true oyster sauce is aromatic with intense flavor, and is expensive. Most oyster sauces on the market are cheaper, diluted solutions of concentrated ones. There are also vegan versions made from mushrooms.

    Oyster sauce was invented in 1888 by Mr. Lee Kam-Sheung of Nam Shui Village in Guangdong Province, Chinas, an island where oysters were abundant.

    Originally born in another village, Lee was a farmer who had to leave town following threats from local gangsters. He opened a restaurant in his new village, using the local oysters to make stock. One day he forgot about a pot of stock on the stove, and when he returned to it the stock had boiled down to a thick, aromatic and delicious sauce: a happy accident!*

    His company, Lee Kum Kee, continues to produce oyster sauce along with a wide variety of fine Asian condiments.

    *Source: Small Business Management and Entrepreneurship in Hong Kong: A Casebook, edited by Ali F. Farhoomand. Here’s the page reference.

      

    Comments

    SUPER BOWL: Buffalo Brussels Sprouts & Buffalo Chicken Grilled Cheese Sandwiches

    Thanks to QVC for this recipe by Meredith Lawrence |Blue Jean Chef for QVC.

    “Deep-frying is not the most common way of cooking Brussels sprouts,” says Meredith, “but it’s delicious! You can alter this recipe by leaving out the breading and just deep-frying the sprouts, or by using a different type of dip, like honey-mustard or ranch, instead of the blue cheese.”

    RECIPE: BUFFALO BRUSSELS SPROUTS

    Ingredients

    For The Brussels Sprouts

  • 1 lb Brussels sprouts, trimmed and halved
  • Canola oil (for deep-frying)
  • 1/4 cup flour
  • 2 eggs, lightly beaten
  • 1/2 cup panko breadcrumbs
  • 1/2 cup grated Parmesan cheese
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • Freshly ground black pepper
  •  

    Even people who don’t like Brussels sprouts will enjoy these! Photo courtesy QVC.

     
    Buffalo Hot Sauce

  • 1/4 cup hot sauce
  • 1/4 cup butter, melted
  •  
    Blue Cheese Dip

  • 1 cup sour cream
  • 1/2 cup mayonnaise
  • 2-4 ounces blue cheese, crumbled
  • 1 clove garlic, minced
  • 1 tablespoon white wine vinegar
  • 2 tablespoon chives, chopped
  • Freshly ground black pepper
  •  


    Buffalo grilled cheese sandwich. Photo
    courtesy QVC. The recipe is below.

     

    Preparation

    1. PREPARE the Buffalo hot sauce by combining the hot sauce and butter in a small bowl; set aside.

    2. PREPARE the blue cheese dip: Combine all the ingredients in a small bowl and refrigerate until the Brussels sprouts are ready.

    3. PREPARE the Brussels sprouts: Bring a saucepan of salted water to a boil. Blanch the halved Brussels sprouts in vigorously boiling water for 2 minutes. Strain and drain well, rolling around in a clean dish towel to remove as much of the moisture as possible.

    4. FILL a straight-sided sauté pan with canola oil about 2-3 inches deep, and bring the temperature to 350°F.

    5. PLACE the flour and eggs in two separate shallow dishes. In a third shallow dish, or a zipper-sealable plastic bag, combine the breadcrumbs, Parmesan cheese, salt, and pepper. Lightly dredge the Brussels sprouts in the flour, then dip them into the egg mixture. Coat with the breadcrumb mixture.

    6. DEEP FRY the breaded Brussels sprouts in the oil until nicely browned. Remove from the pan and place on a rack or paper towel-lined plate. Allow the Brussels to cool slightly and serve immediately with the Buffalo Hot Sauce and Blue Cheese Dip.

     
    RECIPE: BUFFALO CHICKEN GRILLED CHEESE

    This recipe comes from QVC’s resident chef, David Venable. David’s tip: To make these appetizer-friendly, simply cut the sandwiches into bite-size pieces and place a toothpick into each square!.

    Ingredients

  • 8 slices French bread, sliced 1/2″ thick
  • 6 ounces cream cheese
  • 1 cup Cheddar cheese, shredded
  • 3/4 cup blue cheese, crumbled
  • 2 cups rotisserie chicken, shredded
  • 1/4 cup mayonnaise
  • 1/8 cup onion, minced
  • 1/4 cup celery, minced
  • 5 tablespoons Buffalo Wing sauce
  • Softened butter
  •  
    Preparation

    1. SPREAD the butter evenly on four slices of bread and lay each slice, buttered-side down, on a work surface lined with parchment or wax paper. Set the remaining four slices aside.

    2. WHIP the cream cheese in a mixing bowl until smooth and creamy, scraping the sides of the bowl once or twice. Add the Cheddar cheese and mix well; then fold in the blue cheese. Spread the mixture onto the plain side of each slice of bread.

    3. COMBINE the chicken, mayonnaise, onion, celery, and Buffalo Wing sauce in a new mixing bowl; toss until the chicken is evenly coated. Spread this mixture on top of the prepared bread slices and top with the remaining four slices.

    4. HEAT a large sauté pan or griddle over medium-low heat. Add the sandwiches and toast each side until golden brown, about 5-8 minutes. Serve.

      

    Comments

    RECIPE: Guacamole Canapés & Mini Iceberg Wedges

    Deconstructed guacamole. Photo courtesy
    Wholly Guacamole.

     

    First of all: What’s a canapé (can-uh-PAY)?

    It’s a type of hors d’oeuvre: a small, savory bite on a base of bread, toast or pastry. It is a finger food, eaten in one or two bites.

    Canapés are often served at cocktail parties, and in the hands of a caterer or chef they can be beautifully decorated works of edible art. Canapé is the French word for sofa. The idea is that the toppings sit on a “sofa” of bread or pastry.

    These Super Bowl snacks are much more down to earth, as befits the occasion. They’re guacamole canapés, a change of pace from the same old, same old guacamole and chips.

    Since the tomatoes and onions are separate from the mashed avocado, this is effectively “deconstructed guacamole.”

    The recipes below are courtesy Wholly Guacamole.

     
    RECIPE: GUACAMOLE CANAPÉS

    Ingredients

  • 1 baguette (French bread loaf)
  • Guacamole (use prepared chunky guacamole or make your own)
  • 1 tomato, diced
  • 1 red onion, finely chopped
  • 2 tablespoons fresh cilantro, chopped
  • 1 lime, sliced into small, thin wedges
  • Salt and pepper to taste
  •  
    Preparation

    1. SLICE baguette into 1/2 inch slices and toast lightly. Spread approximately 2 tablespoon of guacamole on each slice.

    2. TOSS diced tomatoes with onions an cilantro. Add salt and pepper to taste.

    3. DISTRIBUTE tomato/onion mix to canapés. Top with lime slices and serve on a platter.

     

    RECIPE: MINI WEDGE SALAD

    Most people enjoy a classic wedge salad: iceberg lettuce with blue cheese dressing. Here, we turn it into finger food.

    Ingredients

  • 1 head iceberg lettuce
  • Crumbled bacon
  • Cherry tomatoes, sliced
  • Crumbled blue cheese
  • Blue cheese dressing (here’s our recipe)
  •  
    Preparation

    1. CUT lettuce into mini wedges, about 3 inches each. The objective is to pick them up by hand.

    2. TOP with bacon and tomato slices.

    3. DRIZZLE with blue cheese dressing and top with optional crumbled blue cheese. Serve on a platter.

     

    Mini iceberg wedge salad, for when you just want a taste. Photo courtesy Wholly Guacamole.

     

      

    Comments

    SUPER BOWL: Jalapeño Chips

    jalapeno-chips-cookingplanit

    These are a real treat with a cold beer. Photo
    courtesy Cooking Planit.

     

    One of our favorite Top Picks Of The Week is Deano’s Jalapeno Chips, crunchy nuggets of chile heat. They are terrific with a beer and as a garnish on anything from hors d’oeuvre to mashed potatoes.

    Alas, as with so many artisan products, your only access to them may to be to order them online. But if you like to fry, you can make your own.

    Here’s a recipe created by Emily Wilson for Cooking Planit. Crisp, hot and spicy, you’ll want to make a double or triple batch if you’re having guests—they’ll disappear quickly.

    Buy the largest jalapeños you can find for bigger chips.

    RECIPE: JALAPEÑO CHIPS

    Ingredients

  • 4 large fresh jalapeño chiles
  • 2 large eggs
  • ½ cup flour
  • Kosher salt
  • ½ cup panko bread crumbs
  • 3 cups canola oil
  • Optional dip (see below)
  • Preparation

    1. CUT the stem ends off the jalapeños. Avoid touching your face when handling peppers; you may wish to wear protective latex gloves. For the hottest jalapeños, leave the seeds and white ribs inside. To reduce the heat, use a paring knife to gently cut inside each jalapeño and remove the seeds and ribs. A thin object such as a skewer or a chopstick can also help to scrape out the seeds.

    2. SLICE each jalapeño crosswise into 1/8 inch thick rounds. Wash hands thoroughly—or remove and wash gloves—immediately after handling chiles. This removes the chemical capsaicin, which will cause unpleasant stinging should your fingers connect with your eyes.

     

    3. POUR flour into a shallow, wide bowl. Pour panko bread crumbs into another shallow, wide bowl.

    4. CRACK the eggs into a third shallow, wide bowl and whisk to combine well. Line up the 3 bowls: flour, egg and panko breadcrumbs. Set a clean plate at the end near the panko.

    5. DREDGE a few of the jalapeño slices in the flour, coating both sides. Shake off excess, then dip in the egg mixture. Coat both sides again, shake off excess, then dredge in the panko. Coat both sides, shake off excess, then transfer to the clean plate. Repeat with remaining slices.

    6. PREPARE a plate with layers of paper towels. Set plate near the stove for the cooked jalapeños.

     

    1152179_jalapenos_Brybs-230

    Slice ‘em, bread ‘em, fry ‘em. For less heat, remove the centers, retaining only the green rings. Photo courtesy Brybs | SXC.

     

    7. POUR the canola oil into a large pot, about 2 inches deep (about 3 cups of oil, depending on the size of your pot). Heat the oil over medium heat to 350°F. If you don’t have a thermometer, heat the oil until it looks shiny, about 5-8 minutes.

    8. USE one jalapeño slice as a tester. Gently place it in the oil. If bubbles form quickly and it floats to the surface, the oil is ready. Add more pieces but do not crowd them in the oil—work in batches as necessary. If the tester sinks to the bottom and bubbles don’t form, the oil is not ready. Use a slotted spoon to remove the tester and wait a few more minutes.

    9. FRY the jalapeños until golden and crispy, about 2-3 minutes. Use a slotted spoon or spatula to flip them so they fry evenly and turn golden on both sides. Transfer them to the plate lined with paper towels. Season with salt as soon as they come out of the oil.

    10. As the jalapeños cook, the oil temperature rises. So remove the oil from the heat for at least 3 minutes to cool it down between batches. Repeat the tester drill before each new batch.

    11. TRANSFER the jalapeño chips to a serving dish. Enjoy warm or at room temperature. Extras will keep in an airtight container for a few days.
     
    OPTIONAL DIPS

    As with any chips, no dip is needed; but you can serve the jalapeño chips with:

  • Pesto
  • Salsa
  • Spicy mayonnaise (blend mayo with hot sauce and optional chili powder, oregano or other herb)
  • Yogurt dip (a cool dip to offset the heat—blend yogurt with chives, garlic, salt and pepper or try this citrus yogurt dip
  •   

    Comments

    TIP OF THE DAY: Kale Salad

    new-years-resol-kale-salad-justsalad-230

    New Year’s Resolution Kale Salad. The
    recipe is below. Photo courtesy Just Salad.

     

    You may be sautéeing or stir frying more kale these days, based on their terrific nutritional profile.

    But how about kale salad?

    Here are three recipes from Laura Pensiero, executive chef of Just Salad and a Certified Dietician. For salads, young, tender leaves are best. Remove the stem and rib and tear the leaf into pieces.

    Chef Pensiero also provides her recipe for Kale Pesto Dressing, which can be used on these or any salad.

    RECIPE: WINTER VEGGIE SUPERFOOD SALAD

    Ingredients

  • Kale
  • Iceberg lettuce
  • Spinach
  • Scallions
  • Quinoa
  • Broccoli
  • Toasted pumpkin seeds
  • Sesame grilled tofu
  •  

    Dressing: Lowfat horseradish chive dressing is used at Just Salad. You can stir a bit of horseradish and some minced chives into a vinaigrette, to taste.
     
    RECIPE: NEW YEAR’S RESOLUTION SALAS

    Ingredients

  • Kale
  • Red cabbage
  • Romaine
  • Turkish figs
  • Goat cheese
  • Walnuts
  • Seedless cucumbers
  •  
    Dressing: Balsamic vinaigrette

     

    RECIPE: WINTER CRUNCH SUPERFOOD SALAD

    Ingredients

  • Kale
  • Romaine
  • Red cabbage
  • Multigrain or whole wheat croutons
  • Apples
  • Wheat berries
  • Broccoli
  • Shaved Parmesan
  •  
    Dressing: Lemon vinaigrette (substitute lemon juice for half or all of the vinegar in your vinaigrette)

     

    lacinto-kale-burpee-230

    One of the many kale varieties, lacinto kale, also called dragon kale and Tuscan kale. Photo courtesy Burpee.com.

     

    RECIPE: KALE PESTO DRESSING

    Ingredients For 2 Cups

  • 2 cups blanched kale leaves [6 cups raw needed]*
  • 2 loosely packed cups chopped raw kale leaves
  • 2 garlic cloves
  • 1 teaspoon Dijon mustard
  • Fresh juice from two medium lemons(2 to 3 tablespoons)
  • 1/3 cup stock (chicken or vegetable) or water
  • 1/3 cup grated Grana Padana or Parmiggiano Reggiano cheese
  • Optional: 1/4 cup slivered almonds or pine nuts, toasted**
  • 1/2 cup extra-virgin olive oil salt and freshly ground black pepper
  •  
    Preparation

    1. COMBINE the blanched and raw kale, garlic, mustard, lemon juice and stock in a food processor; pulse until chopped.

    2. ADD the cheese and nuts. Pulse again to combine. With the motor running, drizzle in the olive oil.

    3. TASTE the dressing and season with salt and pepper. Add a touch more stock or water if necessary to thin to desired dressing consistency.

     
    *Blanching kale reduces bitterness and softens thick greens. Stir the leaves into boiling salted water for a minute or two, drain, then immediately run under cold water.

    **To toast nuts: Heat a nonstick skillet to medium, add nuts and cook over medium heat. Toss nuts/shake the pan often, until nuts are lightly browned and fragrant.

     
    KALE NUTRITION

    Kale and its close relative, collards, are winter crops and among the earliest vegetables cultivated by man. Native to the Mediterranean region, they were popular in ancient Egypt and Rome. The Romans and Greeks introduced them throughout Europe.

    Early British settlers brought kale and collards to America, probably in the late 1600s. But although they’re delicious, nutritious and low in calories, both vegetables became unfashionable over the past century, finally experiencing a renaissance in recent years.

    If you have a home garden they’re easy to grow.

    As far as nutrition goes, kale is known as “the queen of greens.” As members of the cruciferous group of vegetables, it has potent anti-carcinogens. One cup of chopped kale contains 33 calories and 9% of the daily value of calcium, 206% of vitamin A, 134% of vitamin C, and 684% of vitamin K. It is also a good source of minerals copper, potassium, iron, manganese, and phosphorus.

    Here’s more about kale nutrition and health benefits.

      

    Comments

    FOOD 101: How To Chiffonade

    How to chiffonade. Photo courtesy Marichelle | Lifeflix | Flickr.

     

    We so often recommend a chiffonade (shif-oh-NOD) garnish that we’re devoting an article to it.

    Chiffonade is a chopping technique in which leafy herbs or greens (basil, sage and spinach, for example) are cut into long, thin strips. Large, stackable leaves are needed—the technique doesn’t work with small leaves such as parsley or thyme.

    The word comes from the French chiffon, “little rag,” and refers to the shreds that this technique produces. It is also used to slice other foods (such as crêpes or thin omelets) into strips.

    The technique, shown in the photo, is easy:

    1. STACK the leaves.

    2. ROLL them tightly.

    3. SLICE perpendicular to the roll.

     

    Use the chiffonade as a garnish or stir into eggs, salads, soups, stews, etc.

      

    Comments

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