THE NIBBLE BLOG: Products, Recipes & Trends In Specialty Foods
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RECIPE: Cranberry-Orange White Chocolate Chip Cookies

You might not think of cranberries as a category for innovation. After all, it’s a superfruit that should be eaten often.

Decas Cranberry Products, a third-generation family business located in the heart of Massachusetts’ cranberry country, wants to help. Its products are available at retail under the Paradise Meadow brand: a line of all natural, non-GMO, sustainably-farmed cranberries.

The line includes:

  • Fresh cranberries
  • Organic sweet dried cranberries
  • Reduced sugar LeanCrans®
  • Whole jumbo cranberries
  • Omega-3 fortified OmegaCrans®
  • Cooking and baking cranberries
  •  
    In the latter category are the new Julienne Cranberry-Orange Cooking & Baking Cranberries (photo #1), available at grocers nationwide. They’re julienned—chopped—to better distribute the flavor when you cook or garnish with cranberries.

    All Paradise Meadow products can be added to oatmeal and other breakfast cereal, green salads, protein salads (chicken, egg, etc.), trail mix, stuffing, and meat and poultry dishes.

    They can be baked into breads, muffins, cookies, and pies like cranberry-raisin pie and pecan-cranberry pie. Just add them to your favorite recipe. Use them as garnishes on sweet and savory dishes.

    Add them to rum raisin ice cream (recipe). Combine them with the raisins, or eliminate the raisins entirely.

    Here’s the history of cranberries, which had been harvested wild for some 12,000 years by Native Americans, from the Wampanoag People of what is now Massachusetts, south to the Leni-Lenape of New Jersey and west to the Algonquins of Wisconsin.

    The first cultivation of cranberries took place in Dennis, on Cape Cod, around 1816.
     
     
    THE BEST COOKIES

     

    Paradise Meadow Orange Cranberries

    Paradise Meadow Orange Cranberries

    One heavenly cookie, made with Paradise Meadow Julienne Cranberry-Orange Cooking & Baking Cranberries and white chocolate chips. Photos courtesy Paradise Meadow.

     
    When we previewed the cranberries at a recent trade event, the same time, we tasted one of the best cookies we’ve had in recent memory (recipe below). The combination of cranberry, orange and white chocolate, and the chewy texture, is simply…divine.

    You will be a cookie hero, or the best guest, when you bring a batch to work or to a party or get-together. Many thanks to Paradise Meadow for the recipe.

    RECIPE: CRANBERRY-ORANGE WHITE CHOCOLATE CHEWS

    Ingredients For 2 Dozen Cookies

  • 1/2 cup (1 stick) unsalted butter, room temperature
  • 1/4 cup granulated sugar
  • 1/2 cup dark brown sugar, packed
  • 1 large egg, room temperature
  • 1/2 tsp vanilla extract
  • 1-1/8 cup all-purpose flour
  • 1/2 tsp salt
  • 1/2 tsp baking soda
  • 1-1/2 cup – 1 6.5 oz. package Paradise Meadow Julienne Cranberry-Orange Cooking & Baking Cranberries
  • 1/2 cup (3 ounces) white chocolate chips
  •  
    Preparation

    1. PREHEAT the oven to 375°F. Line cookie sheets with parchment paper and set aside.

    2. BLEND the flour, salt and baking soda together and set aside.

    3. CREAM the butter with an electric mixer. Add the sugars and beat until light and fluffy. Add the vanilla and egg and beat well.

    4. SLOWLY ADD the flour to the sugar mixture and blend. Stir in the cranberries and white chocolate chips.

    5. DROP by rounded teaspoon onto prepared cookie sheets. Leave space between each cookie as they will spread while baking. Bake 8-10 minutes and cool on cookie sheets.

    Try to pace yourself!

      

    Comments

    TIP OF THE DAY: The History Of Halloween…And Fun Food Touches

    Halloween Latte
    Try your hand at latte art. Here’s a video showing how to create a jack o’ lantern in milk foam (photo Fig & Olive | Facebook). Or, make a latte ghost.

    Bat Waffles
    How can you make breakfast more Halloweeny? Turn toaster waffles into bats (photo Good Food Made Simple | Facebook).

    Eyeball Mozzarella Balls
    [3] Mozzarella eyeball snaks, made with bocconcini (bite-size balls) and olives (photo courtesy Bel Gioioso):.

    Vampire Sundae

    [4] Vampire ice cream sundae, with strawberry topping, mini marshmallows and chocolate chip eyes (photo Hannah Kaminsky | Bittersweet Blog).

     

    DID YOU KNOW…

    Halloween, short for All Hallows’ Evening, is celebrated on the evening of October 31st. It evolved from the festival of Samhain (sah-WEEN), celebrated by ancient Celts at the end of the harvest, a time to prepare for winter.

    Samhain marked the end of the “lighter half” of the year and beginning of the “darker half.” The Halloween colors of orange and black represent the lighter side and the darker side.

    The Celts believed that on October 31st, the boundaries between the worlds of the living and the dead overlapped and the deceased would come back to life and cause havoc, including sickness and damaged crops.

    To avoid the spirits and ghosts that roamed the countryside on October 31st, people began to wear masks and costumes—to mimic the spirits and avoid being recognized as human. To keep spirits and ghosts from their home, they placed candles in their windows, using hollowed-out turnips and other vegetables as the holder, or jack o’ lantern.

    The festival of Samhain would frequently include celebratory bonfires. The fires attracted insects, which attracted bats. Thus, bats became integrated into the holiday.

    Around 600 C.E., Christian missionaries replaced the pagan festival of Samhain with All Saints Day, also called All Hallows Even (even means evening).

    The name Halloween (or Hallowe’en) first appears in 16th-century Scotland, evolving from All Hallows’ Eve.
     
     
    BUT MUCH OF THE MODERN CELEBRATION CAME FROM AMERICA

    Carving pumpkins into jack-o-lanterns, trick-or-treating, costume parties and visiting “haunted houses”—not to mention pranking—evolved in the U.S. Pumpkins, a hardier, new world fruit (yes, a fruit), replaced the smaller turnips used in the Old Country.

    It began with 19th-century Irish and Scottish immigrants who brought the tradition over. In the late 20th century, the “holiday spirit” spread to other western countries, including Australia, Canada, Ireland, New Zealand, Puerto Rico and the U.K.
     
     
    LEADING UP TO THE BIG DAY

    No matter how you plan to celebrate Halloween, you can serve little touches of the holiday for the week prior to the event.

    Halloween is too much fun to wait for one day of celebration. You don’t have to be a kid to want an entire Halloween Week.

  • Cut marshmallows into ghost shapes, or paint jack o’lantern faces on them, and float them on hot chocolate.
  • Use a squeeze bottle of ketchup to put pumpkin faces on fried eggs.
  • Make bat waffles (photo #2).
  • Try your hand at latte art. Check out these videos for jack o’lantern and ghost art.
  • Dribble strawberry dessert topping from the rim of a “bleeding” glass of milk or other beverage.
  • Turn deviled eggs into rotten deviled eggs, with some food coloring (recipe).
  • Put candy eyeballs on any dessert.
  • Wrap strips of refrigerator rolls around hot dogs and other foods to “mummify” them (recipe #1) and #2.
  • Coil dough into snakes (recipe)
  • Turn anything round into an eyeball (photo #3).
  • Put black olive spiders on mini pizzas, as sandwich garnish, etc.
  •  
    Simply look at everything you’re planning to serve, and see how you can tweak it for seasonal fun.

    If you need inspiration, check online sites like Pinterest or Google Images to see what others have done.

     

     
      

    Comments

    RECIPE: Halloween Sangria

    Halloween Sangria
    [1] Halloween sangria substitutes beer for wine (photo courtesy Sid Wainer).

    Red Jacket Apple Cider
    [2] What’s the difference between apple juice and apple cider? See the answer below (photo courtesy Red Jacket Orchards).

    Orange Bitters

    [3] Orange bitters are sold next to the Angostura bitters in most supermarkets. Or, make your own with this recipe from (photo by Red Jacket Orchards).

     

    Here’s something different for Halloween: orange sangria. In this recipe, apple cider substitutes for the wine, and wheat beer substitutes for the club soda or sparkling water.

    What’s the difference between apple cider and apple juice? The answer is below.
     
     
    RECIPE: HALLOWEEN SANGRIA

    Ingredients

  • 1-1/2 cups apple cider
  • 2 cups dried apples and oranges*
  • Optional: 6 dashes orange bitters
  • 2 shots bourbon
  • 3 bottles wheat beer, cold
  • Rim: whiskey smoked sugar or bourbon smoked sugar
  • Garnish: 1/2 moon sliced oranges (wheels sliced in half)
  • 2-3 cinnamon sticks and whole star anise
  • Ice cubes
  •  
    Preparation

    1. COMBINE the first four ingredients in a pitcher and refrigerate. When ready to serve…

    2. MAKE the rim on the glasses. Fill a shallow bowl with water, and another with the smoked sugar. Dip the rim of the glass 1/4 inch into the water, then twist in the sugar until coated.

    3. POUR the beer into the pitcher right before serving and stir once, gently, to combine. Add ice to the rimmed glasses, pour in the sangria and serve.
     
     
    APPLE CIDER VERSUS APPLE JUICE: THE DIFFERENCE

    Since Prohibition, which began in the U.S. (1920 – 1933), “cider” has referred to the unfermented, unpasteurized apple juice. If cider is made from another fruit, it must be called, e.g., pear cider.

    “Hard cider” is used to indicate the alcoholic beverage.

    In the U.K. it is the opposite, with “cider” indicating the alcoholic drink, for which special cider apples are used. Pear cider is called perry.

  • Hard cider is a fermented alcoholic beverage made from the unfiltered juice of apples. The alcohol content varies from a low 1.2% ABV‡ to 8.5% or higher—some imported ciders can be up to 12% ABV, an average level for table wines. It does not need to be refrigerated until the container is opened.
  • Fresh apple cider is raw apple juice, typically unfiltered. Thus, it is cloudy from the remnants of apple pulp. It is also typically more flavorful than apple juice—although of course, the particular blend of apples used in either has a big impact on the taste. It needs to be refrigerated.
  • Apple juice has been filtered to remove pulp solids, then pasteurized for longer shelf life. It does not need to be refrigerated until the container is opened.
  •  
    ________________

    *Don’t hesitate to buy a bottle of orange bitters. It perks up every drink, including mocktails, iced tea, soft drinks and club soda. If a drink is too sweet or needs something extra, a drop or two of orange bitters does the trick. The bitters provide an extra note of complexity: deep, citrusy, spicy flavor. Here’s a recipe to make your own.

    †You can buy smoked sugar on Amazon, or make your own by blending hickory smoke powder with coarse sugar (decorator’s sugar, sanding sugar). Other options include orange decorator’s sugar, in many stores for the Halloween season.

    ‡Alcohol by volume: the percent of alcohol in the bottled spirit, wine or beer.
     
      

    Comments

    RECIPE: Caramelized Onion & Apple Galette

    This is such a nice fall recipe, we’ve made it several times—and we’re just a few weeks into fall.

    Savory and sweet combine in this galette: caramelized onions and apples.

    A galette (gah-LET) is a rustic, round, open-face pie, made without a pie pan. It is flat, with a turned-up crust that wraps around the filling to create a “dough pan.”

    Called crostata in Italian and rustic pie or rustic tart in English, the concept hails from the days before people had pie plates, and the days after that when only the kitchens of the wealthy had them.

    The precursor of the galette probably dates from the Neolithic Age, now called the New Stone Age, which lasted from about 10,200 B.C.E. to between 4,500 and 2,000 B.C.E. Thick cereal pastes—barley, oats, rye, wheat—were sweetened with honey and spread on hot stones to cook.

    This recipe comes from Good Eggs, and was inspired by Alice Waters’ onion tart recipe in The Art of Simple Food.

    Good Eggs adds this tip:

    To save time, take the semi-homemade route. Use ready-made pie dough for the crust. It’s the perfect base for the recipe, and you’ll still have the fun of shaping it.
     
     
    RECIPE: CARAMELIZED ONION & APPLE GALETTE

    Ingredients

  • 1 disk of pie dough, large enough for a 9” pie*
  • Flour for dusting
  • 4 tablespoons butter
  • 6 medium onions, peeled and thinly sliced
  • 3 sprigs of fresh thyme, plus extra for garnish
  • Salt to taste
  • 1 egg, beaten
  • ________________

    *If you’re using a frozen crust, it should be defrosted, but still cool.

     

    Caramelized Onion Galette
    [1] This savory-sweet galette can be served as a first course, with cocktails, or as a light lunch with a green salad. We served it for dessert with a cheese plate:a great idea (photo courtesy Good Eggs).

    Apples and Onions
    [2] Apples and onions make a savory-sweet pie (photo courtesy Cubit’s Organic Living).

     

    Preparation

    1. PREHEAT the oven to 375°F. Heat the butter in heavy-bottomed pot, add the onions and thyme sprigs; then sauté over medium heat until the onions are caramelized, about 20 to 30 minutes. Salt to taste. Remove from the heat and let cool. Meanwhile…

    2. ROLL out the chilled pie dough on a well-floured surface, into a 12- to 14-inch circle (about 1/4 inch thick). Don’t worry if your shape isn’t perfect” any irregularities just add to the homemade charm!

    3. TRANSFER the rolled-out dough to a baking sheet lined with parchment paper and let it firm up in the fridge for about 10 minutes. Spread the cooled onions over the center, picking out the thyme sprigs. Leave a good inch or two around the edge so you have ample dough to fold up around the onions.

    4. FOLD up the edges, making sure there are no holes. You can freestyle it, or you can use a pinch-and-fold method as shown in the photo. Once the galette is wrapped up, coat the folded edges with beaten egg, using a pastry brush or your fingers.

    5. BAKE for 40 to 50 minutes, or until the crust is golden brown on the bottom. Let it cool slightly, garnish with a pinch of fresh thyme and serve warm.

      

    Comments

    RECIPE: Pull-Apart Cheese Bread, Or Halloween Brain Bread?

    Pull Apart Cheese Bread
    [1] .

    Provolone Cheese

    [2] Provolone, originally made in a round or oval shape, is now made in loaves and wheels as well (photo courtesy DiBruno Brothers).

     

    Bel Gioioso, the Wisconsin-based Italian cheesemaker, sent us this pull-apart cheese bread recipe.

    A boule (ball)-style Italian pull-apart bread, it’s made with provolone cheese, marinara sauce, garlic and seasonings.

    We renamed it “brain bread” for the Halloween season.

    For snacking, with a beer, or at the dinner table, it’s a special treat that’s actually easy to make—you start by buying a sourdough boule.

    The recipe was developed for Bel Gioioso by Amy of BellyFull.net.

    Prep time is 20 minutes, cook time is 25 minutes.
     
     
    RECIPE: PULL-APART PROVOLONE & MARINARA BREAD

    Ingredients For 6 Servings

  • 1 pound round boule-style loaf of sourdough
  • 6 slices provolone cheese, cut into 1/2-inch pieces
  • 1/2 cup (1 stick) unsalted butter, melted
  • 1/4 cup marinara sauce
  • 2 large garlic cloves, minced
  • 1/2 teaspoon garlic powder
  • 1/4 teaspoon onion powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon dried Italian seasoning (recipe below)
  • Garnish: chopped fresh parsley, to garnish
  •  
    Preparation

    1. PREHEAT the oven to 375F. Tear off a large enough piece of foil to wrap around the loaf. Coat the foil with nonstick spray and place on a baking sheet.

    2. CUT the loaf of bread into 1-inch-wide slices with a serrated knife, leaving about 1/4-inch of the base of the bread intact (i.e., cut the slices down to the bottom quarter-inch, but don’t slice through the bottom). Repeat the cuts in the opposite direction to create a cross-hatch/cubed pattern (photo #1). Place the bread on the foil.

     
    3. PRESS the provolone pieces between all the slices of bread. In a small bowl, whisk together the butter, marinara, minced garlic, garlic powder, onion powder and Italian seasoning. Gently pry apart the bread pieces and drizzle the mixture over the loaf evenly, making sure to get into all the seams and cover all the pieces.

    4. WRAP the bread up in the foil. Bake for 15 minutes. Open up the foil, increase oven temperature to 425°F, and bake another 10 minutes until the cheese is melted and the bread is golden brown. Let stand 5 minutes before serving. Sprinkle with parsley, pull apart the pieces and serve.
     
     
    RECIPE: ITALIAN SEASONING

    If you don’t have Italian seasoning, it’s easy to make it by combining:

  • 1-1/2 teaspoons dried oregano
  • 1 teaspoon dried marjoram
  • 1 teaspoon dried thyme
  • 1/2 teaspoon dried basil
  • 1/2 teaspoon dried rosemary
  • 1/2 teaspoon dried sage
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