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TIP OF THE DAY: Vietnamese Cabbage Slaw, a.k.a. Cole Slaw

Asian Slaw

Classic Cole Slaw

Red Boat Fish Sauce

Top: Vietnamese slaw, made with a fish sauce-accented vinaigrette. Center: Conventional American cole slaw with mayonnaise (photo courtesy Blu Restaurant | NYC). Bottom: Vietnamese fish sauce (photo courtesy Red Boat).

 

So many slaws, so little time! On summer weekends, we try different slaw recipes and different potato salads.

When made without mayonnaise, cole slaw is a very low calorie food, and cabbage is an antioxidant-packed cruciferous vegetable. That’s what you’ll find in the Asian-style slaw recipe below.

Today’s tip also highlights a relatively unfamiliar ingredient to Americans, fish sauce. But first:
 
WHAT’S A SLAW & WHY IS IT “COLE?”

Long part of the culinary repertoire, “koolsla,” short for “koolsalade,” means cabbage salad in Dutch; Dutch travelers to the New World made the dish with local cabbage. Instead of being torn into bite-size pieces like lettuce salad, the cabbage was thinly sliced or shredded.

Cabbage, the “kool,” is pronounced “cole.” “Sla” is short for “salade.” 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 slaw and more recently, broccoli slaw and shaved Brussels sprouts slaw.
 
WHAT IS FISH SAUCE?

Called nam pla in Thai and nuoc mam (“salted fish water”) in Vietnamese, fish sauce is an amber-hued condiment prepared from fermented anchovies and salt. An umami flavor lauded as “the fifth taste” after sweet, sour, bitter and salty, fish sauce is a major ingredient and condiment in Thai and Vietnamese cuisine.

Numerous brands are imported to the U.S., including Red Boat Fish Sauce.
 
Umami, The Fifth Taste

Fish sauce provides a flavor known as umami, often explained as savory or brothy.

We consume “umami foods” every day: anchovy paste, asparagus, beef stew, bouillon, cured ham, ketchup, lamb shank, miso sauce and soup, MSG, mushrooms, Parmesan cheese, ripe and sun-dried tomatoes, soy sauce, steak sauce and Worcestershire sauce, among others.
 
European Garum & Colatura Di Alici

Umami and fish sauce are also part of Western culture. Beginning in Greece and appearing in nearly every ancient Roman recipe as early as the 7th and 8th centuries B.C.E., garum, a fermented fish sauce, was the universal condiment used to add flavor to food.

As ketchup (and more lately, hot sauce) is to American fare, as soy sauce is to Chinese cuisine, the favorite condiment in ancient Rome was garum, an anchovy sauce. It involved into colatura di alici, juice of anchovies, still popular in Italy. It’s also called anchovy sauce or anchovy syrup; the latter is inaccurate, as a syrup is a thick, viscous liquid.

As strange as “anchovy juice” may sound, colatura is an aromatic condiment that enhances any dish, adding flavor without fuss.

 
Ask any great Italian chef, and you’ll probably find that colatura di alibi is their secret ingredient. Chef Lidia Bastianich uses a touch of colatura instead of salt.

Colatura (the word comes from the Latin colare, to strain) is made by curing anchovies with salt and extracting the free-run liquid that drains from them. It’s a laborious and painstaking process to create a truly artisan food. Different brands are imported from Italy.

Things came full circle in the 19th century when a British sea captain Henry Lewis Edwardes (1788–1866) brought the recipe for a fish sauce condiment home after travels in India. It somehow got to John Wheeley Lea and William Henry Perrins, two dispensing chemists (pharmacists) in Worcester, England, who created the first “umami sauce” (Worcestershire Sauce) sold commercially in England, in 1837.

Here are more uses for fish sauce, colatura di alici, or whatever you choose to call it.

 

RECIPE: VIETNAMESE CABBAGE SLAW

This recipe was created by Gail Simmons for Pure Leaf Tea. She pairs it with Sweet Honey Green Pure Leaf. We paired it with Unsweetened Green and Unsweetened Lemon Flavor Pure Leaf.

Ingredients For 4 Servings

For The Dressing

  • 1/4 cup rice vinegar
  • 2 tablespoons light brown sugar
  • 1 lime, zested and juiced
  • 1 tablespoon fish sauce
  • 1/4 teaspoon kosher salt
  • 1 pinch crushed red pepper flakes
  • 1 large shallot, finely sliced
  •  
    For The Slaw

  • 1/2 head small red cabbage
  • 1/2 head small Napa cabbage
  • 2 medium carrots
  • 4 radishes
  • 2 mini seedless cucumbers
  • 1/4 cup fresh cilantro leaves
  • 2 small Granny Smith apples
  • Garnish: ¼ cup roughly chopped peanuts or toasted sesame seeds
  •  
    Preparation

    1. MAKE the dressing so the shallots have time to marinate. Whisk the ingredients except the shallots in a large mixing bowl. Then add the shallots and set aside.

    2. FINELY SLICE the cabbages, radishes and cucumbers using a mandolin or a food processor with the slicer and grater attachments. Grate the carrots and separate the cilantro leaves.

     

    Asian Cabbage Slaw

    Apple-Infused Coleslaw in a Jar-nestle-230

    Top: Thai Cabbage Slaw. You can add an optional peanut garnish (photo courtesy ACommunalTable.com, which added coconut). Bottom: Use your Mason jars to serve slaw (photo courtesy Nestle).

     
    3. CORE the apples and finely slice them into thin half–moons. Place everything into the mixing bowl with the dressing and toss together well. When ready to serve, top with the peanuts and extra cilantro leaves.
     
    MORE SLAW RECIPES

  • Apple Cole Slaw With Lemon Ginger Yogurt Dressing
  • BLT Slaw
  • Dijon-Vanilla Broccoli Slaw
  • Pear & Cabbage Slaw
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    TIP OF THE DAY: Try A New Cocktail Each Weekend

    Gin Fizz

    Blackberry Brandy

    Top: Blackberry Gin Fizz (photo courtesy NathanandChristinaMakeFood.com). Here’s the recipe, made with muddled fresh blackberries instead of blackberry brandy. Bottom: Blackberry brandy. Check the back label to be sure it’s made with natural flavors (photo courtesy Leroux).

     

    We tend to try new cocktail recipes on weekends. Life’s too short to keep to our three or four standards, much as we love them.

    We keep a running list of cocktails we’d like to try. Friends and neighbors know that it’s “open house” on late Sunday afternoons: They can stop by and try the weekend’s special.

    We discovered a bottle of blackberry brandy in the liquor cabinet, so this weekend we’re mixing up a pitcher of Blackberry Gin Fizz: gin, blackberry brandy and Prosecco.

    WHAT’S A FIZZ?

    A fizz is a type of mixed drink—a variation on the older sour recipe. Sours are a family of mixed drinks that combine alcohol with lemon or lime juice—the sour component—plus a sweetener (fruit juice, grenadine, honey, liqueur, maple syrup, simple syrup, sugar, etc.). Sours are one of the original cocktails described by Jerry Thomas in his 1862 book, How to Mix Drinks.

    Famous sours include the Daiquiri (rum, lime juice and sugar), Margarita (tequila, cointreau and lime juice), Sidecar (cognac, triple sec and lemon juice) and Whiskey Sour (whiskey, lemon juice and sugar).

    A sour becomes a fizz with the addition of carbonated water. The first printed reference to a fizz (spelled “fiz”) is in the 1887 edition of Jerry Thomas’ Bartender’s Guide, which contains six “fiz” recipes.

    Adding carbonated water to a Gin Sour—gin, lemon juice and sugar—creates a Gin Fizz, a.k.a. a Tom Collins). Substituting blackberry brandy or liqueur for the sugar creates a Blackberry Gin Fizz.

    The Fizz became widely popular in America between 1900 and the 1940s, and spread internationally. Known as a hometown specialty of New Orleans, the Gin Fizz was so popular that bars would need to employ extra bartenders to shake them.
     
    RECIPE #1: BLACKBERRY GIN FIZZ

    This recipe comes from the Salt Creek Grille in Princeton, New Jersey, which used Tanqueray gin.

    You can make your own blackberry brandy from fresh blackberries and regular brandy (recipe below). If you have extra bottles of brandy, go for it—but note that it takes two months for the fruit to fully infuse.

    You can use the blackberry brandy to make Blackberry Juleps, Margaritas, Mojitos and other cocktails.

     
    You can also use the blackberry brandy for a variety of other drinks and foods (see below).
     
    Ingredients For 1 Drink

  • 1.5 ounces gin
  • .5 ounce blackberry brandy (substitute blackberry liqueur*)
  • Splash fresh lemon or lime juice
  • Splash simple syrup
  • Splash prosecco (substitute cava or other affordable bubbly†)
  • Optional garnish: fresh blackberries
  •  
    Preparation

    1. COMBINE first four ingredients in a shaker with ice. Shake and strain into an ice-filled collins glass.

    2. TOP with prosecco. Garnish with a notched berry on the rim, or a cocktail pick with blackberries.

    Variations

  • Instead of blackberry brandy, use muddled fresh blackberries. For a frozen drink, freeze fresh blackberries and toss them into the blender with the other ingredients.
  • Make a mocktail with club soda, lime juice and blackberry juice (we used Welch’s Farmer’s Pick Blackberry Juice).
  • Make a slush—a Blackberry Sgroppino, adapting the Venetian cocktail made from lemon sorbet, vodka and prosecco. Substitute blackberry sorbet for the lemon sorbet in the recipe above (we use Ciao Bella’s Blackberry Cabernet sorbet).
  •  
    _______________________
    *Liqueurs are sweeter than fruit brandy, and are grain-based (gluten) instead of grape-based (gluten-free).

    †We recommend Asti Spumante from Italy, Yellow Tail Bubbles from Australia, Cava from Spain (Freixenet is the most widely available):
    Crémant from France, Woodbridge Brut from California (Robert Mondavi, Domaine Ste Michelle Brut from Oregon.

     

    RECIPE #2: HOMEMADE BLACKBERRY BRANDY

    Don’t buy the cheapest brandy on the shelf. What you put in determines what you get out.

    Ingredients For 1 Liter

  • 1 pound blackberries, washed and patted dry
  • 8 ounces superfine sugar
  • 1 liter (35 ounces) brandy
  • 3 canning jars (500ml) or other sealed containers
  •  
    Preparation

    According to StarkBros, a purveyor of fruit trees, you should wait to add the sugar until the end of the infusing process.

    1. DIVIDE the blackberries and sugar among the jars; pour in the brandy. Seal the jars tightly and shake well.

    2. STORE the jars in a cool, dark place, shaking every other day for a week. Then shake, once a week for two months or longer. The longer it steeps, the better the brandy will be.

    3. WHEN you’re ready to drink it, strain the liquid into a 1 liter bottle (33.8 ounces).
     
    For your next batch, you can consider adding another layer of flavor: a whole clove, a strip or two of lemon peel (pith removed) and 1/4 teaspoon vanilla.
     
    THE DIFFERENCES BETWEEN CORDIAL, FRUIT BRANDY, LIQUEUR, EAU DE VIE, LIQUEUR, SCHNAPPS

    While many people use these terms interchangeably, and they are all flavored spirits, there are differences in terms of sweetness and color—and in the case of fruit brandy, the base alcohol.

  • Liqueur (lih-CUR, the French pronunciation) is made by steeping fruits in alcohol after the fruit has been fermented; the result is then distilled. Liqueurs are typically sweeter and more syrupy than schnapps.
  •  

    Blackberry Brandy Recipe

    Blackberry Sorbet

    Top: Homemade blackberry brandy (photo courtesy StarkBros.com). Bottom: Make a slush by adding blackberry sorbet (photo courtesy Ciao Bella).

  • Schnapps (SHNOPS) is made by fermenting the fruit, herb or spice along with a base spirit, usually brandy; the product is then distilled. This process creates a stronger, often clear, distilled spirit similar to a lightly flavored vodka. “Schnapps” is German for “snap,” and in this context denotes both a clear brandy distilled from fermented fruits, plus a shot of that spirit. Classic schnapps have no added sugar, and are thus less sweet than liqueur. But note that some manufacturers add sugar to please the palates of American customers.
  • Eau de vie (OH-duh-VEE), French for “water of life,” this is unsweetened fruit brandy—i.e.,schnapps.
  • Cordial has a different meaning in the U.S. than in the U.K., where it is a non-alcoholic, sweet, syrupy drink. In the U.S, a cordial is a sweet, syrupy, alcoholic beverage: liqueur.
  •  
    In sum: If you want a less sweet, clear spirit, choose schnapps/eau de vie over liqueur. For something sweet and syrupy, go for a liqueur or cordial.
     
    Fruit Brandy Vs. Liqueur

  • Liqueur is sweeter, and typically made from a grain-based alcohol.
  • Fruit-flavored brandy is made from a grape-based alcohol. Be sure to buy one that is all natural, i.e., made with real fruit instead of flavored syrup. With a quality brand, the fruit is macerated in the alcohol, then filtered out prior to bottling.
  • There are a few Cognacs-based liqueurs such as Chambord (raspberry), Domaine De Canton (ginger) and Grand Marnier (orange). Cognac is a higher-quality brandy made according to the stringent standards of the Cognac commune of southwestern France.
  •  
    MORE THINGS TO MAKE WITH BLACKBERRY BRANDY

  • Drink it straight as an apéritif.
  • Make a spritzer with sparkling water or sparkling wine.
  • Make blackberry granita, ice cream or sorbet.
  • Marinate fruit salad.
  • Use as a flavoring in desserts.
  • Use as a dessert sauce to top angel or pound cake, ice cream, sorbet, etc.
  • Use to make sauces for savory dishes, such as duck and salmon.
  •   

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    TIP OF THE DAY: Amp Up The Potato Salad

    Russian Potato Salad

    Fresh Dill

    Top: Add beets, dill, carrots, peas and onions for a Russian-style potato salad (photo IdahoPotato.com). Bottom: Fresh dill is a delicious accent for any potato salad, but is often used in Russian recipes (photo courtesy PaperChef.com).

     

    With Memorial Day Weekend just a week away, we’re revisiting one of our favorite cookout foods: potato salad.

    To us, a basic potato salad includes quality mayonnaise, diced raw vegetables (carrots, celery, red onions, maybe some bell pepper) and fresh dill and parsley. This was our mother’s potato salad.

    But these days we want more: more layers of flavor, more excitement. We try new recipes on most warm-weather weekends, and delight in the process of invention (our reigning favorite, mini whole potatoes, salmon caviar, a sour cream-mayo blend, sweet onion and lots of fresh dill).

    Here are two we’ll be making for Memorial Day festivities. Both from the Idaho Potato Commission. There are links to more recipes below, for a total of 16 specialty potato salad recipes.

    RECIPE: RUSSIAN BEET & POTATO SALAD

    Ingredients

  • 4 medium Yukon Gold potatoes (about 1 pound total), peeled and cut into 1/2-inch cubes
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 1 cup frozen peas and carrots, thawed
  • 1/3 cup finely chopped red onion
  • 5-ounce can sliced beets, drained, slices quartered
    (alternatively, you can dice whole beets)
  •  
    For The Dressing

  • 1/4 cup light mayonnaise
  • 1/4 cup plain Greek yogurt
  • 1 tablespoon finely chopped fresh dill
  • 1 teaspoon horseradish mustard*
  •  
    _______________
    *You can buy horseradish mustard, but it’s simple to make. Just combine Dijon mustard with prepared white horseradish. Start with a 3:1 ratio, and add more horseradish to taste.

     
    Preparation

    1. ADD the potatoes and salt to a medium saucepan with enough water to cover. Bring to a boil, reduce the heat and simmer until just tender, 4-5 minutes. Drain in a colander and rinse with cold water.

    2. COMBINE the potatoes, peas and carrots, and onion in a large bowl.

    3. WHISK together in a small bowl the mayonnaise, yogurt, dill and horseradish mustard. Add the potato mixture and gently combine.

    4. PLACE the beets on a paper towel and gently blot dry—or else your potato salad will turn pink! Fold the beets into the potato mixture very gently; do not over-mix. Serve within 1 hour for peak flavor and appearance.

     

    RECIPE #2: RED CHIMICHURRI POTATO SALAD

    The signature condiment of Argentina, chimichurri sauce is a parsley-based, garlicky vinaigrette with a verdant green color.

    Red chimichurri, a more recent development, adds paprika and red wine vinegar, which create a dark red background for the herbs. Both are served as accompaniments to grilled meat in Argentina, which makes them a great match with what you’re grilling.

    This recipe was created by Latino Foodie for the Idaho Potato Commission.

    Ingredients For 4 Servings

  • 1-1/2 pounds Baby Dutch yellow potatoes
  • 1/2 teaspoon ground black pepper
  • 1 teaspoon kosher salt
  • 1 teaspoon red chili flakes
  • 1-1/2 teaspoons paprika
  • 1 tablespoon dried oregano
  • 2 tablespoons fresh lemon juice
  • 1/3 cup red wine vinegar
  • 1/2 large red bell pepper, chopped
  • 1/2 bunch fresh cilantro, trimmed
  • 1 bunch fresh parsley, trimmed
  • 3 green onions
  • 6 large garlic cloves, peeled
  • 1 cup extra virgin olive oil
  •  
    Preparation

    1. PLACE the potatoes in a large pot and cover with cold water. Place over high heat and bring to a boil. They are small so they should be done in about 10 minutes (be careful not to overcook or they will turn into mashed potatoes). To test for doneness, insert the tip of a steak knife into the middle of a potato. If it slides off easily, they are done. Drain and allow the potatoes to cool slightly.

    2. ADD the remaining ingredients except the oil to a food processor. Pulse until the ingredients are roughly chopped. Slowly drizzle in the oil while pulsing the food processor. You can make the sauce chunky or smooth, as you prefer.

    3. HALVE or quarter the potatoes. In a large bowl, gently toss the potatoes with a quarter of the chimichurri, adding more as needed. The remaining sauce can be used to marinate the vegetables or steak for the meal.

    4. STORE any remaining chimichurri in a tightly-sealed jar. It will keep in the refrigerator for about a week.

     

    Chimichurri Potato Salad Recipe

    Red Chimichurri Sauce Recipe

    Baby Yellow Dutch Potatoes

    Top: Red Chimichurri Potato Salad. Center: Red chimichurri sauce, a classic Argentine condiment (photos courtesy Idaho Potato Commission). Bottom: Baby Dutch yellow potatoes (photo courtesy Melissas.com).

     
    MORE POTATO SALAD SPINS

  • Arugula Potato Salad
  • Barbecue Potato Salad
  • Baked Potato Salad
  • Beer-Roasted Potato Salad With Brussels Sprouts
  • Brussels Sprouts Potato Salad
  • Corned Beef & Cabbage Potato Salad
  • German Potato Salad With Bacon & Bacon Vinaigrette
  • Green Bean Potato Salad
  • Grilled Potato Salad With Hot Dog Chunks
  • Grilled Sweet Potato Salad
  • Red, White & Blue Potato Salad (especially for Memorial Day and Independence Day)
  • Smoked Salmon Potato Salad
  • Warm Potato Salad
  •   

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    TIP OF THE DAY: Mix Up Your Mixed Grill

    Types Of Mixed Grill

    /home/content/p3pnexwpnas01 data02/07/2891007/html/wp content/uploads/mixed grill thechophouse singapore 230

    Top: Lebanese Mixed Grill, served at the Four Seasons Hotel | Cairo: chicken, chicken sausage, lamb chops, lamb sausage, onions and tomatoes on flatbread. Bottom: A British mixed grill served at The Chophouse | Singapore: beef, lamb chops, different sausages and tomatoes.

     

    If you grill, you’ve probably been making “mixed grill” without knowing about it. When you’ve got more than one type of food on the grill—hamburgers, hot dogs and corn on the cob, for example—it’s a mix. Surf and Turf is a deluxe mixed grill.

    Many cuisines feature a traditional dish called Mixed Grill. Some examples of typical combinations:

  • Argentine asado: beef, kidney, liver and sausages such as chorizo and morcilla, a blood sausage, served with chimichurri sauce.
  • Brazilian churrasco: various cuts of chicken (including hearts) and beef (including picanha—in English, coulotte, rump cap, rump cover or sirloin cap).
  • British mixed grill: lamb chops, lamb kidneys, beef steak, gammon (uncured ham), tomatoes and mushrooms.
  • Italian mixed grill: beef and pork plus chicken marinated in olive oil, garlic, lemon and rosemary.
  • Jerusalem mixed grill: chicken hearts, livers and spleen; lamb; onion, garlic and and Middle Eastern spices.
  • Kansas City Mixed Grill (breakfast): bacon, eggs, ham, home fries, sausage links and toast.
  • South Asian Mixed Grill (Bangladesh/India/Pakistan): chicken tikka and mutton tikka, served with roti and chutney.
  • Venezuela Mixed Grill: mixed meat skewers.
  •  
    So today’s tip is: Mix it up this season. Come up with a list of different proteins and vegetables you’d like to try.

    How about:

     

  • Lamb Mixed Grill: lamb burgers and chops, asparagus, broccolini and endive.
  • Pork Mixed Grill: bacon, ham, pork belly, pork chops and sausages with corn, garlic, onions and tomatoes.
  • Sausage Mixed Grill: three or more types of sausages with portabella mushrooms and zucchini.
  • Seafood Mixed Grill: shrimp, tuna steaks, eggplant and romaine.
  •  
    Our ideal mixed grill would include duck, lamb chop, lobster tail and pork belly with onions, radicchio and tomatoes.

    What’s yours?

     

    Sausage Mixed Grill

    A sausage mixed grill with baby bell peppers. Here’s the recipe from Food & Wine.

     

      

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    TIP OF THE DAY: Cornbread With The Salad Course

    Skillet Cornbread Scallions & Cotija

    Layer the flavor, as with this Skillet Cornbread With Scallions & Cotija Cheese from Good Eggs. Here’s the recipe (photo courtesy Good Eggs | San Francisco).

     

    Cornbread is a staple in the Southern U.S., and found not-often-enough in other regions. It can be plain or accented with popular mix-ins like corn kernels and minced jalapeños.

    It can be baked in a cake pan or a skillet. And it can be much more:

    Instead of simple, overly sweetened cornbread, we turn cornmeal into cornbread recipes layered with flavor: those corn kernels and jalapeños plus bacon, diced ham, fresh sage, scallions (green onions), shredded Cheddar or Jack cheese, sundried tomatoes and more.

    Today’s tip is to serve cornbread with the salad course: We have a fun and flavorful recipe below for Buffalo Chicken Cornbread. But first, some…
     
    A BRIEF HISTORY OF CORNBREAD

    As corn spread from Mexico northward, it was cultivated by Native Americans across the southern region of what is now the U.S.

    When European settlers arrived, they learned to cultivate and cook corn from the Cherokee, Chickasaw, Choctaw, and Creek. They adapted cornmeal to European recipes: bread loaves and muffins, corncakes, corn pone (fried simply), fritters, hoecakes and pancakes, liquor, porridge and so on. Cornbread became popular as the main ingredient for a dressing or stuffing with fowl (the difference: stuffing is cooked inside the bird; dressing is cooked in a separate pan).

     
    Cornmeal is produced by grinding dried raw corn grains. The finest grind is used for baking, a medium grind for porridge and polenta, and a coarse grind for grits.

    Raw corn kernels spoked in hot water and an alkaline mineral like calcium hydroxide is called hominy (pozole in Spanish) and ground and mixed into masa harina, the dough used to make tamales and tortillas.

    Cornbread can be baked or fried, even steamed. Steamed cornbread is more like cornmeal pudding or mush, moist and chewier than a traditional bread.

    Here’s more on the evolution of cornbread plus early cornbread recipes. One thing to note:

    Originally cornbread did not contain sugar. As disposable income increased, this expensive ingredient was added as a variation, to make cornbread more like a cake. Unfortunately, more and more sugar was added until cornbread became an overly-sweet, simple bread.

    That’s fine if you want cake; you can serve sweet cornbread with berries and whipped cream.

    But if it’s bread you want, lose the sugar. We prefer to add whole corn kernels for sweetness, or enjoy cornbread as a savory bread.

    Finally: Is it cornbread or cornbread? Either spelling is fine. Many words evolve into compound nouns over time (bed room > bedroom, blue bird > bluebird, motor cycle > motorcycle, red head > redhead, under ground > underground and so forth.
     
    CORN VS. MAIZE: THE DIFFERENCE

    Maize is another word for corn. The only difference is in the word origin:

  • Maize is the Spanish spelling of mahiz, a word from the Arawakan language of the Taíno people who voyaged from what is now Venezuela to the Caribbean. There, they first encountered Spanish explorers and conquistadors. By the time Europeans migrated to the New World in the late 15th century, the Taíno were the principal inhabitants of most of what comprises modern Cuba, Jamaica, Hispaniola (the island that comprises the Dominican Republic and Haiti) and Puerto Rico.
  • The Taíno also gave us the words which we now spell as barbecue, canoe, hammock, hurricane and tobacco.
  • Corn is a general world for grain, originating from the Proto-Germanic kurnam, small seed, to the German korn, to the Old English corn, which initially referred to barleycorn, a grain of barley. When New World corn came to Britain, it was called Indian corn.
  •  
    Now, for that delicious recipe we promised earlier:

     

    RECIPE: BUFFALO CHICKEN CORNBREAD WITH BLUE CHEESE SALAD

    As an alternative salad course, top a “loaded” slice of cornbread with the salad.

    If you like blue cheese, this imaginative variation of cornbread was submitted by Sonya Goergen to the recipe section of the Lodge Manufacturing website. She uses a Lodge skillet, of course!

    You can serve cornbread and salad at brunch, as a soup-and-salad lunch, or as a salad course at dinner.

    Prep time is 20 minutes, cook time is 30 minutes.

    Ingredients For 8 Servings

    For The Cornbread

  • Nonstick cooking spray
  • 1 large egg
  • 3/4 cup milk
  • 1 tablespoon chopped fresh flat-leaf parsley
  • 2 tablespoons olive oil
  • 1 package yellow cornbread mix* (6.5 ounces)
  • 1 cup shredded Cheddar cheese
  • 1/2 cup crumbled blue cheese
  • 2 cups fully cooked frozen boneless Buffalo-style hot wings, thawed and diced
  • 1/2 teaspoon red pepper flakes
  • 2 tablespoons chopped fresh cilantro
  •  
    For The Salad

  • 1/2 small head of lettuce, chopped
  • 1 cup sliced celery
  • 1/2 red onion, sliced
  • 1/2 cup crumbled blue cheese
  • 2/3 cup blue cheese salad dressing
  • 1/2 cup tomatoes, diced
  • 1 cup shredded Cheddar cheese
  • Garnish: chopped cilantro
  •  
    ______________________
    *Sonya used Martha White Yellow Cornbread Mix (not the “sweet cornbread” mix, which is much sweeter). You can use another brand.

     

    Skillet Cornbread Recipe

    Flat Leaf Parsley

    Curley Parsley

    Top: Buffalo Cornbread With Salad (photo courtesy Sonya Goergen | Lodge Manufacturing). Center: Flat-leaf parsley. Bottom: Curly parsley (photos courtesy Good Eggs). See the difference between curly and flat leaf varieties below.

     
    Preparation

    1. PREHEAT the oven to 400°F. Spray a 10-1/4” cast iron skillet with cooking spray.

    2. COMBINE the egg, milk and oil in a medium bowl. Add the cornbread mix, Cheddar cheese, blue cheese, diced hot wings, red pepper flakes and cilantro. Stir until well blended and pour into the skillet, spreading evenly.

    3. COOK for 20 to 30 minutes until golden brown. Remove from oven and let cool.

    4. Combine the lettuce, celery, red onion and crumbled blue cheese in a medium bowl. Toss with the blue cheese dressing. Cut the cornbread into 8 wedges and divide the salad atop the portion. Garnish with diced tomatoes and cilantro and serve.

     
    FLAT LEAF VS CURLY LEAF PARSLEY

    There are numerous varieties of parsley, but flat leaf and curly are the varieties most often found at the store, and can be used interchangeably in recipes.

  • Flat-leaf or Italian parsley (Petroselinum crispum neapolitanum) is more flavorful than the curly variety. It also lies better on a plate, if you’re using it as a garnish.
  • Curly parsley (Petroselinum crispum) has traditionally been used as a plate garnish—and over time, it became a boring one to us. To adapt a phrase from Groucho Marx, we bought back our introduction to it.
  •  
    Don’t toss the stems: Stronger in flavor than the leaves, they can be used in a bouquet garni, stock, and minced to flavor dishes from beans and eggs to pesto and salads. You can freeze the stems until you need them.

    The plant, native to the Mediterranean, is a member of the Apiaceae family, commonly known as the carrot, celery or parsley family. It is a family of mostly aromatic plants with hollow stems.

    Family members include angelica, anise, arracacha, asafoetida, caraway, carrot, celery, chervil, cicely, coriander (cilantro), culantro, cumin, dill, fennel, lovage, and parsnip, among others.

      

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    TIP OF THE DAY: Rice Paper For Fun Food & Serious Food

    Shrimp Summer Rolls

    Summer Rolls

    rice-paper-wrappers-c-denzelGreen-cooksinfo-230

    Rice Paper For Spring Rolls

    Top: Vietnamese Summer rolls with shrimp (here’s the recipe from Sally’s Baking Addiction. Second: Vietnamese Spring Rolls with added fruit (photo California Strawberry Commission). Third: Rice paper wrappers (photo © Denzel Green | CooksInfo.com). Bottom: Traditional packaging (photo Three Ladies Brand).

     

    ABOUT RICE PAPER

    Rice paper is a name for everything different products, including edible paper and decorative papers, including wallpaper. The edible kind, made from rice flour, is the white, translucent wrapper used for Vietnamese spring and summer rolls, chilled and raw or fried and hot. They can be used to wrap savory or sweet ingredients—or a combination.

    Here’s more about rice paper from CooksInfo.com.

    Beyond traditional spring and summer rolls rolls (here’s the difference between spring rolls and summer rolls), you can make lots of fusion food. Some of the uses we’ve tried:

  • Asian ravioli (i.e., dumplings) with an Asian sauce or an Italian sauce (pesto or olive oil).
  • Baked salmon in “parchment” (the rice paper becomes “edible parchment”—recipe).
  • Gluten-free lasagna.
  • “Leftovers” rolls: proteins, noodles/pasta, salmon usually) and soba noodles, raw or cooked vegetables, grains, beans, legumes, etc.
  • Salad rolls/crudité rolls, with your favorite raw veggies.
  • Wrap “sandwiches”: curried chicken salad, smoked salmon, tuna salad, BLT (bacon, butter lettuce, halved cherry tomatoes).
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    Some supermarkets carry rice paper in the Asian products aisle; or get them from an Asian grocer or online. They may be called spring roll wrappers or spring roll skins.

     
    RECIPE: DIY SPRING ROLLS

    This is a fun dish made by each person at the table, like Moo Shoo Pork. We first had it at a Vietnamese restaurant in Paris in our late teens, and it was love at first bite: grilled beef and fresh mint wrapped in butter lettuce leaves with condiments.

    We’ve since added rice paper for do-it-yourself spring rolls. You can make them vegetarian or add a grilled protein of choice.

    Set the table with ingredients of choice. You can use them all (we do) or make a selection of five or so.

  • Basil or cilantro, freshly minced or shredded
  • Butter lettuce leaves
  • Carrots, shredded
  • Chiles, thinly sliced
  • Chopped peanuts
  • Cucumber, julienned
  • Fresh fruit: mango, blueberries, strawberries, apple
  • Fresh mint sprigs (substitute basil leaves)
  • Daikon, shredded
  • Green onions (scallions), thinly sliced
  • Protein: grilled beef or tuna slices, shrimp, crab, etc.
  • Red cabbage, shredded or made into slaw with Asian vinaigrette*
  • Rice noodle vermicelli, cooked
  • Rice paper wrappers with bowls of warm water
  • Optional: Asian chili sauce, sambal olek†, watercress or baby arugula, whatever appeals to you
  •  
    Plus

  • Dipping sauce: choose from Nuoc Mam Cham (recipe below), peanut sauce, chimichurri sauce (especially with grilled proteins), Asian-style vinaigrette†, or other sauce of choice.
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    *Asian vinaigrette: For 1/2 cup, combine 2 teaspoons unseasoned rice vinegar, 1 tablespoon soy sauce, 1/2 cup olive oil or other salad oil, 1/2 teaspoon dark/toasted sesame oil, 1/2 small garlic clove finely grated. You can also add a squeeze of fresh lime juice and/or grated lime zest.

    †You can make your own sambal olek simply by grinding chiles with water to form a paste. We used a mortar and pestle.

     

    RECIPE: NUOC MAM CHAM, VIETNAMESE DIPPING SAUCE

    Nuoc cham is Vietnamese for “dipping sauce.” Nuoc mam cham is specifically a fish sauce-based dipping sauce.

    Ingredients For 1 Cup

  • 3 tablespoons fish sauce
  • 3 tablespoons rice vinegar
  • 2 tablespoons sugar
  • 1/2 cup water
  • 2 garlic cloves, chopped
  • 1 bird’s eye chile†, thinly sliced
  • 2 tablespoons lime juice
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    _______________________
    †Bird’s eye is a very hot chile, 100,000 ~ 225,000 Scoville Heat Units. You can substitute the less hot jalapeño or serrano—pick the smallest ones. (See the different types of chiles.)

     
    RECIPE #2: HUMMUS & CRUDITÉS “CLOCK”

    Whether you have kids or a sense of whimsy, this Hummus and Crudités “Clock” is a fun and good-for-you snack (photo above).

    We adapted the idea from a photo on the Tio Gazpacho Facebook page, and created the face of the clock from hummus.
     
    Ingredients

  • Rice paper sheets
  • Hummus (flavor of choice)
  • Cucumbers, sliced
  • Cherry tomatoes, halved
  • Scallion tops
  • Optional garnish: minced parsley
  •  

    Vietnamese Dipping Sauce
    Crudites

    Top: Nuoc mam cham sauce (photo and recipe variation from GastronomyBlog.com). Bottom: Hummus “clock” on rice paper (photo Tio Gazpacho | Facebook).

     
    Preparation

    1. SOFTEN the rice papers according to package directions. Spread with hummus and place on a plate. (It’s difficult to make a perfectly round clock face, so the we use the rice paper for a clean look).

    2. ADD the crudités as shown in the photo to make the face of the clock.

    3. SPRINKLE the the rest of the plate with minced parsley if you need to “fill out the plate.”

      

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    TIP OF THE DAY: Hibiscus Salt & Ways To Use It

    Hibiscus Salt Rim

    Chocolate Cupcake With Salt Garnish

    Cherry Tomato Salad With Hibiscus Salt

    Fried Egg & Asparagus With Hibiscus Salt

    Hibiscus Blossom

    Top: Margarita rim. Second: Cupcake garnish. Third: Salad garnish. Third: Eggs. Photos courtesy Hibiscus-Salt.com. Bottom: Hibiscus flower. Photo courtesy TypesOfFlower.com.

     

    A number of years ago, hibiscus flowers became a trendy ingredient for mixologists and pastry chefs, with the import of Wild Hibiscus Flowers in Syrup from Australia’s Wild Hibiscus Flower Company.

    It took us this long to try the company’s second hibiscus product, Wild Hibiscus Flower Pyramid Salt Flakes. Salty, fruity-zingy-tart and beautiful, it’s become the latest “it” gift for us.

    WHAT IS HIBISCUS SALT?

    First, what is hibiscus? It’s a genus of flowering plants in the mallow family, Malvaceae—the same genus that gave us marshmallow. The genus contains several hundred species that are native to subtropical and tropical regions throughout the world.

    The flowers often have vivid colors and fragrances. The blossoms are used as a flavoring for everything from beverages to ice pops (we highly recommend hibiscus iced tea. The flavor is fruity and floral, with a tart, red fruit backbone.

    The blossoms are also used to make a gourmet finishing salt with a pyramid shape similar to England’s Maldon salt and Cyprus Sea Salt. Hibiscus salt is a blend of dried, ground hibiscus flowers and Australian pyramid salt flakes.

    Finishing salts are top-quality salts that are known for their unique textures, which allow them to quickly dissolve when applied to finished dishes. These include flake salt, fleur de sel, and French sea salt.
     
    Flake salt is a light crystal salt reminiscent of snowflakes. Seawater is are evaporated by the sun and wind producing salt brine that is slowly heated to the point where delicate pyramids shaped crystals of salt appear. The finished product is light, flaky sea salt.

    Flake salts are harvested all over the world: the Maldon River in England, Anglesey off the island of Wales, New Zealand, and Australia. The pink flake salt shown here comes from Australia’s Murray-Darling River Basin, where a red pigment, carotene, is secreted by algae.

    The crystals are small, fine, flat and pink; combining with the hibiscus yields a salt with violet hues.

    In addition to delicate flavor and eye appeal, the salt is rich with calcium and magnesium, among other minerals.

    The product is call natural, certified kosher (by Kosher Australia) and gluten free.
     
    CHECK OUT THE DIFFERENT TYPES OF SALT IN OUR SALT GLOSSARY.

     
    HOW TO USE HIBISCUS SALT

    Hibiscus salt can be sprinkled as is, crumbled for a finer presentation or used in a salt grinder. It can be used with sweet and savory foods and beverages.

  • Avocado toast, cream cheese, etc.
  • Cake and cupcake garnish
  • Chocolate bark
  • Cocktails and mocktails
  • Eggs
  • Fish, smoked salmon
  • Glass rimmer
  • Goat cheese log (roll the log in an elegant combination of the violet salt and chopped green pistachios) and other fresh cheeses
  • Hot chocolate
  • Ice cream, sorbet and other desserts (go for a salty contrast, or mix the hibiscus salt with some decorating salt for sweet-and-salty)
  • Melon
  • Plate garnish
  • Popcorn
  • Potatoes, rice and vegetables
  • Salad
  • Yogurt and cottage cheese
  • Lots more (including gifts)
  •  
    Get yours today.

     

     
      

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    TIP OF THE DAY: Soufflé Omelet With Balsamic Strawberries

    For Sunday brunch, try your hand at a fluffy Soufflé Omelet. This recipe, adapted from one by the California Strawberry Commission, has a filling of balsamic strawberries.

    Serve it with a bubbly Mimosa (recipe below).

    RECIPE: SOUFFLE OMELET WITH BALSAMIC STRAWBERRIES

    Ingredients

  • 1½ cups (about 8 ounces) fresh strawberries, stemmed and quartered
  • 1 tablespoon chopped fresh basil or mint
  • 1 tablespoon aged balsamic vinegar
  • 2 teaspoons granulated sugar, divided
  • 2 large eggs, separated
  • ¼ teaspoon vanilla
  • 2 teaspoons butter
  • Garnish: confectioners’ sugar and/or mascarpone or sour cream
  •  
    Preparation

       

    Soufflet Omelet

    A Souffle Omelet, stuffed with balsamic strawberries (photo courtesy California Strawberry Commission).

     
    1. COMBINE the strawberries, mint, vinegar and 1½ teaspoons of the granulated sugar in bowl; set aside.

    2. WHISK the egg yolks, vanilla and remaining ½ teaspoon of granulated sugar in a small bowl for 1 minute, or until slightly thickened.

    3. BEAT the egg whites in the bowl of an electric mixer until they form soft peaks. With a rubber spatula, fold the yolk mixture into the whites until no streaks remain.

    4. MELT the butter in 10-inch nonstick skillet over medium heat. When the butter is sizzling add the egg mixture, spreading it into an even layer with the spatula. Cover the pan and reduce the heat to low. Cook for 3 to 4 minutes or until the omelet is golden brown on the bottom and barely set on top.

    5. SPOON the strawberries down the center of omelet. Use the spatula to fold the omelet in half over filling.

    6. SLIDE the omelet onto a plate and dust with confectioners’ sugar. Add a dollop of sour cream or mascarpone as desired.

     

    Mimosa With Strawberry Recipe

    Mimosa Cocktail

    Top: You don’t need Champagne flutes to serve a Mimosa (photo courtesy DrinkSkinny.com. Bottom: Even better, a Blood Orange Mimosa (photo courtesy BakeholicMama.com).

     

    OMELETTE VS. OMELET?

    It’s the French versus British spelling. Both are correct: Omelette is is more elegant while omelet is easier to spell.

     
    RECIPE: MIMOSA COCKTAIL

    Use juice from a carton if you like, but the best Mimosa Cocktail is made from fresh-squeezed juice (juice is half the recipe, after all). Even better is fresh-squeezed blood orange juice!

    Unless you have an excess of Champagne to use up, save the money and buy a Cava or Prosecco, in the $12 to $15 range; or a Sparkling Rosé. If you don’t have Champagne flutes, use white wine glasses or a tall, slender stemless glass.

    Variations: Try a Grapefruit Mimosa substituting grapefruit juice, or a Grand Mimosa with a splash of Grand Marnier or other orange liqueur.

    Ingredients

  • Dry sparkling wine, chilled
  • Orange juice, chilled (if squeezing, plan 1 orange per drink)
  • Optional: orange liqueur
  • Optional garnish: notched strawberry
  •  
    Preparation

    1. POUR the sparkling wine into the flute. It should comprise half of the contents.

    2. TOP the sparkling wine with orange juice, then the optional orange liqueur. The heavier weights of the juice and liqueur will travel to the bottom and self-mix.

    If you feel that mixing is necessary, give the drink half a gentle stir with a swizzle stick so you don’t break the bubbles.

    3. CUT a notch in the strawberry and set it on the rim of the glass. Serve immediately.

     
    THE HISTORY OF THE MIMOSA COCKTAIL

    The Mimosa, a cocktail composed of equal parts of orange juice and Champagne or other dry, white sparkling wine, was invented by bartender Frank Meier circa 1925 at the Hôtel Ritz in Paris.

    Served in a Champagne flute, it is believed to be named after the the mimosa evergreen shrub (Acacia dealbata), which bears flowers of a similar color to the drink.

    Because of the juice component, the Mimosa is often served at brunch. The optional addition of a small amount of orange liqueur like Grand Marnier complements the juice and gives the drink more complexity.

      

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    TIP OF THE DAY: Make Brown Butter Cinnamon Rolls, A Weekend Treat

    On Mother’s Day we called our aunt to send our best wishes, and ended up chatting about our family’s favorite topic: food. We ended up reminiscing about the Pecan Logs from Fanny Farmer and the Pecan Honey Buns from Horn & Hardart, both chains long gone.

    After the call ended, we couldn’t wait to make these delicious, 90-minute Brown Butter Cinnamon Rolls from one of our favorite bakers, Audra, The Baker Chick.

    If you’d like to bake something this weekend, we recommend these yummy breakfast and tea-time pastries. They’re at best warm from the oven (or warmed up in the microwave), but “best” is relative: They’re always delicious! Any extras can be frozen.
     
    RECIPE: BROWN BUTTER CINNAMON ROLLS

    Ingredients For 12 Rolls

  • ¾ cup milk
  • ¼ cup unsalted butter, softened
  • 3¼ cups all-purpose flour
  • 1 package (.25 ounce/2¼ teaspoons) instant yeast
  • ¼ cup white sugar
  • ½ teaspoon salt
  • ¼ cup water
  • 1 egg
  •  
    For The Filling

  • 1 cup brown sugar, packed
  • 1 tablespoon ground cinnamon
  • ¼ cup plus 1 tablespoon butter, softened
  • Optional: 1/4 cup raisins/currants or chopped pecans
  •  
    For The Frosting

  • 2 tablespoons butter, softened
  • 4 ounces cream cheese, softened
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract or paste
  • 2-3 cups powdered sugar (we found 2 cups to be sweet enough)
  •  
    Preparation

    1. HEAT the milk in a small saucepan until it bubbles, then remove from the heat. Whisk in the butter and stir until melted. Let the mixture cool until lukewarm.

    2. COMBINE in a large mixing bowl 2¼ cups of the flour, the yeast, sugar and salt; whisk together. Add the water, the egg and the milk mixture; beat well with an electric mixer. Add the remaining flour, ½ cup at a time, using a wooden spoon to stir well after each addition (the dough will be too thick and sticky at this point to use the a mixer.) When the dough has just pulled together…

     

    Cinnamon Rolls Recipe

    Pecan Honey Buns

    Pecan Sticky Bun

    Top: The Baker Chick’s Brown Butter Cinnamon Buns. Center: A version of the original Pecan Honey Buns of our youth, also called sticky buns. Here’s the recipe from Susan Spungen, The Modern Cook. Photos copyright their respective owners. Bottom: A recipe for sticky buns from EzraPoundCake.com.

     
    3. TURN it out onto a lightly floured surface and knead until smooth, about 5 minutes. Alternatively, use the dough hook in a stand mixer. When ready, the dough will spring back when lightly pressed. Cover the dough with a damp cloth and let it rest on the counter for 10 minutes. Meanwhile…

    4. BROWN the butter by placing it in a small microwave-safe container. Cover it with a microwavable saucer or other tight lid (including microwavable plastic wrap with a vent cut in) and microwave for 3-5 minutes. The butter will melt, pop and then turn brown. If you don’t have a microwave, you can do this on the stove top. While the butter cools slightly, mix together the filling—butter, brown sugar and cinnamon—in a small bowl.

    5. ROLL out the dough into a 9×12 inch rectangle on a lightly floured surface (use a 9×13 baking dish as a guide.) Using a pastry brush, slather the dough with the brown butter. Sprinkle the dough with the cinnamon-sugar mixture and the optional raisins/nuts, and press in lightly so they does’t fall out when you roll the pastry. The brown sugar mix should cover the dough all the way to the edges.

    6. ROLL up the dough and pinch the seam to seal. Using a serrated knife, cut into 12 equal size rolls and place in a 9×13 baking dish. Cover and let the rolls rise in a warm place* until doubled, about 30 minutes.

    7. PREHEAT the oven to 375°F. Bake for 17-20 minutes, or until golden. While the rolls bake…

    8. MAKE the frosting: Whip together the softened butter and cream cheese with an electric mixer until smooth and creamy. Add the vanilla and the powdered sugar, ½ cup at a time. Beat until creamy and spreadable. Let the rolls cool for 10 minutes and then spread the rolls with frosting. Serve warm.

     
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    *Proofing is the final rise of shaped dough before baking—a specific rest period during the fermentation process. Cold air will retard the rise, so if it’s cold in your kitchen, preheat the oven to 200°F and proof the dough in the oven.

      

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    TIP OF THE DAY: Avocado Toast

    Avocado Toast

    Cherry & Grape Tomatoes

    Mini Cucumbers

    Top: Fully Loaded Avocado Toast. Center: A medley of cherry and grape tomatoes. Bottom: Mini cucumbers. Photos courtesy Sunset Produce.

     

    Over the last few years, Avocado Toast has been spreading from casual dining spots to coffee bars. The concept started as part of the trend to eat more nutritiously (avocado nutrition). It falls in the “nutritious and delicious” category.

    We first saw Avocado Toast in the form of seasoned, chunky mashed avocado on whole grain toast—perhaps garnished with sprouts or halved cherry tomatoes. As its popularity grew, so did the creativity.

    Today’s tip is: Design your ideal Avocado Toast recipe. Ours includes capers, fresh basil, pimento, sweet onion, tomato or sundried tomato, and a balsamic drizzle on crusty country loaf toast. Sometimes we add slices of hard-boiled egg.

    Avocado toast can be served for breakfast or snacks, or as smaller hors d’oeuvre (crostini).

    Here are two more takes on Avocado Toast:

    RECIPE #1: LOADED AVOCADO TOAST Loaded Avocado Toast OR CROSTINI

    This recipe, from Chef Roger Mooking for Sunset Produce, uses the brand’s mini cucumbers and Wild Wonders mix of cherry and grape tomatoes in red and orange. Prep time is 15 minutes.

     
    Ingredients For 4 Servings

  • 1/2 cup loosely packed, thinly sliced shallots (substitute sweet onion)
  • 2 mini cucumbers, thinly sliced
  • 2 cup halved cherry and/or grape tomatoes
  • 4 slices bread
  • 1 avocado, mashed
  • 1/2 teaspoon smoked paprika
  • 1/2 teaspoon coarse-cracked black peppercorns
  • 1/2 teaspoon lemon zest
  • 1/2 teaspoon coarse or flake sea salt (the different types of sea salt)
  • 1/2 teaspoon ground fennel seeds (we ground whole seeds in a mortar with a pestle)
  • 1/2 cup quality extra virgin olive oil (we used basil-infused olive oil)
  • Preparation

    1. SEPARATE the shallot slices into individual rings. Submerge them in a bowl of cold water and let stand for 10 minutes. Drain and discard the water.

    2. TOAST the bread lightly, place a slice on each plate and spread 2 tablespoons of avocado on each slice. Top the avocado with a pinch of smoked paprika.

    3. DIVIDE the tomatoes, then the cucumbers, on top of the avocado. Sprinkle with a pinch each of cracked black pepper (you can crush peppercorns in the mortar, too), lemon zest, sea salt and ground fennel seed. Place the shallot slices on top or to the side.

    4. DRIZZLE 1 teaspoon of olive oil on top of each slice to finish. Serve immediately.

     

    RECIPE #2: AVOCADO-MISO TOAST

    Miso may seem an unusual pairing with avocado, but the flavors are very complementary. This recipe from Quinciple features an unusual ingredient: hozon, a proprietary miso-style spread made by David Chang’s Kaizen Trading Company.

    Hozon isn’t yet available to consumers outside of Quinciple’s meal delivery service, but you can substitute regular miso. The difference is that traditional miso is made from fermented soybeans, and hozon is made from fermented legumes, nuts and seeds.

    You can easily whip up miso compound butter or hozon compound butter (recipe below). It gives umami flavor and savory contrast to the avocado toast.

    Ingredients For 2 Slices

  • 2 slices rustic bread
  • 1 tablespoon butter, softened
  • 1 tablespoon sunflower hozon or traditional (recipe below)
  • 1 ripe avocado, halved, pitted and peeled
  • 2 scallions, thinly sliced on the bias
  • 1 teaspoon black sesame seeds
  • Flake sea salt
  •  
    Preparation

    1. TOAST the bread until golden and crisp. If using hozon…

    2. WHISK together the butter and hozon in a small bowl, until combined. Otherwise, coat each piece of toast generously with miso compound butter (recipe below).

    3. SLICE each avocado half as shown in the photo, and press down gently to fan out the slices.

    4. ARRANGE each fanned avocado half atop a piece of toast. Garnish with scallions, sesame seeds and salt.

     

    Avocado Toast

    Miso Butter

    Top: Avocado Toast with hozon butter, an alternative to soybean miso paste. Photo courtesy Quinciple. Bottom: Miso butter, a compound butter. Photo courtesy MomofukuFor2.com.

     
    RECIPE: MISO BUTTER, A COMPOUND BUTTER

    Compound butter is classic French ingredient: a blend of unsalted butter with another flavor ingredient that complements the particular recipe. It can be anything from blue cheese to nuts, herbs, spices and citrus. Here’s more about compound butter.

    Ingredients

  • 1/2 stick unsalted butter, room temperature
  • 2 tablespoons miso paste (any type—see the different types of miso)
  • Freshly ground pepper
  • Optional minced seasonings: chives or green onions, garlic, ginger; citrus zest; red pepper flakes.
     
    Preparation

    1. BLEND the butter, miso and pepper with a small whisk or a fork.

    2. BUTTER the bread; roll the remainder into a log shape in plastic wrap and refrigerate or freeze. You can cut off slices to garnish chicken, fish or steak (lots of umami); vegetables; potatoes or rice.
     
    AVOCADO FUN FACTS

  • The avocado is a tree that is native to south central Mexico. Botanically, the fruit is a large berry containing a single seed (the pit).
  • Avocados have been cultivated in Central America for some 7,000 years, although they didn’t arrive in the U.S. until in 1833 in Florida. They were planted in California in 1856. Today California is the largest producer of avocados in the U.S., followed by Florida and Hawaii.
  • Although we only see a handful in supermarkets, there are more than 80 varieties of avocado. The most popular is the Hass avocado.
  • Americans eat an average of 4.5 pounds of avocado per year. About 50 million pounds of avocados are consumed in the U.S. on Super Bowl Sunday.
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