THE NIBBLE BLOG: Products, Recipes & Trends In Specialty Foods
Also visit our main website, TheNibble.com.

TIP OF THE DAY: Plate Decorating With Sauce

Octopus With Swirled Sauce

Lava Cake With Sauce

Squeeze Bottles

Dessert Sauce Squeeze Bottles

[1] These “flowers” are simply polka dots pulled together with a toothpick (see the video below; photo courtesy Gardenia | NYC). [2] Any food that isn’t made in a sauce can be decorated (photo courtesy Shalit Foods). [3] Keep your favorite sauces in the fridge, ready to squeeze (photo courtesy Pure Joy Concepts). [4] You can buy sauces or make them (photo courtesy Melissa’s).

 

When you get your food at a good restaurant and the chef has made beautiful chevrons, flowers or hearts from the sauce, are you impressed?

If so, know that some of these are so easy, that all you need are a couple of squeeze bottles and a toothpick or skewer to make them at home.

In fact, the hardest thing to do is to decide which sauces to use with your dish.

So watch the video below, or plenty more on YouTube under “sauce decoration.”

  • Start with polka dots of sauce before moving into more complex designs.
  • Look for the color impact as well as the flavors when you select sauces.
  • The lists below are just guidelines. You can use whatever goes through a squeeze bottle (but steer clear of sauces with inclusions—bits of dill, mustard seeds, etc.).
  •  
    SAVORY SAUCES

  • Aïoli (garlic mayonnaise) or other flavored mayonnaise 
  • Alfredo (parmesan) or other cheese sauce
  • Barbecue sauce
  • Cream sauce (plain, basil, curry, ginger, tomato, wasabi, etc.)
  • Hoisin or plum sauce
  • Horseradish sauce
  • Lemon sauce
  • Mustard sauce
  • Ranch sauce
  • Sriracha sauce
  • Vegetable coulis*
  • Yogurt-based (e.g. garlic-yogurt sauce)
  •  
    SWEET SAUCES

  • Berry coulis*
  • Butterscotch/caramel sauce
  • Chocolate/white chocolate/mint chocolate sauce
  • Cinnamon sauce sauce
  • Coffee/mocha
  • Custard/crème anglaise
  • Honey or maple syrup
  • Kiwi coulis
  • Lemon or other citrus sauce
  • Mango coulis
  • Sweetened condensed milk
  • Yogurt-based (e.g. honey-yogurt sauce)
  •  
    ________________

    *Coulis (COO-lee) is a sauce made from puréed and strained vegetables or fruits (i.e., no seeds remain).

     
    This video shows three easy techniques for both sweet and savory sauces.


     
      

    Comments

    TIP OF THE DAY: Potato Fondue With Baby Potatoes

    You may have used potatoes in an assortment of fondue dippers, but they can be served on their own with a pot of warm, dripping cheese.

    Try potato fondue as a first course at dinner (photo #1), or a light main course with an added protein dipper (ham, sausage or turkey chunks) and a salad.

    We adopted this recipe from one by Mary Giuliani, sent to us by Potatoes USA, a potato marketing and research organization that represents more than 2,500 potato growers and handlers nationwide. You’ll find hundreds of interesting potato recipes at PotatoGoodness.com.

    We:

  • Used tricolor (white, red, purple) bite-size baby/petite/new/creamer* potatoes instead of the standard tricolor potatoes cut into chunks, specified in the original recipe (photo #2).
  • Added roasted onions for a more diverse dish (photo #3).
  • Used an IPA instead of the original stout.
  • Turned it into a main dish by including sausage with the potatoes and onions (we used Applegate Organic Chicken & Apple Sausage).
  •  
    RECIPE: POTATO FONDUE

    Ingredients

    For The Potatoes

  • 1 pound mixed baby† potatoes (white, red, purple), skins on, washed and patted dry
  • Optional: 1/2 pound pearl onions (ideally mixed colors)
  • Optional: Sausage, cooked and cut into chunks
  • 1/2 cup olive oil (more as needed)
  • 1 garlic clove, minced
  • Salt and freshly ground black pepper to taste
  •  
    For The Fondue

  • 1 cup stout or other strong beer
  • 1 cup half-and-half
  • 2 tablespoons all-purpose flour
  • 2 teaspoons dry mustard powder
  • 3 cups cheddar or gruyère‡, shredded
  • Freshly ground black pepper, to taste
  • Pinch of salt
  • 1/4 teaspoon ground nutmeg
  • Optional: 1/4 cup crumbled cooked bacon (optional)
  •  
    Plus

  • Fondue pot and stand, Sterno/votive candle, fondue forks
  •  
    ________________

    *Like miniature vegetables, baby potatoes are harvested before they’re full-grown. This makes them pricier, but with so much more eye appeal! They are available in white, red and purple varieties and are often sold as a mix. Baby potatoes are variously called creamer, new or petite potatoes.

    †The original recipe called for 1 cup of russet, 1 cup of purple and 1 cup of fingerling potatoes, cut into cubes.

    ‡You can use any cheese that melts well. Emmentaler, fontina, gouda, havarti, Monterey jack, provolone, raclette, reblochon and taleggio are also good melters. You can also blend two or three cheeses together for more complex flavors.

     

    Potato Fondue

    Roasted Fingerling Potatoes

    Roasted Pearl Onions

    [1] Yummy potato fondue (photo courtesy U.S. Potato Board). The original recipe used cut-up potatoes. [2] We substituted baby potatoes (photo courtesy Cilantropist). [3] We added roasted pearl onions (photo courtesy The Cutting Edge Of Ordinary).

     
    Preparation

    Everyone should be able to reach the fondue pot with their skewers. You can pass the potatoes in a serving bowl, or bring individual filled plates to the table along with a serving bowl for “seconds.”

    1. PREHEAT the oven to 350°F. If you are using fresh onions, soak them in warm water for 5 minutes before trimming the ends and removing the skins.

    2. TOSS the potatoes and onions in a bowl with olive oil, minced garlic, salt and pepper. Place them in a roasting pan and roast for 30 minutes, or until brown and crisp. Stir several times during cooking and rotate the pan halfway through, for more even cooking.

    If roasting the onions and potatoes together, keep them on separate sides of the pan in case you have to remove the onions a few minutes earlier. The onions should be al dente. If they get soft, they won’t stay on the fondue forks. Ditto with the potatoes: yielding to the fork, but not soft.

    3. COMBINE the beer, half-and-half, flour and mustard powder in a medium saucepan. Warm the liquid over medium heat and begin adding the cheese, whisking until melted.

    4. REMOVE from the heat and add the pepper, salt and nutmeg. Place the pot back on the stove and cook while stirring to a smooth consistency. Add more beer if the fondue is too thick; add more cheese if it’s too thin.

    5. TRANSFER the mixture to a fondue pot and stand fitted with Sterno or a votive candle (Sterno will keep it hotter, longer). Stir in the bacon. Serve with roasted potatoes. To keep the fondue at its ideal consistency, stir it intermittently.

      

    Comments

    RECIPE: Tea Brack, An Irish Sweet Bread

    Tea Brack

    Barmbrack

    Irish Breakfast Tea

    [1] Brack, an Irish tea bread, is traditionally round (photo courtesy King Arthur Flour). [2] But it can be a rectangular loaf (photo courtesy Stasty). [3] Enjoy it with a cup of tea (photo AG Photographer | Canstock).

     

    Brack is short for barmbrack, a traditional Irish sweet bread.

    The original barmbrack was a yeast bread with raisins and sultanas. Barm is a type of yeast and brack is a loaf of bread.

    Call it brack for short.

    In Ireland it is sometimes called bairín breac, Gaelic for “speckled loaf.” The speckling refers to the raisins and sultanas in the bread.

    That’s why it’s also called Irish Freckle Bread, a name which may go over better with kids and uncurious eaters.

    Call it what you will, today’s brack has ditched the yeast to become a moist, dense, packed-with-fruit breakfast and snack bread. It’s usually made in flattened rounds, but a loaf pan will do (and is easier to slice, in our opinion).

    It’s moderately sweet, like a zucchini bread or a raisin muffin. It is typically served with breakfast and afternoon tea; hence, tea brack. Some people like it toasted with butter.

    Barmbrack has also evolved into an Irish Halloween tradition. The Halloween version has fortune-telling trinkets hidden in the bread.

    RECIPE: IRISH TEA BRACK

    This recipe comes from the award-winning cookbook, The King Arthur Flour Baker’s Companion.

    It uses brewed tea as its liquid. You can substitute 2 tablespoons of Irish whiskey for 2 tablespoons of the tea.

    Prep time is 10-15 minutes, bake time is 60-70 minutes. Cut to modest size, you can get 16 servings from an 8″ round cake.

    Serve it with a cup of tea, of course; and with softened butter if desired.

    Ingredients

  • 1 cup brewed hot tea; Irish breakfast tea is a good choice
  • 1 cup raisins, packed
  • 1/2 cup currants, packed
  • 1 cup pitted prunes, snipped into small pieces
  • 1 cup chopped dates
  • 1 cup brown sugar, firmly packed
  • 2 cups Irish-style wholemeal flour or white whole wheat flour
  • 1 tablespoon baking powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1 large egg
  • 2-1/2 tablespoons coarse sparkling white sugar
  •  
    Preparation

    1. POUR the hot tea over the dried fruits in a medium-sized bowl. Set the mixture aside to cool to lukewarm, about 1 hour.

    2. PREHEAT the oven to 325°F. Lightly grease an 8″ x 2″ round cake pan. If your pan isn’t at least 2″ deep, use a 9″ round pan.

     
    3. STIR together the brown sugar, flour, baking powder and salt in a medium-sized bowl. Add the dried fruit and any remaining liquid. Stir until thoroughly combined. The batter will be thick and stiff.

    4. ADD the egg, mixing till thoroughly combined. Spread the mixture into the pan. Sprinkle the top evenly with the coarse sparkling sugar. Bake for 60 to 70 minutes, until a cake tester inserted into the center comes out moist, but without clinging crumbs.

    5. REMOVE the bread from the oven and turn it out of the pan onto a rack to cool.

     
      

    Comments

    TIP OF THE DAY: Customize Your St. Patrick’s Day Bagel

    Green bagels are a novelty on St. Patrick’s Day. But here’s a more elegant way to enjoy your bagel, with green fruits and vegetables.

    The concept can be applied to any holiday or occasion with theme colors (see the lists below), and can be part of a bagel buffet for brunch. Bonus: It’s a way to add an extra helping of produce to your daily intake.

    On top of the cream cheese, arrange fruits and/or vegetables in your color theme, as demonstrated by Arla Foods, maker of the cream cheese spreads used on the bagel (photo #1 and photo #6 at the bottom).

    Fruit on bagels beyond a raisin bagel? See photo #5, below—and try it on English muffins, too.

    Pick some fruits and/or vegetables from your color list, and get started. The green group has the most options.

    (Note: Specialty colors, such as yellow watermelon or purple bell peppers, aren’t typically found at supermarkets. Head to a specialty produce store or a farmers market.)

    GREEN FRUITS & VEGETABLES

  • Asparagus
  • Avocado
  • Broccoli (including rabe and rapini)
  • Capers
  • Cucumber
  • Edamame
  • Green apples, figs, grapes, plums
  • Green beans
  • Green bell pepper
  • Green olives
  • Green onion (scallion) tops
  • Green peas
  • Herbs (basil, dill, parsley, etc.)
  • Jalapeño
  • Kiwi
  • Lettuces (everything from arugula to watercress)
  • Pickles/gherkins
  • Sprouts
  • Sugar snap peas, snow peas
  • Zucchini
  •  
    ORANGE FRUITS & VEGETABLES

  • Cantaloupe
  • Carrots
  • Chiles (aji amarillo, habanero, Thai yellow chile)
  • Dried apricots
  • Kumquats
  • Mango
  • Orange bell pepper
  • Orange cherry or heirloom tomatoes
  • Orange or mandarin segments
  • Orange watermelon
  • Papaya
  •  
    PURPLE/BLUE FRUITS & VEGETABLES

  • Berries: blackberries, blueberries, boysenberries
  • Dried blueberries
  • Eggplant (grilled)
  • Purple figs, grapes, plums
  • Purple olives
  • Red cabbage
  • Specialty varieties: purple bell peppers, carrots, cauliflower, corn, potatoes, string beans
  •  
    RED FRUITS & VEGETABLES

  • Dried cherries or cranberries
  • Jalapeño or other red chile
  • Pomegranate arils
  • Radicchio or red endive
  • Raspberries or strawberries
  • Red apples, grapes, plums
  • Red bell pepper
  • Red leaf lettuce
  • Red grapes
  • Red onion
  • Red tomatoes
  • Watermelon
  •  
    YELLOW FRUITS & VEGETABLES

  • Apples (golden delicious and others)
  • Chiles (aji, banana, golden cayenne, lemon, Hungarian yellow wax, pepperoncini, etc.)
  • Corn
  • Pineapple
  • Yellow bell pepper
  • Yellow tomatoes
  • Yellow watermelon
  •  

    Green Bagel Toppings

    Green Bagels

    Green Bagels

    Shamrock Bagels

    Bagel With Fruit Topping

    [1] and [6] The alternative solution from Arla Foods. [2] Conventional green bagels from Einstein Bros Bagels. [3] Fancy (and $6 each!) at the Wynn Las Vegas. [4] The creativity award goes to the shamrock bagels at Sunrise Bagels and Cafe in Wyckoff, New Jersey. [5] Fruit-topped bagel from Number 2 Pencil.

     
    Green Bagel Toppings

    [6] Bagels with a buffet of green fruits and vegetables (photo courtesy Arla Foods).
      

    Comments

    FOOD FUN: Birthday Cheesecake Recipe

    Birthday Cheesecake

    Birthday Cheesecake

    Chocolate Ganache Cheesecake

    [1] A birthday cheesecake with sprinkles inside (photo from Wine & Glue). [2] Instead of the standard cheesecake graham cracker crust (like this one from Sally’s Baking Addiction), we used a birthday-like sponge cake layer. [3] We love a chocolate ganache topping on cheesecake (photo courtesy Baked By Nature).

     

    Some birthday boys and girls prefer cheesecake to a birthday cake. Even those who like cake may have tired of the conventional cake with buttercream filling and frosting.

    If the celebrant is a cheesecake lover, make it a special birthday cheesecake with sprinkles or confetti, and an optional chocolate ganache top.

    Plan ahead: the cream cheese needs several hours to soften to room temperature.

    We adapted the recipe below from one by Lisa of Wine & Glue.

    Lisa calls her recipe Cake Batter Cheesecake, but we changed the name to Birthday Cheesecake because there’s no cake batter.

    (On the other hand, if you want to make cake batter ice cream, which does use cake mix for that cake batter taste, head here or here.)

    We also added a cake crust adapted from one by King Arthur Flour, and the chocolate ganache frosting for chocoholics.

    For more dressed-up cheesecake ideas, check out Pimp Your Cheesecake.

    RECIPE: BIRTHDAY CHEESECAKE

    Ingredients

  • 3 eight-ounce bricks quality cream cheese (full fat), softened to room temperature
  • 3 eggs, room temperature
  • 1 can (14 ounces) sweetened condensed milk
  • 1-1/2 tablespoons vanilla
  • 1 teaspoon almond extract
  • 1/2 cup rainbow sprinkles/confetti, plus extra for top if desired
  •  
    For The Sponge Cake Crust

  • Softened unsalted butter, for buttering the pan
  • 1/3 cup sifted cake flour
  • 3/4 teaspoon baking powder
  • Pinch of salt
  • 2 extra-large eggs, separated
  • 1/3 cup sugar
  • 1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
  • 2 drops pure lemon extract
  • 2 tablespoons unsalted butter, melted
  • 1/4 teaspoon cream of tartar
  •  
    Plus

  • 9-inch springform pan
  • Foil
  • Birthday candles
  •  
    For A Ganache Top

  • 8 ounces semi-sweet chocolate, chopped
  • 1/2 cup heavy cream
  • Optional garnish: sprinkles/confetti or chocolate shavings
  •  
    Preparation

    1. MAKE the crust. Preheat the oven to 350°F and generously butter the bottom and side of a 9- or 8-inch springform pan (preferably nonstick). Wrap the outside with aluminum foil, covering the bottom and extending it all the way up the side (this prevents leakage).

    2. SIFT together the flour, baking powder and salt in a small bowl. In a large bowl, beat the egg yolks on high for 3 minutes with an electric mixer. With the mixer running, slowly add 2 tablespoons of the sugar and continue beating until thick, light yellow ribbons form in the bowl, about 5 minutes more. Beat in the extracts.

    3. SIFT the flour mixture over the batter and mix it with a spoon, until there are no remaining white flecks (do not over-mix). Blend in the melted butter. In a clean bowl using clean, dry beaters…

    4. BEAT the egg whites and cream of tartar together on high, until frothy. Gradually add the remaining sugar and continue beating until stiff peaks form (the whites will stand up and look glossy, not dry).

    5. FOLD about one-third of the whites into the batter, then fold in the remaining whites. If there are still a few white specks, they’ll disappear during baking.

    6. GENTLY SPREAD the batter over the bottom of the pan and bake just until set and golden (not wet or sticky), about 10 minutes. Watch carefully and don’t let the top brown. Touch the cake gently in the center. If it springs back, it’s done. Remove the pan to a wire rack to cool.

    7. INCREASE the oven heat to 375°F and prepare the filling. With the mixer on low, using the paddle attachment, beat the cream cheese until smooth. Then beat in the sweetened condensed milk, vanilla and almond extract. Finally, beat in the eggs.

    8. CONTINUE mixing until you can no longer see any yolk (it’s O.K. if the batter has a few lumps). Slowly mix in the sprinkles with a spoon.

    9. POUR the batter into a 9-inch springform pan and bake for 40 minutes. Turn the oven off and let the cheesecake sit for an additional half hour. Remove the pan from the oven, let cool, and chill at least four hours or overnight in the fridge.

    10. MAKE the optional ganache. Place the chocolate in a large, heatproof bowl and set aside. Heat the cream in a small saucepan over medium heat, until it begins to bubble around the edges, about 2 minutes. Remove from heat and pour it over the chopped chocolate. Let stand for 1 minute.

    11. WHISK the mixture until the chocolate melts and a smooth ganache forms; about 2 minutes. Pour the ganache over the cheesecake. Leave plain or garnish as desired. If you don’t use sprinkles to garnish, the birthday cake underneath will be a surprise. Refrigerate until ready to serve.

     
    MORE BIRTHDAY RECIPES FROM LISA

  • Cheesecake Batter Cookie Dip
  • Birthday Cake Bark
  •  
      

    Comments



    © Copyright 2005-2016 Lifestyle Direct, Inc. All rights reserved. All images are copyrighted to their respective owners.