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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.

FOOD HOLIDAY: Banana Split Sushi For National Banana Split Day

How should you celebrate August 25th, National Banana Split Day?

There’s the tried and true banana split, of course. Classically served in a long dish, called a boat (which gives the sundae its alternative name, banana boat), the recipe is familiar to most ice cream lovers:

A banana is cut in half lengthwise and set in the dish with scoops of vanilla, chocolate and strawberry ice cream. The strawberry ice cream is garnished with pineapple topping, chocolate syrup is poured on the vanilla ice cream and strawberry topping covers the chocolate ice cream. Crushed nuts, whipped cream and maraschino cherries garnish the entire boat.

Today, there are many variations to the classic banana split. We’ve had Deconstructed Banana Splits, Banana Split Cheesecake and the recipe below, Banana Split Sushi from RA Sushi.

BANANA SPLIT SUSHI

Ingredients For 2 Servings

 

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The deconstructed banana split at Sushi Samba in New York City. Photo courtesy Sushi Samba.

  • 2 bananas, ripe but firm
  • 1 tablespoon butter or neutral oil (canola, grapeseed
  • 2 tablespoons honey
  • 1/8 teaspoon cinnamon
  • Peeled kiwi slices
  • Clementine/tangerine segments (or substitute other fruit)
  • Whipped cream
  • Strawberries, washed and halved
  • Sauces: chocolate, strawberry*
  •  
    *You can easily make strawberry purée by processing the berries with a bit of sweetener to taste, and a splash of lemon or lime juice.
     
    Preparation

    1. CUT the bananas into 1-1/2 inch slices. While a restaurant can deep-fry the bananas in tempura batter, you can use a simpler approach: Combine the bananas, fat, honey and cinnamonan in a nonstick pan over medium heat and fry until golden brown (4-5 minutes on each side).

    2. ARRANGE each cooked banana piece on a plate as desired and top with a kiwi slice, which is the base for the remaining toppings. Add the clementine segment, whipped cream and strawberry halves.

    3. DRIZZLE with chocolate sauce and strawberry purée. Serve with chopsticks.

     

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    The classic banana split. Photo courtesy
    The Wholesome Junk Food Cookbook.

     

    BANANA SPLIT HISTORY

    The banana split was invented in 1904 by David Evans Strickler, a 23-year-old apprentice pharmacist at Tassel Pharmacy in Latrobe, Pennsylvania. He enjoyed inventing sundaes at the store’s soda fountain.

    His first “banana-based triple ice cream sundae” sold for 10 cents, which was double the cost of the other sundaes. News of the new sundae was picked up by the press and spread nationwide. Variations of the recipe appeared in newspapers.

    The enterprising Strickler went on to buy the pharmacy, re-naming it Strickler’s Pharmacy. The city of Latrobe celebrated the 100th anniversary of the invention of the banana split in 2004, and the National Ice Cream Retailers Association (NICRA) certified the city as its birthplace.

    The annual Great American Banana Split Celebration is held throughout the downtown Latrobe in late August, this year on August 29th.

     

    According to Wikipedia, Walgreens is credited with spreading the popularity of the banana split. The chain of drug stores established in the Chicago area by Charles Rudolph Walgreen promoted the banana split as a signature dessert.

      

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    TIP OF THE DAY: Burger Salad & Salad Burger

    For years we have been enjoying the Burger Salad at Five Napkin Burger in New York City. It’s evolved over time, but initially consisted of a big bowl of beautifully arranged baby greens and colorful veggie complements, in a perfect vinaigrette. Atop was a plump burger: beef, salmon, turkey, veggie or a solid piece of grilled tuna.

    We love good bread and can [alas] eat loaves of it. But burger buns—even when heavily seeded or made of brioche—rarely fall into that group. And they get soggy.

    So when Five Napkin Burger presented a menu of burger salads in addition to conventional burgers, we tried a salad and were hooked. We were never a neat burger eater, so enjoyed the bonuses: no meat juices or ketchup dripping onto us when we raised the burger to our mouth.

    While it could be a calorie- and carb-cutting alternative for some, let us hasten to say that we enjoy our burger salad along with the establishment’s excellent onion rings, sweet potato fries, and a beer.

    Today’s tip is not just a burger salad, but for those who still want their bun, a salad burger (below).

       

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    Our favorite way to enjoy a burger this burger salad from Five Napkin Burger. Photo courtesy Five Napkin Burger | NYC.

     
    HOW TO CREATE A GREAT BURGER SALAD RECIPE

    To start, think of your favorite salad and assemble the ingredients. Is it spinach salad? Cobb salad? Chopped salad? Salade Niçoise? Spicy greens (arugula, radish, watercress)? Tortilla salad?

    Create your burger salad from those ingredients; and if the original salad contained chicken, turkey or other meat, consider adding small amounts of them—a mixed grill burger salad, as it were.

    You can make a bacon cheeseburger salad or a diet burger burger salad. You can add seeds for more nutrition. And there are ways to cut calories. But here’s a list of options for starters:

     
    BASIC SALAD INGREDIENTS

  • Lettuce: mixed greens (we love to add arugula and cress, but have peaked on kale)
  • Salad veggies: bell pepper, carrots, celery, cucumbers, fresh herbs (basil, cilantro, dill, mint, parsley), radishes
  • Tomatoes: cherry, grape, sliced, sundried—or substitute pimento (roasted red pepper)
  • Onions: green (scallions), red, sweet
  •  
    SALAD ADD-ONS

  • Cheese: crumbled, cubed, julienned, shaved ribbons or shredded
  • Extra veggies: broccoli florets, cauliflower, chiles, fennel, green beans, mushrooms—raw, pickled, roasted or steamed
  • Fruits: berries, dried fruit, mandarin or orange segments, sliced stone fruit, apples or pears
  • Luxury veggies: artichoke hearts, avocado, endive, hearts of palm, radicchio, water chestnuts
  • Seasonal veggies: for example, asparagus and green peas in spring; corn, yellow squash and zucchini in summer
  • Proteins: bacon, beans or legumes (chickpeas, lentils), ham, hard-boiled eggs, tofu/seitan, seafood (we recently created a modern surf and turf burger salad with grilled shrimp), slices or cubes of poultry, salami, sausage, etc.
  • Starch: boiled potatoes, cooked grains, small pasta shapes
  • Garnishes: anchovies, croutons, nuts, olives, peppadews, pepperoncini, pickles, seeds (chia, flax, pepita/pumpkin, sunflower, toasted sesame), sprouts
  •  
    SALAD DRESSING

    A burger salad begs for a delicious vinaigrette. Here’s our template for making a vinaigrette recipe you’ll love.

  • Some people are calorie and fat counters. If that’s you, go for a dressing of plain balsamic vinegar (conventional or white balsamic). It makes a delicious dressing with just 14 calories per tablespoon.
  • Another direction is to use lemon, lime or yuzu juice. Yuzu is imported from Japan and pricey, but worth it.
  • Low-calorie salsa also works, plain or mixed with a bit of salad oil. For a creamy dressing, mix salsa with plain Greek yogurt.
  •  
    However, before you avoid salad oil, ask any nutritionist, the FDA or the American Heart Association: Two tablespoons daily of a heart-healthy oil are important for general health and specific conditions*. The recommended oils are monounsaturated, and include avocado oil, canola oil, olive oil and peanut oil.

    It’s time to stop looking old-school at “calories” and “fat”—an old school way of looking at diet—and focus your choices on health and nutrition.
     

     

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    Plan B: Top your burger with a salad.
    Photo courtesy Umami Burger | Hudson
    Eats.

     

    THE SALAD BURGER

    Instead of topping salad with a burger, you can top a burger with salad.

    Far more than a bunless burger or “diet burger”—the type served by our local diner and others, which plates a burger patty with lettuce, tomato, onion and a scoop of cottage cheese—a salad burger tops your burger with a flavorful salad.

    As you can see in the photo, it can be simple mixed greens, very lightly dressed. Since the burger is America’s favorite food, if you’ve been meaning to add more salad to your diet, here’s your chance.
     
    *A BIG FOOTNOTE ON HEALTHY FATS

    Monounsaturated fats deliver many health benefits, including:

  • Decreased risk for breast cancer.
  • Reduced cholesterol levels. The American Heart Association recommends the consumption of monounsaturated fats to improve one’s blood lipid profile.
  • Lower risk for heart disease and stroke. The FDA recommends that .8 ounce daily—about 2 tablespoons—may “possibly prevent coronary disease.”
  • Weight loss, when switching to monounsaturated fat from polyunsaturated fats (corn oil, safflower oil and soybean oil, among others) and saturated fats (largely from animal products: meat, dairy, eggs).
  • Less severe pain and less stiffness for sufferers of rheumatoid arthritis. Diet plays a role in reducing the pain and stiffness of those who already have rheumatoid arthritis.
  •   

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    RECIPE: A Waffle Sandwich (Wafflewich) For National Waffle Day

    For special occasions, a waffle sandwich is true food fun. There’s an immediate special occasion: August 24th is National Waffle Day.

    Andrea Correale, CEO of Elegant Affairs Caterers, sent us two yummy sandwich recipes to celebrate the day. Both replace the bread with waffles. The result: a wafflewich!

    Waffle sandwiches require the extra step of making fresh waffles. Frozen waffles don’t taste anywhere as good.

    To assauge any waffle guilt, check out our recommended whole grain pancake and waffle mixes.

    RECIPE: HAM & CHEESE WAFFLEWICH

    When a wafflewich includes cheese, the sandwich is even better if you place it in a panini press to melt a bit.

    Ingredients Per Sandwich

  • 2 waffles, freshly made from a waffle mix or your own recipe*
  • 3 slices ham per sandwich (Andrea prefers hickory honey ham)
  •    

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    Enjoy your ham and cheese on a waffle. Photo courtesy Elegant Affairs Caterers.

  • 3 slices cheese per sandwich (Andrea prefers sharp Cheddar; we like Emmental)
  • Mustard
  • Optional: lettuce and tomato
  • Sides: baby carrots or other crudités, coleslaw, pickles†, pickled vegetables, candied jalapeños
  •  
    *For big eaters, you can make a triple decker sandwich (three waffles). If your waffle recipe contains sugar—which is normal for breakfast waffles—cut it back to 1/2 teaspoon or none at all.

    †We added sweet and spicy pickle chips to the sandwich before grilling in the panini press. Check out our article on the best pickles.
     
    Preparation

    1. COOK the waffles in a waffle maker.

    2. PLACE the ham and cheese, lettuce and tomato between two waffles, with the pickle chips if desired (or, serve the pickles on the side). We added Dijon mustard between the ham and cheese layers.

    3. PLACE the waffle sandwich in a panini press and cook until the cheese is gooey. Remove and serve immediately with the sides.

     

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    A twist on the BLT: a BLT Waffle Sandwich. Photo courtesy Elegant Affairs Caterers.

     

    RECIPE: BLT WAFFLEWICH

    You can make this a vegetarian sandwich with Morning Star Bacon Strips or Lightlife Smart Bacon, and/or Baconaise bacon-flavored mayonnaise (one of our favorite mayos). These products get their bacony taste from natural smoke flavor and other seasonings.

    You can also add sliced avocado, chicken or turkey.

    Ingredients Per Sandwich

  • 3 slices cooked bacon (Andrea prefers hickory smoked bacon)
  • Sliced tomatoes
  • Lettuce (we prefer iceberg or romaine for the crunch)
  • Optional: sliced avocado, chicken or turkey
  • Mayonnaise (we prefer flavored mayonnaise)
  • Optional: long toothpicks (we like these festive cellophane frill toothpicks)
  • Sides: coleslaw or potato salad, chips (corn/tortilla, lentil, vegetable, etc.)
  • Preparation

    1. PILE the bacon, lettuce, tomatoes and optional avocado, chicken or turkey on the bottom waffle. If using iceberg lettuce, we find it helpful to slice it in slabs from the head, so the lettuce will lie flat on the sandwich.

    2. SEASON with salt and pepper as desired.

    3. SPREAD the top waffle with mayonnaise. Place the top on the sandwich and anchor with toothpicks as necessary.

    4. SERVE with sides.

      

    Comments

    TIP OF THE DAY: Go Rustic, Make A Crostata Or A Galette

    Before there were pie pans, there were crostatas and galettes. But let’s start with a brief history of pie, to provide some perspective before we get to a delicious crostata/galette recipe.
     
    THE HISTORY OF PIE

    Culinary historians trace the origin of pie to ancient Egypt, where savory fillings were baked in woven reeds as the vessel. A form of flat, free-form pastry, now called a crostata (Italian) or galette (French), evolved, consisting of a crust of ground grain (barley, oats, rye, wheat) and filled with honey.

    The concept was brought to Greece, and then to Rome. Ancient Greeks are believed to have created pie pastry, and the trade of pastry cook was distinguished from that of baker.

    In the millennia before modern bakeware was created, the Romans made an inedible pastry of flour, oil and water to hold meat and poultry as they baked (its main purpose was to keeping in the juices). The Roman Legions brought the technique with them as they forged through Europe.

    It was the use of lard and butter, in northern Europe, that led to a dough that could be rolled out and molded into what became a tasty modern pie crust.

       

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    A galette is sometimes called a rustic tart. Photo of a pear and apple galette courtesy Waitrose.

     
    According to the American Pie Council, “pye” first appears in the written record in England in the 12th century. The crust of the pie was referred to as a “coffyn,” rectangular like its namesake. The walls were thick to hold the shape, and there was more crust than filling. Often, the legs of a fowl were placed to hang outside of the coffyn and used as handles!

    The predecessor of modern cake and pie pans was a metal hoop that was placed on a baking sheet. Ultimately, bakeware was made from tin or pottery. It is believed that the rounded shape rather than square or rectangular, as well as the shallowness of the pan, were devised to create a smaller space in which to stretch limited ingredients.
     
    WHAT IS A CROSTATA OR GALETTE?

    A crostata or galette was an early way to form a pie crust in the absence of pie pans—and before anyone even realized a pie pan was desirable! The dough was rolled flat, the filling placed in the middle, and the edges turned up and folded (see the photos) to contain the filling. It was used for savory and sweet pies, and could be made free-form or in a rectangle, round or square.

    And, even after the emergence of tin and ceramic pie pans, for poor folk as well as the itinerant, no purchase of a pie pan was needed. This is a pie made without bakeware (well…a baking sheet helps the modern baker, instead of the older practice of using the floor of the oven or fireplace).

    Even today, it is simple to make; and we find it a fun undertaking, uniting us with all of those ancestors who baked without pans. No technique to create an even, fluted crust is necessary. There’s no worry about tearing the dough as you lift it into the pie pan. No one cares if the final result isn’t perfectly round or rectangular: The rusticity is the charm.

    And, the ease of creating a crostata/galette may get you to make pie more often—not just a fruit pie, but savory pies of vegetables, meat, even fish and seafood. Tip: It’s fun to make “leftovers pie,” tossing in everything from pasta, rice or grains to cooked meats and vegetables, cheese, whatever (go on a scavenger hunt through the fridge and pantry).

     

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    Galettes can also be made in individual sizes. Photo courtesy California Strawberry Commission.

     

    RECIPE: FRUIT GALETTE (CROSTATA)

    This recipe below works for any fruit, but for a classic apple galette, this recipe adds cinnamon.

    You can make the dough up to three days in advance.

    Ingredients For The Dough

  • 1-1/3 cups all-purpose flour
  • 1 tablespoon/15 grams sugar
  • ½ teaspoon salt
  • 1 large egg
  • Heavy cream, as needed
  • 1 stick cold unsalted butter, cut into pieces
  • 2 teaspoons lemon juice
  • Optional: ½ teaspoon grated lemon zest
  • Optional: jam in a matching or complementary flavor*
  •  
    *Spreading jam on the bottom of an unbaked crust is a tip that adds a more fruit flavor and some extra sweetness to the pie.

    For The Filling

  • 3 cups fruit of choice, sliced or cubed (berries can be left whole)
  • ½ cup to 3/4 cup sugar, based on the sweetness of the fruit, with 1 tablespoon reserved
  • Pinch of salt
  • Optional: juice and grated zest of 1/2 lemon
  • 3 to 4 tablespoons cornstarch
  •  
    Preparation

    1. MAKE the crust: In a food processor fitted with a steel blade, or in a large bowl, pulse or mix together the flour, sugar and salt. Lightly beat the egg in a measuring cup; then add just enough cream to get to 1/3 cup. Lightly whisk the egg and cream together.

    2. ADD the butter to the flour mixture and pulse, or use a pastry cutter or your fingers to break up the butter into chickpea-size pieces. If using a food processor, do not over-process the dough or it gets tough.

    3. DRIZZLE up to 1/4 cup of the egg mixture over the dough and pulse or stir until it just starts to come together (but is still mostly large crumbs). Mix in the lemon zest.

    4. PLACE the dough on a lightly floured surface and pat it into one uniform piece. Flatten it into a disk, wrap in plastic and chill for 2 hours and up to 3 days. When ready to bake…

    5. PREHEAT the oven to 400°F. Roll the dough into a 12-inch round—or as close to round as is easy for you. Transfer the dough to a rimmed baking sheet lined with parchment paper and chill while preparing the filling.

    6. PREPARE the filling: Toss together the fruit, all but 1 tablespoon of the sugar, the salt, the lemon juice and zest, and the cornstarch. Use more cornstarch for juicy fruits like apples, berries and peaches, and less for drier fruits like figs.

    7. SPREAD the optional jam over the center of the dough circle, then place the fruit in the middle, leaving a border of 1½ to 2 inches (some people like the look of an even higher crust). Gently fold the pastry over the fruit, pleating to hold it in. Brush the pastry with the leftover egg and cream mixture. Sprinkle the reserved tablespoon of sugar on the crust.

    8. BAKE for 35 to 45 minutes, until the filling bubbles up vigorously and the crust is golden. Cool for at least 20 minutes on a wire rack. Serve warm or at room temperature.

    This recipe was adapted from one in the New York Times.

      

    Comments

    FOOD 101: Sponge Cake History & Types

    August 23rd is National Sponge Cake Day. It celebrates an airy cake that’s just right for summer, garnished with fresh berries and whipped cream.
     
    THE HISTORY OF SPONGE CAKE

    The modern sponge cake dates to Europe in the early 19th century. Precursors were cookie-sized treats called biscuit bread and sponge fingers (a.k.a. boudoir biscuits, ladyfingers, Savoy biscuits [English] and savoiardi [Italian]); as well as sweet “breads” from Italy, Portugal and Spain.

    These earlier forms date back to the Renaissance (15th century) and were used in numerous desserts including trifles and fools. Early 17th century English cookbook writers note that recipes for fine bread, bisquite du roy [roi] and common biscuits were similar to sponge cake.

    Savoiardi, ladyfingers, originated in the late 15th century at the court of Catherine of Medici, created to mark the occasion of a visit by the King of France to the Duchy of Savoy. The recipe found its way to England in the early 18th century.

    The sponge cake is thought to be one of the first of the non-yeasted cakes; the rise comes from well-beaten eggs. The earliest recipe in English is found in a 1615 book by Gervase Markham*. The term “sponge cake,” describing the sponge-like openness of the crumb, probably came into use during the 17th century. The earliest reference cited in the Oxford English Dictionary is in an 1808 letter written by Jane Austen, who apparently was fond of them. [Source: Food Timeline]
     
    THE MODERN SPONGE CAKE

    The modern American sponge cake is a light-textured cake made of eggs, sugar and flour†; there is no fat or leavening. The rise comes from the beaten egg whites. The French sponge, génoise, is used for thinner cake layers, so the egg whites and yolks are beaten together.

    Sponges can be baked in cake pans, tube pans or sheet pans. They can be used to make layer cakes, tube cakes, roulades (rolled cakes) and cupcakes. They can be variously flavored and filled.

       

    /home/content/71/6181571/html/wp content/uploads/Victoria Sponge stylenest.co .uk copy 230

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    Top photo: a Victoria Sponge, filled with strawberry jam instead of Queen Victoria’s favorite, raspberry jam, and topped with powdered sugar. Photo courtesy Stylenest. Bottom photo: a simple sponge cake, made American-style in a tube pan. Photo courtesy Chicago Metallic Bakeware. Use a tube pan with feet, since sponge cake (as well as angel cake) must be inverted when removed from the oven.

     

    The basic sponge cake recipe is also used to make ladyfingers and madeleines; slices can be used instead of biscuits to make shortcake.

    *“The English Huswife, Containing the Inward and Outward Virtues Which Ought to Be in a Complete Woman.”

    †Since sponge cakes are not leavened with yeast, they can be eaten during Passover, made with matzo meal instead of wheat flour.

    TYPES OF SPONGE CAKES

    AMERICAN SPONGE CAKE

    The American Sponge is a high-rising cake, gaining volume from the air whipped into the egg whites and yolks. The dry ingredients (flour, baking powder, salt are folded in. Then the egg whites and more sugar are beaten until stiff and fold into the yolk mixture. It is often baked in an ungreased tube pan, which maximizes the volume of the cake, and emerges the springiest and spongiest of the sponge cakes.
     
    BRITISH SPONGE CAKES

    The classic British sponge of modern times is the Victoria Sponge Cake (see below).

    GÉNOISE SPONGE CAKES & COOKIES

    The French sponge cake, génoise (jen-WOZ), is named for the Italian port city of Genoa, where an precursor of it, Genoa Cake, originated in the early 19th century.

    Génoise sponge differs from American sponge cakes in that the eggs are beaten whole, rather than beating the the yolks and whites specialty for more rise. In fact, rise is not the goal; flatter cake layers are sought. Sheets of genoise are used to make Swiss rolls and other roulades, such as Buche de Noel. Genoise is also used to make ladyfingers and madeleines.

    Génoise sponge is the basis of many French layer cakes and roulades. Baked in pans or thinner sheets, it can filled with fruit purée, jam or whipped cream. It can be iced and decorated simply, elaborately or not at all.

     

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    /home/content/71/6181571/html/wp content/uploads/genoise baba lacigaledoree.com 230

    Top photo: chocolate genoise roulade (roll) filled with chestnut cream. Photo courtesy Dirty Kitchen Secrets. Bottom photo: thin layers of genoise used to assemble cakes. Photo courtesy La Cigale Doree.

      GENOA CAKE (NOT A GÉNOISE SPONGE)

    By the middle of the 18th century, cake bakers began to use well-beaten eggs instead of yeast as a leavening agent. The cake would be baked in a mold or in layers made by pouring the batter into two hoops, set on parchment paper and a cookie sheet (hoops atop baking sheets were the precursor of the modern cake pan).

    Genoa Cake originated in the port city of Genoa, Italy in the early 19th century. Some ingredients that came into the busy port from the East and Middle East—almonds, candied fruit and peel, citrus zest, currants, raisins, vanilla, cinnamon and other spices—often found their way into Genoa Cake, a light fruitcake that is different from the the airier genoise. Liqueur could be incorporated into the batter.

    Like the French génoise sponge, it could be served plain, filled with jam and/or cream, iced, or simply dusted with powdered sugar.

    There is also Italian génoise, called pan di Spagna (“Spanish bread”) in Italy.
     

    SPONGE ROLL (ROULADE)

    A sponge roll is a thin layer of génoise, no more than an inch deep, baked in a sheet pan. It has the flexibility to be filled with jam and/or cream and and rolled into a Bûche de Noël (Yule Log), Jelly Roll, Swiss Roll† or other type of roulade.
     
    ‡A Swiss roll is also called a cream roll when filled with whipped cream or other cream variation, and is often used as another term for jelly roll.
     
    VICTORIA SPONGE CAKE

    England’s Queen Victoria enjoyed a slice of sponge cake with her afternoon tea, garnished with raspberry jam and whipped heavy cream (called double cream in the U.K.) or vanilla cream (vanilla-flavored whipped cream, called chantilly in French).

     
    Her preferences led to the creation of the Victoria Sponge. Jam and cream are sandwiched between two sponge layers; the top of the cake is served plain or with a dusting of powdered sugar. It also came to be known as the Victoria Sandwich, and sometimes the Victorian Cake. (See the photo at the top of the page.)
     
    SPONGE CAKE VARIATIONS

  • Angel Cake or Angel Food Cake, a sponge cake that uses only the egg whites. This produces a white cake instead of a conventional sponge colored yellow by the egg yolks.
  • Castella, a Japanese sponge cake that’s a specialty of Nagasaki. It was introduced there by Portuguese merchants in the 16th century (see Pão de Castela, below), and is typically made in long loaves.
  • Cantonese Steamed Sponge Cake, steamed in a water bath and called Ma Lai Gao in Cantonese. You may find it in the U.S. at restaurants that serve dim sum
  • Chiffon Cake, invented in 1927 in Los Angeles. It is based on the sponge cake recipe plus some added fat. Here’s more about Chiffon Cake.
  • Eve’s Pudding, a Victoria Sponge made with sliced apples that cook at the bottom of the cake pan or baking dish, underneath the cake batter. Think of it as a cousin to Tarte Tatin.
  • Italian Génoise—see Pan di Spagna, below.
  • Ma Lai Gao—See Cantonese Steamed Sponge Cake, above.
  • Malay Steamed Cake, a steamed sponge, based on the Cantonese Steamed Sponge Cake.
  • Pandan Cake or Pandan Chiffon, a fluffy sponge cake of Indonesian and Malaysian origins, flavored with the light green juice of pandan leaves (which has notes of coconut, citrus and grass). It sometimes made a deeper green with food color.
  • Pan di Spagna, also called Italian Génoise or Torta Genovese. An Italian recipe that evolved in Sicily during the Spanish rule (1559–1714), it is flavored with vanilla and/or citrus zest. It is the cake base for Sicilian Cassata, Tiramisu, Zuccoto and Zuppa Inglese. [Source]
  • Pão de Castela, “bread from Castil,” is a Portuguese variation of Pan di Spagna.
  • Pão de Ló is an unsweetened bread sponge “cake,” created by a Genovese cook, Glovan Battista Cabona, in the mid-1700s‡‡. It was cooked in a water bath, which was more reliable than early ovens.
  • Passover Sponge Cake or Plava, is made with Kosher for Passover ingredients, with matzo meal, matzo flour or potato flour, replacing the wheat flour. It is sometimes flavored with almonds or pecans, apples or apple juice, dark chocolate, lemon, orange juice, or poppy seeds.
  • Tres Leches Cake, a sponge soaked in evaporated milk, sweetened condensed milk and whole milk. The recipe originated in Latin America.
  •  
    ‡‡According to About.com, the cook’s name was Giobatta Cabona, and was in the service of Marchese Domenico Pallavicini, Genova’s (Genoa in English) Ambassador to Spain in the mid-1700s. The Marchese asked for a new cake for a banquet, and Cabona created a light and airy confection he called Pâte Génoise, or Pasta Genovese in Italian. A slightly simplified version was called Pan di Spagna, to honor the Spanish Court.

      

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    TIP OF THE DAY: Serve Food In A Rocks Glass

    One way to make food more interesting is to serve it in (or on) an unusual vessel. Chefs at better restaurants are always looking for more interesting presentations, serving food on everything from bricks of Himalayan Pink Salt to slate tiles and cutting boards.

    Consumer magazines contribute their own ideas, styling food in hollowed-out oranges or butternut squash shells, mini flower pots and re-purposed oyster shells.

    For today, consider something much simpler: your tumblers or rocks glasses. In addition to a fun factor, they’re also good for controlling portion sizes of macaroni and cheese and other fattening food, and to constrain runny foods from running into neighbors on the plate.
     
    A rocks glass, also called an Old Fashioned glass, is a form of tumbler. With a capacity of nine to twelve ounces, it is used for a simple cocktail or plain spirit served over ice cubes—i.e., “on the rocks.”

       

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    Tartare in a tumbler. Photo courtesy Bo’s Kitchen and Bar Room | NYC.

     
    While you don’t have a cocktail with every meal, you do serve food that can be presented in those idle rocks glasses. Some ideas:
     
    Breakfast In A Rocks Glass

  • Cereal, cold or hot
  • Fruit salad
  • Scrambled eggs
  • Yogurt or cottage cheese
  •  
    Lunch & Dinner In A Rocks Glass

  • Beans and legumes
  • Ceviche
  • Condiments (e.g. pickles and olives)
  • Garnishes (e.g. croutons, grated cheese, gremolata, salsa)
  • Layered parfaits (e.g., guacamole, salsa, sour cream)
  • Pasta
  • Rice or other grains
  • Salad or slaw
  • Shrimp cocktail
  • Sides, from thick (like mashed potatoes) to runny (like sauerkraut)
  • Soup (no spoon required!)
  • Steak, salmon or tuna tartare
  •  

    /home/content/71/6181571/html/wp content/uploads/salad martini glass elegantaffairsFB 230sq

    Serve a side salad in a tumbler. Photo courtesy Elegant Affairs Catering.

     

    Desserts In A Rocks Glass

  • Berries
  • Compote
  • Dirt cake
  • Fruit soup
  • Garnishes (e.g. chocolate chips, shredded coconut)
  • Ice cream or sorbet
  • Mini meringues or other small cookies
  • Parfaits
  • Pudding or mousse
  •  
    Snacks In A Rocks Glass

  • Candies (we love a glass of gummies)
  • Cheese spread or cubes
  • Chips or pretzels with dip
  • Cookies
  • Crackers or Goldfish
  • Crudités with hummus or other dip
  • Popcorn
  • Nuts
  • Trail mix
  •  
    Our list is far from exhaustive. So the next time you open the cabinet door to select plates or bowls for serving food, think: Would this food be more fun in a rocks glass?

    If you don’t have enough tumblers, use wine goblets or Champagne coupes, also called sherbet Champagne glasses.

    The latter are so-called because, contrary to Marie Antoinette’s preferences, we now know that they shouldn’t be used for sparkling wines (the bubbles dissipate too quickly). But they work just great for sorbet, ice cream, pudding and mousse.

      

    Comments

    TIP OF THE DAY: Is Sambal Oelek The Next Sriracha?

    The taste buds of the nation have changed since the 1960s, when immigration laws were relaxed and more Asians moved to the U.S., bringing their culinary traditions with them. Their bolder flavors began to attract Americans who had only known a blander European-based diet.

    There were American hot sauces, but they were popular largely in the South and Southwest. Hot sauce manufacturing in the U.S. began in Louisiana with Tabasco brand pepper sauce in 1868. While it was distributed in other regions, most people didn’t know about it. Much later, in 1947, Dave Pace combined tomatoes, jalapeños and onions into “picante sauce,” refining the recipe over the next decade.

    With the national expansion of Tex-Mex restaurants beginning in the 1960s, more people were introduced to hot sauce, and the demand began to expand. Around the same time, the expanding popularity of the Bloody Mary meant that a bottle of Tabasco could be found in many households.

    The most recent hot sauce to take hold in the category is Sriracha, a recipe from Thai port of Sri Racha that is produced in California by the Huy Fong company. “Rooster bottles” of the hot chili pureé (the logo is a red rooster), with its ketchup-like sweetness and notes of garlic and spice, have found their way into restaurants and homes alike.

       

    /home/content/71/6181571/html/wp content/uploads/sambal oelek spoon ryanspilken 230r

    A spoonful of sambal olek, an Indonesian chile paste. Photo courtesy Ryan Spilken.

     
    Sriracha has gone from an Asian condiment few people had heard of, to the go-to hot sauce for millennials. Sriracha sauce has found its way onto burgers, breakfast eggs, fries, noodles, salads, sandwiches, stir-frys and wings. Chefs have added it to everything from rémoulade sauce to brownies, ice cream and other desserts.

    There are even Sriracha-specific cookbooks, including:

  • The Sriracha Cookbook: 50 “Rooster Sauce” Recipes that Pack a Punch (including Peach-Sriracha Sorbet) and its companion book…
  • The Veggie-Lover’s Sriracha Cookbook: 50 Vegan “Rooster Sauce” Recipes that Pack a Punch (including Maple-Sriracha Doughnuts and Watermelon Sriracha Sangria)
  • Sriracha Sauce Cookbook: Top 50 Easy Sriracha Recipes to Satisfy Your Spicy Food Addiction! (including Baked Sriracha Spaghetti Squash and Strawberry Sriracha Margaritas)
  •  
    Here’s the history of Sriracha sauce and the popular Huy Fong Sriracha Hot Chili Sauce that gave the product its nickname, “rooster sauce.”

    O.K., we know that Sriracha is mainstream, appearing in everything from hummus to potato chips. But in the words of fickle foodies and millennials everywhere, what’s next?

    It could be sambal oelek!

     

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    A thick paste, sambal oelik has vinegar tartness and fruity sweetness (like ketchup). Top photo courtesy RyanSpilken.com, bottom photo courtesy Huy Fong.

     

    WHAT’S SAMBAL OELEK?

    Vinegar-based sambal oelek is a staple in Indonesian, Malaysian and Thai cooking. The first packaged brand was Indonesian; and the name, Javanese in origin, means “ground by stone mortar.”

    Sambal is sauce typically made from a hot chiles and other ingredients, which can include fish sauce or shrimp paste, garlic, ginger, lime juice, rice vinegar or other vinegar, scallion, shallot and sugar.

    Tart and vinegary, with fruity notes, it is a paste rather than a thin liquid. And it’s definitel for heat lovers: The vinegar makes the heat even more intense.

    The folks at Huy Fong are at the ready, with jars of sambal oelek also bearing their familiar rooster logo.

    You can find it at Asian markets or online.

    And here’s a trick from Paul McMillan, executive chef at Wyoming Seminary, a prep school where the students love Sriracha:

  • Spread Sriracha over parchment or wax paper on a sheet pan and dry it in the oven at 180 degrees for at least an hour.
  • Remove from the oven, cool, and then break it up into crunchy crumbles that you can sprinkle on soups, salads, baked potatoes, rice and…anything.
  •  

    Industry experts predict that next on the hot sauce horizon is gochujang sauce (pronounced ko-choo-CHONG), a pungent, hot red chili paste from Korea. It’s made from fermented soybeans, glutinous rice, red chiles, garlic, honey and salt.

    The gochujang chili paste is also is made in a sauce version, for easy sprinkling.

    But for the rest of the details: That’s another story.

      

    Comments

    RECIPE: Fried Eggs On Rice

    Who needs toast? Serve this brunch idea from Gardenia restaurant in New York City.

    A fried or poached egg is served atop a bed of rice with roasted vegetables. It’s a yummy way to use up leftovers.

  • Use brown rice or other whole grain for more nutrition.
  • You can also use polenta or mashed potatoes for the bed.
  • If you don’t have any roasted vegetables—Gardenia used a mélange of beets, butternut squash, carrots and onions—do a quick microwave cook to soften, then sauté, what you do have.
  • A garnish of microgreens finishes the dish at Gardenia, but you can use chives, basil…or perhaps a crumbled bacon garnish?
  •  

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    A new way to enjoy fried eggs! Photo courtesy Gardenia Restaurant | NYC.

     

      

    Comments

    TIP: Eat More Peaches ~ The Season Ends Soon!

    grilled-tomatoes-peaches-wmmb-230
    fontina_kronenost_rothkase-230

    Skillet photo courtesy Wisconsin Milk Marketing Board. Photo of Wisconsin Fontina courtesy Emmi Roth USA.

     

    Soon, juicy peaches will be gone from the shelf. Even if you’ve had a few, as hand fruit or in recipes, seek them out in the next few weeks and enjoy peaches while you still can.

    Our personal favorite is peach ice cream, the favorite flavor of our childhood that has fallen out of favor. While some artisan ice cream producers make it, we haven’t seen a pint in our area in decades: We have to make it. And it’s worth it: Here’s a peach ice cream recipe.

    But first up, in our featured peach recipes, is a delicious appetizer, side dish or snack with wine from Eat Wisconsin Cheese.

    RECIPE: GRILLED TOMATOES & PEACHES WITH FONTINA

    You might not think to combine tomatoes with peaches, but they are very complementary—especially when grilled and topped with melted Fontina cheese, as in this recipe.
     
    Ingredients For 4-6 Servings

  • 1 baguette, sliced
  • Olive oil
  • 1 cup grape tomatoes, halved
  • 1/2 medium peach, cut into 1/2-inch pieces
  • 2 cups (8 ounces) Fontina cheese, shredded (substitute
    Emmenthal, Gruyère or Provolone)
  • 1/2 cup (about 2 ounces) Parmesan cheese, grated (substitute
    Asiago, Grana Padano or Pecorino Romano)
  • 1 tablespoon fresh rosemary, chopped
  • Black pepper, freshly ground
  •  

    Preparation

    1. HEAT a gas grill to medium, or prepare a charcoal grill for indirect heat.

    2. DRIZZLE the baguette slices with olive oil and grill, until toasted, turning once.

    3. DRIZZLE the tomatoes and peaches with olive oil; toss. Place in well-seasoned cast iron skillet. Cook on grill 10 to 12 minutes, stirring occasionally (but do not over-stir).

    4. ADD the Fontina and Parmesan and cook for 2 to 3 minutes, until the cheese is melted. Remove from the grill and sprinkle with rosemary and black pepper. Serve immediately with baguette slices and spreading knives.
     
    WHAT IS FONTINA?

    Fontina is a semisoft cow’s milk cheese which has been made since the Middle Ages in Valle d’Aosta, in the Western Alps of northwest Italy. It has PDO status (protected domain of origin), which means that cheese called Fontina can only be made in this area.

    The Italian cheese is mild when young and pungent when aged, when the rind turns an orange-brown color. The texture of PDO Fontina is semi-soft, rich and creamy with eyes (holes). It belongs on a cheese plate, and is an excellent melting cheese.

    In the U.S., the cheese called Fontina is typically sold on the younger side, when it has a buttery, nutty taste. Danish Fontina is pale yellow with a mild, slightly sweet flavor; it is often used as a sandwich cheese. These differences illustrate the importance of authenticity labels like PDO and AOC (Appellation d’Origine Contrôlée) is the French version of PDO) if you’re looking for the original experience.

     

    RECIPE: PEACH SHORTCAKES WITH ICE CREAM OR
    WHIPPED CREAM

    You’ve likely had strawberry shortcake, but what about peach shortcake?

    In this recipe is from Annalise of Completely Delicious for Go Bold With Butter, the conventional whipped cream that tops the fruit is replaced with ice cream. Annalise specifies vanilla, but we used peach ice cream.

    Prep time is 15 minutes, cook time is 25 minutes.
     
    Ingredients For 6 Servings

    For The Biscuits

  • 2 cups all-purpose flour
  • 1 tablespoon baking powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1/4 cup granulated sugar
  • 6 tablespoons unsalted butter, cold and cut into cubes
  • 2/3 cup buttermilk, cold
  • 1 large egg + 1 teaspoon water (the egg wash)
  •  
    For The Topping

  • 4 peaches, ripe but firm
  • 2 tablespoons butter, melted
  • 2 tablespoons maple syrup
  • 6 scoops vanilla ice cream
  •  

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    In this peach shortcake recipe, ice cream replaces the traditional whipped cream. Photo courtesy Go Bold With Butter.

     
    Preparation

    1. PREHEAT the oven to 400°F. Line a sheet pan with parchment paper or butter well.

    2. MAKE the biscuits: Combine the flour, baking powder, baking soda, salt and sugar in medium bowl. Add the cold cubed butter and cut it into the dry ingredients with a pastry blender or two forks, until butter is size of small peas. Add the buttermilk and mix until the dough begins to come together. Place it on a clean surface and knead a few times to incorporate all of the dry bits. Do not over-handle (it toughens the dough).

    3. PAT the dough to about 1 inch thick. Use a 3- or 4-inch round cookie cutter to cut the dough. Place the rounds on the prepared sheet pan. Brush them with the egg wash and bake until golden, about 15-20 minutes.

    4. PREHEAT a grill to medium low heat. Halve the peaches and remove the pits. Brush with melted butter and place them cut side-down on the grill. Grill 3-4 minutes until the peaches have grill marks and have softened somewhat. Transfer them to a plate and drizzle with maple syrup.

    5. ASSEMBLE: Slice the biscuits in half. Top with ice cream and grilled peaches. Serve immediately.

     
    KNOW YOUR PEACHES

    Check out these peach facts: the history of peaches, types of peaches and more.

      

    Comments

    FOOD FUN: Pool Party Punch

    /home/content/71/6181571/html/wp content/uploads/pool party punch pinnacle recipe 230

    Match your cocktail to the pool (the miniature
    beach balls
    are plastic, made for doll houses).
    Photo courtesy Pinnacle Vodka.

     

    For your next pool party, make this Pool Party Punch, an tasty and fun idea from Pinnacle Vodka.

    Pinnacle made it with their Original Vodka; you can make it your own with a flavored vodka. If you prefer, you can substitute gin or tequila.
     
    RECIPE: POOL PARTY PUNCH

    Ingredients Per Drink

  • 1 part vodka
  • 2 parts lemonade
  • Splash of Blue Curaçao (we used DeKuyper)
  • Garnish: fruit of choice (we used blueberries on cocktail picks)
  •  
    Preparation

    1. MIX ingredients and serve over ice. It’s that simple! Here’s a video with the full punch bowl recipe.

    MOCKTAIL VERSION

    Make a mocktail by exchanging the vodka for 7 UP, Sprite or white cranberry juice. Use blue food coloring instead of Blue Curaçao.

    And for garnish, perhaps a red Swedish Fish?

    Here’s the mocktail recipe.

     

    WHAT IS BLUE CURAÇAO

    Curaçao is an orange liqueur made from the dried peels of the laraha (LA-ra-ha) citrus fruit, grown on the island of Curaçao in the Netherlands Antilles (southeast of the Virgin Islands in the Caribbean).

    The laraha is a de-evolved descendant of the Valencia orange, which was brought over from Spain in 1527. It did not thrive in the Southern Caribbean climate. The oranges that the trees produced were small, fibrous, bitter and inedible. The trees were abandoned, and the citrus fruit they produced evolved from a bright orange color into the green laraha.

    When life gives you bitter fruit, distill it! It turned out that while the flesh of the laraha was inedible, the dried peel remained as aromatic and pleasing as its cultivated forebear. Experimentation led to the distillation of Curaçao liqueur from the peel.

    The distilled liqueur is clear. Some brands are colored blue or bright orange to create color in cocktails. The color adds no flavor.

     

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    Blue Curaçao. The clear orange liqueur is colored blue. It is also made in an orange-colored version.

     
    THE DIFFERENT TYPES OF ORANGE LIQUEUR

    Here’s how the different types of orange liqueur differ, including Curaçao and triple sec, which are generic terms, plus brands like Cointreau, Grand Marnier and Gran Gala.

      

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