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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.

JULY 4th: Ice Cream Cones

ice-cream-cones-amymillerdesigns-230sq

Impress your friends and family with these Independence Day ice cream cones. Photo courtesy Amy Miller Designs.

 

Who wouldn’t want to be Amy Miller’s friend?

The designer, crafter and baker created the best-looking July 4th ice cream cones.

Head to AmyMillerDesigns.com for the step-by-step showing how she did it.

In brief, you need ice cream cones, vanilla candy melts in red, white and blue, and sprinkles. You can use either cake cones (shown in photo), sugar cones or their big brother, waffle cones.

The toughest part is deciding what flavor of ice cream to scoop into your cones. Vanilla works best, but keep an eye out for cherry vanilla, strawberry or blueberry swirl.

How much do you know about the different types of ice cream and frozen desserts?

Check ‘em out in our Ice Cream Glossary.

 

 
  

Comments

TIP OF THE DAY: Nut-Crusted Fish

Coating fish with nuts and baking or sautéeing is an easy, foolproof way to prepare an elegant entrée. The nutty flavor of this simple but rich coating pairs beautifully with flaky white fish fillets.

Nuts add even more protein to your dinner, as well as these health benefits.

You can use any nut you like (pistachio is one of our favorites), along with a mild white fish like cod, flounder, halibut, sole or tilapia.

There are more affordable white fish, too: Look for orange roughy, walleye pike or other species recommended by your fish monger. Fillets should be about 1/2 inch thick.
 
TIPS

 

almond-crusted-eatingwell-230

Coat your favorite fish with your favorite nuts. Photo courtesy EatingWell.com.

  • If breadcrumbs are recommended, try panko.
  • Instead of a sauce, place the cooked fish on a bed of steamed spinach or other green, tossed with a light drizzle of garlic olive oil. Good, good for you, a win-win.
  • Trade the conventional lemon wedge for lime.
  • For a starch, try parsley new potatoes–the parsley will complement the fish.
  •  
    RECIPES

  • Almond & Lemon-Crusted White Fish (recipe)
  • Macadamia-Crusted Mahi-Mahi (recipe)
  • Nut Crusted Fried Fish (recipe)
  • Roasted Halibut With Walnut Crust (recipe)
  • Pecan-Crusted Fish Fillets (see recipe below)
  • Walnut & Lemon-Crusted Cod (recipe)
  •  

    pecan-crusted-fish-fillet-bettycrocker-230

    Pecan-crusted fish fillet. Photo courtesy Betty
    Crocker
    .

     

    RECIPE: PECAN-CRUSTED FISH

    Turn the catch of the day into delicious dinner in only 25 minutes, with this recipe from Betty Crocker. Hot pecan-crusted fish fillets are cooked easily on stove top and are served with lemon wedges.

    Prep time is 15 minutes, cook time is 10 minutes.

    Ingredients For 4 Servings

  • 1 cup finely chopped pecans (not ground)
  • 1/4 cup dry bread crumbs
  • 2 teaspoons grated lemon peel
  • 1 egg
  • 1 tablespoon milk
  • 1 pound delicate white fish fillets, about 1/2 inch thick
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1/4 teaspoon pepper
  • 2 tablespoons vegetable oil
  • Garnish: lemon or lime wedges
  • Preparation

    1. MIX the pecans, bread crumbs and lemon peel in shallow bowl. Beat the egg and milk with a wire whisk or fork in another shallow bowl.

    2. SPRINKLE both sides of the fish with salt and pepper. Coat the fish with the egg mixture, then coat well with the pecan mixture, pressing slightly into the fish.

    3. HEAT the oil in 12-inch nonstick skillet over medium heat; add the fish. Reduce the heat to medium-low. Cook 6 to 10 minutes, turning once carefully with 2 pancake turners, until the fish flakes easily with a fork and is brown.

    4. SERVE with lemon or lime wedges.

      

    Comments

    JULY 4th: Patriotic Milkshake Recipe

    For a dessert or snack over July 4th weekend, serve these patriotic shakes. They were designed by QVC’s chef David Venable.

    RECIPE: PATRIOTIC MILKSHAKE

    Ingredients For 4 Servings

  • 1/4 cup + 4 teaspoons strawberry syrup, divided (recipe below)
  • 3/4 cup fresh blueberries
  • 2-1/4 cups strawberries and cream ice cream
  • 1-1/4 cups quartered fresh strawberries
  • 1-1/3 cups whole milk
  • 4 ounces whipped cream (you can substitute frozen whipped topping)
  •  
    *You can use leftover strawberry syrup in club soda, cocktails, iced tea, lemonade, on angel food cake and pound cake, ice cream, pudding, sorbet etc.
     
    Preparation

    1. PLACE the blueberries and 1/4 cup of strawberry syrup into a medium-size bowl. Mix until the blueberries are fully coated. Refrigerate until needed.

       

    patriotic-milkshake-qvc-230

    Drink the patriotic colors. Photo courtesy QVC.

     

    2. DRIZZLE 1 teaspoon of strawberry syrup in a spiral design on the inside of four tall glasses (we used a squeeze bottle). Freeze until needed.

    3. PLACE the ice cream, strawberries and milk in a blender with a large pitcher. Mix until smooth, 40–60 seconds. Pour into the prepared milk shake glasses.

    4. TOP each glass with 1 ounce whipped cream and the blueberry mixture, dividing evenly among the 4 glasses. Serve immediately.

     

    strawberry-syrup-tideandthyme-230r

    Buy strawberry syrup or make your own. Photo courtesy Tide and Thyme; here’s their recipe.

     

    HOMEMADE STRAWBERRY SIMPLE SYRUP

    Cook time is 25 minutes, total time is 40 minutes. The syrup should last, refrigerated, for 4-6 weeks. You can substitute any berries in this recipe,

    Ingredients For 3-1/2 Cups

  • 2 pounds strawberries
  • 4 cups water
  • 2 cups sugar
  •  
    Preparation

    1. RINSE, hull and pat dry the strawberries. Cut into small pieces and place in a medium sauce pan. Cover with water and bring to a boil.

    2. REDUCE to a simmer and cook for 20 minutes, skimming any foam. After 20 minutes, the strawberries should be pale and the liquid should be a deep pink color. Remove the pan from the heat.

    3. STRAIN the strawberry liquid through a fine mesh strainer into a clean pot. DO NOT press down on the berries to extract more juice; it will make the syrup cloudy. Discard the berries.

     

    4. ADD 2 cups of sugar to the liquid and bring to a boil, stirring frequently to dissolve the sugar. Simmer for 5 minutes till the sugar is completely dissolved, skimming any foam.

    5. REMOVE from the heat and cool completely. Pour into a glass container, tightly cap and refrigerate.

      

    Comments

    TIP OF THE DAY: Ricotta For Lunch, Dinner & Dessert

    A couple of weeks ago we discussed the glories of ricotta for breakfast. Today, we make some recommendations for lunch and dinner.

    HORS D’OEUVRE

  • Ricotta dip for crudités, chips, pretzels. You can season and serve it as is, in a bowl with a drizzle of olive oil; or blend it in the food processor, with or without fresh herbs (we like chives or dill). You can also blend it with plain yogurt.
  • Ricotta sandwich bites: Grill slices of summer squash or zucchini and fill with fresh ricotta, seasoned to taste.
  • Ricotta spread: Season and serve with crostini or fresh baguette slices. Seasonings include salt and pepper, plus anything you like from garlic to heat (chili flakes, minced jalapeño) to fresh herbs and lemon zest. Look on your spice shelf for inspiration. Here’s how we topped ricotta crostini with green peas.
  •  
    SALADS & SIDES

  • Topping: Use ricotta instead of yogurt to top grains, vegetables, baked potatoes. Garnish with a bit of fresh basil, chive, dill, parsley or other favorite herb. You can also purée the ricotta into a sauce.
  • Salad: Add a scoop of seasoned ricotta to a mixed green salad, instead of a round of goat cheese.
  • Radish salad: Make a first course salad of radishes and sugar snap peas, topped with ricotta and fresh-ground pepper.
  •    

    ricotta-honey-davantichicago-230

    Ricotta spread with honeycomb and toasts. Photo courtesy Davanti | Chicago.

     

    MAINS

  • Casserole: Check recipes for the type of casserole you’d like to make.
  • Pasta: Make ricotta gnudi or ravioli, stuff shells, layer lasagna or top cooked pasta (tossed with a bit of butter or olive oil) with a mound of ricotta, seasoned and garnished with snipped herbs, lemon zest, peas or snap peas.
  • Savory sauce: Purée ricotta with peas, spinach or other vegetable. Place a layer of sauce on the plate before adding the protein.
  •  

    radish-ricotta-oxandson-230

    Ricotta salad, topped with sliced radishes, microgreens and a drizzle of basil olive oil. Photo courtesy Ox & Son | Santa Monica.

     

    DESSERTS

  • Baked ricotta: Mix it with berries before or after baking, or serve it plain with a drizzle of honey.
  • Berry topper: Instead of whipped cream, use ricotta. We sweeten it lightly and add cinnamon or vanilla; but you can also process it until smooth and use it as a sauce.
  • Dessert cheese: Cheese doesn’t have to be sliceable to be on your cheese plate. Serve a bowl of ricotta with customizable accompaniments, like dried and fresh fruits and nuts, honey, jam, Almondina cookies, date nut bread or toasted raisin bread.
  • Ricotta cheesecake!
  • Pudding: Make “cannoli pudding” by sweetening the ricotta and addding a touch of cinnamon, nutmeg or vanilla. Top with mini chocolate chips, or serve with berries and/or cookies. You can find other types of ricotta pudding (called budino di ricotta in Italy), some of which are soft like rice pudding and others baked into tarts. Here are recipes for vanilla and a soft chocolate versions.
  • Ricotta ice cream: Follow a recipe for cream cheese ice cream or mascarpone ice cream and substitute ricotta.
  •  

    MAKE YOUR OWN RICOTTA

    While you may not have leftover whey begging to be made into ricotta, you can make your own version from milk and cream. Sure, it’s easier to buy it ready-made; but if you like to cook, you’ll enjoy the experience. This recipe is adapted by one from Chef Anne Burrell, who makes it to serve as an appetizer spread with toast.

    And it’s easy! Prep time is 5 minutes, cook time is 10 minutes, draining time is 15 minutes.

    Ingredients For 4-6 Servings

  • 6 cups whole milk
  • 2 cups heavy cream
  • 3 tablespoons white vinegar
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • Finishing oil (we like to use flavored olive oil, like basil or rosemary
  • Bread: baguette, rustic loaf, semolina or other favorite
  • Optional: 1 clove garlic
  •  
    Preparation

    1. COMBINE the milk, cream, vinegar and salt in a medium saucepan. Place over medium heat and slowly bring to a simmer. Simmer for 1 to 2 minutes, until curds begin to form.

    2. LINE a mesh strainer with several layers of damp cheesecloth. Gently pour the curds and whey through into the strainer and let drain for 15 minutes. Gather the cheesecloth together and gently squeeze some of the excess liquid from the ricotta. Transfer the ricotta to a serving dish and drizzle with big fat finishing oil.

    3. PREHEAT a grill or broiler. While the ricotta is draining, slice the bread into 1/2-inch thick slices. Toast the bread on the grill or in the broiler on both sides. Swipe the garlic 2 times on each piece of toast and drizzle each piece with finishing oil. Serve the ricotta, slightly warmed, with the grilled bread.

      

    Comments

    RECIPE: Star Cookies For July 4th

    star-cookies-WS-230

    It’s beginning to look like July 4th! The Silpat cookie sheet is from Williams-Sonoma.

     

    Want to bake cookies for July 4th?

    1. MIX up and roll out your favorite sugar cookie dough (or other rolled cookie dough).

    2. USE a star cookie cutter to cut shapes. If you have small and large star cutters, make large and small sizes.

    Here’s a set of 6 nested star cookie cutters, that you can also use for Christmas cookies.

    3. BAKE, cool and ice the cookie tops white royal icing (recipe below); then decorate with red and blue stripes. Voilà: the Stars and Stripes.

    Check out the different types of cookies in our delicious Cookie Glossary.

     
    ROYAL ICING RECIPE

    Ingredients

  • 4 cups powdered sugar
  • 2 tablespoons meringue powder
  • 6 tablespoons water
  • Red and blue food color
  •  
    Preparation

    1. MIX first three ingredients together for 7 to 10 minutes, until icing stiffens. If icing appears too stiff, add more water, one teaspoon at a time. You want the icing to be thin enough that you can pipe it easily. Tint 1/4 of the icing red, and 1/4 blue (see instructions below).

    2. DECORATE the cookies when they are cool. Use an offset spatula to ice the cookie tops white. Then place the tinted icing into separate piping bags fitted with a very small round tip.

    3. CREATE the red and blue stripes. If you don’t have a steady hand, wavy lines are fine. Keep the tip about 1/2 inch above the cookie as you ice. This helps to achieve a straighter line.

    Variation: Instead of piping stripes, you can sprinkle red, white and blue star decorations on the white royal icing base while it’s still wet. Here are large stars and small stars.

    4. DRY the cookies completely, usually 1 to 2 hours.

     
      

    Comments

    TIP OF THE DAY: Pairing Wine & Sorbet For “Cocktails”

    Sorbet cocktails are one of our favorite summer desserts. You simply add scoops of sorbet to a glass—an opportunity to use your Champagne coupes, Margarita glasses, large-bowl wine glasses or large snifters.

    Then, pour in sparkling or still wine or white spirits (gin, tequila, vodka) and serve with a spoon. As the sorbet melts into the wine or spirit, it creates a special cocktail.

    MAKE IT A PARTY

    For a fun dessert, make pairing a dinner party activity, with each guest mixing and matching to find his/her favorites. There are no wrong pairings; it’s what your palate likes. It can Here are some matching ideas for starters:

    WITH CITRUS, MOST FRUIT & LIGHT FLAVOR SORBETS

  • Fruity White Wine (Chenin Blanc, Pinot Grigio)
  • Gewürztraminer
  • Ice Wine/Eiswein
  • Muscat/Moscato
  • Sauternes or Botrytised Semillon
  • Sauvignon Blanc From Australia or California
  • Sparkling Wine/Sparkling Saké
  •    

    Lemon sorbet

    Lemon sorbet with citron vodka and Limoncello, Photo © Auremar | Fotolia.

     

    WITH BERRY, CHOCOLATE & STRONGER SORBET FLAVORS

  • Amontillado Sherry
  • Fruity Red Wine (Beaujolais, California Syrah, Italian Dolcetto)
  • Late Harvest Riesling
  • Pineau de Charentes
  • Ruby Port
  • St. Germain Elderflower Liqueur
  • Vin Santo
  •  

    Sherbet Freeze

    Strawberry sorbet and Prosecco. Photo © Lognetic | Fotolia,

     

    WITH ANY FLAVOR

  • Fruit Beer
  • Fruit Liqueur
  • Flavored Vodka
  • Gin
  • Hard Cider
  • Rosé
  • Tequila Blanco (Silver)
  •  
    MORE ON SORBET COCKTAILS

    Here are more tips:

  • Sorbet Cocktails
  • Dessert Cocktails
  •  

      

    Comments

    JULY 4th: American Flag Pie Top

    While we just said that our favorite pie topping is streusel (crumb topping), here’s something special for July 4th.

    You can buy or bake an open face pie (no top crust) or a tart, and decorate it as the American Flag.

    All you need to decorate are:

  • Blueberries
  • Strawberries
  • Whipped Cream
  •  
    Older children can do the decorating, and everyone can enjoy a piece of “grand old pie.”

    If you’ve purchased the pie, the dessert can be ready in 10 minutes!

    For those who don’t know the lyrics/tune to George M. Cohan’s classic, “You’re a Grand Old Flag,” practice on You Tube.

     

    flag-tart-agata-valentina-230b

    It’s a grand old pie! Photo courtesy Agata and Valentina | NYC.

     
    A NOTE ABOUT WHIPPED CREAM

    If you use an aerosol whipped cream like Reddi-Wip, the air will deflate much sooner than if you whip your own stabilized whipped cream.

    Even if you don’t stabilize the whipped cream, your own beater-whipped cream will stay fluffy longer. You don’t need to create whipped cream stars, which the Reddi-Wip nozzle enables. Instead, just emulate the real white bars of the flag, and use one long line of whipped cream in-between the rows of strawberries.

      

    Comments

    TIP OF THE DAY: Crumb Top Instead Of Pie Crust

    unbaked-pie-streusel-grandcentralbakery-230

    Use a yummy streusel topping instead of a dough top crust. Photo courtesy Grand Central Bakery | Portland.

     

    We’re not a huge pie crust pan. We prefer thicker, buttery, cookie-like tart crusts (here are the differences between pies and tarts).

    Personally, we’d rather have a cobbler, crisp or grunt (the difference).

    If it has to be a conventional pie, give us a crumb topping instead of a top crust. For thus, that means streusel—the same topping that goes on top of crumb cake.

    WHAT IS STREUSEL?

    Streusel is a crumb topping made from butter, flour and sugar. It can also contain chopped nuts or rolled oats. We think it’s easier than a conventional dough crust.

    Pronounced SHTROY-zul, the word derives from the German “streuen,” meaning to sprinkle or scatter.

    Streusel is used as a topping for a variety of pies, fruit crisps, cakes and pastries, most notably coffee cakes.

    A pie with a streusel topping is sometimes referred to as a “crumble pie.”

     

    RECIPE: EASY STREUSEL TOPPING

    Ingredients

  • 1 cup all-purpose flour
  • 1/3 cup light brown sugar
  • 6 tablespoons unsalted butter, room temperature
  • 1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt
  •  
    Preparation

    1. COMBINE the flour, sugar, cinnamon and salt in a medium bowl. With a pastry blender or fork, cut in the butter until fine crumbs form.

    2. USE your fingers to squeeze the fine crumbs into large clumps (size as desired—we like large crumbs). Sprinkle over the top of the pie and bake per recipe instructions. That’s it!

     
      

    Comments

    FOOD HOLIDAY: National Strawberry Parfait Day

    Today is National Parfait Day.

    We just published a July 4th breakfast parfait recipe, but the original parfait was made from ice cream.

    In the U.S., a parfait is a layered sundae. It can be simple, with alternating layers of ice cream and syrup, or a mélange of ingredients as shown.

    Parfait is the French word for “perfect.” The word means something different in France: It’s the original French sundae, made with a custard-base ice cream (“French” ice cream) flavored with fruit purée and whipped with a lot of air to a delicate texture.

    In a French parfait, the ice cream is not scooped but pre-frozen in individual serving containers—typically the long, tapered parfait glasses, narrower versions of sundae dishes. In America, a “parfait” became a particular type of sundae, different from the French parfait. An American parfait layers syrup and other garnishes between layers of ice cream, instead of adding them all on top like a sundae.

    Check out the different types of ice cream preparations in our Ice Cream Glossary.

     

    quark with strawberries

    Strawberry parfait. Photo courtesy Island Farms.

     

    CUSTOMIZE YOUR PARFAIT

    In the U.S., different types of parfait bases are used. Choose from this list to build your own, layer by layer:
     
    Parfait Base

  • Ice cream/frozen yogurt
  • Pudding
  • Yogurt
  • Whipped cream
  •  
    Fruit

  • Fresh or frozen berries
  • Other fresh fruit, sliced or diced (bananas, mango, anything goes)
  •  
    Cake & Cookies

  • Cake cubes, plain or toasted
  • Crumbled cookies
  •  
    Fillings/Toppings

  • Custard
  • Fruit purée
  • Whipped cream
  •  
    Garnish

  • Berry
  • Chocolate shavings/chips
  • Coconut
  •  
    One great thing about parfaits: You’ll never run out of combinations!

      

    Comments

    JULY 4TH BREAKFAST: Yogurt Parfait With Star-Shaped Toast

    breakfast-parfait-star-toast-smuckersFB-230

    A spectacular breakfast parfait. Photo courtesy Smucker’s.

     

    What better way to celebrate July 4th, than to wake up to a red, white and blue yogurt parfait and star-shaped toast.

    Smucker’s uses its Natural Orange Marmalade Fruit Spread, Seedless Strawberry Jam and Blueberry Preserves to make the parfait. Prep time is 20 minute, cook time is 5 minutes.

    RECIPE: RED, WHITE & BLUE PARFAIT

    Ingredients For 4 Servings

  • 1 cup sliced fresh strawberries or fresh red raspberries
  • 1 medium ripe banana, cut into 1/2-inch slices
  • 1/2 cup fresh blueberries
  • 1-1/4 cups plain Greek yogurt
  • 1/3 cup orange marmalade
  • 1 loaf (16 ounces) presliced cinnamon swirl bread, frozen until firm
  • Blueberry or strawberry jam or preserves for the toast
  • Preparation

    1. HEAT the broiler to HIGH. Combine the strawberries, banana and blueberries in medium bowl. Combine the yogurt and marmalade in separate small bowl.

    2. DIVIDE half of the fruit mixture into 4 parfait glasses. Top each with half of the yogurt mixture. Repeat the layers.

    3. CUT out 4 (1-inch) and 8 (3-inch) star shapes from frozen sliced bread using 1-inch and 3-inch cookie cutters. Place on a baking sheet. Broil five inches from the heat for 1 to 1-1/2 minutes, turning when lightly toasted.

    4. PLACE one small toasted star on top of each parfait. Spread the remaining toasted stars with jam and serve with the parfaits.

     
      

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