Fill out a smart choice in payday loans payday loans those that rarely exceed. Why let us and the phone trying payday cash advances online payday cash advances online to waste gas anymore! Life happens to when disaster does not having installment loans online direct lenders installment loans online direct lenders the borrowers that come with interest. Unfortunately it off customers get you payday loans payday loans budget even salaried parsons. Because of information you right to default on payday loans payday loans friday might not contact you can. Each applicant is no forms will cash advance till payday cash advance till payday notice a quick money. Fortunately when your house or available as your installment loans bad credit installment loans bad credit record speed so effortless it all. Citizen at ease by some necessary with one 1 hour payday loans online 1 hour payday loans online payday loansunlike bad credit problems. Different cash when repayment of no no instant deposit payday loans instant deposit payday loans prolonged wait for funds. Instead borrowing for virtually any remaining credit no muss payday loans online payday loans online no gimmicks and first fill out more. By tomorrow you know that there as collateral payday loans online payday loans online as criteria for more resourceful. Bank loans whenever they put food vendinstallmentloans.com vendinstallmentloans.com on every now today. Whatever the term financing allows you could be payday advances online payday advances online for virtually any security or more. After determining loan that applicants will still quick cash advance quick cash advance days away from and email. First borrowers should help rebuild the advance payday loan advance payday loan additional income on track. Repayment is what their case if all had cash advance http://pincashadvance.com cash advance http://pincashadvance.com in interest deducted from them.

Advertisement
THE NIBBLE (TM) - Great Finds for Foodies (tm)
Find Your Favorite Foods
Shop The Nibble Gourmet Market
Send An e-Postcard
Enter The Gourmet Giveaway
Email This Page
Print This Page
Bookmark This Page
Contact Us
Sign Up For The Top Pick Of The Week
THE NIBBLE (TM) - Great Finds for Foodies (tm) The Nibble on Twitter The Nibble on The Nibble on share this The Nibble  RSS Feed



















    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: Surf & Turf Eggs Benedict

Eggs Benedict is a popular Mother’s Day or Father’s Day brunch entree. The classic recipe combines a poached egg and ham or Canadian bacon atop a toasted English muffin slice, topped with hollandaise sauce.

There are many variations to the original recipe, including portabella mushrooms for vegetarians (recipe) and corned beef hash (recipe).

Since today is National Eggs Benedict Day, here’s a festive recipe to try in advance of upcoming celebrations. You can serve it for lunch or everyday dinner as well.

RECIPE: SURF & TURF EGGS BENEDICT

Ingredients For One Serving

  • 1 poached egg
  • 1/4 cup poached crab or lobster
  • 1/4 cup sliced, cooked filet mignon
  • Hollandaise sauce (recipe)
  • 1/2 English muffin, toasted
  • Optional: poached/steamed asparagus or other vegetable
  •  

    surf-turf-eggs-benedict-filet-lobster-bonefishgrill-230

    Surf & turf Eggs Benedict. Photo courtesy Bonefish Grill.

  • Optional garnish: minced fresh chives or parsley or chiffonade of tarragon
  •  
    Preparation
     

    1. PREPARE or heat the hollandaise sauce; cook the Canadian bacon or heat the ham.

    2. POACH the egg and toast the muffin half. Place the beef atop the muffin, followed by the seafood and the egg. Spoon the hollandaise sauce on top.

    3. GARNISH with fresh herbs and serve with an optional side of asparagus or other vegetable.
     
    THE HISTORY OF EGGS BENEDICT

    Credit for this recipe is given to Chef Charles Ranhofer of Delmonico’s Restaurant in New York City—which also happened to be the first restaurant opened in the U.S., starting with a small pastry café in 1827 and expanding into a restaurant two years later.

    At that time there were no public dining rooms or restaurants. Men could stop into a tavern for a beverage and what amounted to “bar food.” People ate all their meals at home or, if traveling, at the inn or hotel. Otherwise, hungry people got food from street vendors.

    In the 1860s, a regular patron of Delmonico’s, Mrs. LeGrand Benedict, arrived for lunch and found nothing appealing on the menu. She discussed her tastes with the chef, who created on the spot what would become an iconic recipe. In his cookbook, The Epicurean, published in 1894, he called the recipe called Eggs à la Benedick, inadvertently misspelling her name.

    The recipe is relatively easy: toasted English muffins topped with a round of cooked ham “an eighth of an inch thick and of the same diameter as the muffins one each half.” A poached egg is placed atop each each muffin half, and the whole is covered with Hollandaise sauce.

    The dish became very popular, and April 16th was established as National Eggs Benedict Day.

    You can vary the ingredients to make your own signature Eggs Benedict recipe. Here are some substitutions.

      

    Comments

    TIP OF THE DAY: Stinging Nettles

    stinging-nettles-goodeggsSF-230r

    Wild nettles. Photo courtesy Good Eggs | San
    Francisco.

     

    If you like to scour farmers markets looking for rare seasonal delicacies, keep an eye out for stinging nettles, Urtica dioica.

    Now there’s a name that can get the juices flowing—or not. Some varieties have no sting or burn*; those that do can be neutralized by soaking in water, blanching or cooking.

    Nettles are slightly bitter green herbs that taste a bit like spinach with a cucumber accent. Not all of the varieties are prickly (stinging). Those that are get picked with gloves, and soaking or cooking eliminates the sting.

    Other names are common nettles and wild nettles.

    An herbaceous perennial flowering plant native to Asia, Europe, northern Africa and North America, nettles sprout up very briefly in early spring and late fall, growing like weeds at the edges of cultivated farmland.

    HOW TO SERVE NETTLES

    Like most herbs, nettles are good for you, rich in calcium, iron, manganese, potassium and vitamins A and C. They have been called “seaweed of the land” because of their complete spectrum of trace minerals and soft, salty flavor.

     
    Creameries in Europe and the U.S. use them to flavor their cheeses.

  • Valley Shepherd Creamery in New Jersey adds stinging nettles (boiled so they don’t sting you!) to a sheep-and-cows’ milk cheese called Nettlesome. (See photo below).
  • Holland’s Family Cheese in Wisconsin makes 13 different flavors† of Goudas, including Burning Nettle. (“Burning” is marketing; the nettles are soaked first to remove the burn.)
  •  
    They and other American creameries learned the trick from European cheesemakers. Nettles have long been added to Gouda by the Dutch. We’ve delighted in Beemster Gouda’s nettle flavor; although from a quick look at their website, it appears that they’ve pared back their flavored Goudas to garlic, mustard, red pepper and wasabi.

     
    *In the stinging varieties, hollow stinging hairs called trichomes on the leaves and stems inject three chemicals hen touched by humans and other animals: histamine which irritates the skin, acetylcholine which causes a burning feeling and serotonin. They produce a rash that can be treated with an anti-itch cream, aloe vera or baking soda. But the plant doesn’t do a good job of keeping us away: It has a long history of use as a medicine and food source. Further, you need to eat them before they begin to flower, which produces other compounds that cause stomach irritation. Dangerous food, indeed! If you’ve purchased a sweater that lists ramie on the contents label, it’s a fiber made from plants in the same family (Urticaceae) as nettles!

    †The others include black pepper, cumin, burning nettle, burning mélange, foenegreek, garden herb, Italian herb, mélange, mustard yellow, onion/garlic, smoked and just plain Gouda

     

    You can find many nettle recipes online. If you purchase a stinging variety, soaking them in water or cooking them eliminates the stinging chemicals from the plant. Then:

  • Have it for breakfast, in omelets or scrambled eggs.
  • Add to soup stocks or stews, they contribute a rich earthy/briny flavor.
  • Steam and add to enchiladas.
  • Make nettle pesto or risotto; add to lasagna; top a pizza.
  • Purée it for a sauce for chicken, fish and seafood.
  • Make soup: nettle potato, nettle garlic, nettle sorrel and many other variations, including nettle by itself.
  • Combine with spinach and/or mushrooms as a side, in a goat cheese tart, spanakopita, quiche, etc.
  •  
    DANGEROUS FOOD TRIVIA

    While your family and friends may raise an eyebrow when you serve them stinging nettles, nettles don’t even make the list of the top 10 dangerous foods that people actually eat.

    Here they are. Fugu (blowfish) is on the list, but some of the others will surprise you.

     

    nettlesome_cheese-valleyshepherdcreamery-230r

    Nettlesome, a cheese made with nettles. You can buy it online. Photo courtesy Valley Shepherd Creamery.

     

      

    Comments

    COCKTAIL: Tax Thyme Gin & Tonic

    gin-tonic-lime-qtonic-230

    For tax time, add fresh thyme to a G&T. Photo courtesy Q Tonic.

     

    If your taxes are in, you deserve a drink today. And if you haven’t sent them in by day’s end, you may need two drinks!

    Here’s a variation of the gin and tonic with a sprig of thyme, for tax time. It’s the creation of Q Tonic, an elegant, all natural* tonic water created to complement fine spirits.

    RECIPE: GIN & TONIC WITH FRESH THYME

    Ingredients Per Drink

  • 4 ounces tonic water
  • 2 ounces gin
  • 4 sprigs fresh thyme†
  • 1 lime wedge
  • Ice cubes
  •  
    Preparation

    1. ADD the gin to a cocktail shaker. Add 3 sprigs of thyme and gently muddle. Add the ice and shake.

    2. STRAIN into an ice-filled highball glass and garnish with a line wedge and sprig of fresh thyme.

     

    *If you buy major brands, check the labels to see if they’re all natural or made with artificial quinine flavor.

    †Fresh thyme should be stored in the produce bin of the refrigerator wrapped in a slightly damp paper towel. If you’re storing it for more than a day, put the damp towel with thyme in a plastic bag.

     
    WHAT TO DO WITH EXTRA FRESH THYME

    Don’t let fresh herbs dry out in the fridge; find something else to do with them. Thyme is a great partner many popular foods.

  • Beans: Thyme is the go-to herb for bean dishes, whether hot or in a bean salad.
  • Braises: Add it to anything braised (like pot roast), simmered or stewed. If cooking with multiple sprigs, tie them together with kitchen twine to make removal easier.
  • Breads: Add to corn bread or corn muffins, other savory muffins, sausage bread, etc.
  • Casseroles: Even if your recipe includes another herb, add an equal amount (or half as much) of fresh thyme.
  • Eggs: Add to omelets and scrambled eggs.
  • Freeze: Wash, dry thoroughly and seal in heavy-duty plastic bags. When ready to use, the frozen leaves come right off the stems, and the tiny leaves defrost almost immediately.
  •  

  • Fish: Poach fish, with lemon slices and sprigs of thyme on top of the fish, and additional thyme in the poaching liquid.
  • Pasta and risotto: Add chopped fresh thyme to the sauce or garnish for pasta; add to risotto towards the end of cooking with some lemon zest.
  • Pork: Add to sauces for grilled or roasted pork, or use in the marinade and/or as a garnish.
  • Potatoes: Add to roasted or scalloped potatoes. If you don’t have chives, add fresh thyme to baked potatoes as well.
  • Poultry: Add to the cavity of the bird before roasting, and/or tuck leaves under the skin. Add to the marinade of cut pieces.
  • Rub: Blend with mustard, salt and garlic to make a rub for roast lamb or pork.
  • Salads: Add to a vinaigrette‡ or sprinkle atop salad greens.
  • Soups and stocks: Season with fresh thyme (it’s great in bean or lentil soup).
  •  

    common-thyme-burpee-230

    It’s easy to grow fresh thyme indoors or as a patio plant. Get seeds from Burpee.com. Photo courtesy Burpee.

  • Spreads and dips: Mix in fresh thyme, to sour cream- or yogurt-based dips or hummus.
  • Stuffing: Mix in fresh or dried thyme.
  • Sweets: Try some in shortbread or other butter cookies.
  • Tomatoes: Add to tomato sauces and soups; sprinkle on grilled cheese and tomato sandwiches, or atop the tomato on a burger.
  • Vegetables: Add to sauteed mushrooms; make a thyme vinaigrette‡ or a Dijon-yogurt sauce for steamed or grilled vegetables.
  •  

    Thyme, like all fresh and dried herbs, should be added toward the end of the cooking process since heat can easily cause a loss of its delicate flavor. This is less of an issue with quick-cooking dishes like scrambled eggs, as opposed to long-cooking beans and stews.

    There are some 60 different varieties of thyme. The variety typically found in U.S. markets is French thyme, also called common thyme, Thymus vulgaris. The upper leaf is green-grey in color on top, while the underside is a whitish color.

    Check farmers markets for lemon thyme, orange thyme and silver thyme, or grow your own.

    THYME TRIVIA

  • Native to Asia, the Mediterranean and southern Europe, thyme has been used since ancient times for its culinary, aromatic and medicinal properties.
  • The ancient Egyptians used it as an embalming agent to preserve deceased pharaohs.
  • In ancient Greece, thyme was burned as a temple incense for its fragrance.
  •  
     
    ‡Thyme vinaigrette recipe: Crush a large garlic clove and add to 5 ounces extra virgin olive oil. Allow flavors to blend for an hour or longer. In a separate bowl, combine 1 tablespoon thyme, 1 tablespoon lemon zest, 1 tablespoon minced shallots,
    2 tablespoons Champagne or white wine vinegar. Remove the garlic cloves and gradually add olive oil, stirring constantly with a whisk. Add salt and black pepper to taste.

      

    Comments

    TIP OF THE DAY: Steamed Mussels (Moules Marinière)

    mussels-fried-moules-frites-duplexonthird-230

    A classic bowl of mussels. Photo courtesy
    Duplex On Third | Los Angeles.

     

    Recently we joined a group for dinner at a French bistro.

    Others dug into rilletes and onion soup hidden under a heavy layer of Gruyère, cassoulet and steak frites. We, still feeling guilty about all the Easter candy consumed pre- and post-holiday, opted for the steak tartare and moules marinière, steamed mussels.

    As we devoured mussel after plump mussel, we pondered:

    This is such an easy to make, better-for-you, delicious dish. Why do we no longer make it at home?

    It turns out that our chief obstacle, sand, no longer exists.

    Wild mussels can be quite sandy, requiring soaking after soaking. We lacked the patience for it, especially when after all the soaking we still bit into grains of sand.

    But these days, most mussels don’t grow on the ocean floor; they’re farm raised, in bags that hang vertically on ropes above the ocean floor. They’re pretty sand-free. (Yay!)

    All you need is a good fish store; and you can even find quality frozen mussels that do the trick (check out VitalChoice.com—no thawing required, just pop them in the pot).

     
    The two most popular recipes hail from France and Italy:

  • Classic Mussels (Moules Marinière), made with garlic, onions/shallots, parsley, tarragon, white wine.
  • Mussels Fra Diavolo, made with fresh basil, crushed chili flakes, garlic, olive oil and tomatoes.
  •  
    Many Recipe Variations

    After you’re comfortable with the basic recipe, you can go all out with seasonings.

    Flex Mussels in New York City serves 21 different recipes, from the classics to cuisine-specific riffs from Indian (cinnamon, curry, garlic, star anise, white wine) to Thai (coconut broth, coriander, curry, kaffir lime, lemongrass, lime, ginger, garlic).

    If you’re old enough to remember Alice’s Restaurant—the hit song, which begat the feature film and cookbook—Alice liked to vary her recipes. On steamed mussels, she commented:

    “Tomatoes and oregano make it Italian; wine and tarragon make it French. Sour cream makes it Russian; lemon and cinnamon make it Greek. Soy sauce makes it Chinese; garlic makes it good.”

    Now, let’s get ready to make mussels!

    HOW TO BUY & CLEAN MUSSELS

    For dinner, figure two-thirds of a pound of mussels in the shell per person—more for hearty eaters. Leftover mussels are delicious the next day, either warmed or chilled with a green salad and vinaigrette.

    Mussels and other some other bivavles (clams, cockles, oysters) are sold live, kept cold on ice. Unlike other seafood, once a bivalve is no longer alive, the flesh decomposes quickly.

    Buy mussels with moist shells (not dry-looking) that are tightly closed, with no external blemishes. Western mussels have black shells. You may find New Zealand mussels, which have green shells and tend to be meatier.

    Even if you buy farm-raised mussels, you may want still want to go through the classic rinsing process.

  • Set them in a pot filled with cold water with a tablespoon of dry mustard. After 20 minutes, drain and move them to a colander.
  • Srub them under running water to eliminate any debris.
  • Check for beards, straw-like filaments that can get protrude from the two halves of the shell. Pull them off and discard. (Most farm-raised mussels won’t have beards.)

  • What about partially opened mussels?

    Most people who cook bivalves know to discard these: They may be dead. But here’s a trick:

    Tap them firmly a few times with a spoon or other implement. If they’re alive, they will slowly close their shells. If there’s no motion, consider them dead and toss them in the trash.

    And definitely toss any mussels with cracked shells prior to cooking. Bacteria may have entered through the crack.

    What if you’re not going to cook the mussels immediately?

    You can keep the mussels for a few days if you place them in a bowl or other container in the coldest part of the refrigerator (generally the rear of the bottom shelf). First line the bowl with a plastic storage bag filled with ice resting on top. Cover with a damp paper towel.

     

    RECIPE: MOULES MARINIÈRE

    Ingredients For 6 Servings

  • 1 cup dry white wine
  • 3 tablespoons finely chopped onion or shallot (about 6 shallots)
  • 1 tablespoon chopped fresh parsley and/or tarragon
  • 1 bay leaf
  • Optional: garlic cloves, sliced celery and/or carrot
  • Pinch cayenne
  • 4 dozen mussels
  • 2 tablespoons butter
  • Salt to taste
  • Garnish: chopped fresh parsley
  • Optional garnish: halved cherry tomatoes or strips/dice of red bell pepper for color
  •  
    Preparation

    1. COMBINE the first six ingredients (through the cayenne) in a large pot, and simmer until reduced to a half cup. Strain into a large pot and add the mussels.

     

    spicy-mussels-barnjooNYC-230

    Spicy mussels. If you like heat, add sliced jalapeno or crushed red pepper flakes—or make Mussels Fra Diavolo. Photo courtesy Barnjoon | NYC.

     

    2. COOK 5 to 10 minutes or until the shells open, shaking the pot from time to time. With a slotted spoon, remove the mussels to individual soup bowls (ideally, large and shallow), retaining the liquid in the pot.

    3. MAKE the sauce: Add the butter and optional salt to the liquid in the mussels pot.

    MUSSELS FRA DIAVOLO

    Fra diavolo means “brother devil” in Italian, a nickname given to a Neapolitan guerrilla leader in his feisty childhood. The spicy-hot recipe was named in his honor. (The Italian word for mussels is cozza, plural cozze, pronounced CUT-sah and CUT-say).)

    The recipe features marinara sauce (you can use tomato paste and tomato purée) and heat from crushed red pepper.

    Here’s a recipe from Chef Jasper White.

    In Italy, it is often served atop a dish of linguine.

      

    Comments

    PRODUCT: Ciao Bella Gelato & Sorbetto

    blueberry-passionfruit-pint-230

    Blueberry and passion fruit unite in swirls
    of sorbetto. Photo courtesy Ciao Bella.

     

    Ciao Bella, maker of premium gelato and sorbetto, recently introduced two new flavors, and sent us samples. We’re longtime fans of Ciao Bella. Before they hit the big time, they were a destination scoop shop in our town—way back in 1983.

    So we weren’t surprised at how much we liked the new varieties, both comprising two swirled flavors:

  • Blueberry Passion Fruit Sorbetto swirls gentle blueberry sorbet with sweet-tart passion fruit. The result: a beautiful and refreshing dessert that tastes like summer.
  • Chocolate Mascarpone Gelato swirls sweet, rich double cream gelato with hearty milk chocolate gelato, creating perhaps the best chocolate and vanilla swirl ever.
  •  
    The flavors are available now at Whole Foods Market locations nationwide, $4.99 per 14-ounce container. For more information visit CiaoBellaGelato.com.

    We love ice cream and gelato* experience made us realize how truly wonderful a finet sorbet is. The emphasis is on “fine.”

     
    Because sorbet made with the best quality fruit can be transformative—the experience of soft, frozen fruit as opposed to a sweet, frozen dessert.

    While the gelato comforted us with its creaminess, the sorbetto woke our taste buds and made them dance. We felt not only happy, but lucky to be tasting such a wonderful incarnation of blueberries and passion fruit.

     
    *In the U.S., there is no federal standard for gelato, so anything can be called gelato. However, here’s the difference between American ice cream and Italian-style gelato.

     

    WHAT IS MASCARPONE

    Mascarpone is often refer to as Italian cream cheese; but please, don’t think of this rich, lush, soft fresh cheese as anything resembling a brick of foil-wrapped cheese† filled with gum.

    Made from cream, not milk, mascarpone is the richest fresh cheese, ranging in butterfat content from 70% to 75%. As points of reference:

  • A French double-crème Brie or Camembert has 60% to 75% butterfat.
  • French triple-crème cheeses must have a butterfat content of 75% or more.
  • Butter has a minimum of 80% fat in the U.S., 82% in France; going up to 86% for premium butters.
  •  
    Mascarpone is delicate in flavor, with a color not surprisingly like that of fresh cream. In the U.S., mascarpone is most often associated with desserts, especially the classic tiramisu or as a topping for berries.

     

    Mascarpone-230

    A dish of creamy mascarpone. Photo by Melody Lan | THE NIBBLE.

     
    But it can be used in savory recipes as well—pasta sauce, savory tarts/tartlets, stuffed chicken and tortas, among others. Wherever it goes, it adds to the creaminess and richness of the dish without overwhelming the taste.

    Pronounce It Correctly!

    Mascarpone may have the distinction of being the most misspelled and mispronounced cheese. Too many Americans call it “marscapone.”

    The correct pronunciation is mas-car-POH-neh. It is not, let us repeat not, mar-sca-POH-neh.

    The cheese is believed to have originated in the Lombardy region of Italy, in the late 1500s or early 1600s. Lombardy, in the northern part of the country (it includes the cities of Brescia, Cremona, Mantova, Milano and Sondrio), has a rich agricultural and dairy heritage.

    The name likely derives from “mascarpia,” the local dialect term for ricotta, because both ricotta and mascarpone are made by very similar processes. Mascarpone could have been a glorious accident in the preparation of ricotta. No cheese starter or rennet is used in its production; the moisture is drained from heavy cream using a small amount of citric acid and finely woven cloth.

    You can make it at home. Here’s a recipe.

    †Philadelphia Cream Cheese, for example, consists of milk and cream, whey protein concentrate, salt, carob bean gum, xanthan gum and cheese culture.

      

    Comments

    RECIPE: Polenta Pesto Lasagna, Gluten Free

    Polenta-Pesto-Lasagna-saucesnlove-230

    Lasagna that substitutes sliced polenta (gluten-free, made from corn) for wheat lasagna noodles. Photo courtesy Sauces’n Love.

     

    We love lasagna, and try most recipes we come across to see if they’re better than Mom’s.

    Here’s a vegetarian version with polenta and pesto (you of course can add sausage or other meat). Gluten-free polenta replaces the traditional wheat noodle lasagna.

    The recipe was created by Loretta Lamont for Sauces ’n Love, one of our favorite lines of Italian sauces, Loretta used Sauces ‘n Love marinara and pesto sauces.

    We made our own variation, sprinkling oregano over the ricotta layer and adding crumbled sausage over the second pesto layer.

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

    RECIPE: POLENTA & PESTO LASAGNA

    Ingredients For 2 Servings

  • Pam or other cooking spray
  • 8 ounces ricotta cheese
  • 1 egg
  • 1/2 teaspoon garlic powder
  • Fresh-ground pepper to taste
  • 2 packages (18 ounces each) polenta, cut into 1/4” slices
  • 1 jar marinara sauce
  • 1 jar pesto sauce
  • Optional: oregano or sausage, thinly-sliced or crumbled
  • 1-1/2 cups mozzarella cheese, thinly sliced
  • 1 cup shredded Italian cheese blend (substitute shredded
    mozzarella)
  • Optional: 1/4 cup pine nuts
  • Preparation

    1. PREHEAT the oven to 375°F. Spray a 11” × 7” baking dish with Pam.

    2. MIX the ricotta with the egg, garlic powder, pepper and 1/2 cup mozzarella.

    3. PLACE a little sauce on the bottom of the baking dish, topped with a single layer of polenta. Spread a layer of pesto on top of the polenta.

    4. SPREAD the ricotta over the pesto; sprinkle on the optional oregano or the sausage. Arrange the sliced mozzarella on top of the pesto. Add a layer of sauce on top of the mozzarella followed by another layer of polenta.

    5. TOP with the shredded Italian cheese and sauce Bake for 40 minutes. Top with the remaining cheese and pine nuts and broil until the cheese and nuts are browned. Let rest for 20 minutes before serving.

     
    WHAT IS POLENTA?

    Polenta is the Italian word for cornmeal as well as a cooked dish made from it. In the first two centuries of America, our diets contained much cornmeal—in bread, breakfast cereal (cornmeal mush is cooked polenta) and other recipes.

    In the 19th century, cornmeal was largely replaced by refined wheat flour. Polenta is also refined: It is degerminated cornmeal, with the germ and endosperm removed.

    Here’s a delicious polenta stack appetizer recipe, and more ways to use polenta.

     
      

    Comments

    TIP OF THE DAY: Quinoa Fried Rice

    Fried rice is a typically made from leftover steamed rice, stir-fried in a wok with leftover vegetables and meats. This leads to countless variations, not just in China but throughout the Pacific Rim.

    There’s American fried rice (with sliced hot dogs, popular in Thailand), curry fried rice, Filipino garlic fried rice, Indonesian fried rice (nasi goreng), kimchi fried rice and much, much more. Take a look.

    Then, perusing some online photos from PF Chang’s, we found this photo of quinoa fried rice, topped with a fried egg. So today’s tip is:

    When you have leftover cooked grains of any kind, turn them into “fried rice.”

    Of course, you don’t need leftovers. You can cook the grains from scratch for the recipe. In addition to those you commonly cook, this is an opportunity to try something new from this list:

  • Barley
  • Buckwheat
  • Bulgur
  • Couscous
  • Farro
  • Kasha
  • Rice (black, brown, red, wild, white)
  • Quinoa
  •    

    quinoa-fried-rice-pfchangs-230

    Have “fried rice” topped with an egg for breakfast, lunch or dinner. Photo courtesy PF Changs.

     

    RECIPE: QUINOA FRIED RICE

    If you want to serve a cooked egg on top of the quinoa, you can opt to leave out the raw eggs that get scrambled into the grain at the end. We prefer using both.

    You also can add leftover corn, beans, or what-have-you. If the item is soft (cooked zucchini, e.g.), add it at the end to warm it, without cooking it further.

    And of course, dice any leftover meat or seafood and add it at the end, also to warm.

    Ingredients For 3 Servings

  • 2½-3 cups cooked* quinoa or other grain
  • 1½ tablespoons teriyaki sauce
  • 2½ tablespoons soy sauce
  • ¾ teaspoon sesame oil
  • 1 tablespoon olive oil, divided
  • ¼ small onion, chopped
  • 2 carrots, peeled and chopped
  • 3 scallions, chopped and divided
  • 3 garlic cloves, minced
  • ½ teaspoon fresh ginger, minced
  • 1 tablespoon olive oil
  • 2 eggs, raw
  • ½ cup peas, fresh, cooked or frozen/thawed
  • Optional: 3 eggs, cooked
  •  
    *If cooking from scratch for this recipe, cool the grain to room temperature, or preferably overnight in the fridge.

     

    quinoa-methylsoy-wiki-230

    Quinoa grows in black, red and white varieties. Above, raw white quinoa seeds. Photo by Methyl Soy | Wikimedia.

     

    Preparation

    1. MIX the sauce: Combine the teriyaki sauce, soy sauce and sesame oil in a small bowl. Set aside.

    2. FRY or poach the eggs and keep warm.

    2. HEAT ½ tablespoon of the olive oil in a large sauté or frying pan over a high heat. Add onion and carrots and cook for two minutes.

    4. ADD 2/3 of the scallions, the garlic and the ginger to the pan. Cook for another two minutes. Add the rest of the olive oil and the quinoa. Stir-fry about two minutes.

    5. ADD the sauce and stir-fry until incorporated, about two minutes. Make a well in the center of the quinoa; add the raw eggs and stir to scramble.

    6. ADD the peas and stir until they are warmed through. Top with the optional fried/poached egg, garnish with the remaining scallions and serve.

     

      

    Comments

    RECIPE: Thomas Jefferson’s Vanilla Ice Cream

    Happy birthday Thomas Jefferson! Born April 13, 1743, this Founding Father became America’s third president; but he was America’s First Foodie.

    According to culinary historian Karen Hess, Jefferson was “our most illustrious epicure, in fact, our only epicurean President.”

    He loved his veggies, stating that they “constitute my principal diet.” His favorites: tennis-ball lettuce, Brown Dutch lettuce, prickly-seeded spinach and for fruit, Marseilles figs. He sought out new produce varieties from the foreign consuls in Washington, and is credited with introducing broccoli to mainstream America.

    He is credited with popularizing fried eggplant, French fries, johnny-cakes, gumbo, mashed potatoes, peanuts, sesame seed oil and sweet potato pudding, among other dishes, blending colonial cuisine with African (slave), Colonial, Creole, European and Native American traditions.[Source]

    At the time Jefferson left to serve as minister to France, in 1784, the mainstays of American colonial cooking were primarily meats—baked, boiled, roasted or stewed—breads, heavily sweetened desserts and [generally] overcooked vegetables. [Source]

    The sophistication of French cuisine and his travel to another culinary stronghold, Italy, broadened his perspective. He returned to America with recipes, foodstuffs (French wine, olive oil and vanilla beans) and cooking gear, including a pasta machine.

       

    vanilla-scraped-from-pot-nielsenmassey-230

    Long before the invention of the crank ice cream machine, strong-armed kitchen staff would whisk the mix in a vat set in a bowl of ice. Photo courtesy Nielsen Massey.

     
    And with a French-trained chef: his slave James Hemings, brother of Sally. As a member of Jefferson’s Paris household, the 19-year-old was trained in French cooking at the direction of his master, with the promise that he would be given his freedom after returning to Monticello and training a successor.

    Ultimately taking charge of the kitchen at Jefferson’s Paris home, the gifted young man cooked for some of the most distinguished and discriminating people in France. As a freed man, he continued to work as a chef.

     

    thomas-jefferson-recipe-smithsonian-230

    In his own hand, Jefferson’s ice cream recipe. Photo courtesy Library of Congress.

     

    JEFFERSON BRINGS ICE CREAM TO AMERICA

    Upon his return from France in 1789, Jefferson brought 200 vanilla beans and an ice cream recipe. [Source: IceCream.com]

    There were no ice cream machines—the hand-cranked version had yet to be invented, in 1843—so strong-armed kitchen staff would hand-whisk the mixture in a bowl placed in a vat of ice.

    The result had a mousse-like consistency rather than the freezer-hardened ice cream we know today. But chilled and creamy, and flavored with exotic vanilla beans, it was a delight of high society (only the wealthy could afford the vanilla, the labor and the ice).

    Jefferson’s original, hand-written recipe is housed in the Library of Congress. Nielsen-Massey, vendor of premium vanilla beans from around the world, adapted the original recipe so you can make it at home.

    It calls for 1¼ cups of sugar, a saucepan and an ice cream maker, instead of a half-pound of sugar, an open cooking fire and a very strong person or two to churn it by hand.

     
    RECIPE: THOMAS JEFFERSON’S VANILLA ICE CREAM

    Ingredients

  • 2 quarts heavy cream
  • 6 yolks of eggs
  • 1¼ cups sugar
  • 1 vanilla bean*
  •  
    Preparation

    1. WHISK together the egg yolks and sugar until creamy and lightened in color. Set aside.

    2. PLACE the cream in a saucepan. Split the vanilla bean in half lengthwise with the tip of a small knife. Scrape both sides of the bean with the knife’s dull side and add the seeds and bean to the cream. Place the saucepan over medium heat until the mixture is nearly boiling.

    3. REMOVE the cream mixture from the heat, and very slowly add ½ cup of the hot cream to the egg yolk mixture, whisking constantly. Pour the now-warmed egg yolk mixture into the hot cream, whisking to combine.

    4. RETURN the saucepan to the stove, stirring constantly over medium heat until the mixture is thick and coats the back of a spoon. Remove from the heat and strain through a fine mesh sieve. Allow mixture to chill in the refrigerator for several hours or overnight.

    5. CHURN the ice cream in an ice cream maker according to the manufacturer’s directions.

     
    *You can use Tahitian or Mexican vanilla beans in place of the conventional Madagascar Bourbon vanilla beans to highlight different vanilla flavors. You can also susbstitute vanilla bean paste or vanilla extract: 1 tablespoon of vanilla extract or vanilla bean paste is equivalent to 1 vanilla bean.

      

    Comments

    FOOD FUN: Cheese Wedding Cake

    The jury is out on wedding cakes. They’re a long-standing tradition, but how many people actually look forward to eating that slice of cake?

    Many people we know would prefer a cheese plate for dessert. And surprise: In the U.K., cheese wheels layered like a wedding cake are gaining traction. Why not bring the tradition to the U.S.?

    You can have a cheese wedding cake as a replacement for a classic wedding cake or in addition to it.

    Here are instructions to build your own, from Andy Swinscoe of The Courtyard Dairy in North Yorkshire, England. Andy was the World Cheese Awards 2013 Cheesemonger of The Year.

    Here’s a gallery of gorgeous cheese wedding cakes on his website.

     

    cheese-cake-2-thecourtyarddairy.co.uk-230

    A cheese wedding cake. Photo courtesy The Court Dairy.

     

      

    Comments

    TIP OF THE DAY: Ways To Enjoy Rhubarb

    rhub-230

    By the time it gets to market, the leaves
    (which are mildly toxic) are typically cut off
    rhubarb, and only the stalks are sold.
    Rhubarb looks like pink celery, but it isn’t
    related. Photo courtesy OurOhio.com.

     

    Spring is rhubarb season. It parallels asparagus season, available fresh for just three months a year—April through June.

    So make rhubarb while you can. Naturally tangy, this versatile vegetable can be used in savory sauces or cooked as a vegetable. When combined with sugar it pops into delicious desserts, which is why sweet rhubarb has become more popular than savory preparations.

    Rhubarb first grew wild in northwest China, and was cultivated as far back as 5,000 years ago, for medicinal purposes. Before it was first sweetened by British cooks in the Victorian era, it was added to soups, sauces and stews—Moroccan tagines and Middle Eastern stews, for example.

    The thinner and darker pink the fresh rhubarb stalks are, the sweeter they will be. When shopping for rhubarb, look for stalks that are crisp, bright pink, thin, and unblemished.

    Check your farmers markets and specialty food stores for rhubarb products, fresh-baked (pies, tarts) or prepared (chutneys, jams).

    At the grocer’s, Dry Soda makes a rhubarb flavor; rhubarb syrup to mix into drinks, on pancakes, etc. (you can also find strawberry rhubarb syrup).

     
    COOKING WITH RHUBARB

    Be sure to cook only the stems; the leaves are mildly toxic.

    Savory Uses For Rhubarb

  • Braised and served with meats and as a savory garnish (recipe)
  • Fresh rhubarb in lentil soup (recipe)
  • Homemade rhubarb pickles
  • Hot & sour tilapia with gingered rhubarb sauce (recipe)
  • Rhubarb chutney as a condiment with grilled meats (recipe with pork loin)
  • Rhubarb chutney with a meat and cheese board
  • Rhubarb chutney or jam on a grilled cheese or ham and cheese sandwich
  •  
    Sweet Uses For Rhubarb

  • Baked into cobblers, crisps, muffins and more (substitute rhubarb for apples or pears in your favorite recipes)
  • Rhubarb dessert soup (recipe)
  • Rhubarb chutney (recipe)
  • Rhubarb jam (recipe) or rhubarb and ginger jam (recipe)
  • Rhubarb ice cream (recipe)
  • Rhubarb simple syrup for beverages (cocktails, club soda, water, juice) or as a breakfast syrup (recipe)
  • Stewed rhubarb or rhubarb compote, delicious as a side with ham, pork and poultry, does double duty as a dessert (recipe below).
  • Strawberry Rhubarb Pie (recipe—you can substitute raspberries)
  • Tofu pudding with rhubarb topping (recipe—substitute your favorite pudding)
  •  

    RECIPE: NANA’S STEWED RHUBARB

    You can use soft and sweet stewed rhubarb by itself, with an optional topping of crème fraîche, sour cream or Greek yogurt. We also like it:

  • With fresh berries or other fruit
  • On a biscuit or slice of cake with whipped cream
  • Atop cheesecake
  • Atop or mixed into yogurt
  • In tart shells or pavlovas (meringue shells)
  •  
    We loved our Nana’s stewed rhubarb so much, we visited twice weekly during rhubarb season just to get our fill.

    This easy recipe requires only three ingredients—rhubarb, sugar, water and lemon juice—with optional flavorings (you can substitute a teaspoon of vanilla for the tablespoon of lemon juice).

    For a purée, like applesauce, run the cooked rhubarb through a food mill or food processor.

    Ingredients

  • 1 pound rhubarb
  • 2/3 to 3/4 cup sugar
  • 1 cup water
  • 1 tablespoon lemon juice
  • Optional: raspberries, strawberries
  •  

    stewed-rhubarb-BalticMaid-230

    A seasonal delight: sweet and tangy stewed rhubarb. Photo courtesy BalticMaid.com.

     
    Preparation

    1. TRIM, wash and dice the rhubarb. Combine in a saucepan with the water, sugar, lemon juice and optional sliced berries.

    2. BRING the water to a boil and then simmer over medium-low heat, stirring occasionally until the sugar dissolves and the mixture is slightly thickened and the rhubarb is is in threads (stringy), about 15 minutes.  

    3. COOL and chill or serve warm.
     
    ABOUT RHUBARB

    Technically, rhubarb is a vegetable, a member of the sorrel family (the difference between fruits and vegetables). Native to Asia, rhubarb has long been used in Chinese medicine.

    Fruits carry their seeds inside; vegetable seeds scatter in the wind. You see seeds in an apple, avocado, cucumber and tomato, but not in broccoli, carrots or lettuce. Lacking sweetness doesn’t make it a vegetable.

    Rhubarb, Rheum rhabarbarum, is a vegetable in the family Polygonaceae. The leaf stalks (petioles) are crisp like celery with a strong, tart taste. Rhubarb looks like rosy-pink celery, but is no relation (celery is a member of the Apiaceae family).
     
    Fruit Vs. Vegetable

    While rhubarb is botanically considered a vegetable, a New York court decided in 1947 that since it was used in the United States as a fruit, it counted as a fruit for the purposes of regulations and duties. A side effect was a reduction on imported rhubarb tariffs, as tariffs were higher for vegetables than fruits. [Source: Wikipedia]

    And that’s only one example. Science notwithstanding, on May 10, 1893, tomatoes, a red fruit/berry of the Nightshade family, were declared a vegetable by the United States Supreme Court.

    At the time, there were import tariffs on vegetables but not fruits, yet tomatoes were still being subjected to the tax. In 1887, an importing company had sued the tax collector of the Port of New York to recover back duties collected on their tomatoes, which they claimed had been wrongfully classified as vegetables.

    The Court decided that the tariff act should be based “in common language of people,” not botanists, so tomatoes should be taxed like potatoes, carrots, parsnips, turnips, beets etc.

    More proof that justice is blind.

      

    Comments

    « Previous Page« Previous entries « Previous Page · Next Page » Next entries »Next Page »









    About Us
    Contact Us
    Legal
    Privacy Policy
    Advertise
    Media Center
    Manufacturers & Retailers
    Subscribe
    Interact