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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.

TIP OF THE DAY: Pie Dough Crumb Topping Sundae

It’s the reverse of pie à la mode; perhaps it should be called an ice cream crumble.

Today’s tip was inspired by The Strawberry Barbara, a sundae from McConnell’s Ice Cream in Santa Barbara.

McConnell’s marries strawberry ice cream, house made rhubarb sauce (think rhubarb pie filling) and pie crust crumbles, topped with whipped cream.

You can build the sundae in a bowl or a sundae dish, on a dessert plate or even in a large wine goblet.

You can also use the topping on puddings and yogurt.

RECIPE: PIE DOUGH CRUMBLES #1

Ingredients

Ingredients For The Pie Dough Crumbs

  • 1/2 cup all-purpose flour
  • 1/4 cup sugar
  • 1/4 cup butter, softened to room temperature
  • Pinch salt
  •    

    strawberry-sundae-pie-dough-crumbles-mcconnellsicecream-230

    Strawberry ice cream with pie dough crumbles. Photo courtesy McConnell’s Fine Ice Creams.

     

     

    key-lime-ice-cream-pie-crumbles-mcconnellsicecream-230r

    Key lime ice cream on a bed of crumbles. Photo courtesy McConnell’s Fine Ice Creams.

     

    Preparation

    1. PREHEAT oven to 400°F.

    2. MIX ingredients together large, moist clumps form (we tend to like them on the larger size, about 1/2 inch diameter). If the ingredients stick together too much to make crumbs, add a bit more flour and sugar in a 2:1 ratio until the mixture becomes crumbly.

    3. BAKE on a sheet for 10-15 minutes until golden (but not brown). Let cool; store in an airtight container until ready to use.

    If you’d like crumbles with a deeper flavor, add brown sugar.

    RECIPE: PIE DOUGH CRUMBLES #2

    Ingredients For The Pie Dough Crumbs

  • 3/4 cup all-purpose flour
  • 1/3 cup packed light-brown sugar
  • 3 tablespoons granulated sugar
  • Pinch salt
  • 6 tablespoons cold unsalted butter, cut into small pieces
  •  
    ASSEMBLING THE SUNDAE

    Ingredients

  • Ice cream of choice
  • Pie crumbles
  • Whipped cream
  • Optional garnishes: chocolate shavings, diced fruit, sauce, sprinkles, etc.
  •  
    Preparation

    1. SCOOP ice cream onto a plate. Top with pie crumbles.

    2. ADD garnishes and serve

      

    Comments

    PRODUCT: Seminole Pride & Blood Orange Meringue Pie

    A Great Juice Story

    Deprived of their original resources, many Native American tribes have fallen into unfortunate circumstances, struggling economically and facing the ills that come with hardship.

    The Seminole Tribe of Florida, through the careful leadership of their elders, managed to overcome such bleak circumstances. The Tribe became self-sufficient through economic development enterprises located on six reservations throughout the State of Florida, one of which is citrus farming.

    Economic success has enabled them to reach out to help struggling Native Nations as well as local communities, through product donations, financial contributions and sponsorships.

    Earlier this year, the Tribe teamed with the Roe family, fourth generation distributors and growers of the Noble brand of fruits and juices, to launch a new brand, Seminole Pride Noble. The line includes natural and organic juices in apple, blood orange, grapefruit, lemonade, orange, orange tangerine, red grapefruit, tangerine and tangerine clementine.

    The operation is committed to sustainable citrus farming and to the environment in general; even the bottles used are 100% sustainable and are made at the juicing facility, keeping the total business carbon footprint environmentally friendly.

       

    seminole-pride-aka-noble-blood-orange-juice-230

    One of 10 Seminole Pride juices. Photo courtesy Noble Juice.

     

    Look for the juices (here’s a store locator), and check out the delicious recipes on the website. A little bit of juice perks up the flavor in everything from salads and slaws to meats and sautéed veggies.

     

    blood-orange-meringue-pie-noblejuice-230

    A tempting blood orange meringue pie, made
    with Seminole Pride Noble blood orange
    juice. Photo courtesy Noble Juice.

     

    RECIPE: BLOOD ORANGE MERINGUE PIE

    You don’t even have to squeeze oranges to make this splendid pie. Just buy the blood orange juice! Prep time 30 minutes plus chilling, bake time 10 minutes plus cooling.

    Instead of a standard pie crust, we used this graham cracker crust recipe from Key lime pie.

    Ingredients For 8 Servings

  • 4 egg whites
  • 1 cup + 6 tablespoons white sugar, divided
  • 2 tablespoons all-purpose flour
  • 3 tablespoons cornstarch
  • ¼ teaspoon salt
  • 1 cup water
  • ¾ cup blood orange juice
  • 2 tablespoons butter
  • 4 egg yolks, beaten
  • 1 9” pie crust, baked from scratch (or to package directions) and cooled
  • Preparation

    1. PREHEAT oven to 350°F.

    2. MAKE the meringue: In a stand mixer or large glass or metal bowl, whip egg whites until foamy. Add 6 tablespoons sugar gradually and continue to whip egg whites until stiff peaks form. Set aside.

    3. MAKE the filling: In a saucepan, whisk together the remaining cup of sugar, flour, cornstarch and salt. Whisk in water and blood orange juice, making sure to eliminate any lumps. Cook over medium-high heat until mixture comes to a boil. Stir in butter and whisk until melted. Temper the egg yolks by slowly adding ¼ cup of the hot filling mixture to the egg yokes, whisking to combine. Whisk egg yolk mixture into filling mixture. Continue whisking mixture until thick. Remove from heat and pour into cooled pie shell.

    Cover filling with meringue, making sure to seal the edges.

    Bake in the preheated oven for 10 minutes or until the meringue is golden brown.

     
    More about blood oranges.

      

    Comments

    FOOD HOLIDAY: National Tequila Day

    No Margaritas today: Celebrate July 24th, National Tequila Day, with a different tequila cocktail.

    Perhaps you’d prefer some tequila ice pops, too.

    Here’s a cocktail suggestion from Tequila Avión, incorporating ripe summer papaya.

    RECIPE: PAPAYA SMASH

    Ingredients For 1 Drink

  • 1¼ ounces añejo tequila
  • Slice of fresh papaya
  • ¼ ounce agave nectar
  • ½ ounce Aperol or Campari (see note below)
  • ½ ounce orange juice
  • ¾ ounce fresh lime juice
  • Fresh papaya slice for garnish
  •  
    Preparation

    1. MUDDLE a slice of fresh papaya and agave nectar in a mixing glass. Add the tequila Aperol and orange juice. Top off with fresh lime juice. Add ice and give it a good shake.

    2. STRAIN into an ice-filled glass and garnish with a fresh slice of papaya.

       

    papaya-smash-avion-tequila-230

    Papaya and tequila: an inspired combination. Photo courtesy Tequila Avión.

     

     

    avion-anejo-bottle-230

    Anejo tequila is aged for two years, adding
    complex flavors. Photo courtesy Tequila
    Avión.

     

    TEQUILA & COKE

    Those who enjoy a rum and Coke can celebrate with the tequila version. Coffee lovers can buy Avion’s Espresso Tequila and make this cocktail, “The Rally,” with 1 part Avión Espresso Tequila and 2 parts cola.

    Find more recipes at TequilaAvion.com.
     

    APEROL VS. CAMPARI

    Like the better-known Campari, Aperol is an Italian apéritif, a dry alcoholic beverage usually served before a meal to stimulate the appetite. Other apéritif examples include champagne, gin, pastis, dry sherry (fino or amontillado), vermouth, and any still, dry, light white wine.

    Aperol is milder, less bitter and much lighter in color. Its ingredients include, among others, bitter orange, gentian, rhubarb, and cinchona. Although it tastes and smells much like Campari, Aperol has an alcohol content that is less than half of Campari (Aperol is 11% A.B.V.), with the same sugar content.

    The opposite of an apéritif, a digestif is an alcoholic beverage served after a meal, in theory to aid digestion. Examples include brandy, eaux de vie (fruit brandies), grappa (pomace brandy), liqueurs, and fortified wines such as cream sherry, sweet vermouth, Port, and Madeira.

     

      

    Comments

    TIP OF THE DAY: Veggie Skewers, Veggie Grilling Tips

    We discovered these nifty grill combs from Fusion Brands at Sur La Table. What better way to get everyone to eat more veggies than to skewer and grill them?

    Americans are woefully behind when it comes to eating the recommended 3-5 servings of vegetables a day; and no, spaghetti sauce and ketchup don’t count.

    So make it fun by grilling skewers of veggies while you’re cooking your proteins. Aim to build skewers of 70% veggies, 30% protein; or make all-veggie skewers.

    BEST VEGETABLES FOR GRILLING

    Many different types of vegetables can be grilled, but start with a selection from these:

  • Asparagus: If you loose them between the spokes of the grill, get a grilling basket or a shaker basket.
  • Bell peppers: Grill whole, char and peel, or cut into chunks and grill until just charred around the edges.
  • Corn: Some people leave corn in the husks for grilling. Others like the char that comes from grilling the husked corn. Try both and decide.
  •    

    veggie-skewers-comb-SLT-230

    A fun way to cook and eat veggies. Photo courtesy Sur La Table.

  • Eggplant: Slice then into 1/4” pieces and briefly marinate in balsamic vinegar, olive oil, garlic and basil.
  • Green beans: Few people think to grill these. All you need is a grilling basket/shaker basket.
  • Mushrooms: Marinate whole portabellas in balsamic vinaigrette for 1 hour; grill over high heat for 10 minutes. Smaller mushrooms can be skewered or grilled in a basket.
  • Onions: Cut crosswise into half-inch slices, skewer and grill over medium heat.
  • Potatoes: Parboil fingerling or new potatoes until they are al dente thread and finish them on the grill.
  • Radicchio or Endive: Quarter, leaving the core in, and serve warm with a vinaigrette.
  • Tomatoes: Cut in half and grill cut-side down; flip halfway through (3-4 minutes), top with pesto and cook for another 3-4 minutes.
  • Zucchini And/Or Summer Squash: Use the eggplant marinade above.
  •  
    GENERAL GRILLING

    Karen Schultz and Maren Jahnke note in their book, Vegetarian Grilling, that vegetables contain far less fat than proteins. They thus require added fat so that they don’t dry out.

    This is done both by marinating and by brushing often with olive oil or other oil. “Be heavy on the brush,” they recommend.

    For more on how to grill vegetables, John Kennedy, in an article on SteakBytes, the blog of Omaha Steaks, offers these tips:

     

    grilling-basket-mr-bar-b-q-amz-230r

    How to keep small veggies from slipping
    through the grill: Use a grilling basket. Photo
    courtesy Mr. Bar-B-Q.

     

    VEGGIE GRILLING TIPS

    1. USE skewers. Skewers are the best way to keep vegetables from rolling around on the grill, and to easily flip to ensure that each side is getting equal contact with the heat. If you don’t want to invest in skewers, you can wrap the vegetables in a sheet of foil, then place the packet on the grill. Use nonstick cooking spray on the foil before adding the vegetables to help prevent sticking.

    2. BRUSH the vegetables with olive oil or canola oil to prevent them from sticking to the grill. Avoid the temptation of butter, to keep the cholesterol/saturated fat levels low.

    3. SEASON with dried or fresh herbs instead of salt. You’ll add great flavor without increasing sodium levels.

    4. SLICE the vegetables thickly since they will cook fast (unless you want thin, crisp slices). However, denser vegetables take longer to cook: Potato slices require a lot more time than zucchini slices, for example.

     

    5. COOK vegetables directly on the grill at medium-high heat and turn over halfway through cooking.
     
    Do this often, and you’ll eat better while enjoying the superior flavor of grilled vegetables.

      

    Comments

    PRODUCT: BerryBreeze Refrigerator Air Purifier

    Even if you don’t need an air purifier for your home, you may need one for your fridge.

    BerryBreeze is a 21st-century improvement on the open box of baking soda, left in the refrigerator or freezer to filter migrating aromas from raw and cooked foods.

    But BerryBreeze does more.

    The same process that neutralizes odors also preserves produce, by destroying harmful bacteria and mold that cause fruit and vegetables to decay. The manufacturer claims it will keep produce fresher for up to 10 days, or two to three times longer. The benefit: less waste of food and money, less to toss into the landfill.

    BerryBreeze is a rebranding of a machine called the Ozonator, which you may have seen on TV.

    It runs on four D batteries. The device converts the oxygen in the fridge to ozone (activated oxygen), a powerful oxidizing agent that destroys surface molecules of bacteria and mold. It also defuses ethylene, a gas emitted by numerous fruits (including apples and melons) which speeds up the ripening and rotting of foods.

     

    berry-breeze-230

    The same process that purifies the air helps produce last longer. Photo courtesy BerryBreeze.

     
    We tried it and it did seem to extend the life of fragile raspberries. The fridge smelled better, but the machine isn’t a miracle worker: You have to do your part to tightly cover odorous items and police for rot.

    BerryBreeze is available at retailers nationwide, including Bed, Bath & Beyond and Whole Foods Markets. You can also buy it online at BerryBreeze.com.

    The retail price is $49.95; you supply the batteries.

      

    Comments

    RECIPE: Cheesecake Stuffed Strawberries

    cheesecake-bites-driscolls-230

    How about some cheesecake-stuffed
    strawberries? Photo courtesy Driscoll’s.

     

    Here’s another no-bake recipe from Driscoll’s berries. Strawberries filled with a simple cheesecake filling are a bite-sized treat and better-for-you option than, say, a slice of strawberry cheesecake.

    For ease of preparation, make the filling and prep the strawberries ahead of time; then assemble just before serving.

    Prep time: 20 minutes, cook time is 5 minutes.

    RECIPE: NO BAKE CHEESECAKE STUFFED STRAWBERRIES

    Ingredients For 20 Pieces

  • 2 packages (16 ounces each) fresh strawberries
  • 1 package (8 ounces) cream cheese
  • 1/2 cup nonfat Greek yogurt
  • 1/2 cup sugar
  • Pinch salt
  • 8 ounces semi-sweet chocolate chips
  • 1 tablespoon graham cracker, vanilla wafer or shortbread
    cookies
  •  

    Preparation

    1. LINE a baking sheet with waxed paper. Cut the top off each strawberry and core out the center with a melon baller. Place on the baking sheet and set aside.

    2. BEAT the cream cheese, yogurt, sugar, vanilla and salt with an electric mixer until creamy and evenly blended. Place the cream cheese mixture in a pastry bag or a self-sealing plastic bag with a corner cut off. Pipe the cream cheese mixture into the strawberries.

    3. MELT the chocolate chips in microwave on 50% power or in a bowl set over simmering water. Place the melted chocolate in a pastry bag or a self-sealing plastic bag with a small hole cut in the corner. Pipe the melted chocolate over the strawberries. Chill in the fridge to set, at least 15 minutes.

    4. TOP with cookie crumbs and serve on a plate or tray.
     
      

    Comments

    TIP OF THE DAY: Sea Asparagus & Other Sea Vegetables

    Today’s tip is: Keep your eyes open for new foods. Then, share them with foodie friends.

    Hannah Kaminsky of Bittersweet Blog discovered sea asparagus—a vegetable that grows in or adjacent to salt water—on a recent trip to Hawaii. Sea asparagus grows in warm salt marshes and on beaches, there for the foraging. It is harvested wild, and also cultivated.

    What Is Sea Asparagus

    Sea asparagus (Salicornia europaea), also known as glasswort, samphire or sea beans, is a tender, green, spindly stalk that resembles tiny land-grown asparagus (although they are not related). It is a member of the Amaranthaceae family, which includes everything from amaranth, a high-protein grain, to ornamental cockscomb and picturesque tumbleweed.

    Sea asparagus can be purchased fresh in areas where it is harvested, and packaged in specialty food markets. You can purchase it fresh, frozen, pickled (this year’s stocking stuffer?) and in other forms (sea pesto, powdered seasoning) from Olakai Hawaii. The season in British Columbia is currently “in full swing,” according to West Coast Seaweed, another e-tailer.

    Fresh sea asparagus can be eaten raw, pickled or steamed (and then tossed in butter or olive oil); in a salad, as a side dish or a garnish (see the sushi photo below). Dried sea vegetables can be added directly to soups or stews and to the cooking liquid of beans or rice.

       

    sea-asparagus-salad-kaminsky-230

    Invite a new vegetable to lunch or dinner. Sea asparagus photo © Hannah Kaminsky | Bittersweet Blog.

     
    No Extra Salt Required

    “Absorbing the sea salt like a sponge, sea asparagus can be quite salty if not thoroughly rinsed, and should never be salted no matter what else you add to it,” says Hannah. “Slightly crunchy when raw or par-cooked, it’s an exotic delight, and a surprise given my experience with flat, gelatinous, and/or stringy sea vegetables. As long as I can find sea asparagus, you can be sure that this salad will find its way to my table.”

    Hannah’s recipe was inspired by the serving suggestion printed on the label for Olakai sea asparagus, purchased in Hawaii. Hannah combined them with other local pleasures: tiny currant tomatoes, a local product even smaller than grape tomatoes, and sweet Maui onions.

    You can add a protein to turn the recipe into a luncheon salad. Consider grilled or smoked salmon (which makes the Hawaiian recipe lomi lomi), tofu, canned tuna, grilled fish or seafood. We used raw scallops: delicious!

    RECIPE: SEA ASPARAGUS SALAD

    Ingredients For 2-3 Side Dish Servings

  • 4 ounces fresh sea asparagus
  • 1 ounce sweet onion, diced
  • 1 tablespoon avocado oil or olive oil
  • 1 tablespoon fresh lemon juice
  • 4 ounces currant tomatoes (substitute halved cherry or grape tomatoes)
  •  
    Preparation

    1. SNIP off any brown ends on the sea asparagus before rinsing them thoroughly under hot water. Toss them in a bowl along with the diced onion, oil and lemon juice.

    2. MASSAGE the vegetables with your fingers for a minute or two, just to tenderize the stalks slightly. Add the tomatoes and mix to distribute throughout the salad.

    3. SERVE immediately or chill. The salad will keep for up to two days. Don’t be tempted to add any salt, since sea asparagus is already infused with sodium from the sea.

     

    sea_asparagus_inari-tastyislandhawaii-230

    Sea vegetables as a garnish, here on inari
    sushi. Photo courtesy TastyIslandHawaii.com.

     

    WHAT ARE SEA VEGETABLES

    Vegetables don’t grow only on land. If you’re a fan of Japanese food, you’ve probably had one or more types of seaweed—a salad of hijiki or wakame, the nori wrapper of sushi rolls or a bowl of dashi (clear soup) made from kombu (kelp).

    Sea vegetables are loaded with of chlorophyll, dietary fiber and vitamins and minerals from the ocean, including calcium, iron, magnesium, phosphorus, potassium, sodium, vitamins A and C and trace minerals such as iodine and vanadium. Many health food advocates eat them for the nutrition (details).

    Sea asparagus, in particular, is an excellent source of calcium, iron and vitamins A, B2, B9 (folic acid), plus dietary fiber, amino acids and minerals.

    Look for sea vegetables in natural food stores in dried form. Just soak them in water for 10 minutes and they’re ready to use.

    If you like seaweed salad, you’ll like a mixed sea vegetable salad—say, arame/hijiki, dulse, sea palm and wakame. Try a mirin-tamari-ginger juice-soy sauce marinade, or a simple rice vinegar, olive oil and sesame oil vinaigrette.

     
    POPULAR SEA VEGETABLES

  • Agar Agar. Also called kanten or Japanese gelatin, agar agar is a clear, tasteless alternative to animal or chemical-based gelatin. It is sold in opaque flakes and dissolves in hot liquid. It thickens at room temperature and is used to firm up confections, jellies, pies and puddings.
  • Arame. These thin, wiry black shreds of seaweed have a sweet, mild flavor. In Western cuisine, they can be added to green salads, omelets, pasta salads, quiches and stir-fries.
  • Dulse. This reddish brown sea veggie is sold as dried whole stringy leaves or a powdered condiment. The leaves have a chewy texture and can be eaten like jerky; or, they can be pan-fried in sesame oil and added to salads or sandwiches. It is not reconstituted, but used as is.
  • Kombu. Thick, dark purple kombu is sold in strips or sheets. It’s the principal ingredient of the Japanese broth, dashi; and can be added to Western recipes in the liquid for beans, rice or soup.
  • Nori. Nori can be dark purple to blackish green in color. It is best known as the thin, flat sheets of toasted seaweed used to make sushi rolls (the sheets are not reconstituted, but used as is). It’s also available untoasted, and plain or flavored snack strips have become quite popular. We use julienned nori as a garnish for rice, soups, salads, casseroles or grains either crushed into flakes or cut into strips. Nori is also available in a flakes with a seasoning mix of sesame seeds, salt and sugar, called nori komi furikake. If you like nori, get some: You’ll enjoy it.
  • Sea Palm. This vegetable, brownish-green in color, looks just like a miniature palm tree. It’s also called American arame and is harvested from America’s Pacific Coast. Sweet and salty, it can be enjoyed it raw or sautéed, in soups or in salads.
  • Wakame. We always look forward to a bowl of silky, tender wakame-su, wakame seaweed marinated in rice vinegar. It is also a popular addition to Japanese soups.
  •  
    Ready, set: Enjoy discovering the world of sea vegetables.

      

    Comments

    TIP OF THE DAY: How To Select The Best Fresh Cherries

    Cherry season is fleeting—just a couple of weeks in some locations. It is also frustrating, because we’re not having a good cherry season this year. Every cherry we’ve sampled has been bland. They look good, but don’t deliver on the palate.

    The term “cherry-pick” is a hint. The expression comes from harvesting the fruit: The pickers are instructed to carefully select the ripe fruit only. Unlike other tree fruits, cherries don’t ripen or improve in flavor after they’re picked.

    Are we getting unripe fruit? Have growing conditions been substandard? Is the fruit mishandled after it’s harvested? We want answers (but more importantly, we want good cherries).

  • Picked too soon, cherries are pale and tasteless; too ripe, they’re soft and watery. According to Produce Pete, the best time to pick seems to be when the birds start eating them (birds have an instinct for ripe cherries).
  • Weather challenges are a fact of life: Produce is at the mercy of the growing season. Fruit needs sufficient heat to develop full flavor and can be harmed by excessive rain during crucial weeks, when water penetrates the skin and dilute the flavor.
  • Bad storage can easily diminish flavor and texture. Fruit doesn’t respond well to changing temperatures. From a warm grove to a hot or cold transport or storage room and back again, varying temperatures can wreak havoc. If you’re in a key cherry growing state (California, Idaho, Michigan, Oregon, Washington State), you’ve got a better chance to get the best fruit.
  •    

    picota-cherries-basket-foodsfromspainFB-230

    Fresh cherries, one of the happy signs of summer. Photo courtesy Foods From Spain.

     

    TRY IT BEFORE YOU BUY IT

    You can’t bite into a peach to see if it’s sweet enough before you buy it, but you can score a cherry. It’s the only way to make sure you’ll be happy with them.

    If the flavor doesn’t deliver, it’s not worth the calories if you’re looking to snack on raw fruit. Find another variety, keep tasting cherries as you come across them, and hope for a successful score elsewhere.

    This is not to say that you can’t use less flavorful cherries to make delicious cherry pies, tarts, jams, sauces or ice creams. In recipes, added sugar compensates for what’s missing in the fruit.

     

    queen-anne-bing-cherries-230r

    Queen Anne and Bing cherries. Photo courtesy Washington State Fruit Commission.

     

    REAL CHERRY PICKING: WHAT TO LOOK FOR

    While these tips don’t ensure that the fruit will be sweet, they’re a good start:

  • Firmness. The most common varieties (Bing, Rainier, Queen Anne) should be firm. However, some heirloom varieties (Black Tartarian is an example) are naturally softer. Be sure to taste them: Some heirloom cherries have the best flavor.
  • Plumpness. Good cherries will be plump and dark for their variety and have fresh, green stems, indicating that they were recently harvested. Cherries without stems won’t keep as well as fruits with intact stems.
  • Size. Look for fruits that are large for their variety and avoid smaller fruits with a higher proportion of pit and skin to flesh.
  • What To Avoid. Shriveled skin, dried stems and dull patina indicate cherries that are over the hill. Leaking flesh and brown discoloration are signs of decay.
  •  
    If the cherries aren’t sweet enough in their natural state, perhaps a homemade cherry tart will put you in the summer grove?

    Our favorite easy tart recipe follows; pâte brisée is our tart crust of preference.

     
    The most demanding part of the recipe is pitting the cherries. You don’t need a cherry pitter.

  • Pit cherries with a paper clip.
  • Pit cherries with a pastry tip.
  •  
    EASY CHERRY TART RECIPE

    Ingredients

  • Pâte brisée (recipe below)
  • 4-6 cups cherries, depending on tart size, pitted
  • 1 jar currant jelly
  •  
    Preparation

    1. MAKE pâte brisée crust.

    RECIPE: PÂTE BRISÉE

    Pâte brisée (pot bree-ZAY), or short crust*, is a buttery tart crust with a crumbly texture. It is used for sweet and savory pies, tarts and quiches. It can be made several days in advance and kept in the fridge, or frozen for a month.

    Ingredients

  • 2-1/2 cups all-purpose flour
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 1 tablespoon sugar
  • 1 cup (2 sticks) unsalted butter, chilled, and cut into 1-inch pieces
  • 1/4 to 1/2 cup ice water
  •  
    Preparation

    1. PULSE the flour, salt and sugar in a food processor until combined. Add the butter and pulse 15 seconds, until the ingredients resembles coarse meal.

    2. ADD 1/4 cup ice water through the feed tube in a slow stream, until the dough just holds together when pinched (add remaining water as needed). Do not process more for than 30 seconds.

    3. PLACE the dough on a work surface and gather it into a ball; divide ball into two equal pieces, flatten into a disk and tightly wrap in plastic. Refrigerate for 30-60 minutes.

    4. PRESS into tart pan, refrigerate or freeze for later use (defrost in the fridge for several hours or overnight). First spray tart pan with cooking spray if desired.

    5. BAKE. Preheat oven to 350°F. Bake 20 to 25 minutes or until edges are light golden brown. Cool completely, about 1 hour before adding fruit.
     
    *Brisée actually is a participle of the French verb briser, which means to break, shatter or smash. We don’t know the origin, but inspired by the store of ganache, we like to think cookware was broken by whomever created the recipe.

      

    Comments

    RECIPE: Chocolate Blackberry Macarons

    Here’s another delicious blackberry recipe: Chocolate Blackberry Macarons. Blackberry, a summer fruit, is a nice change from the chocolate or raspberry fillings often found in macarons.

    The recipe was developed by blogger Naomi Robinson of Bakers Royal, and contributed to Driscoll’s recipes. Visit Naomi’s blog for more delicious recipes.

    Prep time is 30 minutes, cook time is 15 to 17 minutes, plus cooling time.

    RECIPE: CHOCOLATE BLACKBERRY MACARONS

    Ingredients For 24-30 Macarons

    For The Chocolate Macarons

  • 1/2 cup egg whites (about 4 eggs)
  • 1/4 cup granulated sugar
  • 2 cups plus 1/3 cup powdered sugar
  • 2 cups plus ¼ cup almond meal
  • 1/4 cup plus 1 tablespoon cocoa powder
  •  
    For The Blackberry Filling

  • 2 packages (6 ounces each) blackberries, puréed
  • 1/4 cup granulated sugar
  • 2 tablespoons water
  • 1 envelope plain gelatin
  •    

    chocolate-blackberry-macarons-driscolls-230

    A summer flavor for macaron lovers. Photo courtesy Driscoll’s.

     

     

    http://www.dreamstime.com/royalty-free-stock-image-blackberries-basket-image26804436

    Sweet summer blackberries. Photo ©
    Pretoperola | Dreamstime.

     

    Preparation

    1. PREHEAT oven to 330°F. Line a baking sheet with parchment.

    2. TRACE out 1 inch circles on parchment and set this aside as a “master copy.” Reserve two extra sheets of parchment and set aside.

    3. PLACE egg whites and sugar in a stand mixer bowl and fit mixer with a whisk attachment. Beat on medium low speed until egg whites start to form loose, translucent bubbles.

    4. INCREASE mixer speed to medium and beat until meringue turns foamy and white and starts to resemble well-lathered shampoo, about 2 minutes. Increase mixer to high and beat until meringue holds glossy stiff peaks, about another 2-3 minutes. Turn off mixer.

    5. PROCESS almond meal, powdered sugar and cocoa powder in a food processor and then sift. Add these dry ingredients to the meringue. Using a sturdy spatula fold and smash dry mixture into meringue against the bowl for about 20-25 folds.

    Don’t worry about being gentle; the idea is to knock the air out. The batter should hold its shape when spooned on itself and start to slowly flatten out after about 15-20 seconds. Start checking the batter after 20 folds for readiness. Transfer batter to pastry bag and let rest for 20 minutes before piping.

     

    6. PLACE the master copy of the drawn circles on a baking sheet and then place a sheet of parchment on top. Fill a pastry bag with batter and pipe until the batter reaches edge of circle. Remove the master copy from underneath the piped layer. Place it on a second baking sheet and pipe the remaining batter. Remove the master copy and save for future use.

    7. GIVE each pan a quick hard tap against the counter, turn the pan 90 degrees and give it another quick hard tap. This will deflate any bubbles and prevent cracked shells.

    8. BAKE for 15-17 minutes. Remove from oven and transfer to a cooling rack. Leave meringue shells to cool completely on the pan. Shells will cleanly peel away from the parchment when ready.

    9. MAKE the blackberry filling. Place water and sugar in a small saucepan over medium heat; stir until sugar is melted. Transfer pan to wire rack to cool, 15-20 minutes. Once cooled, sprinkle gelatin on top and leave untouched for 1-2 minutes for the gelatin to bloom.

    10. RETURN the pan to the stove top and over low heat stir the mixture until the gelatin bloom melts and mixture resembles the consistency of maple syrup. Remove from heat and stir the gelatin mixture into the blackberry purée. Transfer to the refrigerator to chill for 10-15 minutes or until the filling becomes thick and slightly sets.

    11. ASSEMBLE the meringues. Pipe the filling onto one shell, place a second shell on top and repeat.

      

    Comments

    FOOD FUN: Ocean Water

    We love this idea from Spoonful Of Comfort: a soft drink turned into “ocean water.”

    It’s not just for kids! Even adults like the Swedish Fish garnish; and they’ll especially appreciate it with a hit of vodka or other clear spirit.

    RECIPE: OCEAN WATER

    Ingredients

  • 7 Up or Sprite
  • Optional spirit: gin, tequila or vodka
  • Blue food coloring
  • Swedish fish
  • Straw (preferably red or red and white stripes)
  •  
    Preparation

    1. FILL a glass or mason jar with soda. Add spirit to taste.

    2. Using an eye dropper, add one drop of blue food color. Stir. Add more color as desired.

    3. Drop in a Swedish Fish. Serve with a straw.

     

    ocean-water-spoonfulofcomfort

    Turn a soft drink or cocktail into “Ocean Water.” Photo courtesy Spoonful Of Comfort |
    FB.

     

    We’d be remiss if we didn’t recommend Spoonful Of Comfort’s chicken soup. Send it to friends and family: new parents, new homeowners, under the weather, or lovers of chicken soup.

      

    Comments

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