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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.

FILM: The Hundred Foot Journey

THE HUNDRED-FOOT JOURNEY

Papa Kadam (Om Puri) brings his family and
their cuisine from Mumbai to a small
French town. Photo courtesy Dreamworks.

 

We didn’t know about the international best-seller, The Hundred-Foot Journey, a novel by Richard C. Morais. But after seeing the film version twice, we were so captivated that we ordered a copy.

The main story, of an immigrant Indian restaurant family taking on the finest Michelin restaurant in 50 miles of their town in the south of France, was chosen by Oprah Winfrey as a “favorite summer read” in 2010. Oprah brought the book to Steven Spielberg, and we are the beneficiaries of the film, The Hundred Foot Journey. If you love a warm story, beautiful cinematography, spot-on performances and direction and of course, great cuisine, you’ll cherish this charming film.

Let others write about the cultural divide and the ability to walk in somebody else’s shoes. We’re here for the food, which is glorious. From the just-harvested produce and fresh proteins in the town market, to the activity in the kitchens of two very different restaurants, this film is a feast for food lovers.

The actual distance from the [fictitious] elegant Michelin one-star Le Saule Pleureur* to the boisterous newcomer, Maison Mumbai, is brief: one hundred feet, says the title. It refers to both the actual distance and the cultural divide and battlefield.
 
*The Weeping Willow.

 
But the distance seems shorter. Just walk out the front door of the elegant maison de maître that is Le Saule Pleureur, cross the country road and enter the more modest premises of the upstart neighbor. It’s Pigeon aux Truffes versus Goat Curry.

There are several journeys: the Kadam family’s, from Mumbai to France; young Hassam’s, from his modest family restaurant to the pursuit of three stars at a top Paris restaurant; the pursuit of the craft of great cuisine; and two love stories. The haughty restaurateur, Madame Mallory, feisty Papa Kadam, and even the beautiful sous-chef in Madame’s kitchen, Marguerite, discover new paths.

 

The story takes place in the real town of Saint-Antonin-Noble-Val, in the Tarn-et-Garonne department in the Midi-Pyrénées region in the south of France.

The words “charming,” “picturesque” and “quaint” are not clichés here: You will want to go online and book your next vacation. Many of the actual vendors who work in the local market appeared as extras in the film, along with their produce, cheeses, flowers and wines.

However, as happens in motion pictures, some locations are not what they may seem.

The center of town is Saint-Antonin-Noble-Val, but the breathtaking outskirts where the two restaurants face off amid green fields, is actually a composite, a miracle of digital art that placed a farmhouse some 10 km away across the street from the 19th century pink mansion that stands in for Le Saule Pleureur.

 

THE HUNDRED-FOOT JOURNEY

Across the street: one-star French cuisine at the elegant Le Saule Pleurer: Papa, Hassan and Madame Mallory (Om Puri, Manish Dayal and Helen Mirren). Photo courtesy Dreamworks.

 

This film has received only average reviews from many reviewers. We don’t agree with their comments, and can only imagine that these individuals aren’t interested in chefs, great cuisine or stories built around them.

To lovers of great cuisine, who thrill to the flavors and aromas of fine kitchens, it’s a sensory delight—a very joyous journey indeed. Not to mention, a fine story that seems very real.

Directed by Lasse Hallström, the film stars Helen Mirren, Om Puri, Manish Dayal and Charlotte LeBon. But the gifts of all cast members and the production team, tfrom cinematographer Linus Sandgren and production designer David Gropman to the food stylists and the location scouts, deserve three stars.

  

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FOOD HOLIDAY: S’Mores Pie, Ice Cream Cake & More

no-bake-smores-pie-browneyedbaker-230

A no-bake s’mores pie. Photo courtesy Brown
Eyed Baker.

 

You don’t need a campfire to celebrate National S’mores Day. Here are recipes that are just as much fun.

First, a no-bake S’mores Pie, the creation of Brown Eyed Baker, Lauryn Cohen. Here’s her recipe, shown in the photo.

The marshmallows are browned with a chef’s torch (most popularly used to make crème brûlée).

Prefer cake to pie? Here’s a S’mores Ice cream Cake recipe from the Wisconsin Milk Marketing Board.

RECIPE: S’MORES ICE CREAM CAKE

Ingredients For 10 Servings

  • 1-3/4 cups graham cracker crumbs,* divided
  • 1 loaf pound cake or chocolate pound cake
  • 1 rectangular container (1-1/2 quarts) chocolate ice cream
  • 10 ounces mini marshmallows
  • Optional garnish: chocolate sauce
  •  
    *You can substitute a prepared graham cracker crust for the crumbs, sugar and butter. You will still need some graham cracker crumbs for garnish.

    Preparation

    If you have a chef’s torch, use it instead of the broiler in Step 3.

    1. LINE a broiler-safe 8×8-inch glass or metal baking dish with foil, overlapping the edges of the dish with the foil (to help lift out the cake). Cut the pound cake into 1-inch slices (or as thick as desired) and tightly pack into a layer.

    2. SOFTEN the ice cream at room temperature for 5 minutes; remove the carton from the ice cream and cut the ice cream in half. Place both halves on top of the cake layer, trimming as necessary. Use a spatula to press and spread the ice cream evenly. Add a layer of graham cracker crumbs. Cover and freeze solid, 30 minutes or more.

    3. PREHEAT the broiler with the rack in the lower part of oven. Remove the ice cream cake from freezer; top with marshmallows (tightly placed together), spreading to edges of pan, pressing down to seal. Place cake under broiler, 8 to 10 inches from heating element. Broil until marshmallows are puffed and golden, 2 to 3 minutes, watching constantly.

    4. REMOVE from oven, sprinkle with remaining 1/4 cup graham cracker crumbs and drizzle with optional chocolate sauce. Cut and serve immediately.

     

    RECIPE: S’MORES CUPCAKES

    Ingredients

  • Chocolate cupcakes
  • Marshmallow creme
  • Graham crackers
  • Chocolate bar
  • Optional: mini marshmallows
  •  
    Preparation

    1. BAKE or buy chocolate cupcakes. Frost with marshmallow creme. Add optional mini marshmallows and brown with a chef’s torch.

    2. DECORATE with pieces of chocolate bar and graham cracker.

     
    Ice Cream Cupcakes Variation

    Instead of marshmallow creme, substitute vanilla or marshmallow ice cream. Garnish with mini marshmallows, chocolate and graham crackers.

     

    smores-cupcake-ps-230

    It’s easy to assemble s’mores cupcakes. Photo courtesy Crumbs.

     

    RECIPE: S’MORES ICE CREAM

    Some brands offer s’mores ice cream; but you can make your own. You get to add your preferred form of marshmallow into this recipe: either a marshmallow creme swirl or mixed-in mini marshmallows.

    Ingredients

  • Vanilla ice cream
  • Chocolate chips or chunks
  • Graham crackers, crumbled
  • Mini marshmallows or marshmallow creme
  • Optional: waffle cones
  •  
    Preparation

    1. SOFTEN ice cream on counter. If using mini marshmallows, cut them in half in half.

    2. SWIRL marshmallow creme through the ice cream; alternatively, mix mini marshmallows into the ice cream.

    3. MIX in chocolate chips and graham crackers. Return ice cream to freezer.

    4. SERVE in bowls, with chocolate pound cake, or in a waffle cone.
      

    Comments

    TIP OF THE DAY: Tataki, Plus Salmon Tataki Salad

    tuna-tataki-seared-haru-230

    Tataki means briefly seared. Photo of tuna
    tataki courtesy Haru | NYC.

     

    Tataki, also called tosa-mi, is a Japanese style of preparing fish or meat. The protein is seared very briefly over a hot flame or in a pan, briefly marinated in rice vinegar, sliced thinly and served chilled or at room temperature.

    The traditional presentation includes garnishes of thinly sliced scallions and finely shredded ginger, with soy sauce for dipping.

    The word “tataki,” meaning “pounded,” actually refers to the ginger condiment: It was originally pounded with a mortar and pestle. While some still prepare it that way, modern cooks can choose to purée it in a food processor or grate it with a zester or other fine grater.

    The port of Nagasaki was the first point of entry for foreigners in feudal Japan. Legend says that tataki was developed by Sakamoto Ryoma, a 19th-century samurai, who picked up the European technique of grilling meat from the foreigners in that city.

    In feudal times, bonito (skipjack tuna) was the preferred fish for tataki. Although bonito is still frequently used in Japan, in modern times, ahi tuna and salmon have taken over in popularity. [Source: WiseGeek] Beef, typically filet mignon or sirloin strip, is also be prepared tataki-style.

     

    RECIPE: FISH OR BEEF TATAKI

    1. CUT the fish or beef into thick pieces. Marinate in rice vinegar or mirin (a low-alcohol rice wine).

    2. SEAR each side for five seconds over an open flame or pan-sear on a stovetop burner. The grill or pan should be very hot, and the meat or fish should be quickly seared on all sides to cook only the outer surface, leaving the flesh raw.

    3. COOL the protein in a bowl of ice water; remove, pat dry and thinly slice for serving.
     

    Dipping Sauce

    1. COMBINE equal amounts of soy sauce and rice vinegar, or to taste. Add finely sliced or minced green onion (scallion).

    2. SEASON as desired with grated ginger (you can substitute wasabi).
     
    RECIPE: SALMON TATAKI SALAD

    You don’t have to go to Nobu in Los Angeles to enjoy this delicious salmon tataki salad. Here’s the recipe, courtesy of Nobu Magazine, previously published in the Nobu West cookbook:

    “The Salmon Tataki with Paper Thin Salad is a work of art,” says Nobu. “Incorporating skillfully sliced vegetables and seared salmon, this dish is light and flavorful. With a little help from a mandolin slicer and fresh ingredients, you can impress dinner guests with a beautiful and delicious meal.”

     

    As with sushi or beef tartare, the fish or meat needs to be extremely fresh. Asian specialty stores sell frozen tataki fish slices. Vacuum packed and frozen immediately for freshness, they can be a lot more affordable than fresh tuna and salmon.

    Ingredients For 1 Or 2 Servings

  • 7 ounces boneless, skinless fresh salmon fillets
  • Freshly ground black pepper
  • Jalapeño dressing (recipe below)
  • 2 baby beets
  • 2 baby carrots
  • 2 baby green zucchini
  • 2 baby turnips
  • 4 red radishes (watermelon radishes are ideal)
  • Bowls of ice water
  •  

    salmon-tataki-nobu-3

    This salmon tataki salad is easy to make. Photo courtesy Nobu Magazine.

     

    Preparation

    1. HEAT a nonstick skillet until medium-hot. Season the salmon fillets with black pepper, then sear them for 5 seconds on each side. Make sure the outside is completely seared and turns white. Immediately plunge the seared slices into ice water to stop the cooking process. Drain and pat dry with paper towels, then cover and refrigerate.

    2. PREPARE the salad: Keep the beets to one side. Slice the baby vegetable lengthwise very thinly (about 1/32 inch thick) on a mandolin grater, into a bowl of ice water. Leave them in the ice water for 1 hour; this will cause them to tighten up and become crunchy.

    3. REPEAT the same process with the beets, but place the slices in a separate bowl of water, to stop the color from running into other vegetables. Rinse until the water becomes clear; then add some ice to chill. You might want to wear disposable gloves for this, to prevent staining your hands.

    4. DRAIN the baby vegetables and the beets separately, then mix them together.

    5. POUR some of the dressing on the bottom of a serving dish, so it completely covers the bottom. Cut the chilled seared salmon into slices about 1/4 inch thick and arrange across the middle of the plate, then place the vegetable salad in the middle on top of the salmon.

     
    RECIPE: JALAPEÑO DRESSING

    Ingredients

  • 2 teaspoons chopped jalapeño, seeded (you can substitute cilantro)
  • 1 teaspoon sea salt
  • 1 teaspoon chopped garlic
  • 6-1/2 teaspoons rice vinegar
  • 1/2 cup grapeseed oil
  •  
    Preparation

    1. PROCESS the jalapeño, salt, garlic, and vinegar in a food processor until well mixed and the jalapeño is finely chopped. Slowly add the grapeseed oil and process until well blended.

      

    Comments

    FOOD 101: Cooking History

    early-man-cooking-sirgy.com-230

    Be grateful for your stove and microwave! Photo courtesy Sirgy.com.

     

    Do you like sashimi and steak tartare?

    Man has been wandering Earth for some 200,000 years, but the general use of fire began only about 40,000 to 50,000 years ago. Until then, man ate his food raw.*

    Neanderthals discovered how to deliberately create fire. This led to warmth—the priority in the Ice Age—and to the secondary benefit of cooking meats. Most likely, a piece of mammoth, venison or another flesh that would have been eaten raw, fell in the campfire. It had to be left there until the flames died down, no doubt filling the air with the alluring aroma of roasting meat.

    Heat breaks down tough fiber and releases flavor in the process. As a natural next step, meat and tough roots were slower cooked in the embers or on a flat stone by the side of the fire.

     
    Boiling took more time to evolve, using large mollusk or turtle shells until man created vessels of earthenware or bark that could be placed over the fire. Steaming inside animal stomachs and leaves preceded the more sophisticated development of crockery. The first oven could have been as simple as a hole in the ground.
     
    Here’s what your most ancient of forefathers did:

  • They dug a large pit in the ground and lined it with flat, overlapping stones to prevent seepage. Large quantities of water were poured in, presumably transported in skin bags. Other stones were heated in the campfire and add to the water to bring it to a simmer.
  • The food was then added and, while it was cooking, more hot stones to keep the water at the desired temperature. This technique is still used in some isolated parts of the world.†
  •  
    It was only much later that boiling or stewing was done in small pots placed near the fire, or in cauldrons suspended over a fire. [Source: Food in the Ancient World, Joan P. Alcock [Greenwood Press:Westport CT] 2006 (p. 105-106)]

    The use of fire vastly extended man’s diet, enabling tough foods to be palatable. Cereals—barley, millet, rice, rye, and wheat, as well as potatoes, require cooking before they can be consumed by humans. The use of fire doubtless encouraged the domestication of these foods and the end of lives as hunter-gatherers, as man settled into farming communities.

    Thanks to FoodTimeline.org for inspiring this article.

     
    *Source: Cambridge World History of Food, Kenneth F. Kiple and Kriemhild Conee Ornelas [Cambridge University Press:Cambridge] 2000 (p. 1571)
    †Source: Food in History, Reay Tannahill [Three Rivers Press:New York] 1988 (p. 14-16)
     
      

    Comments

    FOOD HOLIDAY: National Rice Pudding Day

    Here’s a fun take for National Rice Pudding Day: rice pudding tartlets. These are made in rustic style by Frog Hollow Farm.

    You don’t need tartlet pans that turn out fluted, rigid tart shells. Instead, just roll the dough and fold the edges over the filling—the style known as galette. Rice pudding replaces the traditional fruit filling.

    Just make your favorite rice pudding recipe and this galette dough:

    RECIPE: GALETTE DOUGH

    You can make this dough up to 2 days in advance. Wrapped in plastic, then in foil, it can be frozen for up to a month.

    Ingredients

  • 2 sticks cold unsalted butter, cut into small pieces
  • 2-1/2 cups all-purpose flour
  • 1/2 teaspoon coarse salt
  • 1 teaspoon sugar
  • 1/2 cup ice water
  •  

    rice-pudding-tartlet-froghollow-230

    Rice pudding tartlets. Photo courtesy Frog Hollow Farm.

     

    Preparation

    1. PLACE 3/4 of the butter on a parchment-lined baking sheet and freeze until hard, 30 minutes or longer. Refrigerate the remaining butter.

    2. COMBINE flour, salt, and sugar in a food processor. Add the refrigerated butter and pulse 10 times to combine. Add the frozen butter and pulse until mixture resembles coarse meal. There should be some small, pea-size clumps.

    3. ADD the ice water and pulse 10 more times until just incorporated. Squeeze a small amount of dough between your fingers to make sure it holds together. If not, pulse a few more times, as necessary.

    4. EMPTY the dough onto a piece of plastic wrap. Gather the dough, bringing the edges together and pressing it into a mass. Form the dough into a ball and wrap it in plastic.

    5. ROLL out the dough, still wrapped in plastic, into 1/2-inch-thick disks, four inches in diameter (for individual tartlets). Refrigerate for least 45 minutes.

    6. Place filling in the center of the circles. Pleat the dough around the filling and bake until the crust is lightly golden, for about 15 minutes in 375°F oven.
     
    RICE PUDDING RECIPES

  • Adult Rice Pudding Recipe
  • Layered Rice Pudding Bars Recipe
  • Leftover Rice Rice Pudding Recipe
  •   

    Comments

    TIP OF THE DAY: Turn Leftover Pasta Into Antipasto Salad

    antipasto-salad-melissas-230

    For lunch or a light dinner: antipasto salad.
    Photo courtesy Melissas.

     

    Turn your leftover pasta into an antipasto salad.

    You can boil the pasta from scratch, but whenever we make short cut pasta for a hot dish, we make extra for a cold pasta salad later in the week.

    You can customize the recipe with your favorite ingredients, and use up leftover peas and other veggies. With this recipe from Melissa’s The Great Pepper Cookbook, prep time is 30 minutes, total time 50 minutes.

    RECIPE: ANTIPASTO SALAD

    Ingredients For 12 Servings (1-1/4 Cups)

    For The Salad

  • 1 pound fusilli, rotini or other corkscrew pasta
  • 1/2 pound (about 2 cups) cooked ham, cubed
  • 5 ounces smoked mozzarella cheese, cubed
  • 4 ounces (3/4 cup) hard salami, cubed
  • 3 ounces pepperoni (3/4 cup), cut into strips
  • 1/2 cup pitted or stuffed green olives
  • 1/2 cup pitted black olives (Kalamata or Picholine)
  • 1 green bell pepper, diced
  • 1 red bell pepper, diced
  • 1 yellow bell pepper, diced
  • 1 small red onion or sweet onion, very thinly sliced
  • Salt and pepper
  • Optional Garnishes

  • Pickled garlic
  • Pepperoncini pickled peppers
  • Sundried tomatoes, julienned, or fresh tomatoes (wedges or halved cherry tomatoes
  •  

     

    For The Vinaigrette

  • 1/4 seasoned rice vinegar or wine vinegar
  • 1 tablespoon Dijon mustard
  • 2 teaspoons dried Italian seasoning, crushed
  • 1 sundried tomato, finely diced (about 1
    tablespoon)
  • 1 garlic clove, minced
  • 1/2 cup olive oil or canola oil
  •  

    Preparation

    1. COOK pasta per package directions; drain, rinse with cold water and cool to room temperature.

    2. MAKE the vinaigrette. Combine all ingredients, except for the oil. Drizzle in the oil while whisking, and continue to mix until well combined. Set aside.

    3. COMBINE the pasta with the remaining salad ingredients except optional garnishes; season with salt and pepper to taste. When ready to serve, toss with dressing and top with the garnishes.

    Here’s another antipasto salad recipe with a different set of ingredients.

     

    OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA

    Be adventurous: Try different shapes like gemelli (juh-MELL-lee, meaning “twins”) instead of the more common fusilli in the photo above. Photo courtesy Barilla.

     

    WHAT IS SHORT CUT PASTA?

    Think of Italian pasta in these general categories:

  • Long Form Or Strand Pasta. This refers to any spaghetti-like that you can twist around your fork. These pastas are made in varying widths, from the thinnest angel hair to the plumpest bucatini. They can be round or flat (see ribbon pasta, next), solid or hollow, like bucatini.
  • Ribbon Pasta. A sub-category of long form pasta. These are the flat cuts: fettuccine, lasagne, linguine and tagliatelle, for example.
  • Short form pasta takes several forms:

  • Tubular Pasta. From tiny to jumbo, smooth or ridged (“rigati”), straight-cut or diagonally cut, this category includes elbows, manicotti, penne and rigatoni are well-known cuts. In this category, the seemingly same size pasta will have a different name if the ends are straight-cut versus diagonally cut—for example, penne, straight tubes cut on the diagonal, versus rigatoni, with square-cut ends.
  • Shaped Pasta. Farfalle (bow ties), fusilli (corkscrews), ruote (wagon wheels) are prominent examples. There are endless ways to twist and curl and shape pasta; hence, the hundreds of regional varieties.
  • Stuffed Pasta. This group includes agnolotti, mezzelune, ravioli, tortellini and “dumpling” pasta like gnocchi.
  •  
    See the different types of pasta in our Pasta Glossary.

      

    Comments

    RECIPE: White Gazpacho, The Original Recipe

    A specialty of Spain and Portugal, gazpacho is a cold raw vegetable peasant soup originating in Andalusia, the southernmost region of Spain. Originally made from old bread, olive oil and garlic, the recipe was in use when the Romans conquered the Iberian Peninsula (218-19 B.C.E.).

    The name is of Arabic origin, and literally means “soaked bread”; the original recipe came from the Arabs who occupied much of Spain from the 8th through the 13th centuries.

    Although gazpacho is traditionally a textured soup—made in the days before food processors—today the term has become generic for any cold vegetable soup. But early on, it was a way for field workers to make lunch from the vegetables at hand, and stale bread was added to the recipes.

    Today, an Andalusian recipe typically includes stale bread, bell pepper, garlic, olive oil, onion, tomato, wine vinegar and salt. This “red gazpacho” is a relatively recent addition: The tomato, a new world fruit originally the size of the cherry tomato, was brought back to Europe from the New World by the Spanish conquistadors as a houseplant. It was not eaten until the 1800s*; the first documented tomato sauce recipe in Italy is from 1839.

    There are many variations of gazpacho, depending on local preferences. American recipes tend to leave out the bread, although some may garnish the soup with garlic croutons. White gazpacho is made with olive oil, sherry vinegar, bread, garlic and salt, and substitutes green grapes and almonds for the vegetables. We’ve included a white gazpacho recipe, ajoblanco, below.

    Gazpacho is a warm weather dish. In Spain it can be found in any bar or restaurant from May to September.

     
    *A member of the Nightshade family of plants, the tomato was deemed poisonous until it was eaten out of desperation during a famine in the early 1800s in Italy. The original tomato was the cherry tomato, which made an attractive house plant. History of the tomato.

       

    gazpacho-addsomelife.com

    Tomato-based gazpacho. Photo courtesy AddSomeLife.com.

     
    GAZPACHO HISTORY

    According to Foods From Spain, Empress Eugenia (Eugenie) de Montijo was the first to popularize gazpacho outside of Spain. She insisted on serving it at her wedding banquet when she married Napoleon III in 1853.

    While we don’t know which recipe she requested, it was no doubt one of the many evolutions of the original gazpacho recipe.

    Flash forward to medieval times: Moor invaders (711 C.E.) added almonds to the recipe, giving birth to ajoblanco, the forerunner of modern gazpacho. Before tomatoes, peppers and cucumbers were brought back from the New World, gazpacho was white. (Ajoblanco means white garlic.)

    Spaniards then made that recipe their own by adding grapes, both blended into the soup and as a garnish.

    Over the centuries, gazpacho has evolved in many directions. The blender and food processor have enabled versions with creamy textures. The common ingredients remain olive oil, garlic and salt.

    You can find gazpacho in shades of green, red, white and yellow. You can find it made thickly, with the texture of a dip rather than a soup. The classic gazpacho of Seville is made with tomato, cucumber, garlic, onion, green pepper, bread, salt, a dash of sherry vinegar and olive oil, and is usually seasoned with cumin.

     

    ajoblanco-almond-garlic-foodsfromspain-230

    Ajoblanco, white gazpacho. Photo courtesy
    Foods From Spain.

     

    RECIPE: AJOBLANCO, COLD ALMOND & GARLIC SOUP

    In this recipe from Foods From Spain, prep time is 20-30 minutes, plus chilling time. For a wine pairing, consider a dry white Muscatel from Spain.

    Ingredients For 4 Servings

  • 4 garlic cloves, peeled
  • Pepper and salt to taste
  • 7 ounces/.875 cup almonds, peeled
  • 7 ounces/.875 cup white breadcrumbs
  • 1 cup extra virgin olive oil
  • 4-1/4 cups water
  • 3 tablespoons wine vinegar
  • 7 ounces/.875 cup white grapes
  • Garnish: 2-3 green grapes per person
  •  
    Preparation

    1. CRUSH the garlic cloves with the pepper and salt, preferably with a mortar and pestle (you can use a processor).

    2. SOAK the breadcrumbs in water, then drain and add with the almonds to the garlic mixture.

    3. CONTINUE to crush (or grind) as you gradually pour in the olive oil, working the mixture until it is is fluid and smooth. Gradually add the water until you achieve the desired density.

    4. ADD the vinegar and any extra salt if necessary. Chill in the refrigerator until ready to serve.
     
    MORE GAZPACHO RECIPES

  • Avocado Gazpacho Recipe
  • Melon Gazpacho Recipe
  • White Gazpacho With Grapes & Sour Cream Recipe
  • Yellow Bell Pepper Gazpacho Recipe
  •  
    Plus:

  • Gazpacho Sandwich Recipe—serve it with the soup!
  •   

    Comments

    FOOD HOLIDAY: National Zucchini Day, Spiral Zucchini & Zucchini Pasta

    Whether served raw, roasted, baked, grilled, sautéed, pickled, or fried, zucchini is one of the most versatile vegetables, and a seasonal summer favorite that’s abundantly available at farm stands and supermarkets.

    This summer squash is very low in calories—33 calories for a medium zucchini.

    There are many wonderful ways to serve zucchini:

  • Garnishes
  • Gratin
  • Grilled
  • Soufflé
  • Stir-fried zucchini ribbons
  • Zucchini and carrot slaw, “cole slaw” or salad
  • Zucchini pasta
  • Zucchini sticks, baked or fried
  •  
    Two of our favorite recipes are below. To make them, treat yourself to the new Microplane Spiral Cutter, a tool that quickly and effortlessly transforms zucchini—as well as carrots, cucumbers, radishes and other vegetables—into elegant spiral cuts and ribbons.

       

    sprial-grater-microplane-beauty-230L

    Food fun with the new Microplane Spiral Cutter. Photo courtesy Microplane.

     
    Thanks to Microplane for announcing this gadget in time for National Zucchini Day, August 8th.

    Resembling an old-school manual pencil sharpener in both style and function, the Spiral Cutter has two razor-sharp (surgical steel!) slicing barrels to accommodate different vegetables—the small barrel for long, slim vegetables such as carrots, the large barrel for cucumbers, summer squash and other, broader vegetables.

    It debuts this month in Black and Green for a suggested retail of $14.95. Learn more at Microplane.com.

    Then, you’ll be set to whip up this delicious salad:

    SPIRAL ZUCCHINI RECIPE # 1: THAI-STYLE ZUCCHINI RIBBON SALAD (BASED ON SOM TUM)

    We love green papaya salad, som tum. We can easily eat two appetizer portions at our local Thai restaurant.

    Our favorite guest blogger, Hannah Kaminsky, agrees. “Served chilled, the tender yet crisp strands of unripe papaya are cooling, yet still popping with bursts of heat from abundant flecks of chili peppers. Brightly acidic, tangy, and slightly salty, with just a touch of sweetness to take the edge off, every component must be in perfect balance to achieve a successful, harmonious dish.

    “Of course, the key ingredient, green papaya, isn’t typically available in hometown grocery stores, which is why I took a page from the ever-popular zucchini noodles. They don’t stay crisp as long as papaya, so be sure to leave them undressed until the minute you’re ready to serve.

     

    thai-zucchini-salad-kaminsky-230

    Zucchini Thai salad: zucchini replaces green
    papaya in the classic som tum recipe. Photo
    © Hannah Kaminsky | Bittersweet Blog.

     

    “Even without the papaya, this recipe transports me to a delicious new world of flavor with every single bite.

    “The dish comes together very quickly, so prep all of your vegetables first and you’ll zip right through the rest of the preparation.”

    Ingredients For 2-4 Servings

  • 1/4 cup lime juice
  • 2 tablespoons coconut sugar or dark brown sugar, firmly packed
  • 2 tablespoons fish sauce
  • 1 teaspoon soy sauce
  • 1 clove garlic, minced
  • 3-4 ounces (a big handful) haricots verts (skinny green beans), lightly blanched
  • 2 medium zucchini, spiralized or julienned
  • 1/2 cup halved grape or cherry tomatoes
  • 1/2-1 red Thai chile, thinly sliced
  • Handful skinny chives or scallions, thinly sliced
  • 2 tablespoons roasted and salted peanuts, coarsely chopped
  •  

    Preparation

    1. MAKE the dressing. Whisk together the lime juice, coconut sugar, fish sauce, soy sauce and garlic. It will seem like a lot of liquid, but don’t worry: That’s exactly what you want. This isn’t like a traditional salad dressing; it should soak into the noodles a bit, and you will have a bit of a pool at the bottom when it’s in proper proportion.

    2. PLACE the green beans, zucchini ribbons and tomatoes in a medium bowl. Pour the dressing on top and toss to coat. Add the chili, a bit at a time, until it’s spicy enough for your personal taste. Give it one more good toss to mix everything around and evenly distribute the ingredients before transferring everything to a serving dish.

    3. TOP with a generous handful of sliced chives and chopped peanuts. Serve immediately.

     
    SPIRAL ZUCCHINI RECIPE # 2: ZUCCHINI “SPAGHETTI”

    You will love this dish, part of our repertoire since we began to fashion our own “cuisine minceur” in high school. It does a great job emulating spaghetti, for very few calories and carbs.

    Ingredients

  • Zucchini ribbons
  • Sauce of choice—red, white, pesto, EVOO and garlic, etc.
  • Grated Parmigiano-Romano or other Italian grating cheese (for a texture change, consider shaving instead of grating)
  • Optional garnishes: capers, fresh herbs, green peas or other vegetables, panko bread crumbs, sautéed garlic slivers, sliced olives or any favorite pasta topper
  •  
    Preparation

    1. COOK zucchini briefly, to al dente. (We steamed them in the microwave for 30 seconds).

    2. PLATE with sauce. Garnish with grated cheese and any other ingredients.

      

    Comments

    PRODUCT: Tribe To Go, Hummus & Pita Chips Single Serve

    Hummus is the second-fastest growing category in the grocery aisles with the on-the-go segment experiencing the most growth. Sales of hummus “snack sets” have seen major increases, up more than 70% since last year.

    So it’s no surprise that Tribe Hummus, a leading brand, has entered the category with Tribe Humus & Pita Chips, a single-serve package that is launching now.

    Tribe sent us samples, and we’re here to report the good news…and the less good news.

     
    The Scoop: Good

  • Each pack contains two ounces of hummus—your choice of the two leading Tribe flavors, Classic or Sweet Roasted Red Pepper Hummus—plus seven ounces of pita chips. It’s just enough to take the edge off.
  • Hummus is a better-for-you snack. Tribe calls it “a nutritionally responsible snack, adhering to the dietitian-approved optimal snack equation of approximately 200 calories per serving.”*
  •  
    *Tribe To Go Sweet Roasted Red Pepper totals 200 calories and Tribe To Go Classic has 230 calories.

     

    tribe-single-serve-230ps

    “Snackers” are a fast-growing category of hummus. Photo courtesy Tribe Hummus.

     
    The Scoop: Less Good

  • The package must be refrigerated. You couldn’t keep it in the glove compartment, or tote it all day in a backpack. (There are shelf-stable hummus brands that let you do this.)
  • The chips are OK, but they could be better. They’re a bit greasy to the touch, and evoke Chinese noodles as much as pita. Plus, if you care to create a truly nutritious snack, why not make them from whole wheat rather than refined white flour?
  • There’s a lot of packaging headed for the landfill. If you’re not focused on sustainability, you wouldn’t think twice about this. But those who do will think about the heavy cardboard tube fitted with a metal bottom and a plastic top. Inside, there’s a plastic tub of hummus and a small bag of chips. The metal bottom is not easily pried off for dividing the garbage into paper and metal; we had to use a can opener.
  •  
    A Welcome Addition To Snack Choices

    Tribe’s To Go pack has a suggested retail price of $1.99-$2.99. It currently can be found at retailers and grocery stores such as Stop and Shop, Albertsons and Jewel, with plans of to expand to movie theaters, gas stations, airports and convenience stores by year-end.

    And that’s what we think is the best news: We’d love to find it at these latter venues, where it would most certainly be our snack of choice among the empty calories and tasteless fresh fruit.

    Can we also recommend newsstands, refrigerated vending machines and the snack concessions in office buildings? We’ll be there with cash in hand.

    Learn more about Tribe at TribeHummus.com.

      

    Comments

    TIP OF THE DAY: Diet Ice Pops

    paletas-taza-2-230

    Turn diet soft drinks into ice pops. Photo
    courtesy Taza.

     

    Looking for something sweet, cool, and virtually non-caloric?

    You can buy sugar-free or no sugar added ice pops from Edy’s or Popsicle. Or, you can make your own from your favorite diet soft drink.

    It couldn’t be easier. Prep time is five minutes plus freezing time.

    RECIPE: DIET ICE POPS

    Ingredients

  • Diet soda, diet fruit beverage, tea (steeped to double strength, as with iced tea)
  • Ice pop molds
  • Optional: yogurt
  •  
    Preparation For 6 Ice Pops

    1. POUR 20 ounces of beverage into a large pitcher.

    2. POUR the mixture into the pop molds; freeze for 3 hours or until completely frozen.

     

    Variations

  • Tea. If you’re a tea fan, experiment with fruit teas, sweetened with noncaloric sweeteners or a bit of agave (which is twice as sweet as sugar or honey, so use half as much).
  • Mix-Ins. Add chopped fruit (fresh or frozen) or citrus zest; for example, diet raspberry soda with chopped raspberries or diet lemon-lime soda with lime zest.
  • Layers. Create layers of different flavors. Add the first flavor, freeze and add the next layer.
  • Yogurt. For a few extra calories, mix flavored, no sugar added yogurt with the beverage. Or, create a separate yogurt layer. We couldn’t find the No Sugar Added Creamsicles at our store, so we made our own with diet orange soda and vanilla yogurt.
  •  
    On a related note, you can also make flavored ice cubes by freezing your favorite diet beverage in an ice cube tray. Toss them into your drink instead of regular ice, and the melting cubes won’t dilute the flavor.

      

    Comments

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