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TIP OF THE DAY: Quail Eggs Are Festive (& Have No Salmonella)

Quail & Chicken Eggs
[1] Quail eggs and chicken eggs. Quail eggs are one bite, chicken eggs are four bites (photo courtesy Petrossian).

Blini With Quail Egg
[2] Blini with quail eggs, trout roe and crème fraîche. Here’s the recipe from Martha Stewart.

Quail Egg Stuffed Mushrooms
[3] Quail egg stuffed mushrooms. Here’s the recipe from Bite Delite.

Quail On A Branch

[4] The quail herself (photo courtesy Red Ted Art).

 

To some fine chefs, small is better: from miniature vegetables to more “elegant”-size portions overall.

Quail eggs fit right in.

For years, we’d only seen quail eggs at Japanese restaurants, on top of an uni (sea urchin) or tobiko (flying fish roe) gunkan-maki.

Since better supermarkets now carry them, it’s time to take a closer look at quail eggs.

  • Quail eggs taste like chicken eggs…maybe a bit richer since they have a larger yolk-to-white ratio.
  • Quail Eggs Are Barely Healthier than Chicken Eggs! Compared to chicken eggs, quail eggs are slightly healthier if

  • You cook them the same way: boiled, fried, scrambled, deviled, egg salad, etc. If you luck into a lot of them at a bargain price, make an omelet.
  • > For soft-boiled eggs, gently place the eggs in boiling water (with a spoon) and boil for three minutes and place in a bowl of cold water to stop the cooking process.
    > For hard-boiled eggs, boil for 4-5 minutes. Test one after 4 minutes.

  • Four quail eggs equal one large chicken egg.
  • Quail don’t have salmonella in their digestive tract, so the eggs can be used raw—in Caesar Salad or Steak Tartare, for example. This is due to an increased amount of lysozyme, an antimicrobial enzyme that forms part of the immune system of the quail*. It kills harmful bacteria.
  • >The body temperature of quail is also higher than that of chickens: another reason why quail don’t harbor the same harmful bacteria.
    >Here’s more on the health benefits of quail eggs.
     
     
    HOW TO SERVE QUAIL EGGS

    You can garnish a green salad, serve three boiled eggs with asparagus, make Scotch eggs, stuff mushroom caps (photo #3), garnish a mini-latke with smoked salmon and a boiled quail egg.

    You can pickle quail eggs, turning the white exterior into a vivid red (from beet juice). Don’t say what they are: Let guests be surprised.

    You can pop fried quail eggs onto ramen, make breakfast tartlets, top an avocado tea sandwich, serve them raw with steak tartare…whatever your palate desires.

    Here are some ideas from D’Artagnan:

  • Little Devils. Deviled quail eggs have a wow factor. Consider a trio of flavors: plain with smoked paprika, topped with with bacon and thyme, and a truffled egg.
  • Teeny Blinis For an elegant hors d’oeuvre, crown a blin (singular for blini) with a dollop of crème fraiche, half of a hard-cooked quail egg and a spoon of caviar (photo #2).
  • Toad-in-a-Hole. Instead of a conventional slice of buttered toast with a chicken egg in the center (recipe), use a small slice brioche with truffle butter and a quail eggs.
  • Golden Egg Ravioli. If you make ravioli, nestle a raw quail yolk in a little mound of herbed ricotta as the filling. The yolk will cook gently when the pasta is dropped into boiling water, its center still molten upon serving. A delicious surprise!
  • Petite Niçoise. Add poached quail eggs instead of halved or quartered chicken eggs to a classic Niçoise Salad. Ditto with bacon lardons in a Lyonnaise Salad or a Frisée Salad.
  • Spiced Bites. For an easy hors d’oeuvre, roll peeled hard-boiled quail eggs in a favorite spice mixture. A tiny slice off the wide bottom of each egg will ensure they sit upright on the platter.
  •  
    Quail eggs are pricey, so they are [for most of us] a special-occasion treat.

    When you find them at a good price, get ready to pounce!
     
     
    THE DIFFERENT TYPES OF EGGS

     
    ________________

    *Lysozyme is present to a lesser or greater extent in other animals, as well.

     
      

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    TOP PICK OF THE WEEK: Snack Factory Dessert Thins

    Our Top Pick Of The Week is Snack Factory Dessert Thins, a new line of thin cookies that are just 30 calories apiece. If you’re cutting back on sweets but are yearning for “just a bite,” consider these a solution.

    Our runners up span good-for-you foods like Pete & Jerry’s Organic Hard Boiled Eggs, Bonne Maman’s new Lemon Curd, and a new line extension from one of our favorite yogurts, Noosa Yoghurt (the Australian spelling).
     
     
    SNACK FACTORY DESSERT THINS

    We have long enjoyed Snack Factory Pretzel Crisps, so when they announced a new line of Dessert Thins cookies, we had hope.

    And we are not disappointed! lightly textured, airy biscuits in delectable dessert flavors! Made with non-GMO ingredients, Dessert Thins are available in

  • Brownie
  • Chocolate Chip
  • Lemon Tart
  •  
    All three are fragrant, flavorful, and a calorie bargain. Use them for mini cookie sandwiches, an ice cream garnish, dippers for chocolate fondue, or an alternative to biscotti with coffee.

    When you want just a bit of cookie, without fear of overdoing it, you can be satisfied with just one (the recommended serving size is 4 pieces, 120 calories).

    Following America’s desire for natural, better-for-you foods, Dessert Thins are non-GMO, contain zero grams of trans-fat, no cholesterol, no artificial colors or flavors.

    As for why the company calls them by the British word for cookies—biscuits—we can’t fathom. In the U.S., “biscuit” does not indicate a sweet treat. But why ask why?

    We hope the new line is a success for selfish reasons: We want to keep eating them.

    See more at SnackFactory.com.
     
     
    BONNE MAMAN LEMON CURD

    Lemon curd has been a favorite British spread for centuries. Why it isn’t more popular in the U.S., we have no idea. You have to hunt for it in specialty food stores.

    Thanks to Bonne Maman’s national supermarket distribution, you may now find it in an aisle near you. Don’t pass it by!

    The combination of eggs, butter, lemon juice and sugar has uses beyond toast and croissants. Use it:

  • As a snack, on crackers.
  • As a dessert topper.
  • As a quick fix when you want a spoonful of something sweet.
  •  
    Bright yellow, delightfully lemony, this rich spread belongs at your breakfast table…and beyond.

    The line is non-GMO, Certified Gluten Free and certified kosher by OU.

    Discover more at BonneMamanUS.

       

    Snack Factory Dessert Thins - Lemon
    [1] Snack Factory’s new Dessert Thins in Brownie, Chocolate Chip and Lemon Tart (photo courtesy Pinterest).

    Bonne Maman Lemon Curd
    Bonne Maman French preserves and spreads debut a new spread flavor: Lemon Curd (photo courtesy Bonne Maman).

    Noosa Mates Coconut Almond Chocolate

    [3] Noosa Mates score! Four mix-in yoghurts worthy of dessert (photo curry Noosa).

     

    NOOSA YOGURT: NOOSA MATES

    Noosa, the Australian yoghurt brand made in Colorado for the U.S. market, has been a NIBBLE favorite since it first landed here.

    Made with 5% milk, instead of 2% or 0%, it is sumptuous, silky, and the closest yogurt you’ll find that can pass for pudding.

    The 5.5-ounce containers have a separate container that holds the mix-ins. It’s a lot of packaging, but it’s delicious to the max.

    Flavors include:

  • Banana Chocolate Peanut, banana yoghurt with Guittard dark chocolate chunks, banana chips and roasted peanuts.
  • Coconut Almond Chocolate, coconut yogurt with Guittard dark chocolate chunks, toasted coconut crisps and whole almonds.
  • Honey Cranberry Almond, honey yoghurt with crunchy granola, dried cranberries, roasted almonds and pepitas.
  • Honey Pretzel Peanut, honey yoghurt with Guittard dark chocolate chunks, mini pretzels and honey roasted peanuts.
  • Maple Ginger, maple yoghurt with granola, gingersnap streusel and candied ginger.
  •  
    They’re all so good, we can’t even pick a favorite—although a nod goes to Banana Chocolate Peanut. Why is there not more banana yogurt out there???

    The line is certified kosher by OU. See more Noosa at NoosaYohgurt.com.

     

    Pete & Jerry's Organic Hard Boiled Eggs

    [4] These organic, grab-and-go hard-boiled eggs from Pete & Jerry’s are from free-range hens who are treated very well (photo courtesy Pete & Jerry’s).

     

    PETE & JERRY’S ORGANIC HARD BOILED EGGS

    There’s a difference in the flavor of eggs produced by faceless factory farms, and eggs produced by small farmers dedicated to treating hens like the queens they are.

    We have long admired Pete & Jerry’s organic eggs, from free-range chickens who live happy lives.

    How, following the trend to nutritious, grab-and-go peeled, hard-boiled eggs, Pete & Jerry’s has packaged their eggs in pouches and larger containers.

    We love them as snacks, with a bit of pepper or chili flakes.

  • Throw them into your lunch bag.
  • Slice them onto salads or sandwiches
  • Enjoy them as a snack, whenever and wherever.
  •  
    It’s a food you can feel good about, both in terms of nutritional and humanity.

    Learn more about Pete & Jerry’s organic farming at PeteAndJerrys.com.

     

      

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    TIP OF THE DAY: Fun Flavored Ice Cubes

    We thought our own ice cube tips were creative: freezing coffee, fruit, herbs, juice, lemonade, vegetables, tea, wine—even bouillon for Bloody Marys.

    We don’t like melting ice cubes to dilute our drinks, so we freeze the same liquid (e.g. iced tea cubes for iced tea) or a complimentary flavor (e.g., blueberry or other fruit juice ice cubes for that lemonade).

    Then we saw these clever cubes, from Sherry Chen of Personal Creations, who has kindly provided them for today’s tip.

    They turn an everday beverage—water, a glass of milk, iced tea or coffee, cocktails and mocktails—into something truly special.

    SHERRY CHEN’S TIPS FOR PERFECT FLAVORED ICE CUBES

    Whether for a party or a refreshing day at home, a flavored ice cube will always add style, says Sherry.

    Making unique flavored ice cubes is simple. Here are a few things to keep in mind when prepping.

  • Use filtered water. It makes a clearer cube. Depending on your local water, tap water can sometimes cloud the ice, making it difficult to see the beauty inside.
  • If you want your cubes to freeze quickly, use boiled water. Here’s the explanation of this paradox.
  • Don’t keep checking on them. Once you’ve prepared the ice, let it sit for at least 3 hours. Checking it and taking it out of the ice tray will only stall the process.
  • Tilt your tray to make layered ice cubes. Pour the first layer first and freeze for about an hour. Repeat as necessary.
  • Don’t expect inclusions to stay in place. Whether it’s fruit or a piece of candy, ingredients often float away from their original spot. Make sure you place ingredients in different spots in each cube, to achieve a good variety.
  • Make sure everything is edible. If you’re using lavender, rosebuds or other flowers, for example, be sure to use the organic variety, grown without pesticides. There’s plenty of edible glitter to be had.
  • Use coconut milk for white ice cubes. If you want to achieve a bright white, coconut milk is your go-to. Regular milk is too watery and almond milk gives a brown tint. For best results, use full-fat coconut milk or creamer.
  •  
     
    ICE CUBE RECIPES

    The subhead reminds us of the joke about the cook who was so stupid, he forgot the recipe for ice.

    But these isn’t ice: They’re frozen flavor art.

    Here are five of Sherry’s ice cube recipes. You can find five more here.

  • Latte Cubes. Freeze the milk layer first, top with cold espresso and re-freeze. Pair with coffee or milk.
  • Ice Cream Cubes. Make ice cubes from your favorite ice cream, to pair with milk or coffee. Tip: Melt the ice cream (let the pint come to room temperature on the counter)l; then mix in a bit of milk for consistency. Garnish as desired.
  • Smoothie Cubes. Use coconut milk and juices. Pour the first layer, tilt the ice tray, freeze and repeat with the next two layers. Pair with smoothies, milk or juice.
  • Matcha Cubes. Thoroughly blend matcha powder with milk. Pair with iced matcha tea, other green iced tea or milk
  • Jewel Cubes: Edible glitter dissolves in water to create pretty hues. You can make them even if you don’t have a jewel-shaped ice cube tray. Pair with cocktails and mineral water.
  •  
     
    Garnishing The Cubes

    You can add even more festivity to the ice cubes with a garnish on top of the cube.

    When the cubes have frozen into a slurry state, quickly remove and shake on your choice of whatever goes with the beverage:

  • Dragées or pearls
  • Edible glitter
  • Edible gold or silver glitter or stars
  • Herbs or spices
  • Mini chips
  • Shredded coconut
  • Sprinkles or non-pareils
  •  
     
    MORE ICE CUBE RECIPES

  • Cherry Ice Cubes
  • Chocolate Ice Cubes In Vanilla Milk
  • Coconut Water Ice Cubes
  • Flower Ice Cubes
  • Frozen Fruit Ice Cubes
  • Ice Cube Art With Fruits & Herbs
  • Iced Tea Ice Cubes
  • More Flavored Ice Cubes
  • Red, White & Blue Ice Cubes
  • Strawberry Thyme Ice Cubes
  • Valentine Ice Cubes
  •  
    And take a gander at:

  • Other Things To Freeze In An Ice Cube Tray
  •  

    Latte Ice Cubes
    [1] Latte ice cubes (photos 1-5 courtesy Personal Creations.

    Ice Cream Ice Cubes
    [2] Ice cream cubes melt creaminess and flavor into the drink.

    Smoothie Ice Cubes
    [3] Smoothie ice cubes.

    Matcha Ice Cubes
    [4] Matcha ice cubes.

    Jewel Ice Cubes
    [5] Jewel ice cubes.

    Coffee ice Cubes

    [6] Latte ice cubes in a glass of milk (photo courtesy Rabbit Food For My Bunny Teeth).

     

      

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    TIP OF THE DAY: Mix Spaghetti With Zucchini Noodles

    Zoodles - Zucchini Noodles & Pasta
    [1] Cacio e pepe, “cut” with zucchini noodles (photo courtesy Good Eggs).

    Zucchini Noodles
    [2] Zucchini noodles, spiralized and ready to cook (photo courtesy Good Eggs).

    Cacio e Pepe

    [3] A classic dish of Cacio e Pepe. Here’s a recipe from Philo’s Kitchen.

     

    Two years ago, when zucchini noodles became the rage, many of us ran out to buy spiralizers—simple gadgets that turned a zucchini into ribbons of vegetable “pasta.”

    You can now buy spiralized zucchini in bags.

    A big bowl of pasta with bolognese sauce and scads of grated cheese can be lightened, both texturally and calorically, is an attractive substitute.

    We’ve previously written about Cacio e Peppe (KAH-chee-oh ay PEP-pay, cheese and pepper), an ancient pasta dish (in fact, one of the most ancient dishes in Italian cuisine).

    The classic recipe is a quick one Grated cheese—cacio in Roman dialect, referring to a sheep’s milk cheese like pecorino romano—becomes a creamy, cheesy sauce when mixed with a a few spoons of the hot water used to cook the pasta.

    The result: creamy sauce, obtained combining best quality Pecorino Romano and a few spoons of the water used to cook the spaghetti. The starch that leaches from the spaghetti into the cooking water combines with the grated cheese in just the right way.

    But Good Eggs has taken it one step further in the name of lowering the carbs: They mixed conventional wheat pasta noodles with zucchini noodles.
     
     
    THE HISTORY OF CACIO & PEPE

    Casio e Pepe, a Roman dish, was easy comfort food. The ingredients were very portable and did not spoil. Roman shepherds and travelers needed only water and a fire to create a stick-to-your-ribs meal.

    The classic recipe has no butter or cream, ingredients which are used to make creamy Alfredo sauce. There’s just pasta, salted water to cook it, cheese and ground black pepper. Some modern recipes use a bit of olive oil to bind the ingredients.

    All the ingredients are ancient foods:

  • Pasta has been found dating to about 2000 B.C.E.—a plate of rice noodles in northwest China. After trade brought the concept west, the Arabs, Estruscans, Greeks and Romans used their local grain—wheat—to make noodles similar to the pasta we eat today. The Romans kneaded flour into dough, which was cut into strips called laganum—similar to what we now call lasagna noodles.
  • Sheep’s cheese similar to pecorino romano has been made since at least since the time of the ancient Greeks (some sources date it to 3000 B.C.E.). Pecorino is the word for any sheep’s milk cheese; pecorino romano is an aged grating cheese.
  • Peppercorns, the fruits of a flowering vine, grew wild for millennia in India before being cultivated. About 2,500 years ago, pepper was traded to Greece, and then to the Roman Empire. Rare and precious, it was often used as currency. Peppercorns have been found in archaeological sites, and with the mummy of King Ramses III of Egypt (d. 1212 B.C.E.). To stop Alarico, the king of Visgoths, from sacking Rome in 408 B.C.E., he was given a ransom comprising 5,000 pounds of gold, a parcel of land and 3,000 pounds of peppercorns.
  • Salt, inexpensive and ubiquitous today, was so precious that throughout history, wars were fought over it. In addition to its value enhancing the flavor of food and drying food for lean times, salt is critical to man’s survival*. Salt comes from two main sources: evaporated sea water and the sodium chloride mineral deposits known as halite (rock salt), themselves the evaporated residue of dried-up underground lakes and seas.
  •  
    Ready to combine the ingredients into a hot dish of pasta…with some zucchini?
     
    RECIPE: CACIO & PEPE WITH PASTA & ZUCCHINI NOODLES

    Ingredients For 2 Main Course Servings

  • 8 ounces spiralized zucchini
  • Olive oil to sauté
  • 12 ounces fresh spaghetti (substitute† dried pasta, substitute any thin, flat or round noodle)
  • 6 ounces pecorino cheese, shredded (substitute any Italian grating cheese)
  • Black pepper, freshly ground (substitute red chile flakes)
  • Garnish: chopped flat leaf parsley to taste
  • Optional garnish: toasted bread crumbs (substitute croutons)
  •  
    Preparation

    1. BRING a large pot of salted water to a boil. While it heats, place the zucchini in a sauce pan over medium heat and sauté for about 2 minutes, until al dente. Turn the heat off and cover the zucchini to keep it warm.

    2. COOK the spaghetti according to package directions; then drain it, holding back a few tablespoonsful of pasta water. Add the pasta and half the pasta water to zucchini pan, and toss together.

    3. REMOVE from the heat and toss with the cheese and pepper to taste (Italians go heavy on the pepper). The heat of the pasta and the pasta water should help melt the cheese into a smooth, creamy sauce. Add more hot pasta water as needed to achieve the consistency you desire. If the water has become tepid, microwave it for 30 seconds.

    4. GARNISH with parsley and serve. It isn’t part of the official recipe, but we like the crunch of toasted bread crumbs or croutons as a garnish.

    ________________

    *Humans can’t live without some sodium. It’s needed to transmit nerve impulses, contract and relax muscle fibers (including the heart muscle and blood vessels), and maintain a proper fluid balance. Here’s more about it from Harvard Medical School.

    †Long, thin spaghetti has different names in different regions of Italy; for example, capellini, fedelini, spaghetti alla chitarra and tonnarelli. In the U.S., you’re most likely to find spaghetti, spaghettini and vermicelli (angel hair, capelli d’angelo, is too thin for this rich sauce). The widths of all of these strands vary, but not in a significant way to impact the recipe.

     
      

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    RECIPE: Autumn Apple Spritz Cocktail

    Appletinis evoke spring and summer; mulled cider is for the chilly fall and winter.

    In-between, how about an Apple Cider Spritz?

    We adapted this recipe from one from Elegant Affairs Caterers. The basic recipe is very versatile, and a lesson in the ease of substituting ingredients.

  • Don’t have apple-flavored vodka? Use regular vodka and hard apple cider.
  • Don’t have apple juice or cider? Use hard cider or apple schnapps.
  • Don’t have club soda? Perrier or other sparkling water will work. So will 7-Up or Sprite, but it makes a sweeter drink.
  • Don’t have a Lady apple? Cut small round slices from the apple you do have with a cookie cutter.
  • Don’t have star anise? Use a cardamom pod or a whole clove.
  •  
    RECIPE: AUTUMN APPLE SPRITZ

    Ingredients Per Drink

  • 2 ounces apple flavored vodka
  • 2 ounces apple juice
  • 1 ounce (2 tablespoons) club soda
  • Squeeze of lime wedge
  • Garnish: 1 slice lady apple topped with 1 star anise
  •  
    Preparation

    1. COMBINE the vodka, apple juice, club soda and a squeeze of the lime wedge. Shake with ice until mixed and strain into a Martini glass or a coupe (the “sherbet champagne” glass).

    2. TOP a slice of apple with the star anise and float atop the drink.
     
     
    THE HISTORY OF LADY (API) APPLES

    The Lady is an old French variety, which remains popular in Europe and the U.S. It is known in Europe as the Api, after the forest of Api in Bretagne, in western France, where it is thought to have originated.

    It is a petite apple—an adult can finish it in three large bites—with a pleasing aroma and flavor. In photo #2, you can see how many fit into a pint container.

    Throughout its history, the Lady apple has been used as much for decoration as for eating apple. Baskets of Lady apples were used to mask unpleasant odors.

     

    Apple Spritzer
    [1] An Apple Sprizer bridges the gap between warm-weather Appleton’s and cold weather Mulled Cider (photo courtesy Elegant Affairs caterers).

    Lady Apples
    [2] Lady apples, called Api (their original name) in Europe (photo courtesy Simply Beautiful World | Tumblr).

     

    Records suggest that Api appeared as a seedling some time before the early 17th century. It soon became popular in France, England and the U.S.

    Records also show that the U.S. exported large quantities to England in Victorian times under the name Lady Apple [source].

    In modern times, Lady apples are popular in the fourth quarter, as in centerpieces and other holiday decor, along with clementines, evergreen branches and pine cones.

    The Lady apple/Api is not directly related to either Pink Lady or Lady Alice apples.

      

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