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TIP OF THE DAY: Plan Some Red, White & Blue Food

With July 4th Weekend starting in a week, plan to make something red, white and blue.

Even if you’re spending a quiet weekend at home, you can celebrate our Independence Day with a patriotic bite or two. Here’s a group of recipes to bite into, and we’ll be showcasing more between now and the 4th.

Some are so easy—no cooking—that all you have to do is put the pieces together.

JULY 4TH BREAKFAST RECIPES

  • Red Velvet Pancakes (recipe)
  • Red, White & Blueberry Muffins (recipe)
  • Poached Eggs or Egg White Omelet With A Side Of Red & Blue Berries
  • Yogurt Parfait With Star-Shaped Toast (recipe)
  •  
    JULY 4TH SIDE & MAIN DISH RECIPES

  • Apple Ginger Cole Slaw (recipe)
  • Blue Cheese & Red Vegetables (recipes)
  • Chilled Raspberry Soup With Blueberries(recipe)
  • Firecracker Macaroni & Cheese (recipe)
  • Patriotic Cheeseburger (recipe)
  • Red, White & Blue Potato Salad (recipe 1 and recipe 2)
  • Star-Shaped Sandwich Skewers (recipe)
  • Tomato & Mozzarella Skewers (recipe)
  •  
    JULY 4TH SNACK RECIPES

  • American Flag Crudité Plate (recipe)
  • American Flag Fruit Skewers (photo)
  • Bacon Flag Pizza (recipe)
  • Cheese American Flag (recipe)
  • Marshmallow Pops (recipe)
  • Red, White & Blue Ice Pops (recipe)
  • Red, White & Blue Popcorn (recipe)
  • Stuffed Celery (recipe)
  •    

    Red, White & Blue Yogurt Parfait

    Red, White & Blue Fruit Skewers

    COULDN’T BE EASIER: [1] Yogurt plus berries. For fun, cut star-shaped toast with cookie cutters (photo courtesy Smuckers). [2] American Flag fruit skewers (photo courtesy Stix Mediterranean Grill | NYC).

     

    Red, White & Blue Lemonade

    Red, White & Blue Cupcakes

    COULDN’T BE EASIER: [1] Red, white & blue pink lemonade (photo courtesy Blueberry Council). [2] Red and blue berries on store-bought cupcakes (photo courtesy Go Bold With Butter)

     

    JULY 4TH BEVERAGE RECIPES & PRODUCTS

  • American Amber Ale
  • Chandon July 4th Limited Edition Sparkling Wine
  • Red, White & Blue Ice Cubes (recipe)
  • Red, White & Blue Layered Cocktail (recipe)
  • Red, White & Blue Sangria With Cocktail Option (recipe)
  • Red, White & Blue Layered Shooter (recipe)
  • Red, White & Blue Lemonade & Hard Lemonade (recipe)
  • Red, White & Blue Sorbet Float (recipe)
  • Red, White & Blue Tequila Shooters (recipe 1 and recipe 2)
  • Spicy Hot Lemonade (recipe)
  •  
    JULY 4TH DESSERT RECIPES

  • American Flag Cookies (recipe)
  • American Flag Brownie Ice Cream Cake (recipe)
  • American Flag Pie (recipe)
  • Blueberry Cherry Pie With Stars & Stripes Top (recipe)
  • Oreo Cookie Balls (recipe)
  • Red, White & Blue Cheesecake (recipe)
  • Red, White & Blue Cupcakes (recipe)
  • Red, White & Blue Frosted Layer Cake (recipe 1, recipe 2,
    recipe 3)
  • Pavlova (recipe)
  • Red, White & Blue Grilled Angel Food Cake (recipe)
  • Red, White & Blue Parfaits (recipe)
  • Red, White & Blue Shortcake (recipe)
  • Red, White & Blue Tartlets (recipe)
  • Red, White & Blue Whoopie Pies (recipe)
  • Starfruit
  • Triple Berry Biscuit Shortcake (recipe)
  • Stars & Stripes Toll House Cookies (recipe)
  • Strawberry & Blueberry Parfait (recipe)
  • Red Velvet, White & Blue Cupcakes (recipe)
  •  
    MORE JULY 4TH RECIPE IDEAS

  • More Recipes 1
  • More recipes 2
  •  

      

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    PRODUCT: Rogue Ale’s American Amber Ale For Independence Day

    Oregon craft brewer Rogue Ales toasts America with the annual release of its American Amber Ale.

    It’s the brew’s 28th year, and has been our beer of choice for July 4th celebrations since we first came across it.

  • Another Independence Day favorite is Liberty Ale (center photo), an IPA from San Francisco’s Anchor Brewing Company.
  • Hell Or High Watermelon, which we haven’t been able to get hold of, shows the Statue of Liberty dipping her toes in the Golden Gate Strait (bottom photo). The brewer: 21st Amendment Brewery in San Francisco. We can’t wait to drink a can of this wheat beer, brewed with fresh watermelon…with a slice of fresh watermelon!
  •  
    AMERICAN AMBER ALES

    American Amber Ales are a beer category known for being balanced and refreshing, with toasted malt characteristics and a light fruitiness. (See the differences between beer and ale below.)

    Rogue’s American Amber Ale is tawny amber in color and medium- to full-bodied. It has a toffee/caramel aroma, a nice malt accent and a pleasantly bitter, smooth finish.

    Celebrating the “ideals of the Revolution,” Rogue brews the beer with “Rebel hops” (they’re actually Kent Golding and Cascade hops) and “Dare and Risk barley,” not to mention what the company calls “free range coastal water.” (Get it?)
     
    Rogue’s American Amber Ale is now available in 22-ounce serigraphed bottles (the image is screened onto the bottle, a nice gift for party hosts or for a party favor) and 12-ounce bottles with the same label design on paper, and can be found draft at establishments that feature Rogue Ale.

    Rogue makes world-class ale, kolsch, lager, mead, porter and stout, along with excellent spirits:

  • Gins: Spruce Gin and Pink Spruce Gin
  • Rums: Dark Rum, Hazelnut Spice Rum
  • Vodkas: Oregon Single Malt Vodka, Voodoo Bacon Maple Vodka
  • Whiskeys: Chipotle Whiskey, Dead Guy Whiskey, Oregon Single Malt Whiskey, Rogue Farms Oregon Rye Whiskey
  •  
    We haven’t had them all, but what we’ve tried, we really liked.

    For more information about Rogue products, visit Rogue.com.
     
    FOR MORE INFORMATION ON THE DIFFERENT TYPES OF BEER, visit THE NIBBLE’s BEER GLOSSARY.
     
    THE DIFFERENCE BETWEEN BEER & ALE

     

    Rogue American Amber Ale

    Liberty Ale Anchor Brewing

    Hell Or High Water Watermelon Beer

    Top: Toast to the U.S.A. with American Amber Ale (photo courtesy Rogue). Center: Liberty Ale from Anchor Brewing Company (photo courtesy HiConsumption.com). Bottom: The Statue Of Liberty graces the cans of Hell Or High Water (photo courtesy 21st Amendment Brewery).

     
    Although most of us use “beer” to refer to all suds, three parts of the brewing process actually define what is a beer—illustrated by the lager style of beer—and what is an ale.

    Ales tend to be fruity-estery in aroma and flavor, while lagers are clean-tasting and crisp. These differences are created by:

  • The Yeast. Ales are brewed with top-fermenting yeast strains, which means exactly that: The yeast ferments at the top of the fermentation tank (they typically rise to the top of the tank near the end of fermentation). Ale yeasts tend to produce esters, chemicals that can affect the flavor of the beer. Lagers use bottom-fermenting yeasts, strains which do not typically add much flavor (the flavor comes from the other ingredients, especially hops and malt).
  • The Temperature and Time. Ale yeasts ferment best at warmer temperatures—room temperature up to about 75°F. They ferment faster than lager yeasts. Lagers ferment at colder temperatures, 46°F to 59°F, and typically ferment over longer periods of time. The combination of colder temperatures and bottom-fermenting yeast is responsible for the mild and crisp taste delivered by most lagers.
  • The Ingredients. Ale recipes often contain a higher amount of hops, malt and roasted malts; hence they typically have a more prominent malty taste and bitterness. Styles like India Pale Ale (IPA) are very hoppy. Ales have more room for recipe experimentation than lagers; thus additional ingredients (called adjuncts) can be added during brewing. Examples: fruits (cherry, pumpkin, raspberry, etc.), sugars (honey, maple syrup, molasses) and spices (allspice, coriander, clove, etc.).
  •   

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    TIP OF THE DAY: Summer Fruit Compote

    Berry Compote

    Apple Compote

    Compote Dish

    Top: Mixed berry compote atop ice cream (photo courtesy Good Eggs). Center: Compote as the main event, topped with mascarpone (photo courtesy Recipes101.com). Bottom: A modern variation of the fancy stemmed compote dishes of centuries past (photo courtesy Williams-Sonoma).

     

    With summer fruits proliferating, here’s an alternative to berry, cherry or peach pie: compote. It’s like eating homemade pie filling—hold the crust.

    You can also use it as pancake or oatmeal topping; with plain yogurt, cottage cheese or ricotta; as a toast spread, on cheesecake or angel cake, and so on.
     
    WHAT’S A COMPOTE?

    Compote is a cooked fruit dish that was very popular in medieval European. It faded out of style in the mid-20th century. People of means served it from special stemmed compote dishes.

    A compote is a mix of fruits cooked in a syrup. In fact, the name derives from the Latin compositus, mixture. It is also referred to as poached or stewed fruit.

    Compote denotes a mixed fruit recipe, but if you have a bumper crop of one particular fruit, you can bend the rules. One of our favorite combinations is blueberries with peaches and/or nectarines and cherries.
     
    RECIPE: SUMMER RUIT COMPOTE

    This recipe takes just 20 minutes on the stove top and is equally delicious warm or chilled. Enjoy it plain or garnished with:

  • Cream: heavy cream, ice cream, whipped cream
  • Cheese: mascarpone or ricotta or cannoli cream (recipe below)
  • A fresh strawberry or stemmed cherry
  • Dried fruit: apple or other fruit chip, whole apricot or prune
  • A wafer cookieor gaufrette
  •  
    Ingredients For 4 Cups

  • 4 pints fruit, washed and patted dry, non-berry fruit cut into bite-size pieces
  • ¼ to ½ cup sugar to taste (less is better and lets the fruit flavor shine through)
  • 1 lemon or small orange, zested
  • ½ cup water
  • Optional: 1/4 teaspoon spice—allspice, cardamom, cinnamon, ginger or a combination
  • Optional: 1/4 to 1/2 cup pecan or walnut halves
  • Garnish of choice
  •  
    Preparation

    1. COMBINE the fruit, sugar, zest, water and optional nuts and spices in a saucepan. Cook over medium heat for 20 minutes, stirring occasionally. The fruit should be soft but not mushy.

    2. COOL slightly and serve, or refrigerate. Compote will keep in the fridge for a week, in a sealed container.
     
    3. TO SERVE: Beyond a conventional dessert bowl, you can show off your compote in a glass dish, a goblet, or a pretty porcelain tea cup. In earlier times, special compote dishes were used.
     
    Variation: Add a tablespoon or two or orange juice along with the water.

     
    RECIPE: CANNOLI CREAM AS A TOPPING

    You can slightly sweeten plain ricotta to garnish a compote (spice optional), or can make a smooth cannoli cream with more layers of flavor. This recipe has been modified to use as a dessert topping instead of cannoli filling.

    Ingredients For 2 Cups

  • 2 cups ricotta cheese
  • 3/4 cup powdered sugar, sifted
  • 1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
  • 1/4 teaspoon allspice
  • 1/4 cup heavy cream
  • 1 lemon or small orange, zested
  •  
    Preparation

    1. WHISK the ricotta until smooth in a medium bowl. Add the powdered sugar, cinnamon and allspice and mix to thoroughly combine.

    2. BEAT the heavy cream in a separate bowl until almost stiff. Gently fold it into the ricotta mixture, using a rubber spatula. Refrigerate for at least 30 minutes.

    3. STIR in the lemon zest, or sprinkle it on the top of the compote.

     
      

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    TIP OF THE DAY: Frozen Fruit “Ice Cubes”

    We love to flavor water with fresh fruit, and to add fruit to ice cubes.

    Here’s a twist on conventional ice cubes: Use frozen fruit instead of ice cubes.

    We have long made “party ice cubes” with a strawberry or other fruit (plus herbs, or savory ice cubes like cherry tomatoes and basil) embedded in an ice cube, but with frozen fruit only, there’s no surrounding ice to dilute the drink.

    The only advisory:

  • Plain frozen fruit alone works better for drinks that are already chilled.
  • Fruits embedded in ice cubes will keep frozen longer, and are better for room temperature drinks.
  • However, watermelon, with its higher water content, can be cut into ice cube shape. The flavor doesn’t work with every beverage, but when it does, it’s terrific!
  •  
    THE “RECIPE”

  • Wash and pat dry fresh strawberries or other fruit. If the leaves on strawberries are perky-looking, you can leave them on.
  • Place the fruit in the freezer in a pan, spaced so they don’t freeze together. When the fruit is frozen, you can remove it to a storage bag.
  • The easy way: Purchase bags of frozen fruit and use two or more varieties in each glass—strawberries and sliced peaches, for example.
  • Match the fruits to the flavors and colors of the drinks: cherry ice cubes, citrus (we love blood orange or grapefruit), cucumbers, grapes (use mixed colors), melon (try melon balls), other berries and sliced stone fruits.
  • Don’t stockpile the frozen fruit or fruit ice cubes: Make only what you’ll use within a week.
  •  
    MORE ICE CUBE IDEAS

  • Coconut Water Ice Cubes
  • Flower Ice Cubes
  • July 4th Ice Cubes
  • Strawberry-Thyme Ice Cubes
  • Tea, Coffee Or Lemonade Ice Cubes
  • Wine Ice Cubes
  •  

    frozen-strawberry-calpizzakitchen-230sq

    Fruit Ice Cubes

    Top: Freeze fruit to substitute for ice cubes (photo courtesy California Pizza Kitchen). Bottom: The more conventional way: Add fruit or herbs to the water before freezing the ice (photo courtesy Zespri| Facebook).

     

      

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    FOOD FUN: Hawaiian Ham Sandwich

    Hawaiian Ham Sandwich Recipe

    Aloha, Hawaii: a sandwich of ham, pineapple and mashed sweet potatoes (photo courtesy Arnold Bread).

     

    Here’s a fun summer sandwich idea from Arnold Bread, using the company’s Healthfull Steel Cut Oats and Honey bread:

    We baked the sweet potatoes in the microwave (4 minutes). They mash very easily.

    RECIPE: HEAVENLY HAWAIIAN HAM SANDWICH

    Ingredients For 2 Sandwiches

  • 4 slices oat bread or other bread
  • 1 cup cooked sweet potatoes, mashed
  • 2 tablespoons green salsa
  • 2 slices lean cooked ham
  • 2 pineapple rings
  •  
    Preparation

    1. PLACE 2 slices of bread on the work surface. Spread half of the mashed sweet potatoes on one slice of bread. Add 1 tablespoon salsa on top of the potatoes.

    2. TOP with 1 slice of ham and 1 pineapple ring. Cover with the remaining slice of bread. Repeat for the second sandwich.

     
      

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    TIP OF THE DAY: Steak Marinades

    Yesterday we presented four different marinades for grilled fish. A quick recap:

  • Marinades are the easiest way to add flavor to foods, and to make chewier foods more tender. Mix a few simple ingredients, place them in a plastic storage bag and marinate the food overnight, turning it once or twice.
  • No time to marinate? Use a FoodSaver Quick Marinator and your food will be ready to grill in 30 minutes or less, instead of several hours or overnight.
  •  
    All cuts of beef can benefit from marinating, but you definitely want to marinate a tougher cut and an in-between cut (not all of the following would be grilled).
     
    CUTS OF BEEF BY LEVEL OF TENDERNESS

  • Tough cuts: brisket, chuck roast, rump, shank, shoulder roast, short ribs, round (top, bottom, eye).
  • In-Between: chuck steak, flank steak, skirt steak, top blade steak.
  • Tender cuts: Porterhouse/T-bone steak, rib-eye steak, sirloin steak, standing rib roast, strip loin, strip steak, tenderloin/filet mignon, tri-tip.
  •  
    RECIPE #1: SPICY GARLIC-SERRANO MARINADE

    This marinade gives steak with a fiery bite, with just the right balance of garlic and spice. You can go light on the chiles or add extra chiles, depending on how much you like heat.
     
    Ingredients

  • 2 pounds of flank steak (London Broil)
  •  
    For The Marinade

  • 1-1/2 tablespoons Worcestershire sauce
  • 4 cloves garlic, minced
  • 2 teaspoons red pepper flakes
  • 1/2 teaspoon paprika
  • 1/4 cup red wine vinegar
  • 3/4 cup Tabasco or other hot sauce
  • 1 teaspoon crushed pepper
  • 1/3 cup brown sugar
  • 1-1/2 tablespoons horseradish
  • 1 Serrano chile, seeded and chopped
  • Dash salt
  •  
    Preparation

    1. WHISK all the marinade ingredients together and pour over the steak. Marinate for several hours or overnight; or for a least 20 minutes in a FoodSaver Quick Marinator.

    2. USE the remaining marinade for basting.

     

    Steak Kabobs

    Grilled Flatiron Steak

    Grilled Porterhouse Steakx

    Top: A marinade gives more tenderness to sirloin kabobs (photo courtesy Sur La Table). Center: Hot off the grill, a flatiron steak (photo courtesy LifesAmbrosia.com). Bottom: Even a Porterhouse, one of the tenderest cuts, gets a bit of marinade for flavor (photo courtesy Omaha Steaks).

     

    RECIPE: SOY GINGER MARINADE

    This recipe is a perfect match for steak kebabs with pineapple.This recipe is a perfect match for steak kebabs with pineapple.
    If you’ve never used fresh ginger in your marinade before, you’ll be delighted.

    Ingredients

  • 2 pounds of flank steak (London Broil)
  • Optional: 2 limes for garnish
  •  
    For The Marinade

  • 1-1/2 tablespoons fresh ginger, minced
  • 1/2 cup soy sauce
  • 1 tablespoon honey
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 1 teaspoon black pepper
  • 1/4 cup sesame oil
  • 1 teaspoon lime juice
  •  
    Preparation

    1. WHISK all the marinade ingredients together and pour over the steak. Marinate for several hours or overnight; or for a least 20 minutes in a FoodSaver Quick Marinator.

    2. SQUEEZE the optional limes on the steaks as they grill (you can pre-squeeze the juice and lightly baste with it).
     
     
    KNOW YOUR CUTS OF BEEF

    Check out our Beef Glossary.

      

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    TIP OF THE DAY: Summer Marinades For Fish

    Grilled Fish In Grilling Basket

    Grilled Fish In Grill Pan

    Grilled Fish Fillets

    Top and Center: Fish, especially fillets, is delicate and thus easier to break and fall through the grates, unlike meats. The solution: a grill basket or grill pan, like these from Williams-Sonoma. Bottom: A different type of grilling basket from Sur La Table.

     

    Summer begins today, officially at 6:34 p.m. Eastern Daylight Time. It’s the day when the sun reaches its northernmost point over the equator, the highest point of the year, the longest day of the year with the most hours of sunlight.

    Just as most of us switch to heartier fare in the fall and winter, summer warmth is an incentive to eat more lightly.

  • Iced coffee and tea instead of hot.
  • Fruit salad and fruit soups.
  • Summer fruits—berries and melons—instead of the citrus and apples of winter.
  • Fruit salad and fruit soups.
  • Corn on the cob and grilled vegetables.
  • Gazpacho and other chilled soups instead of hot soup.
  • Grilling instead of frying and roasting.
  • Macaroni and potato salad sides.
  • White wine and sangria.
  • Saison summer ales and wheat beers, lambics and ciders instead of IPAs, porters, stouts and Trappist ales.
  • More fish.
  •  
    You can “summerize” anything, from ice cream flavors to your vegetables.

    And your marinades!

    Marinades are the easiest way to add flavor to foods, and to make chewier foods more tender. Mix a few simple ingredients, place them in a plastic storage bag and marinate the food overnight, turning it once or twice.

    No time? Use a FoodSaver Quick Marinator and your food will be ready to grill in 30 minutes or less.
     
    RECIPE #1: LEMON OR LIME MARINADE FOR FISH

    With this classic marinade, be sure to use fresh herbs instead of dried: The prices are lower in summer.

    Ingredients

  • Juice from 2 lemons
  • 1/3 cup olive oil
  • 1 tablespoon fresh thyme, chopped
  • 1 tablespoon fresh basil, chopped
  • 2 cloves garlic, minced and crushed
  • Salt and pepper to taste
  •  
    Preparation

    1. COMBINE the ingredients in a bowl and mix well.

    2. POUR the mixture into the bag or marinator or bag, marinate, and cook as desired.

     
    RECIPE #2: SPICY ASIAN MARINADE FOR FISH

    This fragrant and spicy marinade goes well with heartier fish, such as swordfish, salmon or halibut.
     
    Ingredients

  • 1 bunch parsley
  • 6 cloves garlic, minced and crushed
  • 1 bunch cilantro
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 1 tablespoon red pepper, crushed
  • 1 tablespoon cumin, ground
  • 1/4 cup lemon juice
  • 1/2 cup olive oil
  •  
    Preparation

    1. PLACE the parsley, garlic and cilantro in a small saucepan. Add the salt, pepper, cumin, lemon juice and olive oil. Stir well and heat the mixture for 5 minutes on medium heat. Do not bring to a boil.

    2. REMOVE the saucepan from the heat and allow the mixture to cool before using.

     

    RECIPE #3: ORANGE HONEY MARINADE

    The citrus notes of orange and the sweetness of the honey enhance the natural flavor of salt water fish.
     
    Ingredients

  • 1/2 cup fresh orange juice
  • 1/4 cup honey
  • Juice from 1 lemon
  • 2 cloves garlic, minced and crushed
  • 1/4 cup soy sauce
  • 1 teaspoon fresh ginger, grated
  •  
    Preparation

    1. MIX together the orange juice, honey, lemon juice, garlic, soy sauce and ginger.

    2. COAT the fish in the marinade and leave for 30 minutes if using the FoodSaver Quick Marinator, or 1 hour or more if using a bag.
     
    RECIPE #4: SPICED YOGURT MARINADE

    This Indian marinade is bursting with flavorful spices and yogurt, a natural tenderizer. When cooked, this marinade will be a light, flaky texture.
     
    Ingredients

  • 1 cup plain yogurt
  • 1/2 teaspoon turmeric
  • 1 tablespoon coriander, ground
  • 1 teaspoon cayenne, or more to taste
  • 2 inches ginger, grated
  • 3 cloves garlic, minced and crushed
  • 2 tablespoons cilantro, chopped
  • Salt to taste
  •  

    Grilled Fish With Greek Salad

    Grilled Branzino

    Top: Grilled salmon atop a Greek Salad is a real crowd-pleaser (photo courtesy Tio Gazpacho). Bottom: Grilled branzino with a head of grilled garlic (photo courtesy Olio Restaurant | NYC).

     
    Preparation

    1. STIR together in a bowl the yogurt, turmeric, coriander, cayenne, cumin, ginger, garlic, cilantro and salt.

    2. USE your hands to toss and coat the filets in the marinade; then transfer to the bag or marinator.

     
     
    NEXT: STEAK MARINADES.

      

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    TIP OF THE DAY: Guasacaca Sauce

    Guasacaca Sauce Ingredients

    Blender Sauce

    /home/content/p3pnexwpnas01 data02/07/2891007/html/wp content/uploads/guasacaca bowl theamusedbouche 230

    Top: The ingredients for guasacaca. Center: Simply add them to a blender or food processor. Bottom: The finished sauce in its original consistency. Photos courtesy Cory of TheAmuseBouche.com. Here’s her recipe.

     

    A few nights ago we had a revelation. A great chef did an irresistible spin on guasacaca, the popular Venezuelan green sauce for grilled meats.

    Chef Karlos Ponte, who ws born in Venezuela and worked at El Bulli and Noma, is now executive chef at Taller in Copenhagen. He and his team came to New York City to cook a one-night-only tasting dinner at The Pines in Brooklyn.

    Chef Ponte changed the proportions of the classic guasacaca sauce: less avocado, more vinegar. In fact, we tasted herbs and acid instead of avocado.

    While Venezuelan guasacaca is often made thick and chunky like guacamole, his interpretation is thin and acidic, like a French persillade (parsley, garlic, herbs, oil and vinegar).

    This balance was perfection: We actually turned our backs to the room and licked the sauce off the plate. Thanks go to Taller’s general manager Jacob Brink Lauridsen (born in Venezuela, raised in Denmark), for taking this as a compliment.
     
    WHAT IS GUASACACA SAUCE?

    Guasacaca (wa-sa-KA-ka) combines avocado with vinegar and herbs. It can be made with with bit of jalapeño or hot sauce, although like guacamole, it is not intended to be a hot and spicy sauce.

    Guasacaca is served with beef, chicken and sausage grilled on a parilla.* It’s also a popular condiment with arepas and empanadas.

    We generously received a container of the sauce “to go,” and have since served it with eggs, fish and seafood; as a salad dressing; and as a dip with crudités.

    Chef Ponte’s sauce was so splendid, that our group of sophisticated palates used it with the breads (Chef Ponte’s recipes, also splendid), and drank some of it from the container on the way home from the restaurant.

    Here’s the catch: We now have to work out proportions similar to Chef Ponte’s. We started by eliminating one avocado and doubling the red wine vinegar. Our first batch was delicious, but not yet perfection.

    In the interim, here’s the classic guasacaca recipe, a real find for summer grilling. Add less oil for a dip.

     
    RECIPE: GUASACACA SAUCE

    Prep time is just 10 minutes, no cooking involved!

    Ingredients For 2 Cups

  • 2 ripe Haas avocados, roughly diced
  • 1 medium onion, roughly chopped
  • 1 green bell pepper, stemmed, seeded, roughly chopped
  • Optional: 1 medium jalapeño, stemmed, seeded, and roughly chopped
  • 2 medium cloves garlic
  • 1 cup loosely packed, roughly chopped fresh cilantro leaves†
  • 1 cup loosely packed, roughly chopped fresh parsley leaves†
  • 1/3 cup red or white wine vinegar
  • 1 tablespoon fresh lime juice
  • 1 cup olive oil olive oil‡ (start with 1/3 and add more oil—or water—to desired consistency)
  • 1 tablespoon salt, or to taste
  • Freshly ground black pepper
  •  
    Preparation

    1. PLACE all ingredients except the olive oil, salt and pepper into a food processor or blender. Pulse until the vegetables are finely chopped, scraping down the sides of the container as needed. Process until smooth.

    2. DRIZZLE in the olive oil in a continuous stream through feed tube (or top of blender), with the motor running. Process until smooth.

    3. TASTE and season with salt and pepper to taste. Let stand at room temperature for an hour for the flavors to blend. Taste again and add more seasoning as desired.

    4. SERVE the sauce at room temperature. You can make it in advance and store it in the fridge, but bring the sauce to room temperature before serving.

    NOTE: If made in advance, the avocado portion can darken. Tamp a piece of plastic wrap on the surface of the sauce.
     
    _____________________
    *A a parilla is a simple grill comprising an iron grate over hot coals.

    †You can use less herbs—as little as 1/2 cup parsley and 1/4 cup cilantro—to taste. Save the stems for stock, soup or other recipes. You can also chop them and toss them into green salads.

    ‡In Venezuela, corn oil is used instead of olive oil.

     
      

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    TIP OF THE DAY: French Toast Sandwiches

    With Father’s Say tomorrow, we couldn’t wait to test these French Toast recipes.

    First up: French Toast sandwiches. Use French Toast slices as bread to make a sandwich.

    We made a wonderbar French Toast sandwich with smoked salmon, soft goat cheese (substitute cream cheese), onion and tomato. Then we tried other favorite fillings:

  • Brandied Peaches (sauté sliced peaches in butter; add Grand Marnier or other brandy to taste)
  • Chicken Liver Mousse & Sliced Vidalia Onion
  • Cream Cheese & Jelly
  • Fried Egg, Bacon & Baby Arugula
  • Grilled Ham & Cheese
  • Grilled/Roasted Vegetables
  • Mascarpone & Caramelized Onions
  • Mozzarella, Tomato & Fresh Basil
  • Nutella & Bananas
  • Peanut Butter & Bananas
  • Peanut Butter & Jelly
  • Sautéed chicken livers, mushrooms and onions
  • Add your favorite filling here
  •  
    To make Grilled Cheese French Toast: Sauté the second side of the bread to a lighter “toast,” add the cheese (and ham or other meat), add the top slice, and grill until the cheese melts.

    RECIPE: APPLE PECAN FRENCH TOAST

    This recipe isn’t a sandwich, but was such a delight that we had to include it.

    The recipe is from Zulka Morena, producers of top-quality, minimally processed sugars (granulated, confectioner’s, brown) made with freshly-harvested sugar cane. The sugars are not refined, which helps preserve the fresh flavor and natural properties of the sugar cane. You can taste the difference in a cup of tea. Zulka makes.
     
    Ingredients

  • 1 loaf day old French bread, sliced into 1 inch thick pieces
  • 8 eggs
  • 2 cups whole milk
  • 1½ cups heavy cream
  • 3/4 cup sugar, divided
  • 2 tablespoons vanilla extract
  • 2 tablespoons cinnamon
  • 4 medium apples
  • ½ cup pecans, chopped
  • 1 tablespoon butter
  • Garnish: maple syrup for drizzling
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    Preparation

    1. CORE, peel and quarter the apples, then slice into ¼ inch thick slices. Place in a bowl and toss with 1 tablespoon cinnamon and ¼ cup of the sugar, making sure the apples are well coated. Set aside.

    2. WHISK together the eggs, ¼ cup of sugar, remaining tablespoon of cinnamon, vanilla, milk and cream in a large bowl.

    3. GREASE the bottom of a large baking pan with the butter. Dip half of the slices of bread in the egg mixture quickly so they are not saturated, one at a time, and place in the pan. Spread half of the apple mixture over the bread. Repeat with the remaining bread and apple mixture. Then pour the remaining egg mixture over the top of the pan.

    4. SPRINKLE the top with the chopped pecans and remaining ¼ cup of sugar. Cover with foil and refrigerate overnight.

    5. PREHEAT the oven to 350°F. Remove the pan from the refrigerator 30 minutes before baking, to warm to room temperature. nd bake 45 minutes, covered. Remove foil and bake an additional 10 minutes. Serve warm, drizzled with maple syrup.
     
    FIND MORE FRENCH TOAST RECIPES

     

    French Toast Sandwich

    Nutella French Toast

    Pepper Jack French Toast

    Apple Pecan French Toast

    Top: French Toast sandwich with fig jam. Second: French Toast sandwich with Nutella and jam on pandoro yeast bread with fruit (photo courtesy Bauli). Third: Grilled Cheese French Toast—even richer than grilled cheese because of the egg-milk batter (photo courtesy Arla USA). Bottom: Not a sandwich but a delicious recipe with apples and pecans (photo courtesy Zulka).

  • Pull down the “Gourmet Foods” menu at the right; select “Breakfast.”
  • Go to TheNibble.com main website and search for “French Toast Recipe.”
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    FOOD FUN: Whimsical Mac & Cheese Recipe

    Fully Loaded Mac & Cheese

    Baked Macaroni & Cheese

    Take your choice: innovative Mac & Cheese (photo courtesy Chef Eric LeVine) or a conventional preparation (photo courtesy Dietz and Watson).

     

    What’s on this plate?

  • A base of macaroni and cheese.
  • Surrounded with a ring of duck and mushrooms in hoisin sauce.
  • Topped with 5 jumbo grilled, bacon-wrapped shrimp.
  • Garnished with fresh rosemary (substitute chopped green onions or chives.)
  •  
    This may be just the thing for a fun food-loving dad on Father’s Day.

    The concept is from one of our favorite innovative chefs, Eric LeVine.

    Chef Eric is the author of Small Bites Big Flavor: Simple, Savory, And Sophisticated Recipes For Entertaining.

    This imaginative cookbook is written for home chefs who want to expand their repertoire with fun and unconventional dishes.

    The 100+ recipes also include mid-sized, larger and sweet bites, and even some signature cocktails. It demonstrates how much fun it can be to prepare, present, share, and of course, eat food.
     
    MORE FUN MAC & CHEESE RECIPES

    These are a bit more conventional, yet still fun food:

  • Apple, Texas & Truffle Mac & Cheese Recipes
  • DIY Mac & Cheese Party Bar
  • Macaroni & Cheese Grilled Cheese Sandwich
  • Mac & Cheese Potato Skins
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