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TIP OF THE DAY: Summer Salads

Summer Salad With Nasturtium Leaves
[1] A salad of farmers market ingredients, from mache to nasturtium leaves (both photos © Good Eggs).

Summer Salad Yogurt Dressing
[2] Even if you think you don’t like tomatoes, try a lush, ripe heirloom tomato. They’re practically a different species from regular supermarket fare.

 

For salad lovers, summer is the season to revel.

Many traditionally summer fruits and vegetables are available year-round. They may be imported from far away, picked before their time.

For the best-tasting selections of the year, head to your farmers market and load up on heirloom cucumbers and tomatoes, and every other tempting veggie.

For fruit salads, load up on juicy stone fruits: apricots, cherries, nectarines, peaches, plums and hybrids like a and pluots. You can also add some sliced fruit and berries to a green salad.

Every week, pick something that you haven’t had before. Nasturtium leaves, for example, are a popular salad ingredient and garnish among fine chefs.
 
 
SIMPLER IS BETTER

When the produce has so much flavor, it doesn’t need a heavy dressing to add flavor.

In fact, they may not even need dressing: a bit of salt and pepper, maybe a dash of balsamic or a squeeze of lemon or lime, or a vinaigrette, if you want something more substantial.

  • Classic Dijon Vinaigrette Recipe
  • Asian Vinaigrette Recipe
  •  
    Save the romaine for fall or mix it with summer lettuces, like Little Gem, bibb and butter lettuces (the latter two are varieties of Boston lettuce, and also make the best lettuce cups [the different types of lettuce]).

    Create a mix of flavors and textures: crunchy, salty, tangy, even sweet (berries, small dice of melon).

  • Snip in herbs, as many as you like. Basil, chives, dill, mint and parsley can be used singly, doubly, triply, or all together.
  • Summer squash is ready to slice or julienne raw, and toss in. Add yellow squash with the green, for more color.
  • Add corn to your salad. Sweet, raw corn is great, but if you have cooked corn, use it.
  • Like heat? Add arugula, radishes watercress, chiles.
  • Slice or chop? If you typically slice salad ingredients, try chopping your salad—and vice versa. You may already have the tools you need to easily chop a salad. Here’s a video using a mezzaluna. Or check Amazon for a “chopped salad chopper.”
  • Make a dinner salad by adding cheese, meats and/or seafood.
  • Keep garnishes light. Our favorite summer salad garnish is sunflower seeds.
  •  
     
    CHECK THE CHART FOR RECIPE IDEAS

    Good Eggs created the infographic below to help you blend ingredients from six different categories into a creative luncheon salad.

    We recommend that you add additional vegetables beyond what’s in the chart, and try new ingredients. For example, if your go-to lettuce year-round is romaine or iceberg for most of the year, branch out to its less common relatives.
     
     
    Summer Salad Ingredients

    [3] For a “fully packed” summer luncheon salad, choose an ingredient from each of these six sections (infographic © Good Eggs).

      

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    BEER COCKTAIL RECIPE: Special Michelada For National Michelada Day

    July 12th Is National Michelada Day.

    There are several variations of this beer-based Mexican cocktail. Our version of a Michelada calls for a rich tomato passata (puree).

    That’s what DeLallo used in this recipe. Instead of hot sauce, they heat things up with an oil from spicy Calabrian chili peppers.

    Top with an ice-cold beer and you have the perfect drink for any hot day.

    Food Trivia: A beer cocktail is called a beertail, for short.
     
     
    RECIPE: SUPER-RICH MICHELADA

    Ingredients

  • 1 tablespoon chili powder
  • ½ tablespoon coarse sea salt
  • 4 ounces DeLallo Passata Rustica Rich Tomato Purée (or substitute)
  • 1 dash Worcestershire sauce
  •  

    Michelada
    [1] A special Michelada for National Michelada Day (photo © DeLallo).

  • 2 dashes DeLallo Calabrian Chili Pepper Oil (from 6.7-ounce pepper jar), or your favorite hot sauce
  • Juice of 1 lime
  • 1 (12-ounce) bottle of beer
  • Ice
  • Garnish: lime wedge
  • Optional rim: salt, chili powder, lime zest
  •  
    Preparation

    1. PREP the glass: Place the chili powder and salt in a small shallow dish. Rub the rim of a tall (12-ounce) glass with a wedge of lime. Coat the wet rim with the chili salt mixture. Add ice.

    2. CREATE the tomato mixture by combining Passata, Worcestershire sauce, chili pepper oil, and lime juice in a large measuring cup or small pitcher. Pour the tomato mixture into the prepared glass.

    3. TOP with beer until the glass is full. Stir gently.

    4. NOTCH the lime wedge on the rim of the glass, or serve it on the side.
     
     
    HERE’S THE HISTORY OF THE MICHELADA

      

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    RECIPE: Tartines For Breakfast, Lunch Or Dinner

    Tomato Pesto Tartines
    [1] Make tartines with lush summer tomatoes (recipes and photographs © Alexandra Shytsman courtesy Goat Cheeses Of France).

    Sainte-Maure Caprifeuille Goat Cheese
    [2] Sainte-Maure Caprifeuille goat cheese. Read more about it below.

    Miche French Bread
    [3] Miche, a term for a round country loaf (pain de campagne—photo © King Arthur Flour).

     

    Yesterday we presented three goat cheese and wine pairings, an idea to celebrate Bastille Day, July 14th.

    Here’s a recipe for tartines, the French term for open-face sandwiches, to continue the taste-fest.

    This recipe serves:

  • One person for lunch (or two people with a large salad)
  • Two people as a first course for dinner
  • Two people as a snack with a glass of wine
  •  
    It was created by Alexandra Shytsman of The New Baguette, a healthy food blog that features vegan and vegetarian recipes for beginner cooks.

    Enjoy them with a glass of white wine. We prefer a crisp sauvignon blanc.
     
     
    RECIPE: TOMATO-PESTO TARTINES WITH
    SAINTE-MAURE CAPRIFEUILLE GOAT CHEESE

    Ingredients For The Pesto

    This pesto recipe makes more pesto than you’ll need for two tartines. Toss the rest with pasta or roasted potatoes, use it on other sandwiches, serve it with eggs—or make more tartines.

    You can purchase the pesto instead of making it.

  • 1 large bunch basil, stemmed (about 2 ½ cups packed)
  • 1/3 cup toasted walnut halves or pine nuts
  • 1 garlic clove, roughly chopped
  • 2 teaspoons freshly squeezed lemon juice
  • 1/4 cup extra virgin olive oil
  • ¼ teaspoon fine sea salt
  • Freshly ground black pepper, to taste
  •  
    For the Tartines

    If you can’t find Sainte-Maure Caprifeuille, select another goat cheese log, preferably aged.

  • 2 slices miche* bread
  • 1 heirloom tomato, cut into thin rounds
  • About ¼ log Sainte-Maure Caprifeuille, cut into thin rounds
  • Optional: freshly ground black pepper, fresh herbs
  •  
    Preparation

    1. PREHEAT the oven to 375ºF.

    2. MAKE the pesto: In a food processor, combine the basil, walnuts and garlic. Pulse until everything is broken down into small bits. With the motor running, stream in the lemon juice and olive oil, and purée until smooth. Season with salt and pepper.

    3. SPREAD about 2 tablespoons of the pesto on each bread slice and top with the tomatoes and cheese. Sprinkle with extra pepper, if desired.

     

    4. PLACE the tartines on a baking sheet and bake until the tomatoes soften and the cheese is melted, 10 to 15 minutes. Serve immediately. If you have fresh herbs, snip some and sprinkle on the tartines when they come out of the oven.
     
     
    ABOUT SAINT-MAURE CAPRIFEUILLE GOAT CHEESE

    Sainte-Maure Caprifeuille is a raw milk, semi-soft goat’s milk cheese from Poitou-Charentes, a region in the midpoint of France’s Atlantic coast, now part of Nouvelle Aquitaine.

    It has a thin, wrinkled rind with superficial grey-white mould and soft paste (interior). The rind is edible and a favorite of connoisseurs.

    The goats graze on fragrant plants in the rolling hills. The vegetation contributes to the flavor of the milk.

    The name of the cheese is based on:

  • The ancient French word “maure,” which evolved to the modern word “noire,” black.
  • Sainte-Noire, a goddess responsible for the harvest. In the olden times, local cheesemakers believed that the cheese was ripening thanks to the goddess.
  • ________________

    *Miche is a French term for a large, round loaf of country bread, pain de campagne. It is pronounced MIH-shuh or mish. We particularly like this rustic, country-style with its crunchy crust (photo #3). If you can’t find a good country loaf, elect the best round loaf available. If you want to bake your own, here’s a recipe.

      

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    RECIPE: Blueberry Mojito For National Mojito Day (& National Blueberry Month)

    July 11th is National Mojito Day (following on the heels of National Piña Colada Day, July 10th).

    Plus, July is National Blueberry Month.

    Although fresh blueberries are at their sweetest in July, here’s a recipe you can use all year round, with frozen blueberries.

    The official name of the recipe below is is “Bleauberry Mojito, created by Hector Acevedo corporate mixologist at the Fontainebleau Hotel.

    Here’s the original Mojito recipe and the history of the Mojito.

    Thanks to The Blueberry Council for the recipe. There are many more food and drink recipes on the organization’s website.
     
     
    RECIPE: BLUEBERRY MOJITO COCKTAIL

    This recipe uses both fresh and frozen blueberries.

    Ingredients Per Drink

  • 14 mint leaves, divided
  • 1 tablespoon Blueberry Compote, purchased or recipe below
  • 1 tablespoon lime juice
  • 1 tablespoon simple syrup
  • 1-1/2 ounces rum
  • 1 ounce club soda
  • 12 fresh blueberries
  • Mint leaves for garnish
  • Ice
  •  
    For The Blueberry Compote (About 2 Cups)

    Consider doubling the recipe and using the compote to top ice cream, sorbet, pound cake and other desserts.

  • 2 tablespoons sugar
  • 2 teaspoons cornstarch
  • 1 pound (3 cups) frozen blueberries, not thawed
  •  
    Preparation

    1. MAKE the compote. In a medium saucepan, stir the sugar and cornstarch together until blended. Add the frozen berries and toss until uniformly coated. Cover and cook over very low heat, stirring occasionally, until the berries thaw and the mixture starts to boil, 5 to 7 minutes. Remove the lid and cook, stirring constantly, until thickened, 1 to 2 minutes.

    2. PLACE 8 of the mint leaves in a Tom Collins glass. With a muddler or a wooden spoon, crush the mint leaves until fragrant; set aside.

    3. COMBINE in a cocktail shaker the blueberry compote, lime juice, simple syrup, remaining mint leaves and rum. Add ice, cover and shake to mix.

    4. ADD the club soda to the collins. Fill the glass with fresh blueberries and ice (you can use frozen berries in the off season). Strain the shaker mixture into the glass. Garnish with mint and serve.

     

    Blueberry Mojito
    [1] A blueberry Mojito for National Mojito Day (photo © Blueberry Council).

    Carton Of Blueberries
    [2] Fresh blueberries, at their sweetest over the summer (photo © Balducci’s).

    Mojito
    [3] (photo © Seviche Restaurant | Louisville).

     

      

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    TIP OF THE DAY: Goat Cheese Pairings For Bastille Day

    Goat Cheese Pairing
    [1] Fresh Goat Cheese Log With Roasted Zucchini, Mint and Thai Chili (photos 1-3 © Goat Cheeses Of France).


    [2] Valençay Pyramid With Balsamic-Marinated Watermelon.


    [3] Chevre Bleu d’Argetal With Dark Chocolate.

    Crottin de Chavignol
    [4] Crottin de Chavignol, the best-selling French chevre (photo © Marmiton).

     

    While U.S. cheesemakers produce terrific goat cheeses, the mother of goat’s milk cheeses is France, where goat cheese is called chèvre (SHEV).

    France produces a large number of goat’s milk cheeses, especially in the Loire Valley and Poitou, where goats are said to have been brought by the Moors in the 8th century.

    If you’re a goat cheese fan, some chèvres with which you may be familiar are Bucheron, Chabis, Chabichou du Poitou, Crottin de Chavignol (the most-produced A.O.C.* goat cheese AOC, photo #4), Montrachet, Pélardon, Pouligny Saint-Pierre, Pyramide, Rocamadour, Sainte-Maure de Touraine and Valençay [source].

    We couldn’t find how many goat cheeses are made in France, but there many. To make it easy to select a few for Bastille Day celebrations, we offer three cheese pairings below.

    France is the world’s #1 producer of goat’s milk cheeses. Some 3,000 artisan producers and about 60 large dairies craft more than 265 million pounds of goat cheese each year.

    That’s a lot of cheese!

    Collectively, French farmers manage the third largest goat herd in Europe, with 1,381,000 goats (with more arriving each spring).

    That’s a lot of goats!

    The secret to delicious French goat cheese is quality. This is where tradition plays a crucial role: French goat cheese has been developed and refined over centuries, so the cheesemakers know how to bring out the best in the goats’ milk and curds.

    Discover more, including many recipes, at Goat Cheeses Of France.
     
     
    WAYS TO SERVE GOAT CHEESE

    We are never short of uses, from:

  • Breakfast: bagels, omelets, toast
  • Lunch: goat cheese and grilled vegetable sandwich, goat cheese pizza
  • Snack: goat cheese and crackers (we especially like BelVita Breakfast Biscuits, or McVittie’s digestive biscuits†)
  • Dinner: goat cheese on pasta‡ (or mac and cheese), goat cheese and arugula first course or goat cheese Caprese
  • Dessert: a cheese and fruit plate, or this goat cheese ice cream
  • Wine: with red, white or dessert wine
  •  
    Styles of goat cheese vary from:

  • Fresh and tangy, like a log of chevre.
  • Creamy and mellow, like an ash-covered Valençay pyramid.
  • Dense and nutty, like a round of aged Bucherondin.
  •  
    We love a dish of spaghetti dotted with fresh goat cheese and freshly-cracked black pepper†. While France doesn’t make a hard goat grating cheese, you can top it with parmesan or goat Gouda from Holland.
     
     
    GOAT CHEESE PAIRINGS

    These pairings are from Tia Keenan, a fromager, food stylist and the author of “Chèvre,” the first book dedicated to goat cheese.

     
    Tia recommends these cheese pairings, with wine pairings provided by The Nibble’s wine editor, Kris Prasad:

  • Fresh Goat Cheese Log With Roasted Zucchini, Mint and Thai Chili (photo #1). The bright acidity of a fresh goat cheese log plays against the earthiness of roasted zucchini. The flavors are highlighted by the fresh mint and bracing Thai chili, the heat of which is cooled by the butterfat in the cheese.
  • Wine Pairings: muscat from Alsace, any chenin-based wine, Costières de Nîmes from the Southern Rhone.
  • Valençay Pyramid With Balsamic-Marinated Watermelon (photo #2). Sweet, bright and full of deep, ripe flavors, the juicy watermelon contrasts with the fluffy paste of Valençay.
  • Wine Pairings: Tavel rosé, rosé Marsannay.
  • Fun Fact about the shape of the Valençay Pyramid: Napoleon returned to France in 1801 following a failed campaign in Egypt, and was presented this cheese in the traditional pyramid shape (with a pointed top). He became angry and sliced the top off with his sword, leaving the flat top we see today (source).
  • Chevre Bleu d’Argetal With Dark Chocolate (photo #3). The fruit flavors of dark chocolate mimic the mellow, fruity tones of blue cheese.
  • Wine Pairings: late harvest riesling from Alsace, muscat Beaume de Venise, rasteau fortified wine (not dry), Monbazillac sauternes (off vintage).
  •  
    While these pairings are great for Bastille Day, you can, of course, enjoy them any day of the year.

    ________________

    *A.O.C or AOC, Appellation d’Origine Contrôlée. Controlled designation of origin in English, the A.O.C. mark guarantees, among other things, that the cheese (or other food) with this certification originates from a specific region of France, and has been produced in a traditional way. There are 35 types of cheeses carrying the A.O.C. mark, which guarantees that: (1) The cheese was produced within a specific geographical area, from milk from specific herds of animals in the same area and partly matured there. (2) The cheese was made using strictly defined methods that have been handed-down over several centuries. (3) The characteristics of the cheese that have been precisely defined—its size, type of rind, texture and minimum fat content—are adhered to strictly. (4) The producers submit themselves to review by a public control commission, which guarantees the authenticity and quality of the products. D.O. and D.O.P. are similar certifications from Italy and Spain.

    †McVitie’s Digestive Biscuits, imported from the U.K., are slightly sweet. They’re one of the most popular biscuits worldwide, great with a cup of tea, too. You can find them at specialty food stores and at Amazon.

    ‡Use cubes of Selles sur Cher or dollops of a fresh log, along with fresh lemon zest, pine nuts and plenty of fresh herbs.

      

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