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Banana Iced Coffee Recipe & The History Of Cardamom

What to drink on April 20th, National Banana Day? How about this banana iced coffee recipe? Plus a bonus: the history of cardamom, a spice that gives this drink a special flavor.

Thanks to Dole for the recipe. There are many more banana recipes in every category on Dole.com.

On April 20th, national Banana Day, we’ll present 50 banana recipes.

 
 
RECIPE: BANANA ICED COFFEE

This recipe is made with almond milk, which gives it a subtle layer of flavor. But you can use your milk of choice.
 
Ingredients For 2½ Cups – 4 Servings

  • 3 ripe bananas, peeled and cut crosswise into thirds
  • 3 tablespoons powdered sugar
  • ½ teaspoon ground cardamom
  • ½ teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 3 tablespoons unsweetened almond milk plus additional for serving as desired
  • 4 cups brewed coffee, cooled
  • Garnish: 2 tablespoons shaved dark or milk chocolate
  •  
    Preparation

    1. PUREE the bananas, sugar, cardamom, and vanilla extract in a blender. With the blender running, slowly add the milk.

    2. FREEZE the banana mixture for 1 hour or until almost solid.

    3. DIVIDE the coffee into four 12-ounce glasses. Stir in the banana mixture and sprinkle with chocolate. Serv

    4. SERVE with additional milk, if desired.
     
     
    THE HISTORY OF CARDAMOM

    Wild cardamom plants originated in the rainforests of the Western Ghats, a mountain range in Southern India. The plants were so abundant that the area became known as Cardamom Hills.

    Elettaria cardamomum, commonly known as green or true cardamom, is an herbaceous, perennial plant in the ginger family of flowering plants, Zingiberaceae. Cardamom pods (photo #2) are the fruit of the large ginger-like plant. Each pod contains 15 to 20 tiny, sticky black or brown seeds with a strong fruity aroma (photo #3).

    The pods and seeds have a strong aroma, in the manner of cloves. The flavor is also strong, and has been described as a combination of ginger and cinnamon. The versatile spice has long been used in both savory and sweet foods.

    The use of cardamom dates back at least 4000 years and traveled far beyond India. Ancient Egyptians chewed cardamom pods to keep their breath minty fresh and to help clean their teeth. They also used it for medicinal purposes, rituals, and embalming.

    The Greeks and Romans liked cardamom for its pungent aroma. It was a key ingredient in perfumes and aromatic oils.

    Vikings discovered cardamom and brought it back to Scandinavia, where it became popular in baking breads and pastries, cooking, mulled wine, and glögg.

    During the 19th century, plantations of cardamom were set up by British colonists in India and Sri Lanka [source].

    Green cardamom is one of the 10 most expensive spices in the world by weight (here’s the whole list). However, with its strong flavor, a little goes a long way.

    Green Cardamom Vs. Black Cardamom

    Note that there is also black cardamom (photo #5), a different species, with a flavor that is not interchangeable with green cardamom (i.e., do not substitute!).

  • Green cardamom is harvested before it reaches maturity.
  • Black cardamom is allowed to mature, and is then dried over an open fire to create a distinctive smoky aroma and flavor. Black cardamom also has notes of camphor, menthol, and resin, and a slightly minty aroma.
  • A totally different spice, its pods are large and rough. It’s used to give depth to Indian cooking, such as curry masala.
     
    Green Cardamom Uses

    Cardamom is very popular in Indian and Middle Eastern cuisines, by itself (i.e., ground), and added to spice blends.

    Green cardamom is essential to many curry powders and daals (lentil dishes), as well as Indian rice pudding and chai.

    And don’t forget all the Scandinavian recipes! Here are more uses for cardamom.

    For the best flavor, the seeds (photo #3) are removed from the pods (photo #2) just before use, and ground with a mortar and pestle (photo #4).

    Cardamom tea, made by steeping the pods, is a traditional drink in Asia (here’s a recipe).

    While much green and black cardamom still comes from India and Sri Lanka, Guatemala is the world’s largest producer and exporter of cardamom. In some parts of Guatemala, the spice crop is even more valuable than coffee!

  •  


    [1] Banana iced coffee has accents of almond, cardamom and vanilla (photo © Dole).

    Green Cardamom Pods
    [2] Cardamom pods contain a number of seeds (photo #3), but the entire cardamom pod can be used whole or ground (photos #2, #3, #4, #5 © Silk Road Spices).


    [3] The cardamom seeds inside the pods (photo #3) are ground (photo #4).

    Ground Cardamom
    [4] Ground green cardamom.


    [5] Black cardamom, a different species with a very different flavor profile.

    Vanilla Cardamom Milkshake
    [6] Vanilla cardamom whoopie pie and milkshake shooter. Here are the recipes for the milkshake and whoopie pies (photo © McCormick).

     

     
     

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    FOOD FUN: Banana Sushi Recipe For National Banana Day


    [1] Banana sushi: a fun way to eat bananas (photo © Dole).


    [2] Deliciousness awaits (photo © Eiliv Sonas Aceron | Unsplash).

     

    While you can certainly put a slice of banana and garnishes atop a pad of rice or in a sushi roll, this banana sushi recipe is an all-fruit adaptation—no rice. It’s perfect for dessert or for a snack. And you don’t need to cook anything!

    Thanks to Dole for the recipe. If your bananas are too ripe to cut into firm chunks, see yesterday’s recipe for spicy banana dip and other overripe banana uses.

    April 20th is National Banana Day.

    > How to ripen bananas.

    > How to keep bananas from browning.

    > The history of bananas.
     
     
    RECIPE: BANANA SUSHI

    Since you can spread the bananas with almond butter, cashew nut butter, peanut butter, or nonfat Greek yogurt, plus different toppings, why not make an assortment?
    Prep time is 10 minutes.
     
    Ingredients For 1 Serving

  • 1 ripe banana, peeled
  • 1/4 cup almond butter, cashew nut butter, peanut butter, or Greek yogurt
  • 1 to 2 teaspoons crispy rice cereal
  • Toppings: 1 to 2 teaspoons cacao nibs, chia seeds, chopped nuts, granola, or shredded coconut
  • Optional garnish: sprinkle of cinnamon
  •  
    Preparation

    1. CUT the banana into 8 equal pieces. Spread the tops with nut butter or yogurt.

    2. DIP banana pieces in cereal and toppings. Sprinkle with cinnamon.

    3. SERVE with chopsticks!

     

     
     

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    Spicy Banana Dip Recipe For National Banana Day

    With National Banana Day coming up on April 20th. we’re adding a new and different banana recipe to our repertoire: a spicy banana dip recipe to serve with crackers, crudités, or tortilla chips. It’s from Dole.

    While the bananas should be ripe, a dip is a good use for overripe bananas, too.

    You can use bananas even when the peel turns black. The blacker the peel, the riper the banana, and the sweeter it is.

    Other uses for overripe bananas, mashed or puréed: baking, puddings (including bread pudding), shakes and smoothies, made into ice cream†, added to pancake batter, stirred into yogurt and oatmeal*. Check out these banana meatballs!

    Banana trivia: The U.S. imports most of its bananas from Guatemala, followed by Ecuador, Costa Rica, Honduras, Mexico, with smaller amounts from other countries. See this chart.

    > The history of bananas.
     
     
    RECIPE #1: DOLE SPICY BANANA DIP

    Serve this dip with whole-grain cinnamon crackers, or vegetables such as celery and carrots.

    You can buy cinnamon crackers, or bake your own with the recipe below. You can also serve it with plantain chips, tortilla chips, and pretzels.

    For a dessert dip or sweet snack, leave out the savory ingredients, sweeten to taste, and serve with plain cookies and fruit.
     
    Ingredients

  • 2 DOLE® bananas
  • 2 tablespoons fresh lime juice
  • 1 tablespoon chopped fresh cilantro
  • 1 teaspoon chopped fresh mint
  • 1/2 teaspoon grated fresh ginger
  • 1/4 teaspoon finely chopped green chile
  •  
    Preparation

    1. MASH the bananas with a fork. Stir in the lime juice, cilantro, mint, ginger, and green chile. Transfer to a serving bowl.

    2. REFRIGERATE in an airtight container until ready to use.
     
     
    RECIPE #2: HOMEMADE WHOLE GRAIN CRACKERS
     
    Ingredients

  • 1/2 cup whole wheat flour
  • 1/2 cup all-purpose flour
  • 2 tablespoons milled chia or crushed flaxseed
  • 3/4 teaspoon salt
  • 3/4 teaspoon baking powder
  • 1/3 cup water
  • 1 tablespoon olive oil
  • 1/4 teaspoon of cinnamon
  • For serving: crackers and/or crudités
  •  
    Preparation

    1. PREHEAT the oven to 400°F. Combine the whole wheat flour, all-purpose flour, chia/flaxseed, salt, and baking powder.

    2. ADD the water and olive oil, and mix until the dough holds together. If necessary, add one or two more tablespoons of water. Transfer to the counter and knead 4 or 5 times.

    3. DIVIDE the dough into 4 equal pieces, cover, and rest for 10 minutes.

    4. ROLL the dough on a lightly whole wheat-floured surface until it is wafer-thin. Carefully move the dough pieces to a parchment-lined baking sheet.

    5. DUST the cinnamon over the top, and bake for 4 minutes on each side. Remove crackers from the oven and break them into bite-size pieces.
     
     
    ________________

    *You can add a dash of cinnamon and some chopped walnuts and raisins.

    †In addition to conventional ice cream, you can simply freeze chunks of bananas and process them into a frozen dessert. Lay them on a plate or cookie sheet to freeze, so they don’t clump together. Place the frozen bananas in a food processor and blend until smooth, scraping the sides as needed. Place the banana purée in a bowl in the freezer for an hour or two, to desired consistency. Stir in chocolate chips, nuts, or raisins as desired.

     


    [1] Spicy banana dip with homemade cinnamon crackers (photos #1 and #3 © Dole).


    [2] You can serve any dip with crudités, crackers, chips, or pretzels (photo © The Fry Family Food Co. | Unsplash).


    [3] Use ripe bananas for this dip, but dip is also a good use for overripe bananas. For dessert, you can make it a sweet dip with cookies and fruit.


    [4] If you want less heat than a jalapeño, choose Anaheim or poblano chile (photo © Good Eggs).

     

     
     

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    FOOD FUN: BLT Sandwich Or BLT Lettuce Cups With Chicharrones


    [1] BLT Chicharrónes Lettuce Cups. What look like croutons are crumbled chicharrónes (photos #1 and #2 © 4505 Meats).


    [2] Chicharrónes. Crumble them for the lettuce cups or sandwich.


    [3] BLT Pancakes. Here’s the recipe (photo © Tiegen Gerard | Wisconsin Cheese).


    [4] BLT Polenta. Here’s the recipe (photo © Melissa’s Produce).

     

    April is National BLT Sandwich Month. While we have quite a collection of BLT recipes, here’s something new: a BLT sandwich or BLT lettuce cups with chicharrónes, otherwise known as fried pork rinds. 4505 Meats, which created the recipe, calls it a BLCT: bacon, chicharrónes, lettuce, and tomato.

    We love both the chicharrónes and the snack sticks from 4505 Meats.

    We also like the fun of this sandwich, which adds chicharrón crunch to the lettuce in a BLT sandwich. Or, skip the carbs and make BLT lettuce cups.

    National BLT Day is July 22nd, and National Pork Rinds Day is Super Bowl Sunday.

    > There are more unusual BLT recipes below.

    > Homemade pork rinds recipe.
     
     
    RECIPE: BLT LETTUCE CUPS WITH CHICHARRÓNES

    This recipe uses 4505 Jalapeño Cheddar Chicharrónes. IOther 4505 flavors include Classic Chili & Salt, En Fuego, Sea Salt, and Smokehouse BBQ.

    To turn the lettuce cups into sandwiches, simply toast your bread of choice.
     
    Ingredients

  • 5 strips bacon, cooked and cut into 1-inch pieces
  • 5 romaine spears
  • 2 medium-sized tomatoes cubed
  • 2 tbsp. your favorite mayonnaise
  • 2 cups of 4505 Jalapeño Cheddar Chicharrónes broken into bite-sized pieces
  • Salt and pepper to taste
  •  
    Preparation

    1. ARRANGE the romaine spears on a plate and spread each spear with a little mayo.

    2. PLACE a strip of bacon into each romaine spear.

    3. SEASON the cubed tomatoes with salt and pepper to taste and spoon into each lettuce spear, over the bacon. Top with bite-sized pieces of jalapeno cheddar chicharrónes.

    4. SERVE as cups, or spread the toasted bread with more mayo and sandwich the romaine spears between two slices.
     
     
    MORE UNUSUAL BLT RECIPES

    Cocktails

  • BLT Bloody Mary with bacon vodka
  • BLT Cocktail
  •  
    Not A Sandwich

  • BLT Gazpacho
  • BLT Guacamole Crostini
  • BLT Pancakes
  • BLT Pasta Salad
  • BLT Pizza
  • BLT Polenta
  • BLT Slaw
  • BLT Wafflewich
  • Mini BLT Bites
  •  
    Plus

  • BLT Sandwich Variations
  •  

     
     

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    Easter Salad Recipe: Don’t Forget The Carrots

    If you’re serving a salad at Easter dinner, don’t forget the carrots! This nod to the Easter bunny makes the Easter salad more fun, and the carrots add crunch, plus antioxidants, beta carotene, fiber, potassium, and heart-healthy vitamin K1.

    What else should you go into your Easter salad? If you can, find special ingredients (beyond the romaine, e.g.). Some ideas (choose as many items as you like):
     
     
    EASTER/SPRING SALAD RECIPE

    Ingredients

  • Asparagus (raw or blanched)
  • Boston/butterhead lettuce, red leaf lettuce, or mixed spring greens
  • Carrots, in mixed colors if possible
  • Grape tomatoes (mixed colors)
  • Green peas or whole sugar snap peas
  • Fiddlehead ferns
  • Mustard greens
  • Perlini (tiny egg-shape mozzarella balls)
  • Pecans
  • Scallions or sweet onion
  • Strawberries (halved) or other berries
  •  
    For garnish, you can top each plate of salad with a deviled egg half.
     
    Honey Lemon Vinaigrette

  • 1 tablespoon plus 2 teaspoons fresh lemon juice
  • 1 teaspoon finely grated lemon zest
  • 1 tablespoon honey
  • ½ teaspoon chopped thyme
  • ¼ cup extra-virgin olive oil
  • Salt and freshly-ground pepper to taste
  •  
    Preparation

    1. MAKE the vinaigrette. First whisk together the lemon juice and lemon zest, honey, and thyme. Then whisk in the olive oil and season with salt and pepper. Set aside.

    2. CUT the vegetables into desired sizes. When ready to serve, re-whisk the dressing if it has separated. Drizzle and toss to coat the salad.

     


    [1] These carrots have a red skin, but the conventional orange inside. The yellow slices are takuan, a Japanese yellow pickled radish (photo © Gramercy Tavern | NYC).


    [2] You can find bunches of carrots in orange, red, and white yellow at Trader Joe’s, among other stores and farmers markets (photo © The Home Grown Collective).

     

     
     

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