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Who would not want to celebrate at least once a year a wonderful plate of ribbon pasta cooked with butter and parmesan cheese? Most don’t know that pastas was actually seldom served at American tables 100 years ago. The age of mass production of foods and their distributions coincided with the discovery of Italian foods. The rest is history.
A. Fettuccine is a flat thick noodle made of flour and egg.(literally meaning “little ribbons” in Italian)
B. The original recipe for Fettuccine “Alfredo” is pasta made from fettucine noodles tossed with one part parmesan cheese and 3 parts butter. Alfredo sauce is the emulsified liquids that form the smooth and rich coating on the pasta.
C. It was named by an Italian restaurateur at his restaurant Alfredo on the Via della Scrofa in Rome in 1914. Said to have been a dish he made at home but for years was too reluctant to sell to his customers because it was so rich.
D. Douglas Fairbanks and Mary Pickford, early movie stars, fell in love with the dish while on their honeymoon in 1927. This helped to make the dish and Alfredo world famous.
E. There are authentic “Alfredo’s” restaurants in the US, Alfredo’s at Rockefeller Center in New York City is the most well known.
“Life is too short, and I’m Italian. I’d much rather eat pasta & drink wine than be a size 0.”~Sofia Bush
World Nutella Day
A. Nutella, a chocolate & hazelnut spread, outsells ALL brands of peanut butter worldwide
B. Hazelnuts were originally used as an inexpensive filler. sales increased and soon became it’s trademark flavor.
C. In the aftermath of World War 2 Italian stores offered a service called “smearing”, which allowed local children to bring in a slice of bread on which they could have some Nutella spread.
D. In Europe the Nutella jar is usually made of glass, whereas in North America it is made of plastic.
Chocolate fondue is an exciting dessert: rich, luscious, sexy. It has appeal to children and adults alike (don’t call it sexy in front of the kids, though). Chocolate fondue is so simple to prepare: Why don’t we have it more often? It’s light enough to provide a small amount of sweetness at the end of a meal (fresh fruit dipped in just a tiny bit of chocolate), and lavish enough to cure anyone’s hankering for a chocolate hoe-down.
What could be better than chocolate fondue? A pot of white chocolate fondue, right next to it! The key to good fondue is good chocolate, and good dippers. And good company, of course—fondue is a dish to share.
Place the peas in a large pot and add enough cold water to cover. Bring to a boil. Cover, remove from heat, and set aside for 1 hour.
Meanwhile, heat the oil in a large pot over medium heat. Add the onions, celery, carrots, garlic, and bay leaf. Cook, stirring occasionally, until softened and golden, about 15 minutes. Drain the peas and add them to the vegetables along with the broth. Bring to a boil. Reduce heat, cover, and simmer gently until the peas are softened, about 45 minutes. Remove from heat. Set aside to cool for at least 10 minutes. Remove and discard the bay leaf. Transfer some of the soup to a blender, filling it no more than halfway. Puree until smooth. Repeat with the remaining soup. Return the soup to the pot and place over medium heat until warmed through, about 10 minutes. Season with the salt and pepper. Ladle the soup into individual bowls.
In Advance: Refrigerate the soup for up to 2 days. Warm it over low heat.
Five things you should know about
- Women are more than twice as likely to eat soup as men, 9.67% vs. 4.0%.
- The Middle English word soupen meant “to drink in sips”, which is how most soups were consumed. The words “soup,” “supper,” “sip,” and “sop” are derived from this term.
- Andy Warhol(who’s real name was Andrew Warhola) is famous for his Campbell ‘s soup can art of the 1960’s. Did you know his first works sold for around 100 dollars? Today they sell for hundreds of thousands of dollars.
|For a meaty vegetarian entree, stuff a grilled portabella mushroom. The stuffing can be simple, from breadcrumbs to cheese to salad.
Or, it can be a complex layering of flavors, as in the recipe below for Grilled Portabella Mushrooms Stuffed with Bacon And Caramelized Onion Purée, Mashed Potatoes, Wisconsin Fontina Cheese And Sliced Italian Prosciutto.
The recipe, by Chefs Michael Smith and Debbie Gold, is courtesy EatWisconsinCheese.com. While there are several steps, they are easy ones (caramelize the onions, mash the potatoes).
PORTABELLA, PORTABELLO OR PORTOBELLO?
How can one mushroom, Agaricus bisporus, be known by so many names? All three spellings are used; we prefer portabella, which flows off the tongue most easily.
Portabellas are mature cremini mushrooms, tan to brown in color. The immature cremini is variously called a baby portobello, baby bella, brown mushroom, crimini, Italian mushroom, mini bella, portabellini, Roman mushroom, Italian mushroom, or brown mushroom.
|Portabellas are meaty in both taste and appearance, with more complex flavors than the young creminis. They can be 3 to 10 inches in diameter; the large portabellas can be grilled or stuffed as an entrée.
Like meat, portabellas release juices when cooked. Vegetarians enjoy them grilled in lieu of beef, and they make wonderful grilled vegetable sandwiches. They can be served whole or sliced, stuffed or as “burgers.”
For a simple starter, serve sliced grilled portabellas drizzled with a balsamic reduction. They are available fresh from December to March and cultivated year round.
Ginger Carrot Cake
A Carrot Cake Developed By Pastry Chef & Chocolatier Michael Recchiuti Just Might Be The Best Carrot Cake
San Francisco chocolatier Michael Recchiuti searched his city for perfect carrot cake. The best he found was in North Beach—at Mario’s Bohemian Cigar Store (a cappuccino café). However, North Beach is not so easy for people from other ‘hoods to get to—including Michael Recchiuti (whose own chocolate shop is so conveniently located in the Ferry Building, San Francisco’s must-see food hall). So the chocolatier/pastry chef did the obvious: He developed his own recipe. And, he likes it as much as Mario’s.
Not your average carrot cake, this one has chunks of crystallized ginger for flavor and crunch; and there are pecans in both the cake and the filling.
NOTE TO BAKERS: Michael insists that you serve this cake at room temperature. (He obviously is surrounded by so much of his own goodies, that he’s never had to eat cake straight from the freezer!)
You may want to try the carrot cake with a glass of Campari, like they serve it at Mario’s. And check out Recchiuti Confections, a NIBBLE Top Pick Of The Week. What could be better than carrot cake with a chocolate chaser?
||Don’t buy the cheapest carrots you can find,
just because they’re going to be “ground up
in a cake.” Moist, fresh carrots will give you
a better cake than dried-out carrots in a cello
- 1-1/2 cups granulated cane sugar
- 1/4 cup unbleached all-purpose flour
- 3/4 teaspoon kosher salt
- 1-1/2 cups heavy whipping cream
- 3/4 cup unsalted butter
- 1-1/2 cups pecans, toasted and coarsely chopped
- 2 teaspoons pure vanilla extract, preferably Madagascar (Bourbon) vanilla
(see THE NIBBLE’s favorite vanilla extracts)
Cream Cheese Frosting
Quality cream cheese makes a big difference. We always use an organic brand.
Bake The Cake
- Preheat the oven to 300°F. Butter and flour one 9-inch cake pan.
- Sift the flour, baking powder, baking soda, cinnamon, ginger and salt into a medium bowl. Set aside.
- In a large bowl, whisk together the vegetable oil and sugar. Add half of the dry ingredients and stir to combine. Add the remaining dry ingredients in four parts, adding an egg between each addition.
- Fold in the pecans, crystallized ginger and carrots.
- Pour batter into the prepared pan, filling the pan 3/4 of the way high. Bake on the middle shelf of the oven for 70 to 75 minutes until a toothpick comes out clean. Let cool completely on a wire rack.
Make The Frosting
|We prefer Chinrose Chinese Crystallized Ginger in the chips, above, which are the
perfect size for cakes, scones, muffins, cookies, trail mix, etc. Chinese Ginger is considered the finest in the world—less fibrous, more golden in color and more intense in flavor.
Assemble The Cake
- Loosen the cake from pan and invert onto a plate. Split the cake into two horizontal layers using a serrated knife.
- Spread the pecan cream filling between the layers of the cake and then cover the top and sides with the cream cheese frosting.
- Finish by pressing the toasted coconut around the side of the cake.
- Serve at room temperature.
|February 2 is National Heavenly Hash Day. But which heavenly hash?
If someone offers you Heavenly Hash, you may want to clarify:
Is it a fruit salad bound with sour cream or whipped cream, or a chocolate confection or baked good filled with marshmallows and nuts?
Heavenly Hash: The Fruit Salad
The fruit salad version of Heavenly Hash is a traditional Southern dish. It began as a Christmas recipe with red maraschino cherries, green grapes, pecans and other ingredients folded into whipped cream.
Over generations the recipe evolved, with everyone inventing his or her own hash (the term, after all, indicates a jumble or muddle of ingredients).
So today the recipe for heavenly hash essentially requires some kind of fruit—fresh, canned and/or candied—in some kind of creamy white binder.
|Here are just a few of the combinations we perused:
We make Heavenly Hash with fresh fruits (strawberries, bananas, pineapple, peaches) and nuts (a mix of pecans, pistachios and walnuts), folded into crème fraîche or slightly sweetened sour cream. If the whole concept sounds odd to you, know that Heavenly Hash is very much a comfort food to its fans.
Heavenly Hash: The Candy/Cake/Cookie/Ice Cream
Folks liked the concept of heavenly hash so much, they ported it into other sweets called Heavenly Hash:
So enjoy Heavenly Hash Day your style, with one of the ideas above; or freestyle it to create something new.
An Ice Cream Cake Elevated To A High Peak
You don’t have to wait for February 1st, National Baked Alaska Day, to make this dazzling dessert. With store-bought ice cream and pound cake, it’s easy to make any day of the year.
Baked Alaska is a masterpiece of chemistry: an ice cream cake topped with meringue and baked in the oven until the meringue browns. (Yes, frozen ice cream is baked in an oven!)
The concept (and execution) is simple. Ice cream, mounded on a pie plate or in a rectangle, is covered on all sides with slices of sponge cake or pound cake; this is then covered with meringue. The entire dessert is then placed in a 500°F oven just long enough to firm the meringue—three or four minutes. The meringue is an effective insulator, and in the short cooking time needed to finish the dessert, it prevents the frozen ice cream from melting in the hot oven.
The concept of baked ice cream was developed by the Chinese, who used pastry as the insulator; a Chinese delegation introduced it to Paris in the nineteenth century. In 1804, the American physicist Benjamin Thompson (Count Rumford) then investigated the heat resistance of beaten egg whites, and demonstrated that beaten egg whites were a better insulator.
Thompson’s dish was named Omelette Surprise or Omelette à la Norvégienne, the Norwegian attribution owing to the “arctic” appearance and cold center. Delmonico’s Restaurant in New York City renamed it named Baked Alaska in honor of the newly acquired Alaska territory, and the name stuck.
Make a Baked Alaska with this recipe (it’s easy when you use store-bought ice cream and pound cake instead of making/baking your own from scratch)
Baked Alaska Recipe
- 2 quarts ice cream, softened (you can make it all one flavor, or make half the pie with one flavor and half with another—in which case, get 1 quart of each flavor)
- 1 loaf pound cake (or you can bake your own pound cake or chocolate pound cake)
- 1 cup chocolate wafer crumbs (about 17 crushed wafers), optional
- Vegetable oil, for brushing mold
- Optional garnish: raspberry or strawberry coulis (recipe below), caramel or chocolate sauce, fresh berries
- 1 cup egg whites (about 6 large), at room temperature (reserve the yolks for homemade mayonnaise, hollandaise sauce or other recipe)
- Pinch of cream of tartar
- 1 cup sugar
- Brush a 3-quart metal bowl with vegetable oil; line with plastic wrap. Fill the bowl with the ice cream.
- As you go, place a piece of plastic wrap on top of the ice cream and press down to close the gaps. When you’re finished filling the bowl, use the plastic wrap to cover the ice cream as you press to even out the surface.
- If you want to use the cookie crumbs in the recipe (they add more complexity and crunch), sprinkle the ice cream with wafer crumbs and cover the ice cream mass with the plastic wrap, pressing the crumbs in gently. As a next step after #4 below, you will also need to add more ice cream on top of the crumbs for the cake to adhere to, then freeze again for 30 minutes. If you don’t have the time, you can eliminate the cookie crumbs.
- Freeze until set, for 30 minutes.
- While the ice cream freezes, cut the pound cake into 1/2-inch-thick slices.
- Remove the plastic wrap from the ice cream. Completely cover the ice cream on all sides with the cake slices, trimming the “seams” as needed. Be sure the ice cream is completely insulated; then cover the ice cream cake with fresh plastic wrap and freeze until firm, at least 2 hours or up to 2 days.
- Twenty minutes before serving time, make the meringue and Preheat the oven to 500°F.
- Whip the egg whites and cream of tartar in a large bowl with a mixer on medium-high speed until foamy, about 2 minutes.
- Gradually beat in the sugar on high speed until the whites are glossy and hold stiff peaks.
- Remove the plastic wrap from the ice cream cake, then invert the cake onto a parchment-lined baking sheet. Using a spatula, cover the ice cream completely with meringue, making the dome-shaped top slightly thicker than the sides.
- Form whirly peaks in the meringue using the back of a spoon. Freeze for at least 3 more hours.
- Bake the cake until the meringue peaks are golden, about 4 minutes (you can also brown the meringue with a kitchen blowtorch).
- If the cake is too hard to cut, let it soften at room temperature for 5 to 10 minutes before slicing.
- You can use a bit of raspberry or strawberry coulis, or a swath of caramel or chocolate sauce, before you plate the cake. But a Baked Alaska is exciting enough to serve plain—perhaps with a garnish of a fresh berry or two.
1.5 cups whipping cream
1 14oz can sweetened condensed milk
6 cups milk
1 teaspoon vanilla
2 cups of chocolate chips (milk chocolate OR semi-sweet depending on how sweet you like it. I have a heck of a sweet tooth, and I love the milk chocolate, but others prefer the semi-sweet)
Stir together the whipping cream, milk, vanilla, and chocolate chips in a crockpot.
Cover and cook on low for 2 hours, stirring occasionally, until mixture is hot and chocolate chips are melted. Stir again before serving. Garnish as desired.
What’s the difference between Hot Chocolate and Hot Cocoa?
Hot Chcolate uses milk or milk chocolate while Hot Cocoa uses only powdered cocoa
Daily Fact: Chocolate is the 3rd most traded commodity in the world. 1st is oils, 2nd is coffee.
Daily Facts: Each croissant rolls are made of 50 or more thin layers of pastry & butter.
According to legend, it was Marie Antoinette (Austrian Princess who married Louis XVI), introduced the croissant to France.
French Proverb: “You can’t make an omelette without breaking eggs”
On ne fait pas d’omelette sans casser des œufs.
Daily Facts: The “original” corn chip is the Fritos Corn Chip, first sold in the 1930’s
“Frito Chili Pie” was invented in the 1960’s by Teresa Hernández, a cook at Woolworth’s lunch counter in Santa Fe
Famous Last Words: “I just wish I had time for one more bowl of chili.”~Kit Carson(American frontiersman)
Daily Fact: The first ready-mix food to be sold commercially was Aunt Jemima pancake flour introduced in 1889.
Blueberry Facts: Maine produces 99% of all the wild blueberries in the United States of which 90% are frozen.
Daily Quote: “The laziest man I ever met put popcorn in his pancakes so they would turn over by themselves.”~W. C. Fields
Check out the newest addition to our site. http://store.cookbookpeople.com/4×6-tab-dividers-wood-set-of-9/
No more worn, dog-eared dividers. These will last a lifetime.
Nine Wood Recipe Card Dividers
We manufacture these in-house. These add some rigidity to your box to allow them to stand up more evenly. Includes six dividers built for our standard 4×6 boxes. Although photo only shows six, there is a third bank of 3 for a total of nine:
Fruits & Vegetables
Fish & Seafood
Past & Grains
Breads & Pastries
Did You Know: The first French word for chocolate mousse translates in English “chocolate mayonnaise”
Daily Trivia: The “blood” that you see in infamous “shower scene” in Psycho is actually chocolate syrup.
Today’s Quote: “All you need is love. But a little chocolate now and then doesn’t hurt.”~Charles M. Schulz
Did your Mother, Auntie or Granny ever make these — hot water or buttermilk cornbread? They are delicious!
2/3 cup cornmeal
1/3 cup self rising flour
1/3 cup low fat buttermilk
1 large egg
oil for frying (I used about 3 tbsps coconut oil, but you can use whatever you like)
Combine first 4 ingredients together in a bowl, mixing well. Mixture should be very moist but not soupy. Heat oil in skillet and drop by spoonfuls into oil. Cook til brown on one side and flip (it cooks kind of like a pancake) to brown on the other side. Place on plate with paper towels and blot any excess oil.
Today is National Irish Coffee Day. “Only Irish coffee provides in a single glass all four essential food groups: alcohol, caffeine, sugar and fat”~Alex Levin
THE IRISH COFFEE STORY
The historic venture started on the night of November the 10th in 1952. Jack Koeppler, then-owner of the Buena Vista, challenged international travel writer Stanton Delaplane to help re-create a highly touted “Irish Coffee” served at Shannon Airport in Ireland. Intrigued, Stan Accepted Jack’s invitation, and the pair began to experiment immediately.
Throughout the night the two of them stirred and sipped judiciously and eventually acknowledged two recurring problems. The taste was “not quite right,” and the cream would not float. Stan’s hopes sank like the cream, but Jack was undaunted. The restaurateur pursued the elusive elixir with religious fervor, even making a pilgrimage overseas to Shannon Airport.
Upon Jack’s return, the experimentation continued. Finally, the perfect-tasting Irish whiskey was selected. Then the problem of the bottom-bent cream was taken to San Francisco’s mayor, a prominent dairy owner. It was discovered that when the cream was aged for 48 hours and frothed to a precise consistency, it would float as delicately as a swan on the surface of Jack’s and Stan’s special nectar.
Success was theirs! With the recipe now mastered, a sparkling clear, six-ounce, heat-treated goblet was chosen as a suitable chalice.
Soon the fame of the Buena Vista’s Irish Coffee spread throughout the land. Today, it’s still the same delicious mixture, and it’s still the same clamorous, cosmopolitan Buena Vista. Both…delightful experiences.
Walnut is a dark wood, and that richness of a hardwood adds an elegance not found in other woods. But the engraving does go only so far.
There are a lot of products out there that can create a ‘fill’ to make it darker…
I’ll let you in on a little secret that makes a great safe solution, and opens a number of possibilities in creativity! All you need is a crayon and a hairdryer.
Here’s an example of a Walnut box we didn’t ship because it was a little on the light side:
It does have a carbon burn to it, but the natural wood does overshadow the effect. In the past, I’ve placed the boxes in the oven first.
I set the oven on ‘warm’, let it preheat, and placed the box in the oven for about 5 minutes, just to warm it up. This sometimes makes the process easier.
In this example, I’ve just went to applying. When applying, move the crayon in circular motions. The point is to leave a portion of the crayon in the groove. Don’t worry about the mess this creates on the box surface, this will all wipe away. Now, after we have an ‘applied’ box, wipe off all the standing wax. Here is a shot of the applied box, though not exactly what we were hoping for:
Start by melting the wax in the channels, using a paper towel mop up the excess. Be careful not to wipe the channels, or you’ll take all the fill away.
After all the channels are melted, take the crayon, warm it at the end of the hairdryer, and apply it to all the missed or light areas.
Here is the end result:
Now, I didn’t stop there. I added other colors to this one.
Keep in mind that I chose a more complicated pattern. Also, crayon doesn’t melt into an absolute solid color. But it is non-toxic, and that’s great in the kitchen!
And here it is finished:
Want to try making fried chicken like the Colonel? We don’t have the Official Recipe, but our test kitchen came up with the closest equivalent. Give it a shot!
1 frying chicken, cut into frying pieces
1 1/2 cups flour
1 Pkt. (dry) Good Seasons Italian Dressing (The 11 or so herbs and spices!)
1 Envelope Lipton (or other brand) Tomato Cup of Soup
2 eggs, well beaten
2/3 cup milk
Vegetable oil to cover bottom of your skillet; about 1/2 inch deep.
1. Combine eggs and milk. Set aside.
2. Combine flour with the Italian dressing and soup mix.
3. Dip chicken pieces in milk-egg mixture and roll them in the
flour-seasoning mixture. Repeat procedure.
4. Fry pieces over medium heat for 25 to 30 minutes, turning often.
5. Remove from fire. Drain and serve.
Do you love smoothies? I do. I just might try this. Prepared ahead of time. Basic things to know . . . start with frozen fruit/greens, don’t include ice or milk products, label smoothie and write details for all items to be added (milk products, ice).
What could be easier?
Possibly from the depression (the one in 1929) or maybe even earlier. I A pie with only 3 ingredients?
It is similar to a custard pie, but not as heavy. I usually put cinnamon and a pinch of nutmeg in mine, though I have made it with coconut, which is delicious! It really is versatile, you can even make a chocolate version by adding cocoa powder and chocolate chips sprinkled on top. My husband’s favorite is orange, I just put a few drops of orange extract in the filling and zest some orange peel on top.
- 2/3 cup sugar
- 1/3 cup flour
- 2 cups real cream
- Pie shell (homemade or store bought)
- Preheat oven to 350 degrees
- Combine sugar and flour in a mixing bowl
- Hand wisk in cream a bit at a time
- When thoroughly mixed, pour into pie shell
- Bake for 40 to 45 minutes until the filling is set
You can serve it hot, but I prefer to chill mine and serve it cold with some nice hot tea. I hope you enjoy it as much as my family does!