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TODAY IN FOOD: It’s Homemade Soup Day

Demitasse Cups
It’s soup, served in demitasse cups with garnishes from edible flowers to sliced truffles. This presentation is from Ric Tramonto, executive chef/owner of one of our favorite restaurants, Tru in Chicago.
  Today is Homemade Soup Day. But on any day, soup is a great course for family meals or entertaining because of the variety of choices and ease of serving. It can be made in advance and takes no time to plate. For an exciting soup course, serve each guest a trio or quartet of soups in demitasse cups: three different seafood soups or vegetable purées, three different ethnic soups or fruit soups, or one chicken, one beef, one pork. Whatever theme you choose, you’ll have as much fun selecting soups and garnishes and serving your guests as they’ll have consuming them. You can buy colorful, inexpensive demitasse cups at outlets and discount stores and use them for other purposes, like mini panna cottas, mousse, pots de creme and sorbet.
– See some of our favorite soup recipes in the Soups & Stocks section of THE NIBBLE online magazine.
– Take our Soup Quiz and test your knowledge of soup.

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REVIEW: Beer Super Bowl

The 42nd Super Bowl is over, an exciting game for fans on both sides. But what about the 1st Beer Super Bowl? THE NIBBLE pitted some of the craft beers of New England versus New York a few days before the game, to see what would happen on the beer gridiron (or at least, on the coffee table). Thanks to beer editor Ryan Smith for creating this concept. We’ll be using it to watch games of many kinds going forward. So…did the beer competition parallel the pigskin? See who won the Beer Super Bowl.   RefereeCongratulations, Giants. But who won the Beer Super Bowl
 

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RECIPE: Make Fortune Cookies For The Chinese New Year

Fortune Cookies

Chocolate-Covered Fortune Cookie

Celebrate the Chinese New Year with homemade fortune cookies—much more delicious than what you get at restaurants. If you want, decorate them. Top photo courtesy National Honey Board, bottom photo by Claire Freierman | THE NIBBLE.

 

The Chinese New Year begins on February 7 this year. You can ring in the Year of the Rat with homemade honey fortune cookies—delicious and easy to make with this recipe from the National Honey Board. The substitution of honey for white sugar gives the cookies a big boost in flavor.

Personalize the cookies with creative fortunes for your family and friends (start with “You will discover amazing foods on TheNibble.com”).

You can also decorate them by dipping in chocolate, drizzling with icing, or both.

If you want to give them as a gift, red is a good luck color in China, hence the red cartons in the photo.

RECIPE: CHINESE FORTUNE COOKIES

Ingredients For 16 Cookies

  • 3/4 cup cake flour
  • 2 teaspoons cornstarch
  • 1/8 teaspoon fine sea salt
  • 2 large egg whites, room temperature
  • 1/3 cup orange blossom honey (or other mild flavored honey)
  • 1/8 teaspoon pure orange oil (or 1/2 teaspoon pure orange extract)
  • 16 proverbs or fortunes written on 4-inch long x 1/2-inch wide strips of white paper
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    Preparation

    1. PREHEAT the oven to 350°F.

    2. COMBINE the flour, cornstarch and salt in a small bowl and set aside. In a medium bowl, whisk together egg whites, honey and orange oil until slightly frothy. Add the flour mixture and whisk until smooth.

     

    3. LINE a baking sheet with parchment paper or a Silpat baking mat. Using a measuring spoon, place 4 one-tablespoon portions of the mixture on baking sheet, evenly spaced. Using a small spatula or the back of a spoon, shape each portion into a 3-1/2 to 4-inch round.

    4. BAKE for 10 minutes, or until lightly browned, and remove from oven. Working quickly, use a small spatula to loosen the cookies from the parchment. Place a proverb or fortune on one side of each cookie, fold in half and then fold the points toward each other.

    5. PLACE the cookies in a muffin pan or other device to hold the shapes until they have cooled. Repeat with the remaining batter. Store in an airtight container up to one week.

    6. SERVE with jasmine tea and/or vanilla, chocolate or ginger ice cream.
     
    HERE’S THE HISTORY OF FORTUNE COOKIES. They were, to quote Bruce Springsteen, born in the U.S.A.


      

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    TODAY IN FOOD: It’s National Croissant Day

    Is there a person reading this who does not enjoy a buttery croissant? (Alas, not all are made with butter…but avoid buying croissants at inexpensive delis, and eagerly seek out new bakeries to see what they have to offer.) Our only complaint is that the flaky puff pastry that is so delightful in the mouth invariably ends up all over our place setting and our clothing. We admire people who can eat one neatly. A good croissant already contains so much butter that it needs no more embellishment. If you get one from a top baker who uses the best butter, enjoying each bite without the interference of additional butter or jam is, in our opinion, the way to go.
    Making croissants by hand is very labor-intensive. Much of what is available today is factory-made, pre-formed and frozen, delivered to the bakery, food store or restaurant and “baked on our premises.” In the 1970s, the croissant evolved into a fast food, filled with everything from broccoli to ham and cheese (and in many cases, lowering the quality of the puff pastry itself).
      Croissants
    Hold the butter: A truly fine, fresh croissant is buttery enough.
    There are several stories about the invention of the croissant, but all appear to be legends. According to the Oxford Companion To Food, no recipe for what we know as the croissant appears before the early 20th century. It thus seems highly unlikely, for example, that the croissant was invented in Vienna in 1583 to celebrate the defeat of the Turkish siege of the city. Bakers, who were up in the wee hours making the city’s bread, are said to have heard the enemy tunneling under the city and were able to warn the army, thus saving Vienna from siege. In honor of the victory, the bakers created the croissant, the shape taken from the crescent emblem on the Turkish flag. (Eat this!) Such a heroic story; you will find it just about everywhere you look for “history of the croissant.” But one of the ways that food historians try to determine the truth is by looking at old recipe books. There are enough cookbooks from the 17th, 18th and 19th centuries to deprive bakers of their most famous moment in history, alas.

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    TIP OF THE DAY: Cocoa Garnishes

    Hot Chocolate
    For another variation, add chocolate confetti curls to your hot chocolate.
      Place cute character cookies (the gourmet version of animal crackers) on the whipped cream topping of a cup of hot chocolate. Look for small, lightweight cookies with interesting shapes in your specialty food store. But don’t stop there.


    – See 25 ways to spruce up your hot chocolate. You’ll also learn the difference between cocoa and hot chocolate—they aren’t synonymous.

    – You can also read the difference between natural and dutched chocolate.

    – See reviews of more than 70 brands in the Cocoas & Hot Chocolates Section of THE NIBBLE online magazine.

     

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