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The earthy flavor of beetroot and beetroot pairings

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THE DESERVED COMEBACK OF EARTHY BEETROOT

Beetroot has enjoyed a deserved comeback in recent years. This sweet root vegetable has a vibrant purple color and a typical sweet, rich and earthy flavor. As a close relative of spinach and chard, it is known for being a good detoxifier and containing a high nutritional value.

THE SCIENCE BEHIND BEETROOT’S EARTHY FLAVORS

Seen from a molecular level,  the most prominent aroma molecule responsible for the earthy flavor is ‘geosmin’. Its name is derived from the Greek γεω- “earth” and ὀσμή “smell”, because this aroma compound has a real distinct ‘earthy’ flavor.

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The human nose is extremely sensitive to geosmin and is able to detect it at concentrations as low as 5 parts per trillion. One teaspoon of geosmin, dissolved into an amount of water equal to 200 Olympic swimming pools, would be sufficient for the human sense of smell to detect it.  

Geosmin contributes to the specific strong earthy scent that occurs in the air during a summer rain fall. It is also noticeable in the characteristic smell of soil, or the muddy smell of freshwater groundfish, such as carp or catfish. High concentrations of this very same geosmin with its distinct early flavor we find back in our beloved beetroot.

DISCOVER BEETROOT PAIRINGS

With the Foodpairing Inspiration Tool you can search for different pairings with beetroot. We see that other root vegetables share their earthy aromas with the beetroot. Also ingredients like dark chocolate, nuts, coffee or roasted onions have earthy flavors and pair well with beetroot. This could be explained by the presence of ‘pyrazines’, which are aromatic structures formed during the process of roasting ingredients. These pyrazines also contain an earthy smell.

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FROM FOODPAIRING® TO RECIPE

Beetroot lends itself to a variety of both sweet and savoury dishes. The Foodpairing® Kitchen created two appetizers and a dessert using Les vergers Boiron Beetroot puree, an ideal puree to make different beetroot preparations.

Earthy flavored ingredients combine well with one another, however it is good to keep your dish balanced, too much earthiness can be overpowering.

Les vergers Boiron Beetroot - Mussel - Walnut - Vin Jaune – Vanilla 

As a first appetizer, we present you cooked mussels with Vin Jaune jelly, beetroot mousse and beetroot salad. The roasted walnuts and the vanilla share earthy flavors with beetroot, while the fruity aromas of the Vin Jaune are complementary to the earthiness.

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Les vergers Boiron Beetroot – Mussel – Walnut – Vin Jaune – Vanilla : Find this recipe on foodpairing.com.

Les vergers Boiron Beetroot - Scallop Saint Jacques  - Caviar 

As a second appetizer we serve you a scallop tartare with caviar and beetroot sorbet.  The fruity aromas of the Scallop Saint Jacques are in perfect balance with the earthy beetroot flavors.

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Les vergers Boiron Beetroot – Scallop Saint Jacques – Caviar : Find this recipe on foodpairing.com.

Les vergers Boiron Beetroot - Yoghurt – Raspberry

We finish with a yoghurt-beetroot cannelloni accompanied by beetroot meringue. The earthy flavors of the beetroot combine well with the fruitiness of the raspberry and the yoghurt. The sweet taste of the beetroot goes along well with the sweetness of the raspberry and the sourness of the raspberry gives freshness to the dish.

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Les vergers Boiron Beetroot – Yoghurt – Raspberry : Find this recipe on foodpairing.com.

Do you have a story to share, questions on this blog article or on foodpairing? Drop us a message on info@foodpairing.com and we’ll get right back to you.

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Foodpairing variations of typical Brazilian food: snacks

We continue our Brazilian food series with snacks;

1. Empanada

pastel

This originally Spanish and Portuguese dish is in Brazil a popular snack that can be found both savory and sweet. The Portuguese colonizers in Brazil introduced this dish. The dish can be fried or baked in the oven and is available with various fillings. This empanada is sometimes also called Portuguese pastel.

This empanada is filled with a mix of beef, oregano, chili, cumin, tomato, raisin and pecan.

Recipe you can find here.

How can I create a variation of this recipe?

Add the ingredients of the recipe to your combination in ‘create a new combo’. For the empanada this is beef, tomato, chili pepper, oregano, cumin and raisin.

empa

In case you don’t want to use pecan, but another nut. Select the category ‘nuts and seeds’. The larger the green dot, the better the match. Hazelnut, pistachio nuts, almonds are the best matching nuts to this combination.

2. Coxinha

coxinha

Coxinha is Portuguese for little chicken thigh or drumstick. Traditionally, this ‘chicken croquette’ is made with dough made ​​of flour and chicken broth, stuffed with seasoned, shredded chicken, which is then breaded and fried. The coxinha looks pear-shaped and resembles a chicken leg.

Recipe can be consulted here.

New functionality on Foodpairing.com: twist it

Hi all!

We’re excited to show you our new website, which we launched last week. We’ve got new features, and today we’ll explain our new ‘Twist it!’ option. Log in and check it out on inspire.foodpairing.com, or if you haven’t got an account yet, REGISTER FOR FREE!

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The point of the ‘Twist It!’ function is to take an existing recipe and vary it easily. This way, you’ve quickly got an all new dish on your hands with only minimal effort or skills needed. Try out new things, insert your favorite ingredients, and add your personal touch!

Here’s a small tutorial with plenty of pictures.

  1. Log into the inspire homepage. Now, click the green ‘TWIST A RECIPE’ button on the left picture. This brings you to our selection of ‘All twistable recipes’, as shown here.
  2. Pick or search for a recipe. For this tutorial, we’ll explain twisting with the ‘Scallop Saint Jacques – passion – shiso’ recipe, but it’s the same everywhere.Capture
  3. See that green ‘TWIST IT!’ button at the start of the recipe? Click it.

    Continue reading

Recipes with bycatch from the North Sea

The North Sea has a broad diversity of fish species. Sole, turbot and sea bass are on top of the most wanted list; though there are plenty more fish in the sea –literally-, equally delicious yet unfairly unknown. Ever heard of Pout whiting or Weever fish? These fish are considered by catch, they are so difficult to sell only because of their unfamiliarity. Time to change all that!

To make the general public more acquainted with these undervalued fish we started analyzing some 30 North Sea fish including many species that are now considered by catch. A group of chefs, united as The North Sea Chefs, have now committed to put these lesser known species on their menus.

The following recipes are made with such by catch fish. Click on the fish name to see their Foodpairing® tree

Carrot curry soup with orange Pout whiting

  • 25 g butter
  • 45 g leeks, roughly chopped
  • 55 g onion, roughly chopped
  • 400 g carrot, roughly chopped
  • 5 g ginger
  • 1.25 L water or chicken stock
  • curry powder
  • 300 g Pout whiting, roughly chopped
  • 1 egg white
  • 50 g cream
  • 1 pinch freshly grated orange peel
  • 1 teaspoon cilantro, finely chopped

Braise the vegetables with the butter. Add water or chicken stock and bring to a boil. Cook the vegetables on low heat. Blend. Season with salt, pepper and curry powder. Keep warm

Blend the fish with the egg white. Put the mixture into a bowl and place in ice water. Stir in the cream little by little. Mix in the cilantro and freshly grated orange peel. Season to taste. Make fish balls using a spoon. Cook the fish balls in lightly salted water. They are done once they start to float.

Put the fish balls in the soup. Finish with extra cilantro.

Braised small-spotted catshark, leek with dill and sauce Duglère

  • 2 small-spotted catshark, cleaned
  • 1 shallot, finely chopped
  • 50 ml of white wine
  • 50 ml fish stock
  • 100 ml fish stock or swimming crabs broth
  • 100 ml cooking liquid of mussels
  • 100 ml of cream
  • 1 tomato, cut into small cubes
  • 1 teaspoon chives, finely chopped
  • 2 stalks leek, finely sliced
  • 1 tablespoon dill, finely chopped

Chop the cat shark into desired pieces. Season with salt and pepper. Sauté the shallot in a little butter. Deglaze with white wine and fish stock. Bring to a boil. Put in the pieces of cat shark. Cover with tin foil and cook in a preheated oven at 200 ° C for 1 to 2 minutes, depending on the thickness of the pieces. Remove the fish from the pan and keep warm. Strain the poaching liquid. Add cream, fish stock or bouillon and mussels broth. Reduce to the desired thickness. Blend in a little butter and pass through a sieve

Add the diced tomatoes and chives Bring to taste with salt and pepper.

Melt a knob of butter in a pan. Fry the leeks until tender. Season to taste. Stir in the dill just before serving.

Fascinating applications of the products of Koppert Cress

Most of us who know the wonderful products of Koppert Cress use them as garnishes, to finish a dish that is actually already finished. Even though they work perfectly so, there is much more potential in these tiny plants and cresses. They can be a functional part of a course, in this article we’ll prove it.

Let’s take a look at Sakura® cress.
Sakura® cress is characterized by Maillard aromas, compounds that are readily found in fried meats, coffee, chocolate etc. Furthermore this cress has a quite pungent taste reminiscent to radicchio or rammenas. Combine this product with a nice acid and you’re half way towards a pre-dessert that tantalizes your taste buds and leaves you ready for more.

The core in our designed recipe is the Sakura® cress – dark chocolate combination. Searching for ingredients matching this combo led us to yoghurt, paprika and cayenne pepper. These ingredients were made into a spicy yet mild acidic cream which we used to fill a chocolate cannelloni. The
Sakura® cress really adds to this pre-dessert, it brings all ingredients together in a delicate
symphony of flavours.

 

Next in line is Kikuna cress, which has much fresher notes than Sakura® cress. Here you can browse its Foodpairing tree:

Kikuna contains aromas that are also present in peaches, apricots and coconut; this last attribute made us design avariation of the classic Thai coconut soup, an interesting concoction where freshness provided by lime and lemon grass is combined with a healthy dose of pungency from chili and ginger. The soup is traditionally toned down with soothing coconut cream.

Kikuna has a piney bouquet to it which can also be found in mango, this tropical fruit was also incorporated in our dish. As in the previous example, the Kikuna cress functions as a binder, linking all ingredients together.

 

Another interesting recipe with Kikuna cress is Carrot – Peach – yogurt – Kikuna Cress – hazelnut.

Because of Kikuna’s citrusy components we can make the link towards carrot, orange, lemon and peach. Peach by itself has aroma components in common with yoghurt, which provides some acidity that brightens up the flavours of this dish.

Shiso® Green contains mushroom-like aromas which can also be found in dry cured beef. This is basically the idea behind the Toast – mushrooms – dried entrecôte – soy sauce recipe. We made the shiso into a toast to provide textural contrast.

Trappist Westmalle Foodpairing

Check out this article for more information about their flavour profile and Foodpairing potential of  the world famous Belgian Trappist Westmalle Tripel and Westmalle Dubbel.

The Westmalle Trapist beers are brewed in the Trappist abbey of Westmalle since 1836. The recipes have remained virtually unchanged since then. When looking at the flavour profile, a typical Westmalle signature can be observed in both Tripel and Dubbel variants: very fruity, with floral and caramellic undertones.

Here is the Foodpairing tree of the Westmalle Dubbel. Click on it to browse it in the Foodpairing Explorer.

The Dubbel is brewed with darker malts, therefor it is furthermore characterized by vanilla, smoked and Maillard flavors. These typifying notes favor combinations of the Dubbel with chocolate, coffee, fried meat and so on, find more matches in the Foodpairing Explorer.
Here are our home-made recipes:

By adding fruity ingredients to these combos, the Foodpairing links are further reinforced.

 

In contrast to the Dubbel, the Westmalle Tripel is much fruitier and floral and is therefore an ideal companion with fruity desserts. Check out our recipes.

The Westmalle abbaye also produces an abbaye cheese. Check out recipes with this cheese in our recipe section.

Cuberdon

Everybody knows Belgian chocolate, but what about the cuberdon candy. For many Belgians (and certainly for myself) a beloved childhood taste, but unknown outside our frontiers. The recipe, that dates back to the 19th century, is a well kept secret only known by a handful of confisiers (aka candy makers). You can recognize a classic cuberdon as a violet collared sugar cone.


We analyzed the flavor of this local product and created a savory dish, a sweet dish and a cocktail.

Recipe: Geldhof Cuberdon – Salmon – litchi – parsley root – cilantro

Recipe: Geldhof Cuberdon – passion fruit – chavroux goat cheese – raspberry

Recipe: Geldhof Cuberdon – Mount Gay – Metaxa 5*

Creativity for new hotdog recipes

Foodpairing(R) is not only applied in top restaurants, our creativity tool can also be used to create new recipes for e.g. hotdog.

We have members applying Foodpairing(R) in all sorts of places. In Belgium we have e.g. places that sell french fries (called ‘frietkot’) that apply Foodpairing(R) to increase the potato experience. For a fair we created new Foodpairing(R) combinations based on classic hamburgers and hotdog.

As an example we made a variation on a hotdog, starting from chicken sausage.

If you check the Foodpairing(R) tree of chicken, you can find combinations like pumpkin, apple,…

Hotdog: Chicken – Pumpkin-apple ketchup – tomato confit

Recipe

335 g pumpkin (peeled)
145g Granny Smith
80 g onion
5 g garlic
thyme and bayleaf
200 g water
25 g sugar
15 g aigre-doux (50 g of caramelized sugar quenched with 10 g of white wine vinegar)
1 g cornstarch
20 g water
curry powder
8 cherry tomatoes
olive oil
some sprigs of thyme
4 chicken sausages
4 hot dog buns
salt and pepper

Dice the pumpkin, Granny Smith, onion and garlic. Braise in olive oil with thyme and bay leaf. Quench with water and cook until tender. Blend when the water is almost completely evaporated.

Add sugar, aigre-doux and curry powder. Bring back to a boil and add the cornstarch water mixture while stirring. Allow to boil, then cool down and season to taste with curry powder, salt, pepper and other spices.

Halve the cherry tomatoes. Season with salt and pepper, cover with sprigs of thyme and drizzle with olive oil. Put in a preheated oven of 180 °C.

Fry the chicken sausages.

The other recipes for hamburgers you can find here

 

Land of cotton; bourbon and peanut cherry lime

The land of cotton by Stuart White is a nice example of what Foodpairing can lead to. I don’t think Stuart White applied our Foodpairing to combine bourbon and peanut, but if you have a tiki mindsent the chance is very high you will end up with a combination based on Foodpairing. Rum and butter a surprise? No really if you use Foodpairing (and you will find it much more easier).

Not sure how Stuart came up with the combination, but this is how it could work;

Image you live in a place like Georgia where lots of peanuts are grown. Peanut are nut like … almonds. Why not replace the almonds from the orgeat by peanuts?

House-made Peanut Orgeat (by Stuart White):
500 grams skinless blanched Georgia peanuts
800 milliliters water
700 grams sugar
100 milliliters white whiskey
Ok, then you want to know which distilled drink to combine. If it is a tiki drink, you would probably go for rum, but as the list view show you, bourbon and peanut is a better match than rum (ranking indicated).
Peanut and whisky is not new; peanut butter infused whisky was done at tailor like Dave Arnold indicates in this nytimes article from 2010.
Top of the list was actually Cointreau. I would make sense to add Cointreau, but maybe that would have been an obvious variation on a mai tai. Fruity notes can also come from eg cherry. But it could also have been pineapple, coconut, mango, but ya…if you want to make a local cocktail that is maybe not an option, from the Foodpairing explorer indicates that blackcurrant, plum, cranberry, cherry also work.
which makes finally a whisky-peanut-cherry-lime combination.
You can find the complete recipe at starchefs (also source picture cocktail)
And more inspiration in the Foodpairing tree;