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    THE NIBBLE’s Gourmet News & Views

    Trends, Products & Items Of Note In The World Of Specialty Foods

    This is the blog section of THE NIBBLE. Read all of our content on TheNibble.com,
    the online magazine about gourmet and specialty food.

Archive for January, 2008

FOOD TIP OF THE DAY: Count Plates, Not Calories

Restricting your food intake to meet those weight loss goals? Treat yourself to beautiful dishes, cups, and glasses. What you eat will look more exciting and taste that much better. Even a cup of plain yogurt looks tempting in a beautiful red bowl (don’t forget a sprig of dill). It’s how they make the most meager victuals look wonderful at the poshest spas. Take a look at some of our favorite dishes. They also make entertaining more fun.   Glass PlatesGlass plates from European Sources Direct.
 

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Events: Chocolate & Beer Pairing (February 1, NYC & Perhaps In Your ‘Hood)

Knipschildt Chocolate
Which beer would you drink with this piece of chocolate (from Knipschildt Chocolatier)? Start pairing beer and chocolate to find out.
  For years, beer and chocolate lovers have traveled beyond the enjoyment of a good chocolate stout, combining malty and chocolaty craft beers with fine chocolates and chocolate desserts (see the recipe for a Chocolate Stout Float—chocolate stout and chocolate ice cream). In his book, The Brewmaster’s Table, Garrett Oliver, brewmaster of the Brooklyn Brewery, describes a luncheon of sommeliers held at the Gramercy Tavern in New York City. The dessert trio included a chocolate-caramel tart, a molten chocolate cake and a malted milkshake. Oliver paired the dessert with two beers: Brooklyn Brewery’s Black Chocolate Stout and a Belgian raspberry lambic. No sommeliers could come up with any wine that would pair as well as either of the beers. If you live in New York City, you’ll be able to attend a chocolate and beer pairing on February 1st as Garrett Oliver and chocolatier Fritz Knipschildt chocolatier (read our review of Knipschildt chocolates), pair chocolate and beer.
If you’re not in the neighborhood, check your local area food calendars: Beer and chocolate are hot stuff, and pairing events are happening all over the country. We’ll be attending the event and reporting back in time for you to plan your own beer and chocolate party for Valentine’s Day.If you can’t wait, where should you begin?
- Porters and Stouts. These dark beers are made from darkly-roasted barley or highly-toasted malts. With roasted, toasted and some coffee-like flavors, these beers match well with most chocolate desserts. Some are made with chocolate malts, chocolate nibs and/or actual chocolate.

- Belgian-Style Ales and German-Style Weizens. These beers have big, fruity-spicy beers aromas that complement chocolate. Weizens have subtle spicy flavors including banana and clove; Belgian-style ales have notes of apple, apricot and peach. As you can see in our chocolate flavors and aromas chart, similar tastes appear in fine chocolate, and actual fruits and spices are added to chocolate desserts, making for excellent pairings.

EVENT DETAILS: February 1 Chocolate & Beer Pairing At Whole Foods Market in NYC, with Garrett Oliver, Brooklyn Brewery brewmaster and Fritz Knipschildt, chocolatier and owner of Café Chocopologie, in Norwalk, Connecticut. The event will be held at the Whole Foods Market at 95 East Houston Street (between Bowery and Chrystie Streets), 7 p.m. to 9 p.m. To register, phone 1.866.462.2838, from 9:00 a.m. to 8:00 p.m.

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FOOD HOLIDAY: It’s National Blonde Brownie Day

It’s National Blonde Brownie Day—the blonde brownie is also known as the blondie. Celebrate with your favorite blondie, or send someone a gift of one of our favorites, from Sugardaddy’s Sumptuous Sweeties, a brownie company that makes a variety of blondies (they’re round, to boot!). The Cinnamon Blondie, shown in the photo, has a streusel topping—it’s a combination blondie and coffee cake. Can’t beat that! The Nutty Blondie, another favorite, combines sweet and salty with a topping of salty almonds, cashews and pecans. Strawberry Blonde is a peanut butter blondie with a strawberry swirl—PB&J in a blondie. And Tahiti, one of the best sellers, is a blondie topped with toasted coconut, cashews and dark chocolate chunks, with white chocolate morsels inside the blondie. All four are winners. Read our full review of Sugardaddy’s Sumptuous Sweeties, in the Cookies & Brownies Section of THE NIBBLE online magazine.   Blondie
Sugardaddy’s Cinnamon Blondie—a blondie with a coffee cake topping.
 

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ARTICLE: Pancake/Waffle & Syrup Glossaries

Pancakes

Make breakfast brighter with the Polka Dot Ceramics Collection, available now at SurLaTable.com, $31.50 for four pieces as shown (the feathered chickens are $9.95 and $19.95).
  We received our weekly marketing email from Sur La Table today. If only we had room for all of the wonderful merchandise they dangle in front of us! As New York City apartment dwellers, we live by a goods accounting principle called SOSO—Something In, Something Out. Otherwise, we’d be sharing our bed and bathtub with boxes of shoes, woks and ten books we’ll never get to read. Don’t we wish we had room for this gay, polka dot breakfast set: a plate, bowl, mug and individual teapot for $31.50. Instead, we’ll have to content ourselves with the pancakes, as we do have room for white flour, buckwheat flour, regular cornmeal and blue corn, plus genuine maple syrup and some of Robert Lambert’s exotic fruit syrups (Golden Date, White Ginger, Grapefruit, Texas Lemon, Kaffir Lime, Bergamot Orange—who said Maple had exclusive claims on pancakes?).
- Pancake lovers should check out our Pancake & Waffle Glossary to discover dozens of different types of pancakes from A (aebleskiver) to T (tlacoyos)…plus W for waffle, of course.
- You can learn about the 14 different types of syrup (not flavors, but types), plus other sugars and sweeteners, in our Glossary Of Sugars, Syrups & Sweeteners.

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FOOD TIP OF THE DAY: Banana Hot Chocolate

Don’t monkey around: Purée a ripe banana and add it to hot chocolate. One banana is enough for two eight-ounce cups (it stretches further if you want just a little banana flavor). Here’s the simple recipe: Add 1/4 teaspoon cinnamon and a grind of fresh nutmeg to the banana purée; then divide the mixture evenly between the mugs. Pour the hot chocolate over it and stir well. You can garnish with a side of banana chips; or for kids, marshmallows and graham crackers. We’re not saying this is a health drink, but it combines potassium and antioxidants and it sure is a mood elevator. For more variety, see our 25 ways to glamorize your hot chocolate. You can find our favorite products in the Cocoas and Hot Chocolates Section of THE NIBBLE online magazine—we’ve reviewed more than 75!   Hot ChocolateBanana puree is just one way to glamorize hot chocolate. See our 25 Tips and enjoy a different variation almost every day of the month.
There is a difference between cocoa and hot chocolate. Cocoa is made from cocoa powder, hot chocolate is made from shaved chocolate bars. Both are mixed with hot milk or water, but since cocoa powder is defatted (most of the cocoa butter is pressed out), hot chocolate is a richer beverage. It can easily have double the cocoa butter of cocoa powder.

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FOOD TIP OF THE DAY: Bad Wrap (For Cheeses)

Fresh Chevre With Peppercorns
I’m a living, breathing food—don’t plastic-wrap me! Fresh chévre topped with pepper from Cypress Grove Chevre.
  January 20th is Cheese Lover’s Day, so be sure to give your favorites the respect they deserve. Fine cheese is a living food that breathes and ages. Most cheese should not be kept in plastic wrap, which essentially suffocates the cheese, allows moisture to condense on the inside of the wrap and hastens spoilage. Stores may wrap cheese in plastic for efficiency, but their inventory turns over quickly. The one exception to the plastic wrap rule is dry, aged cheese like Parmesan, where the cheese’s moisture is largely evaporated. Wrap all other cheeses in waxed paper or butcher paper, both of which are protective but porous. Never buy more cheese than you plan to consume over the next few days: Enjoy cheese at its peak flavor. Explore the wonderful world of cheese in the Cheese Section of THE NIBBLE online magazine.
 

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TIP OF THE DAY: Kitchen Diary

filofax-230.jpg
Convert your old Filofax or Week-At-A-Glance to a kitchen diary.
  Keep a diary in your kitchen—or a document on your computer—of entertaining occasions and what you’ve served to which guests. It serves as a mind-jogger of what was popular, what dishes didn’t fly, who didn’t like fish, who has peanut allergies, et cetera. It also will remind you not to serve the same thing to the same people next time! We retrofitted our old Filofax to include sections for events, menus and guest lists; ideas for future events and pockets for clipped recipes and tips.
 

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ON OUR RADAR: Interesting Nibbles From The Past Week

Actor Luis Guzmán (Boogie Nights, Carlito’s Way, Fast Food Nation, Magnolia, Traffic and dozens more) loves Cabot Cheese, and stars in the company’s new ad spots featuring “aging Cheddar hunks.”

We love Cabot Cheese, too. Its Clothbound Cheddar won Best Of Show at the 2006 American Cheese Society Awards (read our review).The The Reduced Fat Cheddars save up to 75% fat without sacrificing any flavor. The Cabot Creamery website has tons of great recipes. Here are some of our favorites:
- Apple, Bacon & Cheddar Grilled Pizza
- Apple Cheddar Bread Pudding
- Black Bean Bruschetta
- Baked Salmon With Peppercorn Cheese Crust
- Cappuccino Noodle Kugel
- Cauliflower & Cheddar Soup
- Cheddar Crisps Cheese Sticks
- Chicken, Corn & Tortilla Soup
- Matzo Brie
- Potato, Cheddar & Cabbage Casserole (get ready for St. Patrick’s Day)
- Nacho Stuffed Shells
- Pumpkin Soufflé
- Reduced-Fat Cheese Fondue
- Spicy Potato Soup

  Cabot Cheddar
A stack of Cabot flavored Cheddars.
 

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FOOD TIP OF THE DAY: Blood Oranges ~ Bloody Good & In Season

Blood orangeRaspberry-colored flesh and raspberry flavor nuances make blood oranges a very special fruit.   From the name, blood oranges should be in season at Halloween. But these wonders are in stores right now. Even our local supermarket has them (but if you can’t find them, you can order them from Melissas.com). They look exactly like regular oranges on the outside, but their inside flesh is a deep rosy red color; and the flavor is a cross between orange and raspberry—some people call them “raspberry oranges.” There are three main varieties; the Tarocco, native to Italy, tends to have a partial raspberry flesh rather than the full-raspberry-hued Moro shown in the photo (the third variety, the Sanguinello, discovered in Spain in 1929, has a reddish skin, few seeds, and a sweet and tender flesh). Whatever you call them, be sure you buy some before the season is over. The Tarocco and Moro are now grown in California—no need to hope for imports. Buy them up and go bloody crazy.
Eat them for breakfast instead of grapefruit (or squeeze them for heavenly juice); add them to fruit salads, green salads, and seafood and chicken salads for beautiful color and flavor; use sections to garnish grilled fish or to create a concasse; enjoy them for dessert and snacks; and make a memorable blood orange sorbet (Ciao Bella Gelato has one available year-round for sale, and we buy plenty of it).

Favorite blood orange recipes:
- Blood Orange Mimosa
- Blood Orange Almond Vinaigrette
- Lamb Chops With Blood Orange Sauce & White Bean Purée
- Blood Orange & Chocolate Chunk Soufflé

Favorite blood orange products reviewed in THE NIBBLE online magazine:
- Kee’s Blood Orange Chocolates
- O Olive Oil Blood Orange Olive Oil
- Italian Volcano Blood Orange Juice
- Palazzolo’s Blood Orange Sorbetto
- Perfect Purée Of Napa Valley Blood Orange Juice
- Robert Lambert Blood Orange Syrup

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FOOD TIP OF THE DAY: Cheese For The Lactose Intolerant

Coincidentally, today’s tip rides on the tail of yesterday’s goat’s milk food find. If you’re lactose intolerant, or have guests who are, it’s generally due to the larger protein molecules in cow’s milk that are more difficult to digest. Goat’s milk and sheep’s milk have smaller, more easily digestible molecules. Serve those cheeses along with mozzarella di bufala, made from water buffalo’s milk. The same principle applies to yogurt. Redwood Farms (goat), Old Chatham Sheepherding Company (sheep) and Spoondance Creamery (it can still be found under its former name, Woodstock Water Buffalo Yogurt) make delicious yogurts. Read more about these products in the Cheese Section of THE NIBBLE online magazine.   Fresh Goat Cheese
A fresh goat cheese round covered with chives from Cypress Grove Chevre, a NIBBLE Top Pick Of The Week. Read our review—we’re maaad about it.
 

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