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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 July, 2008

TIP OF THE DAY: Better Burgers

Most cookbooks advise using ground chuck for burgers, but many top chefs use brisket. It has a better proportion of fat and better flavored-meat. It’s a tough cut, so have it ground twice. When shaping patties, do it lightly—squeezing them into a solid mound makes them tougher and less juicy. Click here to read more burger tips from THE NIBBLE.  
Make your burgers better by starting with
the right beef.
 

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TIP OF THE DAY: Table Art


These hand-blown glass salt shakers
come from GazelleGlass.com.
  From 18th-century to ultra-modern, sugar bowls, creamers, salt-and-pepper shakers and other accessories add personality to any table. Why not collect them and use a different one each month? They don’t have to match your dishes, they don’t take up much storage space and you can find them at yard sales. In fact, look for old-fashioned salt cellars for the newly-popular artisan salts. (Click here to see the many different kinds of artisan salt.) Let the kids make the monthly selection, and give them the job of switching over the sugar, salt and pepper on the first day of the month.
 

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TIP OF THE DAY: Fresh-Squeezed

So many things taste better with a squeeze of fresh lemon or lime…but you don’t always have a fresh one at hand. Plan ahead by freezing fresh wedges. When you need a squeeze, microwave a wedge for 20 seconds. The juice will taste as fresh as the day you put the citrus in the freezer. Squeeze the juice on salads or seafood, in your margarita, anywhere. While the frozen wedge doesn’t look as pretty as fresh, the juice tastes great. Freezing wedges is also a trick for saving unused portions of lemons and limes that might otherwise deteriorate in the refrigerator. To read about what we do with fruit purées here at THE NIBBLE, click here.  
Keeping lemon wedges on hand allows
making the classic gin and tonic to be
even easier. Try it with Q Tonic Water.
 

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GOURMET GIVEAWAY: Cheesecake Trivia


Who doesn’t love cheesecake? Whether
New York- or Philadelphia-style, flavored
or traditional, this is one dessert that
takes the cake!
  Like cheesecake? Enter this week’s Gourmet Giveaway: The lucky winner of our cheesecake prize will get to enjoy a 10-inch deluxe cheesecake sampler. You’ll get two slices each of eight flavors: Amaretto, Chocolate Chip, Chocolate Fudge, New York Style, Blueberry Swirl, Raspberry Swirl, Cappuccino and White Chocolate Pistachio. Retail value $52.99. This and other gourmet gifts are available at DelightfulDeliveries.com. Enter the Gourmet Giveaway by answering a few fun trivia questions about cheesecake; you don’t have to answer correctly to win. Find more of our favorite gourmet cakes in the Cake & Pastries Section of THE NIBBLE online magazine.
 

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TOP PICK OF THE WEEK: Bumble Bars

What could be better than a healthy sweet treat that tastes great? That’s why we were buzzing when we recently discovered the Bumble Bar, handcrafted in microbatches in Spokane, Washington (just 154 bars are made per batch).

While not made with honey, they evoke a gourmet version of those sesame-honey candies—but they’re soft and pose no harm to dental work. They’re flat bars, the size of a chocolate bar, and you can devour one whole or break off a piece at a time. The sesame seeds and flax seeds provide much more than texture, flavor, lots of fiber and heart-healthy linolenic acid and omega-3s;* they require a lot of chewing, so the snack lasts longer. And, in the summer heat, the bars don’t melt like chocolate or go gooey like caramel.

While Bumble Bars call themselves energy bars, they don’t stack up nutritionally the way a Balance Bar, Clif Bar or Lara Bar will. Those bars have twice the protein and half the fat, and are formulated for energy. We’d call it a confection—a healthy candy. In fact, the world’s first candies were seeds, nuts and fruits mixed with honey. Bumble Bars are descendants of those simple, whole foods. They’re gluten-free, wheat- and dairy-free and vegan, made of certified organic good stuff and sweetened with brown rice syrup and evaporated cane juice. And it’s not easy to tire of them, given 12 delicious flavors: Awesome Apricot, Chai With Almonds, Chocolate Cherry, Chocolate Crisp, Chunky Cherry, Lushus Lemon, Original (peanut and cinnamon), Original with Almond, Original With Cashew, Original With Hazelnut, Original With Mixed Nuts and Tasty Tropical.

 
These sesame and flax seed bars are
our new favorite guilt-free candy. Chunky
Cherry and Original With Almonds,
above, are two of the 12 flavors.

Read the buzz in the full review, and stock up for camp, car trips, the gym—and healthy workplace snacks instead of what’s in the lobby concession or that infernal candy machine.

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TIP OF THE DAY: Kids’ Kabobs

Looking for fun cheeses with which to
make your kids’ kabobs? Look no
further than Rogue Creamery‘s flavored
cheese curds.
  Make cheese and fruit kabobs for the kids by using thin pretzel sticks instead of toothpicks or skewers. Use an ice pick to pierce a hole in cheese cubes and fruit (melon balls, grapes, berries) and alternate cheese and fruit on the pretzel stick. Show older kids how to assemble them: It makes a fun project as well as a tempting alternative to less nutritious snacks. Serve the kabobs plain or with with a fat-free yogurt dip. Greek yogurt is less tangy and more like sour cream. You can mix chopped pretzels into it along with healthy sesame and flax seed; the dip goes with both the cheese and the sweet fruit. Grown-ups can enjoy these kabobs, too. See our favorite kids’ foods on TheNibble.com.
 

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TIP OF THE DAY: Whozu? Yuzu! Daiquiri!

Add tangy yuzu juice to your next
daiquirí for an new twist on a classic. You’ll
need to garnish with lime, though: It’s
tough to find fresh yuzu.

 

July 19th is National Daiquirí Day. While we have a traditional Daiquirí recipe below, the Yuzu Daiquirí is poised to be a new favorite. Buy yuzu juice (an Asian citrus) at your specialty food store and make this recipe, courtesy of Riingo restaurant in New York City.

If you don’t know yuzu, read our article. It’s one of our favorite flavors.

YUZU DAIQUIRI RECIPE

Ingredients

  • 4 sprigs of mint
  • 4 raspberries
  • 2 tablespoons sugar
  • Dash of simple syrup (recipe)
  • 1/2 ounce yuzu juice
  • 2.5 ounces light rum (such as Bacardi)
  • Ice and mixing glass
  • Optional: lime wheel or curl for garnish
  •  

     

    Preparation
    1. In a mixing glass, muddle the mint, raspberries, sugar, simple syrup and yuzu juice.
    2. Add ice and rum and shake vigorously.
    3. Strain into a martini glass. Garnish with a sprig of mint and serve.

    CLASSIC DAIQUIRÍ RECIPE
    To make a classic Daiquirí, mix 1-1/2 ounces light rum, 2 tablespoons fresh lime juice and 1 teaspoon powdered or granulated sugar. Shake with ice and strain into a martini glass, or pour into an ice-filled collins glass.

    There are many variations on the Daiquirí recipe which incorporate fruit, fruit juice or liqueur. One of our favorites uses 2 tablespoons of Triple Sec or other orange liqueur instead of the sugar.

    DAIQUIRí HISTORY

    A Daiquirí (pronounced DAK-uh-ree in English, but die-kee-REE in the native Taíno language) is a combination of rum, lime juice and sugar or other sweetener (we use agave nectar). It was invented around 1900 at the El Floridita bar in Havana, Cuba, by a group of American mining engineers. Rum, lime and sugar were plentiful. The original cocktail was served in a collins glass with cracked ice, with each of the ingredients poured over the ice. It later evolved into a shaker drink.

    The name came from an iron mine in near Santiago, Cuba (there’s also a beach there called Daiquirí).

    There are numerous Daiquirí variations, including the Yuzu Daiquirí above. The popular Caipirinha is a daquirí made using cachaça instead of rum. Cachaça, a Brazilian “cousin” to rum, is made from sugar cane juice. Rum is distilled from molasses, a by-product of the sugar refining process.

    Find more cocktail recipes in our Cocktails & Spirits Section.

      

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    TIP OF THE DAY: Cupcake Toppers

    Insert “character cookies” into the tops of cupcakes to create an innovative and memorable dessert or snack. Animal cookies, people cookies, flowers and fanciful shapes turn cupcakes into edible sculptures that delight children and adults alike. You also can use the cookies on top of cakes or around the sides of a cake to create an entire story. Click here to see other ideas in THE NIBBLE‘s article, “Things To Do With Cookies.”  
    These animal-topped treats come from
    The Cupcake Fairy.
     

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    TIP OF THE DAY: Salad Surprise


    Try this recipe for mâche, also known
    as field salad, with rose petals, poppy
    seed, strawberries and kumquats.
      Think of making your salad course a daily “special.” Instead of a simple, dressed green salad, look for something different to add to it each day: strips of chicken or beef from a prior day’s roast, marinated grilled vegetables, gherkins or pickled vegetables, a slice of duck prosciutto, chopped dried fruit, fresh fruit (apples, pears, citrus segments), cubed or shredded cheese, cubed leftover potatoes. Think international themes; for example, bean sprouts or water chestnuts marinated in a sesame vinaigrette. You don’t need to look far for inspiration: It’s probably already in your refrigerator and cabinets. Keep your family guessing as to what the next day’s “salad surprise” will be. Find more interesting salad recipes on TheNibble.com.
     

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    TOP PICK OF THE WEEK: Rustic Bakery

    More than 18 months ago, we were invited to a party in San Francisco to celebrate the anniversary of one of our favorite cheese makers, Cowgirl Creamery. Many great American cheese makers brought their best cheeses to the celebration. But what we remembered most following that assembly of fine fromage were the enchanting, irresistible flatbreads from Rustic Bakery, a small artisan enterprise which had started up only nine months earlier. It was by no means ready to set up an e-commerce operation, but we kept calling regularly with high hopes. We simply had to have a steady supply of such great flatbreads to accentuate cheese, soup, salad or as a great munchie with a glass of wine or beer.

    Each time we called to find out when we could order online, the product line had expanded. One time it was panforte crostini, the next time, cookies. Finally, the e-commerce engine turned over, and now those of us not within driving distance of Larkspur, California (across the Golden Gate Bridge from San Francisco) can experience these unleavened luxuries and their classy cookie cousins. While the company name, Rustic Bakery, honors a 50-year-old heritage, there’s nothing rustic about these sophisticated stunners.

    The Hazelnut & Sultana Panforte Crostini
    is just one of the remarkable artisan
    products from greater San Francisco flatbread and cookie baker, Rustic
    Bakery.

    Oh, how lucky the Larkspur locals are, to be able to have their morning java with these glories, or to take afternoon tea with a plate of such special cookies. The rest of us can order up a bunch, put some flowers on the table and imagine we’re on vacation at a spectacular inn. Each bite makes you proud to be part of the American artisan food movement. For surely, our role, to purchase and savor such fine products, is as important as the role of the artisan who crafts them. The products are made with organic ingredients. Read the full review on TheNibble.com, as we describe each delicious bite.

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