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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 December, 2008

Sorry, We’re Experiencing Warped Photo Difficulties

We just upgraded to WordPress 2.7, and, as those of you who use I.E. and Safari may have already noted, it is distorting our photos. (They look normal in Firefox.) As our developer is off until the new year, we ask you to bear with us until we can get the code fixed. Ah, technology!

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CONTEST: Scharffen Berger Chocolate Recipe Contest

If you’ve got an exciting and different sweet or savory chocolate recipe, you have until January 4 to enter January 4 to enter it. This year’s requirement includes “adventure” ingredient: basil, black or pink peppercorns, black sesame seed, cacao nibs, chili pepper (fresh or whole dried), coconut milk, coriander, jicama, kaffir lime leaf, mango, matcha tea, mustard seed, palm sugar, plantain, popping candy, tamarind, tapioca pearls and wattleseed. Last year’s winners included Chocolate Wasabi Pom Poms, Dark Chocolate Caramel Calzoni and Grapefruit Madeleines With Rosemary Infused Chocolate Drizzle. So, as great as your brownies may be, unless their chili pepper wattleseed brownies, they probably won’t make it into the finals. scharffenberger-pompons

Last year’s Grand Prize winner in the Sweet category, Chocolate Wasabi Pom Poms.

- Grand Prize winners from the Sweet, Savory and Beverage categories will each receive $5,000 and a Scharffen Berger Chocolate Adventure Contest medal, a gold-colored likeness of a Scharffen Berger 3-ounce bar, a special custom Scharffen Berger chocolate collection and dessert cookbooks.
– One Second Place Prize winner from each category will receive a special custom Scharffen Berger chocolate collection worth $250 and a signed copy of The Essence of Chocolate by Robert Steinberg and John Scharffenberger.

Enter at ChocolateAdventureContest.com. You can also find plenty of delicious chocolate recipes.

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PRODUCT: Last-Minute Gifts At Williams-Sonoma



williams-sonoma-250

Hot chocolate in regular or mint—go for the mint.

 

Dashing through the snow (and we have plenty of it in the Northeast right now), we raced into Williams-Sonoma for some last-minute holiday gifts. There are plenty of good things to eat there. We had been to the store a week earlier, and had the opportunity to nibble on chocolatier Michael Recchiuti’s Champagne truffles (Recchiuti is a NIBBLE Top Pick Of The Week), some delicious Five Apple Cider with mulling spices and this lovely Mint Hot Chocolate, made from flakes of Guittard chocolate, one of the world’s finest (and noteworthy for making a chocolaty yet not-very-sweet beverage). You can see the difference between cocoa and hot chocolate in the photo. Hot chocolate is made from shaved chocolate bars, cocoa from ground cocoa powder. Guess which is richer! (Note that “rich” does not mean sweet and cloying.)

There are also cupcake mixes from Beverly Hills’ famous Sprinkles cupcake bakery—much more immediately gratifying than waiting in line at Sprinkles, even if you live in L.A. The Red Velvet is one of the best red velvet cake recipes we’ve had (it includes a frosting recipe that is equally delicious). Then, it was back out into the snow. Of course, we purchased an extra package of everything as our own treat for braving the elements on behalf of making the holidays happier (and tastier) for family and friends.

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CONTEST: The 2009 Avocado Video Bowl

If you have time on your hands over the holidays, you might want to pit your skills against other avocado lovers and create a short video that demonstrates your favorite way to enjoy the luscious green fruit (yes, avocados are a stone fruit—they grow on a tree, like peaches, plums and nectarines). You can create a half-time show, demonstrate your recipe, sing an avocado song or do “Romeo and Juliette” as avocados. The deadline to enter is January 8—so you can enjoy a lot of guacamole between now and then (and many other recipes that use avocado at AvocadoFiesta.com). If you have no creative talents, you can JUDGE and potentially win a cash prize. avocado-bowl1

Will your avocado video score a touchdown…and $5,000?

- The grand prize winner takes home $5,000.
– Four finalists win $1,000.
– All eligible entrants get a contest tee shirt.
– The VOTERS who vote for the winners are entered in a daily random drawing for $100. It’s about time the voters are eligible for something!

For more information and to enter, visit AvocadoFiesta.com.

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CONTEST: Win A Kitchen Makeover (Deadline December 31)

Pillsbury It may be a bleak holiday season with a lot of space in the stocking and under the tree, but if thoughts of a kitchen makeover would warm your hearth, you have until December 31, 2008 to enter the Pillsbury Make America Sweeter contest. Pillsbury invites you to share how you can make things a little sweeter with Pillsbury cake, brownies, quickbread, frostings or flours. You don’t have to submit a recipe—just share a story of 100 words or less and a photo or video that illustrates your story. The winner will receive a $5,000 kitchen makeover; runners-up will receive products from KitchenAid and Pillsbury. Perhaps best of all, a $5,000 donation will be made to Feeding America, to help feed Americans whose lives are truly bleak.

Submit your entry online at pillsburybaking.com/campaign.

Find brownie, cake cookie and pie recipes on TheNibble.com.

Dig into our Cake Glossary.

Take our Brownie Trivia Quiz.

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RECIPES: Chocolate Christmas Cakes

Wondering what to serve your guests for dessert on Christmas? Here, we have two holiday-themed cake recipes sure to impress. You can serve one on Christmas Eve and one Christmas Day.

The Black Forest Cake is a chocolate layer cake, with added layers of whipped cream and Kirsch-soaked morello cherries. The cake is then decorated with more whipped cream, morello or maraschino cherries, and chocolate curls or shavings. The cake layers are also soaked in a Kirsch syrup (although brandy or rum can be used). The spirits can also be omitted to make the cake more family-friendly.

The Rudolph The Red-Nosed Reindeer Cake is sure to make ‘em smile when you bring it out. Each slice of this fun cake looks like Rudolph. In fact, don’t be surprised if everyone breaks into a chorus of Rudolph The Red-Nosed Reindeer.

-Black Forest Cake Recipe
-Rudolph The Red-Nosed Reindeer Cake Recipe


Even Scrooge would start to sing “Rudolph
The Red-Nosed Reindeer” when served a
piece of this chocolate cake.

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FREEBIE: Morton’s The Steakhouse Cheeseburgers

If you’re doing holiday shopping this weekend in the vicinity of a Morton’s steakhouse—there are 80 worldwide—take a break from 5 to 6 p.m. for a complimentary mini-cheeseburger at the bar. You’ll be celebrating the 30th birthday of Morton’s The Steakhouse.

It’s the burger that started Morton’s. Co-founders Klaus Fritsch and Arnie Morton first worked together at the Playboy Club in Chicago. Klaus made his signature hamburger and sent it out for Arnie to taste. Morton proclaimed it the best hamburger he’d ever eaten. From that day, they started the business partnership that has become Morton’s The Steakhouse.

Check out THE NIBBLE’s burger tips.
Take our burger trivia quiz.
Not a beef person? Here’s a delicious chicken burger recipe.

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PRODUCT: New Burger King Men’s Fragrance

No, it’s not a joke—although the late night comics will probably have their way with it. This past weekend, fast food chain Burger King rolled out “Flame,” a new men’s body spray billed as “the scent of seduction with a hint of flame-broiled meat.” The fragrance, which you can see at http://www.firemeetsdesire.com, does not invite you to “have it your way.” Instead, it tells you that “Now you can set the mood no matter what mood you’re in the mood for.” (Umm…is that lost in translation from the language of whatever bizarre land the Burger King hails from?) burger-king-fragrance
The site further goes on to explain that “The Whopper sandwich is America’s favorite burger. FLAME by BK captures the essence of that love and gives it to you. Behold the scent of seduction, with a hint of flame-broiled meat.”

Is this a gag? Big companies like Burger King tend not to have a sense of humor…although the film clip of the naked (discretely draped) Burger King lying on the lion skin in front of the roaring fire is pretty funny (just don’t look at it on a full stomach).

Who is the target market for this fragrance? Judging from the mood music and the visual of the bathtub surrounded by flowers and many flickering candles—and the fact that the New York City retail outlet is Ricky’s, a bastion of makeup and other beauty products—we think BK is betting that women will buy it for their men.

But what kind of women? We cheddar to think.

And now, because we need a stiff drink to clear our minds, join us for a visit to the Cocktails Section of THE NIBBLE.

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PRODUCTS: Food Gifts For The Jaded Foodie


Geoduck neck meat has a deliciously mild flavor
with the crisp “crunchy” texture of a cucumber.
The body meat is tender and has a balanced
shellfish flavor.
If you know a certain person who’s been everywhere and eaten everything…how do you find that special gourmet something to turn his or her head? Marx Foods has put together a page of special somethings, including:

  • Alligator tenderloin (5 lbs., $136.25)
  • Boneless turtle meat (5 lbs., $156.00)
  • Kangaroo boneless loin (approximately 24 lbs., $319.00)
  • Live geoduck, a sashimi rarity (1.5-2 lbs., $97.00)
  • Wild boar tenderloin (approximately 9 lbs., $185.25)

We didn’t say it was inexpensive, but you can bet that no one else will be giving him/her the same gift (unless they also read THE NIBBLE blog).

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RECIPES: Holiday Desserts With Egg Nog

Two flavors that represent the holiday season are egg nog and fresh-baked cookies. Now you can enjoy baking with egg nog, with these recipes for cookies, fudge and pound cake. Double your pleasure by serving the treats with a glass of egg nog.

-Egg Nog Wreath Cookies Recipe
-White Chocolate Egg Nog Fudge Recipe
-Egg Nog Pound Cake Recipe

We also have several egg nog recipes, to please any palate.

-Chocolate Egg Nog Recipe
-Coconut Egg Nog Recipe
-Diet Egg Nog Recipe

Find more sweet treats in our Cookies & Brownies Section, and more holiday drinks in our Cocktails Section.

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