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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 May, 2009

TOP PICK: Somebody’s Mother’s Dessert Sauces

Make that everyday chocolate brownie sparkle with Somebody’s Mother’s White Chocolate Sauce.

Somebody’s Mother’s makes terrific chocolate sauces. In this case, Somebody’s Mother[’s] is Lynn Lasher, who, with her three teenage children, now in college or just graduated, launched the company in 2005. The three flavors—Chocolate Sauce, White Chocolate Sauce and Caramel Sauce—couldn’t be better. Even people who don’t eat things out of jars may find themselves emptying the container with a spoon.

Often we are asked why one chocolate sauce, jam, et cetera is so much better than another. The answer starts with “better ingredients” and ends with the finesse with which one puts them together—the recipe proportions. Somebody’s Mother’s has achieved perfection here. Even if you think your own homemade chocolate sauce or caramel sauce is better, you probably won’t deny that these should be on the awards podium.

The ingredients are exactly the ones you’d use at home. The chocolate sauces use heavy cream, sugar, butter and chocolate; the caramel is heavy cream, sugar and butter only. There’s some Pear William in the White Chocolate Sauce, but the eau de vie (denoting a clear fruit brandy), while adding to the complexity, isn’t obvious—kids will like it, and the White Chocolate Sauce tastes like white chocolate custard. No complaints about that! Read the full review and buy lots of this terrific, smartly-packaged dessert sauce—it makes a great, inexpensive gift, and you’re helping somebody’s mother pay college tuition for three kids.

- Read reviews of more of our favorite dessert sauces and toppings.

- Get inspired by the different types of dessert sauces in our Dessert Sauce Glossary.

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FOOD HOLIDAY: Barbecue Month

As we begin Memorial Day Weekend, note that May is Barbecue Month and go out with a bang. We have plenty of recipes that go beyond the basic burger, to keep you well ‘qued through the end of summer. Review the basics of barbecue before you delve into the Grilling Hall of Fame (15 award-winning grill-ready recipes).More on barbecue:

- Best Barbecue Sauces (we taste so many each year—these have sass and class)

- Grandville’s Barbecue Sauce (a NIBBLE Top Pick Of The Week, so good we eat it from the jar)

- Chocolate Barbecue Sauce Recipe (savory, made with Scharffenberger chocolate, and something guests will talk about for years)

- Barbecue Chicken Pizza Recipe (kids love it)

- Barbecue Cookbook Reviews

Celebrate Barbecue Month!

And try some good microbrews with your barbecue—also spelled barbeque and BBQ.

Enjoy the holiday weekend!

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FREEBIE: Friendly’s Ice Cream ~ June 6, 12-5 p.m.



Friendly's Ice Cream Cones

Friendly's Ice Cream Cones

Friendly’s Mint Chocolate Chip Cookie Crunch and Reese’s Peanut Butter Cup ice cream.

 

The only thing better than ice cream is FREE ice cream. Friendly Ice Cream Corp. is bringing back its Free Ice Cream Day on June 6. Customers can score a free one-scoop dish or cone of any of Friendly’s 26 ice cream flavors between noon and 5 p.m., at participating restaurants.

Friendly‘s free ice cream promotion debuted last year, when the 505-unit chain gave away more than 300,000 cones. This year, the chain plans to promote the giveaway on the Facebook and Twitter to increase its amount of exposure.

“We want to give away as much ice cream as possible,” said Ned Lidvall, Friendly’s chief executive. “We hope that by getting the word out online, a record-breaking number of people will come in.” Thanks, Friendly’s, for doing your best to be friendly during these recessionary times.

- See reviews of our favorite gourmet ice cream brands.
- What’s the difference between ice cream, French ice cream, gelato, frozen custard, etc.? See our Ice Cream Glossary.
- Enjoy the History Of Ice Cream.
- Take our Ice Cream Trivia Quiz.

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BOOK: Morton’s The Cookbook

Morton’s The Steakhouse has produced Morton’s The Cookbook: 100 Steakhouse Recipes for Every Kitchen. Now available at major bookstores, on Mortons.com and in all 81 Morton’s restaurants, the book is authored by Klaus Fritsch, co-founder and Executive Chef of Morton’s, with Morton’s Vice President of Wine & Spirits, Tylor Field III and Mary Goodbody, nationally known food writer and cookbook editor. It features more than 100 recipes, including Morton’s signature menu items and other delicious American steakhouse fare—accentuated by some international flavors inspired as the restaurant has expanded to the Pacific Rim.

Morton’s shares its wealth of information on how to cook your steak to perfection in enticing recipes such as New York Strip Roast with Three Peppercorn Sauce and Bone-in Ribeye with Rancher’s Rub. There are appetizers and classic steakhouse sides, such as Five-Onion Soup, Maine Lobster and Avocado Salad and Blue Cheese French Fries. And yes, there are recipes for those sumptuous desserts that one amazingly finds room for.

mortons-the-cookbook-230

Create your own Morton’s steakhouse experience at home.

Beautifully illustrated throughout, Morton’s The Cookbook might be the Father’s Day gift you’ve been looking for, for that steak-loving dad who loves to commandeer the kitchen. You can buy it now on Amazon.com.

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CONTEST: Bar Mitzvah Beer



he-brew-beer-2001

Rejuvenator, one of the numerous varieties of HE-BREW.

 

It’s never too late to celebrate your bar- or bat mitzvah. He-Brew Beer—an uber-kitschy concept to start with—wants to put vintage bar mitzvah pictures on the label. You with Uncle Izzie, with the challah, with your pink cherub cheeks under that yarmulke.

The company, Shmaltz Brewing of San Francisco, is celebrating its 13th year of beer and shtick with a special release called Jewbelation Bar Mitzvah, their 13th “Chosen Beer” in 13 years of Shmaltz. Brewed with 13 malts, 13 hops and soaring to 13% ABV, Jewbelation Bar Mitzvah will be nationally available in 22 oz. bottles and a very limited amount of draft for select bars.

While the concept may seem schmaltzy, Shmaltz’s Jewbelation series, launched in 2004, has receiving top accolades from critics, including “5 Stars” from Celebrator Beer News, “Best Holiday Beer“ from Pacific Brew News, and 97 out of 100 points for 2007’s Jewbelation Eleven from Ratebeer.com. A recent issue of Beer Advocate (Volume II, Issue VIII) commented, “Today, Jeremy Cowan of Shmaltz Brewing Company is arguably making some of the best contract-brewed beers in America.”

The beer is certified kosher, of course, by KSA. It just may be the perfect beer to serve at bar mitzvahs—to the grown-ups, of course. While Jewish law may deem the 13-year-old a man (or woman), there’s still the state liquor law to contend with.

TO ENTER:

Bar/bat mitzvah men and women (age 21+ only): Submit photos of you in your braces, awkward suits, frizzy hair, ’80s-tastic family portraits with Aunt Linda and Uncle Dan… and celebrate the day you became an adult. The “winning” photos in each of these categories will receive a HE’BREW Bar Mitzvah Gift Set and will be featured on Shmaltz’s website: “Best Hair,” “Best Family Photo,” “Most Awkward Moment,” “Youngest-Looking Adult,” “Funniest Shot,” “Best-Dressed,” “Best Braces,” and “Best Dance Moves.”

Send photos with your name, date and location of event to info@shmaltzbrewing.com. If you are on Facebook, join their group “The Jewbelation 13 Project,” and check out some photos they’ve collected, post your picture, and become a fan of Shmaltz Brewing and HE’BREW Beer.

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FOOD HOLIDAY: International Pickle Week ~ May 15-25

Is there anything more dill-icious than International Pickle Week? It was founded more than 60 years ago by Pickle Packers International, a trade association. The U.S. produces 20 billion pickles each year, an average of nine pounds of pickles per person. So for all the people who don’t eat pickles, or those who eat just a few slices on their Big Macs, imagine how many pounds of pickles the true pickle lovers eat! Fortunately, they’re low calorie and good for you!

Pickles are categorized as a condiment, from the Latin condire, to season. Go to http://www.pickleweek.com for recipes, picklewear (we like the “Get Pickled” tee), recipes, coupons and pickle e-cards.

Pickle Week

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RECIPE: Classic French Pastry

Profiteroles are pâte à choux, filled with ice cream and topped with chocolate sauce.

Pastry chef Jean-Yves Charon was born in Brittany, a region in the northwest of France. Growing up in France, Jean-Yves got to experience some of the best pastry the world has to offer. He recently shared his knowledge of the classic French treat, pâte à choux, and provided us with this recipe.


Read our full article about sweet and savory pâte à choux.

Discover more reviews and recipes of our favorite gourmet pastries and pies.

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TOP PICK: Sweet n’ Spicy Essential Cane Sugars



You don’t have to be a skilled chef to know there are secret ingredients that, with just a sprinkle or a splash, can turn an ordinary dish into something special—something that makes family and friends think that you are one step removed from entering the Top Chef competition. These bottles, jars and cans are what we keep in our arsenal of ingredients, to turn that pasta dish into pasta pizzazz, the broiled fish into seafood superb, the bowl of salad from greens to glorious.

With FlavorStorm’s new line of Essential Cane flavored sugars, the game has gotten even more interesting. In 14 varieties, both sweet and savory, you now have magic wands flavored with everything from clove to green chile to habanero—and yes, that’s naturally-flavored cane sugar.

Essential Cane not only adds a touch of flavor, but a touch of beauty. It’s not only for the holidays, but for everyday kitchen witchcraft. The other fun part: It’s affordable…for you, for gifts, for parties, for everyday.

 
Sweet and savory sugars take your cooking,
baking and beverage-making to a whole new
dimension.

If you don’t already know what you’d do with sweet onion sugar—cocktails, hors d’oeuvres, main courses, desserts—read the full review.

Read reviews of more of our favorite gourmet sugars and seasonings.

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PRODUCT: All About Cinnamon




Grade A Korintje (Indonesian) cinnamon from PreparedPantry.com.
  A bit of news that may surprise you: The spice you know as cinnamon– the one you sprinkle on sugared toast and into cookie and cake batters; the one that adds depth to curries and bite to marinades– is not real cinnamon at all! In fact it’s from a tree called cassia. While professionals distinguish between cassia and true cinnamon, to the consumer, what is often sold as ground cinnamon is cassia (it doesn’t curl into cinnamon sticks like true cinnamon, so what you see in stick form is the real deal). Learn more about the differences between cassia and cinnamon (and the best ways to cook and bake with both) in our complete review of this complex spice and its history.

You know how to cook with cinnamon. But do you know how to drink with it? Try the Cinnamon Cider Martini, one of our favorite spicy cocktails.

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PRODUCT: Red Dragon Cheese

This vegetarian Welsh Cheddar has a kick of whole mustard seeds. It’s spicy without being a fire-breathing dragon. Made with brown ale as well, you can enjoy it in many ways, including on a sandwich with a glass of brown ale.

Read the full review of this spicy Welsh Cheddar.

Learn more about Cheddar (incidentally, it’s the ancient cheese of the monarchs).

Learn about the different types of ale and beer in our Beer Glossary.

Red Dragon Cheese topped with a chunk of green-marbled Sage Derby.

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