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Archive for June, 2009

TOP PICK OF THE WEEK: Colorado Mountain Wine Jelly

If you’ve had wine jelly, it was most likely served over a brick of cream cheese with crackers—and hopefully a glass of wine or two. That’s not a bad start, but a good wine jelly is a gourmet delight that transcends cream cheese and crackers. Armed with the right serving suggestions, it’s not only a wonderful item for your own pantry, but a special yet inexpensive house gift, stocking stuffer, gourmet gift basket component and corporate gift, not to mention a gift for wine lovers. In fact, anyone who enjoys fine food will want to be clued in to how versatile a good wine jelly can be!

Colorado Mountain Jams & Jellies uses wines from top Colorado wineries, and the result is sit-up-and-take-notice. If you’ve never thought of serving a wine jelly with fish, poultry, meat, cheese and ice cream, it’s time to put on your thinking cap.

Read the full review for ideas on what foods you can pair with these delicious wine jellies, and other ways to enjoy them.

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These wine jellies not only taste good, but are low in sugar, too. Photography by Hannah Kaminsky | THE NIBBLE.

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TIP OF THE DAY: Key Lime Pies & Tarts

Key lime pie is one of the most popular pie, and is also one of the easiest to make. While using fresh key limes is ideal (their season is June through August), some people opt for Nellie and Joe’s Key West Lime Juice, available in most supermarkets and specialty stores.

We’d rather wait for real Key lime juice; but whatever your choice, here’s the easy recipe. It can be made as a pie or individual tartlets. If you don’t want any crust, make pot de créme by baking the filling in custard dishes.

The filling will be yellowish, looking more like lemon pie. Green “Key Lime Pie” is artificially colored and typically made with juice from Persian limes. Persian limes, the “supermarket lime,” are more tart than Key limes.
 
RECIPE: KEY LIME PIE

Ingredients

  • 1/2 cup Key lime juice
  • 3 egg yolks
  • 1 can sweetened condensed milk
  • 9″ graham cracker pie crust
  • Garnish: whipped cream
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    Key Lime Pie

    Key Lime Pie. Photo courtesy Ritz Desserts.

     
    Preparation

    1. COMBINE the juice with the egg yolks and sweetened condensed milk. Add to the pie crust.

    2. BAKE for 15 minutes at 350°F (12 minutes for tartlets). Let stand 10 minutes, then refrigerate. Serve with whipped cream.
     
    KEY LIME PIE HISTORY

    Key lime pie was first made in Key West, Florida before there were cattle on the island. Most of the available milk was canned, hence the canned milk recipe. The Key lime is also called the Mexican lime.

  • See the different types of limes in our Lime Glossary.
  • Look for easy pie and tart ideas.
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    FOOD SMARTS: Pie & Pastry Glossary

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    A pie with a beautiful lattice crust—one of the
    terms you’ll find in our Pie & Pastry glossary. Photo courtesy of Cherry Marketing Institute.

    While the French have the reputation as the great pastry makers, the Egyptians, who were great bread bakers, worked out the details of early pastry. Theirs was a savory pastry: a dough of flour and water paste to wrap around meat and soak up the juices as it cooked. Pastry was further developed in the Middle East and brought to Europe by the Muslims in the 7th century. By medieval times, pies had developed, and the pastry was used to provide a casing for the various fillings. By the 17th century both flaky and puff pastries were in use, with pastry chefs working intricate patterns on the crusts. And thank goodness, because who doesn’t enjoy a great piece of pie!

    But do you know the difference between short crust and plain pastry crust? The difference between puff pastry and phyllo? A cobbler and a crisp? And what is a Black Bottom Pie, anyway? Explore the world of baked wonders in THE NIBBLE’s newest food glossary, the nine-page Pie & Pastry glossary.

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    TIP OF THE DAY: Diet Fruit Soup

    Make a delicious, low-calorie fruit soup by puréeing 2 pounds of cantaloupe (two melons—reserve some melon balls for garnish). Then add 3/4 cup of herbal fruit tea and 1 to 2 tablespoons of lime juice. Garnish with chopped mint and melon balls or berries. Enjoy it at any meal as a first course or dessert, or anytime as a snack. For protein, add fat-free plain yogurt, which you can sweeten with a no-cal sweetener. If the cantaloupe isn’t sweet enough, add a small amount of sweetener to the soup, too. This is one of our favorite diet treats!

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    July 4th: Freedom Ice Cream From Sheer Bliss

    Freedom ice cream from Sheer Bliss is red, white and blue: vanilla ice cream with red and blue swirls of pomegranate and blueberry. It’s the perfect flavor for an Independence Day celebration (it’s all natural and certified kosher, too).

    Sheer Bliss is available at fine food stores nationwide; you can find a store locator on the website, SheerBlissIceCream.com. If you live near a Publix store in the Southeast, there’s a two-for-one special beginning July 2, in honor of AmVets, the veterans service organization.

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    Celebrate Independence Day with Freedom ice cream from Sheer Bliss.

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    RECIPE: July Fourth Strawberries

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    Red, white and blue ingredients create the
    perfect July Fourth dessert. Photo courtesy
    Dove Chocolate Discoveries.

     

    Not only are berries, such as strawberries and blueberries, in season during the Fourth of July, but they also come in patriotic colors, making them great ingredients in recipes you can make for your Independence Day celebrations, such as this White Chocolate Covered Strawberries recipe, courtesy of Dove Chocolate Discoveries.

    INGREDIENTS

  • 1 pound fresh strawberries
  • 8 ounces white chocolate
  • Blue-colored sugar
  • Parchment paper
  • Chocolate tempering machine or substitute
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    PREPARATION

    1. Wash and completely dry strawberries.

     

    2. For optimum results, temper chocolate in a chocolate tempering machine. If you don’t own one, simply melt the chocolate in a microwave oven or double boiler.
    3. Holding a strawberry by the stem, dip about half of it in chocolate. Give it a quick twist, shake off excess and point it at the ceiling for a second to be sure the chocolate adheres.
    4. Before chocolate dries, dip tip of strawberry into blue-colored sugar (available in the cake-decorating aisle of grocery store, or online). Place on parchment paper to set up and cool. If set up seems slow, place in refrigerator for 3 to 5 minutes.

    Note: chocolate-covered strawberries are best enjoyed the day they are made.

    Check out more of our special July Fourth recipes:

  • Fourth of July Cookie Pizza
  • Red-Eye Mojito
  • Stars & Stripes Toll House Cookies
  • Jubilee Sangrita
  • Red, White & Blueberry Vanilla Liqueur Cocktails
  • Red, White and Sapphire Cocktail
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    TIP OF THE DAY: Gourmet Nachos

      Turn your regular recipe into an Independence Day celebration by using blue and red tortilla chips and adding some blue cheese or goat cheese, along with white Cheddar or other good white melting cheese. Think of the Red, White and Blue theme for Labor Day and Memorial Day, too.

    Read about our favorite tortilla chips.

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    RECIPE: “Hamburger” Cupcakes

    With all the buzz surrounding sliders and other incarnations of the two-bite burger, it was only a matter of time before at least one creative baker took things into her own hands. While these treats may not pack the same protein punch as a beef or turkey burger, a crowd pleaser like cupcakes, conceptually crossed with America’s favorite food, the hamburger, will create even more of a rush. They’re a memorable ending to a barbecue, birthday party or shower. It’s a good thing each recipe serves 24.

    In this recipe, Clara, creator of iheartcuppycakes.com, provides you with all you need to know for turning out batch after batch of these fluffy cupcake sliders.

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    You don’t have to be a meat eater to enjoy these cupcakes! Photo courtesy iheartcuppycakes.com.

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    TIP OF THE DAY: Tart Art

     

    Turn plain tarts into ravishing beauties with creative garnishing. Some chocolate curls or rolls, a mint sprig, a few raspberries or a slice of star fruit, combined with a dab of crème fraîche or whipped cream, can turn something simple into something special. Read our article on Garnish Glamour, for dozens of ideas for sprucing up both sweet and savory foods.

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    GOURMET TRAVEL: Oceania Cruises For Foodies

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    Sail the epicurean seas when the Marina debuts in 2010.

    The Love Boat was the cruise ship for those seeking love (at least in the fictitious world of TV). If you’re looking for a great food experience, head for Oceania Cruises’ Marina, the new Regatta-class flagship, when it launches next year. You’ll be able to cook in the state-of-the-art Bon Appétit Culinary Center, receiving hands-on cooking instruction under the guidance of master chefs. Working at your own fully equipped work station, complete with an induction cook top, this is no passive, “watch the demo” from the audience, experience. It’s like going to culinary school, and is a first at sea.

    The cooking curriculum, designed in part by Bon Appétit magazine, will cater to all levels, from beginners to master chefs, and will encompass all types of cuisines. Classes will range from 45 minutes to 3 hours, and will include shore tours to shop for ingredients at local markets.

    If you don’t want to take daily cooking classes, a host of premium cruise activities is available to you (for example, artists-in-residence will teach fine arts in The Studio, a new enrichment center). Or, you can just eat. A ship for food lovers, the new Marina has 10 dining venues, in addition to elegant bars and lounges. Don’t worry—there’s a full-service spa and a spacious fitness center and outdoor swimming pool where you can burn off the calories.If, like us, you can’t get enough Asian food, opt for the five-course tasting menu at Red Ginger, which will feature Thai, Japanese and Vietnamese cuisine (you can have sushi a la carte, or anything else from the ample menu). Other dining venues include restaurants well known to those who have sailed the cruise line’s other ships: Polo Grill, Toscana, Terrace Café, The Patio and the Grand Dining Room. There will also be a French bistro, Jacques (named in honor of the great chef Jacques Pépin, a consultant to the culinary program), and the Yacht Club for enlightening wine and food pairings. You can gather at Biscottos Coffee Bar for gourmet coffees and snacks.

    The maiden voyage of Marina is in Winter 2010. You can register to receive Marina updates and become part of the Priority Reservation list. An epicurean cruise will make a memorable holiday gift for someone special.

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