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Archive for June, 2009

RECIPE: Yuzu Martini


Yuzu. Photo courtesy Wikimedia.


If you didn’t have a chance to celebrate National Martini Day yesterday, make a splash this weekend with a Yuzu Daiquiri. Whozu, you say? If you haven’t yet discovered the joys of the Asian citrus yuzu, it may well become a favorite in sauces, beverages, desserts and more.

Yuzu is believed to be a hybrid of the sour mandarin orange and Ichang papeda citrus, related to the kaffir lime. The fruit looks somewhat like a tiny grapefruit, and tastes like a relative, with a lot more sparkle (think grapefruit mixed with exotic citrus).

Buy yuzu juice at your specialty food store, Asian market or online; and try this recipe, courtesy of Riingo restaurant in New York City.



  • 4 sprigs of mint
  • 4 raspberries
  • 2 tablespoons sugar
  • Dash of simple syrup
  • 1/2 ounce yuzu juice
  • 2.5 ounces of light rum (such as Bacardi)
  • Ice and cocktail shaker

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

    Learn more about yuzu.



    FOOD HOLIDAY: 6/19 Is National Martini Day


    Shaken or stirred? Who cares—it’s ‘Tini Time. Photo courtesy of European Sources Direct.

    Ladies and gents, it’s not only Friday, it’s National Martini Day! So, here’s some martini trivia, and a link to recipes you can enjoy tonight, plus mix up for Dad and/or Hubby on Father’s Day.

    First, that bit about James Bond liking his martinis “shaken, not stirred,” a variation actually called a Bradford (as you can tell, the concept didn’t originate with 007). The traditional way to create a martini is to mix all of the ingredients in a mixing glass, not shake them in a cocktail shaker, so as not to “bruise the gin.” What, you say? Yes, the shaking action breaks up the ice and adds more water, slightly weakening the drink and altering the taste. Evidently, British gin martini drinkers take their mixology seriously: No less than W. Somerset Maugham declared that, “Martinis should always be stirred, not shaken, so that the molecules lie sensuously one on top of the other.”

    So what does this mean for 007, bruising (or weakening) his martini? We’ll have to defer to experts to comment on that.

    In the interim, your mission is to go out and have a martini to celebrate, be it shaken, stirred or whirred. But first:

    • Read the history of the martini and traditional martini recipes, including the Gin Martini, the Dirty Martini, the 50-50, the Gibson, the Perfect Martini and the Vodka Martini.
    • Throw tradition to the winds with fun martini recipes: Chai Martini, Greentini (green tea), Lemon Meringue Pie Martini, Pomegranate Martini, Watermelon Martini and numerous other ‘tinis.

    O.K., get moving. It’s ‘Tini TIme.


    PRODUCT: Boylan’s Mash

    What’s mash? Not something made in a still. According to Boylan’s, one of our favorite brands of all-natural soda (and a NIBBLE Top Pick Of The Week), mash is not a soda, it’s not a sparkling juice, it’s not a fizzy water. It has attributes borrowed from sparkling juice, and it’s sweetened with sucralose. The flavors employ 1% to 2% juice, sweetened with a touch of sugar and sucralose (Splenda); the whopping 20-ounce bottle has only 100 calories (or, 40 calories per 8-ounce serving). You may just develop a mash (crush) on it.

    Read our review of Boylan’s Mash, in lovely two-note flavors including Grapefruit Citrus Zing, Ripe Mango Blood Orange, Lemon Peel Ginger Root and Pomegranate Blueberry. The drinks are certified kosher.


    A great summer refresher, just 40 calories per 8-ounce serving.


  • See more of our favorite soft drinks in THE NIBBLE’s Beverages Section.
  • Read our review of Boylan’s All Natural Old-Fashioned Soda.
  • Comments

    PRODUCT: Best Wine Box Chardonnay


    Don’t give this boxed wine the fish eye—it’s good stuff!

    Think inside the box, says Consumer Reports magazine, evaluating boxed chardonnays in its July 2009 issue. While our own wine collection includes cases of DRC and Yquem (don’t even think of breaking into our place—they’re not stored here), we love a good boxed wine. They’re great for parties and picnics and they’re hands-down environmentally superior to recycling (or landfilling) glass and using cork or metal caps. You can keep an open box of wine in the refrigerator for four to six weeks, enjoying a glass whenever you want one, with wine on hand for cooking.

    And when you can pay $4 per 750 ml (the size of a regular bottle of wine), you’d be foolish not to declare to everyone you know that wine boxes are cool, wine boxes are green, never whine about a good wine box. So, speaking of good, here’s what Consumer Reports recommends.

    • Fish Eye Chardonnay 2007, $16 (about $4 per 750 ml). A nice mix of fruit and oak: Juicy fruit and apple flavors balanced by hints of butterscotch and vanilla.
    • Banrock Station Chardonnay 2007, $19 (about $4.75 per 750 ml). Full, rich and slightly sweet; apple, pear and honey flavors accompanied by vanilla and buttery notes.
    • Black Box Monterey County Chardonnay 2008, $25 (about $6.25 per 750 ml). Understated, clean and balanced, with crisp acidity and light citrus and apple flavors.


    If you can’t find the vintage tested, try another. Manufacturers strive to achieve consistency from one vintage to another.

    Merlots tested by the CR team didn’t fare as well. The 2008 Banrock Station merlot, $19, and the 2007 Black Box California, $25 were deemed to be lower in quality: not very complex with overripe fruit. But, the tasters concluded, “if you’re having a big party and not a wine tasting, they could fill the bill. ”

    So here’s your summer entertaining idea: A boxed wine tasting party. Let the group vote, and then let everyone pick numbers from a hat. In order, the guests get to take what’s left of their favorite boxed wine home. If your guests are big drinkers, can the prize drawing or buy extra boxes.

    See THE NIBBLE’s Wine Section for more tips and entertaining ideas, including wine and cheese pairings, wine and chocolate pairings and wine and dessert pairings.


    RECIPE: Share A Pink Cocktail With Michelle Pfeiffer

    This summer’s hot period movie is “Cheri,” adapted from Colette’s 1920’s novel of the same name and starring Michelle Pfeiffer, Rupert Friend and Kathy Bates. Colette transformed from convent girl to one hot mama, inciting a near riot by kissing a female lover in a 1907 performance at the Moulin Rouge in Paris. This inspired Noilly Pratt vermouth to create a cocktail for the film’s premiere called Le Baiser de Noilly (“Noilly’s Kiss”). The NYC premiere was Tuesday night, and the stars and other revelers sipped away. Girly pink in color, it’s perhaps an appropriate tribute to Cheri, the aging prostitute in 1920s Paris (Pfeiffer) who educates a younger man (Friend) in the ways of love. Oh la la!

    Le Baiser de Noilly

    -1 ¼ ounce Noilly Pratt vermouth
    – ¼ + ounce Bombay Sapphire or other gin
    – ¾ ounce fresh pineapple juice
    – ¼ ounce grenadine (pomegranate syrup)
    – Pink grapefruit twist
    – Grated grapefruit zest for garnish
    – 1 fresh raspberry for garnish

    Vermouth Cocktail

    Enjoy this pink “kiss.”

    1. Combine ingredients except raspberry in a cocktail shaker. Shake and double strain into the glass.
    2. Rub a piece of pink grapefruit peel on the rim of the glass to impart the flavor of the oil from the peel.
    3. Sprinkle grapefruit zest on top of the drink, letting the oil from the grapefruit’s skin absorb into the foam to make the cocktail even more flavorful. Float the raspberry in the drink and serve.


    CONTEST: Guiltless In Sin City

    Guiltless Gourmet

    Enter to win the Guiltless Gourmet Sweepstakes

    Eat chips, feel no guilt and maybe win a trip to Vegas or other prizes. You read correctly—buy any flavor of Guiltless Gourmet tortilla chips, in tempting choices such as Spicy Black Bean and Chili Lime. Check the code on the bag online for a chance to win coupons for free products and American Express gift cards. Everyone who enters a code on the Guiltless Gourmet site by September 30th will also be registered for a shot at the Grand Prize: three nights for the winner and a guest at a five-diamond Las Vegas resort, a $1,500 world class spa package and a fat stack of cash. (BYO chips?)
    Speaking of fat, all Guiltless Gourmet products have 3 grams or less per serving. Please pass the salsa.

  • See reviews of our favorite tortilla chips in our Snacks Section.
  • See reviews of our favorite salsas to go with them.
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    GOURMET TRAVEL: Beaujolais Wine Tourist Route

    If you love a glass of red and aren’t limited to a stay-cation these days, Inter Beaujolais and Destination Beaujolais have developed the first-ever Beaujolais wine tourist route to help you explore France’s Beaujolais region. Discover the “real” Beaujolais—it bears little resemblance to the fresh juice that is Beaujolais Nouveau. You can even start your wine-cation in Burgundy, to the north; then pick up the Beaujolais route where the Burgundy wine route leaves off. Crossing through 36 villages, you can hit all the “must-see” destinations of Beaujolais: the 12 appellations including Beaujolais, Beaujolais-Villages and the 10 Cru.

    Imagine yourself in Beaujeu, the historical capital of Beaujolais in the heart of the Beaujolais “crus” region. Traveling on to the village of Vaux-en-Beaujolais (a.k.a. Clochemerle), past the Romanesque cloisters of Salles-Arbuissonas and Villefranche-Sur-Saône—the economic capital of Beaujolais. Visit the “land of golden stones,” le Pays des Pierres Dorées, where you’ll find the village Oingt, which has been called the most beautiful village in France. Your Beaujolais tour ends in the gastronomic capital of Lyon—France’s second-largest metropolitan area, which is older than Paris, has more Roman ruins and a host of 1-, 2- and 3-star Michelin restaurants,including the 3-star Paul Bocuse.


    Start at the top of Beaujolais and taste your way down to the restaurant capital of Lyons.

    You can download a copy of the guidebook from Please, take us with you!


    TOP PICK OF THE WEEK: Sonoma Farm Infused Extra Virgin Olive Oil

    Lemon Olive Oil-230

    Lemon-infused olive oil is one of six spectacular flavors.

    Gertrude Stein may have espoused that a rose is a rose, but to us, an infused olive oil certainly is not an infused olive oil. All of them suffice, but Sonoma Farm Olive Oil is one of a handful of brands that we’ve tried where the flavors leap out of the bottle and transport you to a garden of wonderful aroma and flavor. (See our >Oils & Vinegars Section for other favorites.)

    When we first looked at our task—tasting six different flavors of the Sonoma Farm brand of extra virgin olive oil, plus unflavored EVOO and a dipping oil—it seemed like work. By the end of the tasting, we were drunk with happiness on olive oil, drinking tablespoon after tablespoon. (The FDA recommends two tablespoons a day for heart health; we had a month’s worth.)

    What did we experience? Lemon, lime and blood orange wafting out of the EVOO bottle, as if fresh juice were pent-up and waiting to escape. The fresh garlic, hot pepper (cayenne) and rosemary/basil olive oils jockeyed for position as well. Honestly, we couldn’t even pick a champion—they’re all winners. And that’s before we got to the regular EVOO, the dipping oil and the regular and strawberry balsamic vinegars.

    Read the full review and see how we used these lovely oils. And note that delicious, heart-healthy olive oil makes a mighty fine Father’s Day gift. Read the full review.

    • What’s an artisan oil? An estate oil? The difference between virgin, extra virgin and just plain “olive oil?” Should you care if your olive oil is cold pressed? Read our Olive Oil Glossary.
    • How can you talk the talk and truly know what you’ve bought? Learn enough that you can start hosting olive oil tasting parties! Read the article and taste like a pro.
    • What does it mean when an olive oil is earthy… peppery… fruity… herbal? Each oil is different. If you prefer herbal to earthy, get to know how to ask for olive oil like you ask for wine. Read the scoop.


    PRODUCT: Hershey’s Extra Dark 60% Dark Chocolate

    When it comes to chocolate, is your type tall, dark and handsome? Then Hershey’s extra dark chocolate might just have you swooning. O.K., it may not be tall, but it’s definitely dark (if you’ve checked out our Chocolate Glossary, you know that “dark chocolate” contains 50% or more cacao content). And its glossy packaging is certainly handsome. Each 4.4-ounce pouch contains approximately 12 squares of regular dark chocolate and raspberry-infused dark chocolate. Other varieties have pomegranate-flavored chocolate (an even bigger hit here at THE NIBBLE). We say, try them all!

    The individually-wrapped portions, 1-3/4 inches square and 66.6 calories, are ideal anytime you need a small sweet fix; they are a perfect complement to a cup of coffee. While a USDA study concluded that 37 grams of dark chocolate (about 3 of these squares) offer the same amount of flavonol antioxidants as three cups of tea, two glasses of red wine or 1-1/3 cups of blueberries, benefits, dark chocolate is still a calorie dense food, and should be consumed in moderation. Thankfully, Hershey’s Extra Dark individual portions make moderation easy. Certified kosher (dairy) by OU.


    It’s easy to enjoy a little bite whenever the mood strikes. Photo by Corey Lugg | THE NIBBLE.


    PRODUCT: Light Ice Cream ~ How Light Is It?

    Edy's Light Ice cream

    Half the fat doesn’t mean you can eat twice
    as much! Be sure to check the calories, too—
    some brands of “light” ice creams have more
    calories and sugar than other brands of “regular.”

    Our friends at Consumer Reports have been dipping into the light ice cream to give you the scoop on light ice cream (in the July 2009 issue). By law, a “light” ice cream must have one-third the calories or half the fat of a brand’s regular ice cream.

    The taste test compared three light ice creams with their regular counterparts, and also tried Häagen-Dazs Five, which isn’t marketed as a light ice cream but has a third less fat than regular Häagen-Dazs. The comments:

    • All of the lighter versions are quite tasty.
    • The lower-fat Häagen-Dazs Five was actually a bit better than the regular HD.
    • Breyers regular and light ice creams were very close in quality.


    The light ice cream versions can also be less costly. Per half-cup serving, the lighter brands from Häagen-Dazs and Ben & Jerry’s were less expensive as well as having far fewer calories. However (and there’s always a “however”), the term “light” is relative. The lighter Häagen-Dazs and Ben & Jerry tried actually have more calories and sugars than the regular Edy’s/Dreyer’s and Breyers varieties.

    • Learn more about the different types of ice cream in our Ice Cream Glossary.
    • See reviews of our favorite ice cream brands and check out ice cream recipes in our Ice Cream Section.


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