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Archive for August, 2009

TIP OF THE DAY: Perfect Peaches

August 22nd is Eat a Peach Day, so here are some tips on how to choose the perfect one. First, take a deep whiff—the peach should smell sweet and perfumey. Then, give it a once-over. The skin should be covered with an even, downy fuzz and shouldn’t be bruised. Finally, handle with care! Ripe peaches are delicate. Even if they feel hard, place them on top of all the other groceries in the bag to protect them from blemishes.


RECIPES: Grape Expectations

Summer is the season for juicy California grapes. Here are three recipes that promise to be popular with your friends and family this weekend:


We bet you’ll relish them all!


It’s time for your first Frozen Black Grape
Margarita! Photo courtesy California Table Grape Commission.



TIP OF THE DAY #2: Garnish Food With Dessert Picks


We’re talking about repurposing the cocktail picks used for skewering olives, also known as fruit picks and party picks. We use them to stack berries and grapes to garnish a dessert. Embellish cakes, ice cream, puddings…you can stand a pick vertically in a cupcake or add one to the saucer of a cup of tea or coffee. Make savory garnishes, too: The olives and onions that garnish a cocktail can also garnish main courses and salads. Also think gherkins and mini vegetable kebabs. Picks are creative hostess gifts—just choose generic designs so you won’t be skewering your grapes with ceramic olives or raspberries.


NEW PRODUCT: Oregon Dukkah ~ Dip Like An Egyptian!

Dip the bread in some olive oil, then in the
dukkah. And don’t forget the wine! Photo
by Hannah Kaminsky | THE NIBBLE.
Dukkah is a versatile Egyptian dry seasoning mixture of chopped nuts or chickpeas, plus a variety of flavorful seeds, spices and herbs. In the old days, the ingredients were ground together in a pestle; today, they can be pulsed in a food processor. Dukkah is an extremely popular snack in the culinary melting pot of New Zealand, where it’s a perfect snack pairing with the local wines. Cut up some bread, put some olive oil in a dish next to a dish of dukkah, dip the bread into both, and that’s your snack.

Dukkah can also season many different types of foods as a sprinkle, mix-in or crust. While food trend predictors have cited dukkah as a top new U.S. food flavor for the last couple of years, it hasn’t hit home yet. Let’s hope that Americans, hungry for something new and affordable, will take it to heart and table. Be the first in your neighborhood to discover dukkah; mix some up this weekend and invite the gang to bring the wine.

  • Read our article on Oregon Dukkah, a pioneering U.S. dukkah brand, along with the history of dukkah, a recipe to make your own and a dozen recipes from Oregon Dukkah that show how to use dukkah in main and side dishes.
  • Continue to spice things up by visiting THE NIBBLE’s Salts & Seasonings Section.
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    TIP OF THE DAY: Truffle Honey

    September is National Honey Month. Honey and truffles are a match made in heaven: A jar of good truffle-infused honey is a true pleasure. The earthy truffle melts into the rich sweetness of the honey. Serve it with hunks of Parmigiano-Reggiano cheese and crusty bread for dessert, with fresh strawberries or over vanilla, coffee or strawberry ice cream (you can add chopped hazelnuts as a topper). For an hors d’oeuvre, drizzle truffle honey over crostini that have been spread with a triple-crème cheese, or pair it with salty foods like prosciutto. You can also use truffle honey to caramelize chicken or duck skin. Any honey can be infused with truffles (or truffle flavor), but generally a mild honey is used, so the flavor of the truffles shines through.


    TIP OF THE DAY: Enlist The Kids

    Involve the kids in meal planning. Let them pick out dishes that appeal to them, and develop their interest in cooking and entertaining. Younger children can be offered simple choices—should we have A or B, and which side dishes. Older children can browse through cookbooks—check out Rachel Ray’s 30-Minute Meals For Kids. Discuss dishes with kids at the table: how they like this sauce or spice or food pairing compared or cooking technique compared to others, what foods they might be interested in trying. The next step is to identify regular dishes they may enjoy taking charge of—salads, perhaps, and prepping other ingredients. Check to see if there is a kids’ cooking class in your town. Involving kids in food preparation and teaching basic cooking skills teaches the joy of cooking, lets the kids help out the family in an important way, impresses their friends and ensures that when your children leave home, they know how to do more than order take-out.


    NEWS: Nibble Website Attacked

    It’s been a tough week at THE NIBBLE. Our website was attacked by Russian hackers and shut town for more than two days. Anyone going to saw only a red box that proclaiming REPORTED ATTACK SITE and advised prospective site visitors that, “ has been reported as an attack site and has been blocked…Attack sites try to install programs that steal private information, use your computer to attack others, or damage your system…..” Your choice was to “Ignore This Warning” or “Get Me Out Of Here.”

    Although we were able to remove the Trojan horses bestowed upon us by these talented computer types with too much time on their hands, was down for so long because, after your site is cleaned up, you have to re-apply to Google to reinstate the site as safe and remove the warning.

    In terms of why there are people in the world who get their kicks from damaging the property and livelihood of people they don’t even know…we recall from Psych 101 that it has something to do with not getting love and respect as a child. Treat your children well.


    Horrors! No one could visit for
    two days…except those willing to forge past this warning page.

    Thank goodness, we didn’t dive into a few dozen fudge cakes, but consoled ourselves Atkins-style with an entire black truffle salami and about $200 worth of other smashing salami and sausage from Creminelli Fine Meats of Seattle (see post below). Boy, did we deserve it!


    TOP PICK OF THE WEEK: Creminelli Artisan Salami & Sausage


    Is there any salami more wonderful than truffle salami? Nope!

    Shoppers at Seattle’s Pike Place Market already know how special Creminelli salami and sausages are. They are carried by fine food stores nationwide, although not necessarily identified as Creminelli. It’s time for the rest of America to learn the name and demand this delicious line of specialty meats. The Creminelli family has been producing artisan meat products in Italy since the 1600s, according to family lore.

    But more recently, in 2007, master artisan Cristiano Creminelli brought the family’s recipes and techniques to America. The pork-based salami and sausages will be a revelation to Americans for whom Old World artisan traditions have long since disappeared. If you have enjoyed fine charcuterie in Italy and long to return to taste them again, they are now ready to visit you, via express delivery (or your local retailer).

    All of the Creminelli meats are handmade with choice cuts from select pig breeds raised on small family farms and fed with organic white grains. You can taste the difference—even the fat in the well-marbled pork tastes exceptional. Organic spices complement the beautiful flavor of the natural pork without getting in the way of it. You know you are eating recipes made with skills passed down from generation to generation.

    Certain products are simply not to be missed: the truffle salami, made with real truffles, and the Piemonte sausage, redolent of fresh rosemary, are two we don’t want to be without again. Pair them with the simplest foods—bread, cheese, pasta—and fireworks begin. But there’s much, much more to revel in here.



    TIP OF THE DAY: Passion Cocktails

    Balmy August nights call for refreshing cocktails, and this passionfruit cocktail is just the ticket. For two cocktails, you’ll need one cup of chilled passion fruit purée or nectar (if you can’t find the nectar at your regular market, try a natural food or specialty food store) and a bottle of chilled sparkling wine or Champagne. Immediately before serving, fill two Champagne flutes half full with the passionfruit purée and add a few dashes of bitters. Then add the sparkling wine. Garnish with a strawberry (slice a notch halfway up from the tip and perch it on the rim of the flute) or some raspberries on a cocktail pick or stirrer.


    GOURMET GIVEAWAY: Sauces ‘n Love Pasta Sauce

    This week’s Gourmet Giveaway prize is Scarpetta pasta sauce from Sauces ‘n Love. One winner will receive four varieties of this delectable, shelf-stable pasta sauce, which is a pasta lover’s dream (shelf stable means that you don’t need to refrigerate it until you open the jar)!

    A NIBBLE Top Pick Of The Week, Scarpetta sauce flavors provide quick, easy and healthy gourmet meal solutions for pasta, chicken, tofu and anything you like to serve with a good tomato or pesto sauce. Like all of the small-batch, artisan products from Sauces ’n Love, these sauces are gluten free and vegetarian, and made from authentic Italian recipes you are sure to love. Buon appetito to the winner!

  • Check out our review of Sauces ‘n Love and enter this week’s Gourmet Giveaway.
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    These sauces require no refrigeration until the jar is opened.


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