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Archive for 2010

TIP OF THE DAY: Toasty, Nutty Pasta

Make your pasta recipes even better in the New Year by toasting it.

Say what?

Yes, indeed: Toasting dry, uncooked pasta in a dry pan over medium heat adds a nutty depth of flavor.

You can toast any dry shape, from elbows to bow ties to orzo to wagon wheels. Place the pasta in a dry heated pan over medium heat and use a wooden spoon to move the pasta around for a few minutes. The pasta will turn a browner shade and will give off a toasty aroma.

Then, simply cook the pasta as you normally would, in boiling salted water.

When everyone asks what’s “different” about the pasta, clue them in to toasting.

Before you boil or bake it, toast it! Photo
by Suzsanna Kilian | SXC.


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PRODUCT: “Instant” Warm Chocolate Pudding Cake

Exquisite warm chocolate “pudding,” or
steamed cake. Photo by Jody Horton | Sticky
Toffee Pudding Co. Garnishes not included.

The New Year’s diet starts tomorrow, but today we’re celebrating with the new Warm Chocolate And Almond Pudding from the Sticky Toffee Pudding Company, a NIBBLE Top Pick Of The Week.

These English “puddings” are steamed cakes. Steaming—instead of conventional baking—creates a super-dense and super-moist cakelike dessert that is simply irresistible. One can only wonder why steamed puddings haven’t replaced the ubiquitous chocolate lava cake on restaurant menus.

We love every product from the Sticky Toffee Pudding Company, which include English Lemon Pudding, Molten Chocolate Baby-Cake, Sticky Ginger Pudding and Sticky Toffee Pudding. The new Warm Chocolate and Almond Pudding is just as spectacular—even more so for chocolate lovers. It’s a celestial chocolate experience, worth going out of your way for. (Warning: THE NIBBLE is not responsible for any addiction that ensues—we’ve got our own to deal with.)

These desserts are the epitome of “rich and moist.” With its intensely fine chocolate flavor, Warm Chocolate And Almond Pudding is worthy of being our last indulgence of 2010. It is an ultimate chocolate experience. (The almond component is the rich and flavorful almond meal used instead of white flour.)

The individual puddings are easy to heat in their ovenproof containers in a microwave or conventional oven.

More good news: The desserts are shelf stable, although refrigerating upon arrival is recommended to extend the shelf life. The puddings can be refrigerated for four weeks, and freeze beautifully for up to 6 months. Plan ahead and you’ll always have a pudding in the fridge or freezer when you need a great dessert.

If you owe someone a belated holiday gift, he/she won’t complain that these arrived late.


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TIP OF THE DAY: Ice Cream Cupcakes

Create a fun and easy party dessert, a variation on the ice cream cupcake.

All you need are cupcake liners, a muffin tin, chocolate wafer cookies, a quart of your favorite ice cream (we like a pint each of chocolate chip or mint chocolate chip, but any flavor is delicious) plus the chocolate whipped cream topping: heavy cream, cocoa powder and confectioners’ sugar.

While these “cupcakes” use cookie crumbs to simulate the cake, you can substitute actual cake or brownies, using a cookie cutter to cut rounds that fit into the cupcake wrappers.

Makes 12 cupcakes.


1. Leave ice cream on counter to soften slightly (or you can microwave a quart for 20 seconds).

Turn ice cream and cookie crumbs into an
Ice Cream Cupcake. Photo courtesy
Wisconsin Milk Marketing Board.

2. Place 24 wafer cookies in a large plastic storage bag and seal. With a rolling pin, turn the cookies into coarse crumbs.

3. Insert 12 cupcake wrappers into a large muffin tin. Line each cupcake wrapper with cookie crumbs, 2 to 3 tablespoons per cupcake.

4. Scoop ice cream into large round balls and add a ball to each cupcake wrapper. (If you can’t make the scoops round enough, shape them with your hands.) Place muffin tin in freezer.

5. Make whipped cream topping: Sift 1/4 cup confectioners’ sugar and 2 tablespoons unsweetened cocoa onto a sheet of waxed paper. Begin to whip 1 cup of cold, heavy cream, gradually adding in the sugar-cocoa mixture. Whip for approximately 4 minutes, until the whipped cream is the consistency of shaving cream.

6. Using a spatula, frost the ice cream cupcakes with the whipped cream and sprinkle the whipped cream with any remaining cookie crumbs. (You can use other garnishes you have at hand: chocolate chips, coconut flakes, nuts and so forth.) Return cupcakes to freezer until ready to serve.

Find more recipes in our Ice Cream Section.


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RECIPE: Savory Cheesecake

Basil Cheesecake Recipe

Nacho Cheesecake Recipe

[1] Nacho cheesecake (photo courtesy [2] A no-bake savory basil cheesecake (photos courtesy Eat Wisconsin Cheese).


What’s a savory cheesecake?

Using a base of cream cheese—just like dessert cheesecake—it’s a nonsweet cheesecake that combines savory ingredients: herbs, vegetables, seafood and/or other cheeses.

A savory cheesecake:

  • Can be a spread for party bread and crackers.
  • Can be a first course or cheese course consisting of a slice of cheesecake eaten with a fork. (We serve ours on a plate with a mesclun salad and vinaigrette.)
  • Can be a large cheesecakes or individual cheesecakes.
  • Can combine just about any flavors, from shrimp to jalapeño to roquefort.
  • Are great for special occasions.
  • Are always a big hit, because few people have ever had one.
    Try these delicious recipes, courtesy of the Wisconsin Milk Marketing Board, representing the dairy farmers who create some of the world’s best cheeses. Just take a look at the photos: You’ll want to make them all!

  • Blue Cheese Cheesecake Recipe
  • Cool & Creamy Tuna Cheesecake Recipe
  • Grand Cru Gruyère & Lobster Cheesecake Recipe
  • Nacho Cheesecake Recipe
  • No Bake Savory Basil Cheesecake Recipe
  • Provolone & Corn Cheesecake Recipe

    Head to our Cheesecake Section on, and pull down the Gourmet Foods menu for the blog, above right.



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    TOP PICK OF THE WEEK: Best Sweet Gourmet Foods Of 2010 (PART II)

    Our favorite sweet treats of 2010 are luxurious but very affordable—most under $10.00.

    The honors go to:


    If you missed Part I, Best Savory Gourmet Foods Of 2010, here they are.

    Wishing you a cornucopia of treats in the New Year!

    Indulge Caramels in Cinnamon. Photo
    by Evan Dempsey | THE NIBBLE.

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