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Archive for February 1, 2010

GOURMET GIVEAWAY: Walkers Shortbread

If you dine with a sophisticated crowd, enter this week’s Gourmet Giveaway for your chance to win one of the world’s favorite shortbreads—gussied up for special occasions with chocolate enrobing.

Each day of this week’s contest, Walkers Shortbread is giving five winners three of their gourmet “shortbreads with a twist.” All the cookies are covered in a rich chocolate coating and pair perfectly with coffee or tea. Whether it’s tea time, dessert time or general snack time—or you need a welcome hostess gift—Walkers Shortbread is an indulgence to look forward to.

  • THE PRIZE: Every day of the contest, five winners will each win three boxes of Walkers shortbread cookies. Each of the three varieties—Ginger Royals (photo at left), Orange Royals and Walkers Chocolate Rings—have rich chocolate coatings that would make your chocolate-loving Valentine beg for more. Approximate retail value: $25.00.
  • To Enter This Gourmet Giveaway: Go to the box at the bottom of our Cookies, Brownies & Bars Section and enter your email address for the prize drawing. This contest closes on Monday, February 8th at noon, Eastern Time. Good luck!
  • SPECIAL DISCOUNT: Through April 1, 2010, NIBBLE readers get a 20% discount on all of Walkers products. Just use the code nibblewalkers at checkout when you visit WalkersUS.com.

 

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One of the world’s favorite shortbreads is
even more delicious when decked out in
chocolate. Photo courtesy Walkers Shortbread.

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FOOD HOLIDAY: National Baked Alaska Day

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It’s easy to make! Photo of Baked Alaska by
Sergey Kashkin | IST.

February 1st is National Baked Alaska Day. This dazzling dessert is a masterpiece of chemistry: an ice cream cake topped with meringue and baked in the oven until the meringue browns. Yes, frozen ice cream is baked in an oven!

The concept (and execution) is simple. Ice cream, mounded on a pie plate, is covered on all sides with slices of sponge cake or pound cake, which is then covered with meringue. The entire dessert is then placed in a 500°F oven just long enough to firm the meringue—three or four minutes. The meringue is an effective insulator, and in the short cooking time needed to finish the dessert, it prevents the ice cream from melting.

The concept of baked ice cream was developed by the Chinese, who used pastry as the insulator; a Chinese delegation introduced it to Paris in the nineteenth century. In 1804, the American physicist Benjamin Thompson (Count Rumford) then investigated the heat resistance of beaten egg whites, and demonstrated that beaten egg whites were a better insulator.

His dish was named Omelette Surprise or Omelette à la Norvégienne, the Norwegian attribution owing to the “arctic” appearance and cold center. Delmonico’s Restaurant in New York City renamed it Baked Alaska in honor of the newly acquired Alaska territory, and the name stuck.

Make a Baked Alaska with this recipe (it’s easy when you use store-bought ice cream and pound cake instead of making/baking your own from scratch).

 

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TIP OF THE DAY: Sweet Potato Chips For Sweet Potato Month

February is Sweet Potato Month. Sweet potatoes aren’t just for Thanksgiving—they’re delicious year-round and are more nutritious than white potatoes. For a fun family treat, make sweet potato chips—a delicious snack or side to any meat or vegetarian dinner.

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Photo of North Fork sweet potato chips by Elton Lin | THE NIBBLE.

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BOOK: For Prospective Culinary Students

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This quick read can tell you if you should
seriously consider a culinary career.

Want a career change? Can’t find a job in the recession? Love to cook?

Many people consider careers as a chef de cuisine, pastry chef or caterer. But what’s the reality versus the dream?

Some insights come from Dorothy Cann Hamilton, founder of the French Culinary Industry, in a new book, Love What You Do: Building A Career In The Culinary Industry.

This quick-read is as easy as sitting through a talk by Ms. Hamilton, as she discusses the costs, training and other requirements of preparing for a culinary career. (Note to Food Network enthusiasts: Don’t expect to become a highly paid celebrity chef or a TV star. You’ll be working long days at an average annual salary of $40,700 (less to start: the national average salary in the first four years of employment is $33,700).

Ms. Cann covers the practical side: how much you need to live on while you attend school, full-time versus part-time, tuition, career paths, how to get hired and what to expect in your first year.

It’s a very interesting read for people who love food and want a peek behind the scenes; and, as a paperback, a great gift for anyone thinking of a culinary career.

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