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Archive for February, 2010

GOURMET GIVEAWAY: Enter To Win The Entire Line Of Mrs. Dash


Add a dash of Mrs. Dash to any savory dish.
Photo by Hannah Kaminsky | THE NIBBLE.

What could you do with the entire line of Mrs. Dash Seasoning Blends? What couldn’t you do! And you might win the entire line, so read on.

Mrs. Dash sodium-free seasoning blends add great flavor to food the healthy way. Regardless of what you choose to prepare for lunch or dinner, there’s a Mrs. Dash Seasoning Blend to make it more flavorful. With 15 different varieties to choose from, you can cook up a month of meals using each blend only twice! (The line is certified OU kosher.)

Grab the Italian Medley to punch up your spaghetti and meatballs, shake some zest onto your bland chicken breasts with Lemon Pepper or reach for the Hamburger Grilling Blend to add some kick to your patties.

Because Mrs. Dash seasonings are salt-free, all-natural mixes of herbs and spices, they help limit salt intake. Since February is Heart Healthy Month, we’ll take a momentary break from writing about all the great foods you can eat to remind you that too much sodium in your diet can increase blood pressure, potentially leading to stroke and heart disease. Kids also need to cut the salt, before they develop bad eating habits.

So if you don’t already know Mrs. Dash, invite her to dinner! Seasoning blends include Caribbean Citrus, Extra Spicy, Fiesta Lime, Garlic & Herb, Italian Medley, Lemon Pepper, Onion & Herb, Original Blend, Southwest Chipotle, Table Blend and Tomato Basil Garlic, and the grilling blends; Chicken, Hamburger, Mesquite and Steak.

PRIZE: Mrs. Dash Salt-Free Seasoning Blends

  • All the seasoning needs of one person will be solved for the winner of the entire line of Mrs. Dash seasonings. Blends come in 15 flavors, including the four grilling blends, so you can use them for every meal. Approximate retail value: $46.00.
  • To Enter This Gourmet Giveaway: Go to the box at the bottom of our Salt, Seasonings, Herbs & Spices Section and enter your email address.Learn more at



CHINESE NEW YEAR: Special Chocolates For The Year Of The Tiger

If you forgot to send Valentine’s Day chocolate to someone special, or need a reciprocal gift, you’ve got an “out.” You can still celebrate 4708, the Chinese Lunar New Year (February 14 to 28th). It’s the Year of the Tiger.

Moon cakes are traditional, but few people would choose them over Burdick Chocolate’s exquisite chocolates and confections, in keepsake wood boxes tied with a red and gold “good luck” ribbon and a gold wax “good luck” symbol.

  • Bonbon lovers will relish a special chocolate assortment created for the New Year: ganache infused with the flavors of Asia. Take a bite of Plum Wine Brandy, Lemongrass, Green Tea, Mango, Ginger, Cashew Sesame, Lapsang Souchong chocolates and more. ($20.00 to $63.00)
  • For a bit less chocolate intensity, there are chocolate macaroons, which is the gourmet’s version of a moon cake ($24.00) and chocolate-dipped fruit ($22.00 to $44.00).


Read our review of Burdick Chocolate, a NIBBLE Top Pick Of The Week.


Celebrate Chinese Lunar New Year with
special sweets. Photo courtesy


TIP OF THE DAY: Savory Cherries


Spiced cherries with wine and vinegar. Photo
courtesy 34° Foods With Attitude.

Leading up to next Monday, we begin a week of cherry tips in honor of our first president, George Washington. The Father of our Country was born on February 22, 1732 on his family estate off the south bank of the Potomac River in Westmoreland County, Virginia. (When he was 3-1/2 the family moved to Mount Vernon.) No cherry trees were cut down to create these tips!

If your cherry repertoire is limited to pies, preserves and chocolate-covered cherries, you’re missing out on savory expressions of the cherry.

Try savory cherry condiments available from cherry specialist Chukar Cherries. You can buy (or make your own) cherry balsamic vinaigrette, cherry chipotle barbecue sauce, cherry salsa and curried cherry chutney.

And try this recipe for spiced cherries. Serve them as a condiment with cheese or with charcuterie and pâté instead of—or along with—gherkins (make enough for gifts).

The spiced cherries work as both a savory condiment with hot and cold meats and sandwiches as well as a dessert sauce on ice cream or sorbet. Or, add them to a pound cake with some whipped cream to celebrate George Washington’s Birthday on February 22. Don’t forget the candle!

You may have to wait until June, though, for fresh cherries to begin to arrive. When Washington’s biographer, Parson Mason Weems, made up the “Father, I cannot tell a lie” myth about young George chopping down the treasured cherry tree, he should have thought ahead and picked a fruit that would be available in February!



PRODUCT: SoyCha Dressing & Asian Chicken Salad

How does one recover from a Valentine’s Day smorgasbord of chocolates from six great artisan chocolatiers, not to mention cookies, brownies and a tasting of three rosé Champagnes?

By retreating to one of our favorite diet dishes—Asian Chicken Salad—for the next several meals.

We make it in less than 5 minutes, thanks to:

  • Dole Cole Slaw Mix (shredded cabbage and carrots)
  • Perdue Short Cuts Carved Turkey Breast (restaurant secret: lots of that “chicken salad” out there is made with turkey, which allows for larger chunks of poultry)
  • A few shakes of our SoyCha soy-based salad dressing and marinade (or other dressing made from canola oil, vinegar, tamari sauce, sesame oil and salt.


This takes less than 90 seconds to throw into a bowl and is delicious as is. But for more complexity, we take another two minutes to add:

  • A sprinkle of toasted sesame seeds
  • Chopped green onions (scallions)
  • Some fresh orange segments, from a bounty of Cushman’s Honeybell oranges, received as a gift (they’re very, very juicy and come with a plastic juice-catching bib!)

SoyCha salad dressing/marinade and its
spicy sister. Photo by Hannah Kaminsky |

  • Optional garnish: crispy noodles saved from Chinese take-out


SoyCha, from Palcha Products, is also a great marinade for meats and fish and a dressing for a fusion Chinese noodle dish (otherwise stated, toss your favorite pasta with it) or rice salad (or heck, potato salad, string bean salad, you-name-it). We’ve tried it with spinach salad and cole slaw, and used ChiliCha to make a spicy beef salad.

ChiliCha has a nice spicy kick—noticeable but not fiery. We enjoy it in as a dressing for the Asian Chicken Salad. Tipsee Sesame is a gluten-free version, made without soy paste, which contains wheat. Now, we’d wish for a sugar-free version. There are only 3g of sugar per two-tablespoon serving, but the less hidden sugar in our diet, the better. We need to balance ourselves out on the days that we’re not facing down all those chocolates, cookies and brownies.


TIP OF THE DAY: Low Carb & No Carb Valentine Treats


Enstrom’s sugar-free toffee so delicious,
you won’t believe it’s sugar free (and kosher,
too). Photo courtesy

Abstaining from chocolates and other celebratory foods on Valentine’s Day is no fun—unless you know how to find great treats that you can have.


And Happy Valentine’s Day from all of us at THE NIBBLE.


RECIPE: Chocolate Cabernet Bundt Cake

Wine and chocolate are a great pairing. But we never saw them together in a cake until this recipe, the grand prize winner in the first Bundts Across America contest in 2008.

The Chocolate Cabernet Flavors Di ‘Vine’ Wine Cake is a creative combination of chocolate devil’s food cake, black cherry gelatin and a cup of California Cabernet Sauvignon. The creator, a third grade teacher, is married to a grape grower in Stockton, California.

The Bundts Across America contest is held bi-annually, and one will be held in 2010. Stay tuned for information.


Devil’s food and Cabernet Sauvignon dance
in this “Di Vine” cake. Photo courtesy Nordicware.


VALENTINE’S DAY: Red Cocktail Ideas


Mix up some passion for Valentine’s Day.
Photo courtesy Grey Goose.

You still haven’t found your perfect Valentine’s Day cocktail? We’re here to help!

How about something red? Something vodka? Something sexy? And delicious, of course!

Try the Lovesicle, Midnight Moment or Pair-tini from Grey Goose. All blend infused vodka (pear or orange) with Valentine flavors, including passion fruit purée, red grapefruit juice, vanilla liqueur and a liqueur called Parfait Amour, based on a Curaçao base.

Check out the cocktail recipes.

For a fun Valentine’s Day party, let guests invent their own “love cocktail” and name the winner. Be prepared with a large-size (3 liters or more) of at least one base spirit like vodka, plus all of the liqueurs and mixers required to let contestants evoke their inner mixologists.


TIP OF THE DAY: Portabella Eggs Benedict

Plan for a special Valentine’s Day breakfast or brunch tomorrow.

Eggs Benedict are a popular choice. Put a twist on them by placing the eggs on a yummy portabella mushroom instead of the toast.

You can have toast, of course: Use a heart-shaped cookie cutter to cut out “croutons” from slices of toast. Put one crouton atop each of the eggs.

Add a few raspberries and/or strawberries to the plate for some Valentine’s Day color.

And perhaps some rosé Champagne or sparkling rosé wine?


Portabella Eggs Benedict. Photo courtesy of
the Mushroom Council.



VALENTINE’S DAY: Chocolate Vodka Cocktails


Chocolate cocktails range from sweet to spicy
to sizzling, like “Hot Lips,” above. Photo
courtesy Van Gogh Vodka.

Chocolate has been called the “fruit of love,” so it’s no wonder that it’s the favorite gift for Valentine’s Day.

Long thought of as an aphrodisiac, there’s a scientific basis to the claim. Chocolate contains phenylethylamine, the same chemical released in your brain when you fall in love—leading to an excited feeling of infatuation.

Given what alcohol does to one’s brain, what happens when you drink chocolate alcohol? Find out this Valentine’s Day with chocolate cocktails made from Van Gogh Dutch Chocolate Vodka.

The vodka is so wonderfully chocolaty, it doesn’t need mixers. But not everyone likes drinking vodka neat—even chocolate vodka. So check out these chocolate cocktail recipes.

And run to your nearest liquor store to get a bottle of Van Gogh Dutch Chocolate Vodka. If you aren’t celebrating with a special Valentine, this is one way to make new friends.


TIP OF THE DAY: Super Salmon Caviar

Salmon caviar is an affordable treat for Valentine’s Day. You can use it in a variety of ways: in canapés, in pasta, in a baked potato, as garnish on grilled fish or in soup, and of course, with smoked salmon.

Don’t miss an opportunity to serve salmon caviar during your Valentine festivities. Take a look at our salmon caviar recipes, and pick one or more.

potato with caviar

As hors d’oeuvres or on a dinner plate, red
jacket potatoes topped with red caviar are always a hit.


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