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    THE NIBBLE’s Gourmet News & Views

    Trends, Products & Items Of Note In The World Of Specialty Foods

    This is the blog section of THE NIBBLE. Read all of our content on TheNibble.com,
    the online magazine about gourmet and specialty food.

Archive for April, 2010

GOURMET GIVEAWAY #2: Sweet Marguerites Chocolate

Here’s your chance to get a taste of an outstanding chocolate nominee. Sweet Marguerites was recently selected as a Silver Finalist for both Outstanding Chocolate and Outstanding Food Gift in the 2010 awards from the National Association for the Specialty Food Trade. And they’re giving away some of their chocolate in this week’s Gourmet Giveaway!

  • THE PRIZE: One grand-prize winner will be sent a 24-piece box of assorted Sweet Marguerites chocolates, including seasonal favorites. (Retail value $34.00)
  • Two runner-ups will win a 5-piece sampler box of Umami chocolates, known for their unusual combinations. That assortment includes Malted Bacon, Plum Sake, Sweet Potato Caramel, Sesame-Tahini and Green Tea & Ginger. (Retail value $9.00)
  • To Enter This Gourmet Giveaway: Go to the box at the bottom of our Mother’s Day Chocolates Gift List and enter your email address for the prize drawing. This contest closes on Monday, May 3rd at noon, Eastern Time. Good luck!
  •  

    Umami chocolates will be awarded to two
    winners. Photo courtesy Sweet Marguerites.

  • Learn more about Sweet Marguerites.
  • Find our favorite chocolates and lots of “chocolate education” in our Gourmet Chocolates section.
  • Comments

    GOURMET GIVEAWAY #1: Picaboo Personal Recipe Book

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    Create your own family cookbook (or any
    type of album) with a customized Picaboo
    book. Photo courtesy Picaboo.

     

    Have you always wanted to create your own recipe book?

    Do you want to create a memorable volume of recipes from different generations of your family?

    Do you want to create a memorial to Grandma by publishing her recipes?

    Do you have a special group of family members and friends who would treasure copies of a professionally bound, great-looking book of recipes, photos, memoirs and anything else you’d like to add?

    Picaboo could be the answer! Picaboo is a fun and easy way to create a customized book of photos with captions, essays and more. You can create your own cookbook of family recipes, vacation journals, wedding albums, family photos for the grandparents—just about anything.

  • THE PRIZE: The winner of this week’s Gourmet Giveaway prize will receive a $50 gift certificate to use on Picaboo.com.
  • To Enter This Gourmet Giveaway: Go to the box at the bottom of our Best Reads Section and enter your email address for the prize drawing.
  • 25% DISCOUNT FOR NIBBLE READERS: If you aren’t the prize winner, you can still get 25% off your own custom photo books. Just order a Classic, Classic Leather or Classic Custom book by the end of May and enter SPRING25 at checkout.
  • Learn more about Picaboo Books at Picaboo.com.
  • Comments

    TIP OF THE DAY: Bake Pretzels

    Today is National Pretzel Day. Bake up a delicious batch of soft pretzels with this recipe.

    Pretzels were created in 610 C.E. by a European monk whose name is lost to history. Food historians trace him to Italy or Southern France.

    He formed leftover bread dough in a shape that represent children’s arms folded in prayer. The baked pretzels were given as a reward to children who had successfully memorized their prayers. The original word, “pretiola,” is Latin for “little reward.”

    We’ll bite to that!

  • Don’t want to bake? Find reviews of our favorite pretzels in our Gourmet Snacks section.
  • Take our Pretzel Trivia Quiz.
  •  

    soft-pretzels-230

    Bake your own soft pretzels. You can
    get creative with the toppings. Photo
    © Wendyday | Dreamstime.

    Comments

    RECIPES: Make A Spring Asparagus Recipe

    frittata-230

    Enjoy a colorful asparagus frittata for
    breakfast or lunch. Photo courtesy California
    Asparagus Commission.

     

    Asparagus season is finally upon us! While asparagus shipped from South America are available year-round, we wait impatiently for the April-June window for fresh domestic asparagus.

    We steam fresh asparagus stalks to al dente, so tasty they don’t even require butter (but maybe a squeeze of lemon or lime juice or a pinch of seasoned salt, like Fusion flavored sea salts, or our favorite imported saffron salt from Casina Rossa).

    Steamed asparagus are a dieter’s delight—just 27 calories per cup, lots of dietary fiber and high or very high in 15 vitamins and minerals.

    Asparagus also work into impressive recipes. Here, we present 11 recipes—something for every meal of the day—courtesy of the California Asparagus Commission.

  • Start by reading the history of asparagus (the ancient Greeks and Romans loved them!), along with asparagus shopping tips and cooking basics.
  • Then, dig in to the recipes.
  • Find more of our favorite vegetable recipes in our Gourmet Vegetables section.
  • Comments

    TIP OF THE DAY: Keeping Herbs Fresh

    When you buy fresh herbs, they’ll last longer if you keep them hydrated.

    You can buy an “herb keeper” like the one in the photo, but you don’t need one. It’s simple to create a makeshift herb hydrator:

    1. If the herbs have roots, place them in a glass of water covered with a plastic bag before refrigerating.

    2. For a no-spill solution, instead of the glass use a quart-size plastic take-out container and secure the lid.

    3. If you don’t have room for a glass or quart container, wrap the fresh herbs in damp paper towels and place in the plastic bag. Then, tuck in your produce drawer, or anywhere else it fits.

    Find articles about herbs, reviews of our favorite herbs, salts and seasonings, and how to check your bottles of herbs and spices for freshness in our Salts & Seasonings section.

     

    prepara-herb-keeper

    The Prepara Herb Keeper keeps herbs fresh.
    Or you can rig your own device.

    Comments

    PRODUCT: Save Bread Calories With Pepperidge Farm Deli Flats

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    A chicken sandwich on Deli Flats. Photo
    courtesy Pepperidge Farm.

     

    We love bread, and we love companies that figure out how to make it less caloric.

    Pepperidge Farm is high on our love list, with new 100-calorie Deli Flats.

    We’re not sure that Deli Flats is the best name, because you can make just about anything with this versatile bread: for starters, egg sandwiches, tuna sandwiches, BLTs, grilled cheese, low-cal bruschetta, burgers, toast and toasted wedges for dips and salsas.

    But they’re called “rolls” because they’re split in two (they look like very flat English muffins). They’re a perfect alternative to traditional carb- and calorie-heavy breads and are also an excellent source of fiber. One serving—both slices of the roll—is just 100 calories.

    Deli Flats are available in three varieties—Whole Grain White, 100% Whole Grain Wheat and 7-Grain. The first ingredient in all three is whole wheat flour.

    Pepperidge Farm Deli Flats are available at major supermarkets, grocery stores and mass merchandisers nationwide. Learn more at PepperidgeFarm.com.

    See more of our favorite low-calorie breads in our Diet Bread Tricks article.

    Comments

    PRODUCT: Appomattox River Peanut Company

    We recently tasted some gourmet peanuts from The Appomattox River Peanut Company of Hopewell, Virginia.

    Made on the historic banks of the Appomattox River,* the recipe uses only the finest select Virginia peanuts, peanut oil and a pinch of salt.

    They’re the crunchiest peanuts we’ve ever had—and these are just the Original Gourmet Peanuts, not the Extra Crunchy Peanuts!

    Another plus: user-friendly packaging. A metal key is provided to open the tin. It’s magnetized and attaches to the lid, so it will always be at hand.

    Now, if it could only be our friend and stop us from devouring these crunchy peanuts! We were inspired to mix up a martini and watch the setting sun.

    The company offers numerous other nut products, including flavored peanuts, chocolate-covered peanuts, brittle; plus almonds, cashews and pistachios. To order, call 1.866-458-4741, or purchase online at AppomattoxPeanuts.com.

     

    can-230

    Very crunchy, lightly salty. Photo by Jerry
    Deutsch | THE NIBBLE.

    *If Appomattox sounds familiar, the Battle of Appomattox Court House was the final engagement of General Robert E. Lee’s Army of Northern Virginia, following which Lee surrendered to the Union Army under Lt. Gen. Ulysses S. Grant. The battle took place on the morning of April 9, 1865. On April 12, a formal ceremony for the signing of the surrender documents marked the disbandment of the Army of Northern Virginia and ended the Civil War.

    Comments

    TIP OF THE DAY: Reinvented Veggies

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    Cold asparagus in vinaigrette with
    mushrooms and Parmesan cheese. Photo
    courtesy California Asparagus Commission.

     

    Instead of reheating leftover vegetables and serving them as “leftovers,” reinvent them as a cold salad.

    No matter what the vegetable, you can toss it with a little olive oil and some vinegar or a squeeze of lemon or lime juice. If you can combine more than one vegetable, so much the better. Variety is the spice of life!

    Speaking of spice, add any fresh herbs you may have at hand, or peruse the spice cabinet for red pepper flakes, sesame seeds and other favorites.

    Add a bit of chopped green onion or whatever else is in the fridge. If you there’s an apple or orange, chop it and add it, or garnish with nuts, raisins or other dried fruits.

    Got cheese? Sprinkle some on.

    No one will think they’re getting “leftovers.”

    Find more vegetable ideas in our Gourmet Vegetables section.

    Comments

    PRODUCT: Truffled Popcorn

    Popcorn is a whole grain and a healthy snack. Is that why at food trade shows, there are always crowds mobbing the Charlie’s Truffled Popcorn table (and these are professional buyers)?

    We compared Charlie’s Truffled Popcorn to 479° Black Truffle & White Cheddar Popcorn, a NIBBLE Top Pick Of The Week.

    If you’re a truffle fan, you’ll want to read the review—not just to see the differences in the popcorn (both are delish) but to understand that not all “black Périgord truffles” are created equal.

    After many years of attempts, scientists finally succeeded in cultivating the fab $1,500-a-pound fungi, which grow wild in France’s Périgord region, elsewhere.

    But just as the same variety of wine grapes, coffee beans and other agricultural products have the distinct flavors of the areas in which they’re grown, so does Tuber melanosporum, the black Périgord truffle.

    Read the details in the full review.

     

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    A dusting of the truffle and truffle salt makes
    Charlie’s Truffled Popcorn an extra-luxurious
    snack. Photo by Jerry Deutsch | THE NIBBLE.

    Comments

    RECIPE: Turf & Turf (Steak & Goat Cheese)

    strip-steak-chevre-recipe-vbc

    Gourmet cheese steak. Photo courtesy
    Vermont Butter & Cheese Creamery.

     

    Here’s a simple idea but delicious to garnish a plain grilled strip steak with a dense creamy, aged artisan goat cheese and a fig demi-glaze. Think of it as a gourmet cheese steak.

    The recipe, courtesy of Vermont Butter & Cheese Creamery, uses the Creamery’s Coupole cheese. If you can’t find Coupole, substitute a similar goat cheese. If you’re not a goat cheese fan, try Camembert or Baby Brie.

    Grilled New York Strip Steaks With Coupole
    & Fig Demi-Glaze

    Ingredients
    - ½ cup fig jam or spread
    - ¾ cup Port wine
    - 1 cup unsalted beef broth
    - 4 New York strip steaks or sirloin steaks
    - Salt and freshly ground pepper to taste
    - 1 Coupole or other dome or pyramid goat cheese

    Directions
    1. Start sauce a half hour before grilling.
    2. Put the fig jam, Port wine and beef broth together in a small saucepan and bring to a boil. Turn heat down to medium-low and simmer, stirring occasionally, until it has reduced by half.
    3. Meanwhile light the grill. Salt and pepper steaks on both sides and cook to desired doneness.
    4. One minute before the steaks are finished, place a slice of Coupole on each steak and close the lid until the cheese starts to melt and steaks are done.
    5. Allow steak to rest at room temperature for 5 minutes before serving. Taste the sauce and add salt and pepper if necessary.
    6. Serve with the sauce on the side or drizzled over the top. If desired, garnish with an unmelted slice of cheese.

    What’s the difference between a strip steak and a New York strip steak?

    New York strip steak, New York steak, boneless strip steak, Kansas City strip, shell steak and top loin are all the same piece of meat!

    Learn your cuts of beef in our Beef Glossary, one of THE NIBBLE’s most popular articles.

    Also check out our Lamb Glossary and Pork Glossary.

    Comments

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