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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 November, 2010

THANKSGIVING DRINK: Ginger Martini

There’s one day left to buy the fixings for a special Thanksgiving Cocktail.

  • Make a Ginger Martini with Ginger Soother (from The Ginger People, available at Whole Foods Markets) or use ginger syrup (recipe provided).
  • Or go for a Crantini (a cranberry martini).
  • For a non-alcoholic drink, serve ginger beer. It’s much more robust and gingery than ginger ale. An alcohol-free, sophisticated soft drink, it can be enjoyed straight from the bottle or as a cocktail mixer.
  • GINGER BEER TASTING
    For our Thanksgiving guests, we purchased every brand of ginger beer we could find at two stores. During the cocktail hour, instead of having everyone drink too many martinis, we’re having a ginger beer tasting. Just print up sheets with all the contenders. Here’s a guide for how to do it.

     

    Perfect for Thanksgiving: a Ginger
    Martini. Photo by Bryan Delodder | IST.

    GINGER BEER COCKTAIL
    You can use any ginger beer that remains to make a Moscow Mule: 2 ounces of vodka, 1 tablespoon of lime juice and ginger beer. Add the vodka and lime juice to a highball glass filled with ice. Fill with ginger beer and garnish with a lime wedge.

    Comments

    COOKING VIDEO: How To Roast A Turkey

      Just two days to go until Thanksgiving! If you’re in charge of roasting the turkey and want a refresher course, Chef Scott Cutaneo shows you how to make a perfectly moist, roast turkey.

    Chef Cutaneo works with a brined turkey. While this step is optional, if you have the time to include brining, the difference in tenderness and flavor will be worth it. Here’s last week’s video and guide to brining.

  • Learn the history of turkey while your bird roasts to a golden brown.
  • For a twist on the traditional: Using flavored butters on your bird or with side dishes is an easy way to add zest with flair. Here are six compound butter recipes for the holidays.
  • Get ready to turn those cold leftovers into a hot Turkey and Stuffing Casserole.
  • Comments

    GIFT OF THE DAY: Nudo Infused Olive Oil

    Delicious olive oil from Nudo, crushed with
    your choice of six different fruits or herbs.
    All it needs is a bow. Photo courtesy
    Nudo-Italia.com.

     

    Nudo means “bare” in Italian, referring to the extra-virgin olive oil that fills each attractive can.

    But what we like best about Nudo is not the bare oil (which is lovely) but the crushed fruit and herbs that infuse the flavored oils with so much pizzazz.

    Within hours of being picked, late harvest olives are stone-milled together with fresh-picked fruits and herbs. (Late harvest olives have a subtler flavor than early harvest olives, allowing the infused flavor to burst through.) Crushing the fruits/herbs with the olives provides much finer flavor than infusing the olive oil with an extract. That’s why Nudo is the real deal.

    Choose from Basil, Chillie, Garlic, Lemon, Mandarin, Thyme or Original olive oil. We also like the pizzazz of the can decoration, which makes Nudo olive oil a charming small gift.

    An 8.4-ounce can is $11.99 at Nudo-Italia.com.

    AND THERE’S MORE: You can also adopt an olive tree for a year ($109) and get all the oil produced from that tree shipped to you. See details on the Nudo-Italia.com website.

  • Find more of our favorite savory stocking stuffers, one of our 13 gift lists for 2010.
  • Learn all about olive oil in our Olive Oil Section.
  • Comments

    TIP OF THE DAY: No More Soggy Cereal

    Want to avoid soggy cereal?

    We find that our morning bowl of cereal, filled with milk, becomes soggy after three spoonfuls.

    It occurred to us: Why pour milk over dry cereal? Why not use a glass of milk as a chaser?

    We tried it, it worked, and now it’s our favorite way to eat cereal:

    1. Fill a bowl with cereal plus any sweetener or fruit.
    2. Fill a glass with milk.
    3. Insert a spoonful of cereal into mouth. Crunch once.
    4. Follow with a sip of milk.
    5. Repeat until all cereal and milk are consumed.

    Just because it seems unusual doesn’t mean that it isn’t a better way. After all, forks weren’t used in England until the mid-17th century, although they were introduced to the country in 1608 by an Englishman who brought them back from Italy.

     

    Keep it crunchy: Follow a spoonful of dry
    cereal with a shot of milk. Photo
    courtesy PreserveProducts.com.

    According to The History Of The Fork, the English ridiculed forks as being effeminate and unnecessary. “Why should a person need a fork when God had given him hands?” was the refrain.

    So, learn a lesson from history: Try new things, as strange as they may seem.

    Comments

    RECIPE TEST: Chicken With Corn Flakes Recipe

    This elegant version of cornflake-coated
    chicken is by Kim at Ordinary Recipes
    Made Gourmet
    . Here’s the recipe.

     

    A few days ago we wrote about the superiority of panko, Japanese breadcrumbs, over American breadcrumbs.

    Yesterday, munching on some Corn Flakes for breakfast, we noticed the cornflake-crusted chicken recipe on the back of the box (called “Double Coated Chicken”).

    Hmm, we thought: How do Corn Flakes stand up to panko?

    For lunch, we made both. The verdict: Corn Flakes win hands down—crunchy and more flavorful than panko.

    We hadn’t used Corn Flakes breading in years, associating it with less-interesting old-school American cooking of the 1950s and 1960s.

    We were wrong. We’ll now use a Corn Flakes crust on fish and other fried foods; and crunchy Corn Flakes crumbs instead of bread crumbs atop mac and cheese and other recipes.

     

    RECIPE: CORN FLAKES FRIED CHICKEN

    Ingredients For 2 Servings

  • 1 skinless boneless chicken breast (8 ounces)
  • 1 large egg
  • 1/4 cup milk
  • 1-1/2 cups corn flakes
  • 1/3 cup vegetable oil
  • 1/4 + 1/4 teaspoon salt
  • 1/4 + 1/4 teaspoon pepper
  •  
    Preparation

    1. POUND chicken between 2 sheets of plastic wrap to an even 1/2-inch thickness. Sprinkle chicken with 1/4 teaspoon each of salt and pepper.

    2. WHISK the egg and milk together in a shallow bowl. In another bowl, crush the corn flakes and toss with remaining salt and pepper.

    3. HEAT tje oil in a small nonstick skillet over medium heat until hot.

    4. DREDGE the chicken in the egg mixture, letting excess drip off, then in the corn flakes. Press so that the corn flakes adhere.

    5. FRY the chicken, turning once, until golden and just cooked through (5 to 6 minutes). Drain on paper towels.
     
    ANOTHER WAY TO ENJOY CORN FLAKES

    Try corn flakes as a crunchy topping on ice cream. We prefer them to the sweetened Frosted Flakes—they’re a better counterpoint to the sweetness of the ice cream. But if you have a really sweet tooth, try the sugary Frosted Flakes.

     
      

    Comments

    GIFT OF THE DAY: Bacon Infused Caviar

    You may not have to look to far to find someone who loves:

  • Bacon
  • Caviar
  • Any new and exciting food
  • We love all three, so of course we went gaga over “bacon and eggs” caviar—trout roe infused with applewood-smoked bacon.

    We’ve been enjoying it as an hor d’oeuvre, as a general food garnish, on boiled potatoes, on blini, straight from the jar, and of course, with scrambled eggs and bacon.

    Send as many ounces as you can afford, at $15.00/ounce. There’s also a $38.00 gift set that includes an ounce of the caviar, four ounces of smoked salmon, a caviar spoon and a package of bagel crisps. However we steer clear of eating delicate fish roe on hard, crunchy crackers. It’s not a good pairing.

    Check out the bacon caviar at CaliforniaCaviar.com.

    See more of our favorite gourmet gifts for Holiday 2010.

    Learn all about caviar in our Caviar Section.

     

    The “new” bacon and eggs. Photo courtesy
    California Caviar.

    Comments

    Gourmet Giveaway #2 ~ Customized Book From Picaboo Books

    Get creative and personalize your own
    book for yourself or for a gift. Photo
    courtesy Picaboo Books.

     

    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.

    Three lucky winners will each receive a $30 gift certificate to use however they choose on Picaboo.com.

  • To Enter This Gourmet Giveaway: Go to the box at the bottom of our 2010 Best Food & Drink Book Gifts Page and click to enter your email address for the prize drawing. This contest closes on Monday, November 29th at noon, Eastern Time. Good luck!
  • For more information about Picaboo Books, visit Picaboo.com.
  • Comments

    GOURMET GIVEAWAY #1 ~ A Fresh-Cut, 7-Foot-Tall Green Valley Christmas Tree

    Sure, you could bundle yourself up in a parka and snow boots, trudge through the snow at a tree lot looking for the perfect Christmas tree, cut it down, drag it back to your car and haul it home through the holiday traffic. Or, you could win a fresh-cut Christmas tree in our Gourmet Giveaway and have it delivered right to your door, courtesy of this week’s Gourmet Giveaway prize sponsor, Green Valley Christmas Trees.

    Nothing says Christmas like a lush, fresh and fragrant Christmas tree. Trade in the headache of finding the perfect Christmas tree for the real holiday fun—decorating the tree with loved ones.

  • Green Valley Christmas Trees individually select its trees to meet premium standards for shape and size.
  • Then they’re harvested, wrapped, packaged in a sturdy carton and sent via FedEx for delivery in 3-5 business days.
  • All that will be left for you to do is set up your tree using the pre-drilled holes; personalize it with your favorite garlands, lights, tinsel and ornaments; and enjoy it throughout the holiday season.
  • One winner will receive a live, fresh-cut Christmas tree shipped the same day it’s harvested to ensure the maximum freshness and longevity.* Given proper tree care, the tree should last 4-6 weeks. All you’ll have to worry about is how to decorate it.

     

    A 7-foot-tall tree will be delivered right to
    your door! Photo courtesy Green Valley.

  • Trees can be shipped only to those living in the continental United States.
  • Approximate retail value: $154.99.

  • To Enter This Gourmet Giveaway: Go to the box at the bottom of our Sugar-Free And Low-Calorie Gift Ideas Page and click to enter your email address for the prize drawing. This contest closes on Monday, November 29th at noon, Eastern Time. Good luck!
  • If you aren’t the lucky winner notified on Nov. 29, you have until Dec. 3 to buy a tree at a 10% discount. Just enter the coupon code “NIBBLE” at checkout.

  • For more information about Green Valley, visit GreenValleyChristmasTrees.com.

  • Comments

    THANKSGIVING: Pumpkin Cupcakes With Pumpkin Cheesecake Frosting

    Bake some pumpkin cupcakes. Photo
    courtesy Stefani Pollack.

     

    So you’ve been asked to make a dessert for Thanksgiving and you’d like to do something with a bit of a spin.

    How about snazzy pumpkin cupcakes with pumpkin cheesecake (pumpkin cream cheese) frosting?

    Created by Cupcake Project blogger Stefani Pollack, the cake is made with healthier graham flour and bits of graham crackers, which yields a far more rich, dense and muffin-like texture.

    Is graham flour so healthy that it offsets the cream cheese frosting? The jury is out; we’ll let you know when it returns.

  • Get the recipe and whip up a batch of pumpkin cupcakes. Your friends and family will thank you.
  • Take a trip down food history lane: Learn who invented graham flour and graham crackers, and why.
  • Find more of our favorite cupcake recipes.
  • Comments

    TIP OF THE DAY: Test For Wine Allergy

    Some wine lovers have an allergy that produces flushing, headaches, hives, rashes and more.

    Traditional advice is to avoid sulfites, which are added to many wines as a preservative (to prevent bacterial growth). People with sulfite sensitivity comprise perhaps .2% of the population.

    Given this tiny number, if you develop symptoms from drinking wine, it may not be due to sulfites.

    Leonard Phillips, owner of Ambassador Wines & Spirits in New York City, was a biochemist before he joined the family wine business. Given the minute percentage of sulfite-sensitive people, he believes that many allergic reactions are due to the tannins in the wood barrels that the wine is aged in.

    Tannins give wines a “backbone“—required for a well-structured wine. Too many tannins create a “puckery,” dry or astringent sensation when drinking red wines.

    While tannin exists in the skin and stems of grapes, which are crushed to create the juice that is fermented into wine, the bigger culprit, says Phillips, is the oak tannin in wine barrels.

     

    Avoid wines fermented and/or aged in
    wood. Libbey wine glasses.

    Wines fermented and/or aged in wood barrels extract tannins, sugars and flavors from the wood. It’s a desirable thing, unless you’re sensitive to the tannins.

    If you have “wine allergy” symptoms, here’s how to test if you’re sensitive:

    1. Consult with your wine store clerk and purchase a wine that “never touches wood.” A large number of wines are fermented and aged in steel tanks instead of wood barrels.
    2. If you can enjoy that wine symptom-free, then try a wine that is fermented in steel and aged in used oak barrels. These are barrels that are 2-3 years old. The majority of the tannins leach into the wine the first year they were used. Try to find a European wine or a domestic one that uses French oak. French oak is milder than American oak. Without getting into advanced chemistry, you may be able to better tolerate French oak tannins.
    3. If you have no reaction to used oak barrels, try a wine aged in new French oak.
    4. Survived again? The last test is to try a wine aged in American oak (or oak from another country.)

    This test will help you eliminate wood tannins you may be allergic to. An allergist can help you rule out sulfur allergies.


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