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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 June, 2011

TIP OF THE DAY: A Glamorous Beverage Dispenser Jar

The easy and impressive way to serve party
beverages. Photo courtesy Sur La Table.

 

If you entertain regularly, consider treating yourself to one or more beverage dispensing jars. They’re perfect for dispensing cocktails, iced tea and coffee, juice, lemonade, punch, sangria, even water.

  • Holds more. Not only do they look great on the table; they hold far more than a pitcher (up to two gallons) so you won’t have to refill as often.
  • No heavy lifting. The dispenser makes it easy for guests of all ages to fill their glasses: no heavy lifting.
  • Great in the kitchen. If you have a large crew at home, it looks handsome on the kitchen counter, filled with filtered water, iced tea, etc.
  • Elegant And Impressive. The optional wrought iron stands look impressive and help contain spills (place a shallow bowl underneath the spigot).
  • Find beverage recipes in our Specialty Beverages and Cocktails sections.

     

    We love the fun beehive shape beverage dispenser jar from Sur La Table, which holds two gallons. There’s also a handsome apothecary shape beverage dispenser jar that holds 1.4 gallons.

    Get one of each, and quench thirsts in style.

      

    Comments

    JULY 4TH FOOD: Red, White & Blue Potato Salad

    Potato salad is almost imperative at a July 4th celebration. With this recipe from Frieda’s Produce, you can make yours red, white and blue.

    If you can, prepare the potato salad a day in advance, the flavors will have more time to blend.

    JULY 4TH POTATO SALAD
    Makes about 6 to 8 cups.

    Ingredients

  • 2 pounds mixed potatoes: red jacket, yellow jacket and purple; leave skins on
  • 3/4 cup chopped green onions (scallions), divided
  • 2/3 cup sour cream
  • 1/3 cup mayonnaise
  • 3 tablespoons white wine vinegar
  • 1 tablespoon Dijon mustard
  • 1-1/2 teaspoons salt
  • 1 teaspoon celery seed (optional)
  • 1/2 teaspoon fresh-ground pepper
  • 3 ounces crumbled blue cheese
  • Garnish: 2-3 ounces crumbled blue cheese (garnish)
  •  

    Add red-jacket potatoes for a red, white and
    blue potato salad. Svetlana Kolpakova | Dreamstime.

     

    Preparation

    1. Put potatoes in a large pot; add enough salted water to cover. Bring to a boil and simmer until fork tender, about 15 minutes. Drain potatoes and cool.
    2. While potatoes cool, prepare the dressing. In a medium bowl, blend half of the green onions with the sour cream, mayonnaise, white wine vinegar, Dijon mustard, salt and pepper. Cover and chill.
    3. Slice the potatoes into 1/2-inch slices or chunky quarters and place into large bowl. Add chilled dressing, blue cheese and remaining green onions; toss gently to coat potato pieces. Cover and chill for at least two hours, or up to one day. Flavors will continue to blend as the salad chills.
    4. Garnish bowl with additional blue cheese, if desired.

    Find more potato salad recipes.

      

    Comments

    PRODUCT: Kozy Shack’s Cinnamon Raisin Bread Pudding Rocks

    We love it: Kozy Shack Apple Cinnamon bread pudding. Photo courtesy Kozy Shack.

     

    We are despondent when we should be happy. Why?

    We’ve just finished our last four-pack of Kozy Shack Apple Cinnamon Bread Pudding, and our two closest markets don’t carry it. (Supermarkets in New York City are on the small side, owing to high rents).

    We must go without. But everyone who lives near a “normal” supermarket and likes bread pudding or flan should pick some up and enjoy it on our behalf.

    Kozy Shack has recently added bread pudding to its line of puddings. The three varieties are Apple Cinnamon, Cinnamon Raisin and Peach.

    In individual four-ounce servings, each flavor has an appropriate sauce on the bottom of the cup. You can invert the puddings onto a plate for a pretty dessert (see photo). Or enjoy them as a snack, consumed right out of the cup.

    The Scoop

  • Cold Is Better. While there are instructions for warming the puddings, to us they taste far better cold. As satisfying as ice cream, in fact.
  •  

  • Cinnamon Raisin Bread Pudding Rocks. A favorite. The rich blend of cinnamon, plump raisins and bread chunks enveloped by custard, has a light caramel sauce (like flan). Yummmm.
  • Apple Cinnamon Bread Pudding Also Rocks. We grew to be big fans of this flavor. It’s a combination of custard and crustless apple pie.
  • Peach Bread Pudding. Not a favorite. It’s a matter of personal preference, of course. But we didn’t like the combination of peach and custard.
  • It’s More Like Flan. Some of THE NIBBLE tasters felt that there was too little bread and too high a percentage of custard to be “bread pudding”; that it’s “flan with a few pieces of bread.” Note taken, but we could care less: We could eat a truckload Apple Cinnamon Bread Pudding.
  •  
    Head out to your supermarket, and tell us how you like it.

    BREAD PUDDING RECIPES ON THENIBBLE.COM

  • Chocolate Bread Pudding
  • Pannetone Bread Pudding
  • Apple Cheddar Bread Pudding
  •   

    Comments

    TIP OF THE DAY: Ways To Enjoy Fruit Liqueur

    If you’ve got bottles of fruit liqueur that don’t see much action, take them off the shelf and put them to use!

    Liqueurs were first produced by medieval alchemists as medicines. Some were noted for their digestive benefits and became after-dinner drinks, served in small liqueur glasses or on the rocks.

    Start experimenting with your liqueurs:
     
    Drinks

  • First, try reviving the custom of an after-dinner liqueur. Relax in a comfortable chair, sip and enjoy.
  • Before the meal, serve spritzers: Put an ounce of liqueur in a tall glass or wine glass and add soda water or ginger ale.
  •  

     

    Try some liqueur-flavored whipped cream. Photo courtesy MackenzieLtd.com.

     

    Desserts

  • Marinate fruits for an hour or more to make dessert or a dessert topping. We like raspberries in raspberry liqueur, cherries in cherry liqueur (kirsch) or maraschino liqueur, bananas in banana liqueur, and so forth.
  • Make broiled grapefruit for dessert, with a drizzle of Curaçao or orange liqueur.
  • Drizzle on top of ice cream or sorbet.
  • Drizzle on fresh fruit: figs, melon balls, sliced stone fruits, or a bowl of multicolored grapes—with a side of shortbread or other cookies.
  • Add a tablespoon of coffee, chocolate or mint liqueur (crème de menthe) to chocolate pudding, mousse, pie filling and/or chocolate sauce.
  • Add orange liqueur to any sweet soufflé recipe (or coffee liqueur to a coffee soufflé, etc.).
  • Stir a teaspoon or two into heavy cream, prior to whipping cream.
  •  
    Let us know what works for you.

      

    Comments

    TOP PICK OF THE WEEK: Edible Flowers

    Have a bite of borage. The beautiful blossom tastes like cucumber. Photo by Karma Pema | IST.

     

    Have you ever eaten a flower?

    Mankind has been eating them for millennia in cultures worldwide. They just haven’t taken off yet in the modern United States, except in the hands of caterers and artisan bakers.

    Beginning with our prehistoric ancestors foraging for food, the flower garden later became an extension of the vegetable garden, enabling cooks to add vibrancy to foods and beverages.

    Edible flowers are the easiest way to add some wow factor to your recipes. Just pluck posies from their container (or snip them from your garden) and use them as a garnish. Your canapés, cocktails, salads and desserts will become memorable.

    As with mushrooms, only certain varieties of flowers are edible. So if you decide to grow your own, you’ll want to buy a book on the topic—which will also have recipes for cooking with flowers.

    And while many varieties are edible, they also need to be grown organically—without chemical pesticides.

     

    Take a look at some of these bodacious blossoms. You can find them in farmers markets, specialty produce stores and online at Melissas.com.

  • Read the full article on edible flowers
  •   

    Comments

    RECIPE: Pineapple Chipotle Ice Pops

    Treat yourself, your family and your friends to a refreshing gourmet ice pop.

    Our friends at Eagle Brand make it easy with a simple recipe for Pineapple Chipotle Ice Pops: cold and creamy with a bit of heat.

    If you don’t have ice pop molds, 3-ounce waxed paper cups and wooden sticks or plastic spoons will do. If you’re planning to buy ice pop molds, we love the grooves in this model from Tovolo.

    PINEAPPLE CHIPOTLE ICE POPS

    Yield: 8 to 10 servings
    Nutrition: See Below
    Prep Time: 15 Minutes
    Freezing Time: 4 Hours

    Ingredients

  • 1 can (20 ounces) crushed pineapple in pineapple juice,
    undrained
  • 1 can (14 ounces) Eagle Brand Sweetened Condensed Milk
  • 3/4 cup pineapple juice
  • 1 tablespoon fresh lime juice
  •  

    Pineapple Chipotle Pops: very refreshing on a
    hot summer day. Photo courtesy Eagle Brand.

  • 1/4 teaspoon chipotle chile powder (you can substitute regular chili powder)
  •  
    Preparation

    1. PLACE pineapple in food processor. Cover and process until puréed.

    2. COMBINE puréed pineapple, pineapple juice, sweetened condensed milk, lime juice and chipotle powder in large bowl. Mix well.

    3. SPOON into 8 plastic ice pop molds (4 ounces) or 10 wax-coated paper cups (3-ounces). If using paper cups, insert wooden craft stick (or a plastic spoon) into the center of each cup. Check after an hour and adjust the stick as needed.

    4. FREEZE until firm, about 4 hours.

    Find more recipes in our Gourmet Ice Cream Section.

      

    Comments

    JULY 4th FOOD: Red, White & Blue Cocktails

     

    Want a celebratory drink for July 4th?

    How about a red, white and blue layered shooter?

    A drink with several layers of different colored liqueurs is called a pousse café (pronounced POOSE-caff-fay). A classic pousse café is a liqueur-based drink served with after-dinner coffee. In French, the name translates to “pushes coffee,” or coffee chaser. The term first appeared in France in 1880.

    Because different liqueurs have different densities, they can be made to sit atop each other in discrete layers, when poured in order of densest to lightest. The result is a fun drink that delights the eye, rather than a strategic layering of flavors.

    Three flavors can be combined in a shot glass, or more flavors in a tall cordial glass or a whiskey glass. We’ve had one with seven different layers—although that’s not necessarily a good thing. It may look stunning, but combining seven flavors in a pleasing manner is a tough job.

    The minute you tip the glass to drink, you’ll be getting tastes of all or several liqueurs—which is why it’s a good idea to cap them at three. Some bartenders provide a straw to sip the pousse café one layer at a time.

    The original recipe is believed to have been red, yellow and green layers: grenadine, yellow chartreuse and green chartreuse.

    But you can make a red, white and blue July 4th pousse café. Just call it a shooter: an all-American drink for Independence Day.

       

       

    American Flag Cocktail

  • Jubilee Sangrita
  • Red, White & Blue Cocktails With Fruit Purée & Vanilla Liqueur
  • Rosy Vodka Cocktails
  • Star Shaped Ice Cubes
  • Watermelon Martini
  • Comments

    TIP OF THE DAY: Leftover Pancakes

    When we make pancakes, we make twice as much as we need.

    Who wants leftover pancakes? We do!

    We reheat them by toasting them in the toaster oven. The outsides get nice and crispy. In our book, they’re even better than the original batch.

    July 4th Recipes

  • Red, White & Blue Pancakes. Make red, white and blue pancakes for July 4th brunch: Top your pancakes with sour cream, crème fraîche, plain yogurt or mascarpone, plus blueberries and raspberries or strawberries.
  • Star Shaped Pancakes. You can make very large pancakes and cut them into star shapes with a cookie cutter. Keep the scraps and reheat them later to make a “pancake trifle” with syrup or whipped cream and fruit.
  •  
    TIP: If you’re going to make pancakes, get a delicious whole wheat pancake mix. The pancakes will count toward your daily recommended 48 grams of whole grain.

     

    Add blueberries for a red, white and blue
    July 4th treat. Photo by Simone van den Berg
    | IST.

     

  • See our review of the best pancake mixes in whole wheat and whole grain.
  • See the different types of pancakes in our Pancake Glossary: aebleskivers, arepas, blini and more.

      

  • Comments

    JULY 4TH FOOD: Star Crackers

    Canapés with star quality. Photo by Katharine Pollak | THE NIBBLE.

     

    For July 4th celebrations, these star crackers add surprise and delight.

    Turn them into red, white and blue canapés with raspberry jam, brie and a blueberry garnish anchored with a dab of blueberry jam.

    Or, present the crackers in a basket with different spreads and dips, and let guests create their own snacks.

    For a sweet treat, mix 3 tablespoons black raspberry liqueur into 8 ounces mascarpone cheese (don’t over-mix—the mascarpone becomes too soft). Spread or pipe the mascarpone onto the star crackers; top with two raspberries, a blueberry and a small mint leaf.

    The crackers are made by one of our favorite companies, Valley Lahvosh Baking Co.

     

    Lahvosh, also spelled lavash and lahvash, is an Armenian flatbread made with wheat flour, water and salt. When fresh, lahvosh is soft and thin like a tortilla, and is used as a sandwich wrap for kebabs and other foods.

    The fresh lahvosh hardens into a crunchy cracker consistency, which is how it is most often found in the U.S.—typically sold in boxes of long strips topped with toasted sesame seeds, poppy seeds, garlic or other seasonings. It’s a very popular part of the bread basket in some restaurants.

    Among other favorites in the Valley Lahvosh line are heart-shaped crackers (for engagement parties, Valentine’s Day, etc.) and Lucky Lahvosh, an assortment of crackers shaped like clubs, diamonds, hearts and spades.

  • Get the Star Crackers on Amazon.com
  • See the rest of the product line at ValleyLahvosh.com.
  •   

    Comments

    TIP OF THE DAY: Summer Food Safety

    Whether you’re taking a vacation, going picnicking or simply bringing lunch to work, the summer heat causes bacteria to multiply in your food—to potentially dangerous levels.

    Each year, roughly 1 out of 6 Americans (48 million people) becomes ill, 128,000 are hospitalized and 3,000 actually die from foodborne diseases.

    These safety tips from the American Dietetic Association/ConAgra Foods Home Food Safety Program may make the difference between a refreshing meal or snack and food poisoning.

  • Always wash your hands with soap and water during food preparation, especially between tasks (for example, bacteria from raw chicken can contaminate the salad). If you can’t get to a sink to wash your hands with soap and water, pack moist towelettes or a hand sanitizer to clean your hands.
  • Don’t let food sit out unrefrigerated for more than two hours; in hot weather (above 90°F), the time is reduced to one hour.
  •  

    Add food and ice packs to this collapsible
    picnic basket by Picnic At Ascot.

     

  • Pack food with ice or a frozen ice pack in an insulated lunch bag or cooler. Drop in a refrigerator thermometer to ensure the temperature remains below 40°F.
  • In hot weather, transport food in a cooler, packed with ice or ice packs. Keep the cooler in the back seat of an air-conditioned car instead of in the hot trunk.
  • If you don’t have access to a cooler, try packing frozen juice boxes or bottles of water, for a hydrating refresher that will also help keep the foods around it cool.
  • If you’re cooking meat to take on the road—hamburgers, hot dogs or chicken breasts, for example—remember to cook them to proper temperatures. Hamburgers should cook to at least 160°F, hot dogs reheated to 160°F and chicken to 165°F.
  • For a road trip, consider packing easy-to-transport, shelf-stable* foods: single-serve boxes of cereal, tetra-packs of milk and juice, trail mix, popcorn, applesauce, cans of tuna, peanut butter sandwiches, fresh fruit, carrots or celery.
  •  
    Don’t forget that carry-out and fast foods are also susceptible to food poisoning.

    *Shelf stable foods are those that require no refrigeration, except for storing the remainder of the container after the package is opened.

    Learn more at HomeFoodSafety.org.

      

    Comments

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