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Archive for June, 2012

TIP OF THE DAY: Gourmet Lemonade & An Electric Citrus Press (Juicer)

The easiest way to juice citrus. Photo
courtesy Krups. Information about the juicer.


We had dinner at a friend’s house the other night and found her juicing lemons with an old-fashioned citrus reamer (a ridged cone set on a handle). If you rarely juice a lemon, it works just fine.

But if you regularly use citrus juice—or would like to have fresh grapefruit juice or orange juice every now and then—it can get tiring. Plus, a citrus reamer does not strain out pulp and seeds, so you have to sieve the juice.

Consider an electric juicer, officially called a citrus press. It doesn’t take up much space; this model, from Krups (in the photo), is just seven inches wide. You can find an affordable model, or spring for the Krups deluxe stainless steel juicer ($127.48).

Then, instead of working out your arm to juice the citrus, you simply hold the halved fruit against the juicing cone (with the Krups juicer, you can use the lever); the machine does the work.


Now that it’s summer, when life gives you a citrus press, make fresh lemonade.



  • 1-1/2 cups sugar (or equivalent agave, honey or non-caloric sweetener)
  • 1/2 cup boiling water
  • 1 tablespoon grated lemon rind
  • 1-1/2 cups fresh lemon juice (8 large lemons)
  • 5 cups cold water (40 ounces)

    1. In a 64-ounce pitcher,* bottle or other storage device, stir together sugar and cup boiling water until sugar dissolves.

    2. Stir in lemon rind, lemon juice and 5 cups cold water. Chill. Serve over ice.

    *If you don’t have a large pitcher (or room for one in the fridge), you can divide the batch into two quart bottles. We save the bottles from store-bought juice for this purpose.


    Fancy Ice

  • Freeze lemonade into ice cubes: Melting lemonade “ice” won’t dilute the drink.
  • Add a garnish to each ice cube compartment: a piece of citrus peel, a mint leaf, a cherry (dried, fresh or marascino).
  • Crack the ice cubes into smaller pieces with an ice crusher. Some people own ice crushers or blenders that crush ice; we use a manual tool like this. Hold the ice cube in your hand and hit it with the crusher end. (NOTE: Smaller pieces of ice melt faster than whole cubes, so if your lemonade is at room temperature, you’ll want to keep the ice cubes whole)
    Gourmet Lemonade Flavors

    You can flavor the lemonade or set out a “flavor bar” so guests can add their own:

  • Fruit Juice: cherry juice, lime juice, pomegranate juice.
  • Fruit Purée: berry purée, mango purée, peach purée.
  • Wild Card: hot sauce.
  • Spirits: Gin, tequila and/or vodka.


    TIP OF THE DAY: Make Lobster Rolls

    Today is National Lobster Day.

    Where we live, people are crazy for lobster rolls. Just the merest announcement that some small restaurant in a remote neighborhood is serving them, ensures a pilgrimage with lines down the block.

    So today’s tip is: Make your own lobster rolls. Make a lobster roll feast an annual family summer event, with iced tea and potato chips. If you can afford enough lobster to invite guests, have them bring the beer and the desserts.

    To start you off on the right foot, the great Boston chef Jasper White shares his famous lobster roll recipe with us.

    The recipe can be found in his book, “The Summer Shack Cookbook: The Complete Guide to Shore Food.”

    Make it an annual event. Photo courtesy W. W. Norton & Company.

    The recipe collection includes 200 easy-to-make classic seafood dishes and non-seafood favorites. We’re particularly fond of the creamy Cape Cod clam chowder and scallops wrapped in smoky bacon.

    Chef White also dispenses advice on the proper way to shuck clams, pick apart a lobster and scale a fish. The Summer Shack is Chef White’s casual restaurant mini-chain, with several year-round locations in Massachusetts.

    Pick up a copy of the cookbook for yourself or as a house gift for summer weekend hosts.


    Making lobster rolls at home is easy and a guaranteed hit with family and guests alike. To properly grill the buns, you’ll need to find real New England style hot dog buns, which are trimmed on the sides so they can be buttered and griddled. If you can’t find them, you can buy slightly oversized buns and trim them with a serrated (bread) knife to create a flat grilling surface.

    For this recipe, you will need a mixing bowl for the lobster salad and a 10-inch skillet, preferably heavy cast iron, to grill the buns. If you have paper bun holders (known as hot dog trays), they are quite handy for holding the rolls as you stuff and serve them. You can buy paper hot dog trays online.

    You can mix the lobster salad up to 4 hours ahead. Once the lobster salad has been made, creating the lobster rolls is quick and easy.

    This recipe serves 4.

    Order top-quality lobsters online from one of our favorite gourmet food purveyors, used by top chefs nationwide.


    A gift idea for summer weekend hosts and
    hostesses. Photo courtesy W. W. Norton Company.


  • 4 New England-style hot dog buns (see note above)
  • 4 tablespoons unsalted butter, softened
  • 1 recipe lobster salad (recipe follows)
  • 4 Boston or bibb lettuce leaves, washed and dried
  • 4 dill pickle spears
  • Potato chips (go for the best, like Kettle brand)

    1. Heat a 10-inch skillet over medium heat. Spread each of the hot dog buns with 1 tablespoon butter (half on each side). Place the buttered buns into the hot dry pan and toast without moving, until golden brown on one side, about a minute. Turn and cook the other side, about 1 minute more. Remove from heat.

    2. Open the buns and place in a paper holder or on a small plate. Place a lettuce leaf on one side of the center, inside the bun. Spoon the lobster salad evenly among them. Serve with pickles, and potato chips on the side.



  • 1 pound fully cooked lobster meat or 5 pounds live lobsters
  • 1 small to medium cucumber (4 to 5 ounces), peeled, seeded and cut into ¼ inch dice
  • 1/2 cup Hellman’s mayonnaise (or your own homemade easy blender mayonnaise)
  • 2 or 3 small scallions (white and green parts), thinly sliced
  • Freshly ground black pepper

    1. If you are using live lobsters, steam them until fully cooked and then allow to cool to room temperature. Use a cleaver to crack and remove the meat from the claws, knuckles and tails.

    2. Remove the cartilage from the claws and the intestine from the tails of the cooked meat. Cut the meat into ½ to ¾ inch dice. You may pick all the meat from the carcass and add it to the meat or freeze the carcass for soup or broth.

    3. Place the cucumber in a colander for at least 5 minutes to drain the excess liquid.

    4. Combine the lobster, cucumber and mayonnaise. If the salad is to be served within the hour, add the scallions. Season with a bit more pepper if needed; it is unlikely that salt will be needed. Cover with plastic wrap and chill for at least 30 minutes before serving.

    Makes 2 cups, which serves 4 or 5 for sandwiches or as a light entrée.

    If you like more sophisticated flavors, don’t hesitate to build on the recipe. Our favorite additions include:

  • Finely diced fennel or celery (in addition to flavor and crunch, it stretches the pricey lobster)
  • Fresh herbs—basil, dill, parsley
  • Green mayonnaise, with fresh herbs (Julia Child’s recipe)
  • Heat, via a very small amount of wasabi
    Try adding your favorite flavors for a “gourmet” lobster roll.


    PRODUCT: York Peppermint Patty Ice Cream Bars

    Lovers of York Peppermint Patties (us included) can cool off this summer with York Ice Cream bars, made by Good Humor, a Univlever brand. (The York Peppermint Pattie candy brand is owned by Hershey Company, and the ice cream is made under license.)

    The three-ounce rounds of peppermint ice cream are dipped in a dark chocolate coating (coating = some vegetable oil is added so the chocolate will adhere to the ice cream). The ice cream is a lot less intense than the York Peppermint Pattie. This will please people who like just a bit o’ mint.

    The ice cram bar doesn’t have the candy’s depth of chocolate coating flavor, either. But it certainly is refreshing, and we can’t complain: It’s tough to find any type of peppermint ice cream. Our favorite flavors, chocolate chip mint and cookie mint, seem to have disappeared from stores in our area.


    York ice cream bars (partial view of box). Photo courtesy Unilever.


    You can find the ice cream bars at retailers nationwide, including Walmart. The line is certified kosher by KOF-K.


    Although the box declares that the bars are made from Peppermint Light Ice Cream (see photo above), the small print underneath it says, “This is not a light food.” It goes on to explain that the light ice cream has 75% less fat than “a range of full fat ice creams.”

    Hmm. So the ice cream is lower in fat, but not the bar as a whole? The whole bar has 170 calories but the box explains that the light ice cream portion is 80 calories. So the thin chocolate coating has more calories than the much larger lump of ice cream?

    If this information is meant to help consumers understand what they’re getting, we think that a second explanation is needed to clarify the first explanation.


    Second, the ice cream box never mentions the word “patty” or “pattie.” Wouldn’t calling them “York Peppermint Ice Cream Patties” better leverage the York Peppermint Pattie brand?

    And what about “pattie?”

    Whether it’s candy, meat or veggies, you may have noticed patty and pattie used in different places. The plural for both is patties. doesn’t recognize the word “pattie.” at least brings you to “patty.” The word, by the way, derives from the French pâté, for paste (i.e., a mix of finely-ground ingredients; pasta also means paste and in French, pâté refers to a meat loaf as well as the more rare ground goose or duck liver pâté). “Patty” seems to have entered the English language around 1710.

    Patty, pattie or bar, the six pieces disappeared faster than we would like to admit.


    According to a company history in Wikipedia, the York Peppermint Pattie was first produced by Henry C. Kessler, owner of the York Cone Company, in 1940. The company was named for its location: York, Pennsylvania.

    In the annals of corporate acquisitions, in 1972 the York Cone Company was acquired by Peter Paul. In 1978, Peter Paul merged with Cadbury Schweppes. In 1988 the Hershey Foods Corporation acquired the U.S. operations of Cadbury Schweppes.

    The York Peppermint Pattie we know is different from Henry Kessler’s: the mint centers are only semi hard. In February 2009, Hershey closed the Reading, Pennsylvania plant that made York Peppermint Patties, 5th Avenue and Zagnut candy bars, and Jolly Rancher hard candies. Production was moved to a new factory the company built in Monterey, Mexico.



    FATHER’S DAY GIFT: Irresistible Cheesecake Pops

    Cheesecake Pops are irresistible and fun.
    Photo courtesy Le Chateaux.


    There’s still time to send Dad a delicious and memorable Father’s Day gift: Cheesecake Pops from chef David Burke. Order them today for overnight delivery.

    From the moment Burke created these pops, some eight years ago, we were in love with them: a favorite dessert turned into a bite-size sphere-on-a-stick.

    There are three varieties of creamy cheese cake centers, coated in chocolate and dipped in garnishes:

  • Toffee Top Hats, cheesecake balls dipped in milk chocolate and coated with dark chocolate crunchies and ground Score Bars.
  • Pink Lady Pops, dipped in pink-colored white chocolate, then rolled in chopped pistachios and sundried cherry pieces.
  • Tuxedo Pops, decorated with a white chocolate shirt and milk chocolate jacket and bow tie, then rolled in peanut crunchies and Reese’s Peanut Butter Pieces.

    Each order contains an assortment of the flavors. The pops come frozen and thaw in 30 minutes.

    If Dad doesn’t want to hoard them all, you can serve the Cheesecake Pops for dessert on Father’s Day; or simply hand them to guests as they walk in the door, to get the party started.

  • 24 pops are $42.32 (order them here)
  • 50 pops are $61.03 (order)
  • 200 pops are $148.19 (ordee)
    David Burke Cheesecake Pops have been a NIBBLE Top Pick Of The Week. Here’s our review.



    TIP OF THE DAY: Fancy Butter Ramekins

    Our mother, an inspired cook, created a fancy butter presentation for special dinners. To put a stick of butter on the table simply wouldn’t do.

    Using a set of two grooved wooden “butter paddles”—an item so archaic it isn’t even sold on—she cut chunks of butter from the stick and paddled them into perfectly round balls, nicely patterned by the grooves.

    The butter balls were set on the table in a lovely porcelain dish. Those wishing butter (and in those days, we all did) helped themselves to a ball or two.

    When we started to host dinner parties, we had no paddles and needed to find an alternative. Our solution: butter ramekins.

    Perhaps it didn’t have the wow factor of those golden orbs of paddled butter, but it was much faster to make.


    All you need are butter, a ramekin, a spatula and a fresh herb garnish.


    Party time: Serve butter in a ramekin. Photo by Claire Freierman | THE NIBBLE.


    1. Soften 2 sticks of butter until they are malleable.

    2. Using a spatula, pack the butter into a small ramekin. If you don’t have ramekins, they’re worth the investment. They can be used to serve condiments; nuts, olives an other snack foods; desserts and more. Here’s a basic white ramekin.

    3. With a sharp knife, cut a crosshatch of grooves onto the top of the butter. If the butter is too soft, stick it in the fridge for 10 minutes.

    4. Garnish with a rosemary sprig or other fresh herbs, such as two short chive “plumes” inseted vertically, or a rim of finely-minced chives. You can also press a single large parsley or cilantro leaf into the top, and/or sprinkle some Hawaiian red sea salt (alaea), coarse pink sea salt, tri-color whole peppercorns or coarse-ground black pepper.


    Find butter tips and recipes for flavored butters in our Butter Section.

    Check out all the different types of butter.

    How many types of butter have you had? See our Butter Glossary.



    GIFT: Crunch Daddy Gourmet Popcorn

    What better gift for Father’s Day than Crunch Daddy popcorn?

    The sweet and savory flavors are not only delicious; they’re healthier snacks, as well (popcorn is a whole grain).

    The business began as a passion for “Crunch Daddy” Dan Bazis, who started out simply trying to improve the recipe for kettle corn.

    He then envisioned the potential for a gourmet popcorn business, and spent several years exploring flavors, refining recipes, sourcing ingredients and equipment and creating a website—all the while “navigating the tangled web of regulations that govern the operation of a small business like mine.”

    We think he’s done a great job, and you don’t need a gift occasion to enjoy his wares. Buy them for yourself, as well as for the dads in your life.


  • Caramel Peanut Crunch
  • Chesapeake Crunch
  • Chocolate & Peanut Butter Crunch

    Maple Bacon Crunch popcorn: It’s maplebacalicious! Photo by Elvira Kalviste | THE NIBBLE.

  • Honey & Cinnamon Crunch
  • Maple & Bacon Crunch
  • Movie Night Crunch (sweet and salty kettle corn)
  • Peanut Butter Crunch
  • Sesame & Ginger Crunch
  • Sweet Butter Crunch (slightly sweetened popcorn)
  • White Cheddar & Horseradish Crunch
    We loved them all!

    Get yours at . Try every flavor!

    Give them as party favors, send them to kids at camp. Enjoy more popcorn, the better-for-you snack.



    RECIPE: Praline Bacon With Blue Cheese

    A praline bacon appetizer, side or cheese
    course. Photo courtesy Wisconsin Milk
    Marketing Board.


    Here’s something special to make for a lover of bacon and blue cheese—two popular ingredients found together in a Cobb Salad.

    The praline-crusted bacon with its peppery kick contrasts with the creamy saltiness of blue cheese. The mouthfeel is unforgettably lush and the flavor is addictive.

    Serve it as an appetizer, as a cheese course after the main course, or as a sophisticated side with breakfast eggs.



  • 3/4 cup brown sugar
  • 1/2 cup almond meal (finely-ground almonds—you can also use pecans)
  • 2 teaspoons dry mustard
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 12 slices thick-cut or slab pepper-encrusted bacon (we use Niman Ranch)*
  • Your favorite blue cheese (we use Roquefort)
  • Optional garnish: cherry or grape tomatoes or radish, plus microgreens for a salad course

    *If pepper bacon is not available, add two tablespoons of fresh coarse-ground black pepper to the praline mixture.


    1. Preheat oven to 400°F.

    2. Combine all ingredients but the bacon in a wide, shallow dish. Dip and press each slice of bacon in the praline mixture on both sides.

    3. Lay bacon strips on a large, rimmed baking sheet. Sprinkle additional praline mixture over the bacon slices in the pan.

    4. Roast the bacon until the fat begins to render, about 6 minutes. Rotate the pan front-to-back and continue roasting until the bacon is crisp and brown, about 8 to 10 minutes.

    5. Remove, cool and break or cut bacon into bite-sized pieces. Serve warm or room temperature with the blue cheese and optional garnish.

    This recipe is courtesy of the Wisconsin Milk Marketing Board.



    TIP OF THE DAY: Toast The Nuts

    Toasted nuts are a versatile ingredient to add dimensions of flavor with a simple sprinkle.

    Numerous green salad, fruit salad and side dish recipes call for toasted nuts. You can also add them to pasta, rice, soup and vegetable dishes, and as plate garnishes. They’re a delicious topping for French toast, pancakes and waffles.

    Toasting takes the bite out of walnuts and adds mellow dimensions of flavor to any variety of nut. It can also crisp up older nuts that have gotten soft.

    When served as a cheese condiment, warming the nuts brings out the lushness of the cheese, while the salt and crunch of the nuts offer a delightful contrast.

    So if you’re looking for something special for Father’s Day, consider a cheese course of Brie or Camembert with toasted pistachios. (Don’t want such a rich cheese? Find another in our Gourmet Cheese section.


    Enjoy a cheese course of a wedge of Brie or Camembert with toasted pistachio nuts. Photo courtesy Wisconsin Milk Marketing Board.




  • Camembert, Baby Brie or slice of large wheel of Brie
  • Roasted pistachios, shelled and lightly salted

    1. Set cheese at room temperature 45 minutes before serving.

    2. Preheat oven to 200°F.*

    3. Spread pistachios on an ungreased cookie sheet. Toast in oven for 10 to 15 minutes. Serve warm with cheese.

    Beyond pistachios, here’s how to toast nuts for all occasions, in the oven or on the stovetop.
    *Note: Most nuts are larger than pistachios, so can be toasted at 350°F.

    Cheese Condiments For Every Occasion

    The Difference Between Brie & Camembert



    TOP PICK OF THE WEEK: Pig Of The Month BBQ

    Finger-licking good BBQ. Photo courtesy Pig Of The Month.


    Pig of the Month is a family company that dishes up barbecue and related foods—the type that may just be what Dad wants for Father’s Day.

    Smoked barbecue ribs, award winning pulled pork, specialty sausages, gourmet bacon, sides and award winning barbecue sauces are just the start of the menu.

    The family-owned company is so certain you’ll love their food, they offer a 100% money-back guarantee. We certainly look forward to our next order. Maybe we’ll overcome our guilt and add in some of the tempting desserts.

    Read the full review.


    Check them out in our crisp and delicious Pork Glossary.


    Find more of our favorite pork products and recipes in our Pork Section.



    PROUCT: Sweetly Demented Chocolate

    Does chocolate have a sinister side? For sure! At Sweetly Demented Chocolate, it’s creepy and it’s kooky, mysterious and spooky.

    There are white chocolate skulls filled with chocolate ganache, with brains that are filled with raspberry ganache. There are standalone brains, red-colored white chocolate filled with chocolate ganache.

    Sink your teeth into some eerie Bye Bye Birdie hawk skulls. The jumbo swirl Hypno Pops, white and dark chocolate filled swirled together and filled with ganache, are the kind that Pugsley Addams would enjoy.

    For the merely off-kilter, there is a large silver buck’s antler (edible luster dust over chocolate) and plaques of chocolate “wood.” And some rose-garnished chocolate mementos for Miss Havisham.

    Tim Burton should give them as party favors. Sharon Osboyrne should give an assortment to Ozzie. And you can buy some for anyone who likes a tasty bite of the odd or morbid.


    “Cerebraloscopy” is white chocolate. Photo by Elvira Kalviste | THE NIBBLE.


    Sweetly Demented Chocolate is the work of Sivonne Imnotelling, an artist with a background in sculpture, art and photography, who trained in chocolate at the French Culinary institute.

    She hand-created the candy molds from actual deer antlers, hawk skulls and her own clay sculptures and uses Peter’s Chocolate, a quality chocolate popular with many chocolatiers and pastry chefs.

    One other demented fact: There is no e-commerce on the website, or pricing either (although we found elsewhere that one two-inch brain sells for $6.00. If you want to sink your teeth into sinister chocolate, you’ll need to use the Contact form on

    If you’re a web designer/coder, offer to update Ms. Imnotelling’s website in exchange for chocolate. We’d like it to be easier for fans of this chocolate genre to purchase her work.



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