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Archive for 2012

TIP OF THE DAY: Curly Beets Christmas Salad

Make your holiday salad more Christmasy with beet ribbons, stars, dice or julienne strips.

You can curl beets (as well as carrots, turnips and other root vegetables) by cutting a continuous ribbon from the raw vegetable; then steam lightly.

Add baby lettuces, toasted walnuts, and your choice of blue cheese, feta or goat cheese for a flavorful Christmas salad.

Other ways to make curled vegetable garnishes:

  • Curl vegetables with julienne peeler or a cheese slicer
  • Make a beet rose
  • A rose star is easy to do with a star-shaped cookie cutter
  • Here are more fun vegetable garnishes
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    Here are more ideas for Christmas salads and a beet salad recipe.

     

    Add some beets to your Christmas salad. Photo courtesy Triomphe Restaurant | NYC

     

      

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    RECIPE: Oreo Peppermint Truffles

    No baking required! Photo courtesy BellaBaker.com.

     

    For someone whose favorite ice cream flavor is Mint Cookie, these peppermint Oreo truffles were calling our name.

    This no-bake recipe produces a ball similar to a cake pop. No sticks are needed, but you can add them if you like (if you want to make pops, make the balls a bit larger).

    The “chocolate cake” center is made from crushed Oreos and cream cheese icing (we made ours—here’s the recipe—but you can purchase it). Finely crushed peppermint is mixed in, the mixture is rolled into balls; the balls are coated in white chocolate and sprinkled with more crushed peppermint.

    The recipe is courtesy Lauryn Cohen, a.k.a. Bella Baker.

     

    OREO WHITE CHOCOLATE PEPPERMINT TRUFFLES

    Ingredients

  • 20 Oreo cookies
  • 6 tablespoons crushed peppermint candies, divided
  • 4 to 5 tablespoons cream cheese icing
  • 8 oz white chocolate candy melts
  • Parchment paper
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    Preparation

    1, CRUSH Oreo cookies and 3 tablespoons of the peppermint candies together in a food processor (a mini food processor works nicely here!)

    2. ADD cream cheese icing, 1 tablespoon at a time, until mixture becomes moist and can easily be rolled.

    3. ROLL into balls a little bit bigger than the size of cherries. Once the entire mixture has been rolled into balls, place balls in the fridge to chill for at least 30 minutes.

    4. MELT the white candy melts in a microwave safe bowl in 30 second intervals, stirring vigorously in between interval. It should take 2-3 intervals to melt entirely.

    5. DROP a ball, one at a time, into the melted chocolate to coat; using two forks, lift the ball out. Gently tap any excess chocolate through the tines of the fork. Use the second fork to help slide the truffle ball off of the first fork and onto a piece of parchment paper.

    6. IMMEDIATELY SPRINKLE the truffle ball with some of the reserved crushed peppermint candies. Repeat with remaining truffle balls. Let white chocolate set in the fridge before serving.

      

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    TIP OF THE DAY: Christmas Ale & Beer

    Still looking something special for Christmas?

    Whether for your own guests, as Christmas gifts or host/hostess gifts, pick up some Christmas beers.

    Anchor Christmas Ale and Samuel Adams have good national distribution for their holiday brews, and your regional microbrewer no doubt has a seasonal special ale, beer, porter or stout. Here’s a list of Christmas brews.

    A Christmas ale is typically rich and dark ale, brewed with special holiday spices and often, a higher alcohol content to ward off the winter chill. However, even wheat beers, the lightest style, get the holiday treatment.

    Different brewers use cinnamon, clove, coriander, ginger, nutmeg and/or vanilla, and perhaps a touch of honey.

    Christmas ale makes a holiday beer drinking more special. It’s a welcome holiday gift, stocking stuffer or host gift for beer lovers.

     

    Merry Mischief is a gingerbread-spiced beer from Samuel Adams. Photo by Elvira Kalviste | THE NIBBLE.

     

    A trio of yeasty treats for Christmas. Photo
    by Elvira Kalviste | THE NIBBLE.

     

    We received an assortment of the Samuel Adams holiday beers, and enjoyed these festive brews:

    Cranberry Lambic is a crisp fruit beer that delivers rich cranberry flavor along with notes of banana, clove and nutmeg. While many people enjoy a lambic with dessert, some astringency and tartness makes this beer companionable to any course. It’s perfect with roast turkey.

    Holiday Porter is a rich, robust, smooth and malty: Four different types of malted barley plus a dash of flaked oats are used in the brew. The deep roasted flavors pair well with hearty or spicy fare.

    Merry Mischief is a rich, smooth and sweet dark gingerbread stout with the enticing aromas of the holidays. The intensity of cinnamon, clove, ginger and nutmeg evoke the flavor of fresh gingerbread. Although it can be enjoyed with most foods, we especially liked it with gingerbread cookies and carrot cake.

     

    White Christmas is a crisp, unfiltered white ale blended with holiday spices: cinnamon, nutmeg and orange peel. Citrusy, wheaty and spicy, it pairs well with lighter fair, from salad (add dried cranberries and goat cheese) to dessert (try it with cheesecake or a fruit tart).

    Winter Lager is a full-bodied, malty, spicy lager with a deep ruby color and a “holiday” aroma of cinnamon and ginger; there’s also a hint of orange peel. The spices and roasty sweetness of the malts pair beautifully with Thai food and other spicy dishes where the chile heat needs to be subdued.

    Head to your nearest store and stock up.

    DO YOU KNOW THE DIFFERENT TYPES OF BEER?

    Browse through our Beer Glossary.

      

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    NEW YEAR’S EVE: Dinner Menu

    We were about to cook a New Year’s Eve feast until we came across a seductive menu from Triomphe, a restaurant in midtown Manhattan.

    Executive Chef Jason Tilmann has assembled stunning flavors and visual excitement, making this the menu we want to eat on New Year’s Eve.

    Normally, we eschew words like “decadent” and “sinful” that some people inaccurately use to describe luscious foods. But in the case of luxurious excessiveness, we bow to Benjamin Franklin in “Poor Richard’s Almanac”:

    No wonder Tom grows fat, the unwieldy Sinner,
    Makes his whole Life but one continual Dinner.

    Let Chef Tilmann’s menu inspire your own thoughts for New Year’s Eve dining. And may the richness of your dinner inspire restraint in the new year—at least, until Valentine’s Day.

    SEVEN DEADLY SINS MENU

    1. ENVY: a feeling of discontent or covetousness with regard to another’s advantages, success, possessions, etc.

    Dish: osetra caviar, buckwheat blini, onion, egg and chives.

    2. VANITY: excessive pride in one’s appearance, qualities, abilities, achievements, etc.

     

    Even if you can’t make complex dishes like Triomphe’s, you can combine ingredients simply, like smoked salmon, salmon caviar (at the bottom of the dish), black caviar, a dab of crème fraîche and an herb garnish. Photo courtesy Tsar Nicoulai.

     

    Dish: lobster dumplings, wakame salad and ginger butter.

    3. WRATH: strong, stern or fierce anger; deeply resentful indignation; ire.

    Dish: spicy prawns, lemon, roasted garlic and herbed risotto.

    4. GLUTTONY: excessive eating and drinking.

    Dish: Pol Roger champagne sorbet, gold leaf and crispy grapes.

    5. SLOTH: habitual disinclination to exertion; indolence; laziness.

    Dish: slow-cooked cassoulet with duck confit, slab bacon and white northern beans.

    6. GREED: excessive or rapacious desire, especially for wealth or possessions.

    Dish: smoked Kobe tenderloin, fingerling potatoes, asparagus and bordelaise sauce.

    7. LUST: an overwhelming desire or craving.

    Dish: Valrhona chocolate soufflé with Grand Marnier crème anglaise.
     
    These seven “sinful” courses are certain to engender a day of restraint on January 1st.

      

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    TIP OF THE DAY: Decorate Christmas Cupcakes

    Deck the cupcakes! Photo of Perfect Endings
    cupcakes courtesy Williams-Sonoma.

     

    Today’s tip is inspired by these delicious cupcakes from Perfect Endings, a Napa Valley bakery that sells them online via WilliamsSonoma.com.

    You can buy or bake and frost your own cupcakes, then decorate them with festive elements. It’s a fun family activity. Consider:

  • Chocolate curls or a chocolate medallion or kiss
  • Colored marzipan stars
  • Crushed peppermints
  • Dried or fresh berries
  • Gold and/or silver dragées or white “pearls”
  • Holiday candies (including M&Ms)
  • Holiday sprinkles (jimmies)
  • Shredded coconut
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    Make a double batch: They’ll disappear quickly!

     

      

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