THE NIBBLE BLOG: Products, Recipes & Trends In Specialty Foods
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Archive for June 7, 2013

FOOD FUN: Homage To The Square

As a student, we loved the “Homage To The Suare” paintings of Josef Albers, who created more than a thousand squares-within-squares over a 25-year period.

When we saw this photo of a dish from Daniel restaurant in New York City, we thought: square food, square plates.

You’ll be the opposite of a square when you present guests or family with fun squared food. While our list below is dinner fare, you can easily square off breakfast and lunch.

Cutting certain foods into squares can produce a lot of trimmings, but it’s easy to use them in omelets, salads, hors d’oeuvre and snacks.


A dinner plate from Daniel. Photo courtesy Thomas Schauer Photography.

You can square up rice, vegetables, and other foods with:

  • A square egg mold
  • A square cookie cutter or other square cutter
    These square glass dinner plates from Libbey are inexpensive; or you can spring for these square white porcelain plates.


    A composite of some “Homage To The
    Square” paintings. Photo courtesy




  • Beef, lamb, pork loin
  • Casserole
  • Grilled fish steak
  • Grilled tofu
  • Lasagne
  • Moussaka
  • Polenta with mushroom ragout
  • Quiche (bake it in a square pan)

  • Corn bread
  • Diced vegetables
  • Mashed potatoes
  • Rice or grains
  • Stuffing or other dressing
  • Vegetable pudding: carrot, corn, potato, zucchini, etc.

  • Brownies and bars
  • Flan or other custard (bake it in a square pan)
  • Ice cream (sliced from a rectangular quart)
  • Loaf cake
  • Melon
    What would you add to this list?


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    TOP PICK OF THE WEEK: Poco Dolce Chocolates

    For a special Father‘s Day gift, any chocolate lover will love you for sending him Poco Dolce—a two-time NIBBLE Top Pick Of The Week.

    the chocolate-covered salted caramels, chocolate tiles, toffee, flavored chocolate bars, peanut brittle and special whiskey-infused truffles are sublime.

    The flavors include “original” (we’d never call them “plain”) plus Almond, Almond Coconut, Aztec, Burnt Caramel, Ginger, Mint Toffee, Nuts, Sesame Toffee and others, depending on the particular item.

    The chocolates start at $10.00 for six salted caramels (great party favor!). Most are $18.00-$24, with gift baskets from $65.00 to $180.00.

    Read the full review; then head to Poco Dolce to place your order.



    Luscious chocolate truffles infused with Irish whiskey. Photo by Elvira Kalviste | THE NIBBLE.



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    TIP OF THE DAY: Iced Tea Ice Cubes

    Iced green tea with green tea ice cubes.
    Photo by Tomo Jesenicnikc | IST.


    It’s National Iced Tea Month, so we‘re repeating one of our favorite tips for iced tea lovers:

    Make your ice cubes from the same tea.

    This way, you can keep your iced tea ice-cold without diluting it. It’s a more elegant solution than brewing the tea extra-strong, anticipating that it will be diluted by regular ice cubes.

    You can also use the tea ice cubes in lemonade, creating an “Arnold Palmer” effect; or use them to add a different flavor nuance to any cold drink, including cocktails.

    And it’s a great use for leftover tea.


    While it sounds like a no-brainer, here’s the recipe:


  • 3 cups water
  • 8 tea bags of your choice (or 24g loose tea—each tea bag has the equivalent of 3g of tea)


    1. BOIL the water and pour over tea in a heat-resistant pitcher. Allow to infuse for the variety’s recommended steeping time.

    2. REMOVE tea bags or loose tea; allow tea to cool to room temperature. Pour tea into ice cube trays and place in freezer.

    3. KEEP ice cubes in the tray or remove to a freezer bag or other container so you can freeze more ice cubes. Make black, green and herbal tea ice cubes, depending on what you typically drink.


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    FOOD HOLIDAY: National Donut Day & A Cronut Recipe

    June 7th is National Donut Day. The holiday was created in 1938 by the Salvation Army, to honor the women who served donuts to servicemen in World War I (at that time, it was called the Great War).

    From its first appearance in 17th-century English, the word evolved from dough-nut to doughnut to donut (see the doughnut history below). But the latest evolution in the doughnut category is very recent:

    Dominique Ansel, an innovative French pastry chef with a bakery in the SoHo neighborhood of New York City, has invented the Cronut. As things do in the digital age, it quickly became a craze, with long lines waiting to buy the 250 Cronuts made daily, and scalpers selling the $5 Cronuts for $40.


    The original Cronut, invented by pastry chef Dominique Ansel of New York City. Photo courtesy Dominique Ansel Bakery.



    A hybrid of a croissant and a doughnut, the secret recipe includes the puff pastry layers of a croissant but with a hole in the middle. The dough is injected with the filling of a doughnut, then fried and glazed like a doughnut. The result: a crunchy outside and a soft inside.

    Ansel has registered the name Cronut. (Registration, which entitles the name to a “tm” mark, is the step before the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office approves the mark, at which time the tm becomes an ®.)


    Dominique Ansel is a French pastry chef who spent seven years at the legendary Parisian bakery, Fauchon, ultimately arriving in New York City for a six-year stint as executive pastry chef at Daniel.

    In November 2011, he opened Dominique Ansel Bakery in New York City. His excellent skills, coupled with a vivid imagination, have produced innovative delights, of which the Cronut is just one.


    Pillsbuy’s version of the Cronut, called the
    Crescent Doughnut. Photo courtesy Pillsbury.



    Pillsbury got on top of the trend and created its own version of the Cronut—one that everyday folks can create at home. The recipe uses the dough of Pillsbury Crescent Rolls, prepared vanilla pudding instead of custard, jelly or pastry cream; and a drizzle of salted caramel.

    It doesn’t have the complexity of the Cronut, but it’s close enough. More importantly, it’s easy to make. For some people, that beats lining up on the street at 6 a.m., waiting for the Dominique Ansel Bakery to open at 8 a.m.



  • 2 cups vegetable oil
  • 1 can (8 ounces) Pillsbury Refrigerated Crescent Dinner Rolls
  • 1 snack-size container (4 ounces) vanilla pudding
  • 2 tablespoons caramel sauce
  • 1/4 teaspoon kosher salt or coarse sea salt
  • 1/2 cup powdered sugar
  • Milk
  • Additional caramel sauce, if desired


    1. HEAT oil in deep fryer or 2-quart heavy saucepan over medium heat. to 325°F.

    2. SEPARATE crescent dough into 4 rectangles. Firmly press perforations to seal. Stack 2 rectangles on top of one another. Fold in half widthwise to make tall stack. Repeat with remaining 2 rectangles.

    3. Use a 3-inch biscuit cutter to cut 1 round from each stack; use 1/2-inch biscuit cutter to cut small hole in center of each round. Reroll remaining dough to cut a third doughnut.

    4. FRY the doughnuts in hot oil 2-1/2 minutes on each side, or until they are a deep golden brown and cooked through. Drain on paper towels. Cool 5 minutes.

    5. CAREFULLY SPLIT doughnuts in half. Place pudding in decorating bag fitted with a tip, and pipe half of the pudding onto bottom half of each doughnut. Top each with some of the caramel sauce; sprinkle with salt. Cover each with top of doughnut.

    6. MIX powdered sugar in small bowl with enough milk to create a spreading consistency. Spread on tops of doughnuts. Drizzle with additional caramel sauce.


    Although dough was fried in oil as far back as ancient Rome, food historians generally credit the invention of deep-fried yeast doughnuts to Northern Europeans in Medieval times.

    The word doughnut refers to the small, round, nutlike shape of the original doughnuts—the hole came later. “Donut” is an American phonetic rendering from the 20th century.

    Doughnuts were introduced to America in the 17th century by Dutch immigrants, who called them oliekoecken, oil cakes (i.e., fried cakes). In the New World, the doughnut makers replaced their frying oil with lard, which was plentiful and produced a tender and greaseless crust.

    Other immigrants brought their own doughnut variations: the Pennsylvania Dutch and the Moravians brought fastnachts to Lancaster, Pennsylavnia and Winston-Salem, North Carolina, respectively; the French brought beignets to New Orleans.

    By 1845, recipes for “dough-nuts” appeared in American cookbooks; chemical leavening (baking powder) was substituted for yeast to produce a more cakelike, less breadlike texture; and inexpensive tin doughnut cutters with holes came onto the market.


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