THE NIBBLE BLOG: Products, Recipes & Trends In Specialty Foods
Also visit our main website, TheNibble.com.

Archive for 2015

TIP OF THE DAY: Cranberry Mimosa Cocktail

Cranberry Mimosa Cocktail

Make Cranberry Mimosa cocktails or mocktails. Photo courtesy Ocean Spray.

 

There’s still time to create a signature drink for Christmas: a Cranberry Mimosa cocktail or mocktail. It combines cranberry juice with sparkling wine (or ginger ale), instead of the orange juice of a traditional Mimosa.

Or use cranberry liqueur for a Cranberry Kir Royale, a.k.a. Kir Royale à la Canneberge (if you haven’t guessed, canneberge [can-BERZH] is French for cranberry). Note that using liqueur instead of juice creates a stronger drink.

You can also serve a Mimosa mocktail with cranberry juice and ginger ale, and a diet version with diet cranberry juice and diet ginger ale.

 
RECIPE: CHRISTMAS MIMOSA, CRANBERRY KIR ROYALE OR CRANBERRY MOCKTAIL

Ingredients Per Drink

  • 2 ounces cranberry juice or cranberry liqueur
  • 4 ounces sparkling wine*, regular or rosé, chilled
  • Optional garnish: lemon curl, strawberry
  •  
    Preparation

    1. COMBINE the cranberry juice/liqueur and the sparkling wine in a Champagne flute or wine glass. Add the juice first. If you need to stir, do so gently, once, so as not to collapse the bubbles.

    2. GARNISH as desired and serve.
     
    *Well-priced sparkling wines include Asti Spumante and Prosecco from Italy, Cava from Spain, Crémant from France and our Top Pick Of The Week, Yellow Tail Bubbly.

     
    THE HISTORY OF THE MIMOSA COCKTAIL

    The Mimosa, a cocktail composed of equal parts of orange juice and Champagne or other dry, white sparkling wine, was invented circa 1925 in the Hôtel Ritz in Paris, by bartender Frank Meier. Served in a Champagne flute, it is believed to be named after the the mimosa evergreen shrub (Acacia dealbata), which bears flowers of a similar color to the drink.

    The optional addition of a small amount of orange liqueur like Grand Marnier complements the juice and gives the drink more complexity.

    Because of the juice component, the Mimosa is often served at brunch. A Grapefruit Mimosa with grapefruit juice is a popular variation. A related drink, the Buck’s Fizz†, has two parts Champagne to one part juice—and sometimes a splash of grenadine. Created at London’s Buck’s Club by bartender Pat McGarryhe, the Buck’s Fizz predates the Mimosa by about four years.

    If you’re making Mimosas, fresh-squeezed orange juice makes a huge difference. One expert recommends trying different types of orange juice: The sweeter Navel juice vs. the more acidic Valencia, for example. Blood oranges, with their rosy color and raspberry notes, will provide a different experience entirely (and a wonderful one!).

    [Source]
     
    †Buck and mule are old names for mixed drinks made with ginger ale or ginger beer, plus citrus juice. They can be made with any base liquor. Why buck? Why mule? That answer is lost to history, but here’s a detailed discussion.
     
      

    Comments off

    RECIPE: Eggnog Martini

    For Christmas or New Year’s Eve, how about a fun and flavorful Eggnog Martini?

    You can buy eggnog in the supermarket and mix multiple portions in a pitcher.

    RECIPE: EGG NOG MARTINI

    Ingredients For 1 Drink

  • 3-1/2 ounces eggnog
  • 1-1/2 ounces vanilla vodka (make it or buy it)
  • Splash of cinnamon liqueur (see below)
  • Garnish: dash of nutmeg or rim of crushed graham crackers
  • Ice cubes
  •  
    Preparation

    1. FILL a 5-ounce Martini glass with ice to chill it.

    2. COMBINE the eggnog, vanilla vodka and cinnamon liqueur in a shaker with ice, and shake to blend.

    3. DISCARD the ice in the glass and strain the cocktail into it.

    4. GARNISH as desired and serve.

       

    Eggnog Martini

    An Eggnog Martini with a rim of crushed graham crackers. Photo courtesy Cedar Mill Liquor.

     

    Goldschlager Cinnamon Liqueur

    Dramatic and delicious: Goldschläger
    cinnamon schnaps with gold flakes. Photo
    courtesy Global Brands.

     

    MAKE VANILLA VODKA

    Infusion method: Add a vanilla bean to a bottle of decent vodka. Cap tightly and let the vanilla infuse for 1-2 weeks in a cool, dark place. Gently shake the bottle every other day.

    Quick solution: Add vanilla extract to vodka, 1/4 teaspoon per two ounces. For a 750 ml bottle of vodka, that’s 3 teaspoons. Shake well to blend.

     
    CORDIAL, EAU DE VIE, LIQUEUR, SCHNAPPS:
    THE DIFFERENCE

    Cinnamon liqueur can be added to coffee and tea (hot or cold), made into adult hot chocolate, sipped on the rocks, drunk as shooters and mixed into cocktails. If you buy a bottle for this recipe, you’ll find numerous opportunities to use it

    Some brands are meant to burn like Red Hots candy. You want something more elegant. Our favorite is Goldschläger cinnamon schnaps with gold flakes. It looks magical in shots and clear cocktails.

     
    So what’s the difference between cordial, eau de vie, liqueur and schnapps?

    While many people use these terms interchangeably, and they are all flavored spirits, there are differences in terms of sweetness and color.

  • Liqueur (lih-CUR, the French pronunciation) is made by steeping fruits in alcohol after the fruit has been fermented; the result is then distilled. Liqueurs are typically sweeter and more syrupy than schnapps.
  • Schnapps (SHNOPS) is made by fermenting the fruit, herb or spice along with a base spirit, usually brandy; the product is then distilled. This process creates a stronger, often clear, distilled spirit similar to a lightly flavored vodka. “Schnapps” is German for “snap,” and in this context denotes both a clear brandy distilled from fermented fruits, plus a shot of that spirit. Classic schnapps have no added sugar, and are thus less sweet than liqueur. But note that some manufacturers add sugar to please the palates of American customers.
  • Eau de vie (oh-duh-VEE), French for “water of life,” this is unsweetened fruit brandy—i.e.,schnapps.
  • Cordial has a different meaning in the U.S. than in the U.K., where it is a non-alcoholic, sweet, syrupy drink. In the U.S, a cordial is a sweet, syrupy, alcoholic beverage: liqueur.
  •  
    In sum: If you want a less sweet, clear spirit, choose schnapps/eau de vie over liqueur. For something sweet and syrupy, go for liqueur/cordial.
     
    What about fruit-flavored brandy?

  • Liqueur is sweeter, and made from a grain-based alcohol.
  • Fruit-flavored brandy is made from a grape-based alcohol. Be sure to buy one that is all natural, i.e., made with real fruit instead of flavored syrup. With a quality brand, the fruit is macerated in the alcohol, then filtered out prior to bottling.
  •  
    FOOD 101

    THE HISTORY OF EGGNOG

    THE HISTORY OF THE MARTINI
      

    Comments off

    TIP OF THE DAY: Strawberry Wreath

    No matter how many pies, cakes and cookie platters were served at Christmas dinner, our mom always put out one more dessert: fresh fruit salad.

    It always had takers, from calorie counters to healthy eaters to people avoiding lactose, gluten, refined sugar, whatever, to people who were too full to eat something rich.

    But as much as we treasure memories of mom sectioning all types of citrus for her fruit salad, this strawberry wreath is an even better idea.

    Buy four or more pints of strawberries with fresh green crowns (your grocer may have jumbo value packages). Wash and pat dry, leaving the crowns intact. If the crowns are dried out, remove them and accent the berries with some green grapes instead.

    Lay the berries out in a wreath shape on a tray or cutting board. Cover with plastic wrap to keep in the moisture until you’re ready to serve the wreath.

    Provide a low-calorie yogurt dip, such as:

  • Nonfat plain Greek yogurt sweetened with agave and a pinch of cinnamon
  • Siggi’s Icelandic Style Strained Nonfat Vanilla Yogurt*
  •    

    Strawberry Wreath

    This is the easiest Christmas fruit dessert. Photo courtesy California Strawberries.

  • Dannon Oikos Nonfat Yogurt in Strawberry or Strawberry Banana
  •  

    Strawberry Heart

    For Valentine’s Day, make a strawberry
    heart. Photo courtesy WeHeartIt.com.

     

    You’ll get oohs and aahs plus voices of appreciation.

    If the berries aren’t sweet enough, provide a bowl of sugar and noncaloric sweetener, or a squeeze bottle of agave or honey.

    We actually sprinkle Splenda over the berries before plating them, which solves the problem. But not everyone likes the idea of artificial sweetener.

    We wish you a berry happy holiday!
     
     
    *You can use any vanilla yogurt, but Siggi’s is one of the lowest sugar vanilla yogurts on the market.

     

      

    Comments off

    PRODUCT: DRY Sparkling, A Sophisticated Soft Drink

    Do your guests have sophisticated palates? Do they drink carbonated beverages?

    While it’s tempting to buy those two-liter bottles of soda for 99 cents for parties and dinners, consider treating your New Year’s Eve guests to a better carbonated drink from DRY Sparkling.

    One of the pioneers in adult soft drinks, DRY was founded when a mother-to-be, unable to drink alcohol, wanted something more tantalizing than typical American soft drinks. She developed an “haute” line of sodas: all-natural, caffeine-free and lightly sweetened with pure cane sugar.

    The company, currently celebrating its 10th anniversary, continues to charm foodies with its sparkling beverages. The original four flavors have expanded to include:

  • Blood Orange
  • Cucumber
  • Ginger
  • Juniper Berry
  • Lavender
  • Rainier Cherry
  • Rhubarb
  • Vanilla Bean
  •  
    Fans in the Pacific Northwest, where DRY is produced, can also find the limited edition Lemongrass flavor, a perfect pairing with Asian cuisines and an exotic experience drunk on its own.

    A 12-ounce bottle has just 50 to 70 calories, and is just as enjoyable as a cocktail mixer (see the website for cocktail recipes) as an adult soft drink. Serve it straight in a wine glass or champagne flute for even more panache.

     

    Dry Soda Lavender

    DRY Cucumber Soda

    TOP PHOTO: Lavender lovers, rejoice! BOTTOM PHOTO: Most flavors are available in bottles and cans. Photos courtesy DRY.

     
    DRY is sold at natural and traditional grocers nationwide, including Kroger, Safeway and Whole Foods Market. There’s a store locator on the website.

    The line is also sold on Amazon.com, in 12-ounce bottles, 12-ounce aluminum cans and the special edition Lemongrass bottling.

    A four-pack has an SRP of $9.99. There are also 750 ml bottles, the standard wine bottle size. Impressive looking, they make great gifts for those who don’t drink.

    For more information, visit DrySparkling.com. Your designated drivers and other non-drinkers will thank you.

      

    Comments off

    RECIPE: Bacon & Sweet Potato Biscuits

    Bacon Biscuits

    Cooked & Raw Bacon

    TOP PHOTO: Bacon and sweet potato biscuits from PorkBeInspired.com. BOTTOM PHOTO: When you cook bacon for the biscuits, you can make extra for your eggs.

     

    Is there a better breakfast bread than warm biscuits? This recipe, from PorkBeInspired.com, seems especially right for Thanksgiving and Christmas mornings. If you want, you can use a biscuit mix instead of combining everything from scratch.

    Prep time is 20 minutes, cook time is 45 minutes. Split leftover biscuits in half horizontally and add sliced ham or other sandwich fixings.

    RECIPE: BACON & SWEET POTATO BISCUITS WITH HONEY BUTTER

    Ingredients For 12 Biscuits
     
    For The Biscuits

  • 6 slices bacon, cut crosswise into 1/4-inch strips
  • 1 medium or 2 small orange-fleshed sweet potatoes (14 to 16 ounces total), peeled
  • 2 cups all-purpose flour*
  • 4 teaspoons baking powder*
  • 1 tablespoon sugar*
  • 1 teaspoon baking soda*
  • 1 teaspoon salt*
  • 3/4 teaspoon ground allspice
  • 8 tablespoons unsalted butter, cut into 1/2-inch cubes and chilled
  • 1 cup buttermilk (regular or lowfat)
  •  
    For The Honey Butter

  • 8 tablespoons unsalted butter, softened
  • 2 tablespoons honey
  • Salt
  •  
    *You can substitute the flour, baking powder, sugar, baking soda and salt for 3 cups of biscuit mix.
     
    Preparation

    1. WRAP the sweet potato with a damp paper towel and microwave on high until very soft, 3 to 4 minutes. Transfer to a bowl, mash with a potato masher and set aside to cool. Meanwhile…

    2. COOK the bacon in a medium skillet over medium heat until golden and crisp, about 8 minutes. Use a slotted spoon to transfer the bacon to a paper towel-lined plate, then set aside to cool. Carefully set aside 2 tablespoons of bacon drippings from the skillet.

    3. PREHEAT the oven to 375°F. Line a large baking sheet with parchment paper.

    4. COMBINE the flour, baking powder, sugar, baking soda, salt and allspice in a food processor, and pulse a few times. Add the cubed butter and pulse to make a coarse meal with a few pea-sized pieces. Transfer the mixture to a large bowl and gently mix in the bacon, buttermilk and 1 cup of the mashed sweet potato (save any remaining potato for another use—including folding into an omelet to go with the biscuits).

    5. TRANSFER the mixture to a floured work surface and knead a few times to form a dough. Pat the dough to about 1-inch thick, then gently fold in half. Gently repeat 4 more times. Roll the dough out to 3/4-inch thick, then use a floured 2-1/2-inch biscuit cutter to cut dough into biscuits, arranging them on the prepared baking sheet. Gather the scraps and repeat to make a total of 12 biscuits. Bake until the biscuits are browned and a tester comes out clean, 15 to 18 minutes. While the biscuits bake…

    6. COMBINE the softened butter, honey, and reserved bacon drippings, mixing until smooth. Add salt to taste. Serve the biscuits with the honey butter on the side.

     
      

    Comments off



    © Copyright 2005-2017 Lifestyle Direct, Inc. All rights reserved. All images are copyrighted to their respective owners.