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Archive for Christmas

TIP OF THE DAY: The Easiest Chocolate Bark

white-pistachio-bark-pan-blogerikarax-230

It couldn’t be easier to make chocolate bark. Photo courtesy Erika Rax.

 

We found this tip from Erika Rax, a home baker living in Sydney, Australia.

“I have a little secret to make really pretty and quick bark,” she says.

Forget the chopping and melting of chocolate, ladies and gents. Erika’s technique will give you almost instant bark for special family treats or gifting. In the conventional technique, the inclusions get mixed into the chocolate. Here, they sit on top—an even prettier presentation, with no dimunition of flavor.

Erika’s pistachio and rosemary bark, green ingredients on a white chocolate background, is perfect for St. Patrick’s Day. For Christmas, add some dried cherries or cranberries.

RECIPE: THE EASIEST CHOCOLATE BARK

Ingredients

  • White chocolate bar(s)
  • Chopped pistachio nuts
  • Fresh rosemary
  •  
    Preparation

    1. PREHEAT the oven to 170°F/75°C. Line a baking sheet with parchment and place the bar(s) on the parchment.

    2. ARRANGE the toppings over the bar. Place the sheet in the oven for 3-5 minutes until it just starts to soften. Take care not to overbake or the bar will lose shape.

    3. REMOVE from the oven. We lifted the parchment from the pan to cool on the counter, so the bars would not continue to get heat from the pan.
     
    Erika wrapped her gift bars in parchment paper, tied with a piece of kitchen string and a sprig of fresh rosemary. It’s charming! Here’s the photo.

    Find more of Erika’s tips at Blog.ErikaRax.com.

     
      

    Comments

    RECIPE: Red Velvet Pancakes

    red-velvet-pancakes-tasteofhome-230

    Red velvet pancakes: use seasonal garnish
    for July 4th, Christmas, Valentine’s Day or
    Mother’s Day. Photo courtesy Taste Of
    Home.

     

    For a special Valentine’s Day breakfast, brunch or lunch, Taste Of Home magazine suggests these red velvet pancakes.

    Red food works for July 4th and Christmas, of course. Just vary the garnish:

  • Christmas: mint leaf or sliced kiwi (or make green whipped cream!)
  • Valentine’s Day: red berries
  • July 4th: whipped cream, crème fraîche or mascarpone; plus blueberries
  •  
    Note that the recipe below is for a party-size batch of pancakes—five batches of 16 pancakes per batch.

    However, the mixed dry ingredients can be divided into five batches, which can be stored in a cool, dry place for up to 6 months. You can use the recipe as a guide to make smaller amounts.

    Or, make the five-batch lot, and give the four extra batches as Valentine gifts—tied with a red ribbon.

     
    RECIPE: RED VELVET PANCAKES

    Prep time is: 30 minutes, cooking time is 15 minutes per batch.

    Ingredients For 5 Batches (10 Cups Mix Total)

  • 10 cups all-purpose flour
  • 1-1/4 cups sugar
  • 2/3 cup baking cocoa
  • 6 teaspoons baking soda
  • 4 teaspoons baking powder
  • 5 teaspoons salt
  •  
    Additional Ingredients (For Each Batch)

  • 2 cups buttermilk
  • 2 eggs
  • 2 tablespoons red food coloring
  • Butter and maple syrup
  •  
    Preparation

    1. COMBINE the first six ingredients in a large bowl. Place 2 cups in each of five resealable plastic bags or containers.

    2. PREPARE pancakes: Pour the mix into a large bowl. In a small bowl, whisk the buttermilk, eggs and food coloring. Stir into the dry ingredients just until moistened.

    3. POUR the batter by 1/4 cupfuls onto a greased hot griddle; turn when bubbles form on top. Cook until the second side is golden brown.

    4. SERVE with butter and syrup.

      

    Comments

    VALENTINE COCKTAIL: Pomegranate Refresher

    For a sophisticated Valentine cocktail that isn’t overly pink or laden with rose petals, we like this from Tequila Herradura . Herradura used its Silver Tequila to make the drink.

    RECIPE: POMEGRANATE REFRESHER

    Ingredients Per Drink

  • 1 ounce blanco/silver tequila
  • 1 ounce vermouth
  • Dash orange bitters
  • ½ ounce lemon juice
  • Ice
  • 1 ounce club soda
  • Garnish: pomegranate arils (seeds)
  • Garnish: mint sprig or notched strawberry on the rim
  •  

    Preparation

    1. PLACE all ingredients except the soda into a high ball glass filled with ice.

     

    pomegranate-refresher-herradura-230

    Pretty in [pale] pink for Valentine’s Day. Photo courtesy Tequila Herradura.

     
    2. ADD the club soda and use a bar spoon to stir the ingredients. Add the pomegranate seeds.

    3. GARNISH with the mint sprig or strawberry and serve.

      

    Comments

    RECIPE: Sundried Tomato Scones

    A cold day like today is a good reason to heat up the oven and bake something to enjoy warm. Thanks to Archana Ramesh of the blog Svaad for this recipe.

    Castelvetrano olives are not only delicious and one of our favorite varieties; they’re the brightest green olives. So these “red and green” scones are a nice recipe to remember for the holiday season. If you prefer black olives (or no olives), substitute accordingly.

    Prep time is 10 minutes, cook time is 15 minutes. Find more of Archana’s recipes at Svaad.Wordpress.com.

    Ingredients For 4 Servings

  • 1/2 cup unsalted butter
  • 1 cup all-purpose flour
  • 1 cup whole wheat or multigrain flour
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1 small clove garlic
  •    

    SONY DSC

    Warm from the oven: sundried tomato and olive scones. Photo ©Archana Ramesh.

  • 2 tablespoons milk (plus more if needed for consistency)
  • 1 tablespoons olive oil
  • 1/4 cup sundried tomatoes
  • 1/4 cup chopped Castelvetrano olives, pitted
  •  

     

    bellasunluci-julienne-bag-230

    Keep a bag of julienned Bella Sun Luci tomatoes in the pantry to add to any number of dishes. Photo courtesy Mooney Farms.

     

    Preparation

    1. MIX the flour with the salt, sundried tomatoes and garlic. Chop the olives and put add them to the mix.

    2. CUT the cold butter into this flour mixture with a pastry cutter or two knives, until its all crumbly.

    3. ADD the milk slowly, mixing until the dry mix turns into a dough. If the dough is too sticky, add some olive oil.

    4. SPREAD the dough onto a baking sheet. Using a pizza cutter, cut into triangles. (You can also make specialty shapes with cookie cutter.)

    5. BAKE at 425°F for 10 to 15 minutes, until the tops turn amber. Serve hot, plain or with butter or other spread.

     

      

    Comments

    TIP OF THE DAY: Eggnog French Toast

    Stuffed_French_Toast_SpiceIslands-230

    Eggnog French toast looks like the regular kind, but packs a punch of extra flavor. Photo courtesy Spice Islands.

     

    Save some of tonight’s eggnog for tomorrow’s French Toast. Eggnog is substituted for the milk that’s normally beaten with the eggs.

    With this recipe, from Taste Of Home, prep time is 10 minutes, cook time is 20 minutes.

    For an even eggier flavor, use challah or brioche instead of conventional bread.

    RECIPE: EGGNOG FRENCH TOAST

    Ingredients For 8-10 Servings

  • 8 eggs
  • 2 cups eggnog
  • 1/4 cup sugar
  • 1/2 teaspoon vanilla or rum extract
  • 20 to 26 slices of bread, depending on desired portion size
  • Optional garnish: confectioners’ sugar, berries
  • Maple syrup
  • Preparation

    1. BEAT the eggs, eggnog, sugar and extract in a bowl. Soak the bread in the mixture for 2 minutes per side.

    2. COOK on a greased hot griddle until golden brown on both sides and cooked through.

    3. DUST with confectioners’ sugar if desired, and serve with syrup and optional berries.

     
      

    Comments

    RECIPE: Eggnog Crumble Bars

    If it’s a lazy day and you’ve got eggnog, bake these creamy Eggnog Crumble Bars for New Year’s Eve. “Crumble” refers to the streusel topping on the bars.

    The recipe is from Annie’s Eats for Go Bold With Butter. Check out both websites for more delicious recipes.

    Prep time: is 15 minutes, cook time is 35 minutes. While the bars are baking, check out the history of eggnog.

    “Grate whole nutmeg for these rather than using the pre-grated stuff,” Annie advises. “It definitely enhances the flavor.”

    RECIPE: EGGNOG CRUMBLE BARS

    Ingredients For 16 Bars
     
    For The Dough

  • 2 cups all-purpose flour
  • 2/3 cup sugar
  • 3/4 teaspoon baking powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1/2 teaspoon grated nutmeg
  • 1/8 teaspoon cinnamon
  • 12 tablespoons cold unsalted butter, cut into small pieces
  • 6 tablespoons eggnog
  •    

    eggnog-crumble-bars-goboldwithbutter-230

    Another way to use eggnog in baking! Photo courtesy Go Bold With Butter.

     

    For The Filling

  • 8 ounces cream cheese, at room temperature
  • 1/4 cup granulated sugar
  • 1 large egg
  • 1/2 cup eggnog
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  •  

    organic-valley-eggnog-carton-230

    For breakfast, make Eggnog French Toast. Substitute eggnog for the milk, but do add the egg! Photo courtesy Organic Valley.

     

    Preparation

    1. PREHEAT the oven to 350°F. Line 8 x 8-inch baking pan with foil or parchment paper.

    2. MAKE the dough: Combine the flour, sugar, baking powder, salt, nutmeg and cinnamon in medium bowl; stir to blend. Add the butter, cutting it into the dry ingredients with a pastry cutter or two knives, until mixture resembles coarse meal. Add the eggnog and stir with a fork or knead very briefly, just until crumbly dough comes together.

    3. TRANSFER two-thirds of the dough mixture to the prepared baking pan and press down into the bottom of the pan to form an even layer.

    4. MAKE the filling: Combine the cream cheese and sugar in bowl of electric mixer. Beat on medium-high speed until smooth, light and fluffy. Blend in the egg, then the eggnog and vanilla, until smooth. Pour the mixture over the layer of dough in the baking pan. Crumble the reserved dough over top of eggnog mixture.

    5. BAKE—rotating the pan halfway through baking—until just set, about 25 minutes. Let cool to room temperature on wire rack. Chill well before slicing and serving.

     
     
    MORE RECIPES WITH EGGNOG

  • Eggnog Mini Bundts Recipe
  • Eggnog Mini Cheesecakes Recipe
  • Eggnog Panna Cotta Recipe Recipe
  • Eggnog Truffles Recipe
  • Eggnog Wreath Cookies Recipe
  • White Chocolate Eggnog Fudge Recipe
  •   

    Comments

    TIP OF THE DAY: Bagna Càuda, A “Hot Bath” Dip With Garlic

    Bagna càuda, pronounced BON-ya COW-da, is a riff on crudités with dip. The name means “hot bath”; the dip is olive oil and butter, seasoned with garlic and anchovies and served hot. Bagna caôda is an alternative spelling.

    A dish from Italy’s Piedmont season, bagna càuda is served during the autumn and winter months, often as part of a Christmas Eve buffet. Why not try it on New Year’s Eve?

    Traditional dippers in Piedmont include artichokes, bell peppers, cardoons*, carrots, cauliflower, celery, fennel and green onions.

    In some parts of Piedmont, cream is used instead of butter; and hazelnut or walnut oil is substituted for the olive oil. If you’re in Alba, lucky you: There may be some truffles added to to the oil.

    Here’s the drill:

  • Heat the seasoned oil.
  • Provide slices of baguette to hold underneath the vegetable to catch the drippings and turn into its own snack.
  • To keep the oil warm, you can use a fondue pot with fondue forks for dipping. A flat cheese fondue pot works best, or a chafing dish on a hot plate or a brazier.
  •  

    bagna-cauda-finedininglovers-230r

    This bagna càuda is served in a regular dish, not a fondue pot. Photo courtesy FineDiningLovers.com; here’s their recipe.

     
    RECIPE: BAGNA CÀUDA DIP

    Ingredients

  • 6 large garlic cloves, chopped
  • 3/4 cup olive oil plus oil for browning
  • 6 tablespoons (3/4 stick) unsalted butter, at room temperature
  • 6-12 best quality anchovy fillets, well drained
  • 1 tablespoon minced parsley leaves
  • Optional: pinch of chile flakes
  • Salt and pepper to taste
  • Assorted fresh vegetables, cut into bite-size pieces
  • 1 baguette or similar loaf, sliced into 2-inch pieces
  •  
    Preparation

    1. BROWN the garlic cloves in some olive oil, about 5 minutes. Add the optional chile flakes before removing from the flame.

    2. BLEND the oil, butter, anchovies and garlic in a food processor until smooth. Transfer the dip to a medium saucepan, taste and season as desired.

    3. HEAT over a low flame for 15 minutes, stirring occasionally. Add to fondue pot or dish. Stir in the parsley right before serving.

    4. SERVE with crudités and bread.

     
    *Cardoons are relative of artichokes, and aren’t readily available in the U.S. they resemble celery.

      

    Comments

    RECIPE: Eggnog Mini Bundts

    eggnnog-bundt-cakes-eatwisconsincheese-230

    For New Year’s Eve and New Year’s Day:
    eggnog mini-bundt cakes. Photo courtesy Eat
    Wisconsin Cheese.

     

    This recipe was contributed by Tieghan of HalfBakedHarvest.com to EatWisconsinCheese.com. Check out the great recipes on both websites.

    RECIPE: MINI EGGNOG STREUSEL BUNDT CAKES WITH EGGNOG MASCARPONE GLAZE

    Ingredients For 12 Mini Cakes Or 24 Super Mini Cakes

  • 3 cups flour
  • 2 teaspoons baking powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon kosher salt
  • 1/4 teaspoon cinnamon plus 1/2 teaspoon, divided
  • 1/2 cup brown sugar
  • 2 sticks unsalted butter, at room temperature
  • 1/2 cup sugar
  • 3 eggs
  • 1 cup eggnog
  • 1 tablespoon vanilla extract
  • Optional: 1 tablespoon plain or coconut rum
  •  

    For The Streusel

  • 1/3 cup brown sugar
  • 1/4 cup flour
  • 1/2 teaspoon cinnamon
  • 3 tablespoons cold butter
  •  
    For The Mascarpone Eggnog Glaze

  • 4 ounces mascarpone cheese, softened to room temperature
  • 3/4 cups powdered sugar
  • 2 tablespoons eggnog
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  •  

    Preparation

    1. PREHEAT the oven to 350°F. Butter two mini 6-cake bundt pans or 2 mini 12-cake bundt pans.

    2. MIX mix together the flour, baking powder, salt and 1/4 teaspoon cinnamon in small bowl. Set aside.

    3. WHISK together 1/2 cup brown sugar and 1/2 teaspoon cinnamon in another small bowl. Set aside.

    4. BEAT the butter and sugar in stand mixer or with hand mixer beat until light and fluffy, about 3 minutes. Add the eggs one at a time, beating after each addition until completely incorporated. Beat another 2-3 minutes until light, fluffy and pale in color. With the mixer on low, slowly add the dry ingredients until fully incorporated. Add the eggnog, vanilla and rum. Beat until smooth.

    5. FILL each mini bundt mold 1/3 of the way full. Sprinkle the brown sugar and cinnamon mixture over the cakes and add the remaining batter, filling each cup to just under 3/4 full. Try not to over-fill the cups.

     

    eggnog-cartons-kemps-230

    Drink it and bake with it, too. Photo courtesy Kemps Dairy.

     
    6. BAKE 20-25 minutes, or until the cakes no longer jiggle. Remove from the oven and to cool in the pan for 10 minutes. Overturn the cake pan onto wire rack. Let the cakes cool completely.

    7. MAKE the streusel crumble: In a small bowl, stir together the brown sugar, flour and cinnamon. With pastry blender or two forks, cut in 3 tablespoons of butter until mixture looks like coarse crumbs. Press the streusel into the bottom and up the sides of an ungreased 9-inch glass pie plate. Bake about 10 minutes or until edges are golden brown. Cool slightly. With a fork, break the streusel into small pieces. Set aside to cool completely, about 30 minutes.

    8. MAKE the Mascarpone Eggnog Glaze: Add the mascarpone to a microwave-safe bowl and microwave 15 to 30 seconds or until the cheese is melted. Stir in the powdered sugar, eggnog and vanilla. Whisk until smooth.

    9. ASSEMBLE: Spoon the glaze over the cakes and top with the streusel. Drizzle with more glaze.

     
    MORE RECIPES WITH EGGNOG

  • Eggnog Mini Cheesecakes Recipe
  • Eggnog Panna Cotta Recipe Recipe
  • Eggnog Streusel Bars Recipe
  • Eggnog Truffles Recipe
  • Eggnog Wreath Cookies Recipe
  • White Chocolate Eggnog Fudge Recipe
  •  
    PLUS

  • Bundt History
  • Eggnog History
  •   

    Comments

    RECIPE: Eggnog Panna Cotta

    eggnog-panna-cotta-driscolls-230

    Eggnog panna cotta. Photo courtesy
    Driscoll’s.

     

    Panna cotta is an Italian dessert whose name means “cooked cream.” The heavy cream and eggs form one of the different types of custard.

    This recipe, from Driscoll’s Berries, adds rum and brandy, ingredients of eggnog; and creates individual portions in ramekins. The puddings get a festive finish with a topping of colorful, sweet-tart balsamic raspberries.

    Prep time is 1 hour, chill time is 2 hours. Find more delicious recipes at Driscolls.com.

    RECIPE: EGGNOG PANNA COTTA WITH
    BALSAMIC RASPBERRY TOPPING

    Ingredients For 8 to 10 Servings

  • 1 cup whole milk, divided
  • Canola oil for ramekins
  • 1 envelope (1/4 ounce) plain gelatin
  • 6 large egg yolks
  • 1/3 cups sugar
  • 2 cups heavy cream
  • 2 teaspoons rum flavoring (or 1 teaspoon each rum flavoring and brandy flavoring)
  •  

    For The Balsamic Raspberries

  • 3 tablespoons light brown sugar
  • 3 tablespoons balsamic vinegar
  • 1 package (6 ounces or 1-1/3 cups) raspberries
  •  

    Preparation

    1. LIGHTLY OIL six 3/4-cup ramekins or custard cups.

    2. SPRINKLE gelatin over 1/4 cup milk in a small bowl. Let it stand until the gelatin softens, about 5 minutes.

    3. PLACE a fine mesh sieve over a heatproof bowl near the stove. Whisk the egg yolks and sugar in a second heatproof bowl until combined. Heat the cream and the remaining 3/4 cup milk in a medium saucepan over medium heat, stirring often, until simmering.

    4. GRADUALLY WHISK the hot cream mixture into the egg mixture. Return the mixture to the saucepan. Cook over low heat, stirring constantly with a wooden spoon, until the mixture coats the spoon (a finger run through the custard on the spoon will cut a swath) and an instant-read thermometer reads 185°F, about 3 minutes.

    5. POUR through the sieve into bowl. Discard any bits of cooked egg white in the sieve. Add the gelatin-milk mixture and rum extract to the cream mixture and whisk until gelatin is completely dissolved, about 1 minute. Let stand 5 minutes to cool slightly.

     

    driscolls-boxes-imblogger.net-230

    Driscoll’s raspberries are available nationwide. Photo courtesy IMBlogger.net.

     

    6. DIVIDE the cream mixture evenly among ramekins. Cover each with plastic wrap. Refrigerate until chilled and set, at least 2 hours.

    7. MAKE the balsamic raspberries: Whisk the brown sugar and balsamic vinegar together in a medium bowl to dissolve the sugar. Stir in the raspberries. Let stand at room temperature for at least 15 minutes and up to 2 hours.

    8. ASSEMBLE: To unmold each panna cotta, run a dinner knife around the inside of the ramekin to release the panna cotta. Hold a dessert plate firmly over the ramekin and invert the plate and ramekin together. Shake firmly to unmold the panna cotta onto the plate.

    9. TOP each panna cotta with an equal amount of raspberries and their juices. Serve immediately.

      

    Comments

    MERRY CHRISTMAS

    olive-mozzarella-wreath-zoeskitchenFB-230sq

    Olive and mozzarella wreath. Photo courtesy
    Zoe’s Kitchen.

     

     
     
     
     
    ALL OF US AT THE NIBBLE

    WISH YOU A JOYOUS DAY

     

     
      

    Comments

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