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    THE NIBBLE’s Gourmet News & Views

    Trends, Products & Items Of Note In The World Of Specialty Foods

    This is the blog section of THE NIBBLE. Read all of our content on TheNibble.com,
    the online magazine about gourmet and specialty food.

Archive for Easter

EASTER: Pink, White & Green Deviled Eggs

Make these gorgeous pink deviled eggs ahead of time for easy holiday entertaining: They’re perfect for Easter brunch or snacking.

You can make all of the eggs pink, half pink/half white, or tint some pickle brine light green for a tricolor selection.

Mix and match your toppings from the list in the recipe or whatever else appeals to you.

Prep time is 20 minutes.

RECIPE: PICKLED PINK DEVILED EGGS

Ingredients For 20 egg halves

  • 12 hard-boiled eggs
  • 1/4 cup mayonnaise
  • 1/4 cup sour cream
  • 1 tablespoon Dijon mustard
  • 1 tablespoon fresh lemon juice
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt
  • 1/4 teaspoon pepper
  • 2 tablespoons finely chopped fresh dill or chives
  •  

    Pickled deviled eggs in Easter colors. Photo and recipe courtesy American Egg Board.

     

    For The Marinade

  • 1 jar (16 ounces) beets
  • 1 cup water
  • 1 cup white vinegar
  •  
    Garnishes

  • Capers & chives
  • Crab meat & fresh dill
  • Diced red bell peppers and flat-leaf (Italian) parsley
  • Small cooked shrimp & chives
  • Smoked salmon
  • Steamed asparagus tips
  • Sweet pickles, sliced jalapeños or pickled jalapeños
  •  

    aunt-nellies-beets-sliced-jar-230

    You only need the beet liquid, so enjoy the
    beets in a salad, on a sandwich (instead of
    tomato) or as a side. Photo courtesy Aunt
    Nellie’s.

     

    Preparation

    Deviled eggs can be made up to 12 hours ahead. Refrigerate them, covered.

    1. CUT eggs lengthwise in half. Remove yolks to medium bowl. Reserve 20 white halves; finely chop remaining 4 white halves.

    2. MASH yolks with fork. Add finely chopped whites, mayonnaise, sour cream, mustard, lemon juice, salt and pepper; mix well. Add dill; mix well. Cover and refrigerate.

    3. DRAIN beets, reserving juice (about 2/3 cup). Set beets aside for another use. Combine beet juice, water and vinegar. Arrange egg whites cut side down in shallow container. Pour beet mixture over eggs. Cover tightly. Refrigerate at least several hours or overnight, turning occasionally.

    If you want two or three colors, divide the eggs among the beet brine, plain pickle brine and tinted pickle brine. If using brine, you don’t need the water and vinegar.

    4. REMOVE purple egg whites from beet mixture, pat dry with paper towels. Spoon 1 heaping tablespoon of yolk mixture into each reserved egg white half. Garnish as desired.

     
    RECIPE TIPS

  • Don’t use the freshest eggs. Very fresh eggs can be difficult to peel. To ensure easily peeled eggs, buy and refrigerate them a week to 10 days in advance of cooking. This brief “breather” allows the eggs time to take in air, which helps separate the membranes from the shell.
  • Easier peeling technique. Hard-boiled eggs are easiest to peel right after cooling. Cooling causes the egg to contract slightly in the shell. To peel a hard-boiled egg, gently tap it on the countertop until shell is finely crackled all over. Roll the egg between your hands to loosen the shell. Starting peeling at the large end, holding the egg under cold running water to help ease the shell off.
  • Easy mixing and filling method. Combine the filling ingredients in a 1-quart plastic food-storage bag. Press out the air and seal the bag. Press and roll the bag with your hands until the mixture is well blended. Push the filling toward bottom corner of bag. Snip off about a 1/2-inch of corner. Squeeze the filling from bag into the egg whites.
  • Picnic or tailgate tip. Prepare the filling in a plastic bag, as above. Transport the whites and yolk mixture separately in a cooler. Fill the eggs on the spot, pressing filling out of snipped corner of bag.

      

  • Comments

    EASTER: Maggie Louise Chic Artisan Chocolates

    patent-leather-bunnies-rockstar-eggs-maggielouise-230

    Patent leather bunnies, rock ‘n’ roll eggs.
    Photo courtesy Maggie Louise.

     

    While we know a couple of investment bankers who became chocolatiers, Maggie Louise is the first Harvard lawyer we’ve encountered.

    After a career in corporate law, she trained at Le Cordon Bleu, where she developed the concept for an elegant line of chocolates. She launched Maggie Louise Confections in the Fall of 2013, with a line of modern, chic chocolates that combine art with sophisticated flavors.

    Based in Austin, Texas, the entrepreneur puts a hip and fashionable spin on fine Easter chocolate. Taking inspiration from the tunes at Austin’s South By Southwest musical festival, she created a limited edition Rock ‘n’ Roll Easter assortment:

  • Chocolate Caramel and Sea Salt Easter Eggs, covered in white chocolate with a spatter paint finish.
  • Patent Leather Bunnies, fluffy vanilla marshmallows enrobed in bittersweet El Rey chocolate (El Rey, of Venezuela, is one of the world’s great chocolate producers of chocolate couverture).
     
    The Rock n’ Roll Easter Box retails for $38 and includes 12 eggs and 3 bunnies. There are also Easter Egglets, chocolate with pastel zebra stripes, filled with a mix of peanut butter candy, cream caramel and salted chocolate caramel.

    Get yours at MaggieLouiseConfections.com.

  •  

     

    As a mom, Maggie Louise also has the young ‘uns in mind, with chocolate dinosaurs and robots. For the ladies, there are chocolate charm bracelets and pearls. For everyone, there’s a nifty chocolate fried egg and lizard-patterned s’mores.

    We look forward to working our way through the collection, piece by piece.
     
    The Best Packaging

    We receive many boxes of fine chocolate, but none is more beautifully wrapped than Maggie Louise’s.

    The packaging is very fine and impressive. The chocolate boxes are grand enough to hold good jewelry. Even the tissue paper is a keeper. It’s a great line for gifting.

    If you like fine chocolate, you’ll love perusing the Maggie Louise Confections website. Law’s loss is chocolate’s gain.

     

    plate-of-chocolate-230

    Year-round chocolates. Photo courtesy Maggie Louise.

     

      

    Comments

    RECIPE: Scripture Cake For Easter

    gluttony-230-ps

    Fun for foodies: Gluttony focuses on the
    great feasts of history. Photo courtesy Ten
    Speed Press.

     

    In her new book, GLUTTONY: More IS More” (Red Rock Press), Nan Lyons, known for the wonderful novel and movie, Who is Killing the Great Chefs of Europe, describes some of the most lavish feasts and singular dishes through culinary history.

    From the ancient Greeks and Romans to the founding chefs of classic cuisine—Carême, Escoffier and Brillat-Savarin—to the breathtaking appetites of history’s prize eaters (King Henry VIII and Diamond Jim Brady, for example), Ms. Lyons plumbs the path of gluttony with wit and style.

    Travel the paths of the the rich and famous who enjoy history’s greatest banquets and richest dishes. The book is illustrated with classical art works of people enjoying their food.

    The icing on the cake: You and your guests can eat like these lucky gourmands. A portfolio of recipes, created by food editors and writers E. Clarke Reilly and Sylvia Carter, adapts some of the book’s luxurious dishes for contemporary cooks.

    The book is available in hardcover and Kindle editions.

     

    This recipe, from the recipe portfolio, is simple and Easter-appropriate: Scripture Cake, made with ingredients from the Bible.

     

    SCRIPTURE CAKE

    Ingredients

  • 1½ cups chopped dried figs (Nahum 3:12)
  • 1 teaspoon baking soda
  • 2¼ cups water (Judges 4:19)
  • 1 tablespoon cinnamon (Revelation 18:13)
  • 1 cup softened butter (Psalms 55:21)
  • 2 teaspoons ginger (I KINGS 10:2)
  • 2 cups sugar (Jeremiah 6:20)
  • ½ teaspoon ground cloves
  • 2 tablespoons honey (Exodus 3:8)
  • 1 teaspoon nutmeg
  • 6 eggs (Isaiah 10:14)
  • 1 cup milk (Genesis 18:8)
  • 3¾ cups flour (Leviticus 24:5)
  • 1¾ cups chopped almonds (Numbers 17:8)
  • 1 teaspoon salt (II Kings 2:20)
  • 1½ cups raisins (I Samuel 30:12)
  • 3 teaspoons baking powder (Amos 4:5)
  •  

    scripture-cake-gluttony-redrockpress-230r

    The Scripture Cake from Gluttony. Photo courtesy Sylvia Carter.

     

    Preparation

    1. PREHEAT oven to 300°F. Grease and flour a 10-cup bundt pan.

    2. SIMMER figs and water in a small saucepan over medium-low heat until figs are very soft, about 20 minutes. Let cool.

    3. CREAM together butter and sugar in an electric mixer bowl, until light and fluffy. Add honey. Then add eggs, one at a time, beating after each addition. Mix until well blended.

    4. PURÉE cooled figs and water until smooth. Strain purée through triple cheese-cloth to yield about a cup of fig essence.

    5. SIFT together flour, salt, baking powder, baking soda and spices in a clean bowl. Combine fig essence with milk and alternately mix fig milk and dry ingredients with egg mixture, ending with the dry mixture. Fold in chopped almonds and raisins.

    6. POUR batter into prepared pan and bake 1 hour and 35 minutes, or until toothpick inserted in center comes out with just a few crumbs on it.

    7. COOL for 20 minutes and then remove from pan and cool completely on cake rack. Makes 16 servings.
     
    We added a side of bourbon whipped cream as a garnish.

      

    Comments

    GIFT: Bird’s Nest Cheesecake

    This cheesecake gift from Harry & David is inspired by the chirping birds of spring, who decorate the top with a “nest” of premium chocolate shavings that holds a few bright blue candy almond robin’s eggs.

    The creamy cheesecakes also feature a chocolate cookie crust and a chocolate ganache layer on top.

    The two New York style cheesecake cheesecakes are 5.5 inches in diameter, enough for four people or a big piece for two.

    A delicious gift for a cheesecake lover or a special occasion dessert, the Bird’s Nest Cheesecakes duo is $29.95 at HarryAndDavid.com.
     
    BAKE YOUR OWN

    Here are some of our favorite cheesecake recipes.

     

    birds-nest-cheesecake-harrydavid-230w

    Cheesecakes for springtime. Photo courtesy Harry & David.

     

      

    Comments

    EASTER: A Chocolate Box Filled With Fleur De Sel Caramels

    charles-chocolates-chocolate-box-2014-230sq

    Please, Easter Bunny, bring us one of these!
    Photo courtesy Charles Chocolates.

     

    Charles Chocolates of San Francisco makes some truly wonderful products. We’re gaga over the melt-in-your-mouth Orange Twigs and the Triple Chocolate Almonds.

    But for Easter, we must have a Bunny Collection Edible Chocolate Box: a white chocolate box filled with classic fleur de sel and bittersweet chocolate fleur de sel chocolate-enrobed caramels. Decorated with chicks and bunnies, there’s nothing child-like about the sophisticated flavor of these confections.

    Eighteen caramels in their edible box, 17 ounces of treats, $65.00. Order online.

    If you don’t want the edible box, you can save a few dollars by getting the fleur de sel caramels in a regular gift box.

    Ten pieces, 3.9 ounces of treats, is $24.00. Order online.

     

    If you’re in San Francisco, drop by the Charles Chocolate store in the mission district, and enjoy some goodies inside or on the outdoor patio.

      

    Comments

    EASTER: Bunny Bread & Other Sourdough Gifts

    Boudin Bakery in San Francisco loves to make bread critters. The bakery cafe, which features salads, sandwiches, soups and sourdough, Original Sourdough French Bread, has designed special gifts for Easter that can be shipped fresh anywhere in the country.

  • Sourdough Baby Bunny Rolls: Celebrate springtime with these 4oz 1-dozen adorable Sourdough Baby Bunny Rolls. $19.95; order online.
  • Easter Sourdough Bunny Gift Basket: Have friends and family who might prefer an alternative to chocolate? This basket includes a one pound sourdough Mama Bunny Bread, a half dozen Baby Bunny Rolls and an 8 ounce bag of Marich’s delightful Easter select candy mix (because you have to have a wee bit). $24.95; order online.
  • Seasonal Bread Club: 12 months of the seasonal loaves in the photo below. Each month two tangy one-pound specialty loaves arrive, including Crab Breads (January), Heart Breads (February), Shamrock Breads (March), Bunny Breads (April), Grape Clusters (May), Turtles (June), Cable Cars (July), Bears (August), Grape Clusters (September), Pumpkin Breads (October), Turkey Breads (November), Christmas Tree Breads (December). $21.95/month; order online.
  •  

    bunny-bread-basket-boudinbakery-230

    Send bunny bread for Easter. Photo courtesy Boudin Bakery | San Francisco.

     

    Boudin Bakery was established in 1849 and is the oldest continuous operating business in San Francisco. Boudin’s original “mother dough” has been replenished with flour and water every day for more than 165 years, and the original recipe is still used. The sourdough is leavened only with wild yeast “caught” from San Francisco’s fog-cooled air.

     

    bread-gift-club-boudinbakery-230

    Great gift: 12 months of fun sourdough
    loaves. Photo courtesy Boudin Bakery.

     

    ABOUT SOURDOUGH BREAD

    Sourdough is a method of baking using lactic-acid-producing bacteria (lactobacillus) that produce a characteristic sour taste and aroma. The sour taste comes from from the lactobacillus, which lives in symbiosis with the yeast, feeding on the byproducts of the yeast fermentation.

    Until science uncovered the leavening process in the 19th century, all yeast-leavened breads were sourdough. Sourdough starter from a prior batch is used to create the new batch.

    Sourdough starters are different from other starters; while regular starters can live for several years, sourdough starters can live for generations.

     

      

    Comments

    FOOD FUN: Bunny Rolls

    Artisan Bread In Five Minutes A Day, a blog by Jeff Hertzberg and Zoe Francois, inspires people to make homemade bread, like these adorable brioche bunny rolls.

    It’s a standard roll shape; some dough has been pushed up to make ears, up and holes have been poked for eyes.

    Ah, such delicious creativity! We wish they had a bakery…but even if they did, it would be far from us, in Minneapolis.

    Instead, we can buy Artisan Bread in Five Minutes a Day: The Discovery That Revolutionizes Home Baking. Buy a copy for yourself, for Mother’s Day or Father’s Day gifts, or to inspire someone who enjoys cooking to discover the joys of baking bread.

    Jeff Hertzberg, an M.D., grew up eating great bread and pizza in New York City and parlayed his enthusiasm for them into a second career as an author.

    Zoë François trained as a pastry chef at the Culinary Institute of America and is a teacher, recipe developer for The Cooking Channel, Fine Cooking Magazine and other outlets, plus her wonderful blog, ZoeBakes.com.

     

    The perfect bread for Easter dinner. Photo courtesy ArtisanBreadInFive.com.

     

    The Mineappolis-based authors met in their children’s music class in 2003 and have written two other bestselling cookbooks together.

      

    Comments

    TIP OF THE DAY: Blue & Purple Potatoes

    The All Blue variety of blue potatoes.
    Potatoes can be blue or purple, depending on
    the soil in which they are grown. Photo
    courtesy Burpee.com.

     

    Naturally blue and purple foods are relatively rare.

    Blue Foods. In the blue group are blackberries, blueberries, blue cheese, blue corn, Concord grapes, pale blue oyster mushrooms and edible flowers like bachelor’s buttons. And there are exotica like decaisnea, an Asian plant known as dead man’s fingers, with a blue pod and edible blue pulp.

    Purple Foods. In the purple group: black currants; black rice; eggplant; elderberries; figs; red cabbage; purple artichokes, asparagus, bell peppers, carrots, cauliflower, grapes “green” beams, and kohlrabi; plums; prunes; raisins; and some microgreens.

    But our favorite in the blue and purple group are blue and purple potatoes and yams, which have both blue/purple flesh and skin. More flavorful than many starchy white potatoes, they tend to have a slight earthy and nutty flavor. Look for them in specialty produce markets or better supermarkets.

    The blue or purple color comes from anthocyanins, powerful antioxidants that create red, blue and purple colors, depending on the pH of the soil and other growing factors.

     

    There are numerous varieties with commercial names such as All Blue, Congo, Lion’s Paw, Purple Peruvian, Purple Viking, Purple Majesty and Vitilette. Specialty Produce magazine notes that there are 700 purple varieties in Peru, the birthplace of the potato.

    They are generally harvested young, which is why they tend to be smaller and rounder. Leave them in the ground and they’ll grow larger and oblong.

    According to Web MD, they’re a heart healthy vegetable, helping to lower blood pressure. What better reason to go out and buy some!

     

    A Versatile Potato

    Blue and purple potatoes have a medium-starchy texture. They keep their shape when baked but also mash and blend easily—for example, into potato soup, shown in the photo at right.

    The pop of color is a delight in potato salads and a surprise in dishes like blue/purple potato soup.

    Make fun dishes like purple potato chips or potato latkes. Mix purple potatoes with orange-fleshed squash. Try a purple potato pizza with smoked salmon and salmon roe, or with caramelized onions and rosemary.

    For Easter, how about this purple potato soup from Family Spice? Here’s the recipe.

    Purple mashed potatoes are also stunning on the table. If your tradition is roast lamb with rosemary potatoes, make those potatoes purple—or a mix of purple and white.

     

    purple-potato-soup-familyspice-230

    Purple potato soup: a treat for Easter dinner—or anytime. Photo © Family Spice.

     

    Think of how you’d use blue or purple potatoes and let us know.

    One suggestion you shouldn’t pass up: red, white and blue potato salad for Independence Day!

      

    Comments

    FOOD FUN: Peeps Dunkin’ Donuts

    dunkin-Peeps-donut-horiz-230sq

    Peeps donuts, new this year. Photo courtesy
    Dunkin’ Donuts.

     

    Why did it take so long, we wondered, as we read the press release about Dunkin’ Donuts’ new Easter donut topped with a real Peeps marshmallow chick.

    The yeast donut, shaped like a flower, is available in two flavors: strawberry flavored icing with pastel green icing drizzle, or pastel green icing with strawberry flavored icing drizzle.

    The Peeps that top the donuts are slightly smaller than the normal Peeps chicks.

    Gather ye donuts while ye may: They’re available at participating Dunkin’ Donuts locations nationwide for a limited time only.

    Worldwide, Dunkin’ Donuts sells 2.5 billion donuts and annually. In the U.S., Dunkin’ Donuts offers more than 70 varieties of donuts. Favorite flavors include Boston Kreme, Glazed and Chocolate Frosted.

     

    Find the store nearest to you at DunkinDonuts.com.

      

    Comments

    RECIPE: Prosciutto Wrapped Bell Peppers

    Print

    A tasty first course: a roasted bell pepper wrapped in prosciutto. Photo courtesy Westside Market | NYC.

     

    This recipe fits right in with a pink food party, Valentine’s Day, Easter or Mother’s Day.

    RECIPE: PROSCIUTTO WRAPPED BELL PEPPERS

    Ingredients For 4 Servings

  • 3 tablespoons olive oil
  • 1 tablespoon balsamic vinegar
  • Salt and pepper
  • 4 red peppers, roasted and peeled*
  • 8 ounces fresh mozzarella, cut into 4 pieces
  • 4 ounces sliced prosciutto
  • 4 basil leaves
  • 4 black olives
  • 4 toothpicks
  •  

    *This is the most laborious part of the recipe. Here’s how to roast peppers. As a substitution, you can purchase whole roasted red peppers in jars (pimento). They have a softer texture and different flavor, but it’s a good flavor.
     
    Preparation

    1. WHISK together olive oil, vinegar, salt and pepper. Add peppers and marinate for 1 hour.

    2. FILL each pepper with a piece of mozzarella. Wrap a slice of prosciutto around each pepper.

    3. TOP each with a basil leaf and olive, held together with a toothpick.
     
    It’s that easy!

      

    Comments

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