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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,
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Archive for Easter

RECIPE: Asparagus & Prosciutto Wraps


We love these delicious, fancy yet very easy Asparagus & Prosciutto Wraps. Photo courtesy Castello USA.


Need something fancy—and easy? Here’s a lovely first course to make with spring asparagus. We serve the wraps individually plated with some watercress salad, to which we add some snipped chives or thin-sliced green onion.

The recipe is from Castello Cheese, which crumbles their Danish blue cheese as a garnish.



  • 8 slender* asparagus per person
  • 1 tablespoon extra virgin olive oil
  • 2 teaspoons balsamic vinegar
  • 1 teaspoon minced garlic
  • 1 slice prosciutto or other Serrano ham
  • 1 teaspoon crumbled blue cheese per person
  • Optional: watercress plus chives or green onion

    1. TRIM the woody ends from the asparagus. Bring a large pot of salted water to a boil. Blanch the asparagus for 30 seconds (90 seconds for thick spears), until the asparagus just bends. Alternatively, lightly steam the asparagus in a microwave.


    2. PLUNGE the asparagus into ice water to stop the cooking. Blot dry with paper towels and set aside.

    3. WHISK together the olive oil, vinegar and garlic and roll and marinate asparagus in vinaigrette 30 minutes at room temperature. Make extra vinaigrette if you are serving the watercress.

    4. GATHER the asparagus into bundles of 8 (if thin, 4 if thick) and wrap each bundle with a prosciutto slice. Arrange on a platter or individual plates. Decorate with crumbled blue cheese.

    5. TOSS the optional watercress with vinaigrette and add to the plate.

    6. PASS a peppermill for fresh-ground black pepper.

    This is a complex question, because the authentic breeds of pig and curing techniques differ in Europe from what is permitted in the U.S. But a simple answer is: Both products are air-cured hams, with some differences in the breed and diet of the pig.

  • Prosciutto, from Italy, tends to be fattier and more mild.
  • Serrano, from Spain, tends to be more flavorful.
    But it’s hard to state something definitively when you buy the product in the U.S. The best approach: Buy a small amount of each and decide which you prefer. If you’re buying it freshly carved (not pre-packaged), ask the counterperson what the brand is, and keep notes.
    *Slender asparagus are easier to wrap; but if you can only find thick spears, use half as many.


    FOOD FUN: Confetti Cake

    With the success of The Flintstones television series, Post Foods obtained a license from Hanna-Barbera for Cocoa Pebbles and Fruity Pebbles breakfast cereals. Introduced in 1971, the crisp rice cereal bits are still going strong.

    And not just for breakfast, either. They’ve made their way into a variety of baked goods, from donuts to Rice Krispie Treats. Fruity Pebbles, in particular, provides a rainbow of six colors to add brightness and crunch. The cereal has generated a plethora of Fruity Pebbles cakes.

    Depending on your crowd, you may prefer to call them confetti cakes.

    It’s spring, it’s almost Mother’s Day: It’s time to think of making a confetti cake:

  • Bundt cake (recipe)
  • Cake roll (recipe)
  • Cheesecake: as a topper, mixed into the batter or both.
  • Cupcake toppers (recipe)
  • Ice cream cake (recipe)
  • Ice cream pie (recipe)


    Sophisticated: a Fruity Pebbles bundt. Here’s the recipe. Photo courtesy Le Creme De La Crumb.

  • Layer cake: top only, sides only, atop the filling layer(s) inside, or over the whole surface of the cake; mixed into the batter and atop the frosting (recipe)
  • Sheet cake: mixed into the batter and as a garnish atop the frosting


    Check out Pillsbury’s Funfetti cake mix.

    We love these neon confetti cake decorations.

    The easiest default: mixed sprinkles.



    EASTER: Chocolate Gift Certificate

    Here’s an easy solution to a gift emergency: a chocolate e-gift certificate.

    If you’ve forgotten to bring a gift, or if you receive an unexpected gift and want to reciprocate, you don’t have to sneak out to the nearest store.

    Instead, sneak onto the Internet and send a gift certificate via email. It will be in the giftee’s email box in minutes. sells ready-made and make-your-own chocolates. Our favorite is the customized chocolate bar, where you pick your chocolate (dark, milk or white) and up to five toppings—candies, fruits, nuts, spices and special decorations (crystallized flower petals, 24 karat gold flakes).

    There are more than 70 topping choices. Special Easter toppings include caramel “quail eggs,” carrot cake candy corn, peanut butter speckled eggs and a white chocolate “Happy Easter” plaque.

    Jelly beans are available year-round—along with Junior Mints, M&Ms, mini marshmallows, Oreo pieces, Pop Rocks, Reese’s Pieces, toffee bits and much more.

    Head to



    A candy-covered hollow chocolate Easter egg with two chocolate truffles hidden inside.




    TIP OF THE DAY: Make A Layered Salad With Leftover Ham


    Toss today’s ham and hard-boiled eggs into tomorrow’s salad. Photo and recipe courtesy McCormick.


    Here’s a tasty way to make tomorrow’s lunch or dinner from today’s leftover ham and hard-boiled eggs (and any peas and salad dressing, too).

    When you don’t have Easter leftovers to make this layered salad, simply substitute other ingredients.

    Check your pantry and fridge for avocado, bacon, beans, blue or other cheese, carrots, celery, cooked green beans and/or potatoes, corn, leftover chicken/turkey/steak, mushrooms, olives, pimento, seafood or tuna and layer away!

    You can also include a fruit: apple, grapes or pineapple, for example.

    If you have a glass bowl to display the pretty layers, so much the better. A straight-sided bowl like this one is especially nice. Or, this smart glass mixing bowl set from Pyrex does triple duty: mixing, serving and storing.

    Prep time is 20 minutes, and the recipe can be made in advance.



  • 4 cups mixed salad greens
  • 2 tomatoes, chopped (about 2 cups)
  • 8 ounces shredded Cheddar cheese, divided
  • 1 cup fresh or thawed frozen peas
  • 3 hard-boiled eggs, sliced
  • 2 cups cubed cooked ham or turkey
  • 1/2 cup chopped red onion
  • 1/2 cup mayonnaise
  • 1/2 cup sour cream
  • 1 teaspoon dill weed
  • 1/2 teaspoon ground mustard


    1. PLACE the salad greens in the bottom of large serving bowl. Layer the tomatoes, 1 cup of cheese, peas, eggs, ham and onion over greens.

    2. MIX the mayonnaise, sour cream, dill weed and ground mustard in a medium bowl until well blended. Spread evenly over salad. Cover.

    3. REFRIGERATE for at least 1 hour or overnight until ready to serve. Sprinkle with the remaining 1 cup cheese just before serving.



    EASTER: Bunny Sushi

    Kudos to the chef at Sushi Lounge (three locations in New Jersey) who created this Easter treat. (Based on their Facebook photos, there’s more than one creative chef behind the bar.)

    You can recreate it at home, with

  • A strip of nori (dried seaweed)
  • Sushi rice* or regular rice
  • Hard-boiled eggs for the head and arm
  • Tamago (omelet) for the pillow and blanket
  • Carrot flowers† for the blanket design and the nose
  • Celery or fennel for the ears
  • Bits of black olive for the eyes and mouth
    Whatever you’re eating on Easter, we wish you a joyous holiday.



    The Easter Bunny, tucking in after a long day. Photo courtesy Sushi Lounge | NJ.

    *Sushi rice is seasoned with rice vinegar. Here’s how to make it.

    †Make them with stainless steel vegetable cutters, that can also be used to cut vegetables, cake, bread croutons, etc.



    TIP: Easy, Last Minute Easter Cake


    Our inspiration was this Easter cake from
    Black Jet Baking Co., a small San Francisco
    baking company committed to making
    nostalgic treats and baked goods. Photo
    courtesy Good Eggs | SF.


    No dessert inspiration for Easter? Here’s an easy last-minute fix:


  • Store-bought plain cake -or-
  • 1 box of cake mix (for a two-layer cake)
  • Decorations: jelly beans, multicolored sprinkles
    For The Cake Mix

  • Eggs and other ingredients specified on package directions
  • 1 pint whipping cream plus any flavorings
    Preparation For Cake Mix

    1. BAKE the cake mix in two layers, per package directions. While the cake cools…

    2. MAKE freshly whipped cream—classic, flavored with vanilla; lavender whipped cream, rum-accented, salted caramel whipped cream or other favorite flavor (recipes).

    3. DECORATE decorate with jelly beans and sprinkles.
    Not enough chocolate in your Easter basket? Try chocolate whipped cream (recipe below).



    If you’re going to fill and frost a cake, you need whipped cream that’s been stabilized with gelatin to keep its shape. If you want vanilla whipped cream, substitute 1 teaspoon vanilla extract for the chocolate and skip Steps 1-3 and add the gelatin to both cups of cream in Step 5.


  • 4 ounces milk or 60% cacao dark chocolate, coarsely chopped (use a good chocolate bar)
  • 3 tablespoons sifted confectioner’s sugar
  • 2 cups heavy whipping cream, divided
  • 2 teaspoons unflavored gelatin
  • 8 teaspoons cold water

    1. PLACE the chocolate in a medium bowl; set aside.

    2. COMBINE the sugar and 1 cup of the cream in a small saucepan. Cook over medium heat until the sugar has dissolved.


    3. POUR the hot cream mixture over the chopped chocolate and stir until chocolate has melted. Transfer to the bowl an electric mixer and let cool.

    4. COMBINE the gelatin and cold water in a small pan and let stand until thick. Then place over low heat, stirring constantly, until the gelatin dissolves. Remove from the heat and cool, but do not allow the gelatin to set.

    5. ADD the second cup of cream and whip on medium speed (ideally with whisk beaters). While slowly beating, add the gelatin to the whipping cream mixture. Whip at high speed until stiff.


  • 4 ounces milk or 60% cacao dark chocolate, coarsely chopped (use a good chocolate bar)
  • 2 cups heavy cream
  • 3 tablespoons confectioner’s sugar

    For a cake filling, make a stabilized whipped cream with gelatin. Photo courtesy


    1. PLACE the chocolate in a medium bowl; set aside.

    2. COMBINE the sugar and 1 cup of the cream in a small saucepan. Cook over medium heat until the sugar has dissolved.

    3. POUR the hot cream mixture over the chopped chocolate and stir until chocolate has melted. Transfer to the bowl an electric mixer and let cool.

    4. ADD the second cup of cream and whip on medium speed (ideally with whisk beaters) until thick.



    TIP OF THE DAY: Go Nuts With Non-Chocolate Easter Treats


    Fill an Easter basket with all six flavors.
    Photo courtesy Ricky’s Lucky Nuts.


    It’s hard to believe, but not everyone likes chocolate. Our friend Maria, for example would rather have something salty, or a combination of sweet and salty.

    So she, and other salt fans, are getting salted nut treats in their Easter baskets.


    We don’t know why they’re lucky, but they sure taste good! One of the co-founders is a chef and restaurateur who knows how to please palates.

    Ricky’s, of Durango, Colorado, takes non-GMO jumbo runner peanuts from Texas and turns them into distinctively flavored, all-natural treats. Flavors include:

  • Black Pepper & Sea Salt
  • Real Coffee
  • Spicy Chile Chipotle
  • Sweet & Smoky BBQ
  • Sweet Chai
  • Thai Red Curry
    Even the sweet flavors have enough balance to please the yen for savory.

    The packages, in a rainbow of different colors, deliver 7 grams of protein per ounce and a host of vitamins and minerals from this nutrient-dense food. Take that, chocolate bunny!

    Fill an Easter basket with one or more packages of each flavor. Get them at

    Beyond snacking from the pack from the pack, toss them into salads (green and grain), mix them into cooked rice, add them to stir-frys and create ice cream sundaes (or toss them on a plain scoop). Yum!



    Planters is known for salty nuts, sweet nuts and spicy nuts. Add to that tart nuts!

    Two zesty new flavors deliver a pleasing pucker to persnickity palates.

  • Planters Sea Salt & Vinegar Peanuts look like regular peanuts; but oh, what a nice punch of vinegar!
  • Planters Chili Lime Peanuts have a red-orange tint from the chili powder, which adds moderate heat to natural lime flavor.
    In pastel colors (green for Chili Lime, blue for Sea Salt & Vinegar), they deserve a place in any Easter basket.

    As with Ricky’s, each serving contains seven grams of protein and the other peanut nutrients.

    The flavors are packaged in six-ounce cans with re-sealable tops. You can find them at retailers nationwide.



    One of two delicious new flavors from Planters. Photo courtesy Planters Nuts..




    RECIPE: Easter Yogurt Parfait


    A basic Easter parfait. Make yours more Easter-like with pastel-colored yogurt layers. Photo courtesy Yoplait.


    Here’s an Easter weekend breakfast suggestion from Yoplait:

    A yogurt parfait with Annie’s Honey Bunny Grahams.

    Just layer yogurt with colorful fruit and top the parfait with the bunny-shaped graham cracker bites.


  • Use yogurt in pastel “Easter colors,” like blueberry, peach and strawberry flavors.
  • Use different layers/flavors/colors of yogurt.
  • You can use a touch of food color to turn any flavor into a pastel; for example, turning Yoplait Key Lime Pie yogurt pastel green.
  • Consider other “Easter” toppings: green-tinted coconut for “grass,” and a few miniature jelly beans. (Hey, it’s Easter!)

    1. PLACE shredded coconut in a plastic sandwich bag. Add a drop of green food color and shake. Add more food color as desired.

    2. SPREAD the coconut on a plate to dry.




    TIP OF THE DAY: Homemade Chocolate Bacon Bunnies

    What are you giving your favorite bacon lover for Easter? Oscar Mayer created these foodcraft projects: bacon-stuffed chocolate bunnies and an Easter basket filled with “bacon grass” and hard-boiled eggs—fun for breakfast on Easter Sunday.

    Go buy lots of bacon and get started!


    Ingredients Per Small Bunny

  • 1 hollow chocolate bunny
  • 2 strips bacon

  • Frying pan
  • Paper towels
  • Sharp knife

    1. COOK the bacon to desired crispness. Pat dry with paper towels and set aside.

    2. REMOVE and discard any wrapper on the bunny. Heat a knife by running the blade under very hot water; then quickly dry the knife completely. Using the dry, warm knife…



    Hide bacon in a chocolate rabbit. Photo courtesy Oscar Mayer.


    3. GENTLY CUT the bottom off of the bunny; set it aside. Insert the bacon slices into the hollow bunny, breaking the bacon into smaller pieces as needed to completely fill the hollow cavity.

    4. REPLACE the bottom piece of chocolate on the base of the bunny. Heat the original knife or a smaller knife as in Step 2. Slowly run the flat side of the knife back and forth over the seam, melting the chocolate to reseal the bottom. Cover in plastic wrap and store in the fridge for up to five days.



    Bacon “grass” for an Easter basket. Photo courtesy Oscar Mayer.



    Depending on the size of the Easter basket, even a small basket can require a lot of bacon. We recommend having some Easter grass or shredded paper on hand to stuff the bottom of the basket, under the layer of bacon.


  • Thick cut bacon (8 to 12 slices)

  • Kitchen shears
  • Frying pan
  • Tongs
  • Paper towels
  • Easter basket and colored* hard-boiled eggs for serving
    *Here’s how to color Easter eggs.



    1. CUT each bacon strip lengthwise into three long and skinny strips, using kitchen shears. Cook them in a frying pan over medium heat. Use tongs to stir the bacon and fry them in squiggly shapes to the desired crispness.

    2. TRANSFER the cooked bacon strips to a paper towel-lined plate. Blot dry and let cool completely.

    3. FILL a small Easter basket with the fried bacon Easter grass and serve with hard-boiled, dyed Eater eggs nestled on top. If you’re not planning to eat your creation right away, cover it in plastic wrap and store in the fridge, for up to five days.



    TIP OF THE DAY: Easter Bread


    Tsouréki, a braided yeast loaf with red-colored
    hard-boiled eggs. Photo courtesy Artisan Bread
    In Five


    Modern bakers make loaves and rolls shaped like rabbits. But from early times in Europe, rich, festive breads were baked as a celebration of the end of winter. Later they became associated with Easter.

    Often they were yeast breads, filled with luxurious ingredients such as almonds, candied citrus peel and other candied and dried fruits, cinnamon, and saffron. Some loaves were decorated with colored eggs or sugar, elaborately braided or shaped into doves. Most are sweet, some are savory.

    Most of the recipes are European, with a few South American specialties. Add one or more of these 21 Easter breads to your celebration. Head to a bakery in your town, or find recipes online.


    Babka is a rich yeast loaf that is now enjoyed year-round. Made with butter, eggs and raisins, is native to Poland and the Ukraine. A savory version is made with cheese.

    This cheese bread has a dense, chewy texture, similar to a bagel or bialy.


    This rich, sweet dough, topped with sliced almonds, is sweetened with the mahleb, a spice ground from wild cherry pits that’s also used in the tsouréki yeast bread from Greece (below).
    The dough for is similar to panettone, with flour, eggs, sugar, yeast and butter. Unlike panettone, it usually contains candied peel but no raisins. The dough is then fashioned into a dove shape (colomba in Italian) and topped with pearl sugar and almonds. Some modern versions use a chocolate topping.

    Also called Five-Egg Easter Bread, this round yeast loaf is sectioned into five triangles, each with a hard boiled egg nestled on top.

    From the Friuli region, this strudel-like bread is made from a cocoa dough and filled with pine nuts, raisins and walnuts.

    This savory yeast loaf is stuffed with hard boiled egg and sausage—typically chorizo.

    Commonly found in the U.S. as well, raisin-filled yeast buns are marked with a cross of white icing.

    These crisp breakfast biscuits, originating on the Aegean island of Ikaria, are sweetened with honey.

    An eggy dough is mixed with lemon zest, nuts and raisins. It can be oblong or round, or braided and studded with eggs, like Greek tsouréeki.



    This dome-shaped yeast bread is brushed with an egg wash or white glaze, and typically garnished with brightly colored sugar, candied orange peel, chopped almonds and currants. The dough can be mixed with candied citrus, cardamom, nuts, raisins and saffron (photo at right).


    This means “Easter bread,” a generic term that can take many forms. One popular shape is a braided ring with a red-tinted hard boiled egg in the center—a riff on Greek tsouréki. Also see torta pasqualina, below.


    This lightly sweet, golden loaf is scented with saffron.

    Almond paste is the signature filling of this sweet loaf, along with golden raisins (sultanas) and candied lemon peel.



    Kulich, Russian Easter bread. The baker used her decorating skills to create chocolate scrollwork instead of a simple garnish of dried fruits. Photo courtesy Russian Mom Cooks.

    This yeast bread is filled with currants, glacé fruits and raisins are first soaked in brandy. It can also include almond paste.

    Also known as sirnica, this sweet, eggy, buttery bread especially popular in Dalmatia and Istria. Pinca is similar to a briche and is traditionally shaped into a round loaf with a cross cut into the surface, like hot cross buns. Flavorings citrus zest, raisins and rum. Similar to hot cross buns, it is eaten on Good Friday to celebrate the end of Lent.


    This braided loaf is infused with cardamom.

    In Liguria, the special Easter bread is savory, consisting of thin layers of unleavened dough alternating with a stuffing made of sautéed chard, spinach and/or artichokes plus eggs and cheese, accented with nutmeg. Arugula, asparagus, chicory and radicchio can also be used.

    This classic Greek Easter bread dates back to Byzantine times. By the Christian era, red-colored boiled eggs, symbolizing the blood and rebirth of Christ, were tucked into the braids. The rich yeast dough is flavored with orange peel and a charming spice called mahleb (mahlepi, makhlépi), ground from the pits of wild cherries. Other traditional spices include anise seeds and mastic (photo at top).

    These sweet buns are flavored with candied citron, cardamom, ground almonds, lemon zest and raisins, vanilla and brushed with an egg wash.

    This sweet yeast bread is studded with golden raisins (sultanas).

    If we haven’t included your favorite Easter bread, let us know!



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