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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 GREETINGS

  
HAPPY EASTER FROM ALL OF US At THE NIBBLE.

If you don’t celebrate Easter, today is also:

  • Tater Day
  • National Clams On The Half Shell Day
  • Oranges And Lemons Day
  •  

    Rabbit enjoying his Easter dinner.

     

      

    Comments

    TOP PICK OF THE WEEK: Talenti Gelato In Spring Colors For Easter

    It’s really easy to make this ice cream cake
    for Easter, or to simply serve three pretty
    colors of gelato or sorbetto in a bowl. Photo
    courtesy Talenti Gelato\.

     

    By the time dessert comes, we’ll be bursting at the seams: no room for carrot cake or coconut cake (can we get that to go?), not to mention pie or anything chocolate.

    But what’s a festive meal without dessert?

    Our solution? The beautiful spring colors of Talenti gelato:

  • The green, spring-evoking Mediterranean Mint and Sicilian Pistachio
  • The lavender loveliness of Black Raspberry Chocolate Chip
  • The lush, orange-hued Alphonso Mango Sorbet
  • The pink hues of Blood Orange Sorbet, the intensely hued Roman Raspberry and the pale pink Simply Strawberry
  • The speckled egg effect of Black Cherry and Caramel Cookie Crunch
  •  
    Read the full review of Talenti gelato to see how to turn them into a lovely “Easter Nest” dessert, that everyone will have room for…and how easy it is to make the colorful ice cream cake in the photo.

     

      

    Comments

    EASTER SNACK: Bunny Pops

    Bunny Pops: Rice Krispie Treats or ice cream
    bars. Photo courtesy Recipe.com.

     

    How cute are these Easter Bunny Pops?

    They’re a creative Easter snack idea: Rice Krispie Treats on a stick. Here’s the recipe, from Recipe.com.

    You can also port the idea to ice cream bars: Paint bunny faces on ice cream bars (our favorite brand is Magnum Ice Cream Bars):

  • ADD 1 or 2 drops of food coloring into melted white chocolate chips or royal icing recipe below; stir to combine.
  • DIP the tip of a paintbrush or a wooden skewer into the pink chocolate, then paint ears, nose and mouth on bars.
  • FREEZE until firm, about 30 minutes.
  •  
    You can make a half batch of this recipe:

    ROYAL ICING RECIPE

    Ingredients

  • 4 cups confectioners’ sugar
  • 2 tablespoons meringue powder
  • 6 tablespoons water
  • 1 drop red food color
  •  
    Preparation

    1. COMBINE ingredients with an electric mixer on low speed for 7-10 minutes, or until the icing loses its shine. If the icing is too stiff, add more water, a teaspoon at a time.

    2. STIR in more food color as needed. Put into piping bag with a small icing nozzle, or a plastic storage bag with the tip cut off (smallest possible opening).

    3. OUTLINE the ears, create the eyes, nose and mouth. Switch to a wider nozzle to fill in the ears.

     

    FIND MORE OF OUR FAVORITE COOKIE RECIPES & ICE CREAM RECIPES,

      

    Comments

    RECIPE: Colorful Beet Dip

    A colorful and yummy beet dip. Photo
    courtesy Dole.com.

     

    We love beets in every form: baked, Harvard, pickled, beet ravioli, steamed beats, soup (borscht is Russian beet soup), in gourmet appetizer recipes, in green salads, with goat cheese and endive…even beet ice cream (substitute beets in a strawberry ice cream recipe) and beet cake (food trivia: the original—and best—red velvet cake recipes got their red hue from beets, not food color).

    You can even enjoy beet juice in cocktails: a beet Martini or this beet Mojito, for example.

    Now, here’s another way to enjoy beets: as a dip with crudités or a bread spread. The recipe is courtesy Dole Foods.

    It’s a beautiful color for Easter or any other festive occasion.

     

     

    BEET DIP & SPREAD

    Ingredients

  • 1/2 pound red beets (1 large), peeled and coarsely chopped
  • 1 large scallion, chopped
  • 1/4 cup (packed) chopped fresh spinach
  • 8 ounces nonfat cream cheese
  • 2 teaspoons freshly squeezed lemon juice
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt
  • 2 teaspoons snipped chives
  •  

    Beet dip with cucumber ribbons on skewers. Photo courtesy Dole.com.

     

    Preparation

    1. PULSE beets in bowl or food processor wuth scallion and spinach, until finely chopped.

    2. ADD cream cheese, lemon juice and salt, and process until well-blended, leaving some texture in dip. Transfer to bowl and stir in chives.

    3. SERVE as a dip with crudités or as a spread on toasted french bread.

      

    Comments

    TIP OF THE DAY: Malbec Red Wine For Easter

    Marvelous Malbecs. Photo courtesy Trapiche
    Vineyards.

     

    If you’re in charge of the wine for Easter, how about trying something new?

    Malbec, the signature grape of the Cahors area of southwestern France, has become the signature grape of Argentina. You’re likely to find a nice choice of Malbecs from both areas on the shelves of your wine store.

    Malbec is deep purple in color and lush with ripe, juicy berry and plummy dark fruit flavors. Secondary flavors can include herbal, licorice/anise and violet notes.

    Malbec will appeal to lovers of the Bordeaux grapes. It has been called “the more rustic cousin of Merlot” by wine expert Jancis Robinson. For many years it has been used in some Bordeaux blends to add deep color, tannins and plummy flavors. In the Loire Valley it is blended with Cabernet Franc and Gamay.

    As global interest in wine has increased, Malbec has become bottled as a single varietal, vinified to be drunk young. It is excellent with Easter ham and lamb, as well as with turkey. In fact, Malbec can easily step in whenever a red wine is called for, including with spicy cuisines like Cajun.

    Malbec is also delicious with bittersweet chocolate (see our chocolate and wine pairing chart).

     

    TRAPICHE BIODNYNAMIC MALBEC

    Those who prefer organic, sustainable wines should take a look at the Malbecs from Trapiche Vineyards, Argentina’s largest exported premium wines. The company practices biodynamic agriculture.

    Biodynamic is the word used in most countries to describe what Americans call organic. It is actually the most rigorous approach among biological and ecological agricultural practices, with tougher standards than organic.

    Biodynamic agriculture supports everything that is natural and forbids the use of chemicals, herbicides and fungicides. It aims for a balanced ecosystem, biodiversity and the recovery of the bacterial activity in the soils. The only fertilizers allowed are the vegetable and animal wastes from a biodynamic farm.

    The Trapiche Vineyards Malbec is a rich red wine with aromas of plums and cherries on the nose, hints of truffle and vanilla on the palate and a smooth, full finish. The prices range from $8 for the basic varietal to $41 for the finest single-vineyard Malbecs.

    WANT TO HAVE FUN WITH EASTER WINES?

    Beyond Malbec, THE NIBBLE’s wine editor, Kris Prasad, recommends wines that are perfect for an Easter celebration:

  • Lacryma Christi, made from local grapes in red and white wines by Mastroberardino, the most renowned winery in the Campania region of southern Italy, established in the 1750s. Campania’s s by winemaker Pietro di Mastro Berardino. PiThe name means “tears of Christ.”
  • Saint Joseph “Offerus,” from the great French winemaker Jean Louis Chave, is a syrah-based wine from the Rhone region. According to the Gospels, Joseph donated his own prepared tomb for the burial of Jesus after his crucifixion. The great northern Rhone wine appellation Saint Joseph is named for him. “Offerus” means offering.
  •  
    Here’s the full Easter wines article.

     

    Trapiche is one of the popular Malbecs from Argentina. Photo courtesy Trapiche Vineyards.

     

      

    Comments

    TIP OF THE DAY: Purple Sweet Potatoes For Easter

    For a festive Easter dish, look for purple potatoes. You can serve them baked, boiled with parsley, as fries, mashed or in other favorite dishes. You can make purple gnocchi and potato chips. Hash browns can become hash purples.

    We turn them into a red, white and blue July 4th potato salad, mixed with white potatoes and red grape tomatoes. The starch level is medium, so purple Peruvians are an all-purpose potato. They have a creamy texture like russet potatoes and are rich in flavor. Some varieties have a charming nuttiness.

    Once a rarity, purple potatoes can now be found markets nationwide. In addition to the Purple Peruvian there’s a purple-fleshed Okinawan sweet potato, a staple in Hawaii. Look for it in Asian markets.

     

    Your favorite potato dishes can now be charmingly purple. Photo courtesy Wandering Chopsticks. Here’s the recipe.

     

    Millennia ago, potatoes grew wild in the foothills of the Andes Mountains of Peru. Along with many other varieties of potatoes, they were cultivated around 3,000 B.C.E. by the Incas. Today, purple potatoes are grown around the world. Here’s more about purple potatoes and a recipe for a colorful purple potato and beet salad.

    For Easter, how about a purple sweet potato pie? Keep it hidden and surprise your guests with the bright purple filling, evocative of jelly beans.

    Here’s a purple sweet potato pie recipe from Stokes Foods, a North Carolina grower of purple potatoes, which includes a photo of the bright purple pie.

     

    Purple Peruvian sweet potatoes. Photo by Mona Makela | IST.

     

    PURPLE SWEET POTATO PIE RECIPE

    Ingredients

  • 1 cup purple sweet potatoes
  • ½ stick butter, melted
  • ¾ cup sugar
  • 1 tablespoon all purpose Flour
  • ¼ teaspoon cinnamon
  • ¼ teaspoon nutmeg
  • ¼ teaspoon salt
  • 2 eggs
  • ½ cup milk
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla
  • 9” graham cracker pie shell
  • Optional garnish: whipped cream
  •  

    Optional Topping

  • 1 tablespoon butter
  • 2 tablespoons all purpose flour
  • 2 tablespoons brown sugar
  • 1½ teaspoons crushed pecans
  •  
    Preparation

    1. COVER potatoes with water in a medium saucepan. Boil for 45 minutes until fork goes all the way through. Let cool; peel and place in a large mixing bowl.

    2. PREHEAT oven to 425°F. Melt butter.

    3. ADD all other ingredients to mixing bowl with potato. Use an immersion blender to liquefy ingredients.

    4. POUR sweet potato mixture into pie shell.

    5. BAKE at 425°F for 5 minutes, then at 350°F for 10 minutes until firm.

    6. MAKE the topping while the pie is baking, Melt butter in a sauce pan. Mix in flour, brown sugar and pecans. Stir until thoroughly blended and set aside

    6. ADD topping to pie. Bake 350°F for 15 minutes until done.

    VARIATION

    You can use this recipe to make 12 mini pies using mini graham cracker pie shells. After adding the pecan topping, only bake for 10 additional minutes instead of 15 minutes.

    Find more purple potato recipes at StokesFoods.com.

      

    Comments

    EASTER: Jelly Bean Chocolate Bar

    Why make a decision when you can have both, our favorite thinking goes.

    Edward Marc Chocolatier is obviously of the same mind, with this jelly bean chocolate bar. It’s $3.50 for a 2.5-ounce bar at EdwardMarc.com.

    If you want to create your own jelly bean bar, head to Chocomize.com. For $4.75, you can make a 3.5-ounce jelly bean bar in dark, milk or white chocolate.

    You can add scores of other ingredients, too, including dried fruits, herbs, nuts, seeds, spices and specialty Easter decorations.

    Peter Cottontail would approve.

     

    An Easter chocolate bar. Photo courtesy Edward Marc Chocolatier.

     

      

    Comments

    TIP OF THE DAY: Cooking A Ham

    Don’t overheat your ham! Photo courtesy Snake River Farms.

     

    Cured hams come fully cooked, but need to be heated (that is, if you want your meat to be warm or hot).

    Micheale Muse, culinary expert for Snake River Farms, producers of “the world’s best” Kurobuta hams, shares this advice:

  • USE MODERATE HEAT. To ensure that your ham stays succulent, heat it in a moderate oven (325°F) in a shallow roasting pan until it reaches an internal temperature of 140°F on a meat thermometer.
  • TAKE IT SLOW. Don’t be tempted to rush this process: A higher oven temperature will dry out a ham and the marbling and sweet rich flavor will be lost.
  • USE FOIL. If your ham starts getting too dark on the surface while heating, simply place a tented piece of foil over the top of it. Do not cover the ham tightly with the foil, however; keep it loose.
  •  

    The final tip:

  • SHARPEN YOUR KNIVES. Always carve your ham with a sharp knife for beautiful, juicy slices. If you don’t have a knife sharpener, pick one up—they’re not expensive.
  •   

    Comments

    TIP OF THE DAY: Better-For-You Easter Baskets

    If you’re running out today to buy all the fixings for Easter baskets, here’s some advice:

    Buy half the amount of candy and fill up the other half of the basket, bag or box with Easter- and spring-themed non-edibles. The temptation is to give a filled-to-the-brim basket of Easter sweets, but no one needs that much sugar.

    We love delicious Easter candy as much as anyone, but know that we aren’t doing anyone a favor by overloading someone with it.

    So here are some additional ways to fill the Easter basket.

    SUGAR-SAVING IDEAS

  • Smaller baskets. There’s no need for Titanic-size gifts.
  • Hollow chocolate bunnies and eggs instead of solid ones.
  • Peanut butter-filled eggs instead of less nutritious fillings.
  • Easter-color beverages, like bottles of specialty diet sodas (look for Boylan’s) and Vitamin Water.
  • Sugar-Free jelly beans (available from Jelly Belly and Russell Stover).
  •  

    Instead of an open Easter basket that shows how much it holds, look for boxes or other containers to hold the Easter loot. This bunny box is from The Art Of Appreciation.

     

  • Mini fruits like clementines, miniature bananas and pineapples (kids love miniature fruits). Pomegranates are fun, too.
  • Nuts and dried fruits in grab-and-go bags (check out Peeled Snacks).
  • Easter themed apparel: socks, tee shirts and whatever else you find.
  • Kids’ favorite booty, such as stickers, soap bubbles and stuffed animals.
  •  
    Who says the Easter Bunny only brings candy!

      

    Comments

    TIP OF THE DAY: Make Your Own Marshmallow Peeps

    Marshmallow Peeps are an Easter tradition in many homes. Even people with very refined palates reach for them, a grasp at childhood nostalgia.

    But over the years they’ve tasted worse and worse to us—artificial flavor, and more texture than flavor at that! Perhaps it’s the carnauba wax. The mass production has taken away their good looks, as well. Sorry Peeps, but you look too roughly stamped out of factory molds.

    The “Sugar Mommas,” authors of Sugar, Sugar: Every Recipe Has a Story, offer their own recipe for prettier, tastier homemade Peeps. Pull out the Easter cookie cutters and start mixing. The recipe must sit overnight, so don’t wait until Easter Sunday.

    Peeps® are a registered trademark of Just Born, a candy manufacturer in Bethlehem, Pennsylvania. The original Peeps were yellow chicks; but the popularity of the marshmallow candies led to other flavors and shapes for every season, including jack-o-lanterns, snowmen and Valentine hearts.

    HOMEMADE MARSHMALLOW PEEPS RECIPE

    Ingredients

  • Nonstick cooking spray
  • 2 tablespoons plus 1/2 teaspoon unflavored gelatin
  • 2 cups sugar
  • 1/2 cup light corn syrup
  • 1/2 cup hot water
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt
  • 2 large egg whites
  • 1/2 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
  • Colored sugar crystals
  • Easter themed cookie cutters
  •  

    Make a tastier version of the iconic Peeps at home. Photo courtesy SugarSugarRecipes.com.

     

    Preparation

    1. Lightly spray a 9-by-13-inch glass baking dish with nonstick cooking spray. Sprinkle gelatin over a small bowl filled with 1/2 cup cold water; let stand to soften.

    2. In a heavy bottomed saucepan, mix together sugar, corn syrup, hot water and salt. Place over medium heat and cook, stirring, until sugar has dissolved. Continue cooking, without stirring, until mixture reaches the soft-ball stage, about 240°F on a candy thermometer. Remove from heat and gently stir in gelatin mixture; set aside.

    3. In the bowl of an electric mixer fitted with the whisk attachment, beat egg whites on high speed until stiff peaks form. With the mixer running, slowly add sugar/gelatin mixture. Add vanilla and continue beating for 10 minutes until the mixture looks like marshmallow.

    4. Transfer marshmallow mixture to prepared baking dish and spread evenly.

    5. Generously sprinkle 1-3 different colors of sugar crystals across the baking dish horizontally, covering any exposed marshmallow.

    6. Spray a piece of parchment paper with nonstick cooking spray and cover marshmallow. Let stand overnight.

    7. Remove parchment paper and invert marshmallow onto work surface.

    8. Generously sprinkle 1-3 different colors of sugar crystals across the marshmallow horizontally covering any exposed marshmallow. Try to match colors on the other side of the Peep (although it’s fine to have mismatched sides).

    9. Use cookie cutters to cut marshmallows into various Easter themed shapes. Spray the cookie cutters with nonstick spray so the marshmallow releases easily. Wash the cookie cutters between colors.

    10. Transfer marshmallows to a baking sheet lined with parchment paper; set aside. Repeat process until all the marshmallow is cut into shapes. Use a skewer dipped in chocolate to make eyes, or use chocolate candies such as Valrhona Perles Craquantes for a more dramatic effect. Use marshmallow creme as “glue” to attach candies to your Peeps.

    11. Store in an airtight container for up to 3 days.

     
    Find more Sugar Mommas recipes at SugarSugarRecipes.com.

      

    Comments

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