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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

TIP OF THE DAY: Crafts Easter Basket

This lovely “nest” basket from Williams-Sonoma is crafted out of oak moss, lavender, pink globes, white ammobium and oregano. It’s filled with 24 “robin’s eggs” that have champagne, amaretto and kirsch-flavored chocolate centers.

It makes a charming centerpiece, not just for Easter but year-round.

If you can’t get to a Williams-Sonoma store, head to your nearest crafts store and buy the materials to make your own basket arrangment.

Then head to the candy store to fill the basket. It doesn’t need to be with blue robins’ eggs. There are plenty of delicious Easter egg candies that can fill the basket—until people catch sight of them. So make sure to buy refills!

 

Handy with crafting? Make this charming
centerpiece for Easter. Photo courtesy
Williams-Sonoma.

 

  

Comments

TIP OF THE DAY: Make Hot Cross Buns For Easter

Hot cross buns: an Easter tradition. Photo
courtesy Amy’s Bread.

 

Hot cross buns are sweet yeast buns made with raisins or currants and decorated with a cross. The cross was originally made with knife cuts in the dough; today it’s piped or spooned on with icing.

The cross symbolizes the Crucifixion, and the buns are traditionally eaten on Good Friday. The first recorded use of the term “hot cross bun” appears in 1733.

However, the buns have much earlier roots. As with some other Christian traditions, this one is believed to predate Christianity. Similar buns were eaten by Saxons to honor Eostre, the goddess of spring, whose name is probably the origin of “Easter.” In pre-Christian times, the cross is believed to have symbolized the four quarters of the moon.

Celebrate Easter—or celebrate spring if you don’t celebrate Easter—by baking a batch of delicious hot cross buns with this recipe.

The recipe is courtesy Amy’s Bread Revised and Updated, by Amy Scherber and Toy Kim Dupree.

 

  • Check out all the different types of bread in our Bread Glossary.
  •   

    Comments

    TIP OF THE DAY: Strawberry Rhubarb Pie With A Lattice Crust

    Spring is rhubarb season. Fresh rhubarb is available for just three months a year, so do something special with it. A few ideas:

  • Stewed rhubarb or rhubarb compote, delicious as a side with ham, pork and poultry
  • Rhubarb ice cream
  • Rhubarb tarts, crisps and other baked goods (substitute rhubarb for apples or pears in your favorite recipes)
  • Rhubarb pickles
  •  
    Technically, rhubarb is a vegetable, a member of the sorrel family. Before it was sweetened by British cooks, it was added to soups (try it in lentil soup), sauces and stews—Moroccan tagines and Middle Eastern stews, for example. Be sure to cook only the stems; the leaves are mildly toxic.

    For Easter, make a strawberry-rhubarb pie or raspberry-rhubarb pie. Here’s a recipe.

     

    For Easter, make a strawberry rhubarb pie
    with a lattice crust. Photo © M. Sheldrake |
    Dreamstime.

     

    LATTICE PIE CRUST
    Make your Easter pie extra-special with a lattice crust. The top crust of any fruit pie can be replaced with a lattice crust. Apple and pear pies need a tight lattice so the fruit doesn’t dry out. You can use a loose lattice (more space between the strips of dough) when baking berry, cherry, rhubarb and stone fruit pies, because the fruits have more moisture.

    Here’s a lattice tip from Lauren Chattman, author of The Baking Answer Book:

  • Instead of weaving the lattice on top of the filled pie, start with a cardboard cake circle set atop a baking sheet.
  • Cut the dough into 13-inch strips and weave the lattice on the cardboard.
  • Place the baking sheet in the freezer for 15 minutes to firm up the lattice.
  • Slip the lattice from the cardboard onto the pie.
  • Adjust the lattice strips to make them even, if required. Trim the ends and crimp onto the pie plate. Bake.
  •   

    Comments

    TIP OF THE DAY: Easter Lamb, Passover Lamb

    Elegant lamb chops cut from the rack. Photo
    courtesy Meat And Livestock Australia

     

    Many families roast a leg of lamb for Easter. But if you’re a small group and don’t want days of leftover lamb, consider an elegant rack of lamb or crown roast of lamb.

    Or, check our Lamb Glossary for even more cuts of lamb—all delicious.

    Lamb is the oldest meat animal raised by man. Since ancient times, it has been a religious symbol and a food for feasting and sacrifice.

  • Lamb is the traditional main dish at Easter dinner, commemorating the Last Supper, at which the meat served was likely lamb.
  • In Judaism, lamb is often served during the Passover seder to commemorate the first Passover. According to the Bible, on the eve of the exodus from Egypt, Jews marked their doorposts with the blood of a lamb so that the Angel of Death would pass over their households.
  •  

  • Find lamb recipes in our Lamb Section.
  •   

    Comments

    TIP OF THE DAY: Egg Tips For Easter & Passover

    Here are some egg safety tips from the USDA, for everyone planning an Easter egg hunt or cooking eggs for the Passover seder.

    Hard-cooked eggs for Easter and Passover celebrations should be prepared with care.

    EASTER EGG TIPS

  • If you plan to eat the Easter eggs you decorate, be sure to use only food grade dye—not paint or fabric dye.
  • Consider making two sets of eggs: one for decorating and hiding, another for decorating and eating (see the tip in the photo caption). Or, you can use plastic eggs for hiding.
  • For an Easter egg hunt, throw away any cooked eggs with cracked shells. Bacteria can enter and contaminate the egg inside.
  • Keep hard-cooked eggs chilled in the fridge until just before the hunt.
  • Hide eggs in places that are protected from dirt, pets and other bacteria sources.
  •  

    As pretty as they look, hard-cooked eggs can
    only be out of the refrigerator for two hours
    at a time. If you want to decorate eggs for display, use uncooked eggs. With a needle,
    punch a tiny hole in each end and blow out the contents before decorating. Photo courtesy McCormick.com.

     

  • The total time for hiding and hunting eggs should be no more than two hours. Then, if the eggs are not eaten, they need to go back into the fridge. Eggs found after two hours need to be thrown out.

  • PASSOVER EGG TIPS

  • A hard-cooked egg that has been at room temperature for more than two hours should not be eaten.
  • The hard-cooked eggs meant to be eaten should be kept in the fridge until ready to serve.
  •  
    GENERAL TIPS

  • When eggs are hard-cooked, the protective coating on the shell is washed away, leaving open pores where harmful bacteria can enter. Be sure to refrigerate eggs within two hours of cooking and use them within a week.
  • Check your refrigerator temperature with an appliance thermometer and adjust the refrigerator temperature to 40°F or below.
  • How to boil eggs.

      

    Comments

    PRODUCT: Custom Chocolate Bars For Easter

    Choccreate custom chocolate bars are such a fun choice for Easter gifts – you get your choice of dark, milk or white chocolate, toppings and an Easter bunny or two.

    The toppings make all the difference in your creation of a unique—and inexpensive—Easter gift.

  • Start with an Easter theme: scatter your bar with candy bunnies, chicks, ducklings or lambs.
  • For Easter colors, add jelly beans, M&Ms or Sunbeams.
  • Want to add some dried fruit? There are 22 choices, from banana chips to tart cherries.
  • There are 30 choices of cereals, nuts and seeds, from cornflakes (which are terrific in chocolate bars) to wasabi peanuts.
  • Want something pretty? There are 8 dried flower petal choices, plus gold and silver flakes.
  • Finish your bar with spices, from chipotle and cinnamon to mixed peppercorns and Hawaiian red sea salt.
  •  
    If you don’t have the time or inclination to design chocolate bars, send an e-gift certificate and let the recipients have the fun.

     

    Release your inner chocolatier. We combined
    sugar bunnies, eggs and carrots with Jelly
    Beans and Sunbeams. Photo by River Soma | THE NIBBLE.

     

    The base price of the 3.5-ounce chocolate bar is $3.95. Toppings start at 45¢ each, with many at 65¢ or 75¢. Each bar comes in a gift box.

    If you’re still looking for Easter candy, do something different this year. Click on over to Choccreate.com and start creating!

    Want something more elaborate? Here’s our favorite artisan Easter chocolate.

      

    Comments

    COOKING VIDEO: How To Cook Ham

     

    Are you cooking a ham for Easter?

    Watch Chef Tyler Florence prepare a smoked ham with a sage rub and tangerine sauce:

       

       

  • Enjoy the recipe with a glass of Gewürtztraminer, Riesling, rosé or a Pinot Noir. For a special splurge, try a rosé Champagne.
  • Bone in/bone out, wet cured/dry cured, smoked/brined, butt ham/shank ham: so much to learn about ham! Start here: the types of ham and ham cuts.
  • Comments (1)

    EASTER GIFTS: Check Out The Nibble Gourmet Market

    After years of requests from readers, THE NIBBLE Gourmet Market is now open.

    The almost 100 products—and more added weekly—are our favorites for gift-giving. Most have been NIBBLE Top Picks Of The Week.

    Take a closer look at these cute chocolate chicks. Each is filled with a different flavor of creamy chocolate ganache.

    If you’re looking for something more sophisticated, Choclatique fills Easter-colored bonbons with a selection of ganache, creams and caramels.

    We welcome your feedback on The Nibble Gourmet Market and hope to become a go-to resource for gift-giving.

     

    Instead of chocolate bunnies, delight
    with chocolate chicks. Photo courtesy
    Choclatique.

     

      

    Comments

    TIP OF THE DAY: Easter Buffet

    Ham spiral-sliced for a buffet. Photo courtesy
    Cherry Marketing Institute.

     

    If you typically have a sit-down Easter dinner, think about having a buffet this year.

    Setting everything out at once and letting people serve themselves gives you more time to spend with your guests. It also enables you to accommodate more guests than your dining table allows–and it’s better for mingling.

    You can place the food on a sideboard and seat guests at the dining table, or set the food on the dining table and let guests gather around the sofa or wherever they want to group and talk.

    If you have outdoor space and the weather cooperates, some people may enjoy dining alfresco.

    Comments

    TIP OF THE DAY: Passionfruit For Easter

    Australian passionfruit is small and purple-
    skinned. Photo by Brybs | SXC.

     

    You may have assumed, like many people, that passionfruit was named for the passion it inspires in those who consume it.

    But the name actually comes from a religious source, rather than any aphrodisiac properties.

    The fruit is named for the plant’s flower, which is said to symbolize parts of the Passion of Christ, including the crown of thorns and the nails of the crucifixion.

    So, add passionfruit to your Easter menu.

    Like pomegranate, the pulp and seeds are the edible parts of the fruit. Here are some ideas on how to use them:

  • Passionfruit purée in a cocktail or passionfruit juice for the kids (here’s a recipe)
  • Passionfruit seeds in a fruit salad
  • A passionfruit sauce with the main course
  • Passionfruit sorbet for dessert
  • Passionfruit-flavored bonbons or marshmallows
  •  

    We’ve found two types of passionfruit in our market: Australia/New Zealand-grown passionfruit, which is purple and the size of a small lemon, and Hawaiian passionfruit, which is yellow and as large as a grapefruit.* The purple variety is less acidic, with a richer aroma and flavor.

    *Passionfruit is grown worldwide in subtropical climates, from India and Indonesia to Israel to the Caribbean and South America. And of course, Australia and New Zealand.

    When ripe, the flesh of both varieties is very wrinkled. Cut the fruit in half and scoop out the pulp and seeds with a spoon.

    According to produce expert Melissas.com, choose fragrant, shriveled, wrinkled fruit that is rich in color. If the skin is smooth, ripen at room temperature and turn occasionally. The fruit may then be refrigerated in a plastic bag for a few days or frozen for longer storage without any loss of quality.

      

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