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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: 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.

      

    Comments

    TOP PICK OF THE WEEK: Gourmet Marshmallows

    A two-layer Black Forest marshmallow with
    a chocolate bottom and a top made with
    cherry purée. It’s topped with dried cherries
    and chopped chocolate. From Crumbles
    Cookie Factory
    , it’s fabulous. Photo by
    River Soma | THE NIBBLE.

     

    To adapt comedian Rodney Dangerfield’s famous line, marshmallows don’t get no respect. At least in the world of fine confections.

    That’s because most of us are only familiar with the tough, cottony supermarket variety of marshmallows.

    But there’s a world of excitement out there: gourmet marshmallows so airy and flavorful that they’ve replaced chocolate as our favorite after-dinner treat, and as an accompaniment to a cup of tea or coffee.

    Today’s gourmet marshmallows are made by confectioners who are the marshmallow equivalent to top chocolatiers.

    And you can get marshmallows in just about any flavor—even savory ones, like chicken and beef (we didn’t taste those, but we did try bacon-topped marshmallows).

    Consider putting bags of fine marshmallows in your Easter basket this year.

  • Read the full review.
  • If you lust after marshmallows, also see our earlier article featuring more marshmallow artisans.
  • The history of marshmallows.
  •  

      

    Comments

    EASTER: Bunnyware Easter Dishes

    Enhance your Easter table. Photo courtesy
    Williams-Sonoma.

     

    If only we weren’t saving up for a new stove, we’d get a few sets of these adorable Bunnyware glasses from Williams-Sonoma.

    The vintage-inspired bunny portraits are by Parisian artist Marc Lacaze. Four glasses are $29.00.

    While there are complete sets of Bunnyware dishes and serving pieces, you only need one holiday-themed item to dress up your table.

    We particularly like the glasses because, filled with water or another beverage, they can stay on the table for the entire meal.

     

      

    Comments

    TIP OF THE DAY: Carrot Juice Easter Cocktails

    carrot-230

    Our favorite carrot juice is from Biotta,
    a NIBBLE Top Pick Of The Week.
    Photo by Corey Lugg | THE NIBBLE.

     

    What does the Easter bunny drink? Carrot juice cocktails!

    Well, not really, but it’s a fun concept for Easter cocktails.

    FOR KIDS: Serve a Peter Cottontail Cocktail, carrot juice with a squeeze of lime in festive glasses. Garnish with fruit—a strawberry on the rim, for example.

    FOR ADULTS: Serve an Easter Mary. Substitute carrot juice for the tomato juice in your favorite Bloody Mary recipe.

    If you like, start with a carrot juice tasting:

    Buy several different brands of carrot juice, set them out small paper drinking cups or shot glasses and let guests vote on which tastes best to them. It’s an engaging activity as guests begin to arrive.

    Find more Easter and spring cocktail ideas in our Cocktails Section.

    Comments

    TIP OF THE DAY: Know Your Hams

    HamIamWholeHickoBoneless-230

    A boneless, hickory-smoked ham from
    HamIAm.com.

     

    When we were an agrarian society, every farm or homestead had its own smokehouse to smoke the family’s food. In the days before refrigeration, smoked food was a key way to preserve meat and fish.

    Over Lent, when no pork was consumed, hams were left to cure. The hams were ready by Easter, and ham became a popular Easter tradition.

    Today, many households look forward to their “Easter ham,” but the decision is more complex: There is quite an array of different ham types and styles.

    Do you know your ham? If not, you might not be purchasing the type that’s best for you. You need to know why:

  • You’d want a bone-in ham over a boneless ham, or vice versa.
  • If a spiral cut ham is your best bet.
  • If you should consider a fresh ham versus a cured ham.
  • If you’d prefer a city ham or a country ham.
  • Even if you’ve already purchased your Easter ham, there’s lots to learn for your next ham. Read our article on ham types and you won’t be hamstrung.

    Comments

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