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Archive for Father’s Day

FOOD FUN: Bacon Rose Bouquet Recipe

Mom gets flowers for Mother’s Day; perhaps Dad would prefer a bacon bouquet. It’s easy to make 12 long-stemmed bacon roses.

Here’s a video from the National Pork Board that shows how to make bacon roses.

Ingredients For 12 Bacon Roses

  • 12 strips of bacon
  • 24 toothpicks
  • 12 stems from plastic roses*
  • Glass vase (or pitcher)
  • Optional: red ribbon
    *Get 12 fabric or plastic roses on plastic stems from the craft store. You have to remove the flowers, but typically, they snap off so you can wash the stems and use them again. After you remove the flower, wash the top of the stem before adding the bacon roses.



    It’s easy to make this tasty bacon rose bouquet. Find more recipes at


    1. UNWRAP the bacon and gently separate the slices. Roll each into a bacon rosebud.

    2. INSERT two toothpicks to hold each bud in place. Place the buds on a wire rack over a pan and bake at 400°F for 25-35 minutes. Remove from oven and allow to cool.

    3. MOUNT a bacon bud at the top of each stem and place the stems into a vase. Tie the ribbon around the vase. Present to the happy dad.


    A turnkey alternative to making bacon roses is to send a delicious beef jerky bouquet—12 long-stemmed pieces of jerky—from

    Wrapped decoratively in red tissue and delivered in a traditional flower box, the steak bouquet is $42.00, with a choice of flavors: Traditional, Black Pepper Cajun and Teriyaki.



    TIP OF THE DAY: Gin Cocktails For Father’s Day


    A gimlet: gin, lime juice and sugar. Photo courtesy


    How about a gin cocktail party for Father’s Day? You can serve your guests the five classic gin cocktails: Gimlet, Gin Fizz, Gin & Tonic, Gin Rickey and Martini. For a mocktail, a pitcher of limeade does nicely (a few dashes of bitters makes the limeade more cocktail-like).

    We love the idea of a tasting of the classics; but if you’d rather have modern gin cocktails, here are recipes for a Gin Mojito, Red Snapper (Bloody Mary) and Watermelon Martini

    You can have a bartender prepare the drinks to order, or make them in bulk in advance and serve them in pitchers (self-service). Provide shot glasses (plastic ones are fine) for tasting all, and full-size glasses for one’s favorite cocktail.

    Recipes vary widely—it’s easy to change proportions, switch lemon juice for lime juice, switch the garnish, etc. There are several styles of gin. Most recipes use London Dry Gin, but if you have something else, use it. If you have a favorite recipe for any of the drinks below, by all means use it!


    A gimlet is a tool for drilling small holes; the name was also used figuratively to describe something as sharp or piercing. The word “gimlet” for a cocktail was first used around 1928—perhaps for its effects on the drinker.

    According to Wikipedia, another theory is that the drink was named after British Royal Navy Surgeon Rear-Admiral Sir Thomas Gimlette KCB (who served 1879 to 1913). Gimlette allegedly introduced the drink as a means of inducing his messmates to drink lime juice as an anti-scurvy medication.
    Ingredients Per Cocktail

  • 2 shots (or parts) gin
  • 3/4 shot fresh lime juice
  • 3/4 shot simple syrup
  • Ice
  • Garnish: cucumber wedge or lime wheel

    Shake all ingredients with ice until ice cold. Strain into a Martini glass. Garnish with lime peel.

    A fizz is a variation of a sour, a family of cocktails that uses lemon or lime juice. The fizz adds carbonated water (soda water). The first printed reference to a “fiz” appears in the 1887 edition of Jerry Thomas’ Bartender’s Guide. It became very popular starting at the turn of the 20th century.

    Ingredients Per Cocktail

  • 2 shots gin
  • 1/2 shot fresh lemon juice
  • 1/2 shot simple syrup or 1/2 teaspoon superfine sugar
  • Soda water
  • Lemon wedge for garnish

    Shake with ice and strain first 3 ingredients into a highball glass. Top off with soda water and stir lightly. Garnish with lemon wedge.



    The world’s favorite gin drink was born in colonial India, when the British troops took daily doses of quinine water (tonic water) to ward off malaria. Someone suggested mixing it with gin to make it more palatable, and the Gin and Tonic became the iconic drink of the British Empire.

    Ingredients Per Cocktail

  • 2 shots gin
  • Tonic water
  • Ice cubes

    Add the gin and ice to highball glass; top off with tonic water. Garnish with a lime wedge.

    The rickey was created with bourbon in the 1880s, at Shoomaker’s bar in Washington, D.C. The story is that it was a collaboration between bartender George A. Williamson and a good customer, Democratic lobbyist Colonel Joe Rickey.



    A classic G&T with a (non-traditional) sprig of fresh thyme. Photo courtesy Q Tonic.


    In the bar for his morning glass of bourbon and Apollinaris sparkling mineral water, with lump ice, history was changed when one day, half a lime was squeezed into, then dropped into, the glass. The guess is that the lime was the bartender’s twist. Colonel Rickey may have preferred bourbon, but the cocktail became a worldwide sensation a decade later when gin was substituted to create the Gin Rickey. It’s similar to a Gin Fizz, but it uses London Dry Gin and lime juice, and less (or no) sugar.


  • 1.25 shots gin
  • 1/2 fresh lime, juiced
  • Optional: splash of simple syrup
  • 1 ounce soda water
  • Garnish: lime wedge
  • Ice cubes

    Fill a highball glass with ice. Squeeze the lime into the glass, getting as much juice out of it as you can. Add the gin, simple syrup and the lime shell. Top off with soda water.

    Is there a drink with as many variations as a Martini? The original may have been made in San Francisco in 1850 by bar owner Jerry Thomas. A stronger claim comes from Here’s the scoop. The first reference to a vodka Martini in the U.S. occurs in 1951 in a cocktail recipe book, Bottoms Up, by Ted Saucier. The drink took off when James Bond ordered his vodka Martini “shaken, not stirred.”


  • 3 shots gin
  • 1/4 shot dry vermouth (for a dry Martini)
  • 1-2 green olives, depending on size

    Shake the vodka and vermouth with ice. Strain into a martini glass and garnish with the olives.



    TIP OF THE DAY: Savory French Toast

    Saturday was always “French Toast for breakfast day” in our family. It was always sweet, with real maple syrup and fresh fruit.

    So when we came across this recipe for savory French Toast from Castello Cheese (which used its Aged Havarti in the recipe), we picked the following Saturday (yesterday) to give it a try.

    The result: a nifty breakfast option for those who don’t particularly like syrup or other sweet toppings, and a change of pace for those who do. It evokes a breakfast grilled cheese sandwich on a soft, eggy base of pan-fried bread, rather than on crisp toasted bread.

    It’s a nice change of pace. Just as you can vary the toppings on French Toast, you can use different savory toppings.

    For those of you who remember Creamed Chipped Beef On Toast, you can make a French Toast version. Use leftover beef or jerky to replace the tomato and cheese in the recipe below. No beef? Check the fridge: You can adapt just about any savory leftovers.



    Savory French Toast with cheese and tomatoes. Photo courtesy Castello Cheese.

    Test out the recipe now: It may be just what you’re looking for for Father’s Day.

    Prep time is 40 minutes. For prettier color, look for heirloom cherry tomatoes or a mix of red, orange and yellow varieties.

    As you can see in the photo, the Castello chef used a three-inch round cookie cutter to cut the bread in circles after it comes out of the pan. We’re not so elegant; and besides, we don’t want to give up that cut-away French toast.

    Ingredients For 6 Servings
    For The Tomato Topping

  • 3 cups cherry tomatoes, cut in half
  • 2 tablespoons olive oil
  • 1 teaspoon chopped fresh oregano
  • 1 teaspoon balsamic vinegar
  • Salt and pepper to taste
    For The French Toast

  • 2 cups milk
  • 2 eggs
  • ¼ cup grated Parmesan cheese (substitute Asiago or Pecorino Romano)
  • Salt and pepper to taste
  • 6 1½-inch thick slices brioche, egg bread or jalapeño Italian bread
  • 2 ounces aged Havarti, shaved (substitute Jack, aged Gouda, Tilsit or other shaveable cheese)


    A Monte Cristo sandwich is ham and Gruyère on French Toast. Photo courtesy Kikkoman.



  • Blue cheese and sliced apples
  • Feta and kalamata olives with dill or oregano
  • Smoked salmon, caviar and crème fraîche

    1. PREPARE the tomatoes: Sauté the tomatoes in the olive oil over medium high heat. Add the oregano and vinegar and cook until softened, about 3 minutes. Season the mixture with salt and pepper and set aside, keeping warm until ready to serve.

    2. MAKE the French Toast: Whisk the milk, egg, Parmesan, salt and pepper in a shallow pan. Dip the bread into the milk mixture and pan fry it in a hot non-stick pan for 3 minutes per side.

    3. TRANSFER the bread onto serving plates and top with the tomato mixture. Shave the cheese over the tomatoes. Serve immediately.


    The dish known in America as French toast has roots at least as far back as ancient Rome, where it was a sweet dish. In fact, pain perdu (lost bread), the current French name for the dish, was once called pain à la romaine, or Roman bread.

    While the story evolved that French Toast was a food of the poor, trying to scrape together a meal from stale bread, recipes from ancient and medieval times denote that it was fare for wealthy people.

  • Recipes used white bread, a luxury, with the crusts cut off. Poor people ate brown bread, much cheaper because the wheat endosperm did not have to be milled and painstakingly hand-sifted through screens to create white flour.
  • Costly ingredients such as spices (cinnamon, cloves, mace and nutmeg), sugar and almond milk are found in numerous recipes.
  • The cooked bread was topped with costly honey or sugar.
  • And cookbooks themselves were the province of the privileged: Only wealthy people and clergy learned to read.

    More recently, French toast has evolved into a savory sandwich, the Monte Cristo. It is an evolution of the croque-monsieur, a crustless sandwich of ham and Gruyère cheese, buttered and lightly browned on both sides in a skillet or under a broiler.

    The croque-monsieur was invented in Paris in 1910. A variation with a baked egg on top is called a croque-madame. Neither sandwich was battered, like French toast.

    The Monte Cristo sandwich, a triple-decker sandwich, battered and pan-fried, was invented at the Hotel del Coronado in San Diego. According to the L.A. Times, the first recipe in print is in the Brown Derby Cookbook, published in 1949.

    Here’s the recipe so you can try it for lunch—although probably not on the same day you have French Toast for breakfast.



    GIFT: Premium Spirits For Father’s Day

    For Father’s Day, here are some spirits that will light up Father’s Day for that special Dad who loves tequila or vodka.

    Casa Herradura has two superior expressions for the tequila lover:


    Herradura Selección Suprema is the highest grade tequila from Casa Herradura. Aged for more than 49 months in American oak barrels, it has a very dark copper hue, paired with an intense aroma of brown spice and floral notes.

    This is an enormously complex, world-class sipping tequila for the connoisseur. The suggested retail price is $350 for a 750ml bottle. Pricey, yes; but for tequila lovers, it should be a memorable experience.

    At a more affordable price is Herradura’s limited edition Colección de la Casa, Reserva 2014 – Scotch Cask Finish Reposado.



    The greatest tequila in the world? Photo courtesy Casa Herradura.


    It undergoes a double maturation process after resting in two different types of oak casks: American oak and single malt Scotch casks. This creates a totally new flavor profile for fine tequila. The suggested retail price is $89.99.

    For more information visit



    A different vodka experience. Photo courtesy Tito’s.



    Tito’s Handmade Vodka is one of the fastest-growing craft spirits, and it’s gluten-free (made from 100% corn mash). Wine Enthusiast magazine scored it higher than Belvedere, Grey Goose and Ketel One.

    It’s made in small batches (microdistilled) in an old fashioned pot still by Tito Beveridge (that’s his actual name), a geologist who first made it for Christmas gifts. Friends encouraged him to go commercial.

    His boot-strapped brew won the double gold medal at the World Spirits Competition and put Tito’s on the map.

    We found it online for prices ranging from $17.99 to $32.99. Here’s a store locator on the company website.




    RECIPE: Rocky Road Truffles

    Today is National Rocky Road Day. The original Rocky Road was an ice cream flavor invented in 1929 by William Dryer. He chose the name to describe the bumpy appearance of ice cream packed with chocolate, marshmallows and walnuts. Since the Great Depression began in October of that year, it was also a tongue-and-cheek reference.

    Pastry chef and cookbook author Emily Luchetti has taken Dryer’s original flavor profile and added her own twist, to make Rocky Road Truffles, developed for the California Walnut Board.

    Chocolate ganache surrounds walnuts and marshmallows, with a light dusting of cocoa powder. The truffles melt in your mouth.

    Make them for a family treat or for a special occasion like Mother’s Day, Father’s Day or Valentine’s Day. The truffles can be made a week in advance. The better quality the chocolate, the tastier the truffles. (We used a Valrhona chocolate bar.)

    Ingredients For 30 One-Inch Truffles


    Here, the rocky road is welcome. Photo courtesy California Walnut Board.

  • 6 tablespoons heavy cream
  • 5 ounces bittersweet chocolate, finely chopped
  • 2/3 cup mini marshmallows cut in half (use scissors)
  • 1/2 cup walnuts cut into 1/4 inch pieces
  • 1/2 cup milk chocolate chips or chocolate bar chopped into 1/4 inch pieces
  • 1/3 cup cocoa powder

    1. WARM the cream in a small saucepan over medium-high heat, stirring frequently, until hot and bubbling around the edges, about 3 minutes. Remove the pan from the heat and add the chocolate. Swirl the pan lightly so the chocolate is covered by the cream. Cover and let sit 5 minutes. Whisk until smooth.

    2. WHISK occasionally until the mixture is at room temperature. Then stir in the marshmallows, walnuts and milk chocolate chips. Spread the chocolate cream in a 9-inch pan or pie plate. Refrigerate until hard, at least 1 hour.

    3. PLACE a heaping teaspoon for each truffle in a single layer on a pan. Refrigerate until hard.

    4. PUT the cocoa powder on a plate or in a small bowl. Line a baking sheet with parchment paper. One at a time, place the chocolate balls in the cocoa powder. Dust your palms with cocoa powder and lightly roll the truffles between your palms until round. (The cocoa powder keeps them from sticking to your hands.) Finally, roll the round truffles in the the cocoa powder. (If at any point the chocolate gets too warm and the truffles become difficult to roll, refrigerate the chocolate for 30 minutes until it firms up.)

    5. REFRIGERATE until ready to serve. For gifting, you can wrap the truffles up in tissue paper and tie the bundle with a ribbon.



    TIP OF THE DAY: Homemade Layer Cake


    You can make this at home, topped with Callebaut Crispearls. Photo courtesy Sweet Street Desserts.


    Nothing says love like a homemade cake: for birthdays, Mother’s/Father’s Day, graduation or or other special occasion. Whether you use a cake mix or measure from scratch, it’s fun to bake a cake.

    And it’s very much appreciated by the honoree. Our friend Beth’s children, ages 7 and 10, know enough to appreciate mom’s homemade birthday cakes to store-bought options.

    Over the years, many people have asked our opinion on cake mixes. Here it is:

    Essentially, a cake mix saves you the time and mess of measuring the dry ingredients: flour, sugar, baking soda, cocoa powder, etc. It also includes the flavorings—vanilla, orange, whatever. People who don’t like measuring should reach for the box.

    What we personally don’t like is using oil instead of butter. Others may not notice; but if it doesn’t taste buttery, we don’t want to spend our cake and cookie calories.

    And of course, a from-scratch recipe that’s enhanced with buttermilk, cream cheese, sour cream, fresh citrus juice or zest, and so on will be better tasting.


    We totally avoid the canned frostings most people buy to go along with a cake mix. To borrow a line from Snapple, most canned frosting is not made from “the best stuff on Earth.” Here are the ingredients to Betty Crocker’s Rich & Creamy Vanilla Frosting:

    Sugar, Partially Hydrogenated Soybean and Cottonseed Oil, Water, Wheat Starch, High Maltose Corn Syrup, Contain 1% or Less of Salt, Distilled Monoglycerides, Colored with Artificial Color, Yellows 5 & 6, Polysorbate 60, Sodium Stearoyl Lactylate, Sodium Acid Pyrophosphate, Natural and Artificial Flavor, Citric Acid, Nonfat Milk, Freshness Preserved by Potassium Sorbate

    Why eat cottonseed oil and corn syrup, when in 10 minutes you can make real buttercream, which tastes great?

    All you need is a stick of butter, a cup of confectioners’ sugar, 1/4 cup whole milk and the flavoring of your choice: 1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract, 4 ounces chocolate or 1 teaspoon instant coffee. Just blend them together and ice away. The toughest part is waiting for the butter to soften!

    Here’s the full recipe.



    A special occasion deserves a festive garnish. You can turn a homemade or store-bought layer cake into something special with a simple sprinkle of edible cake decorations.

    In addition to chocolate chips (or other flavors), homemade chocolate curls (scrape a chocolate bar with a vegetable peeler), coconut and candies, there are:

  • Bright-colored or pastel confetti
  • Callebaut Crispirls, chocolate-covered cereal balls in dark, milk and white chocolate
  • Dragées in single colors, multicolor “Harlequin,” gold and silver
  • Gold glitter stars
  • Sugar pearls, in white, pastels, multicolor and metallics
  • White pearl shimmers
    If you live near a baking supplies store, go browsing. Otherwise, browse online until you find your ideal decorations.



    Sprinkle festive decorations atop your cake. Photo courtesy Wilton.


    Here’s an article about the different types of cake decorations.



    FOOD HOLIDAY: Surf & Turf Eggs Benedict

    Eggs Benedict is a popular Mother’s Day or Father’s Day brunch entree. The classic recipe combines a poached egg and ham or Canadian bacon atop a toasted English muffin slice, topped with hollandaise sauce.

    There are many variations to the original recipe, including portabella mushrooms for vegetarians (recipe) and corned beef hash (recipe).

    Since today is National Eggs Benedict Day, here’s a festive recipe to try in advance of upcoming celebrations. You can serve it for lunch or everyday dinner as well.


    Ingredients For One Serving

  • 1 poached egg
  • 1/4 cup poached crab or lobster
  • 1/4 cup sliced, cooked filet mignon
  • Hollandaise sauce (recipe)
  • 1/2 English muffin, toasted
  • Optional: poached/steamed asparagus or other vegetable


    Surf & turf Eggs Benedict. Photo courtesy Bonefish Grill.

  • Optional garnish: minced fresh chives or parsley or chiffonade of tarragon

    1. PREPARE or heat the hollandaise sauce; cook the Canadian bacon or heat the ham.

    2. POACH the egg and toast the muffin half. Place the beef atop the muffin, followed by the seafood and the egg. Spoon the hollandaise sauce on top.

    3. GARNISH with fresh herbs and serve with an optional side of asparagus or other vegetable.

    Credit for this recipe is given to Chef Charles Ranhofer of Delmonico’s Restaurant in New York City—which also happened to be the first restaurant opened in the U.S., starting with a small pastry café in 1827 and expanding into a restaurant two years later.

    At that time there were no public dining rooms or restaurants. Men could stop into a tavern for a beverage and what amounted to “bar food.” People ate all their meals at home or, if traveling, at the inn or hotel. Otherwise, hungry people got food from street vendors.

    In the 1860s, a regular patron of Delmonico’s, Mrs. LeGrand Benedict, arrived for lunch and found nothing appealing on the menu. She discussed her tastes with the chef, who created on the spot what would become an iconic recipe. In his cookbook, The Epicurean, published in 1894, he called the recipe called Eggs à la Benedick, inadvertently misspelling her name.

    The recipe is relatively easy: toasted English muffins topped with a round of cooked ham “an eighth of an inch thick and of the same diameter as the muffins one each half.” A poached egg is placed atop each each muffin half, and the whole is covered with Hollandaise sauce.

    The dish became very popular, and April 16th was established as National Eggs Benedict Day.

    You can vary the ingredients to make your own signature Eggs Benedict recipe. Here are some substitutions.



    FATHER’S DAY: Maggie Louise Salted Caramel Heraldic Shields

    If Dad is the king on Father’s Day, how about a box of these chocolate heraldic shields, filled with salted caramel?

    Any celebrant who appreciates fine chocolate will roar when he receives a box of such luscious chocolates, embossed with kingly lions.

    The heraldic shields are crafted in extra dark chocolate by El Rey and filled with vanilla bean cream caramel and sea salt. As a finishing touch, the chocolate is brushed with edible gold.

    We’re fans of Maggie Louise, who combines design flare with terrific taste and beautiful packaging.

    A 6-piece gift box is $13.50.

    Get yours at

    And browse the website for more wonderful chocolate creations.



    Regal and delectable: salt caramel heraldic shields. Photo courtesy Maggie Louise.




    TOP PICK OF THE WEEK: Whiskey-Infused Chocolate Truffles

    If Dad loves chocolate and spirits, this may be the ideal Father’s Day gift!

    The Oregon Distiller’s Collection from Moonstruck Chocolate is nine-piece collection of truffles infused with spirits from five of Oregon’s finest craft distillers.

    The spirits are infused into chocolate ganache and hand-piped into hand-painted chocolate shells. The collection is a parade of deliciousness:

  • Bendistillery Crater Lake Pepper Vodka Truffle: A ganache of ivory and dark chocolate is infused with the spirit. A blend of five different sweet and hot chiles creates a balance of flavor and spice; in an ivory chocolate shell.
  • Bull Run Distillery Pacific Rum and Cola Truffle: A blend of dark and milk chocolate ganache is infused with the rum and cola-flavored spirit to mimic the classic cocktail; in a dark chocolate shell.
  • Bull Run Temperance Trader Bourbon Whiskey Truffle: A dark and milk chocolate ganache is infused with this popular whiskey, creating sweet and smoky notes with a hint of fruit and butterscotch; in a dark chocolate shell.


    A gift box of spirits-infused truffles. Photo courtesy Moonstruck Chocolate.


  • Clear Creek Distillery Oregon Apple Brandy Truffle: The spirit is blended into a ganache of ivory and dark chocolate, featuring notes of grass, apple and spice; in dark chocolate shell.
  • Clear Creek Distillery Oregon Pear Brandy Truffle: A blended milk and dark chocolate ganache is infused with the pear brandy; in an ivory chocolate shell.


    Each individual flavor can be purchased
    separately, too. Photo courtesy

  • House Spirits Distillery Krogstad Aquavit Truffle: The aquavit is blended into an ivory and dark chocolate ganache, creating a warm blend of chocolate, star anise and caraway flavors; in a milk chocolate shell.
  • House Spirits Distillery Coffee Liqueur Truffle: The strong, freshly-brewed coffee flavor of the liqueur infuses a blend of milk and dark chocolate ganache; in a dark chocolate shell.
  • House Spirits Distillery Aviation Gin Truffle: This milk and dark chocolate ganache is infused with the gin, delivering a bouquet of botanical flavors, with top notes of citrus, anise, cardamom and lavender; in a dark chocolate shell.
  • Rogue Ale Dead Guy Whiskey Truffle: A blended ivory and dark chocolate is infused with the whiskey, creating delicately sweet notes, a rich malt complexity and a warm peppery finish; in a milk chocolate shell.
    Who could resist? The nine-piece sampler is $20.00. The flavors can be purchased individually in boxes of 20 pieces for $50.00.



    Check out the different types of whiskey in our Whiskey Glossary.


    PRODUCT: Limited Edition Garrett’s Smoky Cheese Popcorn

    In advance of Father’s Day, Chicago popcorn palace Garrett’s has introduced limited-edition Smoky CheeseCorn, for gifting or party fare.

    The popcorn is handmade daily from the highest quality ingredients and a signature blend of kernels. It is hot-air popped and stirred into freshly melted sharp cheddar cheese, infused with a wisp of hickory smoke.

    Purchase at Garrett popcorn shops in Chicago, Las Vegas and New York (plus international—see the store locator), or online at

    You can send Dad a one-gallon tin for Father’s Day, or the ginormous 6.5-gallon tin to feed a whole party. The flavor will be available through the summer barbecue season.



    Cheesy and smoky: new Smoky CheeseCorn. Photo courtesy Garrett’s.




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