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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 Labor Day

TIP OF THE DAY: Make A Watermelon Boat

Put your fruit salad or munchies in a
watermelon boat. Photo courtesy Old World
Gourmet.

 

Have you ever carved a watermelon basket? The simple watermelon boat shown in the photo is a charming presentation. Most people fill it with fruit salad, but you can create rows of assorted munchies: cheese cubes, crudites, fruit, salami cubes.

While it puts some labor into Labor Day, you can carve a true work of art from a watermelon, and it’s a fun project.

The National Watermelon Promotion Board is here to help you, with almost 60 carved watermelon designs to inspire your fruit artistry. Beyond the conventional basket filled with fruit salad, there are:

  • Animal watermelons: cat, fish, hippo, ladybug, moose owl, penguin, pig, porcupine, rabbit, robot, seal, shark, turtle, T-Rex, whale
  • Kids’ watermelons: Minion (from “Despicable Me”), pirate skull and bones, smiley face, treasure chest, Viking helmet
  •  

  • Sports watermelons: eight ball, football helmet, golf ball, race car, sailboat, surf wave
  • Summer theme watermelons: beach bucket, flip flops, flower garden, flowers,
  • Assorted fun watermelons: Angry Birds, mermaid, purse, submarine, tea pot, tiki mask
  •  
    There are more, of course, including lovely basket designs and holiday-themed watermelon boats: Christmas, Halloween, Valentine’s Day, etc.

     

    RECIPE: WATERMELON RELISH

    Take some of that watermelon flesh and rind and make yummy watermelon relish. Use it to top burgers and hot dogs, mix it with yogurt for a dip, mix it with mayonnaise for a sandwich spread.

    Ingredients

  • 2 cups watermelon rind, dark-green skin removed and white part cut in 1/3-inch dice
  • 2 tablespoons and 2 teaspoons salt, divided
  • 2½ cups water and ¾ cup water, divided
  • 1 cup sugar
  • 2 tablespoons lemon zest, finely grated
  • 2 tablespoons lemon juice
  • 1 pinch each cinnamon and cloves
  • 2 cups diced watermelon
  •  

    Watermelon relish. Photo courtesy National Watermelon Promotion Board.

     

    Preparation

    1. MIX rind with 2-1/2 cups water and 2 tablespoons salt. Let stand covered at room temperature overnight. Drain and rinse well.

    2. COMBINE in medium saucepan the sugar, 3/4 cup water, 2 teaspoons salt, the lemon zest and juice, cinnamon and cloves. Bring to a boil over medium heat. Add the rind and cook gently for about 40 minutes or until the rind is translucent and tender (do not boil hard as mixture might caramelize). When done, remove from heat and cool.

    3. MIX in the diced watermelon.

    Makes 3/4 of a quart. The watermelon relish will keep refrigerated for 4 days.

      

    Comments

    RECIPE: Gourmet Cheeseburger Hot Pockets

    There’s a cheeseburger and pickles inside the
    pocket! Photo courtesy Steakhouse Elite.

     

    Maximize the fun and minimize the drips with this recipe for homemade hot pockets from Steakhouse Elite.

    RECIPE: CHEESEBURGER POCKETS

    Ingredients For Four Pockets

  • 1 pound ground beef
  • 4 slices cheese, your choice
  • ¼ cup minced sweet onion
  • 1/8 teaspoon ground black pepper
  • 1/8 teaspoon kosher salt
  • 1/8 teaspoon paprika
  • 16 slices pickles and/or pickled jalapeños
  • 8-ounce package refrigerated crescent rolls
  • Ketchup or barbecue sauce to dip
  •  

    Preparation

    1. PREHEAT oven to 350°F/175°C.

    2. DIVIDE crescent roll dough into rectangles on ungreased cookie sheets. Do not separate at the diagonal perforations. (Try pinching the diagonal perforation together to make a solid piece of dough).

    3. MIX the ground beef together with the onion, salt, pepper, and paprika, in a medium mixing bowl.

    4. PLACE ¼ cup of the beef mixture onto each crescent sheet; top with your pickles or jalapeños. Stretch dough over meat.

    5. BAKED in preheated oven until golden brown, about 20 minutes. Serve with a ramekin of ketchup for dipping.
     

    ABOUT STEAKHOUSE ELITE

    Steakhouse Elite produces American-raised Wagyu beef products that are known for their velvety texture and buttery flavor.

     

    Homemade “hot pockets” are easy to make. Photo courtesy Steakhouse Elite.

     

    You can find their ground beef, burger patties and franks at Acme, A&P, Balducci‘s, Food Emporium, Foodtown, Fresh Direct, Garden of Eden, King’s, Morton Williams, Pathmark, Publix and SuperFresh.

    For more information, visit the company website.

      

    Comments

    TIP OF THE DAY: Gourmet Hot Dog Recipes For Labor Day

    A hot dog Boston-style, topped with baked
    beans, crumbled bacon and chopped red
    onion. Photo courtesy Applegate.

     

    If you didn’t whip up some gourmet hot dogs on July 23rd, National Hot Dog Day, Labor Day Weekend is another opportunity to strut your hot dog stuff.

    In case you’re thinking chili cheese dogs, corn dogs and pizza dogs, take a look at these gourmet hot dog recipes. Below are more examples created by chefs across the country. Now, you’re ready to turn hot dogs to haute dogs.

  • Downward Dog, Japanese Style Hot Dogs. At The Corner Office in Denver, there’s a Japanese spin: Downward Dogs, two hot dogs with Japanese mustard, kewpie mayo, sweet soy sauce, nori and cucumber tsukemono (Japanese pickles sliced thin and marinated in rice wine vinegar, mirin, sugar, and salt for two days). The dogs are served in a split-top bun with a side of butter fries (tossed in clarified butter and salt). Kewpie mayo is a Japanese brand, a smoother, creamer mayonnaise made with rice vinegar rather than distilled white vinegar. You can buy it online.
  •  

  • Coney Island Style Hot Dogs or Coney Dogs. They’re not from New York’s famed Coney Island: This style of hot dog originated in Michigan in the early 20th century at Todoroff’s Original Coney Island. The original dog was topped with an all-meat (beanless chili), chopped white onions and stripes of yellow mustard. A special coney sauce evolved at hot dog stands that combined ground beef, onion, ketchup, mustard, celery seed, Worcestershire sauce and other seasonings. Here’s a coney sauce recipe. Toasted Oak in Novi, Michigan, an American brasserie, serves them with a twist: mini dogs topped with venison (instead of beef) coney sauce.
  • Southwestern Style Hot Dogs. Kachina Southwestern Grill in suburban Denver makes a Sonoran Dog, named after the state in the northwetern corner of Mexico. The restaurant pays homage to this culinary melting pot with a Kobe beef hot dog topped with applewood bacon, cowboy beans, pico de gallo, crumbled cotija cheese and smoked tomato aïoli, wrapped in house-made bolillo, a long, crusty roll with a baguette-like texture.
  •  

  • Poutine Dog, Breakfast Dog. There are two special dogs at Portland’s The Original Dinerant (a cross between a diner and a restaurant). Poutine Dog adds a hot dog to the classic Canadian dish. The dog is topped with warm cheese curds, crispy French fries and veal gravy. Or try a Breakfast Dog instead of sausage and eggs. It’s a grilled hot dog topped with a sunny-side-up egg, and wrapped in a bun that’s been French toast-battered and fried bun. The condiments: a drizzle of maple syrup and powdered sugar, of course.
  •  
    These recipes are from our chef friend Ken:

  • BLT Dogs. Shredded lettuce, bacon, mayonnaise, diced tomatoes.
  • Peking Dogs. The dog is topped with the fixings of Peking Duck—julienne cucumbers, chopped scallions and hoisin sauce—and wrapped in a crepe.
  •  

    A San Francisco-style hot dog: healthy salad fixings on your frank. Photo courtesy Applegate.

  • Taco Dogs. Wrap halved hot dogs in grilled tortillas, topped with taco condiments (shredded cheese and lettuce, diced tomatoes, salsa, guacamole, etc.).
  •  
    WANT SOMETHING EASIER?

    Just provide some special ingredients in addition to the traditional hot dog condiments.

  • Traditional hot dog condiments: barbecue sauce, chili, cheese (shredded), ketchup, mustard, onions, pickles, pickle relish, sauerkraut.
  • Special hot dog condiments: bruschetta and fresh basil leaves, caramelized onions, cilantro, crumbled blue cheese, corn relish, jalapeños (raw and/or pickled), fruit salsa (mango, peach, pineapple), Onion Crunch.
  •  

    HOT DOG TRIVIA

    According to the National Hot Dog and Sausage Council, an estimated seven billion hot dogs are eaten by Americans between Memorial Day and Labor Day. And every year, Americans eat an average of 60 hot dogs each!

  • Miller Park in Milwaukee is the only Major League ball park in which sausages outsell hot dogs. We recently featured “The Beast,” their “turducken” of hot dogs.
  • Ball park hot dog vendors need to be strong. A fully loaded bin weights approximately 40 pounds, and vendors typically walk 4 to 5 miles per game, up and down steps. They work on tips and commission.
  • “Nobody, I mean nobody, puts ketchup on a hot dog” is a phrase less famous than “Go ahead, make my day.” But Clint Eastwood’s Dirty Harry said them both (the former in “Sudden Impact”).
  • Glamour queen Marlene Deitrich’s preferred meal was hot dogs and Champagne.
  • Visitors can purchase hot dogs at the Vatican Snack Bar.
  •  
    Want more trivia? Take our hot dog trivia quiz.

      

    Comments

    TIP OF THE DAY: Gourmet Hot Dog Recipes

    The Atlanta Dog: just peachy! Photo courtesy
    Applegate.

     

    If you own a grill, chances are you’ll be using it this weekend to make hot dogs and other favorites. For a gourmet hot dog experience, Applegate Organic and Natural Meats—whose hot dogs count among our favorites—has provided some very special recipes.

    Here are 13 recipes representing cities nationwide.

    ATLANTA DOG: Vidalia Onion & Peach Relish

    It’s impossible to think of Georgia without imagining orchards full of peach trees and fields of sweet onions. In the ATL, they come together into one delicious hot dog topping. Pickled jalapeños bring the tang and heat to a fresh, juicy relish On the side: sweet tea, of course. Recipe.

    BOISE DOG: Baked Potato “Bun” With Bacon, Sour Cream & Chives

    At first glance, this specialty of The City Of Trees might look like a regular hot dog set-up. But look again, and you’ll see a fluffy baked potato standing in for the bun: a fitting homage to the Idaho potato! Recipe.

     

    BOSTON DOG: Baked Beans, Crumbled Bacon & Chopped Onions

    There‘s a double hit of bacon on this dog from Beantown: both cooked with the beans and crumbled on top. Recipe.

    CINCINNATI Dog: Cincinnati Chili, Cheddar Cheese & Onions

    The Queen City is keen on chili dogs. Cincinnati-style chili—mildly spiced and very meaty—makes an ideal hot dog topper. Keep some in the freezer and pull it out any time you need a fix. Recipe.

     

    COLUMBIA, S.C. OOG: Pimiento Cheese, Yellow Mustard & Diced Onions

    In The Capital of Southern Hospitality, pimiento cheese is a Southern classic, and its sharp creaminess turns out to be a natural with hot dogs. Recipe.

    DENVER DOG: Green Chile, Red Onions, Jalapeños & Sour Cream

    The Mile-High City deserves a hot dog with miles of flavor. A touch of sour cream tames the heat of roasted green chile sauce, chopped onions, and jalapeños. Recipe.

    HONOLULU DOG: Pineapple Relish, Lemon-Garlic Mayo & Starfruit

    Hot dog stands in Hawaii offer a range of tropical toppings—think relishes made from coconut, mango or papaya. This recipe, inspired by The Big pineapple, pairs a snappy pineapple relish with a cool lemony mayo and slices of starfruit. Aloha! Recipe.

    LOS ANGELES DOG: Red Cabbage & Scallion Slaw, Kimchi & Sesame Mayo

    The City of Angels is a city of many cultures and cuisines. Based on the now-famous Kogi Dog from the original Kogi food truck in L.A., this hot dog explodes with flavors and textures: fiery, tangy, creamy, crisp, nutty. A squirt of sriracha sauce completes the Asian theme. Recipe.

     

    The Boise Dog: adapting a baked potato to a hot dog. Photo courtesy Applegate.

     

    NEW ORLEANS DOG: Muffuletta Olive Salad

    The Big Easy is known for its flavorful food. A favorite local condiment—finely chopped salad of olives, pickled vegetables, garlic and capers—makes a vinegary counterpoint to meaty dogs. Recipe.

    NEW YORK CITY DOG: New York City: Sauerkraut & Spicy Mustard

    The Big Apple chooses a classic combination of crisp, vinegary kraut and spicy brown mustard. It’s so simple, yet so good. Recipe.

    PHILADELPHIA DOG: Pepper Hash & Spicy Mustard

    Pepper hash, a traditional accompaniment to hot dogs in the City of Brotherly Love, is a sweet, vinegary slaw. Sometimes the hot dogs are served with a smashed fish and potato cake, too, but you can simply finish your dog with a drizzle of spicy mustard. Recipe.

    SAN FRANCISCO DOG: Carrot, Cucumber & Radish Salad With Herb Mayonnaise

    Inspired by the incredible produce available in the Bay Area, this colorful salad topping is refreshing and beautiful. The green herb-flecked mayo adds a touch of richness to this Fog City dog. Recipe.

    TAMPA DOG: Cuban-Style With Ham, Swiss & Pickles

    There’s no guava on this hot dog from The Big Guava. Instead, locals adapt the traditional Cuban sandwich combo of ham, Swiss and pickles to the hot dog. Recipe.

    COMING UP NEXT

    Hopefully, Applegate will post the recipes to these yummy dogs, which you can see in a video on the website: Baltimore, Chicago, Des Moines, Kennebunkport, Las Vegas, Memphis, Pittsburgh, Portland, San Antonio, Santa Fe and Seattle.

    Enjoy the holiday weekend!

      

    Comments

    TIP OF THE DAY: Burger Bar, Diversity Burgers

    A turkey burger Caribbean-style, topped with
    a grilled pineapple slice. Photo courtesy
    Kikkoman.

     

    America is burger crazy: Burgers are our most popular food. And those burgers are usually beef.

    But there are other burgers, equally delicious: bison, grain (usually sprouted), lamb, legume (black beans, lentils), turkey and veggie burgers.

    The next time you cook burgers, try a “burger bar” with an assortment of proteins. We’ve become converts to lamb burgers—plain, curried or topped with feta cheese. Lamb lovers will find them so much tastier than beef.

    With so many burgers consumed, there’s lots of room for creativity. Check out:

  • 35+ burger recipes—beef, bison, turkey and veggie—plus condiments and breads to turn hamburgers into glamburgers and create a memorable burger bar.
  • Gourmet cheeseburger recipes.
  • Burger grilling tips.
  •  

    Do you know the history of the hamburger?

      

    Comments

    RECIPE: Serve Summer Cocktail For Labor Day

    Celebrate the unofficial end of summer—Labor Day Weekend—with a special cocktail. Toast the summer season with a summer cocktail.

    This recipe was developed by New York City chef and restaurateur Donatalla Arpaia, who makes the cocktail with Martini Bianco vermouth and Grey Goose vodka. Prosecco is the perfect summer sparkler, light and crisp with notes of apple, peach, apricot, pear and white peach.

    We like that this drink includes summery ingredients like basil and cherry tomatoes. We prefer the recipe without the simple syrup; but then, we prefer savory drinks. That said, you can substitute 1/4 teaspoon agave nectar for the simple syrup (More about agave nectar).

    THE DONATELLA COCKTAIL

    Ingredients Per Cocktail

  • 3 slices cucumber
  • 1 basil leaf
  • ¾ ounce vodka
  • ½ ounce white vermouth
  • ½ ounce lemon juice
  • ½ ounce simple syrup (recipe)
  • Ice
  • 3 ounces Prosecco
  • Garnish: 1 large cherry tomato or Campari tomato*
  •  

    A refreshing and special end-of-summer
    drink. Photo courtesy Donatella Arpaia.

     

    Preparation
    1. Place cucumber and basil in a cocktail shaker. Muddle gently.
    2. Add the remaining ingredients except Prosecco† and tomato garnish, and shake vigorously.
    3. Strain into a tall glass. Top with Prosecco. Add garnish. (We like to skewer the tomato because it’s easier to eat that way.)
    4. Serve.

    *Campari is a variety of tomato noted for its juiciness, high sugar level and low acidity. They are larger than a cherry tomato but smaller and rounder than a plum tomato.

    †Shaking or vigorously stirring sparkling wine breaks the bubbles.

      

    Comments

    TIP OF THE DAY: Hot Dog Bar

    Photo courtesy RedMarbleSteaks.com.

     

    Make your Labor Day barbecue something special with a gourmet hot dog bar.

    1. In addition to standard franks, offer gourmet sausage or bratwurst. Our supermarket has bison, salmon, lamb, chicken with wild rice, chicken with feta and sundried tomato, chicken with apples, Thai and Indian chicken sausages, smoked andouille sausage and lots more.

    2. Provide a variety of mustards and ketchups. Enable guests to customize their franks with a choice of ball park, Dijon, honey mustard and horseradish mustard.

    3. Relish more toppings. In addition to the traditional sweet green pickle relish, serve corn relish, jalapeño relish and chow chow (also called piccalilli, a mustard base with chopped tomatoes, cabbage, onions, hot and sweet peppers and vinegar). Offer salsa, chili, chopped onions and grated cheese in addition to the sauerkraut.

    4. Use a better bun. Make those bread carbs count. Try whole grain or whole wheat buns (we’ve even seen buttery brioche buns). Provide lettuce leaf “wraps” for the carb counters.

  • See our favorite organic franks.
  • Read the history of the frankfurter—a style sausage created in the 17th century by a German butcher from Bavaria who brought it to Frankfurt. Yet, it was still a sausage eaten with a knife and fork, no bun. A clever American added that.
  • Check out all the different types of mustard in our Mustard Glossary.
  • Comments

    TIP OF THE DAY: Gourmet Sausages Barbecue For Labor Day

    Make your Labor Day barbecue something special with a gourmet sausage bar. Instead of the same old franks, offer a selection of gourmet sausages. We did a quick tour and found a variety of tempting ones: not just pork, but bison, salmon, lamb, chicken with wild rice, chicken with feta and sundried tomato, chicken with apples, Thai and Indian chicken sausages, smoked andouille sausage and lots more. Put more excitement in those buns—and while you’re at it, buy whole grain or organic buns, along with some great mustards. Your guests will be thrilled.

    Comments










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