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Archive for New Year’s Eve

TIP OF THE DAY: Champagne Jell-O Shots…Or Maybe Beer

How old can you be and still enjoy Jell-O shots?

Erica of Erica’s Sweet Tooth adapted this recipe from Bakers Royale.

Point of accuracy: This recipe is made with plain gelatin, not flavored Jell-O, so it’s not really a Jell-O shot.

Another point: Everyone responds to the word “champagne,” but pricey champagne at $30 and up is not the best wine to use in recipes. Instead, use another sparkling wine for one-third of the price.

Don’t Like Champagne?

If the dad-of-honor prefers beer, substitute fruit beer in the recipe…or go bold with an IPA or stout. Guinness shots, anyone?

Ingredients For 15 Jello Shots

  • 10 ounces plus 5 ounces champagne (or cava, prosecco or other sparkling wine)
  • 1 tablespoon sugar
  • 3 envelopes Knox plain gelatin
  • Optional garnish: white sparkling sugar (sanding sugar)

    Champagne Jell-O Shots

    Champagne gelatin shots for any festive occasion (photo courtesy Erica’s Sweet Tooth).


    1. COMBINE 10 ounces of the champagne with the sugar in a saucepan. Sprinkle the gelatin on top and let it soften for 2 minutes.

    2. PLACE the saucepan over low heat and stir until the gelatin has completely dissolved, about 2-3 minutes. Remove from heat and add the remaining 5 ounces of champagne; stir to combine.

    3. POUR the mixture into a brownie pan or other square/rectangular container, and chill for at least an hour until firm.

    4. CUT: First dip the pan into warm water and use a knife along the sides to gently release the gelatin. Use a sharp knife to cut squares. Before serving, dip the tops in the sparkling sugar and serve with a festive toothpick.

    (Or, for the tongue-in-cheek approach described below, serve a square or two in champagne coupes, with an optional strawberry or raspberry.)


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    Champagne cupcakes—to serve with the shots? (Photo courtesy Cook Craft Love.)



    Another celebratory treat: champagne cupcakes. Why are they shown in champagne coupes (photo at left)?

    Decades ago, it was established that the champagne coupe—also called sherbet champagne glasses because they were popularly used to serve scoops of sherbet—were not ideal for sparkling wine.

    The wide surface area of the bowl—allegedly modeled after Marie Antoinette’s breasts—enables the bubbles to dissipate more quickly than they do in a flute or tulip glass.

    While the photo shows them tongue-in-cheek, serving champagne cupcakes instead of champagne, you can serve equally tongue-in-cheek champagne shots in them.

    If you want to bake the raspberry champagne cupcakes in the photo, here’s the recipe from Meaghan of

    You don’t have to open a new bottle: You can make this recipe with leftover champagne. It doesn’t matter if it’s flat: It will become flat quickly enough when mixed into the batter.

    You can serve the cupcakes with a glass of sec or demi-sec champagne, which are sweeter than brut champagne. Here are the levels of sweetness in Champagne.

    If you’re planning to buy champagne, check out our champagne buying tips.


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    TIP OF THE DAY: Get The App, Spread The Word Before St. Patrick’s Day

    Our content doesn’t usually cover public service announcements.

    But THE NIBBLE website was built around the concept of celebrating food-oriented holidays; so we think this is an important one for us to spread the word.

    Pass these tips along to friends, kids, and anyone who will be drinking a few on St. Patrick’s Day.

    The tips are from the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA), which wants everyone to know:

    Buzzed Driving is Drunk Driving.

    They suggest that in advance, you:

  • Plan for a sober ride home after the celebration.
  • Volunteer to be a designated driver.
  • Download the NHTSA’s SaferRide mobile app, enabling users to call a taxi or a friend and identifying their location so they can be picked up.
    Download the app here.

    If you’re hosting an event:

  • Collect the car keys as guests arrive. Don’t return them to inebriated drivers.
  • Have the numbers of cab companies at hand, or be prepared to use your Uber account to get buzzed drivers home.
  • Plan for that extra guest to spend the night.

    In 2014, 9,967 people were killed in alcohol-impaired driving accidents, accounting for nearly one-third of all traffic-related deaths in the U.S., forever changing the lives of parents, children, friends and other loved ones.

    In 2015, the number increased to 10,265 deaths (2016 numbers are not yet available).

    Plan ahead. Don’t rely on the luck of the Irish.


    Kiss Me I'm Sober

    NHTSA safe ride-app

    [1] Add a reminder to your St. Patrick’s Day hat, name tag, etc. [2] Download this app so you can get assistance on any day. Photos courtesy National Highway Traffic Safety Administration.



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    TIP OF THE DAY: Good Luck Foods For The New year

    Yesterday we recipes for a particular “good luck” food to celebrate the new year: black-eyed peas, a southern U.S. tradition.

    Today’s tip: Check out more lucky foods from around the world, and enjoy some on New Year’s Eve or New Year’s Day.

    Some are ancient traditions, others relatively new. Pick, choose and adapt your own lucky food traditions for the new year.


    In parts of Europe, cabbage, collards, kale and chard are consumed for luck because their green leaves look like folded money (who doesn’t want good fortune in the new year?). In Denmark, stewed kale is eaten, sprinkled with sugar and cinnamon (hmmm….). In Germany, sauerkraut is the veg of choice. In the southern U.S., it’s collards.
    Suggestion: Pick your green, and make it a tradition; or feature a different one each year. You can start with a crisp spinach salad with a warm bacon vinaigrette.


    Cod has been a traditional feast food since the Middle Ages; and the Catholic Church’s policy against red meat consumption on religious holidays helped make all fish commonplace at feasts. For the new year, boiled cod is popular in Denmark. In Italy, baccalà, dried salt cod, is a traditional food. Herring is consumed at midnight in Poland; in Germany, it’s likely to be carp.

    In Sweden, the smorgasbord provides a variety of fish dishes. In Japan, herring roe is consumed for fertility, shrimp for long life, and dried sardines for a good harvest (sardines were once used to fertilize rice fields).

    Suggestion: With so many delicious fish and seafood dishes, you can present a new one each year. That includes sushi or sashimi and caviar (we purchased salmon roe and wasabi tobiko).


    In Spain, each celebrant consumes 12 grapes at midnight—one grape for each stroke of the clock. Each grape represents a different month; the goal is to swallow all the grapes before the last stroke of midnight. It’s not an ancient practice, but dates to 1909, when grape growers had a surplus of inventory. They promoted the idea, and it became a tradition, spreading to Portugal and some parts of Latin America.
    Suggestion: Consider ramekins of mixed grapes, frosted (sugared) grapes. Or perhaps start your own tradition with grape granita or a frozen Grape Margarita.


    Popular from Europe to Asia, legumes—beans, peas and lentils—are symbolic of money. An Italian double-lucky new year’s tradition, sausages and green lentils (cotechino con lenticchie), features a second lucky food, pork. Germans have lentil or split pea soup with sausage. In Brazil, the traditional first meal of the new year includes lentil soup or lentils and rice. In Japan, sweet black beans (kuro-mame) are consumed during the first three days of the new year.

    Suggestion: Along with yesterday’s black-eyed pea recipes—all of these are delicious choices, but we’re going for red bean ice cream instead of the kuro-name. You can also add beans to a spinach salad.


    Pigs came to symbolize progress: They push forward, rooting themselves in the ground before moving. With its rich fat content, pork also signifies wealth and prosperity. That’s why roast suckling pig is popular new year’s fare in Austria, Cuba, Hungary, Portugal and Spain. Austrians even decorate the table with marzipan pigs. Swedes choose pig’s feet, Germans feast on roast pork and sausages. We wouldn’t turn down a pork roast, porchetta or a baked ham.
    Suggestion: For an easier path, add bacon or pork belly to the spinach salad.

    Cakes and cookies. Cakes and other baked goods are served around the world, with a special emphasis on round or ring-shaped items. In Italy, that means chiacchiere, honey-drenched balls of dough fried and dusted with powdered sugar. In Hungary, the Netherlands and Poland, donuts are customary (Holland also has ollie bollen, puffy, donut-like pastries filled with apples, raisin and currants. Some cultures hide a special trinket, coin or whole nut inside the cake; the person who gets it will be lucky in the new year.

    Suggestion: Avoid broken teeth and choking hazards. Serve cookies or an easy bundt cake. What could be more appropriate than egg nog bundts?

  • Chicken: It scratches backwards, symbolizing setbacks.
  • Flying birds (duck, pheasant, etc.): Good luck could fly away.
  • Lobster: It moves backwards.

    Spinach Salad

    Lentil Soup


    Egg Nog Bundt Cakes

    Carstens Marzipan Pigs

    Lucky foods for the new year: [1] Start with a spinach salad, with bacon for extra luck (photo courtesy Evolution Fresh). [2] For the soup course, lentil or bean soup with ham or pork sausage and mustard greens (photo courtesy Good Eggs). [3] For the main course, porchetta, or a simple roast pork loin (photo courtesy Il Buco | NYC). [4] Something round for dessert: mini egg nog bundt cakes. Here’s the recipe from Eat Wisconsin Cheese. [5] Marzipan pigs for everyone (photo Premier Food & Beverage).



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    RECIPE: Bouchons Au Chocolat

    Bouchon (BOO-shone) is the French word for cork; hence the name of these little chocolate cookie-cakes*, made in timbale molds, also called baba molds.

    They are rich and brownie-like, and the inspiration for Thomas Keller’s Bouchon Bakery (here’s his bouchon recipe).

    These chocolate “corks” are an ideal sweet for New Year’s Eve, and you can serve them for dessert with a sweeter champagne or other sparkling wine for dessert.

    This recipe, from Good Eggs, combines dark cocoa powder and melted semisweet chocolate make these bouchon: way to go to usher in a sweet new year.

    Note that there are two different sizes of timbale pans. Depending on which you choose, you’ll have dessert size or nibble size pieces.

    You can also use timbale molds for other baking, shaping mousse and gelatin, vegetable sides, ice cubes and chocolate—especially chocolate-on-a-stick, a fun way to make hot chocolate.

    You can also use mini-muffin pans, but you lose the cork shape.


    Ingredients For 12 Large Bouchons

  • 3/4 cup all-purpose flour
  • 1 cup of cocoa rouge cocoa powder†
  • 1 teaspoon kosher salt
  • 3 eggs
  • 1-1/2 cups sugar
  • 3 sticks unsalted butter (24 tablespoons), melted and cooled a bit
  • 1 cup of quality semisweet chocolate, roughly chopped
  • 1/4 cup powdered sugar
  • Timbale molds or mini muffin tins
    *Technically, a cake is eaten with a fork, and a cookie is finger food. Bouchons, like brownies, are finger food; although they can be served as a cake, with ice cream, whipped cream or other garnish.

    †Cocoa rouge (red cocoa) is a Dutch-process cocoa that lends baked goods a particularly appealing reddish color. In some brands it is the same color as ditched chocolate; but other brands sell a much lighter, tanner, ditched chocolate. You can substitute conventional ditched cocoa if that’s what you have.


    Chocolate Bouchon Recipe

    Silicone Timbale Mold

    Cocoa Rouge

    [1] Usher in the new year with cork-shaped bouchons au chocolat (photo courtesy Good Eggs). [2] A silicone timbale mold (photo Fat Daddio’s). [3] Cocoa rouge (photo courtesy King Arthur Flour).

    1. PREHEAT the oven to 350°F. Butter the inside of the timbale molds or muffin wells and cover with powdered sugar.

    2. SIFT together in a small bowl the cocoa powder, flour and a pinch of salt. In a larger bowl, use a hand mixer to beat the eggs, vanilla and granulated sugar for a couple of minutes, until they’re well combined and light yellow in color.

    3. BEAT about a quarter of the dry ingredients into the wet mixture, with the mixer on its lowest setting. Then do the same with a quarter of the butter. Repeat until all of the dry mixture and butter have been combined. Gently fold the chopped chocolate into the batter with a silicone spatula until it’s pretty evenly distributed.

    4. USING a pastry bag, a ziploc bag with the tip cut off, or just spoon, fill each of the timbale molds until they’re just over half full. Bake for 20 to 25 minutes, or until a toothpick inserted comes out largely clean—except for the bits of melted chopped chocolate!


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    TIP OF THE DAY: Black-Eyed Peas For The New Year

    For prosperity in the new year, it’s a Southern tradition to eat black-eyed peas on New Year’s Day—most popularly in the beans-and-rice dish, Hoppin’ John. Other favorites are black-eyed peas and ham, the peas often combined with collards (photo #3).

    The custom is actually a lot older than the U.S., and began in the Middle East.

    An ancient Sephardic Jewish custom, black-eyed peas are served on Rosh Hashanah, the Jewish new year, Rosh Hashanah. This “good luck” tradition is recorded in the Babylonian Talmud, compiled circa 500 C.E., and includes other good luck foods such as beets, dates, leeks and spinach. The custom is still followed by Israeli Jews and Sephardic Jews the world over.

    Other good-luck foods eaten at new years around the world include figs, fish, grains, grapes, greens, noodles, pork and pomegranate seeds. Here’s why.

    Like hummus? Try this black-eyed pea dip as an alternative.

    If you prefer, here’s a recipe for black-eyed pea salsa.


    Even if this recipe (photo #1), from Melissa’s, doesn’t give you prosperity, it does provide nutrition.

    Beans are a nutritional powerhouse as well as a very economical source of protein. Make a resolution to add beans to your diet at least once a week; the more often, the better.

    In addition to dip and sandwich spread, a hot bean side dish and bean soup, try a cold bean salad vinaigrette or mix beans into a green salad or grain bowl.

    There are even bean desserts. The you may have encountered chocolate cookies and brownies enriched with black beans, or Japanese red bean ice cream and dessert sauces (they’re azuki beans, sometimes mis-translated as adzuki beans).Take a look at these bean dessert recipes.

  • 12 ounces black-eyed peas cooked according to package directions (20 minutes in a pressure cooker)
  • 1/2 cup mayonnaise (garlic mayonnaise—aïoli—is delicious [recipe])
  • 1/4 cup chopped onion
  • Optional: 1 jalapeño, stem and seeds removed
  • Salt and fresh-ground black pepper to taste
  • Bread or crackers for spreading, crudités for dipping

    1. COMBINE all ingredients, except for the crackers, in a food processor or blender until smooth. Refrigerate until ready to use.

    2. SERVE with bread, crackers or crudités. We also use it as a sandwich spread with grilled vegetables and mozzarella.

    They’re beas, beige in in color with a black “eye” on one side.


    Blackeyed Pea Dip Recipe

    Blackeyed Peas In Bowl

    Blackeyed Peas, Collards, Ham

    [1] Black-eyed pea dip from Melissa’s. [2] The source material: black-eyed peas (photo Viktor Lugovskoy| IST ). [3] Blackeyed peas and collards with ham (photo courtesy Good Eggs).

    Black-eyed peas are also called black-eyed beans, because they are a subspecies of the cowpea, which is called a pea but botanical a bean, as are chickpeas, also called garbanzo beans.

    The are variously spelled black-eyed, black eye or blackeye[d].
    The Difference Between Peas & Beans

    Peas and beans are both legumes and seeds, each a separate genus in the Fabaceae botanical family. Some key differences:

  • Pea plants (genus/species Pisum sativum) have hollow stems; beans (genus/species Cicer arietinum) have solid stems.
  • Peas have leaf tendrils which they use to twine. In general, beans lack tendrils.
  • The taller varieties of both peas and beans need trellises to support them as they grow. Most beans just twine themselves over their supports, while peas use their tendrils to climb. At each node along their stems, peas generate two or three one-inch-long tendrils, which grab and then wind themselves around something, such as a narrow trellis.
    If you’re still curious, here’s more on the differences.



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