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Archive for New Year’s Eve

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.

COOKED GREENS

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.

FISH

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).

GRAPES

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.

LEGUMES

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.

PORK

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.
 
FOR DESSERT

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?
 
WHAT NOT TO EAT

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

    Spinach Salad

    Lentil Soup

    Porchetta

    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.

    RECIPE: BOUCHONS, CORK-SHAPED MINI CAKES

    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.
    ________________
     
     
    Preparation

     

    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.

    RECIPE: BLACK-EYED PEA DIP & SPREAD

    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.
     
    Ingredients

  • 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
  •  
    Preparation

    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.
     
     
    ARE BLACKEYED PEAS PEAS OR BEANS?

    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.

     
    THE DIFFERENT TYPES OF BEANS

      

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    TIP OF THE DAY: Champagne Gelatin (Not Jell-O) Shots

    Champagne Jell-O Shots

    Champagne Jell-O Shots Recipe

    Champagne Gelatin Shots

    [1] Erica’s Sweet Tooth found fancy picks to decorate her champagne gelatin shots. We could only find these at Ali Express, but we did find others with jewel-like accents and these with faux pearls. Plus, instructions to make your own. [2] Coucou Jolie used a star-shape ice cube mold to make stars. You can stir edible gold glitter stars into the mix before setting, or put them in the mold first, so they’ll create a garnish on top. [3] Got Pop Rocks? They do at Shimmy Shimmy Cake, a custom cakery in Austin, Texas.

     

    For conventional champagne to celebrate a special occasion, check out our recommendations.

    For less expensive but perfectly lovely non-champagne sparkling wines, we like these alternatives—great values, starting at just $10!

    But for a side of champagne gelatin shots, check out the recipes below.

    Point of accuracy: When a recipe is made with unflavored gelatin, not flavored Jell-O, it’s a gelatin shot. Jell-O is a brand that makes only flavored gelatin.

    You can make a red version of the gelatin shots with Lambrusco or other red sparkling wine, and present a platter of both red and white options.

    And you cab make a mocktail version by substituting sparkling cider.
     
    RECIPE #1: CHAMPAGNE JELL-O SHOTS

    Erica of EricasSweetTooth.com adapted the first recipe from Bakers Royale.

    Also check out her Funfetti Cheesecake Ball: It was designed to resemble the Times Square Ball.

    Ingredients For 15 Shots

  • 10 ounces plus 5 ounces Champagne (or better yet, Cava, Prosecco or other reasonably-priced sparkling white wine)
  • 1 tablespoon sugar
  • 3 envelopes Knox plain gelatin
  • Optional garnish: white or other color sparkling sugar
  •  
    Preparation

    1. PLACE the sugar and 10 ounces of the champagne 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, stirring to combine.

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

    4. CUT: First dip the pan into warm water and use a knife along the sides to gently release the Jell-O. Use a sharp knife to cut squares. Before serving, dip the tops in the sparkling sugar and serve with a festive toothpick.
     
    RECIPE #2: CHAMPAGNE GELATIN SHOTS WITH POP ROCKS

    Shimmy Shimmy Cake offers this variation, topped with Pop Rocks for some holiday “fireworks.”

    Regarding the Pinnacle Whipped Vodka, she says: “This is the absolute best vodka to use when making Jello Shots—just trust me on this one!”

    Ingredients

  • 1/2 cup creme soda
  • 1/2 cup sparkling wine
  • 2 envelops of unflavored gelatin
  • 1 cup Pinnacle Whipped Vodka
  • Preparation

    1. COMBINE the soda and sparkling wine in a small sauce pan and stir. Sprinkle the gelatin over the mixture and let it sit for 1 minute.

    2. COOK the mixture over medium heat, stirring constantly until the gelatin disolves (about 5 minutes). Remove from the heat and stir inthe vodka.

    3. POUR into a square baking dish (a cake pan is fine). Refrigerate until firmly set set (you can speed up the process by putting the pan in the freezer for 30 minutes). When ready to serve…

    4. CUT and plate, then top with Pop Rocks. Do not plate until ready to because as the Pop Rocks start to melt the gelatin. Also do not refreeze after plating; they will stick to the plate.

     
      

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    TIP OF THE DAY: Quick Chocolate Dipping Sauce With Biscotti Or Ladyfingers

    If friends and neighbors are dropping by for some holiday cheer, here’s a very quick recipe for a delicious snack. It works well as a quick dessert, too.

    Keep biscotti around—they have a long shelf life—or ladyfingers, which freeze well and can be revived in a minute in the microwave. Then, in less than five minutes, make this chocolate dipping sauce.

    The combination goes with brandy, coffee, cola, fruity red wine, liqueurs, tea, and of course, a glass of milk.

    Cubed pound cake, amaretto cookies and/or sliced fruit are also delicious with the chocolate sauce. Chocoholics may prefer brownie cubes or fingers.

    The recipe makes enough for eight two-cookie servings. We turned to one of our favorite holiday snacks, Nonni’s Biscotti.

    As a bonus, Nonni’s isn’t rock-hard like conventional biscotti made for dipping in coffee or a dessert wine like vin santo. You don’t have to dip it…although don’t hesitate to follow the tradition.

    RECIPE: CHOCOLATE DIPPING SAUCE FOR

    This festive but easy recipe, which we adapted from Nescafé, is presented as individual servings.

    But if you have a fondue pot, chafing dish, brazier, or other way to keep the chocolate sauce warm, you can set it on a table with a platter of biscotti, ladyfingers and other cookies.

    Apple wedges and orange segments also works.

    Ingredients

  • 6 ounces chopped dark chocolate or chocolate chips
  • 2 tablespoons coffee or orange liqueur (e.g. Kahlúa, Grand Marnier
  • 1/4 teaspoon instant coffee granules
  • 16 to 24 biscotti or ladyfingers
  • 1/4 cup heavy cream
  • Optional: cayenne for a bit of heat
  •  
    Preparation

    1. MELT. Place chocolate and cream in a medium, microwave-safe dish. Microwave on HIGH (100%) power for 60 seconds. Stir with whisk until smooth.

    2. COMBINE. Whisk in liqueur and coffee granules until coffee is dissolved.

    3. ASSEMBLE. Divide the chocolate sauce among 8 small dessert dishes or whatever you have: brandy snifters, ramekins, rocks glasses, small wine glasses, tea cups, etc). Place 2 to 3 ladyfingers to each glass. Serve immediately.

    Alternative: Use a plate under the dish and put the biscotti on the plate.

    Tip: Serve with espresso spoons so everyone can scoop up the remaining chocolate sauce.
     
    Find more of our favorite desserts.
     
    ABOUT NONNI’S BISCOTTI

    Nonni’s Biscotti is the number one-selling biscotti brand in the U.S.

    Whether for a coffee break, snack or part of dessert, we’ve been enjoying Nonni’s since they came onto the market in 2012. There are flavors for everyone, plus special holiday editions.

     

    Dipping Biscotti

    Nonnis Biscotti

    Hot Chocolate With Biscotti

    [1] Warm chocolate dipping sauce with biscotti or ladyfingers: a quick and easy snack or dessert. Photo and recipe courtesy Nescafé. [2] Dip from a tea cup or whatever you have (photo courtesy Feast And Fable Blog. [3] Instead of gingerbread men, serve hot chocolate with Nonni’s holiday biscotti. Don’t want hot chocolate? The biscotti are great with coffee, brandy and liqueurs (photo courtesy Nonni’s). [4] Pick up a few boxes and treat family and friends (photo | THE NIBBLE).

     
    Nonni means “grandmother” in certain Italian dialects (nonna is mainstream Italian). As you might guess, the founder’s nonni came from Italy (almost a century ago), bringing the family recipe with her.

    Nonni never envisioned or Salted Caramel (our personal favorite) or Turtle Pecan biscotti; but thankfully, her grandson did. There are eight flavors, plus seasonal specialties like Gingerbread and Pumpkin Spice.

    There are also five flavors (including cranberry) of Nonni’s ThinAddictives, a lower-calorie option.
     

    CHECK OUT THE HISTORY OF BISCOTTI.

      

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