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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 New Year’s Eve

VIDEO: How To Open A Bottle Of Champagne

 

If you don’t know how to open a bottle of Champagne, it can seem daunting. But it’s really quite simple:

  • Remove the foil and the metal cage that cover the cork.
  • Hold the cork with one hand. With your other hand, gently turn the bottle. You’ll hear a gentle pop. And that’s it!
  •  
    Just watch this video. You’ll also see the correct way to pour Champagne.

    Do you know the different types of Champagne?

       

       

    Comments

    TIP OF THE DAY: Make A Holiday Punch

    A punch bowl is not only a special attraction at holiday festivities; it saves the hosts the effort of pouring 20 separate drinks. Guests can help themselves!

    With the flavors of Campari (a red apéritif made from fruits and herbs) and pink grapefruit, this winter recipe will please from Thanksgiving until spring.

    The recipe was developed as part of a partnership between Belvedere (RED) vodka and (RED), the fundraising campaign that raises money for the Global Fund, the world’s leading financer of programs to fight HIV/AIDS in Africa.

    There’s a special edition holiday bottle design of Belvedere (RED) vodka on retailers’ shelves. Fifty percent of profits from its sale will be contributed to the Global Fund.

    ANTIQUE PUNCH, A VODKA HOLIDAY PUNCH

    Ingredients

  • 7 ounces vodka
  • 3 ounces Campari
  • 3 ounces vermouth
  • 5.5 ounces pink grapefruit juice
  • 16 ounces soda water
  •  

    Punch is easy to make, and delights guests. Photo courtesy Belvedere.

  • Garnish: slices of pink grapefruit and orange (get a blood orange if you can), strawberries
  •  
    Preparation
    1. Combine first five ingredients in a punch bowl.
    2. Top with ice, mix and top with the garnishes. (We added the strawberries with leaves on, not part of the original recipe, for a red-and-green garnish accent).
    3. Serve.

    GOT PUNCH (BOWL)?

    There are punch recipes for every season. Treat yourself to an affordable punch bowl and make punch a part of your regular entertaining menu.

    Two glass punch bowls we like are:

  • An elegant, daisy-etched glass punch bowl.
  • A simple but notable modern design.
  •  
    While acrylic punch bowls are inexpensive, we suggest avoiding them: They scratch easily.

      

    Comments

    COCKTAIL RECIPE: Eggnog White Russian

    The White Russian, a combination of coffee liqueur, vodka and heavy cream, has been popular since it appeared in 1949. Leave out the cream and you’ve got a coffee-colored Black Russian. The recipes* are not Russian in origin, but were named in the spirit of the primary ingredient, vodka.

    *For a Black Russian, mix 1 ounce of coffee liqueur and 1.5 ounces vodka, and serve on the rocks. For a White Russian, add one ounce heavy cream.

    As with almost every cocktail, there are numerous riffs on the original, including:

  • The Blind Russian, made with Baileys Irish Cream instead of heavy cream;
  • A White Mexican, made with horchata instead of cream;
  • A White Cuban, made with rum instead of vodka;
  • A White Indian, made with gin instead of vodka.
     
    According to Wikipedia, there’s even an Anna Kournikova, a lowfat White Russian made with nonfat milk.

  •  

    Celebrate the holidays with an Eggnog
    White Russian. Photo courtesy Warwick Hotel.

    But for Christmas and New Year’s Eve, try an Eggnog White Russian, which we discovered at Randolph’s† Bar & Lounge in the Warwick Hotel, New York City.

    †The historic hotel, in midtown near Central Park, Fifth Avenue shopping, Rockefeller Center and the Theatre District, was built by William Randolph Hearst.

    EGGNOG WHITE RUSSIAN RECIPE

    Ingredients Per Cocktail

  • 1 ounce coffee liqueur (Illy, Kahlúa, Starbucks, Tia Maria or whatever you have)
  • 1.5 ounces vodka
  • 2 ounces eggnog
  • Ice
  • Optional garnish: a grind of fresh nutmeg
  •  
    Preparation
    1. Pour coffee liqueur, vodka and eggnog into a shaker filled with ice.
    2. Shake and strain into a rocks glass.
    3. Top with a grind of fresh nutmeg. (Forget those maraschino cherries in the photo—and the candy cane, too.)

    Some people like to float the cream/eggnog on top of the spirits to make a more arty White Russian. We prefer ours shaken, not layered or stirred.

      

    Comments

    RECIPE: Savory Cheesecake

    A no-bake savory basil cheesecake. Photo
    courtesy WisDairy.com.

     

    Still looking for a smashing dish for New Year’s Eve? You’ve got plenty of time to make an irresistible savory cheesecake.

    What’s a savory cheesecake?

    Using a base of cream cheese—just like dessert cheesecake—it’s a nonsweet cheesecake that combines savory ingredients: herbs, vegetables, seafood and/or other cheeses. It creates a spread for party bread and crackers; or a first course or cheese course consisting of a slice of cheesecake eaten with a fork. (We serve ours on a plate with a mesclun salad and vinaigrette.)

    Try these delicious recipes, courtesy of the Wisconsin Milk Marketing Board, representing the dairy farmers who create some of the world’s best cheeses. Just take a look at the photos: You’ll want to make them all!

  • Blue Cheese Cheesecake Recipe
  • Cool ’n Creamy Tuna Cheesecake Recipe
  • Grand Cru Gruyère & Lobster Cheesecake Recipe
  • No Bake Savory Basil Cheesecake Recipe
  • Provolone & Corn Cheesecake Recipe
  • Find more appetizer recipes in our Hors D’Oeuvre & Appetizers Section.

    Comments

    TIP OF THE DAY: Healthy Drinking On New Year’s Eve

    Cheryl Forberg, James Beard Award-winning chef and nutritionist on NBC’s The Biggest Loser, has created a “Do List” for your New Year’s celebration.

    The top line: Wine is your friend, a wine spritzer is an even better friend. And some popular drinks are nobody’s friend because they’re packed with loads of calories and saturated fat.

  • One cup of eggnog has 343 calories and a whopping 19 grams of fat (11 g saturated fat). Even a Starbucks non-alcoholic grande eggnog latte made with nonfat milk has 450 calories and 18 grams of fat (11 g saturated).
  • A Long Island Iced Tea has more than 500 calories.
  • A White Russian has 425 calories.
  • So, how do you party on without going overboard?

     

    Flutes of Champagne are your best caloric
    bet on New Year’s Eve. Flutes from Amazon.

    1. Do drink conservatively. Limit yourself to one or two drinks interspersed with water and healthy nibbles over a period of time.

    2. Do drink a big glass or two of water prior to drinking anything alcoholic. A recent study published in the journal Obesity compared weight loss for two groups of dieters; the group that consumed two cups of water prior to meals dropped more pounds. Water not only makes you feel more full; it provides your body with the hydration that alcohol depletes.

    3. Do choose wine instead of hard liquor cocktails. Wine has calories, but no fat; and it contains health-boosting antioxidants. A 4-ounce flute of Champagne has 78 calories, while a 5-ounce glass of red wine has 127 calories and contains the powerful antioxidant resveratrol. Just make sure you’re drinking a single four-ounce serving; some oversize wine glasses can hold 12 ounces or more (that’s 300 calories).

    4. Do try a white wine spritzer (wine mixed with sparkling water), the lowest-calorie alcoholic beverage. You’ll cut the calories in half and still get some of beneficial antioxidants.

    5. Do opt for sparkling water or club soda with a slice of lemon or lime if you need to have a drink in hand at the cocktail party. No one will know it’s not a gin and tonic! And it’s zero calories.

    6. Do skip creamy drinks like eggnog, Piña Colada and Irish cream liqueurs. They are loaded with calories and fat.

    7. Do allow yourself some fun indulgences. Just make sure you balance the excess calories with an additional walk or extra time at the gym.

    Comments (2)

    Cooking Video: Low Calorie Cocktails

     

    You can still enjoy a few drinks on Christmas and New Year’s Eve, without breaking the calorie bank.

    Registered Dietician Elizabeth Somer provides tips that help you to “drink this, not that,” to borrow a phrase from the popular book by David Zinczenko and Matt Goulding.

    In fact, the book series that includes Drink This, Not That, Eat This, Not That and Cook This, Not That will help jump-start your New Year’s diet.

    But back to our weekly cooking video: Spend a few minutes with it and you’ll be mindful of which drinks are highest in calories and which alternatives are just as satisfying. Or as we see it, trade off drink calories for a piece of pecan pie or cheesecake.

  • Enjoy these low-carb cocktail recipes at your Christmas dinner, New Year’s party and throughout 2011.
  • Find more food and drink videos in our Cooking Videos Section.
  • Comments

    TRENDS: Craft Beer

    Try a spicy beer with your fruitcake.
    Photo courtesy CraftBeer.com.

     

    Here’s an idea for Christmas dinner or New Year’s Eve: Treat guests to a craft beer tasting.

    As we relayed last week, a Wakefield Research survey shows that more than 60% of men would prefer to toast the New Year with beer rather than Champagne. By implication, they wouldn’t mind having that beer at Christmas as well.

    And by further implication, they wouldn’t mind tasting some exciting craft beers instead of the same old, same old.

    So go to your closest depot of craft beer and get six or so different brews for a tasting. If you don’t know where to begin, the sales associate can help you. One place to start is with the same style of beer (pilsner, dark ale) from six different microbreweries. Or, purchase six different styles of beer from the same brewery.

    Serve the beers in order from lightest to darkest style, giving everyone a two-ounce pour. This nets out to one bottle of beer consumed per person. One 12-ounce bottle yields 6 pours. Discuss the aromas and flavors in each beer—they’re complex and much more flavorful and aromatic than mass-marketed megabrands.

    Craft beer continues to be hot. In 2010, craft breweries nationwide were unable to keep up with demand from enthusiastic beer lovers.

    While many of the top-selling beer brands from the large breweries saw a decline in sales in 2010, 200 new craft breweries opened and almost 500 more are reported to be in the planning stages.

    Here are highlights from the ever-changing beerscape, according to the Brewers Association, which represents America’s small and independent craft brewers.

  • Cans vs. Bottles: Full-flavored craft beers in cans instead of bottles continued to gain traction across the country.
  • “Sour is the New Hoppy”: Barrel-aging, which produces interesting tart flavors, has become very popular—even among America’s hopheads who like the bitter flavors.
  • Beer and Food: Craft beer and food pairings continue to be prevalent at the dinner table. From coast to coast, restaurants are offering beer pairings with food. See our beer pairing dinner menu (a great idea for New Year’s Eve) and find many pairing ideas at CraftBeer.com.
  • Cooking With Beer: Craft beer has become a staple ingredient in many dishes, from brines to sauces. Get lots of ideas at BeerCook.com.
  • Nano Breweries: These tiny breweries, with a case output so small that they can’t be called microbreweries, are hot and growing.
  • Brewpubs: The estimated 1,000 brewpubs in the country represents well over half of U.S. breweries. Looks like we want good grub with our craft beer.
  • Support your local brewery. Meet friends at your nearest brewpub for some holiday cheer.

    Understand the types of beer in our Beer Glossary.

    Comments

    GIFT OF THE DAY: Sam Adams Infinium Sparkling Ale

    Infinium is a most glam beer gift. Photo
    courtesy Boston Brewing Company.

     

    A Wakefield Research survey shows that more than 60% of men would prefer to toast the New Year with beer rather than Champagne. Enter Sam Adams’ new Infinium ale.

    The handsome, engraved bottle looks like Champagne; but it’s a special sparkling ale from Boston Brewing Company, makers of Sam Adams beers. It’s been created in partnership with Weihenstephan Brewery of Bavaria, Germany, the oldest surviving brewery in the world (since 760 C.E.).

    And it’s made with the thousand-year-old brewing technique called Reinheitsgebot (“The German Beer Purity Law”), which requires that beer be made with only malt, hops, water and yeast.

    Pop the cork and you’ll find a deep golden, full-bodied ale. Fruity on the nose, Infinium is mellow, round and malty on the palate. The ale has fine bubbles, which have led to the company calling Infinium a “Champagne-like beer.”

    A special treat for beer lovers, Infinium contains 10.3% alcohol by volume, twice the amount of an average beer. A 750 ml bottle has a Manufacturers Suggested Retail Price of $19.99.

    Infinium is available at retailers nationwide. You’ll thrill the beer drinkers at your party by pouring it to toast Christmas and the New Year.

  • See more of our favorite liquor gifts for Holiday 2010.
  • See all of our favorite holiday gifts.
  • Brush up on the different types of beer (there are 30 different styles!) in our Beer Glossary.
  • Comments

    TIP OF THE DAY: A Better Bloody Mary

    BLOODY MARY COCKTAIL IN GLASS

    Start the new year with a new Bloody
    Mary recipe. Photo © S. Mario | Fotolia.

     

    January 1 is Bloody Mary Day. Sure, you can reach for your favorite mixer and a bottle of vodka. But consider if there’s a better Bloody Mary waiting for you.

    The world is full of them:

  • Bloody Mary variations without tomato juice: Bloody Bull, Bloody Eight Ball, Bloody Mariner and even the Bloody LeRoy, which replaces the tomato juice with barbecue juice (in case you have some barbecue in the fridge to go with it).
  • Latin-inspired Bloody Marys: Bloody Maria and Chipotle Maria
  • International Bloody Marys that replace vodka with the local favorite: Danish Mary, Highland Mary, Russian Mary and more.
  • As cocktails go, the Bloody Mary, with vodka, tomato juice, citrus juice, seasonings, and a celery stick, is as healthy as it gets. If your New Year’s Resolutions include dieting, switch that sugar-laden Appletini, Cosmo, Mojito or Margarita for the Mary of your choice (well, maybe not the Bloody LeRoy).

  • Get all of the Bloody Mary recipes above.
  • Comments

    PRODUCT: Champagne For New Year’s Eve

    Krug-bucket

    Krug Champagne, our favorite. We toast
    every new year with it.

     

    Haven’t picked a celebration bubbly yet?

    Here are our Champagne and sparkling wine recommendations from a few years ago. We’re tasting them all tonight to update the article.

  • Krug is still our favorite (but pricey).
  • In addition to tête de cuvee bottle in the article, we also love the vintage or nonvintage Pol Roger and Bollinger Champagnes, which have a higher concentration of Pinot Noir and are more robust.
  • If you like your bubbly on the more delicate side, Taittinger, a blanc de blanc (only Chardonnay grapes, instead of a combination of Chardonnay and Pinot Noir), is a perennial favorite, too.
  • For great taste on a budget, we’re fans of [yellow tail] sparkling wine, called [yellow tail] Bubbles, and the [yellow tail] Bubbles Rosé, a beautiful rose color as well.
  • HAPPY NEW YEAR from all of us at THE NIBBLE. We’ll be nibbling hard for you in 2010.

    Comments

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