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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 Holidays & Occasions

FOOD FUN: Stars & Stripes Jell-O Shots

Perfect for a July 4th celebration: red, white and blue Jell-O shots.

All you need is a mini star silicon mold, like this one from Wilton. You can probably pick one up locally, where July 4th-themed housewares or are sold (or a good baking supplies department).

Then, just follow this recipe on GoodCocktails.com.

And plan ahead for red, green and white Jello-O shots for Christmas, using lime Jell-O instead of Berry Blue.

Jell-O shots are made by substituting approximately one third to one half of the second cup of liquid added to Jell-O powder (the first cup is the boiling water that dissolves the gelatin.

Vodka or rum are popular (flavored vodkas add another flavor dimension), but the shots can be made with any alcohol. Note that the alcohol blended into the Jell-O is absorbed much more slowly than in a cocktail, resulting in abject drunkenness on the part of those who underestimate how much alcohol they have consumed.

 

star-jello-shots-goodcocktail-230sq

Mix up some fireworks with these patriotic Jell-O shots. Photo courtesy GoodCocktail.com.

 

WHO INVENTED THE JELL-O SHOT?

No, the Jell-O shot was not invented by American singer-songwriter Tom Lehrer in the 1950s. He is well known for writing about it, making the recipe as a subterfuge to consume alcohol on the alcohol-restricted Army base where he was stationed.

Jell-O shots seem like a modern concept, but Jell-O itself (flavored, sweetened gelatin) was invented in 1897. Beginning in the 1400s, gelatin (protein produced from collagen extracted from boiled animal bones and connective tissues) had been used to make desserts.

In 1862, the first modern cocktail recipe book was published in the U.S.: Jerry Thomas’ Bartenders Guide. You can still buy it (reprinted) on Amazon.com.

Thanks to some pretty crafty sleuthing on the part of JelloShotRecipe.Blogspot.com, you can see a photocopy of the first known recipe for a molded gelatin-alcohol combination.

Jerry Thomas advises: “The strength of the punch is so artfully concealed by its admixture with the gelatine, that many persons, particularly of the softer sex, have been tempted to partake so plentifully of it as to render them somewhat unfit for waltzing or quadrilling after supper.”

That sounds so much more charming than “abject drunkenness.”

  

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TIP OF THE DAY: Red, White & Blue Soft Drinks & Cocktails

red-white-blue-berries-herradura-230

Drink red, white and blue for July 4th. Photo
courtesy Herradura Tequila.

 

You can turn any clear drink into a July 4th cocktail or mocktail, as Herradura Tequila has done with its “Red, White & Blueberries” Cocktail.

Just start with a clear spirit or mixer, layer on other flavors (clear liqueurs, coconut water, etc.)

  • Club Soda
  • Mineral Water
  • Seven-Up/Lemon Lime Soda
  • Tonic Water
  • Gin, Tequila or Vodka
  •  
    RECIPE: TEQUILA RED, WHITE & BLUE

    Ingredients For 1 Drink

  • 1½ ounces silver/blanco tequila
  • 2½ ounces coconut water
  • ¼ ounce agave nectar
  • ½ ounce lime juice
  • Ice cubes
  • Optional: crushed ice
  •  
    For Garnish

  • Blueberries and raspberries
  •  

    Preparation

    1. PLACE berries and crushed ice in the glass.

    2. COMBINE drink ingredients in a cocktail shaker. Shake and strain into the glass.
     

    Find more cocktail recipes at Herradura.com.
     
      

    Comments

    RECIPE: Red, White & Blueberry Layer Cake

    As a follow-up to the lovely red, white and blueberry shortcake, here’s another stunner. The “ooh” factor comes from the number of layers: five.

    You can top it with whatever fresh fruit is in season, but for July 4th, blueberries, raspberries and strawberries are appropriately festive.

    Chef Sarah of the Los Gatos, California Sur La Table store adapted this recipe from one on Wilton.com.

    Strawberries are hidden atop the frosting of each layer, but you can customize the cake to any occasion. For example:

  • Choose different seasonal fruits.
  • Substitute chocolate chips, coconut, nuts or other inclusions for the strawberries.
  •  
    You can also vary the flavor and color of the cake layers:

  • Alternate three lemon flavored layers with two vanilla layers, or vice versa.
  • Tint the batter with a different food colors to make a rainbow cake.
  •    

    red-white-blue-layer-cake-chefsarah-SLT-230

    An impressive tower of cake, for July 4th or other festive occasion. Photo courtesy Sur La Table.

     
    For more vanilla flavor, Chef Sarah suggests substituting vanilla bean paste for all or part of the vanilla extract. (Check out the different types of vanilla products.)
     
    RECIPE: RED, WHITE & BLUEBERRY LAYER CAKE

    Ingredients For One 5-Layer Cake

    For The 5 Cake Layers

  • 2¼ cups all-purpose flour
  • 2 teaspoons baking powder
  • ½ teaspoon salt
  • ½ cup (1 stick) butter, softened
  • 1-1/3 cups granulated sugar
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • ¾ cup milk
  • 4 egg whites
  • ¼ cup blueberries
  • 2 to 3 cups sliced strawberries
  •  
    For The Garnish

  • Assorted whole blue and red berries for the top: blackberries, blueberries, raspberries, strawberries
  •  

    nielsen-bourbon-paste-230


    Vanilla bean paste provides more vanilla
    flavor than extract. In recipes where the
    moisture level is critical, it doesn’t add liquid.
    Photo by Claire Freierman | THE NIBBLE.

     

    For The Icing

  • 1½ cups (3 sticks butter), softened
  • 2½ teaspoons vanilla extract
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 6 cups (about 1½ pounds) sifted confectioner’s sugar
  • 2 to 3 tablespoons milk
  •  
    Preparation

    1. PREHEAT oven to 325°F. Prepare cake pans with vegetable spray.

    2. SIFT together in medium bowl the flour, baking powder and salt; set aside. In large bowl, beat butter and sugar with electric mixer until light and fluffy.

    3. ADD egg whites one at a time, beating well after each addition. Add vanilla and beat well. Add flour mixture to butter mixture alternately with milk; beat until just combined.

    4. DIVIDE batter evenly among the 5 cake pans, about ¾ cup per pan. Bake 17 to 20 minutes, rotating pans halfway between baking. Cakes are done when toothpick inserted in center comes out clean.

    5. COOL 5 minutes on cooling rack; remove from pans and cool completely before icing.

     

    4. MAKE icing: Beat shortening and butter in large bowl with electric mixer until light and fluffy. Beat in vanilla. Gradually add sugar, one cup at a time, beating well on medium speed. Scrape sides and bottom of bowl often. When all sugar has been mixed in, icing will appear dry. Gradually add milk; beat at medium speed until light and fluffy.

    5. ASSEMBLE: Cut the crowns off each cake layer. Place first layer on cake board or serving plate. Spread a layer of icing to edges of cake; top with sliced strawberries. Top with second cake. Repeat with remaining icing, strawberries and cake layers. To finish, ice top of cake and generously cover with whole strawberries and blueberries. Sprinkle remaining berries around the base of the cake on the serving plate.

      

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    JULY 4th: Red, White & Blue Parfaits

    parfait-red-white-blue-mccormick-230

    Patriotic parfaits. Photo courtesy McCormick.

     

    Sweeten your July 4th celebration with these creamy, layered red, white and blue parfaits. The vivid colors come from McCormick’s Neon food colors.

    RECIPE: RED, WHITE & BLUE PARFAITS

    Ingredients For 12 Parfaits

  • 3-1/2 cups heavy cream, divided
  • 1/4 cup unsweetened cocoa powder
  • 1/2 cup plus 2 tablespoons sugar, divided
  • 2 teaspoons pure vanilla extract
  • 2 teaspoons red food color
  • 1 teaspoon pure lemon extract
  • 1 box McCormick Assorted NEON Food Colors & Egg Dye
  • 2 tablespoons white chocolate chips
  •  

    Preparation

    1. BEAT 1-1/2 cups of the heavy cream, 2 tablespoons of the sugar, the cocoa powder and vanilla in large bowl with electric mixer on medium speed, until stiff peaks form. Add the red food color; stir gently with spatula until evenly tinted.

    2. BEAT the remaining 2 cups of heavy cream, the remaining 1/2 cup sugar and the lemon extract in large bowl with electric mixer on high speed, until stiff peaks form.

    3. REMOVE 1 cup of the mix; add neon blue and purple food colors. Stir gently with spatula until evenly tinted.

    4. ASSEMBLE parfaits: Alternately layer red and white mousses in dessert glasses. Top with blue mousse and white chocolate chips. Refrigerate until ready to serve.

     
      

    Comments

    JULY 4TH RECIPE: Red, White & Blue Shortcake

    This July 4th special from berry specialist Driscoll’s has a special taste twist: lime whipped cream.

    You get to clebrate the summer bounty of berries with this oversized mixed berry shortcake, while parading its patriotic colors. The whipped cream is subtly flavored with lime zest for a bright complement to the sweet berries and tender cake. Small springs of mint make for a pretty and tasty garnish.

    Prep time is 30 minutes, cook time is 35 minutes.

    RECIPE: RED, WHITE & BLUEBERRY SHORTCAKE

    Ingredients For 8 Servings

    For The Cake

  • 1-1/2 cups all-purpose flour
  • 1-1/2 teaspoons baking powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1/2 cup buttermilk
  • 1 stick unsalted butter
  • 3/4 cup granulated sugar
  • 2 large eggs
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  •    

    red-white-blue-berry-shortcake-driscolls-230

    A beautiful berry shortcake with a flavor twist. Photo courtesy Driscoll’s.

     

    For The Filling

  • 1 1/2 cups heavy cream
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 1/4 cup confectioner’s sugar
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons grated lime zest
  • 1 package (6 ounces or 1-1/3 cups) blackberries
  • 1 package (6 ounces or 1-1/3 cups each) raspberries
  • 1 package (6 ounces or 1-1/4 cups) blueberries
  • Fresh mint for garnish
  •  

    mixed-berries-greengiantfresh.com-230

    Summer’s berry bounty. Photo courtesy
    Green Giant Fresh.

     

    Preparation

    1. PREHEAT oven to 350°F. Lightly grease bottom and side of 8-inch round cake pan. Line bottoms of each pan with a round of parchment paper. Grease paper and dust each pan with flour, tapping out excess. Set aside.

    2. SIFT together flour, baking powder, baking soda, and salt into a large bowl. Set aside.

    3. BEAT butter and sugar in the bowl of an electric mixer fitted with the paddle attachment 3 minutes or until light and fluffy. Add eggs, one at a time, with mixer on low speed, scraping down sides of bowl as necessary. Add vanilla. Alternately add flour mixture and buttermilk in several additions, starting and ending with flour mixture, mixing just until combined.

    4. SPREAD batter into cake pans and bake 35 minutes or until golden and cake tester inserted into center of cakes comes out clean. Cool on wire rack 10 minutes. Invert to cool completely. Once cool, using a serrated knife, cut cake crosswise in half.

     
    5. MAKE the whipped cream: Combine heavy cream and vanilla extract in a mixing bowl and beat with an electric mixer on high until soft peaks form. Gradually add sugar and lime zest while beating just until stiff peaks form. Keep refrigerated until ready to use.

    6. COMBINE blackberries, blueberries and raspberries in a large bowl. Place bottom half of cake on serving plate or cake stand. Spread half whipped cream mixture over cake. Top with sprinkling of half mixed berries. Spread small amount of whipped cream on cut side of top half of cake and place atop berries pressing gently into place. Top cake with remaining whipped cream, mixed berries and small mint sprigs for garnish.
     
    Find more delicious recipes at Driscolls.com.

      

    Comments

    RECIPE: Chocolate Pudding With Strawberry Rose

    chocolate-pudding-strawberry-rose-driscolls-230

    It’s really easy to make this beautiful rose
    garnish. Photo courtesy Driscoll’s.

     

    Here’s another special chocolate pudding recipe for National Chocolate Pudding Day, June 26th.

    Created by Driscoll’s, growers of premium berries, the elegant strawberry roses are actually very easy to make. Keep this recipe on file for anniversaries, Mother’s Day, Valentine’s Day and other special occasions.

    There‘s no need to make instant pudding when it’s easy to make from-scratch chocolate pudding, which tastes so much better. All you gain from instant is pre-measured dry ingredients: the cornstarch, sugar, cocoa, salt, plus powdered vanilla instead of liquid vanilla extract.

    RECIPE: HOMEMADE CHOCOLATE PUDDING
    WITH A ROSE GARNISH

    Ingredients

    For The Pudding

  • 4 ounces bittersweet chocolate, melted
  • 2 cups whole milk
  • 3 tablespoons cornstarch
  • 1/2 cup sugar
  • 2 tablespoons unsweetened cocoa powder
  • Pinch salt
  • 2 teaspoons vanilla extract
  •  
    For The Rose Garnish

  • 1 package fresh strawberries (16 ounces)
  • 8 fresh mint leaves
  •  
    Preparation

    1. MAKE the pudding. Melt the chocolate. Whisk together 1/2 cup milk and cornstarch.

    2. BRING the remaining 1-1/2 cups milk, sugar, cocoa and salt just to a simmer over medium heat. Stir the cornstarch mixture, then add to the milk mixture in pan and bring to a boil, whisking constantly. Cook 1 minute.

    3. REMOVE from the heat and stir in melted chocolate and vanilla. Spoon into glasses. Cover surface directly with plastic wrap to prevent skin from forming. Chill.

    4. MAKE the roses. Hull 16 strawberries by removing the green calyx. Take 4 strawberries and cut the tops off. These strawberries will be used as the center for the roses. Slice the remaining strawberries into eighths. These sections will become the rose petals.

    5. ARRANGE the sliced strawberries around the pudding, making sure the ends of the slices are facing out and extend slightly beyond the rim of the glass. After the first circle of strawberries is placed, begin making a second circle of strawberries but position slightly more forward toward the center of the glass. Continue with a third layer. Once finished, add the cut strawberry to the center and garnish with mint leaves. Serve immediately.

     
      

    Comments

    RECIPE: Firecracker Macaroni & Cheese

    It’s not red, white and blue, but it has extra
    heat for a “firecracker” punch. Photo
    courtesy Dietz & Watson.

      Heat things up on July 4th with this special mac and cheese from Dietz & Watson, which used its peppadew and Cheddar with Jalapeño & Habañero products.

    RECIPE: FIRECRACKER MACARONI & CHEESE

    Ingredients For 4 to 6 Servings

  • 2 pounds 100% semolina ziti
  • 3 tablespoons unsalted butter
  • 3 tablespoons all-purpose flour
  • 1-1/2 cups milk
  • Salt
  • Freshly ground white or black pepper*
  • 1/8 teaspoon freshly grated nutmeg
  • 1/8 teaspoon dried thyme
  • 3/4 pound peppadew*, grated or finely chopped
  • 1/4 pound Cheddar with Jalapeño & Habañero, grated or finely chopped
  • 1/2 cup grated Parmesan cheese
  • Hungarian paprika, for garnish
  •  
    *You can subsitute pimiento (roasted red peppers) for the peppadew, but the latter is tangier. You can use black pepper instead of white pepper; the difference is that black flecks will show in the recipe. White pepper was created (by removing the spicy black skin of peppercorns) for aesthetic reasons, that are no longer so important in current times. Black pepper delivers more heat.

     

    Preparation

    1. PREHEAT the oven to 375°F, and butter a 2-quart ovenproof casserole dish.

    2. BRING a large saucepan of lightly salted water to a boil and toss in the ziti. Boil until just slightly firm (al dente), drain in a colander (do not rinse) and set aside momentarily.

    3. MELT the butter in a large saucepan over medium heat, stir in the flour to form a smooth paste (roux), and cook for about 1 minute. Pour in the milk, whisking constantly, and bring to a boil. Remove from the heat, season with salt and white pepper, and add the nutmeg and thyme. Stir in the cheeses a bit at a time until incorporated and smooth.

    4. ADD the ziti to the cheese sauce, stirring gently to coat, and pour into the prepared casserole dish. Sprinkle the top evenly with Parmesan cheese and bake for 10 minutes.

    5. REMOVE the casserole from the oven and place under the broiler until bubbly and golden brown. Watch carefully to prevent the top from burning. Sprinkle with paprika, and serve hot.

     
      

    Comments

    JULY 4th FOOD: Terra Chips Stripes & Blues

    Yes, there’s a perfect potato chip for July 4th Weekend: Terra Chips Stripes & Blues.

    These delectable chips are a blend of striped beets (chiogga beets), sweet potatoes (with some beet juice concentrate for color) and blue potatoes, which create the patriotic red, white and blue mix. They’re seasoned with a pinch of sea salt.

    If you can’t find them locally, you can buy them online. A carton of 12 bags will go quickly, we promise.

    The line is certified kosher by KOF-K.

    And given the choice between a bottle of wine and a few bags of Terra’s Stripes & Blues, we’re guessing that a majority of people will go for the chips.

    JULY 4TH BEER FOR THE CHIPS

    Next task: Find an artisan beer to match. Here are some ideas for starters:

  • Brew Free or Die IPA, 21st Amendment Brewing
  • Enjoy by 07.04.14, Stone Brewing Company
  • Liberty Ale, Anchor Brewing
  • Revolution XPA, Eagle Rock Brewery
  • Union Jack, Firestone Walker Brewing Company
  •  

    Read the full article.

     

    terra-stripes-and-blues-chips-terraFB-230

    The most patriotic potato chips. Photo courtesy Terra Chips.

     

      

    Comments

    JULY 4th: Bacon Flag Pizza

    Blogger Bev Cooks of Kansas City designed this celebratory snack for Independence Day. It’s so nifty, there’s temptation to find more occasions to eat this flag!

    RECIPE: BACON FLAG PIZZA

    Ingredients

  • 1 cup shredded mozzarella cheese
  • 1/2 cup jarred Alfredo sauce (or make your own with this recipe)
  • 1 tube (11 ounces) Pillsbury thin crust pizza dough
  • 1 pinch coarse salt
  • 4 small purple potatoes, sliced thinly with a mandoline
  • 2 teaspoons extra virgin olive oil
  • 7 slices bacon
  •    

    You’re a grand old pizza! Photo courtesy BevCooks.com.

     

     

    Purple potatoes

    Also use purple potatoes in a red, white and blue potato salad. Photo courtesy BevCooks.com.

     

    Prepration

    1. ARRANGE the raw bacon slices on a cooling rack. Place the rack on a rimmed baking sheet and then into a cold oven.

    2. PREHEAT the oven to 400°F. Set the timer for 20 minutes. When the timer rings, remove the bacon from the oven. Leave the oven on. In the meantime…

    3. HEAT the oil in a medium skillet. Add the sliced potatoes and sauté until they brown and become slightly crispy, about 7 minutes. Add a pinch of salt.

    4. DRAIN the bacon fat from the baking sheet and flip it over. Lightly grease the underside. Roll the dough onto the sheet. Prebake for 6 minutes.

    5. SPOON the Alfredo sauce over the crust. Arrange the potatoes in the upper left hand corner of the pizza. You can overlap them or lay them side by side. Arrange the bacon to the right and under the potatoes, creating stripes.

    6. SPRINKLE the cheese between the bacon stripes. If you want, you can create little cheese stars on the potatoes. Bake pizza an additional 6 to 10 minutes, or until the cheese is melted, browned and bubbly.
     
    MORE

    Check out this crudités American flag.

     

    See the step-by step photos on Tablespoon.com.

    Check out more of Bev’s wonderful recipes at BevCooks.com.

      

    Comments

    JULY 4TH: Red, White & Blue Tartlets

    red-white-blue-tartlet-shukran.deliverys-chandon-230

    Sophisticated dessert bites for Independence
    Day. Photo courtesy Shukran Deliver | FB.

     

    It’s easy to make tartlets (individual portions) or mini tarts (bite size) for dessert. The minis are a festive idea to cap an evening of July 4th celebrating.

    You can make preparation even easier by purchasing the shells (we use these from Clearbook Farms) and jars of lemon curd or raspberry curd. Otherwise, make the pastry cream recipe below.

    You can make this recipe with only blueberries and raspberries, or use blackberries and strawberries as well.

    RECIPE: RED, WHITE & BLUE TARTLETS OR MINI TARTS

    Ingredients

  • Tartlet or mini-tart shells
  • Red and blue berries: blackberries, blueberries, raspberries, strawberries
  • Custard, lemon curd or pastry cream
  • Optional garnish: confectioner’s sugar
  •  
    Preparation

    1. CLEAN berries and pat dry. If using blackberries or strawberries, cut them into pieces that will fit onto the small mini tart surface.

    2. FILL shells with pastry cream or other filling. Top with berries and optional confectioner’s sugar.
     
    RECIPE: PASTRY CREAM (CRÈME PÂTISSIÈRE)

    Pastry cream can be made ahead and refrigerated, wrapped well with plastic wrap on surface, up to three days. Extra cream can be used as a topping for fruit or other desserts.

    Ingredients For 3 Cups

  • 2-1/4 cups whole milk
  • 6 large egg yolks
  • 2/3 cup sugar
  • 1/3 cup cornstarch
  • 1 vanilla bean, split lengthwise
  •  
    Preparation

    1. WHISK together 1/2 cup milk, egg yolks, 1/3 cup sugar, and cornstarch in a medium bowl.

    2. ADD the remaining 1-3/4 cups milk to a medium saucepan. Scrape in the seeds from vanilla bean; then add the pod. Sprinkle in the remaining 1/3 cup sugar over. Place the pan over moderate heat and bring to a simmer without stirring. When the mixture boils…

    3. WHISK it and remove from heat as you gradually whisk it into the egg yolk mixture. Return the pan to moderate heat and cook, whisking constantly, until the pastry cream simmers and thickens, about 1 minute.

    4. REMOVE from the heat, discard the vanilla pod and whisk the cream until smooth. Transfer to a bowl and press plastic wrap directly onto the surface. Chill until cold, about 4 hours.

     
      

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