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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

JULY 4th Recipe: Red, White & Blueberry Muffins

You don’t have to wait until July 4th to start the day with these tasty red, white and blue muffins. You can also serve them à la mode with frozen yogurt, for dessert and snacks.

In an ideal world, you’d make your favorite muffin batter and add fresh blueberries and raspberries. But using a muffin mix, prep time is just 15 minutes, with another 30 minutes to bake, cool and glaze the muffins.

RECIPE: RED, WHITE & BLUEBERRY MUFFINS

Ingredients For 12 Muffins

  • 1 box Betty Crocker Wild Blueberry Muffin Mix
  • 3/4 cup milk
  • 1/4 cup vegetable oil
  • 2 eggs
  • 3/4 cup dried cherries or cranberries
  • 1/3 cup powdered sugar
  • 1 to 1-1/2 teaspoons milk
  • 1/8 teaspoon orange or vanilla extract
  •    

    Patriotic muffins in red, white and blue. Photo courtesy Betty Crocker.

  • Optional: 1/2 cup of your favorite chopped nuts (we like pecans)
  •  

    betty-crocker-blueberry-muffin-mix-230

    Save time with a mix. Photo courtesy Betty Crocker.

     

    Preparation

    1. HEAT oven to 425°F. Place paper baking cup in each of 12 regular-size muffin cups, or grease bottoms (only) of muffin cups if not using liners.

    2. DRAIN blueberries from the muffin mix; rinse and set aside. In medium bowl, stir muffin mix, milk, oil, eggs and cherries/cranberries just until blended. Gently stir in blueberries.

    3. DIVIDE batter among muffin cups; each should be about three-fourths full.

    4. BAKE 17 to 22 minutes or until golden brown and tops spring back when lightly touched. Cool 3 to 4 minutes; remove from pan. Stir together powdered sugar, milk and orange extract until thin enough to drizzle. Drizzle glaze over muffins.

     

      

    Comments

    JULY 4th: Spicy Hot Lemonade Recipe

    red-hot-lemonade-fresno-melissas-230

    Jalapeño lemonade becomes red, white and
    blue with the addition of some blueberries.
    Photo courtesy Melissas.com.

     

    It’s easy to make a special July 4th drink. Just “heat up” a pitcher of cold lemonade with bright red jalapeño slices. Toss in a few blueberries and you’ve got a red, white and blue theme.

    For less heat, remove the seeds and the white connective tissue.

    Don’t want any heat? Replace the jalapeño with bright red cherries.

    Start with a can of frozen lemonade, or make your own with fresh lemons (there’s a link to the recipe below).

  • For a different type of heat, substitute slices of fresh ginger for the jalapeño.
  • For a zero-calorie drink, use non-caloric sweetener.
  • For a low-glycemic drink, use agave nectar instead of sugar.
  • A shot of vodka or gin turns lemonade into a splendid cocktail.
  • You can also use this recipe to make fresh limeade, orangeade or grapefruitade.
  • After July 4th, varying the garnishes makes the recipe “new” each time.
  •  
    MORE LEMONADE IDEAS

    Try this homemade lemonade recipe. It’s so much better than store-bought.

    Or, take advantage of peach season to make this yummy peach lemonade recipe.

     
      

    Comments

    RECIPE: Crudité Flag, A July 4th Snack

    We launch this year’s series of red, white and blue July 4th foods with a crudité flag.

  • The red and white flag stripes are cauliflower florets, red cherry tomatoes and red bell pepper strips. (Remove the stems from the tomatoes—the green color doesn’t belong on the flag.)
  • The blue field with white stars is represented by blue tortilla chips.
  • The white stars are represented by the dip, served on the side.
  •  
    The flag was made by Heluva Good, which served the flag with its own sour cream-based dips.

    But we think a blue cheese dip does the best job of Here’s a recipe.

     

    crudite-flag-heluvagood-230

    Old Glory as chips and dip. Photo courtesy HeluvaGood.com.

     

    Variations: You can use other “white” vegetables, including jicama or peeled cucumber and/or summer squash.
     
    MORE

    Check out this bacon pizza American flag.

      

    Comments

    RECIPE: Blueberry Cake Or Red, White & Blue Cake

    blueberry-layer-cake-fanny-ohsweetsday-colorfulharvestFB-230

    To create a July 4th cake, add a rectangle of
    raspberries to the upper left corner of the
    cake. Photo courtesy OhSweetDay.com.

     

    We discovered this recipe, Lemon Blueberry and White Chocolate Cream Cake, on the Colorful Harvest website. It was contributed by Fanny at OhSweetDay.com.

    Turn it into a July 4th cake by adding raspberries or strawberries to the filling layers, top, or both.

    RECIPE: JULY 4th CAKE, A.K.A. LEMON BLUEBERRY & WHITE CHOCOLATE CREAM CAKE

    Ingredients For One 8-Inch 4 Layer Cake Or
    Two Loaf Cakes)

    For The Lemon Cake

  • 1-1/4 cups cake flour
  • 1/2 teaspoon baking powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1/2 cup sour cream, room temperature
  • 1 tablespoon grated lemon zest
  • 1/4 cup lemon juice
  • 1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 1/2 cup unsalted butter, room temperature
  • 1 cup granulated sugar
  • 2 large eggs, room temperature
  •  

    For The Blueberry Sauce

  • 2 tablespoons granulated sugar
  • 1 teaspoon cornstarch
  • 1-1/2 cups fresh blueberries
  • 1/4 cup water
  •  
    Plus

  • 2 cups heavy cream
  • 1/4 cup powdered sugar
  • 2 cups fresh blueberries
  • 2 cups grated white chocolate
  •  

    Preparation

    1. PREHEAT oven to 350°F. Grease and flour two 8″ x 8″ square cake pans.

    2. SIFT together the flour, baking powder, baking soda and salt in a large bowl. In another bowl, whisk sour cream, lemon zest, juice and vanilla.

    3. BEAT butter and sugar together on medium speed in a bowl of a standing mixer until light and fluffy. Beat in eggs, one at a time, until blended.

    4. REDUCE the speed to low and beat in 1/3 of the flour mixture, followed by half of the sour cream mixture. Repeat with another 1/3 of the flour mixture and the remaining sour cream mixture. Beat in the remaining flour mixture until just incorporated.

    5. DIVIDE batter evenly among prepared cake pans. Transfer pans to oven and bake for 20 to 25 minutes or until wooden pick inserted in cake comes out clean. Cool in pan on wire rack for about 10 minutes before inverting on rack. Let cool completely.

     

    mixed-berries-greengiantfresh.com-230

    Fresh summer berries. Photo courtesy GreenGiantFresh.com.

     

    6. PREPARE blueberry sauce: Mix all ingredients in a small bowl and bring to a boil. Reduce heat and simmer until mixture begins to thicken, about 2 minutes. Remove from heat. Let cool completely.

    7. BEAT heavy cream with powdered sugar until the mixture holds stiff peaks. Place into the fridge to chill.

    8. ASSEMBLE: Slice cakes into half horizontally, so you have 4 layers of cake. Then cut vertically to have 8 layers of rectangular cakes, if you want to make two cakes. Place one cake layer on the serving late and spread with blueberry sauce. Gently spread the whipped cream on top, and scatter with blueberries. Top with another cake layer and repeat the same process until you place the 4th cake layer.

    9. FROST the top and sides of the cake with the remaining whipped cream. Press white chocolate around the sides of cake and place blueberries on top. Refrigerate until ready to serve. Before serving, sprinkle powdered sugar on top.

      

    Comments

    RECIPE: Deconstructed Enchilada Salad

    Deconstructed-Enchilada-Salad_davidvenableQVC-230r

    Deconstruct enchiladas into an enchilada
    salad. Photo courtesy QVC.

     

    We always enjoy a taco salad, but had never set eyes on an enchilada salad until we received this recipe from QVC’s chef, David Venable.

    Instead of wrapping enchilada fillings in a tortilla, the fillings become part of a crunchy salad, and the tortillas are toasted and cut into crispy strips.

    David sent this recipe for Cinco de Mayo, but it’s also a good choice for a light, flavorful warm weather lunch or light dinner.

    Notes David, “With all of the flavor but half of the prep of regular enchiladas, this is a great recipe to whip up for a weeknight celebration.”

    RECIPE: DECONSTRUCTED ENCHILADA SALAD

    Ingredients

    For The Dressing

  • 1/2 cup sour cream
  • 1/2 cup mayonnaise
  • 2/3 cup enchilada sauce
  • 1 cup fresh cilantro leaves
  • 6 scallions, trimmed and cut in thirds
  • 2 teaspoons hot sauce
  • 2 teaspoons chili powder
  • 6 tablespoons lime juice
  • 1 teaspoon kosher salt or coarse sea salt
  • 1 teaspoon garlic powder
  •  

    For The Salad

  • 3 corn tortillas*
  • 1/2 cup vegetable oil (we used olive oil)
  • 2 romaine hearts, chopped
  • 2 vine-ripened tomatoes, diced
  • 1/2 cup red onion, chopped
  • 1 cup fresh corn kernels (or frozen corn, defrosted)
  • 1/2 cup black olives, sliced
  • 2 rotisserie chicken breasts, bones/skin removed and shredded
  • 1/2 cup roasted peppers, chopped
  • 1/2 cup queso fresco, crumbled
  • 1/4 cup scallions, sliced
  •  
    *You can substitute ready-made tortilla chips. They don’t provide the same flavor and texture as frying your own, but they’re delicious in a different way.

     

    tortilla-strips-annahinmancrunchycreamysweet-230

    Homemade tortilla chips. Photo courtesy Anna Hinman | CrunchyCreamySweet.com.

     

    Preparation

    1. MAKE the dressing: Add all the ingredients to a food processor and process until smooth.

    2. TOAST the tortillas: Pour the oil into a 10″ skillet and set the heat to medium. Heat for 5 minutes, add one tortilla, and fry for about 30 seconds, or until crispy. Flip and fry the other side until crispy. Remove the tortilla from the oil and drain it on a paper towel. Prepare the remaining tortillas as directed and when cool, roughly chop into strips.

    3. ASSEMBLE the salad: Place half of the romaine lettuce in a clear glass salad bowl and layer the ingredients in this order: tomatoes, red onion, the remaining romaine, corn, olives, chicken, red peppers, chopped tortillas, queso fresco, and scallions. Serve with the dressing.

     
    Find more of David Venable’s recipes at QVC.com.

      

    Comments

    FATHER’S DAY: Maggie Louise Salted Caramel Heraldic Shields

    If Dad is the king on Father’s Day, how about a box of these chocolate heraldic shields, filled with salted caramel?

    Any celebrant who appreciates fine chocolate will roar when he receives a box of such luscious chocolates, embossed with kingly lions.

    The heraldic shields are crafted in extra dark chocolate by El Rey and filled with vanilla bean cream caramel and sea salt. As a finishing touch, the chocolate is brushed with edible gold.

    We’re fans of Maggie Louise, who combines design flare with terrific taste and beautiful packaging.

    A 6-piece gift box is $13.50.

    Get yours at MaggieLouiseConfections.com.

    And browse the website for more wonderful chocolate creations.

     

    shields-gift-box-230s

    Regal and delectable: salt caramel heraldic shields. Photo courtesy Maggie Louise.

     

      

    Comments

    TOP PICK OF THE WEEK: Whiskey-Infused Chocolate Truffles

    If Dad loves chocolate and spirits, this may be the ideal Father’s Day gift!

    The Oregon Distiller’s Collection from Moonstruck Chocolate is nine-piece collection of truffles infused with spirits from five of Oregon’s finest craft distillers.

    The spirits are infused into chocolate ganache and hand-piped into hand-painted chocolate shells. The collection is a parade of deliciousness:

  • Bendistillery Crater Lake Pepper Vodka Truffle: A ganache of ivory and dark chocolate is infused with the spirit. A blend of five different sweet and hot chiles creates a balance of flavor and spice; in an ivory chocolate shell.
  • Bull Run Distillery Pacific Rum and Cola Truffle: A blend of dark and milk chocolate ganache is infused with the rum and cola-flavored spirit to mimic the classic cocktail; in a dark chocolate shell.
  • Bull Run Temperance Trader Bourbon Whiskey Truffle: A dark and milk chocolate ganache is infused with this popular whiskey, creating sweet and smoky notes with a hint of fruit and butterscotch; in a dark chocolate shell.
  •    

    craft-distillers-230

    A gift box of spirits-infused truffles. Photo courtesy Moonstruck Chocolate.

     

  • Clear Creek Distillery Oregon Apple Brandy Truffle: The spirit is blended into a ganache of ivory and dark chocolate, featuring notes of grass, apple and spice; in dark chocolate shell.
  • Clear Creek Distillery Oregon Pear Brandy Truffle: A blended milk and dark chocolate ganache is infused with the pear brandy; in an ivory chocolate shell.
  •  

    moonstruck_craft_distillers-goodstuffnw-230r

    Each individual flavor can be purchased
    separately, too. Photo courtesy
    GoodstuffNW.com.

     
  • House Spirits Distillery Krogstad Aquavit Truffle: The aquavit is blended into an ivory and dark chocolate ganache, creating a warm blend of chocolate, star anise and caraway flavors; in a milk chocolate shell.
  • House Spirits Distillery Coffee Liqueur Truffle: The strong, freshly-brewed coffee flavor of the liqueur infuses a blend of milk and dark chocolate ganache; in a dark chocolate shell.
  • House Spirits Distillery Aviation Gin Truffle: This milk and dark chocolate ganache is infused with the gin, delivering a bouquet of botanical flavors, with top notes of citrus, anise, cardamom and lavender; in a dark chocolate shell.
  • Rogue Ale Dead Guy Whiskey Truffle: A blended ivory and dark chocolate is infused with the whiskey, creating delicately sweet notes, a rich malt complexity and a warm peppery finish; in a milk chocolate shell.
  •  
    Who could resist? The nine-piece sampler is $20.00. The flavors can be purchased individually in boxes of 20 pieces for $50.00.

     

    THE DIFFERENCE BETWEEN WHISKEY & WHISKY

    Check out the different types of whiskey in our Whiskey Glossary.
      

    Comments

    PRODUCT: Limited Edition Garrett’s Smoky Cheese Popcorn

    In advance of Father’s Day, Chicago popcorn palace Garrett’s has introduced limited-edition Smoky CheeseCorn, for gifting or party fare.

    The popcorn is handmade daily from the highest quality ingredients and a signature blend of kernels. It is hot-air popped and stirred into freshly melted sharp cheddar cheese, infused with a wisp of hickory smoke.

    Purchase at Garrett popcorn shops in Chicago, Las Vegas and New York (plus international—see the store locator), or online at GarrettPopcorn.com.

    You can send Dad a one-gallon tin for Father’s Day, or the ginormous 6.5-gallon tin to feed a whole party. The flavor will be available through the summer barbecue season.

     

    smoky-cheesecorn-garrett-230r

    Cheesy and smoky: new Smoky CheeseCorn. Photo courtesy Garrett’s.

     

      

    Comments

    TIP OF THE DAY: Beer Glasses ~ Stout Glasses

    stout-glass-spielgau-230

    Stout has never tasted better. Photo courtesy Spielgau.

     

    For decades, connoisseurs of fine wines and spirits have been able to enjoy them in glasses engineered by Riedel, to bring out every last nuance of flavor and aroma. If you’ve ever compared drinking a wine from the correct varietal-specific Riedel glass (Bordeaux, Brandy, Chardonnay, Tequila, etc.) and a generic wine glass, you know the results are amazing.

    Last year right before Father’s Day, we featured the first variety-specific beer glass, an IPA glass from Spielgau, specially contoured to enhance the flavors and aromas of IPA beer.

    This year, Spielgau—a 500 year-old company that was purchased by Riedel in 2004—adds the world’s first stout-specific glass. The company hopes to do for beer what its parent company has done for wine.

    Stout is a heavier style of beer characterized dark color, malty flavor, and thick, foamy head. The wide mouth of the 21-ounce Spiegelau Stout glass is conducive to pouring a strong head, while the flared base helps focus the beer’s aromas, which can then emanate from the glass’s wide opening. (See the different types of beers.)

     

    The stout glass was developed and tested with two American craft brewers of stout: Left Hand Brewing Company of Colorado and Rogue Ales of Oregon. A set of two glasses is $25 at SpielgauUSA.com. Branded versions of the glass with brewery logos are available through LeftHandBrewing.com and Rogue.com, respectively.

     

    HOW THE SPIEGEL STOUT GLASS WAS DEVELOPED

    Hundreds of glasses pulled from Spiegelau’s glassware archive were tested against a variety of the brewers’ own stouts to find the glass shape that had the most profound effect on the aromas and flavor profiles of each stout beer. After narrowing the options to a handful of shapes, Spiegelau’s German factory created six final prototypes for testing all stouts, varying by several millimeters in height, bowl width, angle and capacity.

    After many deliberations, Left Hand Brewing Company and Rogue Ales separately and unanimously determined that the Prototype “C” stout glass delivered the optimal taste, aroma and mouth feel to enhance stout beers. The winning shape has:

  • A voluminous, open bottom glass base that drives beer and aromatic foam upward into the main bowl.
  • A wider, conical bowl that significantly amplifies aromas and also provides superior flow to mid palate, improving the taste, mouth feel and finish of complex stout beers.
  • A stark, angular shape and open base that create dramatic visual cascading effect into the glass as the beer is poured.
  • Ultra-pure quartz material, that makes for unsurpassed clarity and flawless, true color presentation of stout beer.
  •  
    So the next great gift for a beer lover: Spielgau stout glasses with a selection of artisan stouts.

     

    rogue-stout-glass-proofbrewingco-230

    The two “developer” breweries offer branded versions of the stout glass. Photo courtesy Proof Brewing Co.

     

    ABOUT STOUT

    The darkest and heartiest of beers, a stout is top fermented and differentiated from a regular ale by its brown-black color, chocolate-coffee flavors and fuller body. This is achieved by brewing with barley that has been dark-roasted to the point of charring (think of espresso beans, compared to a medium-roast coffee). Stout is thus both darker and maltier than porter, has a more pronounced hop aroma, and may reach an alcoholic content of 6% to 7%.

    Stout originated in Ireland, where most traditional stouts are very rich, yet sharp and slightly bitter. Stout is well-paired with strong cheese and a spicy sausage such as andouille. There are different types of stout:

  • Chocolate stout is a sub-category that uses different malts for an even more pronounced chocolate flavor. These days, some brewers add actual chocolate into the brew, or brew over cacao beans, or both.
  • Coffee stout uses dark roasted malts to add a bitter coffee flavor. With the tandem growth of interest in microbrews and fine coffee, craft brewers have added specific ground beans to create, for example, “Breakfast Coffee Stout,” “Espresso Stout” and “Guatemalan Coffee Stout.”
  • Cream stout or milk stout is a style made sweeter with unfermentable lactose (milk sugar).
  • Dry stout or Irish stout is very dark and toasty or coffee-note style, exemplified by the world-famous Guinness.
  • Imperial stout, Russian stout or Russian imperial stout has more of a rich, roasted quality and a higher level of alcohol. These are potent beers that can be almost as thickly textured as liqueur. Examples include Samuel Smith’s Imperial Stout at 7% alcohol and Brooklyn Brewery’s Black Chocolate Stout, at 8.7% alcohol. The alcohol content of imperial stouts can go to 9% and 10%.
  • Oatmeal stout adds oatmeal to the mash, which gives a smoothness and creaminess to the stout. It has more restrained flavors and less alcohol than Imperial stout. Samuel Smith makes a benchmark oatmeal stout, with notes of fruit, licorice, chocolate and toffee.
  •   

    Comments

    BOOK: Kitchen Survival Guide For Men

    save-the-males-230

    Save the males: Teach them to cook for
    themselves. Photo courtesy Save The Males
    Publishing.

     

    Chef Gordon Smith has cooked for royalty, celebrities, executives, and Olympic athletes. Now, in his mission to “save the males,” he tells men what they need to know to survive on their own—by cooking good food at home instead of resorting to less-good-for-you fast food and take-out.

    His book, Save the Males: A Kitchen Survival Cookbook, is a fun gift for single men as well as husbands, significant others and other men who have to fend for themselves in the kitchen, whether full-time or on occasion. It’s a practical culinary foundation for the novice and a great refresher course for any home cook.

    (If you’re buying the book on Amazon.com, note that there’s another book named Save The Males, about relationships. Don’t let it confuse you. The one you want is co-authored by Reparata Mazzola and Gordon Smith.)

    The underlying goal of “Save the Males” is fun, as Chef Gordon teaches readers how to switch from prepared foods to foods they prepare. An empty kitchen goes from foreboding to a place fragrant with delicious meals they cook meals for themselves, family and friends.

     

    Chef Gordon Smith is a regular guy who knows from experience that cooking improves one’s health and appearance (eat better!) as well as one’s sex life (a home cooked dinner is romantic!).

    Cooking for oneself is not only empowering; it could lead to a new hobby—or at least, it could get the man in your life to prepare dinner more often.

    And that’s the reason to give copies to dads, grads, brothers, sons and friends.

     
      

    Comments

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