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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 Thanksgiving

TIP OF THE DAY: Thanksgiving Centerpiece

stacked-pumpkin-centerpiece-gourds-Marian-Parsons-230r

A stack of winter squash makes a
Thanksgiving centerpiece that keeps for
weeks—and then can be eaten! Photo
courtesy HGTV. Here are more of their
centerpiece ideas.

 

Some people like a Thanksgiving centerpiece of flowers in seasonal colors, perhaps with some autumn leaves. We’ve been known to create cornucopias full of fruit and an elaborate bread basket decorated with cranberries, lady apples and garlands like [in the words of our father] a “Thanksgiving Christmas tree.”

One year, we held a pumpkin decorating contest, where guests brought their gourds from home, already designed. The winning pumpkin had the place of honor at the dining table, with others decorating the foyer and other areas of the home. The winner was a gorgeous pair of pumpkins seen on HGTV.com: a large pumpkin sprayed in copper metallic paint with pretty black hard candy decorations glued down the folds, and plain smaller pumpkins in silver metallic paint.

More ideas (see photos) here:

  • A short glass vase layered with different whole nuts, with florists’ moss between the layers, topped with feathers.
  • A vase of apples, attached to sticks to resemble a bouquet of roses.
  • A glass vase or clear salad bowl filled with pomegranates, lady apples, clementines, fresh green leaves and metallic-sprayed pine cones.
  • A stack of three heirloom winter squash—like flatter pumpkins but in different colors (remove the stems from the bottom two.

 

  • A narrow, rectangular tray of candles in different heights and widths.
  • A narrow, rectangulartray of colorful miniature gourds.
  • A narrow, rectangular tray of lady apples.

But if there will be a lot of kids in attendance, the people’s choice award would go to a large chocolate turkey.

CHOCOLATE TURKEY CENTERPIECE

The handsome gobbler in the photo is a three-pound milk chocolate turkey from Moonstruck Chocolates. Nine inches tall (you can place it on a base for more height), its intricate details are personally hand-decorated by Moonstruck chocolatier Julian Rose.

It also makes a heck of an impressive hostess gift.

After dinner, you can appoint someone to “carve” the turkey (break it into pieces with a clean hammer). If everyone is too stuffed to eat it, you pack pieces into plastic sandwich bags to take home.

 

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Three pounds of chocolate tom turkey. Photo courtesy Moonstruck Chocolate.

 

The turkey $100, which includes shipping, at MoonstruckChocolate.com.

  

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FOOD FUN: Camouflage Ice Cream

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Left, First Class Camouflage sundae. Right, First Class Camouflage ice cream in a special
First Class Camouflage cone. Photo courtesy Baskin-Robbins.

 

Baskin-Robbins is celebrating Veterans Day all month long, honoring military veterans new November Flavor of the Month, called First Class Camouflage.

First Class Camouflage, emulating camouflage in its colors and design, is a combination of chocolate, salty caramel and cake-flavored ice cream.

On Veterans Day itself, November 11th, there’s an in-store donation program to support the USO (United Service Organizations*. Baskin-Robbins will donate 10 cents† from ice cream scoops sold at all U.S. locations to the USO. Baskin-Robbins’ support is part of the USO’s “Every Moment Counts” campaign, which calls on Americans to honor and create special moments for troops and their families, who make daily sacrifices as they serve.

So what better excuse to enjoy an ice cream: the ability to honor veterans, U.S troops and military families. Your choices:

  • In a standard cone or cup.
  • In a special Camouflage Waffle Cone or Waffle Bowl, which are decorated green, brown and tan.
  • In a First Class Camouflage Layered Sundae, which includes Oreo cookie pieces, hot fudge, caramel praline topping and whipped cream.
 

If you want to give thanks for our troops, serve a scoop atop a slice of apple pie at Thanksgiving.

For more information about the USO’s “Every Moment Counts” campaign, of which First Class Camouflage is a part, visit USOmoments.org, and consider a donation of $11 on 9/11.
 
ABOUT CAMOUFLAGE DESIGNS

Since the mid 18th century, camouflage patterns have been used by military forces to protect personnel and equipment from observation by enemy forces. Colors and materials have been applied to including vehicles, ships, aircraft, gun positions and uniforms.

“Camouflage” is a French slang word that came into common English usage during World War I, when the concept of visual deception became an essential part of modern military tactics. In that war, the advent of long-range artillery and observation from the air expanded the field of fire, so camouflage was widely employed to decrease the danger of being targeted and to enable surprise.

 
*The USO provides critical support to forward-deployed troops, military families, wounded warriors, troops in transition and families of the fallen. The USO is a private, non-profit organization, not a government agency.

†The donation is inclusive of all regular (4-ounce) and kids (2.5-ounce) scoops of ice cream sold as cups and cones on Tuesday, November 11th, 2014. It is based on regular-priced cup and cone scoop sales only, including kid size. It does not include scoops that are used in other desserts (sundaes, beverages, cakes, take home, novelties, etc.).

 
  

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TIP OF THE DAY: Bread Salad With Butternut Squash

butternut-squash-bread-salad-goboldwithbutter-230r

Bread salad with butternut squash. Photo
courtesy GoBoldWithButter.com.

 

Bread salad is often thought of as a summer dish, marrying lush tomatoes in season with day-old bread, vinaigrette and other seasonings.

But you can turn it into a fall favorite by substituting the tomatoes, now out of season, with butternut squash (or other winter squash), as blogger Karen, from the blog FamilyStyle Food, did in this recipe for GoBoldWithButter.com.

RECIPE: BUTTERNUT SQUASH BREAD SALAD

Ingredients For 6 Side Servings

  • 4 cups butternut squash, peeled and diced (about 4 pounds squash)
  • 1 red onion, thinly sliced
  • 2 tablespoons olive oil
  • 1 teaspoon salt (or to taste)
  • Freshly ground black pepper to taste
  • 2 tablespoons sherry or red wine vinegar
  • 1 bunch kale, stemmed and leaves torn into strips
  • 5 cups ciabatta or other Italian bread (from a 1 pound loaf), crusts removed, cut into 1-inch cubes
  • 4 tablespoons Flavored Butter or plain butter, melted
  • 1 cup shredded radicchio
  • Parmesan cheese for shaving
  • Preparation

    1. PREHEAT the oven to 400°F.

    2. TOSS the squash with the onion, olive oil, salt and pepper to taste on a large rimmed baking sheet. Add ¼ cup water. Roast until squash is tender and golden in color, 25 to 30 minutes.

    3. POUR the vinegar over the roasted squash and gently toss. Sprinkle the kale leaves over the hot squash and toss again to slightly wilt.

    4. PLACE the bread cubes on a rimmed baking sheet and toss with butter. Bake for 10 minutes or until the bread is crisp and toasted.

    5. SCRAPE the squash mixture into a large serving bowl. Add the bread and radicchio and toss. Serve with curls of Parmesan.

    Find more delicious recipes at GoBoldWithButter.com.

     
    HOW MANY DIFFERENT TYPES OF SQUASH HAVE YOU TRIED?

    Check out our delicious Squash Glossary.

     

    WHAT IS BREAD SALAD

    Bread salad, like French toast and croutons, is one of those recipes invented by necessity: Poor people needed to get another meal from leftover bread that had gone stale.

    Panzanella is a Tuscan-style bread salad made with a loaf of day-old (or older) Italian bread, cubed into large croutons and soaked in vinaigrette to soften it. Chopped salad vegetables are added. The translation we have found for “panzanella” is “bread in a swamp,” the swamp being the water or vinaigrette in which it was soaked.

    While today’s recipes are rich in ingredients, the original preparers foraged to pull together vegetables from the garden—cucumber, onion and tomato—and possibly purslane, a salad green that grows wild. Early recipes were heavy on the onions, the cheapest ingredient to pair with the bread. When there wasn’t enough oil to spare, the bread was moistened in water.

    Today, this peasant dish is a popular first course in Italy. It doesn’t appear often on menus of U.S.-based Italian restaurants. That’s too bad, because it’s a dish worth having often.

     

    butternut-squash-230

    Butternut squash. Photo courtesy Melissas.com.

     

    As long as you have vinaigrette-soaked bread, you can create the salad with almost anything from the pantry or fridge. It’s a great way to use up any leftovers—including beans, cheese, fish, meat and rice—and aging produce.
     
    MORE BREAD SALAD RECIPES

    • Bread Salad With Fruit Recipe
    • Greek Bread Salad Recipe
    • Grilled Chicken Bread Salad Recipe
    • Layered Mexican Corn Bread Salad Recipe
    • Mixed Vegetables Bread Salad Recipe

      

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    RECIPE: Maple Cheesecake

    While maple is a year-round flavor, we always enjoy it in the fall, as the leaves turn. We use it in a cup of coffee or tea instead of table sugar, we add a bit to mashed sweet potatoes, we drizzle it over baked squash and vanilla ice cream.

    And then, there’s cheesecake. This recipe, courtesy of Cabot Creamery, comes from Jacques and Pauline Couture of Missisquoi Valley Farm in Westfield, Vermont. The farm is a winner of Vermont’s Outstanding Farm of the Year.

    While Jacques runs the dairy farm, Pauline is busy managing their maple syrup business and bed and breakfast. This Maple Cheesecake is one of the many delightful treats prepared for their overnight guests.

    The Coutures make this recipe with Cabot Creamery’s salted butter and cream cheese.

    Make the effort to use maple sugar instead of table sugar: You’ll be pleased with the difference. (Check out the different types of sugar.)

    We also like to garnish the top of the cake with maple candies, shaped like maple leaves. They’re available in hard, clear amber leaf or a semisoft, opaque beige leaf.

    Prep time is 20 minutes, cook time is 55 minutes.

       

    MapleCheesecake-cabot-goboldwithbutter-230

    Maple cheesecake. Photo courtesy Cabot Creamery Cooperative.

     

    RECIPE: COUTURE’S MAPLE CHEESECAKE

    Ingredients For 12 Servings

    • 1 sleeve graham crackers (9 whole crackers)
    • 4 tablespoons salted butter, melted
    • 1/4 cup granulated maple sugar (or substitute white sugar)
    • 3 packages (8-ounces each) cream cheese at room temperature or softened in microwave (you can substitute reduced fat cream cheese)
    • 4 large eggs
    • 1 cup Grade A Dark Amber maple syrup (see the different grades of maple syrup)
    • Optional garnish: maple leaf candies in maple syrup or maple sugar

     

    maple-sugar-kingarthur-230

    Indulge yourself: Maple sugar makes a difference in delivering great maple flavor. Photo courtesy King Arthur Flour.

     

    Preparation

    1. PREHEAT the oven to 350°F. Wrap the bottom and sides of a 9- or 10-inch springform pan with aluminum foil (to prevent leakage while baking).

    2. PLACE the graham crackers in 1-gallon zip-close bag; crush into fine crumbs with rolling pin or heavy pan (you will have about 1-1/3 cups). Combine in a bowl with butter and sugar, stirring until well blended. Press the crumb mixture over the bottom and partly up the sides of the pan.

    3. COMBINE the cream cheese and eggs in a food processor and process until smooth. Add the maple syrup and process until combined. (Alternatively, in large mixing bowl, beat cream cheese with electric mixer on low speed until smooth. Beat in eggs one at a time just until blended, then beat in the maple syrup.) Pour the mixture into the crust. To ensure no cracks on the top of the cheesecake, create an optional bain-marie: Place cheesecake in large roasting pan and add boiling water partway up sides before baking.

    4. BAKE for 45 to 55 minutes or until set nearly all the way to the center. Transfer to a wire rack and let cool, then cover and refrigerate for 4 hours or overnight. Remove from pan, garnish with candies around the top rim and serve.

     

    WHAT IS MAPLE SUGAR

    Maple sugar was the preferred form of maple by First Nations/Native American peoples. Unlike the sap or syrup, the sugar could easily be transported.

    It is produced by evaporating the sap of the sugar maple tree (and some other maples). The sap is boiled until almost all of the water has been removed and the remainder has crystallized solid (the same process is used to boil sugar cane sap into table sugar).

    Maple sugar has a strong maple flavor and aroma, just like maple syrup. It sold in pressed blocks, granulated in bags, or molded into small shapes like maple leaves, to be enjoyed as candy.

    Maple sugar can be used in recipes in the same way as cane sugar is used, but is almost twice as sweet—so plan accordingly in recipes. A rule of thumb: When using maple sugar, use slightly more than half the amount specified for cane sugar.

    We enjoy using it:

    • In baking (it’s a nice surprise in a pie crust)
    • In coffee or tea
    • On oatmeal
    • In meat rubs

      

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    HOLIDAY: National Chocolate Day

    harvest-truffles-2014-230sq

    Harvest Truffles. Photo courtesy Recchiuti Confections.

     

    It’s National Chocolate Day, an excuse for anyone to run to the newsstand to pick up a Hershey Bar or some M&Ms.

    But the chocolate connoisseur deserves something better, and we’ve found it in these delicious Harvest Truffles from Recchiuti Confections of San Francisco, which we received as a gift.

    Each bite of these beautifully flavored bonbons is a bite of heaven. The medley of three new flavors inspired by autumn includes:

    • Cinnamon Malt Truffle, made with cassia cinnamon and barley malt
    • Mandarin Truffle, infused with mandarin orange oil
    • Cranberry Pomegranate Strata, with layered pomegranate and cranberry gelée atop chocolate ganache (strata means layer)

    A nine-piece gift box, three of each flavor, is $26.00. It was all we could do to save some pieces for Day 2.

    Get yours at Recchiuti.com. They are a lovely gift for any lover of fine chocolate.

     

    BONBONS VS. TRUFFLES: THE DIFFERENCE

    It’s easy to get confused when terms like bonbon, praline and truffle are used interchangeably to describe filled chocolates—and all three terms have alternative meanings as well.

    The differences, describing filled or enrobed individual chocolate pieces, are country-based:

    • Assorted Filled Chocolates, the English term.
    • Bonbons, a French word describing a variety of confections including hard candy, chocolates, chocolate-covered confections, taffy and more.
    • Pralines, a word that was originated in Belgium by Jean Neuhaus to describe his molded filled chocolates (but also refers to caramelized nuts in France).
    • Truffle, a word that originated in France to describe balls of chocolate ganache, because they resembled the mushroom cousin, truffles.

    Thus, when chocolatiers immigrated to the U.S., they might be selling pralines, truffles, bonbons or assorted chocolates, depending on their nationality. And, although the name of what they sold differed, the product might be the same.

    In the interest of clarity, it would be ideal to stick with “bonbons” or “filled chocolates” for the filled chocolates, use “pralines” for caramelized nuts and nut patties, and reserve the term “truffles” for the balls of ganache.

    But given all the imported candy, we can’t escape our chocolate Tower of Babel. If you receive a box of candy from Germany or Switzerland labeled “pralines,” for example, will it be filled chocolates or caramelized nuts? You may be surprised!

    Here’s a detailed explanation.

     
      

    Comments

    TIP OF THE DAY: Pumpkin Custard With Maple Pecan Crunch

    As an alternative to pumpkin pie—or perhaps in addition to it—how about some pumpkin custard? It’s eggier and richer than conventional pumpkin pie filling, and because there’s no crust, it’s gluten free.

    This lovely recipe, from Nielsen Massey, is a guaranteed crowd pleaser. If you don’t have ramekins or custard cups, use 6-ounce tea cups.

    How is this custard different from flan and other custards? Check out the different types of custard in our delectable Custard Glossary.

    RECIPE: PUMPKIN CUSTARD WITH MAPLE PECAN CRUNCH

    Ingredients For 8 Servings

  • 1½ cups half-and-half
  • 2 tablespoons Irish cream liqueur
  • 4 large eggs, lightly whisked
  • 2/3 cup packed light brown sugar
  • 2 teaspoons pure vanilla extract
  • 1½ teaspoons ground cinnamon
  • ½ teaspoon freshly grated nutmeg
  • ¼ teaspoon ground cloves
  • ¼ teaspoon salt
  • 1 can (15-ounces) 100% pure pumpkin
  •    

    pumpkin-custard-maple-pecan-crunch-nielsenmassey-230

    Pumpkin custard topped with maple pecan crunch. Photo courtesy Nielsen-Massey.

     

     

    nielsen-bourbon-230

    Nielsen-Massey pure vanilla extract. Photo by Claire Freierman | THE NIBBLE.

     

    Preparation

    1. PREHEAT oven to 325°F. Place 8 six-ounce ramekins onto a rimmed sheet pan or a roasting pan; set aside.

    2. COMBINE the half-and-half and liqueur in a small saucepan over medium-low heat. Heat and stir, just until the mixture is warmed. Remove from the heat.

    3. COMBINE the eggs, sugar, vanilla extract, cinnamon, nutmeg, cloves and salt in a large bowl. Whisk thoroughly until well combined. Add the pumpkin and whisk until it is incorporated. Slowly pour the heated half-and-half mixture into the pumpkin mixture; whisk continuously until combined.

    4. POUR the custard mixture into ramekins. Place in the oven; then carefully pour warm water into the sheet pan, so custards are surrounded and the water depth is about ¾-inch high (this technique is known as a bain-marie). Bake until done, about 40-45 minutes. Remove ramekins from pan, cool completely on wire rack and place in the refrigerator to chill. You can serve the custard chilled or at room temperature.

     

    RECIPE: MAPLE PECAN CRUNCH

    Ingredients

  • ¼ cup pure maple syrup
  • ½ teaspoon pure vanilla extract
  • 1/8 teaspoon cayenne pepper
  • 1 cup pecans, chopped
  • Garnish: coarse sea salt
  •  
    Preparation

    1. LINE a rimmed baking sheet with parchment paper; set aside.

    2. COMBINE syrup, vanilla and cayenne pepper in a small bow. Whisk to combine; set aside.

    3. LIGHTLY COAT a large skillet with cooking spray; place over medium heat. Add the nuts to skillet and toast until golden brown, about 2 to 3 minutes, stirring occasionally.

    4. CAREFULLY POUR the syrup mixture over the nuts. Cook and stir until the nuts are coated; then remove from heat. Place the nut mixture evenly onto the prepared baking sheet and cool.

    5. TO SERVE: Top the cooled custards with Maple Pecan Crunch. Finish with a pinch of coarse salt.

    Store any unused Maple Pecan Crunch in an airtight container. You can use it to top anything from baked sweet potatoes to green salad to vegetables to ice cream.
     
    EVERYTHING YOU NEED TO KNOW ABOUT VANILLA

    Did you know that vanilla beans are the fruit of a species of orchid? Of the 110 species in the orchid family, the vanilla orchard is the only one used for food.

    While the fruit is called a vanilla “bean,” it has no close relationship to the actual bean family. After the plant flowers, the fruit pod ripens gradually for 8 to 9 months, eventually turning black-brown in color and giving off a strong aroma. Both the exterior of the and the seeds inside are used to create vanilla flavoring.

    Check out the history of vanilla, types of vanilla products (including vanilla paste and different terroirs of vanilla extracts and vanilla beans), how to buy vanilla, and our reviews of the best vanilla extracts and vanilla beans.

    Start here.

      

    Comments

    PRODUCT: Harvest Pumpkin, Seasonal Tortilla Chips From Food Should Taste Good

    How delicious are the fall flavor tortilla chips from Food Should Taste Good?

    Very delicious! You can enjoy them plain, with a savory or sweet dip, or as “fall nachos.”

    • Harvest Pumpkin tortilla chips are as good as eating a cookie. Deftly spiced with cinnamon, clove, allspice and nutmeg (and a touch of cane sugar), stone ground corn is mixed with pumpkin, spices, sea salt.
    • Sweet Potato tortilla chips, which are made with a touch of sugar, can be served with fruit salsa, raspberry jam or apple butter; served with ginger snap dip, or instead of cookies with vanilla ice cream.

    The all natural line is certified gluten free, certified vegan and OU kosher. The snack contains 19 grams of whole grains per serving. (The USDA recommends 48 grams of whole grains daily.)

     
    RECIPE #1: GINGERSNAP DIP

    This recipe, adapted from Taste Of Home, makes a “dessert dip.” For a less sweet dip, cut the sugar in half or eliminate it entirely.

       

    sweet-potato-pumpkin-kaminsky-230

    Sweet Potato and Harvest Pumpkin tortilla chips from Food Should Taste Good. Photo by Hannah Kaminsky | THE NIBBLE.

    Ingredients For 3 Cups

    • 1 package (8 ounces) cream cheese, softened
    • 1 cup confectioners’ sugar
    • 2 teaspoons pumpkin pie spice*
    • 1 carton (8 ounces) plain Greek yogurt
    • 1 package (16 ounces) gingersnaps

     
     
    *You can combine equal amounts of allspice, cinnamon, clove and nutmeg or adapt the spices and proportions to your preferences.>
     
    Preparation

    1. BEAT the cream cheese, confectioners’ sugar and pumpkin pie spice in a small bowl until fluffy. Beat in the yogurt.

    2. REFRIGERATE until ready to serve.

     

    gingersnap-dip-tasteofhome-230

    Gingersnap dip for cookies or seasonal tortilla chips. Photo courtesy Taste Of Home.

     

    RECIPE #2: BISCOFF SPREAD DIP

    Biscoff Spread looks like peanut butter but smells like gingerbread and is nut-free. It is made from spice cookies, called spéculoos cookies in Belgium, where they are the national cookie—a variation of gingerbread. (The cookies are called Belgian spice cookies in the U.S.)

    The name Biscoff is a combination of “biscuits and coffee,” a nod to enjoying the cookies with your cup of java. The spread, a NIBBLE Top Pick Of The Week, was the winner of a recipe competition in Belgium that was held by the largest producer of the cookies. The winning concept: Grind the cookies into a “cookie spread” that can be enjoyed an alternative to Nutella or peanut butter.

    Biscoff Spread is available at supermarkets nationwide and onlineonline; Trader Joe’s sells a private label version called Cookie Spread. In Europe, the generic version is called spéculoos spread.

    This recipe, which was originally developed for dipping fruit and cookies, is equally delicious with pumpkin and sweet potato tortilla chips.

     
    Ingredients For 4 To 6 Servings

    • 1/4 cup Biscoff Spread
    • 1 container plain lowfat yogurt (6 ounces or 3/4 cup)†
    • 1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract
    • 1/4 teaspoon cinnamon

    Plus

  • Pumpkin and/or sweet potato tortilla chips for serving
  •  
    Optional Fruit To Serve Alongside The Chips

    • 1 red apple, washed and cored, cut into 1/4-inch thick slices
    • 1 small banana, peeled, cut into 1-inch slices
    • 1 cup whole or halved strawberries, washed and dried
    • 1 ripe pear, washed, dried and cut into 1/4-inch thick slices, or other favorite dipping fruit

     
    †Or, use lowfat vanilla yogurt and omit the vanilla extract.
     
    Preparation

    1. WHISK together the Biscoff Spread and yogurt until smooth.

    2. WHISK in vanilla and cinnamon. Place in small serving bowl. Serve with chips and optional fruit.

      

    Comments

    TIP OF THE DAY: Pumpkin Beer & Pumpkin Ale

    pumpkin-beer-w-pumpkin-craftbeer.com-230

    Even George Washington was a fan of
    pumpkin beer. He brewed his own, of course.
    Photo courtesy CraftBeer.com.

     

    Thanks to Julia Herz of CraftBeer.com for today’s tip: Pick up some pumpkin beer or ale. In fact, have a pumpkin beer tasting for Halloween (with or without costumes), and bring it instead of wine to your Thanksgiving dinner hosts.

    This seasonal brew is so well liked that in the month of October, it rivals the popularity of India Pale Ale (IPA), the top-selling craft beer style in the U.S.

    The body is richer, thanks to the addition of actual pumpkin into the vat; and brewers typically add hints of pumpkin pie spices. The flavors can vary widely depending on whether the brewer uses fresh, frozen or canned pumpkin (or a related squash).

    But pumpkin beer is no recent craft beer invention. It’s been made since the Pilgrims of Plymouth Rock Colony discovered pumpkins (indigenous to the Americas) and added them to their brews.

    Why did they brew with pumpkin?

    There were plenty of them. Since good malt was not readily accessible in the early days of the colonization of America, fermentable sugars had to come from elsewhere. In those early pumpkin beers, the flesh of the pumpkin took the place of malt. (Later, with dependable supplies of malt, both were used.)

    Pumpkin beer remained a staple throughout the 18th century, but its popularity began to wane by the early 19th century as quality malts became accessible everywhere.

     

    Fast forward 200-plus years to the Bay Area in the 1980s. The father of American micro-brewing, Bill Owens, read in a brewing book that George Washington added pumpkin to his mash. Owens thought it was an idea in need of resurrection. The result, Buffalo Bill’s Pumpkin Ale, is an amber-style ale based on Washington’s recipe (and a NIBBLE Top Pick Of The Week).

    Although most pumpkin ale and beer are brewed with pumpkin and flavored with cinnamon, cloves, ginger and nutmeg, don’t expect pumpkin pie in a bottle. With most products, there’s no obvious pumpkin taste analogous to the pronounced flavors of fruit beers.

    This season, retailers will sell some 400 pumpkin beers from craft brewers. You can put together a nice selection for a tasting party. Or, pick up a selection for your own personal enjoyment. Just a sampling of what you might find:

     

    buffalo-bill-6pack-pumpkin-230

    Bring a six-pack or two to your Halloween or Thanksgiving host(s). Photo courtesy Buffalo Bill’s Brewery.

    • Boxcarr Pumpkin Porter | Starr Hill Brewery | Crozet, Virginia
    • Flat Jack Pumpkin Ale | Flat 12 Bierwerks | Indianapolis, Indiana
    • Gourd Shorts (pumpkin ale) | Florida Beer Co. | Cape Canaveral, Florida
    • Kentucky Pumpkin Barrel Ale | Alltech Lexington Brewing and Distilling Company | Lexington, Kentucky
    • Mavericks Pumpkin Harvest Ale | Half Moon Bay Brewing Co. | Half Moon Bay, California
    • Oak Jacked (imperial pumpkin ale) | Uinta Brewing Co. | Salt Lake City, Utah
    • Potosi Stingy Jack Pumpkin Ale | Potosi Brewing Co. | Potosi, Wisconsin
    • Pumking | Southern Tier Brewing Co. | Lakewood, New York
    • Post Road Pumpkin Ale | Brooklyn Brewery | Brooklyn, New York
    • Pumpkin Ale | Blackstone Brewing Co. | Nashville, Tennessee
    • Pumpkin Ale | Buffalo Bill’s Brewery | Hayward, California
    • Pumpkin Ale | Rivertown Brewing Co. | Lockland, Ohio
    • Pumpkinfest | Terrapin Beer Co. | Athens, Georgia
    • Punkin Ale | Dogfish Brewery | Milton, Delaware
    • Roadsmary’s Baby (rum-aged pumpkin ale) | Two Roads Brewing Co. | Stratford, Connecticut
    • Rum Punk (Rum barrel-aged pumpkin beer) | Joseph James Brewing Co., Inc | Henderson, Nevada
    • Samhain Pumpkin Porter | DESTIHL Brewery | Bloomington, Illinois
    • Samuel Adams Fat Jack (double pumpkin ale) | Samuel Adams | Boston, Massachusetts
    • Smuttynose Pumpkin Ale | Smuttynose Brewing Co. | Hampton, New Hampshire
    • Wick for Brains Pumpkin Ale | Nebraska Brewing Co. | La Vista, Nevada
    • Witch’s Hair Pumpkin Ale | Twisted Manzanita Ales & Spirits | East County San Diego, California

     
    KNOW YOUR BEER TYPES

    Check out the different types of beer in our Beer Glossary.

      

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    FALL COCKTAIL: Pear & Rosemary Martini

    Pear-rosemary-martini-belvedere-230

    Pear and rosemary add fall flavors to a
    Martini. Photo courtesy Belvedere Vodka.

     

    Pear and rosemary unite as a fall cocktail flavor that works right through the Christmas season. This recipe is from Belvedere Vodka.

    RECIPE: PEAR & ROSEMARY MARTINI

    Ingredients Per Drink

  • 2 ounces vodka
  • 2 stems fresh rosemary
  • ¼ ounce simple syrup
  • ¼ ounce lemon
  • ¾ ounce pear purée (substitute pear nectar)
  • Ice cubes
  • Garnish: rosemary sprig, pear slice or edible flower
  •  
    Preparation

    1. PLACE the rosemary in the base of a heavy bottomed mixing glass and press gently.

    2. ADD the remainder of the ingredients (except garnish) and shake with ice cubes. Strain into a chilled Martini glass.

    3. GARNISH with a stem of rosemary or other favorite garnish (pear slice, edible flower).

     

    CHECK IT OUT: THE HISTORY OF THE MARTINI.

     
      

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    FOOD FUN: Halloween Popcorn Balls

    They’re sweet, they’re fun and they’re whole grain! And there’s a bonus: You make them in the microwave!

    You’ve got time to whip up these Halloween popcorn balls, thanks to busy mother of three Ashleigh, of the blog Bee in Our Bonnet. Ashleigh contributed this recipe to SomewhatSimple.com.

    While the popcorn balls are shaped like pumpkins, the flavor is orange—from orange Jell-O! Jell-O flavored popcorn is a favorite treat at Ashleigh’s home.

    RECIPE: HALLOWEEN POPCORN BALLS

    Ingredients

  • 1/2 cup butter
  • 1 box (3 ounces) orange-flavored Jell-O
  • 1/4 cup corn syrup
  • 1/4 teaspoon baking soda
  • 12 cups popped popcorn (approximate)
  • Tootsie Roll mini candies
  •  

    pumpkin-popcorn-balls-somewhatsimple-230sq

    Popcorn balls for Halloween or Thanksgiving. Photo courtesy SomewhatSimple.com.

  • Green candies: choice of Starbursts, green apple Tootsie Rolls, Laffy Taffys or anything that can be shaped into leaves (green Air Heads were used in the photo)
     
    Preparation

    1. MELT butter in a large microwavable bowl. Stir in Jell-O and corn syrup.

    2. MICROWAVE again until the mixture reaches a full boil (try 1 minute, then more if needed). Stir. Mix in baking soda. Stir for 2-3 minutes.

    3. MIX in popcorn. The popcorn should be covered evenly with the flavoring.

    4. MICROWAVE for 30 seconds more. You can microwave for longer if you prefer your popcorn balls crispy instead of gooey.

    5. FORM into balls. Kids can help, using plastic bags with a little non-stick spray on them as gloves.

    6. ADD Tootsie Roll minis for the stems and shape the green candy into leaves. Be sure to press the stem and leaves in while the popcorn ball is still warm and pliable.

      

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