THE NIBBLE (TM) - Great Finds for Foodies (tm)
Send An e-Postcard
Enter The Gourmet Giveaway
Print This Page
Bookmark This Page
Contact Us
Sign Up For The Top Pick Of The Week
THE NIBBLE (TM) - Great Finds for Foodies (tm) The Nibble on Twitter The Nibble on The Nibble on share this The Nibble  RSS Feed
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,
the online magazine about gourmet and specialty food.

Archive for Valentine’s Day

VALENTINE RECIPE: Chocolate Raspberry Bundt Cake


Chocolate and raspberries are a match made
in heaven. Photo courtesy Annalise | Completely Celicious.


Here’s another delicious Valentine recipe from Annalise of Completely Delicious, sent to us via

Everyone thinks they’re getting a conventional chocolate cake, until slicing it reveals the raspberry surprise. This combination of chocolate and fresh raspberries in a buttery Bundt cake is a match made in heaven (just like you and your Valentine?).

The raspberries blend into the cake as it bakes, creating little bursts of bright flavor to contrast with the rich chocolate.


Ingredients For A 9-Inch Cake

  • 2-1/2 cups all-purpose flour
  • 1 cup unsweetened cocoa
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 2-1/2 teaspoons baking soda
  • 1-1/4 cups unsalted butter
  • 2 cups sugar
  • 3 large eggs
  • 2 teaspoons vanilla
  • 1-1/2 cups buttermilk
  • 1 cup fresh raspberries
  • Garnish: powdered sugar
  • Optional garnish: whipped cream*
  • Optional garnish: fresh raspberries
  • Preparation

    1. PREHEAT the oven to 350°F. Butter and flour a 9-inch bundt pan.

    2. COMBINE the flour, cocoa, salt and baking soda in medium bowl. In the bowl of stand mixer fitted with the paddle attachment, beat the butter and sugar until pale and fluffy. Add the eggs, mixing after each, and stir in the vanilla. Add the dry ingredients in 3 batches, alternating with the buttermilk, scraping down bowl as needed.

    3. SPOON the batter into the prepared pan. Sprinkle the raspberries on top (they will sink as the cake bakes). Bake 45-60 minutes, until a toothpick inserted into center of cake comes out with a few moist crumbs.

    4. LET the cake cool completely in the pan, then turn out onto a plate or cake stand. Sprinkle with powdered sugar and garnish with whipped cream and additional raspberries.

    *For more raspberry flavor, add a tablespoon of Chambord or other raspberry liqueur into the whipped cream.



    RECIPE: Ravioli With Pan Roasted Tomatoes

    This recipe from is easy and inviting for Valentine’s Day. It’s from blogger Annalise of Completely Delicious, via

    Prep time is 10 minutes, cook time is 20 minutes.


    Ingredients For 4 Servings

  • 1 pound fresh or frozen cheese ravioli
  • 3 tablespoons butter
  • 1 pint cherry or grape tomatoes
  • Salt and pepper, to taste
  • 3 cloves of garlic, minced
  • 1/4 cup fresh basil leaves
  • 1/3 cup Parmesan cheese, shredded



    An easy Valentine dinner. Photo courtesy Go Bold With Butter.

    1. BRING a large pot of salted water to boil. Cook the ravioli according to package instructions. Drain.

    2. MELT the butter in a large skillet over medium-high heat, while the ravioli are cooking. Add the tomatoes and season with salt and pepper. Cook the tomatoes until their skins split, about 4-6 minutes, shaking the pan every few minutes to rotate tomatoes.

    3. ADD the garlic and cook for 1 minute more. Add the drained ravioli and toss with the tomatoes until combined.

    4. GARNISH with basil and serve immediately with Parmesan cheese.



    RECIPE: Dark Cherry Fizz With Sparkling Wine

    The Dark Cherry Fizz in a coupe glass. Photo courtesy Chandon.


    For Valentine’s Day, here’s a charming cocktail from Chandon, one of our favorite affordable sparkling wine makers. It uses cherry purée and crème de mûre, blackcurrant (not blackberry!) liqueur.

    It may sound fusty in the U.S., but in France, where we first discovered it, crème de mûre is a popular fruit liqueur. The flavor is heavenly, drunk straight as a yummy after-dinner drink or used instead of framboise (raspberry liqueur) in a variation of a Kir Royale.

    Crème de mûre (pronounced pronounce: krem duh MYUR) is one of the family of crème liqueurs (crème de cacao, crème de menthe and crème de cassis, for example).

    Not to be confused with cream liqueur, in which dairy cream is added, crème liqueur is sweetened to a near-syrup consistency. In this case, “crème” refers to that consistency.

    Consider a bottle of crème de mûre as a Valentine gift; and if you’re feeling flush, add a bottle of Champagne or other sparkling wine.

    If you want to make this recipe without buying a new bottle of liqueur, you can substitute creme de cassis (currant liqueur) or framboise (Chambord is a brand of framboise).


    Ingredients Per Drink

  • 3 ounces Chandon Blanc de Noirs* or substitute sparkling wine
  • 1/3 ounce crème de mûre
  • 1/2 ounce cherry purée (make it from frozen cherries)

    1. PURÉE the cherries. No sweetener is necessary, as the liqueur is quite sweet.

    2. COMBINE the liqueur and cherry purée in a shaker; shake and double strain into a coupe glass. (If you don’t have a shaker, you can blend the ingredients in whatever is convenient. If you don’t have a coupe glass, use what you have.)

    3. TOP with the sparkling wine.

    *Blanc de Noirs means “white from black,” referring to the white wine that is produced from black (dark) Pinot Noir grapes. Its counterpart is Blanc de Blancs, a white wine produced from white (Chardonnay) grapes. Blanc de Noirs is richer and fuller-bodied.


    TIP OF THE DAY: Valentine Toast

    Get out your heart-shaped cookie cutter and think about your menu for tomorrow.

    You can start Valentine’s Day with with heart-shaped toast and red fruit jam.

    Then, make extra toast hearts:

  • For lunch with soup, spread with herb butter
  • For lunch or dinner as croutons with a salad, spread with goat cheese
  • For cocktails (make it Champagne!), spread with sour cream or crème fraîche and topped with salmon caviar
  • For dinner as garlic toasts, spread with garlic butter; or plain with a cheese course

    Cut them into a small dice and store in an airtight container. The next day, use them:

  • As salad croutons
  • As omelet filling
  • As soup garnish
  • In a hash or skillet stuffing
  • Mixed into custard or pudding—a kind of reverse bread pudding


    Love toast for Valentine’s Day. Photo courtesy Nar Gourmet.

    You can first pop the croutons into a hot skillet with a bit of butter or oil to crisp them.

    Other ideas? Let us know!



    RECIPE: Beet Tarte Tatin

    Beet Tarte Tatin. Photo and recipe courtesy


    If you love the combination of beets and goat cheese, try this recipe for Beet Tarte Tatin. We adapted it from one by Katrina Woodman, originally published in the October 2012 of Australian Good Taste.

    The Tatin sisters, Caroline and Stéphanie, ran the Hotel Tatin in Lamotte-Beuvron, southwest of Paris in the Loire Valley, not far from the town of Chambord. Tarte Tatin is a one-crust fruit pie invented by accident in France in the early 1880s. It is served upside-down; the fruit (initially, it was apples) are on the bottom with the crust on top.

    As the story goes, Stéphanie, preparing an apple tart, erroneously put the apples in the pan without the crust underneath. The apples caramelized, the customers loved it and the Tarte Tatin was born.

    It can be made with sweet vegetables as well: beets and carrots are delicious prospects.

    This vegetable Tatin, cooked in a skillet, serves four as an appetizer or as part of a light lunch, with a salad.


    Ingredients For 4 Servings

  • 1 tablespoon butter
  • 8 small beets, peeled and halved
  • 1 tablespoon brown sugar
  • 1 tablespoon balsamic vinegar
  • 1 teaspoon fresh thyme leaves (removed from stalks)
  • 1 sheet frozen butter puff pastry, thawed
  • 2 ounces fresh goat cheese, crumbled
  • Optional garnish: fresh thyme sprigs


    1. PREHEAT oven to 390°F.

    2. MELT the butter in a ovenproof non-stick 7″ or 8″ frying pan over medium-high heat. Stir in the beets and cook for 2 minutes. Add the sugar, vinegar and thyme. Season. Cook, stirring, for 2 minutes or until mixture thickens.

    3. COVER with foil and bake for 20 minutes or until the beetroot is just tender. Set aside for 5 minutes to cool. Increase oven heat to 430°F.

    4. TRIM the pastry into a 9″ to 10″ disc, depending on size of pan. Arrange the beets evenly over the base of the pan. Top with pastry. Fold in excess. Bake for 20 minutes or until puffed and golden. Cool in the pan for 10 minutes.

    5. PLACE a plate turned upside down over the frying pan (it should be bigger than the pan). Holding the two together, flip the entire pastry over. Top with goat cheese and herbs and serve warm.


    ebkids two types of roots jangios167j4 23rd of February, 2006 cmmccabe

    A taproot system versus conventional fibrous roots. Here’s more about it from


    Beetroot (Beta vulgaris) evolved from the wild seabeet, a leafy plant that grows at coastlines around the world. It was first domesticated in the eastern Mediterranean and Middle East, although it was only the leaves that were eaten back then. (The wild seabeet is also the common ancestor of spinach and chard.)

    The Romans began to cultivate beets in earnest, cooking them with honey and wine. Recipes in oldest surviving cookbook De Re Coquinaria by Apicius’s, included beetroot in broths and salads, the latter with a very modern-sounding vinaigrette of mustard, oil and vinegar.

    The beet is a plant with a taproot system. The taproot is a large, central, dominant root, typically straight and very thick, tapering downward (see image above). For most of its life, beetroot was long and thin like a carrot or parsnip—both taproots, along with burdock, radish and turnip, among others. The familiar round shape was developed in the 16th century.

    Beetroot continued to grow in popularity in Victorian times, favored for its dramatic color in salads and soups. It was also used as a sweet ingredient in cakes and puddings. Beet sugar, used more widely around the world than cane sugar, was made by boiling all the sugar out of the beets, then cooking down that sugary water into dry crystals.

    Today, as a result of mutation and selective breeding, beets are available in numerous shapes and sizes, including orange, yellow, white and candy-striped (with red and white concentric circles).


    The term beetroot is used in the U.K., France and elsewhere. It is known by its shorter name, beet, in North America.

  • The table beet is a vegetable grown for human consumption.
  • The sugar beet has been bred for higher sugar content, from which granulated sugar and molasses can be made.
    You can eat a sugar beet as a vegetable, but can’t make sugar and molasses from a table beet.



    TIP OF THE DAY: Watermelon Radish


    Roasted mahi-mahi with baby squash,
    roasted eggplant puree, pistachios and
    watermelon radish. Photo courtesy Due


    Some vegetables light up any dish; watermelon radishes are one. Thanks to farmers markets, we’re seeing a lot more of them.

    Watermelon radishes are available year-round, with peak seasons in spring and late fall (meaning they’re more bountiful and less expensive). Work them into your Valentine’s Day menu: They’re a great special-occasion ingredient.

    A large Chinese radish, its exterior is creamy white with touches of pale green. But the flesh: ooh-la-la.

    The watermelon radish has a eautiful rosy pink-magenta flesh, reminiscent of the color of watermelon. It is patterned with bright circular striations of color that are captivating whether sliced, quartered or julienned.

    The texture is crisp and firm yet succulent. And the flavor is mild, lacking the peppery profile of conventional radishes. Instead, it tastes more like daikon, the white Japanese radish.

    The Chinese name is shinrimei, and the radish is known by several other names including Rose Heart and Beauty Heart.

    Depending on when harvested, watermelon radishes can range in size from golf ball to soft ball—up to three inches and more in diameter.


    The color and mildness of the watermelon radish make it a lovely surface for hors d’oeuvres (and a better-for-you alternative to a bread or cracker base). It perks up a green salad. It makes a beautiful garnish on anything savory.

    But there’s so much more you can do with watermelon radishes.

    Watermelon radishes can be served fresh or cooked, hot or cold. They pair well with apple, bacon, butter, citrus, egg dishes, cheeses such as feta and chèvre, cucumbers, creamy based dressings and vinaigrettes, fennel, mild salad greens, noodles such as soba and udon, white fish and a variety of seasonings, especially cilantro, mint and tarragon.

    That’s a lot to work with!



    You can cook radishes like turnips, but these beautiful radishes deserve to be enjoyed in all their bright color and crispness.

  • Make a Radish “Caprese”: Serve slices of watermelon radish in lieu of mozzarella with sliced tomatoes, basil and balsamic vinegar—a change of pace that saves calories and fat. You can substitute slices of actual watermelon for the tomatoes.
  • Make a sophisticated salad: Toss thin slices with mâche or microgreens in a special vinaigrette—sherry or honey-dijon, for example.
  • Use as a salad base: Thinly slice large radishes, spread on the plate and use them as a base for other salad ingredients.
  • Try this Sesame Peanut Cucumber Salad recipe, an artistic delight of bright red radish matchsticks and shaved cucumber ribbons.
  • Pair with mushrooms in this Radish, Mushroom & Watercress salad recipe with a sherry-honey vinaigrette.
  • Pair with fennel in this Watermelon Radish & Fennel Salad with Lavender Vinaigrette recipe.


    A simple citrus salad with blood orange and watermelon radish. Here’s the recipe. Photo courtesy Lincoln Barbour.


  • Add sliced watermelon radish to sandwiches for color, flavor and crunch, instead of lettuce tomatoes.
  • Try watercress and radish tea sandwiches (or full size sandwiches) with unsalted butter or fresh goat cheese.

    To store watermelon radishes, discard the leafy tops and wrap the radishes in plastic. They’ll keep for several weeks.



    RECIPE: Red Velvet Pancakes


    Red velvet pancakes: use seasonal garnish
    for July 4th, Christmas, Valentine’s Day or
    Mother’s Day. Photo courtesy Taste Of


    For a special Valentine’s Day breakfast, brunch or lunch, Taste Of Home magazine suggests these red velvet pancakes.

    Red food works for July 4th and Christmas, of course. Just vary the garnish:

  • Christmas: mint leaf or sliced kiwi (or make green whipped cream!)
  • Valentine’s Day: red berries
  • July 4th: whipped cream, crème fraîche or mascarpone; plus blueberries
    Note that the recipe below is for a party-size batch of pancakes—five batches of 16 pancakes per batch.

    However, the mixed dry ingredients can be divided into five batches, which can be stored in a cool, dry place for up to 6 months. You can use the recipe as a guide to make smaller amounts.

    Or, make the five-batch lot, and give the four extra batches as Valentine gifts—tied with a red ribbon.


    Prep time is: 30 minutes, cooking time is 15 minutes per batch.

    Ingredients For 5 Batches (10 Cups Mix Total)

  • 10 cups all-purpose flour
  • 1-1/4 cups sugar
  • 2/3 cup baking cocoa
  • 6 teaspoons baking soda
  • 4 teaspoons baking powder
  • 5 teaspoons salt
    Additional Ingredients (For Each Batch)

  • 2 cups buttermilk
  • 2 eggs
  • 2 tablespoons red food coloring
  • Butter and maple syrup

    1. COMBINE the first six ingredients in a large bowl. Place 2 cups in each of five resealable plastic bags or containers.

    2. PREPARE pancakes: Pour the mix into a large bowl. In a small bowl, whisk the buttermilk, eggs and food coloring. Stir into the dry ingredients just until moistened.

    3. POUR the batter by 1/4 cupfuls onto a greased hot griddle; turn when bubbles form on top. Cook until the second side is golden brown.

    4. SERVE with butter and syrup.



    RECIPE: Russian Cocktail

    Do a Google search for “Russian Cocktail” and the first 30 pages are for Black Russians and White Russians. We stopped looking at that point. No simple “Russian Cocktail” could be found.

    But the folks at Grey Goose tell us that this Prohibition-era drink is the oldest vodka cocktail found in print. They shared the recipe below.

    While the drink appeared long before flavored vodkas were available in the U.S., you can use a cherry flavored vodka for more cherry flavor. Grey Goose, Pinnacle, Skyy, Smirnoff, Svedka, Three Olives and UV, among others, make cherry vodka.


    Ingredients Per Drink

  • 1½ parts vodka
  • ½ part maraschino liqueur or cherry liqueur (see note)
  • Crushed ice
  • Garnish: brandied cherry (see recipe below)


    The Russian Cocktail, pink for Valentine’s Day. Photo courtesy Grey Goose.



    1. COMBINE the two spirits in a cocktail shaker. Top with crushed ice and shake vigorously.

    2. STRAIN into a chilled frappe glass. Garnish with a brandied cherry and serve.

    We actually prefer generic cherry liqueur to the cherry-specific maraschino liqueur. Maraschino liqueur, such as Luxardo, is a clear, relatively dry liqueur made from Marasca cherries, including the crushed pits. The latter give it a subtle bitter almond flavor.

    If you like the note of almond, go for the maraschino liqueur. If you like things sweeter with more cherry flavor, head for the cherry liqueur.
    The Original Maraschino Cherry

    The ubiquitous maraschino cherries that are a joke in some food circles were once quite elite. The cherries were originally preserved in the liqueur as a delicacy for royalty and the wealthy.

    The Marasca cherry (Prunus cerasus var. marasca) is a type of sour Morello cherry that grows largely in Bosnia, Croatia, Herzegovina, northern Italy and Slovenia. With a bitter taste and a drier pulp than other cherry varieties, they are ideal to make maraschino liqueur.

    The Marasca cherry tree is very fussy about where it will grow, so in the U.S., the Royal Ann variety is substituted for the Marasca to make maraschino cherries.



    Homemade brandied cherries from Here’s the recipe.



    You can buy brandied cherries (they’re pricey) or make your own:

  • Maraschino cherries in syrup: Drain 20% of the liquid from a jar of maraschino cherries and replace it with brandy. Place the jar in the fridge and let marinate for at least an hour.
  • With fresh cherries, thawed frozen cherries or canned cherries: Soak the cherries in your own [better quality] brandy or Cognac for an hour in the fridge.
    Here’s a recipe from Note that the aesthetically-pleasing stems come only with fresh cherries; so you may want to mark your calendar for cherry season, then get out your Mason jars and preserve them.

    You can also marinate the cherries in cherry liqueur or kirschwasser, a cherry eau de vie (fruit brandy).

    What’s the difference between brandy and Cognac?

    Cognac is grape brandy, a distillate of wine that is produced according to strict regulations in the region surrounding the town of Cognac in central France. It must be made from a specific group of white grape varieties, that are double distilled using pot stills and then aged for at least two years.

    Grape brandy can be made anywhere, from any grapes (brandy is also made from fruit and pomace). It does not require double distillation or long aging.

    While there are quality brandies, in general Cognac is a better product. The double distilling and aging rounds out the spirit and produces more mellow flavors.



    VALENTINE RECIPE: Cherry Nut Dip Or Spread For Crackers Or Veggies

    Last year our suggestion of foods for a Valentine’s Day “pink party” was very well received. So we’ll build on that list of pink foods with another recipe this year.

    Here’s a dip from the Cherry Marketing Institute, made pink with cherry juice or the stronger cherry juice concentrate. You can also use this cherry recipe to celebrate Washington’s Birthday.

    After you make the dip, dilute the extra concentrate to make cherry juice for cocktails or mocktails, and freeze any leftovers into ice cubes and ice pops.

    Serve this dip with crackers, toasts or vegetables. We also enjoyed it atop cottage cheese.


    Ingredients For 1 Cup (8 Appetizer Servings)



    Cherry nut dip or spread. Photo courtesy

  • 1 package (8 ounces) regular or reduced fat cream cheese, softened
  • 3 tablespoons tart cherry juice concentrate
  • 2 tablespoons granulated sugar
  • 2 tablespoons chopped toasted pecans
  • 1 teaspoon chopped fresh thyme (or 1/4 teaspoon dried thyme)
  • Toasted bread or assorted crackers
  • Optional garnish: red microgreens*, pink peppercorns
  • Crackers, toasts, crudités


    1. COMBINE the cream cheese and tart cherry juice concentrate; mix until smooth. Stir in the sugar, pecans and thyme.

    2. REFRIGERATE, covered, 2 to 3 hours or longer, to allow flavors to blend.

    3. USE as a spread on toasted breads or as a dip for assorted crackers, with garnish as desired.

    *Amaranth, beet, cabbage, chard, kale, mustard, radish and mustard microgreens have red leaves, stems or both.



    TIP OF THE DAY: Cherry Jell-O Shots For Valentine’s Day


    Shot glasses are elegant, but for a crowd, you need plastic Jell-O shot cups. Photo courtesy


    No Valentine’s Day plans yet? Invite friends over for cherry Jell-O shots made from cherry vodka or liqueur. If you prefer, you can make raspberry or strawberry shots instead, or an assortment of flavors.

    You can substitute cherry brandy or liqueur (Cherry Heering, DeKuyper Cherry Brandy, Grand Marnier Natural Cherry, Southern Comfort Cherry, etc.) for the cherry vodka.



  • 1 large box (6 ounces) cherry Jell-O
  • 2 cups boiling water
  • 2 cups cherry-flavored vodka: Grey Goose, Pinnacle, Skyy, Smirnoff, Three Olives, UV or other


    1. POUR boiling water over the Jell-O and stir until thoroughly dissolved. Cool to room temperature, then stir in the vodka.

    2. POUR the mixture into shot glasses or Jell-O shot cups. Refrigerate until well-set, at least 6 hours. Makes 32 1-ounce jello shots, give or take.


    Check out these heart-shaped Jell-O shots.



    Thanks to for these tips:

  • Never cook the alcohol or pour it into boiling water.
  • Allow more time than usual for the Jell-O to set, because of the alcohol.
  • Less is more; too much alcohol makes the shot unpalatable. A good rule of thumb: Use alcohol equal to half the water called for (i.e., all of the cold water).
  • If you come across a Jell-O shot recipe that doesn’t specify the size of the package of Jell-O, here’s the scoop: If the recipe calls for a total of 2 cups of liquid, it uses a small (3-ounce) box of Jell-O. If the recipe calls for a total of 4 cups of liquid, it requires a large (6-ounce) box if Jell-O.


    For a crowd, load up on plastic Jell-O shot cups with lids. Photo courtesy Polar Ice.


  • Plastic Jell-O shot cups with lids is the best way to store and serving Jell-O shooters. The lids make for easy stacking in the fridge.
  • Bring the containers to the serving table on ice in a punch bowl.

  • To eat: Run a paring knife of a stirring stick around the edge of the shooter to loosen it. (You can do this before serving the cups.)
  • Slurp the shot down like an oyster on the half-shell.
  • “Please eat responsibly.”


    « Previous Page« Previous entries « Previous Page · Next Page » Next entries »Next Page »

    About Us
    Contact Us
    Privacy Policy
    Media Center
    Manufacturers & Retailers
    Facebook Auto Publish Powered By :