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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,
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Archive for The Nibble

TIP OF THE DAY: 25+ Uses For Apple Butter

We were recently searching for something in the back of a friend’s pantry—at her request—and came across a jar of apple butter that looked past its prime. We checked the date. Yep, way gone.

“Do you know you have expired apple butter?” we queried. “Oh that,” she replied. “Someone gave it to me years ago and I didn’t know what to do with it.”

Apple butter is not butter, we explained. It’s a fruit spread so creamy, it spreads like butter. There’s no dairy in it. Think of it as creamy apple jam.

Today’s tip is for anyone who needs suggestions for using apple butter, and for those who want to make their own from the fall crop of just-picked apples. There’s a slow cooker recipe below.


Apple butter is a highly concentrated form of apple sauce, as dense as a spread. While the skins are used, since the apples are cooked to a point where the sugar in the flesh caramelizes and the flesh turns brown, the color of the apple doesn’t make a difference.


/home/content/71/6181571/html/wp content/uploads/apple butter tasteofhome 230

Ready, set spread your delicious homemade apple butter. Photo courtesy


In the Middle Ages, the first monasteries with large fruit orchards began to appear in Europe. Apple butter, developed at that time, turned out to have a long shelf life (due to the concentration of sugars). It was an ideal way to conserve part of the apple crop.

Villagers made their own apple butter, and a popular bread spread was born. As imported spices became more affordable, apple butter was enhanced with allspice, cinnamon, clove and nutmeg.

Fast forward some centuries to the colonization of North America: Housewives brought the technique for making apple butter with them. In the 1700s, the German Rhinelanders and Moravians who settled into the Blue Ridge Mountains, especially in Kentucky, North Carolina, Tennessee and West Virginia, “really honed apple butter-making to a deliciously fine art.” (Source:

In the 1800s, another German immigrant group, the Pennsylvania Dutch (a misspelling of Deutsch), established the tradition in southeastern Pennsylvania. In the latter half of the century, with the invention of the Mason jar, apple butter was “put up” by even more households. These days, you can freeze it.

Apple butter’s popularity declined in the 20th century, with the proliferation of store-bought brands of jam and jelly providing a wide variety of fruit options year-round.

You can use any apples, but soft apples work best because they cook down the fastest. Choose one (or more) of these varieties, and you’ll have apple butter in no time:

  • Braeburn
  • Cortland
  • Fuji
  • Gravenstein
  • Jonamac
  • Jonagold
  • Ida Red


  • On oatmeal
  • On toast or biscuits
  • On pancakes and waffles
  • As a topping for yogurt or cottage cheese
  • Muffin surprise (cut a channel, scoop out and fill, replace the top)

  • Panini: ham or turkey, brie or cheddar (or other cheese), apple butter
  • Sandwich spread, including with cheese: grilled cheese, cream cheese, semihard cheese
  • PB&AB, or instead of the PB, apple butter with almond butter and sliced bananas
  • Turkey burger


    All you need to turn apple butter into a homemade gift is a ribbon! Photo courtesy



  • As a condiment for pork chops or roast
  • In barbecue sauce (recipe)
  • In a baked potato with sour cream or yogurt
  • Instead of applesauce
  • Ham glaze
  • Sauce for chicken
  • On baked sweet potatoes, or as a dip with sweet potato fries

  • A cup of apple butter as dessert, with heavy cream or whipped cream.
  • Crepe filling, topped with cinnamon sugar (substitute tortillas for crepes)
  • Warmed or melted over vanilla ice cream and garnished with pecans
  • Cookie sandwiches
  • Baking†
  • Loaf cake sandwiches
  • Snack

  • On crackers
  • On a spoon, right from the jar
  • In a smoothie*

    Because the apples cook for a long period, this is a recipe best made in a slow cooker. Plan to start cooking early in the morning. For gifting, use 8-ounce Mason or Ball jars, or other attractive jars. Note that the apple butter won’t have any preservatives, so should be refrigerated or frozen. This recipe is courtesy Taste Of Home.
    Ingredients For 4 Pints

  • 5-1/2 pounds apples, peeled and finely chopped (we kept the peel on)
  • 4 cups sugar‡
  • 2 to 3 teaspoons ground cinnamon
  • 1/4 teaspoon ground cloves
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt
  • Optional: 1 teaspoon cider vinegar

    1. PLACE the apples in a 3-quart slow cooker. Combine the other ingredients, pour over the apples and mix well. Cover and cook on high for 1 hour.

    2. REDUCE the heat to low; cover and cook for 9-11 hours or until thickened and dark brown, stirring occasionally. Stir more frequently as the spread thickens, to prevent sticking.

    3. UNCOVER and cook on low 1 hour longer. If desired, stir with a wire whisk until smooth.

    4. SPOON into jars or freezer containers, leaving a half inch of space at the top. Cover and refrigerate or freeze.
    *Freeze apple butter in an ice cube tray; blend frozen cubes with almond milk and banana, with spices to taste.

    †You can use apple butter like applesauce, as a replacement for oil, eggs and butter, in most baked good recipes. Like applesauce, it provides sweetness and moistness in breads, cakes, cookies, muffins, pancakes and waffles. Look for tested recipes.

    ‡You can cut back on the sweetness, or try one batch and then adjust it.



    TIP OF THE DAY: Chermoula Sauce

    Last night at a nine-course feast at the home of our wine editor, we were served a dish of scallops, sautéed greens and a hearty topping of freshly-made pesto.

    A conversation ensued among the nut-averse and lactose-intolerant in attendance, that they didn’t use pesto because of the cheese or the nuts.

    There’s an easy alternative: chermoula, a Middle Eastern marinade and sauce popular in the cuisines of Algeria, Libya, Morocco and Tunisia.

    As with pesto recipes, there are countless regional variations both in ingredients and proportions. But chermoula usually starts with a mixture of fresh herbs (especially cilantro), olive oil, lemon juice, cumin, garlic and salt.

    Flavorful chermoula is typically used with fish and seafood, and its green color adds brightness to what we personally refer to as “beige and brown foods.” It is also used to flavor meat, poultry and vegetable dishes.


    /home/content/71/6181571/html/wp content/uploads/chermoula offthemeathook 230

    At Off The (Meat) Hook, it’s used to coat broiled halibut. Here’s the recipe. Photo courtesy


    Variations include black pepper, fresh coriander, ground chiles, onion, pickled lemons and saffron, among other ingredients.

  • The preferred recipe in Sfax, a port city in Tunisia, incorporates a purée of dried dark grapes, with onions sautéed in olive oil, black pepper, cumin and chiles, but also cinnamon and cloves.
  • Two countries to the west, in Morocco, one popular recipe uses dried parsley, cumin, salt and pepper with paprika as the variable seasoning. It’s often served with grilled meat and fish.

    /home/content/71/6181571/html/wp content/uploads/chermoula lamb pumpkin broadbeans .au 2301

    Chermoula on lamb chops, rice and vegetables. Photo courtesy



    In the Middle East, chermoula is traditionally made with a mortar and pestle. In our tests making pesto, the mortar and pestle produced a more flavorful pesto than the food processor. So we pulled it out to make this recipe. Feel free to switch on the food processor instead.

    This recipe is a Moroccan variation, with paprika. As with pesto, it is easy to make. Prep time is just 10 minutes. You can make extra and freeze it.

    Ingredients For 1 Cup

  • 1 cup cilantro leaves*
  • 2 cups flat-leaf parsley leaves
  • 3 to 4 cloves garlic
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 2 teaspoon cumin
  • 1 teaspoon sweet or smoked paprika (or a combination)
  • 1/4 teaspoon red chili flakes or 1/2 jalapeño, seeds and membrane removed
  • Large pinch saffron
  • 1/3 cup of extra-virgin olive oil†
  • 1/4 cup freshly-squeezed lemon juice (about 1 large lemon)
    You can put your own stamp on the recipe, of course. We had some leftover fresh mint, so added it to the second batch.

    1. COMBINE all the ingredients in a mortar or food processor. Grind or pulse into a thick paste. It’s that easy!

    2. STORE the chermoula in a jar with a tight-fitting lid. It will last for up to 3 weeks in the fridge, needing only to be stirred.

    3. FREEZE extra in the compartments of an ice cube tray that has been sprayed with nonstick olive oil spray. When the cubes have frozen, remove them to a freezer bag.

    This weekend we perused a book that had been sent to us on The Food of Oman, a sultanate on the southern end of the Arabian Peninsula.

    When we pulled it out of its packaging, our first reaction was, “We have no time to figure out the cooking of Oman.” But as we thumbed our way through the book, we wanted to eat everything!

    If you enjoy learning new cuisines, or know someone who does, pick up a copy. The author, an American food writer who lived in the Middle East, takes readers on a journey that is delightful.

    *You can include the small stems that attach the leaves to the main stalks.

    †A fruity style (as opposed to peppery) is preferable.



    TOP PICK OF THE WEEK: CrunchDaddy Popcorn

    Back in 2012, we reviewed a startup company with 10 flavors of savory or caramel corn: CrunchDaddy Popcorn.

    You know it’s not just good: In the ubiquitous world of popcorn, their business just keeps growing. The company has expanded distribution, evolved their product flavors and traded most of the original brown kraft paper bags for lustrous poly bags in burgundy and forest green. They recently sent us new samples, and they were dee-licious.

    The new number one seller is Bourbon & Bacon Crunch, made with a brown sugar and Kentucky bourbon caramel with bits of smoked bacon. It outsells the other flavors by three to one. The alcohol evaporates completely during the cooking process, so it’s kid- and pregnancy-friendly.

    The second best seller is Salted Caramel Crunch, with a butterscotch caramel made with sea salt, Myers’s Dark Rum and honey.

    Sure we liked the top two; we like everything from CrunchDaddy. But our personal favorites among the four caramel corns sampled are:


    Bacon Bourbon Caramel Popcorn

    The best seller: caramel corn with bacon and bourbon. Woo hoo! Photo by Elvira Kalviste | THE NIBBLE.

  • Butter Rum & Cranberry Crunch. What was once a holiday special is now available year-round. When we bite into the antioxidant-rich cranberries and the fiber-laden popcorn, we think we’re eating guilt free. Oh, except for the sugar. We’ll be ordering lots of these as holiday gifts.
  • Caramel & Peanut Crunch. If only CrunchDaddy would leave the peanuts whole instead of chopped, it would be the Platonic ideal of Cracker Jacks.
  • But if none of these rings your bell, here’s the full menu:

    Sweet Flavors

  • Bourbon & Bacon Crunch
  • Butter Rum & Cranberry Crunch
  • Caramel & Peanut Crunch
  • Chesapeake Peanut Crunch
  • Honey & Cinnamon Crunch
  • Salted Caramel Crunch
    Savory Flavors

  • Bombay Market Crunch
  • Maryland Crab Feast Crunch
  • Movie Night Popcorn (butter and salt)
  • Smokey Cheddar Crunch
  • White Cheddar & Horseradish Crunch

    Bacon Bourbon Caramel Popcorn

    Great for gifting! Photo courtesy Crunch Daddy


    Whether for Halloween gifts, Thanksgiving party favors, stocking stuffers or 1-gallon tubs for family gifting, options include:

  • 1 quart poly bag (lustrous red or green), $7.69 (we finished ours in two days)
  • 1/2 gallon tub, $13.75
  • 1 gallon plastic tub, $29.05
    Not all flavors are available in all sizes; and bag colors vary.


    The name does not mislead: This is the crunchiest popcorn we’ve had. Caramel corn can get soggy from the moisture in the caramel. We were so impressed: How do they keep those big, fluffy kernels so crunchy and crisp?

    All of the popcorn is popped in canola oil. Get yours at

    And crunch happily through the season.




    TIP OF THE DAY: Pumpkin Beer Cocktails (Beertails)

    Pumpkin beer cocktails have sprouted at watering holes all over town. We’ve got two great recipes that use pumpkin beer or ale, plus tips on how to dress up a regular brew in seasonal flavors.

    Even people who aren’t beer lovers can enjoy a beertail. As long as you like pumpkin pie, you’ll like these.

    First up is a beertail from


    Ingredients Per Drink

  • 3 parts pumpkin beer or ale
  • 2 parts sparkling apple cider
  • 1 part hard apple cider
  • Garnish: cinnamon stick or pumpkin spice rim (recipe below)

    1. RIM the glass, if using the pumpkin spice rim (instructions below).

    2. ADD the ingredients to the glass, giving the beertail one gentle stir so as not to break the bubbles.

    3. GARNISH with a cinnamon stick (if not using the spice rim).



    Turn a bottle of pumpkin beer or ale into a fall “beertail.” Photo courtesy


    This second recipe, from Herradura Tequila, combines vodka with pumpkin ale, canned pumpkin and orange juice. If you don’t like vodka, you can substitute apple brandy, spiced rum, even a split between plain rum and hazelnut liqueur, like Frangelico.

    This is a sweet cocktail, so test the recipe first. You can omit the agave if it’s too sweet for you.

    Why is this recipe called “punch?”

    Punch is a general term for a broad assortment of mixed drinks, made with or without alcohol. While punch generally contains fruit or fruit juice, fruit isn’t essential. Nor is an elegant punch bowl required. A pitcher is fine, and in many cases, it’s more practical.

    Punch was discovered in India by the British sailors of the East India Company. The concept was brought to England in the early 17th century, some 150 years before sparkling beverages were available to replace the water. From there punch spread to other countries.

    Carbonated water wasn’t available commercially until 1783. Then, J.J. Schweppe developed a process to manufacture carbonated mineral water, based on the the process discovered by Joseph Priestley in 1767.

    The word “punch” derives from the Hindi word, “panch.” In India, panch was made from five different ingredients: sugar, lemon, water, tea or spices and an alcoholic spirit. The word for “five” in Sanskrit is panchan; hence the name.



    Can’t live without vodka? This recipe combines it with pumpkin beer. Photo courtesy Herradura Tequila.


    Ingredients Per Drink

  • 2 ounces Herradura Reposado or substitute*
  • 2 ounces pumpkin ale
  • 1 ounce orange juice
  • 1 ounce canned pumpkin
  • 1/2 ounce agave
  • 2 dashes Angostura bitters (or other bitters)
  • Ice
  • Optional garnish: star anise pod, orange peel or wheel

    1. FILL a cocktail shaker with ice cubes and all ingredients except the garnish. Shake and strain into a glass filled with ice cubes.

    2. GARNISH and serve.

    NOTE: We made multiple portions in a pitcher with pre-chilled ingredients. Instead of shaking, we whisked the ingredients in the pitcher. We then dropped an ice “hockey puck,” frozen in an empty soup can, into the pitcher. The larger the piece of ice, the slower it melts.




  • 1-1/2 teaspoons sugar
  • 1/4 teaspoon cinnamon
  • 1/4 teaspoon pumpkin spice

    1. COMBINE the sugar and spices in a saucer or low bowl. Moisten the rim of the glass with water.

    2. DIP the moistened rim into the spice mix and twist to coat.

  • Top with a dash of pumpkin pie spice.
  • Garnish with an apple or pear slice.
  • Spice up with a cinnamon stick or star anise.
  • Skewer candy corn onto a cocktail pick.
    *Reposado tequila, aged up to a year, takes on a light yellow and more complex flavors than blanco, or silver, tequila. Given the number of flavorful ingredients in this drink, you can substitute blanco if that’s what you have on hand.



    TIP OF THE DAY: Candy Apple Party

    Is this your year to host a candy apple party for Halloween? Kids and adults alike will love the opportunity to customize caramel and/or red candy apples.

    First send out the invites, then start to gather the ingredients.

    You prepare trays of candy- and or caramel-coated apples, and guests do a quick re-dip and add their toppings. We’ll provide the caramel- and candy-coating recipes in a separate article.


    Select toppings that are small in size or crushed. Big pieces of candy or nut halves can fall off, especially on smaller apple (recommended—see the next section). That’s why we excluded Gummies, Goobers, Raisinets and Teddy Grahams.

  • Candy corn
  • Chopped nuts
  • Granola
  • Mini chocolate chips or full size (how about a mix of
    butterscotch, peanut butter, mint, dark, milk and/or white


    At a candy apple party, every guest can customize an apple (at least one!). Photo with regular and chocolate caramel apples courtesy

  • Mini M&Ms
  • Mini marshmallows
  • Mini Reese’s Pieces
  • Oreo bits or crushed graham crackers
  • Pretzel pieces
  • Red Hots
  • Shredded coconut, plain or toasted
  • Sprinkles
  • Toffee bits

  • 2 slow cookers, chafing dishes, or other warmers for the two coatings
  • Bowls and spoons for the toppings
  • Individual bowls or plates for apple-coating
  • Ice pop sticks for the apples
  • Plates, napkins

    You do the messy part in advance: dip the apples in their first coat: dark, milk or white chocolate or caramel. Photo courtesy



    Choose varieties that are crisp but not singularly sweet (e.g. Delicious). The tartness or acidity of the right variety is a counterpoint to the sweet coating and toppings.

    You also want small apples over large ones. Big apples look more impressive, but smaller ones (typically sold pre-bagged) give you a better ratio of apple to topping. And, you can have more than one!

  • For red candy coating: Baldwin, Crispin, Honeycrisp, Idared, Jonathan, Stayman, SweeTango; secondarily, Braeburn, Gala, Fuji.
  • For caramel apples: The tart Granny Smith is the best variety for caramel apples; the tartness works well with the caramel. But any of the red candy apple types will work if you’re not seeking that nuance.
    TIP: Many supermarket apples have a wax coating that can inhibit the coating from sticking to the apple. If you can’t buy your apples from a farmers market or orchard, remove the wax coating by swirling the apples in a pot of boiling water and wiping them dry with paper towels.



    Set the slow cookers, trays of coated apples and bowls of toppings and other materials on a table or sideboard, ideally on a craft paper covering or tablecloth.

    When the guests are ready to create their apples, let them re-dip and add their toppings. Individual bowls for each person help prevent the toppings from spilling on the table.


    What to serve at your candy apple party? Apple-themed drinks:

  • Apple Beer or Ale
  • Apple Cider
  • Apple Spice Tea
  • Appletinis
  • Apple Wine
  • Apple Seltzer (like Polar)
  • Hard Cider
  • Hot Mulled Wine or Mulled Cider
  • Sparkling Cider Punch


    RECIPE: Baked Pumpkin Doughnuts

    With their seasonal orange color, moist texture and delightful pumpkin flavor, these baked doughnuts are better-for-you, with less sugar and no hot-oil frying. Make them for breakfast, snacking or dessert, with a scoop of ice cream.

    They also freeze nicely. The batter also keeps well in the fridge, in case you want to make a double batch, or prepare the day before to bake in the morning. They are not too pumpkiny—more pumpkin latte than pumpkin pie—so people who don’t like pumpkin can enjoy them, too.

    All you need besides the recipe ingredients are doughnut baking pans. Or, you can make pumpkin muffins in your muffin pan.

  • Wilton Nonstick 12-Cavity Doughnut Pan
  • Fox Run Mini Doughnut Pan (buy 2)
  • Prep time is 15 to 20 minutes, baking time is 30 to 38 minutes.

    For step by step photos, check out the King Arthur Blog.


    Ingredients For 12 Doughnuts, 24 Mini Doughnuts Or
    15 Muffins

  • 1/2 cup vegetable oil
  • 3 large eggs
  • 1 cup granulated sugar*
  • 1-1/2 cups pumpkin purée (plain canned pumpkin)

    Baked Pumpkin Doughnuts

    Make the batter the night before, then serve warm muffins at breakfast or brunch. Photo courtesy King Arthur Flour.

  • 1-1/2 teaspoons pumpkin pie spice, or 3/4 teaspoon ground cinnamon plus a heaping 1/4 teaspoon each ground nutmeg and ground ginger
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 1-1/2 teaspoons baking powder
  • 1-3/4 cups + 2 tablespoons King Arthur Unbleached All-Purpose Flour†
    For The Topping

  • 3 tablespoons cinnamon sugar or pumpkin-spice sugar

  • For spicier doughnuts, add more pumpkin pie spice or allspice, cinnamon, ginger/or and cloves.

    1. PREHEAT the oven to 350°F. Lightly grease two 12-cavity doughnut pans or substitute (mini doughnut pans, muffin pans).

    2. BEAT together until smooth the oil, eggs, sugar, pumpkin, spices, salt, and baking powder. Add the flour, stirring just until smooth.

    3. FILL the wells of the doughnut pans about 3/4 full; use a scant 1/4 cup of batter in each well. If you’re making muffins, fill each well about 3/4 full; the recipe makes about 15 muffins, so you’ll need to use two muffin pans or bake them in two batches.


    /home/content/71/6181571/html/wp content/uploads/pumpkin donuts kingarthur 230

    Baked pumpkin doughnuts, close up and delicious. Photo courtesy King Arthur Flour.


    4. BAKE the doughnuts for 15 to 18 minutes, or until a cake tester inserted into the center of one comes out clean. If you’re making muffins, bake for 23 to 25 minutes. While the donuts are baking, make the cinnamon sugar or pumpkin spice sugar, by mixing half spice with half superfine sugar. (You can pulse table sugar in the food processor to a superfine consistency.)

    5. REMOVE the doughnuts from the oven. After about 5 minutes, loosen their edges with a knife or spatula and transfer them to a rack to cool. If you plan to eat them shortly: While the doughnuts are still warm, but no longer fragile…

    6. GENTLY SHAKE them in a bag with the cinnamon-sugar. If you’ve made muffins, sprinkle their tops heavily with cinnamon-sugar. NOTE that for the best appearance, it’s important to hold the cinnamon-sugar until you’re ready to serve the doughnuts. Store the rest without the cinnamon sugar (see the next step) and add it just before serving.

    7. COOL the doughnuts completely and store at room temperature for several days. Do not wrap them tightly or enclose them in a plastic bag: Because these doughnuts are so moist, they will become soggy. We put ours in a plastic storage container, which allows air to circulate. You can also use a cake dome or a plate with an upended bowl; or use a baking pan covered with wax paper.



    *The original recipe used 1-1/2 cups sugar, but cutting back to 1 cup is just as delicious (although slightly less tender—no big deal).

    †To use self-rising flour instead of all-purpose flour (e.g. King Arthur Unbleached Self-Rising Flour), reduce the salt to 1/2 teaspoon; omit the baking powder, and substitute 2 cups (8 ounces) of self-rising flour. Bake the doughnuts for about 18 minutes.



    PRODUCT: Keurig Kold Cold Beverage Machine

    Thanks to Keurig, 20 million American households make their coffee of choice—or tea, cocoa, chicken soup, even iced tea brewed into a cup of ice—one K-Cup at a time.

    Six years ago, fans and industry observers asked Keurig: What can you do for cold beverages?

    On Monday the company launched its long-awaited cold beverage system, Keurig Kold. The result involved 250 engineers and scientists, 10,000 consumers who participated in research, 50 patents issued and another 100 pending globally.

    This plug-in machine offers Keurig’s same ease and convenience for single-serve cold beverages: carbonated sodas and flavored seltzers, still flavored waters, iced teas and sports drinks.

    The good news:

  • Keurig Kold makes delicious soft drinks, perfectly carbonated without a CO2 canister, at the push of a button.
  • The beverages are delivered perfectly chilled, in 8-ounce glasses. Most servings are 100 calories or less, and there’s an excellent variety of low- and zero-calorie options.

    /home/content/71/6181571/html/wp content/uploads/KeurigKOLDdrinkmaker DietCoke 230

    Keurig Kold: the coolest way to make cold drinks. Each Kold Pod makes an eight-ounce drink. Photo courtesy Keurig.

  • The Kold Pods create favorites like Coca-Cola, Diet Coke, Dr Pepper and Canada Dry; craft sodas (e.g. Orange Cream, Spiced Root Beer, regular and diet, from brands like Flynn’s and Red Barn); plus plus lemonade, flavored waters, seltzers and iced teas (Tierney’s).
  • There are also sports hydration drinks; cocktail mixers are coming soon, starting with Margarita and Mojito.
  • Keurig Kold is imposing, cool, and at $369.99, a status symbol. You can get one at and selected retailers, in black or white.
    What’s less than ideal:

  • The price tag. Even if it’s ultimately discounted, it would take a household with money to burn to choose this system over the 99¢ two-liter bottles or club store bargains (or the $59-and-up Sodastream).
  • Depending on the beverage, the pods are $4.49 to $4.99 for a four-pack. That’s $1.12 to $1.25 plus tax for an eight ounce drink.
  • The machine’s footprint is larger than anything else on your kitchen counter. The pods are similarly oversize.
  • The pods are recyclable #7 plastic, but not every municipality recycles #7.

    Keurig KOLD Wire Carousel

    The pods for Keurig Kold are big: at least three times the size of the K-Cups. Photo courtesy Keurig.



    Insert a drink pod, press a button and the water in the reservoir is drawn into a proprietary chilling mechanism. When the water is cold enough (39°F), it gets pushes though Karbonator beads that are inside each pod—small, round beads that are perhaps the coolest part of the invention.

    Water + beads = perfect carbonation. A secret imparted by Keurig: Carbonation absorbs into water best when the water is really cold.

    Keurig Kold is impressive. It’s fun. And the drinks are delicious—they seem even tastier than if you purchased the same drink in a bottle or can.

    The big question that vexes the NIBBLE folks who tried Keurig Kold is: Who is the customer for this machine? It must be a household that:


  • Doesn’t look for bargains.
  • Wants the latest, coolest wow item.
  • Has space for it.
  • Isn’t into sustainability.
    Alternatively, it’s a wonderful plaything, a gift for people who have everything. If they already own one, there are other rooms in their home that could make use of another.

    Would we want one? In an ideal world, yes; in our particular practical world, no. Even if someone gave us a Keurig Kold, where would we put it in our small home or office?



    TIP OF THE DAY: Cherry Tomato Pasta Sauce

    October is National Pasta Month, and we’ll be sharing different takes on pasta. We start with tomato sauce.

    Some people use fresh summer tomatoes to make their sauce, freezing batches to last through the year. Others used canned tomatoes year-round. Less often, cherry tomatoes are employed.

    For us, since lush summer tomatoes have drifted into memory until next year, cherry tomatoes are the go-to for homemade sauce.

    While cherry tomatoes can be puréed into a conventional smooth sauce, first up is a version that roasts the cherry tomatoes and uses them whole, rather than cooking them on the stove top and pureeing in a conventional sauce.

    Essentially, your sauce is seasoned whole roasted cherry tomatoes in olive oil; and beyond pasta, it can accompany rice and grains, polenta, eggs, grilled cheese, burgers and sandwiches, even savory waffles.

    Since the cherry tomatoes keep their shape, this is especially beautiful when made with mixed-color heirloom cherry tomatoes, or a combination of red and gold.


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    Colorful cherry tomatoes are a beautiful accent to beige pasta. Photo courtesy Delfina Restaurant | San Francisco.

    You can simply sauté cherry tomatoes in olive oil with seasonings. Or, here are two recipes that impart a bit more complexity.



  • 1-1/2 pounds cherry tomatoes, washed and patted dry
  • 3 cloves garlic, peeled and sliced
  • 1/2 cup extra-virgin olive oil
  • 2 tablespoons balsamic vinegar
  • 1 tablespoon fresh thyme
  • 2 teaspoons packed light-brown sugar
  • 1 teaspoon coarse salt
  • Optional: chopped or sliced, pitted olives (2 tablespoons); drained capers (1 tablespoon); lemon zest (1 tablespoon); minced, seeded jalapeño (1-2 tablespoons) or crushed red pepper (1/2-1 tablespoon)

    1. PREHEAT the oven to 325°F. Place the tomatoes in a nonreactive* 9-by-13-inch baking dish and sprinkle with the garlic. Whisk together the oil, vinegar, thyme, brown sugar, salt and optional ingredients in a bowl. Drizzle over the tomatoes.

    2. BAKE for about 1 hour, until the tomatoes are softened and caramelized. Serve warm or at room temperature.
    *Reactive vs. Non-Reactive Cookware: Aluminum, cast iron and copper are popular for cookware because of their superior heat-conducting properties. However, these metals can react with acids in a recipe (citrus, tomato, vinegar, etc.), imparting a metallic taste and discoloration of light-colored foods. This is also true with mixing bowls and utensils. Non-reactive materials include enameled metal, glass, plastic and stainless steel.


    /home/content/71/6181571/html/wp content/uploads/Spaghetti chunky tomato sauce ps 230r

    Here, 1 pint of the cherry tomatoes have been quartered instead of pulsed, for a chunky sauce. Photo courtesy McCormick.



    In this recipe, the tomatoes are pulsed in the food processor so do not maintain their shape, as in the recipe above. The reason to use them is because of superior flavor in the off season, and/or to take advantage of good prices.

    Ingredients For 4 Cups

  • 6 garlic cloves, peeled and sliced
  • 1 medium onion, large dice
  • 1/4 cup olive oil
  • 3 pints cherry tomatoes, rinsed
  • 1 tablespoon dried oregano
  • Salt and pepper
  • Optional: chopped or sliced, pitted olives (2 tablespoons); drained capers (1 tablespoon); lemon zest (1 tablespoon); minced, seeded jalapeño (1-2 tablespoons) or crushed red pepper (1/2-1 tablespoon)

    1. PURÉE the garlic in a food processor. Add the onion and pulse 3-4 times, until finely chopped.

    2. HEAT the olive oil in a large skillet over high heat. When hot, reduce the heat to medium and add the onion and garlic mixture. Cook, stirring occasionally, until they soften, about 5 minutes.

    3. CLEAN the food processor bowl, add 1 pint of the cherry tomatoes and pulse 3-4 times, until coarsely chopped. Transfer to a large bowl and repeat to process the remaining 2 pints of tomatoes.

    4. ADD the chopped tomatoes to the skillet. Simmer, stirring frequently, until they turn into sauce (about 15-20 minutes). Add salt and pepper to taste.



    RECIPE: Moroccan Quinoa & Roasted Carrots

    October 1st is World Vegetarian Day, the annual kickoff to Vegetarian Awareness Month.

    Vegetarian diets have proven health benefits, are kind to animals and help to preserve the Earth (meat production is a major source of greenhouse gas and deforestation).

    According to, some prominent vegetarians include/have included: Lord Byron, Bill Clinton, Leonardo da Vinci, Ellen DeGeneres, Thomas Edison, Albert Einstein, Benjamin Franklin, Dick Gregory, Steve Jobs, Carl Lewis, Franz Kafka, Paul McCartney, Martina Navratilova, Pythagoras, Voltaire and Leo Tolstoy.

    But you don’t need to have particular beliefs to enjoy this delicious vegetarian (actually vegan) side or main course. The quinoa supplies excellent nutrition, and the Moroccan spices are irresistible.

    The recipe is from Good Eggs, a San Francisco purveyor of artisan foods.


    The addition of allspice, cinnamon and raisins impart a wonderful North African flavor profile and fragrance to this simple dish.
    Ingredients For 2-3 Servings

  • 2 bunches carrots, tops cut off, halved lengthwise
  • Olive oil
  • 1 cup white quinoa
  • 1-1/4 cups water
  • 1 handful* parsley, coarsely chopped
  • 1 teaspoon ground allspice, divided
  • 1 teaspoon ground cinnamon, divided
  • 1/4 cup of raisins
  • Squeeze of lemon†
  • Salt and pepper
  • Optional: plain or seasoned yogurt‡

    /home/content/71/6181571/html/wp content/uploads/roasted carrots quinoa goodeggs 230

    Delicious, nutritious and good-looking: quinoa and carrot salad with Moroccan seasonings. Photo courtesy Good Eggs.


    *What is a “handful” of parsley? It’s an indefinite amount; please don’t write recipes like this! The size of “a bunch” varies widely by retailer. Try this: For “a bunch,” use one cup loosely packed herbs and 1/2 cup for “a handful.”

    †What’s a “squeeze” of lemon? Is it a squeezed half lemon or a wedge of lemon? A medium lemon has 2-3 tablespoons of juice, a large lemon can have 4 tablespoons (1/4 cup). For a “squeeze,” try 1-2 teaspoons. Take notes and adjust both parsley and lemon measurements next time, as needed.

    ‡Give plain yogurt some savory flavor by stirring in one or more of the following: roasted garlic, chopped fresh parsley, minced chives or thin-sliced green onions (scallions). You can also use the zest from the lemon.


    Raw White Quinoa

    Uncooked white quinoa. Photo | Wikimedia.



    1. PREHEAT the oven to 425°F. Soak the quinoa in water for 15 minutes.

    2. PLACE the carrots on a baking sheet and toss with some olive oil. Roast for 20-30 minutes.

    3. STRAIN the quinoa and add it to a pot with the water. Turn the flame to high and bring to a boil, uncovered. As soon as it boils, reduce the flame to a simmer and cover the pot.

    4. CHECK after 15-20 minutes. When all of the water has been absorbed and the grains are still slightly opaque in the center, turn off the heat and let the quinoa steam with the cover on for 5 minutes.

    5. PLACE the quinoa in a bowl with the parsley, 1/2 teaspoon each of allspice and cinnamon, the raisins and lemon juice. Add a drizzle of olive oil and salt. Adjust the salt and spices to taste and add pepper to taste.

    6. REMOVE the carrots when they begin to caramelize and crisp up. Toss them gently with a pinch of salt, 1/2 teaspoon of allspice and 1/2 teaspoon of cinnamon. To serve, spoon the quinoa onto a serving plate or individual plates and top with the carrots. Pass the optional yogurt as a condiment.



    DAY OF THE DEAD: Skull Mug

    Día de los Muertos, the Day of the Dead or All Souls Day, has has been an important festival in Mesoamerica since pre-Columbian times.

    It is a time of festivity and joy, not mourning. Families gather to welcome the souls of the dearly departed—human and animal—who return from the spirit world for an annual visit home to the loved ones they’ve left behind. What a nice concept!

    The celebration begins on November 1st and ends on November 2nd. Despite the timing and skulls, it has no relation to Halloween (here’s the history of Halloween). Analogies to the Celtic-based Halloween are purely coincidental.

    The celebration of the Mayas and Aztecs evolved into what today is a large Mexican festival, incorporating:

  • Photos and mementos of the deceased, placed on special altars along with…
  • Cempasúchil (marigold flowers).
  • Candles and copal incense (made with resin from a local tree).

    dia de los muertos mug

    Drink your coffee from a joyful skull. Photo courtesy Inked Shop.

  • There are music and dancing, plus special offerings for people who have died.

    Crystal Head Vodka Bottle

    Not into coffee or sugar skulls? Perhaps a bottle of Crystal Head Vodka is for you. Photo courtesy Crystal Head.


    Special foods include:

  • Pan de muertos (bread of the dead—recipe).
  • Sugar skulls, usually brightly painted.

    You’ve got time to order a celebratory mug.

    The Mexican Sugar Skull Giant Mug in the photo above costs just $14.95 from

    High quality ceramic, dishwasher and microwave safe, it’s inspired by the Day of the Dead sugar skulls, but perfectly at home year-round.

    Or perhaps you’d prefer a skull full of vodka?




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