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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 Beverages

TIP OF THE DAY: Make Fruit Punch

fruit-punch-davidvenableQVC-230

A recipe for summer: fruit punch. Photo
courtesy QVC.

 

Have you made a bowl of fruit punch yet this summer? Our mom never planned a cookout without punch. Her recipe: equal parts of grape juice, lemonade and orange juice, from frozen concentrate.

Among the hundreds and thousands of punch recipes out there, here’s one from chef David Venable of QVC. He adds a bit of fizz with lemon-lime soda.

The frozen fruit in the recipe offsets some of the ice so the punch doesn’t dilute. Another anti-dilution tip: Freeze some juice into “ice cubes.” Finally, consider the drink dispenser below, which has a central core to hold ice cubes apart from the punch. The cubes melt into the core and can easily be refreshed.

For adults, you can keep a bottle of vodka, gin or tequila next to the punch.

Here are 10 punch making tips from THE NIBBLE.

 
RECIPE: BASIC FRUIT PUNCH

Ingredients For 12-14 Servings

  • 2 cups cranberry juice
  • 3 cups pineapple juice
  • 2 cups orange juice
  • 1/4 cup lemon juice
  • 1/3 cup grenadine syrup*
  • 1 (1-liter) bottle lemon-lime soda, chilled
  • 16 ounces frozen strawberries
  • 16 ounces frozen peach slices
  •  
    *Here’s a recipe for homemade grenadine.

     

    Preparation

    1. COMBINE all of the juices and the syrup into a large pitcher and place into the refrigerator. Chill for at least 2 hours to allow the flavors to blend. Just before serving…

    2. POUR the fruit juice mixture into a large punch bowl (or a drink dispenser as shown in the photo). Add the lemon-lime soda, frozen strawberries, and peaches. If desired, serve the drink over ice cubes.

     
    MORE PUNCH RECIPES

  • Frozen Margarita Punch Recipe
  • Saké Punch Recipe
  • Tea Punch Recipe
  •  
    THE NEW PUNCH BOWL: A SPIGOT DISPENSER

    Forget the punch bowls of yore. For entertaining, this plastic beverage dispenser with spigot (see photo) is the neater option for pouring. Outdoors, it keeps the bugs out of the punch bowl.

    The model in the photo has a center ice core—a plastic insert for ice that doesn’t melt into the punch. Learn more about it on Amazon.com.

     

    fruit-punch-spigot-dispenser-budeez-amz-230

    The new punch bowl: This affordable plastic beverage dispenser has a central core to hold ice, so the punch stays cold without dilution. Get it on Amazon.com.

     

      

    Comments

    PRODUCT: Seminole Pride & Blood Orange Meringue Pie

    A Great Juice Story

    Deprived of their original resources, many Native American tribes have fallen into unfortunate circumstances, struggling economically and facing the ills that come with hardship.

    The Seminole Tribe of Florida, through the careful leadership of their elders, managed to overcome such bleak circumstances. The Tribe became self-sufficient through economic development enterprises located on six reservations throughout the State of Florida, one of which is citrus farming.

    Economic success has enabled them to reach out to help struggling Native Nations as well as local communities, through product donations, financial contributions and sponsorships.

    Earlier this year, the Tribe teamed with the Roe family, fourth generation distributors and growers of the Noble brand of fruits and juices, to launch a new brand, Seminole Pride Noble. The line includes natural and organic juices in apple, blood orange, grapefruit, lemonade, orange, orange tangerine, red grapefruit, tangerine and tangerine clementine.

    The operation is committed to sustainable citrus farming and to the environment in general; even the bottles used are 100% sustainable and are made at the juicing facility, keeping the total business carbon footprint environmentally friendly.

       

    seminole-pride-aka-noble-blood-orange-juice-230

    One of 10 Seminole Pride juices. Photo courtesy Noble Juice.

     

    Look for the juices (here’s a store locator), and check out the delicious recipes on the website. A little bit of juice perks up the flavor in everything from salads and slaws to meats and sautéed veggies.

     

    blood-orange-meringue-pie-noblejuice-230

    A tempting blood orange meringue pie, made
    with Seminole Pride Noble blood orange
    juice. Photo courtesy Noble Juice.

     

    RECIPE: BLOOD ORANGE MERINGUE PIE

    You don’t even have to squeeze oranges to make this splendid pie. Just buy the blood orange juice! Prep time 30 minutes plus chilling, bake time 10 minutes plus cooling.

    Instead of a standard pie crust, we used this graham cracker crust recipe from Key lime pie.

    Ingredients For 8 Servings

  • 4 egg whites
  • 1 cup + 6 tablespoons white sugar, divided
  • 2 tablespoons all-purpose flour
  • 3 tablespoons cornstarch
  • ¼ teaspoon salt
  • 1 cup water
  • ¾ cup blood orange juice
  • 2 tablespoons butter
  • 4 egg yolks, beaten
  • 1 9” pie crust, baked from scratch (or to package directions) and cooled
  • Preparation

    1. PREHEAT oven to 350°F.

    2. MAKE the meringue: In a stand mixer or large glass or metal bowl, whip egg whites until foamy. Add 6 tablespoons sugar gradually and continue to whip egg whites until stiff peaks form. Set aside.

    3. MAKE the filling: In a saucepan, whisk together the remaining cup of sugar, flour, cornstarch and salt. Whisk in water and blood orange juice, making sure to eliminate any lumps. Cook over medium-high heat until mixture comes to a boil. Stir in butter and whisk until melted. Temper the egg yolks by slowly adding ¼ cup of the hot filling mixture to the egg yokes, whisking to combine. Whisk egg yolk mixture into filling mixture. Continue whisking mixture until thick. Remove from heat and pour into cooled pie shell.

    Cover filling with meringue, making sure to seal the edges.

    Bake in the preheated oven for 10 minutes or until the meringue is golden brown.

     
    More about blood oranges.

      

    Comments

    FOOD FUN: Ocean Water

    We love this idea from Spoonful Of Comfort: a soft drink turned into “ocean water.”

    It’s not just for kids! Even adults like the Swedish Fish garnish; and they’ll especially appreciate it with a hit of vodka or other clear spirit.

    RECIPE: OCEAN WATER

    Ingredients

  • 7 Up or Sprite
  • Optional spirit: gin, tequila or vodka
  • Blue food coloring
  • Swedish fish
  • Straw (preferably red or red and white stripes)
  •  
    Preparation

    1. FILL a glass or mason jar with soda. Add spirit to taste.

    2. Using an eye dropper, add one drop of blue food color. Stir. Add more color as desired.

    3. Drop in a Swedish Fish. Serve with a straw.

     

    ocean-water-spoonfulofcomfort

    Turn a soft drink or cocktail into “Ocean Water.” Photo courtesy Spoonful Of Comfort |
    FB.

     

    We’d be remiss if we didn’t recommend Spoonful Of Comfort’s chicken soup. Send it to friends and family: new parents, new homeowners, under the weather, or lovers of chicken soup.

      

    Comments

    RECIPE: Blackberry Mint Iced Tea

    blackberry-mint-iced-tea-driscolls-230

    A refreshing spin on iced tea: blackberry
    purée and fresh blackberries. Photo courtesy
    Driscoll’s.

     

    We love iced tea. Most of it we brew from really fine tea leaves, so flavorful that we don’t even add sugar.

    You can eliminate the sugar from this home-brewed blackberry iced tea recipe, and allow people to select their own level of sweetness and their sweetener of choice: agave, honey, noncaloric sweetener, sugar or nothing at all.

    If you have a windfall of blackberries, you can make blackberry ice cubes to serve with the drink. Fill ice cube trays with water as usual, and drop a blackberry and a mint leaf into each section.

    You can make the recipe caffeine-free with herbal mint tea bags. You can also use the blackberry purée in lemonade.

    Prep time for the blackberry iced tea is 15 minutes plus chilling. The recipe is courtesy of Driscoll’s, the country’s leading berry distributor.

     
    RECIPE: BLACKBERRY MINT ICED TEA

    Ingredients For 2 Quarts (About 8 Servings)

  • 5 black tea bags
  • 1/4 cups mint leaves, crushed, 1 whole leaf per serving reserved for garnish
  • 4 cups boiling water
  • 1/2 cup sugar (or make it unsweetened)
  • 6 packages (6 ounces each) blackberries, with 16 reserved as garnish
  •  
    Preparation

    1. PLACE tea bags and mint in a heat-proof pitcher. Add boiling water. Steep at least 10 minutes.

    2. STRAIN into another pitcher and discard the mint and tea bags. Stir in sugar.

    3. PURÉE the blackberries in a blender or food processor; strain through a fine sieve. Discard pulp and seeds. Stir the blackberry purée into the tea. Taste and adjust sugar as desired. Chill.

    4. SERVE over ice garnished with a mint leaf and 2 blackberries (use cocktail picks if you have them).

      

    Comments

    PRODUCT: Gourmet Lassi From That Indian Drink

    We wish Ipshita Pall would invite us to dinner. Now that we’ve had her lassi yogurt drink, we’re dying to taste her food.

    Ms. Pall is a trained French culinary chef experienced in Indian-Latin fine dining.

    We enjoy all lassi, but so far, we like That Indian Drink’s products the best. Chef-crafted, they use fresh fruit instead of purchased concentrates and purées. And oh, the spices!

    The spices make a delightful difference—so much so that Chef Ipshita and her husband, Amrit Singh, were convinced to sell it commercially (their company is called The Indian Milk & Honey Co.). The result are three flavors, each more wonderful than the next:

  • Alphonse Mango Lassi
  • Blueberry Cardamom Lassi
  • Raspberry Cinnamon Lassi
  •  
    The ingredients include rBST-free lowfat milk, fruit, live active cultures, cane sugar and spices; 130 to 150 calories per eight-ounce serving. That Indian Drink isn’t just good, it’s good for you!

    Each bottle delivers more than a full serving of fruit, 7 grams of protein, dietary fiber, probiotics, antioxidants and addictive deliciousness.

       

    blueberry-cardamom-fruit-230

    Blueberry Cardamom is one of four delicious fruit flavors. Photo courtesy The Indian Milk & Honey Co.

     
    Look for That Indian Drink at Whole Foods Markets and other natural foods channels. Here’s the store locator.

    WHAT IS LASSI?

    Lassi is a traditional Indian-style yogurt-based drink blended with ripe fruits and spices—in essence, the original smoothie.

    The word “lassi” means “yogurt drink” in Hindi. The light, cool and creamy beverage originated in India around 1000 B.C.E. The probiotic cultures in the yogurt are believed to have healing properties in Ayurvedic medicine.

    As with kefir, another yogurt-based beverage that originated in the Middle East, lassi can often be tolerated by lactose-intolerant people. The probiotic bacteria compensate for the lack of an intolerant person’s production of lactase, the enzyme that digests milk proteins.

     

    strawberry-lassi-230

    Surprise friends and family with a refreshing
    glass of Lassi. Photo by Elvira Kalviste | THE
    NIBBLE.

     

    Lassi is a simpler recipe than kefir.

  • Kefir is made by adding a colony of bacteria and yeast to milk.
  • Lassi can be made simply by mixing milk or water into plain or flavored yogurt. Some historians believe that lassi may have been created as a way to stretch yogurt in the bowl, by stirring some liquid into it.
  •  
    You can find plain lassi, sweet lassi and savory lassi.

    Depending on the milk with which it is made—cow, goat, sheep, soy, water buffalo and yak—the taste and texture of the drink will vary widely.

    WHEN TO DRINK LASSI

    In India, lassi is served as an apéritif, drunk savory with meals, enjoyed sweet as a light dessert, or as a healthful sweet or savory refreshment at any time of day.

    Savory lassi is a perfect drink with spicy Indian food. Sweet lassi—yogurt and fruit often blended with ice cubes these days—is a smoothie, appropriate for a quick breakfast, a light lunch, rejuvenating snack or a light dessert.

     

      

    Comments

    RECIPE: Iced Maple Chai

    Chai tea is just as refreshing when iced.
    Photo courtesy Republic Of Tea.

     

    If you enjoy a hot cup of chai tea in the cooler months, brew it and ice it for summer. Here’s a recipe from the Republic Of Tea.

    To add another dimension of flavor, the recipe uses maple syrup as the sweetener (that’s real maple syrup, not pancake syrup, which is artificially flavored corn syrup).

    If you’re not not keen on maple, use honey, half as much agave*, another sweetener, or no sweetener at all.

    RECIPE: ICED CHAI TEA

    Ingredients For 4 Six-Ounce Servings

  • 2 cups water
  • 6 chai tea bags or 6 teaspoons whole-leaf chai tea
  • 4 tablespoons maple syrup or equivalent sweetener
  • 1 cup milk
  • Ice, for serving
  •  
    Here’s a recipe in case you want to make your own masala chai tea blend from scratch.

    Preparation

    1. BRING 2 cups of water to a boil and pour over tea in a heat-resistant pitcher. Allow to infuse for 5 minutes, then remove the tea.

    2. STIR in the maple syrup until dissolved. Let the tea cool to room temperature.

    3. ADD the milk. Then chill first, or pour over ice to serve immediately.

    Find dozens more iced tea recipes at RepublicOfTea.com.

     
    *Agave nectar is about twice as sweet as sugar, honey and maple syrup.

      

    Comments

    TIP OF THE DAY: Drink Covers For Bug-Free Drinks

    We love this simple trick from gourmet caterer Pinch Food Design:

    To keep pesky bugs out of your drink at poolside or other outdoor leisure, poke a hole in a cupcake liner with a straw.

    If you want to create a perfect opening, get out the three-hole-punch.

    These multicolored cupcake liners from Wilton are well priced and ready to party.

    They’re available in different colors and designs, including polka dots, damask/zebra and a very festive color wheel.

    Don’t need a straw? Consider reusable plastic drink covers.

    These plastic drink covers, shaped like flowers. They have a tight, spill-proof seal, and thus have no opening for a straw.

    More subtle designs include these lily pads.

     

    lemon-cocktail-cupcake-wrapper-pinchfooddesign

    Keep the bugs away with cupcake liners. Photo courtesy Pinch Food Design.

     

      

    Comments

    TIP OF THE DAY: How To Keep Your Water Bottle Cold

    Record high temperatures and humidity nationwide today mean that no one should leave home without a water bottle or other hydration.

    But what happens if you don’t have a bottle chilling in the fridge…or even if you do?

    You wouldn’t think that a tip would be needed on how to chill a water bottle. But if your technique is simply to put the bottle in the fridge to chill down the water, you find that it warms up pretty quickly on a hot summer day.

    Here are some tips to keep that bottle of water colder, longer.

    Definitely start by keep your water bottle in the fridge; but “layer” that cold water with one of these techniques:

    3+ WAYS TO CHILL A WATER BOTTLE

    The Right Ice

  • Get a water bottle ice cube tray and add an ice stick to the bottle. Don’t buy the small round ice cubes or smaller sticks: The smaller the piece of ice, the faster it melts.
  •    

    vacu-vin-water-bottle-chiller-230

    A water bottle chilling jacket makes room temperature water cold, or keeps chilled water cooler, longer. Photo courtesy Vacu Vin.

     

    water-bottle-ice-cube-tray-progressiveIntl-230

    Ice cube trays designed for water bottles.
    Photo courtesy Photo courtesy Progressive
    International.

     

    Insulated Jackets

  • Use Rapid Ice, a pre-frozen jacket that goes over a wine bottle to chill it. It fits large bottles of water perfectly, and also helps keep 16-ounce bottles cool. It will extend the coldness of your water, which hopefully is pre-chilled with an added stick of ice. Place the sleeve back in the freezer when you return, and you can also use it to chill wine until you need it again for water.
  • Rapid Ice also makes a can chiller, to fit over beer and soda, which can help keep your water cool.
  • Rapid Ice competitor Vacu Vin makes a water bottle chiller jacket for a 16-ounce water bottle. It will also chill a room temperature bottle of water in five minutes.
  •  
    Other Techniques

  • Freeze the bottle, making sure it isn’t full to the top so the water can expand. Remove the bottle when you get up in the morning so the ice will start to melt
  • Use a good old-fashioned thermos bottle.
  •  
    More Ideas?

    If you’ve got them, share them!

      

    Comments

    PRODUCT: Sprizz-O Carbonated Juice Drink

    grapefruit-sprizzo-230

    In five flavors, Sprizz-O is very light and
    refreshing on a hot day. Photo courtesy
    Sprizz-O.

     

    The specialty food business is full of entrepreneurs who follow their dream, creating products they’d like to buy but haven’t found in the marketplace.

    In the soda arena, sparkling juice pioneers like Izze and Fizzy Lizzy have offered a lighter, fresher, all natural alternative to soda pop, simply by combining juice with carbonated water.

    Sprizz-O, new in the market, is even lighter, an ethereal, minimally sweet carbonated beverage that you’ll either find to be very refreshing, or not flavorful enough.

    We were divided in those opinions at THE NIBBLE’s tasting of samples we received. Sprizz-O is so light, it takes getting used to. But all of us finally got there, declaring it a fine refreshment for a scorching day.

    Made from juice, carbonated water and a bit of cane sugar, each 12 ounce bottle contains contains 50 calories.

    If you’d like to try a carbonated drink with a much lower sugar level, Sprizz-O is available in Cranberry, Grape, Grapefruit, Lime and Orange.

     

    Sprizz-O is currently rolling out in the metropolitan New York region, but you can follow the website to see when it arrives close you.

     
      

    Comments

    PRODUCT: Red Jacket Orchards Strawberry Apple Juice

    strawberry-apple-juice-red-apple-orchards-230

    Although it’s mixed with apple juice, it tastes
    like strawberry juice! Photo courtesy Red
    Jacket Orchards.

     

    Last week we were in love with Bolthouse Watermelon Mint Lemonade. Call us fickle, but this week we’re in love with something new.

    Red Jacket Orchards Strawberry Apple Juice tastes like lush strawberry juice, the fresh fruit puréed and blended with the company’s apple juice. Located in the Finger Lakes region of New York State, the company has been growing apples and pressing juice since 1958.

    The juices are cold pressed and unfiltered, capturing the freshest flavors and nutrients (heating juice to pasteurize it for shelf stability eliminates some nutrients and flavor).

    It’s pretty close to eating strawberries, rich in vitamin C (eight berries contain 140% of the U.S. recommended daily allowance) and polyphenols, powerful antioxidants. Health science research indicates that the polyphenols in strawberries play a major role in helping to regulate blood sugar response—good news for people with type 2 diabetes.

     
    Enjoy a glass of chilled soup. Mix it with club soda or clear spirits (gin, tequila, vodka). Use it as a base for fruit soup, adding a mound of mixed diced fruits to the center of the bowl. Churn it into sorbet or freeze into granita.

    In addition to plain and strawberry-apple juices, Red Jacket Orchards also Blackcurrant Apple, Grape Apple, Raspberry Apple along with Apricot Stomp (pure apricot nectar, no apple juice), Tart Cherry Stomp, Apple Cider and Spiced Apple Cider.

    Discover more at RedAppleOrchards.com.
     
      

    Comments

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