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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

FOOD FUN: Coffee Cake Infused Latte

Many people love a piece of coffee cake with coffee. But what about infusing the coffee cake into your latte?

Barista Laila Ghambari, a member of the executive council of Barista Guild of America, has created a signature fall recipe for De’Longhi. Among other fine appliances, De’Longhi makes coffeemakers, from drip and steam coffee to espresso and the Nespresso and Nescafe Dolce systems.

Laila’s recipe can be easily made by at-home baristas. Combining the flavors of cinnamon and brown sugar into a delicious cup of coffee, you can enjoy it with dessert, or instead of dessert.

You can also try this fun technique with any other favorite pastries or even cereal.

RECIPE: COFFEE CAKE INFUSED LATTE

Ingredients

  • 1 inch x 1 inch square of coffee cake
  • 1 cup of milk
  •  

    Coffee cake is in your latte. Photo courtesy De’Longhi.

     

    Preparation

    1. SOAK coffee cake in milk overnight in the refrigerator.

    2. STRAIN the coffee cake-infused milk into a container or your machine’s milk container, being careful to remove any large cake pieces

    3. USE the milk to make any espresso-based beverage. Garnish with an optional shake of cinnamon and by all means, enjoy a standard portion of coffee cake with your drink.

      

    Comments

    RECIPE: Strawberry Egg Cream

    There is tuna in tuna noodle casserole. There are strawberries in strawberry shortcake. There’s ice cream in an ice cream soda.

    But there’s no egg in an egg cream—and there’s no cream, either. The ingredients are milk, seltzer and chocolate syrup. In other words, it’s a carbonated chocolate soda made creamy with milk, or carbonated chocolate milk.

    There are riffs on the original chocolate drink, a long-ago staple of New York City soda fountains. So let’s make a strawberry egg cream.

    STRAWBERRY EGG CREAM RECIPE

    Ingredients

  • Strawberry preserves, strawberry syrup or fresh strawberries
  • Milk
  • Seltzer/club soda, regular or flavored
  •  

    Strawberry egg cream. Photo courtesy Polar Seltzer.

     

    Preparation

    1. ADD a generous dollop of strawberry preserves or strawberry syrup to the bottom of a glass. If using fresh or frozen strawberries, muddle in the bottom of the glass and sweeten to taste (an opportunity to add a non-caloric or low-glycemic sweetener).

    2. ADD 1/4 cup cold milk, and whisk together.

    3. TOP off with vanilla seltzer, strawberry seltzer or plain seltzer. Be sure not to over-dilute the strawberry-milk mix.

    For a richer drink, use half and half. And try other fruit variations. Blueberry egg cream, anyone?

    Here’s the history of the egg cream and recipe for the classic chocolate egg cream.

      

    Comments

    PRODUCT: Cashew Milk

    Slide over, almond milk, soy milk and rice milk. There’s a new milk in town: cashew milk. We got the 411 from Hannah Kaminsky of BittersweetBlog.com. It’s a boon for kosher, lactose-intolerant and vegan food enthusiasts. Hannah writes:

    Well, it’s about time! Considering the proliferation of non-dairy milks populating grocery stores, it seems unthinkable that cashews have been entirely missing in action. Until now.

    Who better to unleash the world’s first commercial cashew milk than So Delicious, having proven their mastery of both frozen and refrigerated dairy-free delights? Before I even realized my own unfulfilled nut milk desires, this turned out to be the creamy drink I had been waiting for all along.

    Almond milk is my typical go-to milk alternative, the prime candidate for drinking, baking, cooking, and yes, ice cream-ing.

     

    New cashew milk from So Delicious. Photo © Hannah Kaminsky | BittersweetBlog.com.

     

    From here on in, consider that prime spot in my fridge under serious reconsideration, because So Delicious’ cashew milk performs all of those tasks with equal grace, and of course, great taste.

    Currently offered in Unsweetened and Unsweetened Vanilla, my only hope would be that the line takes off and expands to include a chocolate option.

     

    Cashews: ready to be “milked.” Photo by
    Midori | Wikimedia.

     

    Both flavors have an excellent viscosity, a moderate thickness without any cloying sensation. Though considerably less rich than homemade cashew milk, for a mere fraction of the calories (35 per cup) cashew milk tastes surprisingly creamy and luscious.

    A very subtle nutty flavor defines thee background flavor, distinctly cashew in essence, and easily minimized when mixed into other recipes. Bearing a clean flavor with no sugar to speak of, they can seamlessly work in any application, a testament to their versatility.

    In short, if you don’t give these cashew milks a try, you’re seriously missing out! They may very well replace my almond standby, at least once they gain wider distribution in more mainstream grocery stores.

    So Delicious products are certified Kosher (parve) by Kehilla Kosher.

    —Hannah Kaminsky

     

    WHAT’S SO GREAT ABOUT CASHEWS?

    Surprise: Cashew “nuts” are not true nuts but seeds that adhere to the bottom of the cashew apple, the fruit of the cashew tree.

    Another surprise: Cashews are always sold shelled, because the inside lining of the shells contains an inedible, caustic resin. This “cashew balm” is used to make varnishes and insecticides!

    But the bounty inside the shell is a most delicious, nutritious nut/seed, with one-quarter cup providing copper (37.5% DV), magnesium (25% DV), manganese (28.4% DV), phosphorus (20.3% DV) and tryptophan (DV 28.1%), as well as iron, selenium and zinc.

    Cashews’ high antioxidant components also help to lower risk of cardiovascular and coronary heart diseases.

    Cashews have a lower fat content than most other nuts, and most of it comprises heart-healthy monounsaturated fats (the same fats found in olive oil).

    So dig in—or drink up!

      

    Comments

    TIP OF THE DAY: Peach Lemonade Recipe

    Before all the peaches disappear from the market, make fresh peach lemonade.

    This tip was inspired by one of our favorite bloggers, Vicky of the U.K.-based blog Stasty.com. Vicky in turn was inspired:

    “We were at a restaurant recently and they had peach lemonade on the menu. It was divine, so I had to replicate it at home, and it tasted even better.

    “It’s so refreshing on a hot day and is nice with a shot of vodka as a cocktail. So, I will continue to buy my case of peaches every week until I [no longer] can…”

    RECIPE: PEACH LEMONADE

    Ingredients

  • 3 peaches, just ripe, but not over-ripe, skinned and pitted (the word is “stoned” in the U.K.)
  • 1 cup/240 ml fresh-squeezed lemon juice
  • 3/4 cup/190 g sugar
  • 6-1/4 cups/1500 ml water
  •  

    This will be a hit, so make a big pitcher of peach lemonade. Photo courtesy Stasty.com.

  • Optional garnish: peach wedge (skin on), mint or rosemary sprig
  • Optional: shot of gin, tequila or vodka per glass
  •  

    Photo courtesy Washington State Fruit
    Commission.

     

    Preparation

    1. USE a vegetable peeler to remove the skin from the peaches.

    2. PURÉE the skinned and pitted peaches in a food processor.

    3. PLACE the lemon juice and sugar in a large saucepan over a medium heat. Heat until the sugar has dissolved, stirring frequently. Then, add the peach purée; stir well.

    4. COOL the syrup, then add the water and refrigerate. Garnish as desired and serve.
     
    Find more of our favorite beverages and recipes.

      

    Comments

    FOOD FUN: Convert Canning Jars To Drinkware

    If you’ve been to restaurants or parties where the drinks are served in canning jars, you can be just as trendy at home or on the go.

    And you can do it with an improved approach: a spillproof drinking lid adapter.

    The Cuppow is a new invention that lets you up-cycle a canning jar into an eco-friendly beverage travel mug or sippy cup—although since glass is breakable, even extra-thick Mason jar, you’ll have to judge the portability based on your own habits.

    “The canning jar already makes an awesome platform for a travel mug,” say the manufacturers. “It’s easy to clean, made of heat-resistant glass, cheap, durable, and when sealed it doesn’t leak. The only problem is that with their large openings, canning jars are not great for spill-free sipping while on the move. So we adapted it [into] a simple, eco-friendly alternative to poor-performing and messy disposable hot cups, and over-built and expensive travel mugs.”

     


    Turn your canning jars into drinkware. Photo courtesy Cuppow.

     

    The plastic circles, that insert into the metal rim of the canning jar lid, are available in clear, blue and pink for regular jars and clear, mint green, and orange for wide mouth jars. The adapters enable you to drink sippy-cup-style or insert a straw.

     

    Photo courtesy Cuppow.

     

    At $7.99 each they are pretty expensive for the plastic inset only: You BYO jar and metal lid. For a one-off, the price is affordable; but if you want to use them for the whole family or for entertaining, you have to trade off cost versus fun. One hopes that the company will find a way to bring the price down.

    The Cuppow is made in the U.S.A. from 100% recycled BPA/BPS-free rigid plastic. It is dishwasher safe (top rack only).

    They are available at retailers nationwide and at Cuppow.com.

    The manufacturer is committed to diverting as much waste as possible from landfills and contributes 5% of profits to domestic charities and social initiatives.

     

      

    Comments

    TIP OF THE DAY: Frozen Lemonade

    August 20th is National Lemonade Day. When life gives you a lemonade holiday, make frozen lemonade!

    We were inspired by the photo from Earl of Sandwich to make our own frozen lemonade.

    The ingredients are simple, but you need an ice cream machine to make a frozen slurry, as if you were making lemon sorbet. So pull out the ice cream maker, or borrow one from your neighbor.

    RECIPE: FROZEN LEMONADE

    Ingredients

  • 2 cups warm water
  • 2-1/2 cups sugar
  • 2 cups freshly squeezed lemon juice
  • Optional garnish: berries, lemon wheel, mint or rosemary sprig
  • Optional shot: gin, lemon liqueur, saké, tequila, vodka
  •  

    Frozen lemonade. Photo courtesy Earl of Sandwich.

     

    Preparation

    1. COMBINE the water and sugar in a small saucepan. Warm water will help the sugar to dissolve. Or, pulse regular sugar in the food processor to create easy-dissolving superfine sugar.

    2. ADD the lemon juice and refrigerate for 1 hour.

    3. FREEZE the mixture in an ice cream machine according to manufacturer’s directions, until it reaches a slushy consistency.

    4. POUR into a glass; stir in a tablespoon to a shot of optional spirit.

    5. GARNISH and serve with a straw and a spoon.
     
    MORE LEMONADE

  • Arnold Palmer Recipe: half iced tea, half lemonade
  • Homemade Lemonade Recipe, including sugar-free options
  • Mint Lemonade Recipe, plus more lemonade tips (lemonade ice cubes, for starters)
  •  
    Lemonade Cocktails

  • Blueberry Lemonade Cocktail
  • London Lemonade Cocktail
  •   

    Comments

    TIP OF THE DAY: Cucumber Water

    Toss cucumber slices into a glass or a pitcher
    of water. Photo by Elvira Kalviste | THE
    NIBBLE.

     

    When life gives you cucumbers, you can make cucumber soup, cucumber salad, add cukes to green salads and grain salads and make pickled cucumbers (that’s “pickles” to most of us, although any fruit or vegetable can be pickled).

    You can make cucumber sandwiches or tea sandwiches (with butter and watercress, please!), add slices to wraps and summer rolls, mix diced cucumbers with yogurt and cottage cheese (and some fresh-cracked pepper). TIP: Instead of adding lettuce to a sandwich—or in addition to it—add thin cucumber slices.

    You can get fancy with cucumber-wrapped sushi maki (called a naruto roll) or use cucumber slices as the base for goat cheese, tartare or other canapés.

    And you can drink your cucumber: puréed into a juice or cocktail base, as a garnish in a Bloody Mary or Martini or other drink.

    In fact, the easiest thing to do with a cucumber is to make cucumber water. If you’re a cucumber fan, you’ll love it: refreshing, flavorful and virtually calorie free.

     

    CUCUMBER WATER RECIPE

    Ingredients

  • Cucumbers (any kind)
  • Water
  • Optional: lemon slices, fresh herbs
  •  
    Preparation

    1. WASH cucumbers. You can leave the peel or remove it, especially if the cucumber is waxed.

    2. SLICE cucumbers to desired thickness.

    3. ADD optional lemon slices to make cucumber lemon water.

    5. ADD to water. It infuses almost instantly.
     
    CUCUMBER WATER IN A PITCHER

    A pitcher gives you the opportunity to infuse fresh herbs into the water as well. We particularly like basil or rosemary, but experiment with your own favorites.

    You can keep a pitcher of cucumber water in the fridge for a day or two. After that, the cucumber will start to go bad, so drink up!

      

    Comments

    TOP PICK OF THE WEEK: Q Drinks

    Grapefruit, one of the 6 varieties of Q
    mixers. Photo courtesy Q Drinks.

     

    How demanding is your palate?

    If the answer is “pretty demanding,” move on to the next questions.

    Do you enjoy mixed drinks? Are the mixers big-brand sodas?

    Well, we all know what’s in those sodas: artificial flavors, high fructose corn syrup and other ingredients that should not be shaking hands with top-shelf spirits.

    The solution: Q Drinks, top-shelf mixers.

    The first in the series, Q Tonic Water, is a revelation if you’re used to the HFCS/artificial quinine variety. All of the mixers—including Grapefruit, Ginger, Kola, Lemon, Orange—are made with organic agave sweetener.

    All can be enjoyed as soft drinks as well: lightly sweet and elegant.

    Read the full review.

     

    As a bonus, it includes the history of carbonated beverages—an accidental scientific observation that now generates billions of dollars of sales worldwide.

    FIND MORE OF OUR FAVORITE COCKTAIL MIXERS.

      

    Comments

    RECIPE: Thai Iced Coffee Recipe

    Recently we published a recipe for Thai iced tea, which had some readers asking if there is also Thai iced coffee.

    There most definitely is (Vietnamese iced coffee is similar or identical, depending on who makes it). In Thailand, the drink is called kah-feh dahm yen, and the locals prefer it very sweet.

    You can often find Thai iced coffee at Thai restaurants in the U.S. Or, make your own: It’s very easy. Prep time is just 10 minutes after the coffee is made. You also need chilling time.

    The recipe uses strong, bitter coffee—such as espresso, French roast or Italian roast—which acts as a counterpoint to the rich cream and the sweetened condensed milk.

    You can even use leftover coffee. While coffee purists may shudder at the thought, the sweetened condensed milk masks any minute note they might detect. You can also use strong instant coffee.

     

    Thai iced coffee: strong coffee, sweetened condensed milk and cream. Photo courtesy Nescafé.

     
    And, you can also add a liqueur to create an after-dinner drink: Bailey’s/Carolan’s, Cointreau/Grand Marnier, Creme de Cacao/Godiva, Kahlúa, or other favorite.

    And, you can turn it into a dessert.

    Here’s how to make Thai iced coffee:

    RECIPE: THAI ICED COFFEE

    Ingredients Per Serving

  • 8 ounces of strongly brewed coffee*
  • 2-4 tablespoons sweetened condensed milk (the more you use, the sweeter the drink)
  • 1/4 cup cream, half and half or evaporated milk
  • Optional: ground cardamom or ground cinnamon†
  • Ice cubes
  •  
    *The coffee can be any room temperature. If it’s room temperature or chilled, your Thai iced coffee will be ready to drink all the sooner.
     
    †You can use both; we also like a dash of nutmeg. You can add or substitute ¼ teaspoon of almond, anise, vanilla or other extract.
     
    Preparation

    1. POUR coffee into a mixing container (we use a repurposed glass orange juice bottle).

    2. ADD 4-6 tablespoons sweetened condensed milk and optional spices; stir well until dissolved. Refrigerate for one hour or longer to chill.

    3. ADD a few ice cubes to two tall glasses and fill with the cold coffee mixture. Top off with the cream. As the cream sinks, it makes an attractive swirl.

    After you make the first batch, taste it and adjust the recipe. Add more sweetened condensed milk if you want a sweeter drink, or more cream if you want a richer drink or if the coffee is too strong.
     
    Dessert Variation

    Add a scoop of coffee or vanilla ice cream; garnish with whipped cream and toasted coconut flakes.

      

    Comments

    RECIPE: Thai Iced Tea

    WHAT IS THAI ICED TEA?

    Thai iced tea, known as cha-yen (cha is the word for tea), is served in Thailand, Vietnam, elsewhere around the Pacific Rim and in Thai restaurants in the West and elsewhere around the world. It is made from strong-brewed black tea and sweetened condensed milk, which adds body and creamy mouthfeel.

    The brewed tea can be enhanced with spices, such as cardamom, clove, nutmeg, star anise and tamarind. If you like chai tea with milk and sweetener, you’ll equally like Thai iced tea.

    For visual appeal, the deep amber tea and white condensed milk are swirled together or layered. The drink can be topped off evaporated milk, coconut milk, half and half or whole milk.

    The countries where it’s most popular are known for hot.steamy summers. Thai iced tea is a welcome refreshment—and a complement to spicy food. If your neck of the woods is as hot and steamy as ours is, it’s time to try the recipe.

     

    The milky swirl of Thai iced tea is a visual treat. Photo courtesy ArborTeas.com.

     

    THAI ICED TEA RECIPE

    Ingredients

  • 3/4 cup black tea leaves (approximately 3 ounces)
  • Optional spices: cardamom, ground tamarind, nutmeg, star anise or others (cinnamon works for us), to taste
  • 6 cups boiling water
  • 1/2 cup sugar (or equivalent noncaloric sweetener)
  • 1/2 cup sweetened condensed milk
  • 1 cup evaporated milk to top (you can substitute coconut milk, half and half or whole milk)
  • Ice
  •  

    Thai iced tea. Photo by Jeff Kramer |
    Wikimedia.

     

    Preparation

    1. STEEP the tea leaves (and any optional spices) in boiling water for 5 minutes. Strain out the tea leaves. Using an infuser (tea ball) makes this step easier.

    2. STIR in sugar while the tea is still hot, until dissolved; then stir in condensed milk.

    3. COOL to room temperature or ideally, chill in the fridge.

    4. ADD ice to tall iced tea glasses and pour in tea mixture until glasses are roughly 3/4 full. Slowly top off glasses with evaporated milk.
     
    VARIATIONS

    If you find yourself in the Pacific Rim, you can have what Americans think of as iced tea.

  • Dark Thai iced tea (cha dam yen) is simple iced tea without the milk, sweetened with sugar.
  •  

  • Lime Thai tea (cha manao) is dark Thai iced tea flavored with lime. Mint may also be added.
  •  
    If you’re looking for unsweetened iced tea in the Pacific Rim, you may be out of luck. It‘s the birthplace of sugar.

    A BRIEF HISTORY OF SUGAR

    Sugar is native to Southeast Asia, with three species seeming to have originated in two locations: Saccharum barberi in India and Saccharum edule and Saccharum officinarum in New Guinea.

    Originally, people chewed on the raw sugar cane stalks to enjoy the sweetness. Refined sugar appears around 500 B.C.E., when residents of what is now India began to make sugar syrup from the cane juice. They cooled it to make crystals that were easier to store and transport. These crystals were called khanda, which is the source of the word candy.

    Indian sailors carried sugar along various trade routes. In 326 B.C.E., Alexander the Great and his troops saw farmers on the Indian subcontinent growing sugar cane and making the crystals, which were called sharkara, pronounced as saccharum.

    The Macedonian soldiers carried “honey bearing reeds” home with them. But sugar cane remained a little known crop to most Europeans for the next thousand years, a rare and costly product that made sugar traders wealthy.

    In the 12th century, Crusaders brought sugar back to Europe from the Holy Land, where they encountered caravans carrying the “sweet salt.” Venice began to produce sugar in Lebanon to supply Europe, where honey had been the only available sweetener. By the 15th century, Venice was the chief sugar refining and distribution center in Europe.

     
    HOW MANY TYPES OF SUGAR HAVE YOU HAD?

    Check out the different types of sugar in our Sugar Glossary.

      

    Comments

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