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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,
the online magazine about gourmet and specialty food.

Archive for Books

BOOK: Kitchen Survival Guide For Men


Save the males: Teach them to cook for
themselves. Photo courtesy Save The Males


Chef Gordon Smith has cooked for royalty, celebrities, executives, and Olympic athletes. Now, in his mission to “save the males,” he tells men what they need to know to survive on their own—by cooking good food at home instead of resorting to less-good-for-you fast food and take-out.

His book, Save the Males: A Kitchen Survival Cookbook, is a fun gift for single men as well as husbands, significant others and other men who have to fend for themselves in the kitchen, whether full-time or on occasion. It’s a practical culinary foundation for the novice and a great refresher course for any home cook.

(If you’re buying the book on, note that there’s another book named Save The Males, about relationships. Don’t let it confuse you. The one you want is co-authored by Reparata Mazzola and Gordon Smith.)

The underlying goal of “Save the Males” is fun, as Chef Gordon teaches readers how to switch from prepared foods to foods they prepare. An empty kitchen goes from foreboding to a place fragrant with delicious meals they cook meals for themselves, family and friends.


Chef Gordon Smith is a regular guy who knows from experience that cooking improves one’s health and appearance (eat better!) as well as one’s sex life (a home cooked dinner is romantic!).

Cooking for oneself is not only empowering; it could lead to a new hobby—or at least, it could get the man in your life to prepare dinner more often.

And that’s the reason to give copies to dads, grads, brothers, sons and friends.



BOOK: Craft Beer World


A gift for beer lovers. Photo courtesy Dog ‘N’


Looking for a gift for your Memorial Day hosts, or for Father’s Day? Instead of a bottle of wine, how about some craft beer?

Package the beer with a copy of Craft Beer World by Mark Dredge

With the explosion in the popularity of craft beers across the globe, more must-try beers are available than ever before.

Craft Beer World presents more than 300 of the world’s most innovative and delicious, showcasing the best of each style in 50 different categories.

From an American IPA bursting with citrusy C-hops or an Imperial Stout full of dark roasted malts, the book explains the key characteristics of each, from classic to cutting edge brews.

There are also nuggets of beer information, including how to serve different beers and how to pair beer with food.


Also consider a beer flavor wheel, a shortcut to comparing styles.

Another type of beer flavor wheel provides descriptions of the myriad flavors of beer.

Whether you’re looking for bitter beers or brews with hints of chocolate or coffee, these guides reviews will point you in the right direction. There’s not just one perfect beer to suit your taste buds; there are many!

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



A beer flavor wheel provides instant comparisons. Photo courtesy Beverage Ideas.




BOOK: Brassicas, Cooking The World’s Healthiest Vegetables


Eat your vegetables—make that, eat your
Brassicas. Photo courtesy Ten Speed Press.


Frequent readers of THE NIBBLE know of our devotion to cruciferous vegetables, also known as brassicas, from their Latin name in taxonomy*.

For a long time, brassicas have had a mixed reputation. People who know how to cook them adore them. Beyond the deliciousness, brassicas are superfoods—nutritional powerhouses packed with potent, cancer-fighting phytonutrients (antioxidants).

But anyone who has been served overcooked brassicas—when the sulfur compounds top the mushy texture with an unpleasant aroma—might just concur with George H.W. Bush, whose mom, we’re betting, didn’t cook the broccoli al dente.

Brassicas get the respect they deserve in a new book, Brassicas: Cooking the World’s Healthiest Vegetables: Kale, Cauliflower, Broccoli, Brussels Sprouts and More by Laura B. Russell, published this week in hardcover and Kindle editions.

One word is missing from that title: delicious. “Healthy vegetables” sounds too much like an admonition from mom or grandma. “Healthy and delicious” is a win-win.


And that’s what you’ll get in this cookbook. It showcases 80 recipes for broccoli, Brussels sprouts, cabbage, cauliflower, kale and leafy greens such as arugula and watercress. Recipes are easily tailored to accommodate special diets such as gluten-free, dairy-free, vegetarian and vegan.

The recipes prove that brassicas can taste delicious when properly prepared in ways that let the flavors shine through (no blanket of cheese sauce is required—or desired). When roasted, for example, Brussels sprouts, a food avoided by many, reveal their inherent sweetness that other preparation techniques take away. Caramelizing cauliflower in the sauté pan makes it so lovely that each individual will want to consumer the entire caramelized head.

This is a book for people who love their brassicas, and for people who don’t love them yet. Give copies as Mother’s Day and Father’s Day gifts, and to anybody who should eat more veggies.

The handsome hardcover volume is $17.04 on The Kindle version is $10.99.

*Kingdom Plantae, Order Brassicales, Family Brassicaceae, Genus Brassica.



FOOD FUN: Corned Beef & Cabbage Tacos

Who thought that inspiration for St. Patrick’s Day would come from La Tortilla Factory?

Corned beef and cabbage tacos!

We love fusion food, but these tacos do present a challenge:

Should we serve them with mustard, or with tomatillo salsa?

The answer to this question and others concerning nouvelle tacos can be found in the new book, The Taco Revolution by Brandon Schultz.

The book covers both traditional and new recipes, with chapters for beef, chicken, fish, pork, vegetable, breakfast and specialty tacos, plus sides, sauces and taco party advice.

On the nonconventional list, there are fusion tacos galore, including:

  • Avocado and tofu taco
  • BLT taco
  • California roll taco with wasabi sauce and soy sauce for dipping
  • Caprese taco with mozzarella, tomato and basil
  • Chicken salad taco and tuna salad taco, both with mayo
  • Chicken tikka taco (say that three times fast)
  • Falafel tahini taco
  • Hawaiian pizza taco
  • Korean taco of rice and kimchi
  • Orange chicken taco
  • Reuben tacos with sauerkraut and thousand island dressing
  • Smoked salmon and cream cheese taco
  • Steamed broccoli taco
  • Thanksgiving taco with turkey, stuffing and cranberry sauce


    Tacos for St. Patrick’s Day. Photo courtesy La Tortilla Factory.


    Salivating or simply intrigued? Get your copy at in hardcover or Kindle editions.



    HOLIDAY: National Deviled Egg Day

    Curried deviled eggs. Here’s the recipe. Photo


    It’s National Deviled Egg Day.

    Even people who rarely, if ever, eat a hard-cooked egg can’t help plucking a stuffed egg off the tray.

    You can celebrate plan or fancy. For the plainest, mash the yolk from a hard-cooked egg with some mayonnaise, Dijon mustard and salt, and garnish with sprinkle with paprika. Our Mom liked to mix in pickle relish (although this recipe is actually a stuffed egg—see the difference below).

    For fancy, take a look at these recipes:


  • How To Make Perfect Hard Cooked Eggs

    Stuffed eggs were a popular dish as far back as the Roman Empire. There are many different recipes for stuffed eggs through the centuries, but the term “deviled eggs” originated in 18th-century England.

    “Deviled” refers to the use of hot spices or condiments in a recipe—paprika, mustard, hot sauce, horseradish, chiles, etc.

    So all deviled eggs are stuffed eggs, but only stuffed eggs with hot spice are deviled eggs.



    For 50 new and creative deviled egg recipes, take a look at D’Lish Deviled Eggs: A Collection of Recipes from Creative to Classic. Here’s a recipe from the book, which fuses ingredients from the California Roll:


  • 1 dozen hard-cooked eggs

  • 1/2 ripe avocado
  • 3 tablespoons mayonnaise
  • 1 tablespoon wasabi paste (or 1 tablespoon wasabi powder mixed with 1 tablespoon water)
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt

  • 2 ounces crabmeat (1/3 to 1/2 cup)
  • 24 small cucumber fans

    How about 50 new deviled egg recipes? Photo courtesy Andrews McNeel Publishing.

  • Sesame seed-seaweed sprinkle (nori komi furikake*)
  • 2 tablespoons fish roe (tobiko)
    *This mixture of crumbled nori sheets and toasted sesame seeds has many other uses. It is delicious on rice and potatoes, with eggs, even in plain Greek yogurt.


    1. HALVE the eggs lengthwise and transfer the yolks to a small bowl. Set the egg white halves on a platter, cover and refrigerate.

    2. MASH the avocado well in a mixing bowl with a fork. Add the yolks and mash to a smooth consistency. Add the mayonnaise, wasabi paste and salt and mix until smooth. Taste and season accordingly.

    3. SPOON mixture into a pastry bag fitted with a plain or large star tip, then pipe the mixture evenly into the egg white halves. Or fill the eggs with a spoon, dividing evenly.

    4. TOP each egg half with a little crabmeat, a cucumber fan, a sprinkle of furikake and about 1/4 teaspoon of fish roe.



    TIP OF THE DAY: Become A Master Soda Maker

    Here’s a fun Father’s Day gift that will open your eyes to how great it is to make soda at home—and how much more popular you’ll be once you start doing it!

    Anton Nocito, proprietor of P&H Soda Co. in Brooklyn, New York, has assembled his techniques and ideas into a new book, Make your Own Soda: Syrup Recipes for All-Natural Pop, Floats, Cocktails, and More.

    All you need is a bottle of seltzer or a Sodastream and you’re on your way to becoming a great soda maker—and to enjoying real soda, without ubiquitous artificial colors, flavors and questionable sweeteners. You’ll:

  • Whip up your own syrups with fresh fruits and spices
  • Serve up egg creams and egg shakes
  • Make truly superior ice cream sodas
  • Deliver gourmet hot drinks

    Cherry Lime Rickey. Photo courtesy Make Your Own Soda | Clarkson Potter.


    Grapefruit soda with homemade grapefruit
    syrup. Photo courtesy Make Your Own Soda |
    Clarkson Potter.


    Then, relax with your creations. Natural sodas are vibrantly flavored: the zing of just-squeezed citrus juice, the intensity of ripe berries, the subtle perfume of fresh herbs.

    And the ability to customize a drink that’s as sweet (or not) as you like, with conventional or low glycemic sweeteners (we successfully substituted agave nectar for the sugar).

    Handmade syrups make all the difference in recipes for all-natural soda pop, floats, cocktails, punches and more: The book has a total of 70 recipes, simple and fun. Beautiful photographs make you want to make every one. This is cookbook that any soda lover will love.

    Anthony Nocito is a graduate of the French Culinary Institute and was an executive sous chef in the Union Square Hospitality Group. Artisanal soft drinks are obviously one of his passions. They may become one of yours, too.



    To show you how easy it is, here’s a sample recipe from the book. If you remember Brigham’s and Bailey’s casual restaurants in the Boston area, you remember the Raspberry Lime Rickey, as seductive a soft drink as ever graced a soda fountain—brightly colored, sweet and tart, a favorite of kids adults alike. Nocito’s version is a cherry lime rickey—very satisfactory. But you can always make a batch of raspberry syrup and relive the memories.

    Ingredients For 1 Drink

  • 2 tablespoons lime syrup (recipe belowk)
  • Juice of ½ lime
  • Dash of citric acid solution
  • Seltzer
  • 2 tablespoons sour cherry syrup (recipe below)
  • Wedge of lime, for garnish

    1. FILL a tall glass with ice. Add the lime syrup, lime juice, and citric acid solution.

    2. ADD the seltzer, float the cherry syrup on top and garnish with the lime wedge.


  • 1¼ cups water
  • 1 cup sugar
  • Zest of 4 limes
    1. BOIL water in a medium saucepan over medium heat. Add the zest and remove the pan from the heat. Steep for at least 1 hour. Let cool.

    2. STORE in an airtight container in the refrigerator for up to 14 days.


  • 2 quarts fresh sour cherries, pitted
  • 2 cups sugar
  • Juice of ½ lemon
    1. COMBINE cherries, sugar and lemon juice in a medium saucepan and bring to boil over medium heat. Reduce heat and simmer for 30 minutes.

    2. STRAIN the syrup through a fine-mesh strainer; discard the fruit solids.

    3. STORE in an airtight container in the refrigerator for up to 7 days.



    BOOK: Ice Cream Sandwich Recipes

    If you’re looking for something special for summer hosts, how about hundreds of ideas for ice cream sandwiches?

    Not only are ice cream sandwiches a cool summer dessert, but these dazzling recipes will get even hesitant bakers into the mood—and may inspire you to host a few ice cream sandwich summer socials.

    For sure, Cookies & Cream: Hundreds Of Ways To Make The Perfect Ice Cream Sandwich, by Tessa Arias, has inspired us.

    There are 50 recipes for both sweet and savory sandwiches, using simple ingredients to deliver very creative flavor combinations. The recipes include both the ice cream and the cookie or other sandwich base.

    Instructions are simple to follow and thorough: You can give this book to a young teenager (and we’d encourage that, because one cookbook leads to another, and self-sufficiency in the kitchen).


    Spend the summer making dazzling ice cream sandwiches. Photo courtesy Running Press.


    You can switch the flavors around to make hundreds of different combinations.

    The recipes are divided by category:

  • Classic, such as Rocky Road and Snickerdoodle
  • Chocolate, including Grasshopper and Peanut Butter Cup
  • Real Dessert, from Cannoli to Carrot Cake
  • Fruity, such as Lemon-Blueberry and Strawberry Balsamic
  • Sinful, including Dulce de Leche and Red Velvet
  • Boozy, such as Margarita and Tiramisu
  • Holiday, like Candy Cane and Gingerbread
    We want to make every recipe in the book!

    The hardcover book is just $12.72 on How much better can it get? Order your copies!



    PASSOVER: Matzaroni & Cheese, A Passover-Friendly Mac & Cheese Recipe

    The Passover mac and cheese alternative.
    Photo courtesy Passover Made Easy.

      A couple of weeks ago we published a modern Passover recipe, Eggplant Wrapped Chicken, from the new cookbook, Passover Made Easy.

    Passover begins at sunset on Monday, March 25th and continues for seven days. Here’s a kid-friendly recipe that puts a new spin on mac and cheese.


    Wheat products can’t be consumed for passover—no bagels, no pizza, no pasta. But for kids whose favorite meal is mac and cheese, the authors have created an substitute. “This is an easy dinner that will get all the troops running to the table when the hot, cheesy, and bubbling dish emerges from the oven.” they say. The recipe makes 6-8 servings.


  • 5 matzahs, broken into small pieces
  • 5 eggs
  • 1 container (16 ounces) sour cream
  • 1 container (16 ounces) cottage cheese
  • 3 tablespoon butter, melted
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 2 cups shredded mozzarella or muenster cheese, divided


    1. PREHEAT oven to 350°F. In an 8 x 8-inch baking dish, arrange 1/3 of the broken matzah pieces.

    2. BEAT eggs in a medium bowl. Add sour cream, cottage cheese, butter, salt, and 1 cup shredded cheese. Pour 1/3 of the cheese mixture over the matzah. Repeat with two additional layers of matzah and cheese.

    3. TOP with remaining 1 cup shredded cheese. Bake for 40 minutes. The cheese on top should be brown and bubbling. Serve immediately.



    PASSOVER: Start New Traditions With These Recipes

    Passover begins at sunset on Monday, March 25th and continues for seven days. Observant Jews celebrate the first two nights with seders, featuring recipes that have been in their families for generations.

    But how about some 21st-century Passover recipes—if not for a seder, then for the other five days? There are more than 60 modern, creative Passover recipes in a new cookbook, Passover Made Easy. Some of the recipes that are calling out to us:

  • Brisket Eggrolls
  • Citrus Beet Salad with Honey-Balsamic Vinaigrette
  • Eggplant-Wrapped Chicken
  • Espresso Macarons with Chocolate-Hazelnut Cream
  • French Roast with Fresh Spice Rub
  • Frozen Lemon Wafer Cake
  • Jalapeño Lime and Ginger Salmon
  • Pecan Pie with Cookie Crust
  • Roasted Tomato and Eggplant Soup
  • Schnitzel Nuggets with Apricot Dipping Sauce
  • Spaghetti Squash Kugel
  • Tortillas with Tomato-Mint Salsa and Guacamole
  • Vegetable Lo Mein

    There’s plenty of time to pick up a copy and plan for Passover. Photo courtesy Passover Made Easy.


    The easy to prepare, sure to please original recipes were developed and tested by best-selling cookbook author Leah Schapira (Fresh & Easy Kosher Cooking) and co-founder of, an online kosher recipe exchange; with Victoria Dwek, managing editor of Whisk, a kosher food magazine.

    Pick up a copy for yourself or as a gift: it’s just $10.87 on There are fascinating culinary tidbits, useful preparation tips, full-color photos for each dish, step-by-step plating and food styling secrets, and a wine pairings and Seder wine guide.

    As a bonus, all but four of the 60 recipes in the book are gluten-free. And of course, the recipes can be enjoyed all year long. Here’s one recipes from Passover Made Easy to start you off; next week, we’ll publish Matzaroni, the mac-and-cheese alternative:


    Eggplant-wrapped chicken, one of the
    modern recipe alternatives. Photo courtesy
    Passover Made Easy.





  • 1 tall eggplant
  • ½ cup oil
  • ¼ tsp salt
  • Pinch coarse black pepper
    Meat Mixture

  • 3 tablespoons oil
  • 1 onion, diced
  • 2 garlic cloves, minced
  • ½ pound ground meat of choice
  • ½ teaspoon salt
  • ½ teaspoon garlic powder

  • 6 boneless skinless chicken thighs
  • ¼ tsp salt
  • Pinch course black pepper

    1. PREHEAT oven to broil. Grease a baking sheet. Cut eggplant lengthwise, 1/4-inch thick, to get 6 or 7 slices. Reserve remaining eggplant scraps. Place eggplant slices on prepared baking sheet. Brush slices with oil and season with salt and pepper. Broil 5 minutes per side, until second side is beginning to brown. The slices should appear as if they were fried. Remove and set aside.

    2. PREHEAT oven to 350°F. Peel and finely dice remaining eggplant to obtain ½ cup diced eggplant. Heat oil in a sauté pan over medium heat. Add onion, garlic, and diced eggplant and sauté until soft, about 5-7 minutes.

    3. COMBINE onion mixture with ground meat in a small bowl. Season with salt and garlic powder.

    4. SEASON chicken thighs with salt and pepper. Place a tablespoon of the meat mixture into each thigh and roll up to close. Roll an eggplant slice around each stuffed chicken thigh. Place, seam side down and close together, in a baking pan. Cover and bake for 2½ hours.

    Serve with mashed potatoes or your favorite Passover-approved grain,* and your favorite green vegetable, steamed or sauteed lightly with garlic.

    *Grains forbidden during passover include barley and all types of wheat. Grains such as quinoa and rice were not known during biblical times so are not forbidden. Extremely religious people will avoid any grain.



    BOOK: Marmalade, by Elizabeth Field

    Marmalade could become your new signature dish. Photo courtesy Running Press.


    When Elizabeth Field was growing up, she didn’t like the bitter orange marmalade that her parents loved to slather on toast. But as an adult, she was introduced to homemade marmalade and became a convert.

    Her new book, Marmalade, Sweet & Savory Spreads For A Sophisticated Taste, may inspire you to begin your own marmalade journey.

    Charmingly designed and photographed, it inspires a get-together: Make a day of marmalade-making with a friend. It’s quality time together that yields jars and jars of provisions and gifts. Friends and colleagues will clamor for it.

    If they tax your generosity, you can simply buy them a copy of the book:


    Give a man a jar and he has marmalade for a week. Teach a man to make marmalade and you give him marmalade for a lifetime. And hopefully, there will be gift jars in it for you.

    Get your copy here.

    Don’t worry that fresh fruit season is waning. There are 11 citrus marmalade recipes as well as fall-winter flavors such as Double Ginger Pear and Quince Raspberry Marmalades.

    And you must make lots and lots of the savory Red Onion Marmalade. It goes with sandwiches, burgers and just about every type of grilled or roasted fish, meat and poultry. There isn’t enough onion marmalade in America. It will be an unforgettable holiday gift.

    The author also provides recipes for buttermilk biscuits, brown soda bread and popovers to enjoy with your marmalade; and shows you had to use the spread in main dishes such as Marmalade Roast Duck and Glazed Country Ham.


    Marmalade originated some 2,000 years ago as a solid cooked quince and honey paste, the precursor of Spain’s famed membrillo, served with Manchego cheese as a popular dessert. It was on the tables of ancient Greeks and Romans.

    Some time around the 10th century, the Portuguese replaced the honey with sugar. They called it marmelada after the word for quince, marmelo.

    Marmelada was a luxury product and a popular gift among noble families. Sugar, produced in the subtropics, was a very expensive import until the 1800s. For example, it wasn’t until 1874 that the British government abolished the sugar tax and made “white gold” affordable to the average citizen.


    They’re related, but different, styles of spreads. Check out our Jam Glossary which explains the differences among these terms and others (chutney, confiture, conserve, curd, fruit butter, gelée, fruit curd and fruit spread).

    Find our favorite brands of store-bought spreads.



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