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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 Entertaining

TIP OF THE DAY: Break Wine Barriers

Most people who drink wine regularly have learned “rules” of pairing wine with food. There are very precise rules—Chablis with oysters is one—and general pronouncements, such as white wine with fish.

You can go to the website FoodAndWinePairing.org and get guidance such as a Cabernet Sauvignon or a Malbec with lamb.

But conventional wisdom, which also includes drinking the wines from the same region as the foods, is not the same as the latest wisdom.

The new wisdom of wine says don’t be regimented, don’t box yourself in. Try different pairings to see what works best for you.

The new wisdom (which has been around for a while) was proved at a lunch last week hosted by Louis Jadot, the venerable Burgundian winemaker and négociant*.

In a private room at Lafayette Grand Café in the Nolita neighborhood of downtown Manhattan, ten wine writers joined Frederic Barnier, Jadot’s winemaker, for an eye-opening (and delicious) lunch.

We tried eight different dishes with four Jadot wines, two whites and two reds:

  • Louis Jadot Bourgogne Chardonnay
  • Louis Jadot Macon-Villages
  • Louis Jadot Beaujolais-Villages
  • Louis Jadot Pinot Noir
  •  

    filet-mignon-red-wine-ruthschris-230

    If you think you prefer Cabernet Sauvignon with filet mignon, think again. Photo courtesy Ruth’s Chris Steak House.

     

    Also tasted prior to the lunch were the new Louis Jadot Steel Chardonnay, made for the American market where many people prefer the flavors of steel fermentation to oak barrel fermentation; and the 2012 Pouilly-Fuisse.

     

    jadot-beaujolais-230b

    Who new we’d enjoy Beaujolais with just
    about everything? Photo courtesy Maison
    Louis Jadot.

      MIX & MATCH

    We were encouraged to mix and match the wines with the foods. Served family style on large platters, we dined on:

  • Roasted beet root salad with mach and hazelnuts
  • Escarole and endive salad with pomegranate and truffle vinaigrette
  • Charcuterie de la maison: saucisson, pâte and jambon
  • Rotisserie chicken salad with organic grains and tarragon-poppy dressing
  • Brisket burger with caramelized onions and raclette
  • Roasted fall vegetables and potatoes
  • Brussels sprouts with bacon and horseradish
  •  
    SURPRISES

    As you might imagine, there’s a lot of conventional wisdom on which wines to pair with these foods. But we tried every possible pairing, and the results were surprising—or maybe not so surprising:

    Everyone liked something different, and many of the preferences were not the conventional ones.

    Even more surprising to us—a lover of red and white Burgundy but not necessarily of Beaujolais†—is how much we liked that Beaujolais with just about everything. It was our favorite wine of the tasting, and the nice Jadot people sent us home with a bottle.

     
    PICK A DATE FOR A DINNER PARTY

    Follow today’s tip by planning a dinner with four different wines.

    You can assign dishes to participants, so you’ll have an assortment of vegetables, grains, poultry, meat and fish/seafood. Prepare the dishes with strong flavors—like the hazelnuts, horseradish, truffle oil, spices and herbs served by Lafayette—because any wine will seemingly go with bland food.

    Of course, the exercise is a relative one. The flavors of wines made from the same grape from the same region in the same year can vary widely. So it’s best to select four wines from the same producer, like Jadot, which will provide consistency in house style and approach to winemaking.

    Bon appétit!

     
    *A négociant is the French term for a wine merchant who buys wines from smaller winemakers and sells them under his own name. Négociants buy everything from grapes to grape must to wines in various states of completion, and often blend the wines from different small winemakers.

    †Beaujolais is the one appellation in Burgundy that produces red wine made from the Gamay grape instead of Pinot Noir.

      

    Comments

    TIP OF THE DAY: Rainbow Vegetables

    rainbow-baby-carrots-www.sprinkledsideup-230

    Baby carrots move beyond the familiar
    orange to purple, red and yellow. Photo
    courtesy Sprinkle Side Up. See her recipe for
    glazed rainbow carrots.

     

    In picking up supplies for our “diet Oscars menu,” we came across rainbow baby carrots—our first sighting—and rainbow cherry tomatoes, which have been available in our market for a few years.

    Although we’re months from peak produce season, it got us thinking of how delightful it is to come across a familiar food with a fun twist. Most of the veggies below are natural mutations (as was red grapefruit and many other foods); some are cross-bred; none are GMO.

    It’s not just about fun; there are nutritional benefits as well. Colored foods tend to be more antioxidant rich than pale and white foods. For example, orange cauliflower contains high levels of beta-carotene; purple cauliflower contains anthocyanin, an antioxidant that gives purple color to a variety of foods, including red cabbage and red onions. Green cauliflower just happens to have more protein than the other colors.

    So today’s tip is: Keep an eye out and treat yourself to whatever is new and different. Grocers know that customers want new options, so even if there’s no farmers market near you, keep looking.

    Then tell us what you found, and how you served it.

     

  • Bell peppers: Beyond the familiar green and red are black (purplish), orange, yellow and white bell peppers (photo). They all start out green, and ripen into the rainbow colors.
  • Colored cauliflower: Green, orange and purple cauliflowers are natural mutants of white cauliflower (which itself was bred to be whiter). Green cauliflower, also called broccoflower, has a lighter green cousin.
  • Romanesco: Also called Romanesque cauliflower, Romanesco broccoli and Romanesque cabbage, there’s a reason for the different names. Professional plant taxonomists can’t decide precisely where this exotic beauty belongs. A natural vegetable first discovered in Italy, it is one of the most beautiful vegetables imaginable (here’s a photo).
  • Eggplant: Beyond the familiar dark purple, also grows green (Thai eggplant), lavender, orange (Ethiopian, scarlet or Turkish eggplant), pink, and striped purple and white (graffiti eggplant) and white eggplant. The lighter colored eggplants tend to be less bitterness than the dark purple.
  •  

  • Purple green beans: These are a mutation where the skin of a regular green been grows violet. Alas, they are only purple when raw; cooking engenders the familiar green skin. But they sure are impressive crudités! (Photo and more information.) And don’t forget the yellow wax beans. A mix of green and yellow is interesting, and much more available.
  • Rainbow baby carrots: Shown in the photo above; the original carrot was white, like a turnip. The other colors—orange, purple, red, yellow—were mutants. Here’s the story.
  • Red leaf lettuce: There are quite a few varieties of red lettuce. Two of our favorites for “prettiest” are red fire lettuce (scroll past the green lettuce) and the beautifully spotted freckles lettuce.
  • Sweet red corn: Look for it during the summer corn season. (Photo.)
  • Swiss chard: Long familiar in green with red accents, check farmers markets to find it in vivid orange, pink, purple, yellow and white. (Photo.)
  • Tomatoes: Anyone who has visited a farmers market has seen the lush colors beyond red: brown, green, orange, purple, striped, yellow, white.
  •  

    multicolored-cherry-tomatoes-diannefritzpinterest-230s

    Cherry tomatoes photo courtesy Dianne Fritz.

     
    Isn’t nature grand?

      

    Comments

    TIP OF THE DAY: The “Diet” Oscar Party

    everything-crudites-kalviste-230

    We especially like Tribe hummus with
    toppings—although you can always add your
    own toppings
    to plain hummus. Photo by Elvira
    Kalviste | THE NIBBLE.

     

    “What are you serving for the Oscars?” ask our friends.

    Last year it was a high-calorie gourmet feast, including rich appetizers, duck lasagna with a flight of wines, a cheese plate and a choice of four desserts (cream cheese-frosted cupcakes, Grand Marnier brownies, hazelnut shortbread and tropical fruit salad), followed by several liqueurs sent to THE NIBBLE for tasting.

    The only healthful, moderate-calorie dish of the evening was the fruit salad.

    This year, as we thought about sitting down and eating over four hours, our New Year’s resolution angel popped up and said: “Do you think all those trim stars eat lasagna and cupcakes? Make this year the “healthy Oscars!”

    Point taken! We planned to buy some of the ingredients already prepared, as we won’t have the time to do everything from scratch as we did last year.

    Here’s our lower calorie, better-for-you menu for this year’s Academy Awards:

     
    BEVERAGES

  • Diet sangria: a blend of red wine, diet orange soda, fresh fruit and a touch of Grand Marnier.
  • Flavored and plain club sodas: individually customized with lemon and lime wedges and an assortment of flavored bitters.
  • Wine spriters: diluting both the calories and the alcohol impact.
  • After-dinner coffee or espresso: from our Keurig and Nespresso machines, which make it easy to provide different strengths, flavors and decaf.
  •  
    MUNCHIES

  • Crudités: a colorful, flavorful, tempting selection. The best thing to fill up on is raw veggies!
  • Dips: nonfat Greek yogurt with herbs and garlic and three different flavors of hummus with toppings (we especially like Tribe Natural’s Mediterranean Style, Spicy Red Pepper and Zesty Spice & Garlic). Here’s how to add your own toppings to plain hummus.
  • Seafood: One of our friends, whose family owns restaurants, is bringing a large plat de mer—what a luxury! Otherwise, we’d have gotten a sushi platter.
  •  

    MAIN MEAL

  • Salad bar: a build-your-own dinner salad with two lettuce options, salad vegetables, beans, lentils, olives, capers, gherkins, grilled chicken (Perdue Short Cuts) and chipotle-flavored tuna (Bumble Bee).
  • “Salad pizza”: Our local gourmet pizzeria makes a “salad pizza”—10 vegetables on whole wheat dough. If anyone is still hungry, we’ll order one.
  •  
    DESSERT

  • Fruit salad: five or six different fruits, depending on what looks good in the market on Saturday.
  • Micro cupcakes: one guest is bringing an assortment from Baked By Melissa, a New York City chain that makes many flavors of bite-sized cupcakes. Tthe size of a quarter, they’re about 50 calories each. The goal is to eat just one.
  •  
    Even if everyone leaves stuffed, they’ll be stuffed with good-for-you foods.

     

    plateau-de-fruits-de-mer-artisanal-230

    A wonderful contribution to our “Diet Oscars” party. This plat de mer is courtesy Artisanal Restaurant | NYC.

     

      

    Comments

    TIP OF THE DAY: Pink Party Food

    We’ve been invited to a “pink party” for Valentine’s Day: All the food and drink are in shades of pink, with some touches of deeper rose and red. If you want to hold your own party, menu options are below.

    There’s also a National Pink Day on June 23rd, so we’ve been included some summery dishes.

    You can make anything more pink with beet juice, red food color or rosy accents like pomegranate arils, raspberries and strawberries. You can make sauces and soups pinker with a touch of crème fraîche, mascarpone, sour cream, or plain yogurt.

    You are encouraged to wear something pink to the party. Owning nothing pink, we’re donning pink nail polish.

    PINK PARTY MENU

    PINK & RED COCKTAILS

  • Champagne cocktail with pink sparkling wine
  • Cosmopolitans
  • Pink Champagne and strawberry punch
  •  
    PINK & RED WINES

  • Pink sparkling wine (Yellowtail and Martini are great values)
  • Red Wine
  • Rosé
  •  

    lobster-bisque-mackenzieltd-230

    Lobster bisque. You can serve soup shooters on a buffet. Photo courtesy MackenzieLtd.com.

  • Cranberry or pomegranate juice spritzers (with white wine) or mocktails
  • Pomegranate Martini
  • Vodka and pink lemonade
  •  
    There are scores and scores of other pink cocktails—just search online.
     

    RED & PINK APPETIZERS

  • Bruschetta with strawberry-basil or tomato topping
  • Crab cocktail
  • Crudités: red bell peppers, radishes, cherry tomatoes, red Belgian endive, etc., with spicy pink dip (recipe below); you can include some celery, fennel or other pale vegetables for variety
  • Goat cheese log rolled in pink peppercorns
  • Hot dogs in jelly-mustard dip
  • Pink deviled eggs (soak peeled whole eggs in beet juice or food color)
  • Poached shrimp with cocktail sauce
  • Red pepper dip
  • Salume platter
  • Shrimp spread with crackers
  • Shrimp tea sandwiches
  • Smoked salmon or gravlax platter
  • Smoked salmon pinwheels or tea sandwiches
  • Smoked salmon rillettes
  • Strawberry bruschetta (recipe)
  • Taramasalata (Greek caviar dip) with crackers or party breads
  • Tuna sushi and spicy tuna rolls
  •  

    olive-oil-poached-salmon-pomwonderful-230

    Think pink with poached salmon. Photo
    courtesy Pom Wonderful.

     

    PINK & RED BUFFET
     
    PROTEINS & OTHER MAINS

  • Pasta in pink sauce
  • Poached salmon
  • Rare beef (we’re poaching a filet mignon)
  • Shrimp & strawberry salad (recipe in footnote* below)
  • Steak tartare or tuna tartare
  •  
    PINK & RED SIDES

  • Beet salad or pickled beets
  • Cherry tomato salad
  • Radicchio and radish salad with pickled red onions
  •  
    *Combine 3 cups cooked rice, 1/2 pound cooked, sliced shrimp and 3/4 cup thinly sliced celery in a large bowl. Make dressing with 2/3 cup mayonnaise, 1/2 cup strawberry yogurt, 1 teaspoon dry mustard, 1 teaspoon lemon juice and salt to taste. Dress the salad and then fold in 1-1/2 cups sliced fresh strawberries. Chill and serve on a bed of greens.

     

    PINK & RED SOUPS

  • Borscht (you can turn it from red to pink with sour cream)
  • Cream of tomato soup
  • Lobster or shrimp bisque
  • Red bell pepper purée
  • Red gazpacho
  • Tomato or watermelon gazpacho
  •  
    PINK & RED DESSERTS

  • Cherry cheesecake
  • Fresh strawberries and raspberries
  • Pears poached in red wine
  • Pink frosted cake or cake pops
  • Pink ice pops (freeze your own from cherry or pomegranate juice)
  • Raspberry or strawberry mousse
  • Red velvet cake, cupcakes, donuts, ice cream
  • Cherry cheesecake
  • Strawberry ice cream/cupcakes
  • Strawberry milkshake shooters
  • Strawberry sorbet
  • Watermelon: granita or fruit salad
  •  
    RECIPE: SPICY PINK DRESSING OR DIP

    Ingredients

  • 2 cups mayonnaise (full fat)
  • 1 cup sour cream
  • 1/2 cup sherry wine (not cooking sherry)
  • 1 tablespoon dried tarragon, finely crushed or 1-1/2 tablespoons minced fresh tarragon
  • 1 teaspoon garlic powder
  • 1/4 teaspoon hot sauce sauce, or to taste
  • 2-3 drops red food coloring or beet juice
  •  
    Preparation

    1. MIX mayonnaise, sour cream, sherry, tarragon, garlic powder and hot sauce until well blended.

    2. ADD a few drops of food coloring to desired shade of pink. If the dressing is too thick, you can thin it with a small amount of milk. Chill well before serving.

    Recipe courtesy Food.com.
      

    Comments

    TIP OF THE DAY: Make An Edible Popcorn Bowl

    This serving bowl can be eaten when it’s empty. Photo courtesy Popcorn.org.

     

    If you’re planning a quiet New Year’s Eve at home, need something to bring to a party or are thinking ahead to the Super Bowl, have fun with this idea from The Popcorn Board.

    The bowl is made from popcorn, which you then fill with more popcorn—or be contrarian and fill it with chips or pretzels.

    You can use different food coloring for different holidays, themes or teams.

    RECIPE: EDIBLE POPCORN PARTY BOWL

    Ingredients

  • 10 cups popped popcorn
  • 1 1/3 cups sugar
  • 1 cup water
  • 1/3 cup light corn syrup
  • 1/2 teaspoon vinegar
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt
  • 10 drops food color, optional
  • Preparation

    1. SPRAY the inside of a large stainless steel bowl with cooking spray and similarly spray the outside of a second large stainless steel bowl; set aside. These 2 bowls will be used to form popcorn bowl at end of cooking time. (Note: If one bowl is smaller than the other, spray the outside of the smaller bowl.)

    2. SPRAY the inside of a third large bowl with cooking spray and place popped popcorn inside; set aside.

    3. STIR sugar, water, corn syrup, vinegar and salt together in a medium sauce pan. Bring mixture to a boil, cover, and boil for 3 minutes to allow steam to wash down sides of pan.

    4. REMOVE pot lid and attach candy thermometer to pan. Allow mixture to boil, without stirring, until mixture reaches 290°F. Stir in food color, if desired. Working quickly, pour syrup over popcorn and toss with a large spoon until popcorn is thoroughly coated.

    5. POUR popcorn mixture into first prepared bowl and use a spoon to push mixture evenly up onto sides of bowl. Firmly press the second prepared bowl onto popcorn to form popcorn bowl. Allow popcorn bowl to cool completely between stainless steel bowls.

    6. SERVE: Tip popcorn bowl out and place on platter. Fill with popcorn or other snacks to serve.

    Find more popcorn recipes at Popcorn.org.

      

    Comments

    TIP OF THE DAY: Christmas Fruit Bowl

    If you like to serve fruit at Christmas parties—a much better-for-you option than trays of sweets—serve it holiday-style, in this watermelon snowman.

    In this recipe, a medium watermelon and two small ones create two bowls and a head for the snowman—as well as supplying plenty of melon balls for a fruit salad. You can use the Watermelon Snowman Fruit Bowl in different ways:

  • 2 bowls of the same fruit salad
  • 1 bowl of fruit salad, 1 bowl of plain berries
  • 1 bowl of fruit or fruit salad, 1 bowl of dip or sauce
  •  
    The Snowman Fruit Bowl was designed by the National Watermelon Promotion Board, which has plenty of interesting recipes and watermelon carvings—everything from Angry Birds and Minions to a seasonal penguin.

     

    The most fun Christmas fruit bowl. Photo courtesy Watermelon.org.

     

    RECIPE: WATERMELON SNOWMAN

    Ingredients

  • 3 watermelons: 1 larger, 2 smaller
  • Fruit salad ingredients (your choice) in addition to the watermelon from the hollowed melons
  • Face decorations: dried apricots, carrot and blueberries as shown, or anything you like—radishes, kumquats, etc.
  • Twigs for arms
  • Optional scarf (you can use a red ribbon and fringe the ends)
  • Optional hat (check craft stores for a plastic toy hat, or make one from craft materials)
  •  
    Preparation

    1. HALVE the large melon and one of the small melons. Scoop melon balls and reserve.

    2. CLEAN the leftover melon scraps from the two halves, leaving the white portion of the rind.

    3. FILL with fruit salad or other ingredients; make the face.

    4. MOVE to the serving table and add arms, hat and scarf.

      

    Comments

    TIP OF THE DAY: Fresh Fruit Christmas Tree

    We always serve a fruit platter at parties, to provide a healthful option for those who are doing their best to steer clear of the cake and cookies.

    How about this creative alternative to a fruit platter?

    We found it on Dole’s Facebook page; it was previously pinned on Pinterest by Monique Douglas. Monique, you’ll have to tell us where you found it, so we can give proper credit.

    Starfruit (carambola) are perfect for the tree. If you can’t find any, you can cut the star and other “ornaments” from pineapple or melon. Consider using a melon baller to scoop the ornaments; and use small cookie cutters for other shapes.

    RECIPE: FRUIT CHRISTMAS TREE

    Ingredients

  • Black and red or green seedless grapes
  • Kiwi
  • Melon
  • Pineapple
  • Starfruit
  • Strawberries
  • Optional: cubes of cheese
  • Supplies: styrofoam cone*, plastic wrap, toothpicks
  •  

    A healthy holiday treat. Photo via Pinterest and Dole.

     
    *Available at florist supply shops or online, usually in sizes from 4″ through 15″. For a party, use the largest size; for a sit-down individual dessert, use the smallest size.
     
    Preparation

    1. COVER the styrofoam cone with plastic wrap.

    2. PREPARE fruits: wash, dry, cut. You can do this in advance on the day of serving, then store the fruits in the fridge, well wrapped so they don’t dry out.

    3. ARRANGE the fruits on the cone with toothpicks.

     
    CHEESE CHRISTMAS TREE

    Take a look at this stunning, easy-to-make cheese Christmas tree—it’s all cheese cubes and herbs.

      

    Comments

    TIP OF THE DAY & GIFT: Hot Chocolate On A Stick ~ Party Favor & Place Setting

    Christmas hot chocolate on a stick. Swirl
    it in milk or water. Photo courtesy The Ticket
    Kitchen.

     

    The Hot Chocolate On A Stick from The Ticket Kitchen was a NIBBLE Top Pick Of The Week earlier this year. Made from the finest French couverture chocolate, it creates a delicious and interactive cup of hot chocolate in milk or water.

    The Ticket Kitchen in San Francisco molds blocks of chocolate onto stirring sticks and serves them up in different flavors, currently:

  • Belgian Milk Chocolate
  • Bolivian Single Origin (66% semisweet)
  • French Truffle (dark chocolate)
  • Peanut Butter (dark chocolate with a peanut butter cup)
  • Peppermint (milk chocolate with a peppermint stick)
  • Salted Caramel (caramelly milk chocolate topped with sea salt)
  • Spiced Ginger (spiced dark chocolate with a piece of crystallized ginger)
  • 3 Chili (dark chocolate topped with a blend of ancho, cayenne and chipotle)
  • Vanilla Mint (milk chocolate with an Andes Mint)
  • Venezuela Single Origin (68% semisweet)
  •  

    They all make great gifts, but two of the flavors are perfect for holiday entertaining:

    Spiced Ginger Hot Chocolate on a Stick (60% Cacao). Rich dark chocolate is blended with ginger, cinnamon and seasonal spices to make a magnificient mulled mug of winter hot chocolate. You can nibble on the crystallized ginger garnish or blend it into the beverage. More information.

    Peppermint Hot Chocolate On A Stick. Finest Belgian milk chocolate is garnished with an old fashioned peppermint stick come together to make a perfect mug of peppermint hot chocolate. More information.

    Gift boxes are available in sets of 1, 2, 4, 5 or 12 sticks, with or without accoutrements such as mugs and handmade marshmallows.

    To see the full line, visit TheTicketKitchen.com.

     

    Add a name tag to use as a place setting and party favor. Look hard and you’ll see the piece of crystallized ginger on the Spiced Ginger flavor. The chocolate itself has gingerbread spices. Photo courtesy Ticket Kitchen.

     

      

    Comments

    FOOD FUN: Football & Baseball Cupcakes

    Sure, cupcakes are the rage; but what happens when you buy a dozen or two for entertaining?

    You pay a lot of money!

    The first time you bake a batch instead of buying them, you’ll save enough money to pay for two cupcake/muffin tins to make 24 cupcakes. This nonstick cupcake/muffin pan from Wilton has a snap-on cover, so you can store or transport the cupcakes without messing up the frosting.*

    You can also pick up sports-themed cupcake liners, in football or baseball.

    This recipe, from Kraft, can be adapted for football or baseball season. I takes just 20 minutes of prep time and the decorating is easy (the toughest part is keeping your hand steady to pike the stitching).

     

    Take me out to the ball game, or at least to in front of the TV. Change the decorating colors for football season. Photo courtesy Kraft.

     
    *That’s normal frosting, one inch or less in height. For piled-high frosting, you need special cupcake caddy/carrier.
     

    RECIPE: FOOTBALL OR BASEBALL CUPCAKES

    Ingredients For 24 Cupcakes

  • 1 package yellow cake mix (two layer size)
  • For Baseballs: 1 jar (3.25 oz.) white nonpareils (resource below)
  • For footballs 1 jar (3.25 oz.) orange nonpareils (resource below)
  • 1 tub (10.6 oz.) COOL WHIP Vanilla Whipped Frosting, thawed
  • For Baseballs: 1 tube (3.25 oz.) red decorating gel
  • For Footballs: 1 tube (3.25 oz.) white decorating gel
  •  

    You can also use cupcake liners to hold
    nuts or small candies. Photo courtesy
    BirthdayDirect.com.

     

    Preparation

    1. HEAT oven to 350°F.

    2. PREPARE cake batter and bake as directed on package to make 24 cupcakes. Cool cupcakes in their for pans 10 minutes; remove to wire racks and cool completely.

    3. PLACE nonpareils in small bowl. Spread frosting onto cupcakes; dip tops, 1 at a time, in nonpareils.

    4. USE decorating gel to decorate cupcakes to resemble baseballs (two rows of red stitching, as shown in photo) or footballs (one row of white stitching).

     

    TO BUY NONPAREILS

    The normal size (spice jar) of nonpareils is four ounces and can cost $4.00 or more. But go to a baking supply store, and you can buy them in bulk for much less.

    If you don’t have a local retail source, just buy them on Amazon.com:

    A pound is just $4.95. Choose your color via the drop down menu on the page.

    In addition to all the basic colors, you can choose fall mix (orange, red, yellow); Christmas mix (red, white, green); Valentine mix (pink, red, white); St. Patrick’s mix (green and white); spring mix (pink, purple, white, yellow); summer mix (yellow and orange); and July 4th mix (red, white blue mix).

      

    Comments

    TIP OF THE DAY: Quinoa Bar

    Last month we presented a series of tips to create exciting food bars for entertaining (links below). You can do smaller versions for the family dinner table.

    A few days ago, we discovered a delicious and nutritious quinoa bar at Fresh&Co., a fast-casual, seasonal and organic restaurant concept for health-conscious people who care as much about the quality as the taste. The company currently has eight locations in New York City. For menus and location information, visit:

    Quinoa is perhaps the most nutritious food on earth—a complete protein with more protein per serving than milk! So today’s tip is: for a healthy menu that’s fun and tasty, call on quinoa.

    Fresh&Co Executive Chef Jeremy Leech shared tips for creating a quinoa bar party at home (below); but here are the popular choices at the restaurant which provide a list of ingredients for your own quinoa bar:

     

    The Burrito Quinoa Bowl. Photo courtesy Fresh&Co | NYC.

     

  • Asian Quinoa Bowl: quinoa, smoked tofu, kale, daikon, red bell peppers, edamame, roasted brussels sprouts and scallions with sweet chili sauce
  • Bangkok Quinoa Bowl: quinoa, thai-spiced turkey, daikon, napa cabbage, carrots, broccoli, scallions and cilantro with soy ginger sauce
  • Burrito Quinoa Bowl: quinoa, roasted corn, tomatoes, kale, red beans, cilantro and tortilla strips with chipotle vinaigrette
  • Ginger Seitan Quinoa Bowl: quinoa, kale, kalamata olives, feta, tomatoes and chickpeas with roasted garlic vinaigrette, with grilled shrimp
  • Mediterranean Quinoa Bowl: quinoa, kale, seitan, white cabbage, carrots, daikon, broccoli, scallions, pickled ginger and cilantro with soy ginger sauce
  •  
    Chicken, smoked tofu, thai-spiced turkey and jumbo shrimp are options for any of the salads.

     

    The quinoa bar at Fresh&Co. Photo courtesy
    Fresh&Co | NYC.

     

    TIPS TO CREATE YOUR OWN QUINOA BAR

  • Use fresh and locally sourced products, whenever possible.
  • Have all your ingredients pre-cooked and prepped before guests arrive.
  • Provide a good variety of produce and meats.
  • Make vegans/vegetarians happy with a variety of fresh veggies, as well as some meat substitutes such as tofu or seitan.
  • Don’t be afraid to throw in less common ingredients, such as daikon and napa cabbage.
  • Offer a variety of vinaigrettes and sauces. Make or buy fun options such as chipotle vinaigrette, roasted garlic vinaigrette and sweet chili sauce.
  • Suggest combinations, like the ones served at Fresh&Co.
  •  
    ABOUT QUINOA

    High in the Andes Mountains, quinoa has been cultivated by the Incas for some 5,000 years. Along with corn and potatoes, it was the foundation of the Andean diet.

    Quinoa, pronounced KEEN-wa or KEE-noo-ah, is an exceptionally nutritious supergrain (in fact, it’s the Quechua/Inca word for “mother grain” or “super grain”). It is a pseudocereal rather than a true cereal, or grain; it is not a member of the true grass family. Rather, it’s a broad-leafed, annual herb. The seeds—the part we eat*—are white, red or beige in color.

    Quinoa contains more protein—and higher-quality protein—than any other grain. A complete protein equivalent to milk, it contains all eight essential amino acids and a portfolio of vitamins and minerals: calcium, fiber, iron, lysine, magnesium, vitamins A, B and E and zinc. Everyone should eat more quinoa.

    Cooked quinoa is delicious and extremely versatile; it may be used in the place of almost any other grain, including rice, to make everything from appetizers to desserts (make quinoa pudding instead of rice pudding). It has a slight nutty flavor (red quinoa is the nuttiest), which makes it a good substitute for couscous or bulghur. It has a unique texture as well. When cooked, the thin germ circlet falls from the seed and remains crunchy while the pearly grain melts in the mouth.
     
    *The spinach-like leaves are equally nutritious and tasty, but they are rarely found outside of their growing area.

     
    MORE FOOD BAR IDEAS

  • Breakfast & Brunch Food Bars
  • Lunch & Dinner Food Bars
  • Dessert Food Bar Ideas
  • Drinks & Snacks Food Bar Ideas
  •   

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