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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: Truffle Cheese

A good truffle cheese is a knockout. It you’re going to serve one cheese for a special occasion, this is it.

There are different truffle cheeses from the U.S., France, Italy, and elsewhere. Some deliver the aromatic, spectacular truffle aroma and flavor you’re looking for. Others don’t, the black flecks of truffle seemingly there like the black flecks in vanilla ice cream—for appearance, not for taste.

That’s because some truffles have little or no flavor and aroma, and not all producers use the more flavorful truffles. If you can taste before you buy, do so. More about truffles.)
 
TYPES OF TRUFFLE CHEESE

Truffle cheeses are aromatic cheeses that have been flavored with bits of fresh truffles and sometimes with truffle oil, when the truffles themselves are not particularly flavorful. They can be made from any milk, in soft, semi-soft or semi-hard styles.

These cheeses are available in the U.S.:

  • Boschetto al Tartufo: a mild, semi-soft Italian cheese made with a blend of cow’s and sheep’s milk and white truffles. Nice. The names means truffles from the woods.
  •  

    truffle-tremor-beauty

    Truffle Tremor. Photo courtesy Cypress Grove.

  • Fromager d’Affinois: from France, this variety of fromager d’affinois, a Brie-like double-crème cow’s milk cheese, is a beautiful blend of the creamy cheese with the subtle earthiness of the truffles. The black truffles are from Périgord—the best truffles in the world. It is a seasonal product that is in store for the holidays from October to January and then again in March (for Easter). You can find it in most gourmet/specialty stores, Whole Foods Markets, Trader Joe’s (as a unit size under their label called the Truffle Brie) and some Costco stores.
  • Moliterno Black Truffle Pecorino: A Sardinian raw sheep’s milk cheese covered with black truffle paste. Unlike most truffle cheese, the truffle paste is infused after the cheese has been aged, creating veins of truffle that permeates the entire paste. Once cut, the dark paste oozes out of the crevices of the cheese. It makes a great cheese course with a big, earthy Italian red wine.
  •  

    truffle-cheese-assortment-ig-230

    Truffle cheese assortment from iGourmet. Serve it with hearty red wine: It’s a party!

     
  • Perlagrigia Sottocenere: a semi-soft Italian cheese originally from Venice, made from raw cow’s milk and slices of truffles. It is then rubbed with herbs and spices (cinnamon, cloves, coriander, fennel, licorice, nutmeg) and aged in an ash rind, a Venetian technique to preserve the cheese over a long period without losing flavor. The ash is also used to convey subtle flavors into the cheese, with a variety of spices mixed with the ash.with flavors of coated on to the rind. The name means “under ash.”
  • Truffle Gouda: a mild Dutch Gouda (cow’s milk, semihard) sprinkled with black truffles, the mildness of the cheese lets the flavor of the truffles shine through.
  • Truffle Tremor: from Cypress Grove Chevre of California, this soft, creamy goat’s milk cheese filled with Italian black summer truffles.is one of our favorites. What could make goat cheese better than truffles? Enjoyable any time, try it for dessert with a glass of Port.
  •  

  • Truffle and Salt Cheddar: From Idaho’s Ballard Family Dairy and Cheese, this aged, pasteurized Cheddar (cow’s milk) is flavored with black truffle salt. As a result, it isn’t as truffle-redolent as cheeses that use actual truffles, but it is a lovely expression of artisan Cheddar.
  •  
    You can get a truffle cheese assortment—five of the cheeses above—from iGourmet. It’s a special treat that will be long remembered.

      

    Comments

    TIP OF THE DAY: Cinnamon Coffee

    french-press-cinnamon-coffee-mccormick-230

    It’s easy to brew delicious cinnamon coffee
    with any coffee maker. Photo courtesy
    McCormick.

     

    If you enjoy cinnamon coffee, here’s a recipe from McCormick, that adds real cinnamon to your ground coffee for a far more exciting flavor. (Commercial cinnamon-flavored coffee uses an extract to flavor the beans.)

    The coffee is brewed with brown sugar, so no sugar bowl is needed. You can use any coffee maker.

    For dessert, you can top the coffee with whipped cream and a sprinkle of cinnamon. There are just 36 calories per cup, before the whipped cream.

    For a spiked version, add cinnamon liqueur, coffee liqueur or Irish cream liqueur. If you want to avoid the extra sugar, use whiskey (we like bourbon) or tequila.

     

    RECIPE: BREWED CINNAMON COFFEE

    Ingredients For 6 One-Cup Servings

  • 3/4 cup ground dark roast coffee, (regular or decaffeinated)
  • 1/4 cup firmly packed brown sugar
  • 2 tablespoons ground cinnamon
  • 1/2 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
  • 6 cups water
  • Optional garnish: whipped cream and sprinkled cinnamon
  • Optional: milk or cream
  • Optional liqueur: 1-2 tablespoons per cup
  •  

    Preparation

    1. PLACE coffee, sugar and cinnamon in a filter in brew basket of coffee maker (or directly into a French press).

    2. PLACE the vanilla in the empty carafe. Add water to coffee maker; brew coffee as usual.

    3. POUR into serving cups; add liqueur if desired. Top with whipped cream or serve with milk or cream. Garnish with an optional sprinkle of cinnamon.
     
    CINNAMON LIQUEUR

    There are more brands than there is shelf space to hold them all. And Bols makes both a cinnamon liqueur and a cinnamon schnapps (see the difference below). Some are more elegant, some are brash and sizzling.

    Cinnamon liqueur can be added to coffee and tea, sipped on the rocks, drunk as shooters and mixed into cocktails.

  • After Shock
  •  

    goldschager-bottle-230

    Dramatic and delicious: Goldschläger cinnamon schnaps with gold flakes. Photo courtesy Global Brands.

     

  • Bols Hot Cinnamon Liqueur and Gold Strike Cinnamon Schnapps
  • De Kuyper “Hot Damn!”
  • Fireball Cinnamon Whiskey Liqueur
  • Fire Water Hot Cinnamon Schnapps
  • Goldschläger, with flecks of edible gold, the most elegant of the cinnamon liqueurs
  • Leroux Cinnamon Schnapps
  • Kahlúa Cinnamon Spice
  • Tuaca Cinnaster Cinnamon and Vodka Liqueur
  •  
    CORDIAL, EAU DE VIE, LIQUEUR, SCHNAPPS: THE DIFFERENCE

    While many people use these terms interchangeably, and they are all flavored spirits, there are differences that are relevant to the consumer in terms of sweetness and color.

  • Liqueur (lih-KUR, not lih-CURE) is made by steeping fruits in alcohol after the fruit has been fermented; the result is then distilled. Liqueurs are typically sweeter and more syrupy than schnapps.
  • Schnapps (shnops) is made by fermenting the fruit, herb or spice along with a base spirit, usually brandy; the product is then distilled. This process creates a stronger, often clear, distilled spirit similar to a lightly flavored vodka. “Schnapps” is German for “snap,” and in this context denotes both a clear brandy distilled from fermented fruits, plus a shot that spirit. Classic schnapps have no added sugar, and are thus less sweet than liqueur. But note that some manufacturers add sugar to please the palates of American customers.
  • Eau de vie (oh-duh-vee), French for “water of life,” this is unsweetened fruit brandy—i.e.,schnapps.
  • Cordial has a different meaning in the U.S. than in the U.K., where it is a non-alcoholic, sweet, syrupy drink. In the U.S, a cordial is a sweet, syrupy, alcoholic beverage: liqueur.
  •  
    In sum: If you want a less sweet, clear spirit, choose schnapps/eau de vie over liqueur. For something sweet and syrupy, go for liqueur/cordial.

      

    Comments

    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

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