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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 Food Holidays/History/Facts

RECIPE: Moroccan Quinoa & Roasted Carrots

October 1st is World Vegetarian Day, the annual kickoff to Vegetarian Awareness Month.

Vegetarian diets have proven health benefits, are kind to animals and help to preserve the Earth (meat production is a major source of greenhouse gas and deforestation).

According to, some prominent vegetarians include/have included: Lord Byron, Bill Clinton, Leonardo da Vinci, Ellen DeGeneres, Thomas Edison, Albert Einstein, Benjamin Franklin, Dick Gregory, Steve Jobs, Carl Lewis, Franz Kafka, Paul McCartney, Martina Navratilova, Pythagoras, Voltaire and Leo Tolstoy.

But you don’t need to have particular beliefs to enjoy this delicious vegetarian (actually vegan) side or main course. The quinoa supplies excellent nutrition, and the Moroccan spices are irresistible.

The recipe is from Good Eggs, a San Francisco purveyor of artisan foods.


The addition of allspice, cinnamon and raisins impart a wonderful North African flavor profile and fragrance to this simple dish.
Ingredients For 2-3 Servings

  • 2 bunches carrots, tops cut off, halved lengthwise
  • Olive oil
  • 1 cup white quinoa
  • 1-1/4 cups water
  • 1 handful* parsley, coarsely chopped
  • 1 teaspoon ground allspice, divided
  • 1 teaspoon ground cinnamon, divided
  • 1/4 cup of raisins
  • Squeeze of lemon†
  • Salt and pepper
  • Optional: plain or seasoned yogurt‡

    /home/content/71/6181571/html/wp content/uploads/roasted carrots quinoa goodeggs 230

    Delicious, nutritious and good-looking: quinoa and carrot salad with Moroccan seasonings. Photo courtesy Good Eggs.


    *What is a “handful” of parsley? It’s an indefinite amount; please don’t write recipes like this! The size of “a bunch” varies widely by retailer. Try this: For “a bunch,” use one cup loosely packed herbs and 1/2 cup for “a handful.”

    †What’s a “squeeze” of lemon? Is it a squeezed half lemon or a wedge of lemon? A medium lemon has 2-3 tablespoons of juice, a large lemon can have 4 tablespoons (1/4 cup). For a “squeeze,” try 1-2 teaspoons. Take notes and adjust both parsley and lemon measurements next time, as needed.

    ‡Give plain yogurt some savory flavor by stirring in one or more of the following: roasted garlic, chopped fresh parsley, minced chives or thin-sliced green onions (scallions). You can also use the zest from the lemon.


    Raw White Quinoa

    Uncooked white quinoa. Photo | Wikimedia.



    1. PREHEAT the oven to 425°F. Soak the quinoa in water for 15 minutes.

    2. PLACE the carrots on a baking sheet and toss with some olive oil. Roast for 20-30 minutes.

    3. STRAIN the quinoa and add it to a pot with the water. Turn the flame to high and bring to a boil, uncovered. As soon as it boils, reduce the flame to a simmer and cover the pot.

    4. CHECK after 15-20 minutes. When all of the water has been absorbed and the grains are still slightly opaque in the center, turn off the heat and let the quinoa steam with the cover on for 5 minutes.

    5. PLACE the quinoa in a bowl with the parsley, 1/2 teaspoon each of allspice and cinnamon, the raisins and lemon juice. Add a drizzle of olive oil and salt. Adjust the salt and spices to taste and add pepper to taste.

    6. REMOVE the carrots when they begin to caramelize and crisp up. Toss them gently with a pinch of salt, 1/2 teaspoon of allspice and 1/2 teaspoon of cinnamon. To serve, spoon the quinoa onto a serving plate or individual plates and top with the carrots. Pass the optional yogurt as a condiment.



    DAY OF THE DEAD: Skull Mug

    Día de los Muertos, the Day of the Dead or All Souls Day, has has been an important festival in Mesoamerica since pre-Columbian times.

    It is a time of festivity and joy, not mourning. Families gather to welcome the souls of the dearly departed—human and animal—who return from the spirit world for an annual visit home to the loved ones they’ve left behind. What a nice concept!

    The celebration begins on November 1st and ends on November 2nd. Despite the timing and skulls, it has no relation to Halloween (here’s the history of Halloween). Analogies to the Celtic-based Halloween are purely coincidental.

    The celebration of the Mayas and Aztecs evolved into what today is a large Mexican festival, incorporating:

  • Photos and mementos of the deceased, placed on special altars along with…
  • Cempasúchil (marigold flowers).
  • Candles and copal incense (made with resin from a local tree).

    dia de los muertos mug

    Drink your coffee from a joyful skull. Photo courtesy Inked Shop.

  • There are music and dancing, plus special offerings for people who have died.

    Crystal Head Vodka Bottle

    Not into coffee or sugar skulls? Perhaps a bottle of Crystal Head Vodka is for you. Photo courtesy Crystal Head.


    Special foods include:

  • Pan de muertos (bread of the dead—recipe).
  • Sugar skulls, usually brightly painted.

    You’ve got time to order a celebratory mug.

    The Mexican Sugar Skull Giant Mug in the photo above costs just $14.95 from

    High quality ceramic, dishwasher and microwave safe, it’s inspired by the Day of the Dead sugar skulls, but perfectly at home year-round.

    Or perhaps you’d prefer a skull full of vodka?




    TIP: How To Remove That Burnt Popcorn Smell

    October is National Popcorn Poppin’ Month. We love popcorn, a whole grain snack that’s low in calories when seasoned simply with spices and herbs. You can also use your FDA-sanctioned two daily tablespoons of heart-healthy olive oil.

    But chief among our kitchen foibles is burnt microwaved popcorn. It not only imparts a horrendous lingering odor; it also stains the inside of the microwave with yellowish blotches. We sought help from

    Ready to begin? Gather your weapons.

    For The Odor

  • Fresh-ground coffee
  • White vinegar
  • Mug and small bowl as a saucer
    For The Stains

  • Dish detergent
  • Bowl or small bucket
  • Soft cloth or paper towels
  • Nail polish remover (100% acetone)
  • Soapy and clean water
  • Optional: rubber gloves
    Now get to work.


    Heirloom Popcorn Kernels

    Because burnt popcorn is so ugly, we elect to show only beauty, like these heirloom kernels. Photo by Katharine Pollak | THE NIBBLE.


    To rid your home of that burnt popcorn smell, there are two approaches: the coffee method and the vinegar method. Ground coffee absorbs odors, and vinegar neutralizes them.
    The Coffee Method

  • Fill a coffee mug or small bowl with 2 tablespoons of ground coffee and ½ cup of water. Set the cup in a small bowl to catch any overflow as it boils, and microwave on high for 2 minutes.
  • Carefully remove the hot mug. Repeat as necessary with fresh ingredients.
    The Vinegar Method

  • Fill the bowl halfway with vinegar. Heat it in the microwave until it develops a good amount of steam. Stop the heating and let the steam diffuse for 10 minutes.
  • Wipe out the microwave with water and a soft cloth or paper towels. A vinegar smell may remain in the microwave, but it will dissipate in a day or two and is far more pleasant than the burnt popcorn smell.
  • If the odor gets into the vents of a microwave, it may just take some time to air out. If you can take it outside and open the microwave door to fresh air—or set it in front of an open window—do so.
  • To neutralize the smell in the kitchen, add half a cup of vinegar to a quart of water and simmer on the stove for a 10 minutes.You can also burn a cinnamon stick in an ashtray.
  • If the odor still lingers, check out the article, Removing Smoke Smells, on

    /home/content/71/6181571/html/wp content/uploads/popcorn beauty bellechevreFB 230r

    No burnt popcorn here! Photo courtesy Belle Chevre | Facebook.



    This method should remove most, if not all, of the discoloration of the inside walls of a microwwave.

  • Mix a few drops of dish detergent with hot water in a large bowl or small bucket. Dip the cloth in the soapy water and wring it out thoroughly.
  • Wipe down the inside and outside of the microwave to remove any surface dirt and grime.
    If you have manicured nails, put on rubber gloves for the next step:

  • With a clean cloth or paper towel, apply nail polish remover to the walls and scrub away the yellowish stains. Wipe any residue from the walls with the soapy water and rinse.
  • You may need to repeat a couple of times depending on the severity of the discoloration.



    TIP OF THE DAY: How to Recycle Coffee Grounds


    You can toss your coffee grounds, or re-use
    them in multiple ways. Photo courtesy


    September 29th is National Coffee Day. If you brew your own coffee, what do you do with the spent grounds?

    Here are green alternatives from Folgers Coffee and our own archives.



  • Body scrub: Add grounds to warm water or coconut oil and use as an exfoliating scrub.
  • Antioxidant facial: Mix two tablespoons of grounds with an equal amount of cocoa powder. Add three tablespoons of whole milk or heavy cream and a tablespoon of honey. Spread on your face; remove in 15 minutes.

  • Dye clothing or “antique” paper.
  • Scented candles: Mix the grounds into the wax of homemade candles. You’ll get a coffee scent as they burn.
  • Soap: Add grounds to homemade soap. They work as an exfoliator also impart some caffeine through the skin.

  • Marinate meat: The acid in the grounds is a tenderizer. A small amount added to a marinade gets great results without imparting the taste of coffee.

  • Use as plant food: The nitrogen-rich coffee grounds nurture houseplants and garden plants. Mix one part coffee grounds with four parts water, and water your plants with it once every other week. You can also sprinkle the grounds directly over the soil or blend them into the soil. Don’t use un-brewed coffee; it’s too high in acid and can burn the plants.
  • Compost, along with the paper coffee filter.


  • Touch up wood scratches with grounds and a cotton swab.
  • Clean the fireplace: Scatter grounds over the ashes to reduce the spread of dust as you sweep it up.
  • Use as a deodorizer, to remove strong smells (curry, fish, garlic). Rub some grounds over your hands or kitchen counter; then wash them off.
  • Remove unpleasant odors from garbage cans, closets, shoes, etc. Leave a cup of coffee grounds (or a smaller amount as appropriate) inside them overnight.

    Folgers has an online coffee calculator to tell you exactly how much water and ground coffee you need, based on the number of people.

    Note that in the coffee industry, a serving size is 6 fluid ounces. An American mug typically holds 12 ounces.


    /home/content/71/6181571/html/wp content/uploads/coffee soap offbeatandinspired 230

    Homemade coffee soap. Here’s the recipe from




    RECIPE: Oktoberfest Burger With Pork Schnitzel

    /home/content/71/6181571/html/wp content/uploads/samuel adams Octoberfest burger 230L

    The Oktoberfest Burger, with breaded pork
    cutlets. Photo courtesy Hard Rock Cafe.


    Hard Rock Cafe is celebrating Oktoberfest with a Germany-inspired burger, the Samuel Adams Octoberfest Schnitzel Burger.

    Available September through October 31st, it has German flavor accents: schnitzel (breaded pork cutlets) instead of beef patties, sauerkraut, whole grain mustard and beer-accented cheese sauce, all on a pretzel bun.

    The Oktoberfest burger is similar to the Schnitzel Local Legendary Burger served year-round at Hard Rock Cafe locations in Germany. Here’s more about schnitzel.

    The Oktoberfest Burger is served with a side of seasoned fries and a Samuel Adams Octoberfest beer.

    What’s an Oktoberfest beer?

    Oktoberfest Beer, or Märzen, is a smooth and malty amber lager with an ABV* of 6% or higher. See our Beer Glossary for the different types of beer.


    Ingredients Per Burger

  • Lightly breaded tender pork schnitzel
  • Samuel Adams Octoberfest-infused beer cheese sauce (recipe below)
  • Smoked bacon
  • Sauerkraut
  • Whole grain mustard
  • Fresh baby arugula
  • Pretzel bun
  • Optional: long toothpick

    1. PREPARE the schnitzel (recipe—substitute pork cutlets for the veal) and toast the buns.

    2. LAYER atop the bottom bun: mustard, arugula, schnitzel, cheese sauce, sauerkraut, schnitzel, cheese sauce, sauerkraut, bacon, mustard. Fasten with a toothpick if needed.



    Cheese sauce can be used on everything from breakfast eggs to dinner grains, potatoes, rice and veggies. This recipe is adapted from on, a great resource for cooking with beer.


  • 2 tablespoons butter, softened
  • 2 tablespoons flour
  • 1 tablespoons cornstarch
  • 1 cup Oktoberfest beer (substitute other beer of choice)
  • 1 cup freshly shredded Gouda†
  • 1 cup freshly shredded Cheddar†
  • 1 cup whole milk
  • Salt and pepper to taste (or substitute cayenne or chili flakes)

    /home/content/71/6181571/html/wp content/uploads/cheddar 230

    Make cheese sauce with freshly-grated cheese. Photo courtesy


    1. COMBINE all ingredients in a blender or food processor. Process on high until very well blended, about 5-8 minutes.

    2. EMPTY the contents into a saucepan and cook over medium high heat. Whisk rapidly and continuously until thickened, about 5 minutes. Season with salt and pepper as desired; for an extra kick use the cayenne or chili flakes. For a perfectly smooth sauce, use an immersion blender as necessary.

    3. SERVE warm.

    *ABV is Alcohol By Volume.

    †Do not use pre-shredded cheese.



    TIP OF THE DAY: Ways To Use Ginger Beer

    Ginger beer is not alcoholic, but a stronger, spicier version of ginger ale. There are lots of cocktails made with ginger beer, the most famous of which are:

  • Dark And Stormy: ginger beer and Gosling’s Black Seal Rum (a black or dark rum).
  • Moscow Mule: ginger beer, lime juice, vodka (trivia lovers, it was the first vodka cocktail created in America, and is also called a Vodka Buck).
  • Other Mule Drinks: There’s quite a selection, from a Kentucky Mule with Bourbon to Swedish Mule with Aquavit (the different types of mule drinks).
  • Black and Tan Mocktail: a mix of ginger ale and ginger beer (after the Black and Tan beer cocktail, made from a blend of a pale ale or lager with a dark beer).
  • Ginger Beer Mojito: a mocktail or cocktail of ginger beer, fresh lime juice, fresh mint leaves and—for the cocktail—white rum (recipe).
    We far prefer the heft and sizzle of ginger beer to the more pallid ginger ale.

    You can buy ginger beer in grocery stores, or you can easily make your own. Here’s a shortcut recipe from Chef Jamie Oliver, no fermenting required.


    /home/content/71/6181571/html/wp content/uploads/dark and stormy marcussamuelsson ps 230

    The Dark and Stormy is named for the “storm cloud” effect created by pouring dark rum into ginger beer. Photo courtesy


    Ginger beer goes well with all spicy or highly-seasoned foods, as well as foods with sweet glazes and sauces, like barbecue or glazed ham. Find recipes below.


    Mule and buck are old names for mixed drinks made with ginger ale or ginger beer, plus citrus juice. They can be made with any base liquor.

    Some experts claim that a Buck is made with ginger ale, while a Mule uses the spicier ginger beer.

    Why buck? Why mule? That answer is lost to history, but here’s a detailed discussion.

    A bit of cocktail history: The Moscow Mule was invented in 1941 by John C. Hublein, importer of the than-not-well-known-or-popular Smirnof vodka. Here’s the history

    A Dark ‘n’ Stormy is traditionally made with Gosling’s Black Seal rum. Ginger beer was brought to the Caribbean by the English colonists, and full-bodied dark rum was first made by the Gosling family in 1860. It wasn’t a big jump to combine the two (one historian notes that Bermuda is only 20 square miles).


    /home/content/71/6181571/html/wp content/uploads/goslings ginger beer diet 230

    Avoid refined sugar and save calories with Gosling’s Stormy Diet Ginger Beer. It’s sweetened with sucralose and acesulfame potassium. (Stormy is the name of the seal mascot. the ginger beer is also available in the conventional sugar-sweetened form). Photo courtesy Gosling’s.



    The main differences between today’s ginger beer and ginger ale are the sweetness and spiciness. Ginger beer is less sweet than ginger ale and has a sizzling ginger kick. The spicier ginger beer provides a bite to cocktails, while the lighter ginger ale provides more sweetness and effervescence.

    Historically, both were fermented. Today only ginger beer is fermented, a reason for the higher price. Here’s more about fermented soft drinks.

    According to an enlightening article by Bill Norris, mass-produced ginger-based soft drinks began to appear in the U.S. by the mid-1800s. Back then, the ginger flavoring extract was aged in oak barrels for four years before use!

    Ginger ale was the most popular soft drink in the U.S. until the 1930s (Coca-Cola first was bottled for distribution in 1899 more).

    These early ginger ales were closer to what we now call ginger beer, described as “powerfully spicy.”

    Canada Dry ginger ale was introduced in 1907; the “dry” style prevails today. It gained favor around the time of Prohibition (1920-1933). Dry ginger ale has a more mellow ginger flavor and is easier drinking—what most Americans seek in a soft drink.


    Create a spicy, lightly sweet sauce for meat and poultry with a base of ginger beer. Try:

  • Corned Beef In Ginger Beer (recipe)
  • Ginger Beer And Tangerine Glazed Ham (recipe)
  • Grilled Chicken In Ginger Beer Sauce (recipe)
  • Pork Tenderloin With Pears & Ginger Beer Sauce (recipe)


    FOOD FUN: Pot Pies & A Chicken Pot Pie Baked Potato

    September 23rd is National Great American Pot Pie Day, celebrating a favorite American comfort food. Pot pie (also spelled potpie) is a misappropriated name. Originally, “pot pie” referred to a crustless mixture of meat pie ingredients and noodles, stewed in a pot on the stove top.

    Over time, the term became used to designate a meat pie with conventional crusts, baked in the oven in a deep pie plate or casserole dish.


    Meat pies likely date back to the milling of flour in ancient times, but before the invention of pie plates, which came many centuries later. Very thick crusts were used as baking vessels (but were not eaten, due to the high proportion of salt required to stiffen the crust). Meat pies in large vessels made of crust were popular banquet fare during the Roman Empire, as anyone who has seen Fellini Satyricon can attest.

    By the 16th century, the English gentry revived the ancient custom of meat pies. Venison was the meat of choice. The recipe crossed the pond to America, where it became as American as…pot pie!


    Beef Pot Pie

    Beef pot pie with a star-embellished crust. Get out your cookie cutter! Photo courtesy Betty Crocker.

    The pot pie can be baked without a bottom crust but with a conventional top crust or a biscuit topping (the dough is dropped onto the top), like a cobbler. Personally, we prefer a crisp biscuit to a crust.

    While most people immediately think of chicken pot pie, pot pies are made today from any type of meat, poultry, fish or seafood, as well as vegetarian varieties. If you have venison, by all means enjoy a historic venison pot pie.

    Some of our favorite spins on pot pie:

  • Biscuit Pot Pie (with a biscuit instead of crust—(recipe)
  • Meatball Pot Pie (recipe)
  • Polka Dot Pot Pie (recipe)
  • Star Crust Pot Pie (see photo above)
  • Turkey Leftovers Pot Pie (recipe)
    And the recipe below, Baked Potato Pot Pie.


    Chicken Pot Pie Baked Potato

    Something new: pot pie in a baked potato! Photo courtesy Idaho Potato Commission.



    For today’s special occasion, we’ve fused the pot pie with a baked potato. Or actually, blogger Carla Cardello of Chocolate Moosey did. She developed the recipe for the Idaho Potato Commission.

    Ingredients For 4 Servings

  • 4 Idaho baking potatoes
  • Olive oil, for brushing
  • Salt, to taste
  • 1 tablespoon vegetable oil
  • 1 boneless, skinless chicken breast, cut into 1-inch pieces
  • 2 tablespoons butter, divided
  • 1/2 cup chopped onion
  • 2 tablespoons all-purpose flour
  • 1 cup chicken broth
  • 1/2 cup milk
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt
  • 1 cup frozen vegetable medley (carrots, peas, corn, and
    green beans)
  • 1/4 cup panko breadcrumbs
  • 1/4 teaspoon dried parsley
  • Preparation

    1. PREHEAT the oven to 425°F. Place the potatoes on a baking sheet. Brush each with olive oil, sprinkle with salt and prick with the tines of a fork. Bake for 45-60 minutes or until they are fork tender. Meanwhile…

    2. HEAT the vegetable oil in a large skillet over medium heat. Add the chicken. Cook for 4 minutes, then flip and cook until no longer pink in the middle, another 3-5 minutes. Transfer the chicken to a bowl and keep warm.

    3. ADD 1 tablespoon of butter to any meat drippings left in the skillet and melt. Add the onion and cook until soft, about 5-8 minutes. Add the flour and stir to coat. Slowly whisk in the chicken broth. Bring to a boil and cook until thickened, about 3-5 minutes. Whisk in the milk and salt and bring back to a boil. Add the vegetable medley and cooked chicken. Cook another 1-2 minutes or until hot.

    4. MELT the remaining 1 tablespoon butter in a small skillet. Add the breadcrumbs and cook until brown, about 5-8 minutes. Stir in the parsley.

    5. CUT each baked potato in half. Top with pot pie mixture and breadcrumbs. Serve immediately.



    TIP OF THE DAY: Fall Fruits & Vegetables

    Have you seen a huckleberry up close and personal? The photo shows the fruit that gave Huckleberry Finn his nickname.

    It’s a fall fruit, a good choice for today, the first day of fall. As summer fades, so does the large assortment of fruits and vegetables. Rather than pay more for imported produce that is picked early for better travel (if not better flavor), look for the fruits and vegetables harvested in fall (the list is below).

    On a related note, October 6, 2015 marks the first National Fruit at Work Day, a celebration of the importance of healthy snacking in the workplace. In fact, more than 50% of one’s daily food intake is consumed at the office—and there’s too much temptation from foods that aren’t on the “good for you” list.

    This new annual holiday, observed on the first Tuesday in October, is devoted to honoring the food that successfully fuels a busy workday: fruit.

    The holiday was established by The FruitGuys, America’s first office fruit provider and part of the employee wellness movement since 1998. They use a large network of small local farmers to provide farm fresh fruit to workplaces nationwide.

    Here’s what’s in season for fall. Not everything may be available in your area, but what is there should be domestic—not imported from overseas.



    The huckleberry is in the same botanical family (Ericaceae) as blueberries and cranberries, and look similar appearance to blueberries. Their color may range instead from deep crimson to eggplant purple. Photo courtesy

    Some of the items are harvested for only a few weeks; others are around for a while.

    So peruse the list, note what you don’t want to miss out on, and add it to your shopping list. To find the more exotic varieties, check international markets that specialize in Chinese, Latin American and other regional specialties. You can also look for online purveyors like

    The produce list was created by Produce for Better Health Foundation. Take a look at their website,, for tips on better meal planning with fresh produce.

    We’ve also featured their spring produce and summer produce recommendations, with the winter list coming in December.

  • Acerola/Barbados cherries
  • Asian pear
  • Black crowberries
  • Cactus pear (a.k.a. nopal, prickly pear, sabra)
  • Cape gooseberries
  • Crabapples
  • Cranberries
  • Date plum (a.k.a. Caucasian persimmon and lilac persimmon)
  • Feijoa (a.k.a. acca or pineapple guavas)
  • Huckleberries
  • Jujube (a.k.a. Chinese date, Indian date, Korean date or red date—see photo below)

    /home/content/71/6181571/html/wp content/uploads/jujubes FrankCMuller wiki 230r


    TOP: In the U.S. Jujubes are a brand of hard gummy candies. In Australia and India the word is generic for a variety of confections. Here’s the real deal, cultivated in China for more than 4,000 years—and often eaten dried and candied. They may look like tiny dates, but are from an entirely difficult botanical family*. Photo by Frank C. Muller | Wikimedia. BOTTOM: Cardoons are wild artichokes. They look like celery, but with leaves that look like tarragon. Photo courtesy

  • Key limes
  • Kumquats
  • Muscadine grapes
  • Passionfruit
  • Pears
  • Persimmons
  • Pineapple
  • Pomegranate
  • Quince
  • Sapote
  • Sharon fruit (a variety of persimmon)
  • Sugar apple (a.k.a. sugar apple or sweetsop)

  • Acorn squash
  • Black salsify
  • Belgian endive
  • Broccoli
  • Brussels sprouts
  • Butter lettuce
  • Buttercup squash
  • Butternut squash
  • Cardoon
  • Cauliflower
  • Chayote squash
  • Chinese long beans
  • Delicata squash
  • Daikon radish
  • Endive
  • Garlic
  • Hearts of palm
  • Jalapeño chiles
  • Jerusalem artichoke (sunchoke)
  • Kohlrabi
  • Mushrooms
  • Ong choy water spinach
  • Pumpkins
  • Radicchio
  • Sunflower kernels
  • Sweet dumpling squash
  • Sweet potatoes
  • Swiss chard
  • Turnips

    *Jujube, Ziziphus jujuba, is a member of the buckthorn family, Rhamnaceae. Dates, Phoenix dactylifera, are a member of the palm tree family, Arecaceae.



    TIP OF THE DAY: Fall Beer Styles For Your Oktoberfest

    We held an Oktoberfest dinner this past weekend. That’s because even though the name says October, the fest begins in late September and lasts for 16 days, through early October. This year it’s September 19th through October 4th in Munich, where an annual festival has been held since 1810. (It was originally held to celebrate the marriage of the crown prince of Bavaria, the future King Ludwig I.)

    In the beer category, seasonal beer styles are called…seasonals. For fall, full-bodied beers replace the lighter brews of summer. Three craft beer fall seasonals that immediately come to mind:

  • Harvest Ale, an American craft brew category made with German-style malts and hops, or else with fall spices.
  • Pumpkin Beer or Ale, sometimes brewed with real pumpkin and pumpkin pie spices, sometimes with only the spices (allspice, cinnamon, clove, nutmeg). Samuel Adams’ Fat Jack has more than 28 pounds of pumpkin per barrel.
  • Oktoberfest Beer, or Märzen: Traditionally the first beer of the brewing season, it is an amber lager, smooth and malty and about 6% or higher ABV*.
    In addition to these styles, other popular fall beers include:


    /home/content/71/6181571/html/wp content/uploads/sam adams fat jack 230

    Fat Jack brewed with more than 28 pounds of pumpkin per barrel. Photo courtesy Samuel Adams.

  • Brown Ale, made with dark or brown malts that produce caramel and chocolate flavors (more).
  • Dunkelweizen, a dark version of a wheat beer (“dunkel” is the German word for dark)
  • English Pale Ale or India Pale Ale, assertively hopped and stronger (higher in alcohol—more)
    *To be labeled Oktoberfest beer in Germany, a beer must conform to the Reinheitsgebot (the German beer purity law), which dictates a minimum of 6% alcohol (by comparison, America’s Budweiser has 5%). The beer must also be brewed within the city limits of Munich.



    Märzen, the classic all beer of Germany. Photo courtesy Gordon Biersch.



    According to us, you can hold an Oktoberfest celebration any time in October. We served an assortment of flavored chicken sausages from Bilinski German potato salad, sweet and sour red cabbage and a cheese course with hard sausage and apples. For dessert: apple sorbet with hard apple cider from Angry Orchard plus some local artisan brews.

    Here are two articles to guide your party planning:

  • Oktoberfest Party 1
  • Oktoberfest Party 2
    See our Beer Glossary for the different types of beer and the history of beer.




    FOOD HOLIDAY: Pimp Your Cheeseburger

    It used to be that a cheeseburger was just a cheeseburger: a patty and a slice of cheese—usually American, Cheddar or Swiss—and maybe a garnish of pickles. Then some inspired person added a slice of bacon. And those were the options for decades.

    But cheeseburgers have evolved into more complex creations with endless possibilities.

    We’ve been slammed with pitches for creative cheeseburger ideas for National Cheeseburger Day, September 18th. We don’t even know that these ideas are out-of-the-box. We think they’re the new box.

    Some of the ideas that have come our way:

  • URBO, a huge new gourmet venue in the New York City theatre district, suggested a Brie Burger (dry aged beef, Brie and pear mostardo) and a Caprese Burger (dry aged beef, mozzarella, beefsteak tomato and fresh basil).
  • Maria Bernardis of Greekalicious suggested a lamb burger with feta cheese and yogurt sauce in toasted pita.
  • The Cheesecake Factory suggested a Memphis Burger, beef topped with American cheese, barbecue and slaw.

    /home/content/71/6181571/html/wp content/uploads/pimento cheeseburger gardeniaNYC 2301

    A cheeseburger with pimento cheese from Gardenia Restaurant in New York City is delicious, but pretty simple compared to the other ideas we received.

  • Bull City Burger topped a beef patty with a sausage patty, Swiss cheese and pickles.
  • The Palm topped a patty with Gruyère, roasted red bell pepper and a slice of prosciutto.
  • Omaha Steaks suggested pimento cheese under the patty, sliced avocado and salsa on top.
  • Umami Burger tops a cheeseburger with a salad (photo below).

    /home/content/71/6181571/html/wp content/uploads/salad burger umamiburgerhdsoneatsFB 2301

    A Salad Burger with Swiss on the bottom. Photo courtesy Umami Burger.

  • Hudson Eats has a fried egg-topped burger with Gruyère, baby arugula and frizzled onions.
  • Martin’s Famous Pastry Shop suggests Swiss cheese and caramelized onions on one of their potato rolls.
  • The Munchery suggested Swiss, bacon and a grilled pineapple slice.
  • Vegetarian suggestions included portobello mushrooms with feta cheese and chickpea burgers with smoked mozzarella.

    Head to for many more ideas.

    Check out our master list of 40+ burger recipe ideas.

    Who invented the burger, and who transformed it into a cheeseburger? Much of the credit is lost to history, although here’s what we do know about the history of the burger.

    And if you’ve created a new cheeseburger recipe, let us know.




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