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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 Food Holidays/History/Facts

FOOD HOLIDAY: World Nutella Day

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Nutella and Yogurt Breakfast Parfait Pops. Photo courtesy BakingAMoment.com. Here’s the recipe.

 

In 2011, two bloggerd declared February 5th to be World Nutella Day.

Typically, holidays are official proclamations by a city, state or the federal government (here’s how it works). But in the wild frontier of the Internet, World Nutella Day became a viral hit.

Nutella hazelnut spread, in its earliest form, was created in the 1940s by Pietro Ferrero, a pastry maker and founder of Ferrero SpA, an Italian confectionery and chocolate company.

At the time, there was very little chocolate because cocoa was in short supply due to World War II (1939-1945) rationing. To extend the chocolate supply, Mr. Ferrero used hazelnuts, which are plentiful in the Piedmont region of northwest Italy, where the company was located.

The spread is a combination of roasted hazelnuts, skim milk and a touch of cocoa. It is an all-natural product: no artificial colors or preservatives.

Nutella was first imported to the U.S. more 25 years ago by Ferrero U.S.A., Inc. Its popularity has grown steadily.

 

HOW WILL YOU ENJOY NUTELLA TODAY?

So enjoy a Nutella sandwich, put Nutella on a pancake or waffle, roll it in a crepe, eat it from the jar with a spoon. Add it to your favorite cookie, cake or brownie recipe. Fill “jelly” donuts with Nutella. Make a Nutella milkshake.

Add it to coffee or hot chocolate.

Or, try these less conventional approaches:

  • Nutella-covered bacon (recipe—or a bacon and Nutella sandwich, instead of peanut butter)
  • Nutella granola (recipe)
  • Nutella ravioli for dessert (try this recipe, substituting Nutella for the PB&J)
  • Nutella and Yogurt Breakfast Parfait Pops (shown in the photo—recipe)
  •  
    Perhaps the best excuse to eat Nutella today: these no-bake Nutella energy bites. After all, most of could use a bit more energy!
     
      

    Comments

    RECIPE: Poutine

    WENDY'S RESTAURANTS OF CANADA - Oh Poutine! Grab your forks

    Classic poutine. Photo courtesy Wendy’s |
    Canada.

     

    In Canada, the first week in February is La Poutine week.

    Poutine (poo-TEEN) is a popular Canadian potato dish: French fries topped with cheese curds and gravy. It’s the northern version of cheese fries, with brown gravy instead of ketchup; and is often referred to as the national dish of Canada.

    Decades ago, it became popular in Quebec as a snack to follow a night of drinking. Of course, it begs to be accompanied by a cold beer.

    During La Poutine Week, chefs at restaurants across Canada will pull out all the stops to out-poutine the classic poutine. Last year, a Toronto sushi bar added caramelized kimchi, beef tongue and Japanese mayo; an Ottawa pub featured poutine made with pulled pork, pork meatballs and cheese with bacon bits, topped with a Jack Daniels sauce. Vegetarian restaurants did their own thing.

    Year-round, La Banquise in Montreal serves more than thirty different kinds of poutine. It’s open 24 hours daily. Here’s the menu.

     
    This recipe from French’s makes adds shredded barbecue beef and a fried egg (French’s used its company’s Cattlemen’s Memphis Sweet Finished BBQ Sauce). Make it, or create your own.

    As for a matching beer: Cold Snap from Sam Adams sounds just right. The unfiltered white ale has a snap of added flavor: fruit including orange peel, plum and hibiscus, and a peppery snap from fresh ground coriander.

    RECIPE: BARBECUE BEEF POUTINE

    Ingredients

  • 12 ounces French fries
  • 2½ ounces smoked beef, shredded
  • ¼ cup Wisconsin cheese curds
  • 1 teaspoon scallion tops, thinly sliced
  • 1 fried egg, sunny side up
  •  
    Preparation

    1. FRY the French fries to a crisp, golden brown and arrange on a platter.

    2. COMBINE the beef with barbecue sauce and heat. Sprinkle over the fries.

    3. SLICE the cheese curds in half and top the fries. Melt in a hot oven.

    4 TOP with the egg and scallions. Serve.

     

    POUTINE HISTORY

    Various places claim the credit for inventing poutine, in rural Quebec in the 1950s, where numerous dairies produced Cheddar cheese curds.

    The first leg of the story is that poutine originated in a restaurant called Le Lutin Qui Rit (“The Laughing Goblin”), when a customer asked the owner Fernand Lachance to mix cheese curds with his fries.

    A restaurant called Le Roy Jucep is the first to have served poutine as we know it today—French fries, cheese and gravy—in 1964. The owner registered a trademark for the dish.

    Another restaurant La P’tite Vache (“The Little Cow”) sold curds from the local Princesse dairy. Customers would order fries and buy a bag of cheese curds to mix together at their tables in a 50:50 proportion. When gravy was added, the dish became known as “mixte” (“mixed”).

     

    bbq-beef-poutine-frenchs-230

    Fancy poutine. Photo courtesy The French’s Food Company.

     

    The name “poutine” appeared in 1982, when large restaurant chains began to sell it. While no one can explain the derivation for certain, it could be derived from the English word “pudding,” which was expressed as “pouding” in Acadian French.

    One meaning of “pouding” in Canada is “an unappetizing mixture of various foods, usually leftovers.” According to Merriam-Webster, poutine derives from a Quebecois slang word meaning “mess.” [Source]

    We vote for that one!

      

    Comments

    TIP OF THE DAY: Make Fondue For National Fondue Month

    Originally a melted cheese dish, the concept evolved to cooking beef, chicken, chocolate or seafood in the fondue pot. February is National Fondue Month, so why not plan a fondue feast?

    THE HISTORY OF FONDUE

    The melted cheese dish originated in the Swiss canton of Neuchâtel. The word fondue itself is the past participle of the French fondre, to melt down.

    The fondue is served from a communal pot called a caquelon, using long forks to spear cubes of bread that are swirled in the melted cheese. The tradition dates to the 18th century; some say it was developed as a way to use slightly stale bread.

    Each Swiss canton has its own variation on the recipe, which generally consists of at least two varieties of cheese, wine and a bit of flour or cornstarch to keep the melted cheese from separating.

  • Raclette is a related dish, made from a Swiss cheese that is similar to Gruyère. But instead of melting it in a communal pot, the wheel of cheese is brought to the table on a cart, exposed to heat and and scraped onto a plate as it melts (racler is French for “to scrape”). It is traditionally served with boiled potatoes, cornichons and dark bread.
  •    

    fondue-artisanalrestaurant-230

    Classic cheese fondue. Photo courtesy Artisanal Restaurant | NYC.

  • Fonduta is an Italian dish similar to fondue, made with Fontina cheese, milk and egg yolks. Elegant versions top it with shaved white truffle.
  • Kaas Doop is a fondue-style Dutch dish made with Gouda cheese, milk and brandy, with nutmeg seasoning, that uses brown bread for dipping.
  •  
    Although it adds to the aesthetic, you don’t need a fondue pot (caquelon) to melt cheese or chocolate or to heat cooking oil. A heavy-bottomed saucepan or ideally, a double boiler, works fine.

    But then, to keep the fondue heated after it has been served, you’ll need a hot plate for the table. If you don’t have one, you probably know someone who has one stashed away and will lend it.
     
    FONDUE RECIPES

    To help you decide where to begin: We recommend starting with a classic cheese fondue. Here’s the basic cheese fondue recipe plus 28 variations, from blue cheese and goat cheese variations to Nacho and Philly Cheesesteak fondue. Or consider:

  • Reduced Fat Cheddar Fondue Recipe
  • Cheddar Chive Fondue With Tortilla Chips Recipe
  • How To Melt Cheese Tips
  •  
    For Valentine’s Day, how about chocolate fondue—your choice of dark, milk or white chocolate? Here’s an even richer Chocolate Fondue with Mascarpone recipe.

    You can also spice things up with these Spicy Chocolate Fondue recipe variations.

     

    sugardaddys-230

    Chocolate fondue. Photo courtesy Sugardaddy’s.

     

    RECIPE: SEAFOOD FONDUE

    This recipe was adapted from GourmetSleuth.com.

    Ingredients For 4 People

  • 1 pound* salmon, halibut or other thick-fleshed fish filets
  • 1 pound raw shrimp, shelled, deveined, washed and dried
  • Canola or peanut oil
  • Optional vegetables: bell pepper strips, pearl onions
  • Dipping sauces (see below)
  •  
    *Plan for at least 1/3 pound fish/seafood per person.
     
    Preparation

    1. CUT fish into one-inch cubes or 1/4″ w x 2″ long strips, depending on shape of filets. Keep refrigerated until ready to serve.

    2. SET the table with plates, fondue forks and dips. You can provide individual dip portions, or have guests spoon dips onto their plates. (NOTE: Use only metal fondue forks or bamboo skewers, as wooden skewers can burn in hot oil.)

    3. FILL the fondue pot with oil and heat on the stove until it reaches 350°F. Place the fondue pot on a brazier stand or hot plate on the table, over moderately high heat. Note that for beef or seafood fondue, you must use a stainless steel pot. Ceramic pots aren’t safe with the hot oil.

    4. SPEAR cubes or shrimps and place in the hot oil until cooked.

     
    SEAFOOD FONDUE DIPS

    RECIPE: SPICY COCKTAIL SAUCE

    Ingredients

  • 1 cup ketchup
  • 2 tablespoons cider vinegar
  • 3/4 teaspoon prepared horseradish
  • Dash hot pepper sauce
  •  
    1. COMBINE ingredients and store refrigerated until use.
     
    RECIPE: TARTAR SAUCE

    Ingredients

  • 3/4 cup mayonnaise
  • 2 tablespoons chopped green onions or scallions (green part only)
  • 2 tablespoons drained sweet pickle relish
  • 1 tablespoon drained small capers (chop if large)
  • 1 tablespoon minced fresh parsley
  • 1 teaspoon fresh lemon juice
  • 1 teaspoon minced fresh tarragon (or substitute 1 tablespoon minced canned chipotle chiles)
  •  
    1. BLEND all ingredients in medium bowl. Season to taste with salt.
     
    RECIPE: DILL SAUCE

    Ingredients

  • 2/3 cup bottled clam juice
  • 1/2 cup dry white wine
  • 1 1/4 cups crème fraîche or whipping cream
  • 3 tablespoons minced fresh dill
  •  
    1. COMBINE clam juice and wine in a heavy small non-aluminum saucepan. Boil until reduced to 1/3 cup, about 9 minutes. Reduce heat to medium.

    2. WHISK in crème fraîche. Boil until reduced to 1 cup, about 5 minutes. Remove from heat. Stir in dill. Season with salt and pepper.

      

    Comments

    TIP OF THE DAY: Celebrate Burns Night Tonight

    When you sang “Auld Lang Syne” on New Year’s Eve, did you recall that it was first a poem from Robert Burns, the national poet of Scotland (1759-1796)?

    His birthday, January 25th, is celebrated in Scotland as Burns Night. Family and friends gather for an evening of good food and company—a warm and happy event much like our Thanksgiving. A traditional Burns’ Supper is served. Here’s the supper format, if you want to plan ahead for next year.

    But you can have a much smaller event tonight, as brief as enjoying a tumbler of Scotch and reading a poem. Burns’ complete works are available free online. Some suggestions: A Red, Red Rose (“My luve is like a red, red rose…”); To a Louse; To a Mouse; Tam O’Shanter.

    If you’d like to do something a bit more elaborate, call around and invite a group for a Scotch tasting (here’s how). Everyone can bring whatever brand they have at hand…along with any bagpipe music.

    Then, there’s a Scotch and chocolate tasting. While solid chocolate wasn’t invented in Burns’ lifetime, he was a bon vivant and we’re sure he’d approve.

    Here are more food ideas for Burns Night.

     

    scotch-cheese-wisconsincheesetalk-230

    Celebrate Burns Night with Scotch and a poem. Photo courtesy Wisconsin Milk Marketing Board.

     
    Heid doon arse up! (That’s Scottish for Get on with it!)

      

    Comments

    FOOD HOLIDAY: An Ice Cream Cake For National Strawberry Ice Cream Day

    strawberry-shortcake-ice-cream-waitrose-recipe-230

    Celebrate National Strawberry Ice Cream Day! Photo courtesy Waitrose.

     

    January 15th is National Strawberry Ice Cream Day. We love this easy strawberry ice cream cake adapted from British upscale grocery giant Waitrose. The company has a royal warrant to supply groceries, wine and spirits to Queen Elizabeth II and to Prince Charles.

    In this recipe, shortbread cookies substitute for the cake; but if you prefer, you can substitute finely cubed pound cake. You also can use strawberry ice cream instead of the vanilla.

    This dessert is also spot-on for Valentine’s Day, Mother’s Day and summer celebrations. Prep time is 15 minutes plus several hours or overnight for freezing.

    RECIPE: STRAWBERRY SHORTCAKE ICE CREAM “CAKE”

    Ingredients For 10 Servings

  • 1 pint strawberries, washed, patted dry and hulled
  • 1 quart vanilla ice cream
  • 7 ounces all butter shortbread cookies, broken into small pieces
  • 4 tablespoons caramel sauce (or fudge sauce if you prefer)
  • Optional garnish: caramel sauce or strawberry purée
  •  
    Preparation

    1. THINLY SLICE 4 of the strawberries and roughly chop the remainder. Line a loaf pan with a double layer of plastic wrap, allowing for some overhang. Arrange the sliced strawberries on the bottom (it will become the top when unmolded).

    2. ROUGHLY CHOP the ice cream using a large knife, then mix it with the chopped strawberries and the shortbread pieces. Spoon half of the mixture into the loaf pan, patting down firmly so there are no air bubbles.

    3. DOT the caramel sauce on top of the ice cream, then cover with the remainder of the mixture, firmly smoothing over the surface. Fold over the overhanging plastic wrap and place the pan in the freezer for several hours or overnight, until the ice cream very firm.

    4. TO SERVE: Gently lift out the ice cream using the plastic wrap as handles, and remove the plastic wrap. Allow to soften for 10–15 minutes as needed; then cut slices with a large knife.

    5. PLATE the slices with an optional drizzle or dotting (use a squeeze bottle to create dots around the rim of the plate) of caramel sauce or strawberry purée.

     
    More than 5,000 recipes can be found at Waitrose.com/recipes.

     
      

    Comments

    RECIPE: Elvis Burger

    January 8th marks the birthday of “The King,” Elvis Presley. Today he’d have been 80 years old.

    Loyal fans celebrate the day with Elvis’s favorite sandwich: a fried peanut butter sandwich with sliced bananas and bacon. (The recipe: Make a PB sandwich on white bread, with sliced bananas and fried bacon. Brush the outsides with softened butter and fry until golden brown.)

    Elvis was a big cheeseburger fan, too, so here’s an Elvis Cheeseburger recipe.

    But Helen Graves of FoodStories.com put her own spin on an “Elvis Burger”, topping a burger with bacon and peanut butter. She contributed the recipe to the wealth of PB recipes on ILovePeanutButter.com.

    Unlike the Elvis Sandwich, banana slices don’t work here. But a side of fried plantains, related to bananas and substituting for French fries, works just fine. See the recipe below.

    RECIPE: ELVIS BURGER

    Prep time is 5 minutes, cook time is 20 minutes.

    Ingredients For 4 Servings

  • 1 pound grams ground beef
  • 8 slices smoked bacon
  • 1 thumb-sized piece of ginger, peeled and grated
  • 1 clove garlic, crushed
  • 1 tablespoon chipotle chili flakes
  • 4 tablespoons Old Fashioned Smooth peanut butter
  • ¼ iceberg lettuce, shredded
  • ½ red onion, thinly sliced
  • 4 burger buns
  •    

    Peanut-Butter-Elvis-Burger-helengraves-foodstories-230

    The Elvis Burger, with bacon and peanut butter. Photo courtesy Helen Graves | Food Stories.

     

    Preparation

    1. DIVIDE the ground beef into 4 equally sized balls, then flatten into patties and set aside. Grill the bacon rasher until crisp, then chop into smallish pieces and set aside.

    2. HEAT a pan until very hot. Season the burger patties with salt and pepper and cook for 2 minutes each side, or to taste. While the burgers are cooking…

    3. MAKEe the peanut butter sauce by heating a tablespoon of oil in a pan and gently softening the ginger and garlic for a couple of minutes, stirring. Add the chipotle flakes for a further minute, then take the pan off the heat and add the peanut butter, along with a tablespoon of hot water (don’t use cold water). Mix well. When the burgers and sauce are ready…

    4. PLACE some iceberg lettuce on each bun, followed by some onion, a burger, then some of the peanut butter sauce. Top with crispy bacon pieces and the top half of the bun. Eat immediately.

    See more prep photos at ILovePeanutButter.com.

     

    Peanut-Butter-Elvis-Burger-toppings-helengraves-foodstories-230

    The Elvis Burger, topless. Photo courtesy Helen Graves | Food Stories.

     

    RECIPE: FRIED PLANTAINS

    Plantains are cousins of bananas, a staple in most Latin American cuisines. Plantains are larger and green; they don’t ripen to yellow. They are firm and served cooked like a vegetable, not eaten as a raw fruit.

    Ingredients

  • Fresh plantains
  • Cooking oil
  • Salt
  •  
    Preparation

    1. PREHEAT oil in a large, deep skillet over medium high heat.

     
    2. PEEL the plantains and cut them into round slices (coins) or vertical slices (slice in half lengthwise and then into halves again to desired thickness). halves lengthwise into thin pieces.

    3. FRY the pieces until browned and tender. Drain excess oil on paper towels. Season with salt as desired.
     
    Here’s a recipe for tostones, double-fried plantains that are popular in Puerto Rico.

     
    MORE ELVIS TRIBUTE DISHES

  • Elvis Presley Birthday Sundae Recipe
  • Elvis Cheeseburger Recipe
  • Peanut Butter Banana Cake Recipe
  • Peanut Butter & Banana Quesadilla Recipe
  •  
    How about an Elvis portrait made from toast?

      

    Comments

    TIP OF THE DAY: Try A New Soup & The History Of Soup

    It’s well below freezing in much of the country today: a good day to focus on soup.

    Every culture makes soup. It’s easy, filling and nutritious, and can be inexpensive. In much of the world it’s eaten for breakfast, lunch and dinner.

    January is National Soup Month. Rather than fall back on your favorites today, discover something new. Start with our delicious Soup Glossary, featuring many different types of soups.

    Then, check out our soup garnishes: ways to add flavor and excitement to your soup.

    A BRIEF HISTORY OF SOUP

    Mankind is up to 200,000 years old. For the majority of our existence, we have had no soup.

    The earliest humans had no cookware—nothing to boil water (or anything else) in. Boiling was not easy to do until the invention of waterproof containers, probably pouches made of clay or animal skin, about 9,000 years ago. One of the first types of soups can dates to about 6,000 B.C.E.—some 8,000 years ago.

    Our word soup comes from French soupe, which derived from Vulgar Latin suppa, from the post-classical Latin verb suppare, to soak. This indicated bread soaked in broth, or a liquid poured onto a piece of bread. The bread added heft to the meal.

       

    Choabani

    Since its beginnings, soup was a poor man’s
    dinner. The name of the meal evolved to
    souper, than supper. Red lentil soup from
    Chobani | Soho.

     

    reggiano-soup-230

    Soup gets its name from “sop,” the piece of bread regularly added to sop up the soup. Photo courtesy ParmigianoReggiano.com.

     

    In Germanic languages, the word sop referred to a piece of bread used to soak up soup or stew. The word entered the English language in the seventeenth century exactly as that: soup pored over “sops” of bread or toast (which evolved into croutons). Prior to then, soups were called broth or pottage. The bread or toast served as an alternative to using a spoon.

    Today’s soup croutons evolved from sops.

    While the rich enjoyed elaborate soups, basic soup was a poor man’s dinner. Until recent times, the evening meal was the lighter of the two meals of the day; a soup or sop would be a typical evening dish. The name of the meal evolved to souper, than supper.

    It began to be fashionable to serve the liquid broth without the sop (bread), and in the early eighteenth century, soup became a first course.
     

    EATING VS. DRINKING SOUP

    Since it’s a liquid, why do we “eat” soup rather than “drink” soup?

    Because it’s served in a dish. If you consume it from a mug or cup, then you can be deemed to be drinking your soup.

     

      

    Comments

    FOOD HOLIDAY: Bake An Epiphany Cake

    In France, the holiday season continues into January with the feast of the Epiphany on January 6th, the 12th day after Christmas.

    For the occasion, pastry shops are filled with galettes des rois, Epiphany cakes. (The name actually translates to kings’ cake; a galette is a flat pastry cake.)

    The cake is traditionally—more of an almond puff pastry tart—is filled with frangipane (almond cream). Other fillings can be substituted, from almond paste (marzipan) to chocolate ganache to sliced apples. In the south of France, brioche is often substituted for the puff pastry.

    You can buy puff pastry (pâte à choux) or make your own with this recipe.

    The cake is often garnished with a metallic gold paper crown, and a charm is baked into the filling. Originally a baby, representing baby Jesus, today any trinket can be substituted. The person who finds the trinket in his or her slice becomes “king” for the day.

    A couple of years ago we published an Epiphany Cake recipe from Héléne Darroze, proprietor of a two-Michelin-starred restaurant in Paris.

    This year, we present François Payard’s slightly different recipe, with a bit of rum and almond extract (Darroze prefers a citrus zest flavor accent).

    It was a staple for French-born Payard, who grew up in Nice, where his grandfather owned a pastry shop (his father also was a pastry chef).

     

    king-cakes-2-pierrehermeFB-230

    Each baker puts his or her own design on top of the Epiphany Cake. These are from Parisian pâtissiér Pierre Hermé \.

     

    RECIPE: FRANÇOIS PAYARD’S GALETTE DES ROIS

    Ingredients

  • 1 pound puff pastry dough
  • 5 ounces (about 10 tablespoons)ground blanched almonds
  • 5 ounces (about 1 cup) powdered sugar
  • 5 ounces (10 tablespoons) softened butter
  • 2 whole eggs + 1 yolk
  • 1 drop almond extract
  • Optional: 1 tablespoon dark rum
  • 1 small toy or figurine (this year we used a silver dollar)
  •  
    Preparation

    1. MAKE the cream filling: Mix together the almonds and sugar. Add the creamed butter, the two whole eggs and rum; mix well together.

    2. DIVIDE the puff pastry dough in half; roll out each half into a 12-inch (about) circle. Lay one pastry round sheet on a very slightly greased baking pan. Pour the filling in the middle and spread without reaching the edge. Drop the toy into the filling.

    3. TOP carefully with the second circle of dough. With moist fingers, press firmly all around to seal the “cake.” Glaze the surface with the remaining beaten egg yolk. (For a little more control over the color, brush the yolk on roughly halfway through the baking)

    4. DRAW some light, curved lines for decoration using a knife or fork. Make a few tiny cuts on the top to let out steam during cooking.

    5. BAKE for about 35 to 40 minutes in preheated 400°F oven. Check with an oven thermometer, as oven temperatures can vary. Remove when the pastry is golden. Cool and serve while still warm, if possible.

    We like ours with a dab of barely- (or non-) sweetened whipped cream or crème fraîche.

      

    Comments

    FOOD HOLIDAY: National Bloody Mary Day

    Fernand Petiot-Red Snapper-230

    Thank bartender Fernand Petiot for today’s Bloody Mary. Photo courtesy St. Regis Hotel | NYC.

     

    January 1st is National Bloody Mary Day; 2015 marks the 81st anniversary of the drink, originally known as the Red Snapper Cocktail.

    In 1934, a seminal cocktail event took place at the King Cole Bar, an elegant watering hole in the storied St. Regis hotel in New York City. Bartender Fernand Petiot introduced the Red Snapper, a cocktail that would later be renamed the Bloody Mary.

    A simple cocktail called the Bloody Mary—gin and tomato juice—originated in the 1920s at a Parisian bar called The New Yorker. Petiot had served the drink at Harry’s Bar in Paris.

    After moving to the St. Regis, Petiot spiced up a tomato juice and vodka libation with celery salt, pepper, cayenne, lemon and Worcestershire sauce.

    RECIPE: THE ORIGINAL RED SNAPPER COCKTAIL FROM THE KING COLE BAR

    Ingredients

  • 2 ounces tomato juice
  • 1 dash lemon juice
  • 2 dashes celery salt
  • 2 dashes black pepper
  • 2 dashes cayenne pepper
  • 3 dashes of Worcestershire sauce
  • 1 ounce vodka
  •  

    The vodka-based drink became known as the Bloody Mary, and the gin-based equivalent became know as the Red Snapper. Over time, hot sauce replaced the cayenne pepper and a celery stick garnish appeared.

    And the name switched: The Red Snapper became a cocktail like the vodka-based Bloody Mary, but with gin instead.

    If you’re a Bloody Mary fan, try a Red Snapper instead and see what the more flavorful gin does for the drink, as opposed to the neutral flavor of vodka.

     

    MORE BLOODY MARY HISTORY

    The St. Regis Hotel was opened 1904, built by one of the wealthiest men in America, John Jacob Astor IV, as a companion to the Waldorf-Astoria Hotel.

    Eight years later, John Jacob Astor IV perished in the sinking of the RMS Titanic. His son Vincent Astor inherited the hotel.

    In 1932, the “Old King Cole” mural by Maxfield Parrish, which had been created for Astor’s defunct Knickerbocker Hotel, was moved to the St. Regis and made the centerpiece of a new bar, the King Cole Bar. In 1934, Vincent Astor recruited French bartender Fernand “Pete” Petiot, who had moved to New York from Paris-based Harry’s New York Bar in the 1920s, as the head bartender.

    At Harry’s, Petiot was famed for a tomato juice and vodka drink that was named the Bloody Mary, as the story goes, after a customer named Mary.

    When he brought the drink to New York, Petiot had to swap out the vodka, which was hard to come by in the U.S. (until the 1960s), for gin. Then, the Astor family deemed the name Bloody Mary too déclassé for their society clientele. So the Red Snapper was born.

     

    The Red Snapper-straight-230

    The Bloody Mary was originally called the Red Snapper. Photo courtesy St. Regis Hotel | NYC.

     

    In 1934, Prince Serge Obolensky, a well known man about town whose penchant for vodka was in keeping with his aristocratic Russian background, asked Petiot to make the vodka cocktail he had in Paris.

    According to FoodRepublic.com, Petiot spiced up the Parisian Bloody Mary—originally just vodka and tomato juice—with salt, pepper, lemon and Worcestershire Sauce. Since “Bloody Mary” was deemed too vulgar for the hotel’s elegant King Cole Bar, the drink was rechristened the “Red Snapper.” While the name may not have endured, the spicy drink most certainly has; over the years it has become the signature cocktail of the King Cole Bar. Sometime in the mid-1930s the name reverted to Bloody Mary—a better, spicy Mary, to be sure.

      

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    FOOD HOLIDAY: The History Of Sangria

    December 20th is National Sangria Day. The word derives from the Spanish word for bloodletting, and refers to the red wine that was used as a base for the punch.

    THE HISTORY OF SANGRIA

    Around 200 B.C.E., the conquering Romans arrived in Spain and planted vineyards. They soon discovered that red grape varietals produced the best wine in the local soils. While some was enjoyed locally, the majority of the wines were shipped to Rome.

    The locals created fruit punches from the wines, and called these drinks sangria after the color.

    While sangria was drunk in Spain for more than 1,000 years, it didn’t arrive in the U.S. until 1964—at the Spanish Pavilion at the World’s Fair in New York. It was quickly adopted by Americans.

     
    HOW TO MAKE SANGRIA

    In Spain, sangria is typically made with Rioja or another local red wine. There are white wine versions, called sangria blanco (white sangria) and sparkling versions using cava, sparkling white wine.

       

    port-sangria-sandemans-230

    This version adds Port to the red wine. Photo courtesy Sandemans.

     

     

    apple-sangria-230

    While traditionally made with red wine, white
    wine sangrias are also popular. You can make
    them with sparkling wine, too. Photo courtesy U.S. Apple Association.

     

    The wine is typically blended with chopped fruit, fruit juices or other sweetener (honey, sugar, syrup, lemon-lime soda instead of the club soda), soda water and sometimes brandy. While some people feel that the cheapest wine will suffice because the flavor gets blended with these other ingredients, we recommend using a good quality wine. (Let “quality” refer to anything you’d be happy to drink straight from the glass.)

    Ideally, the sangria—without the soda water—should be allowed to chill overnight for the flavors to meld. The chilled soda water should be added right before serving.

    To serve, pour the sangria into a pitcher filled with ice cubes and garnish with more fresh fruit.

  • Traditional sangria pitchers have a pinched lip so that the fruit and other solids do not splash into the glass.
  • But if you’re going to purchase a pitcher, we particularly like a pitcher with a central well to hold the ice. This keeps the drink cold without diluting it.
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    SANGRIA TRIVIA

  • Since January 2014, the use of the word “sangria” on bottle labels is restricted by the European Union. Only sangria made in Spain and Portugal can be sold under that name.
  • Sangaree, a fruit and wine punch from the West Indies, is the same drink. The name is an archaic English term for sangria.
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