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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 Gourmet News

RECIPE: Cream Cheese Christmas Tree Appetizer

cream-cheese-pepper-jelly-xmastree-indulgy.com-bertha-230

Deck the appetizer plate with cream cheese and pepper jelly. Photo: Pinterest.

 

The block of cream cheese topped with pepper jelly takes on a special shape for the holidays.

We originally thought that this photo was from Bertha at Indulgy.com, but so many people have posted it on Pinterest and elsewhere that the original source is in question. If it’s yours, please let us know so we can link to you.

RECIPE: CREAM CHEESE CHRISTMAS TREE APPETIZER

Ingredients

  • 8 ounce block cream cheese
  • Pepper jelly or salsa
  • 1 green onion (scallion)
  • 1 green bell pepper or chile
  • Crackers or tortilla chips
  • Optional garnish: snipped chives or parsley
  •  
    Preparation

    1. CUT a block of cream cheese on the diagonal. Place on a plate to make a tree shape.

    2. USE a portion of the green onion to create the trunk of the tree.

    3. ADD pepper jelly and a star cut from the pepper. Serve with crackers of choice (or if you use salsa, with tortilla chips).

     
      

    Comments

    TIP OF THE DAY: Christmas Bread Wreath

    rolls-wreath-artofcheese2-230

    Turn rolls into a holiday bread wreath. Photo
    courtesy ArtOfCheese.com.

     

    This show-stopping, pull apart bread wreath is served warm from the oven, with a centerpiece of melted Camembert cheese for dipping.

    Serve it with cocktails or as a TV snack. It will impress everyone, and it’s not hard to do. Starting with frozen rolls makes it a snap!

    Prep time is 3 hours (most of the time is for the bread to rise), cook time is 45 minutes. You can substitute a Baby Brie for the Camembert (the difference between Brie and Camembert is largely the size).

    The recipe is courtesy of Président Cheese, which has many ideas of what to do with cheese at its website, ArtOfCheese.com.

    RECIPE: CHRISTMAS WREATH BREAD

    Ingredients For 8-10 Portions

  • 1 8-ounce wheel of Camembert cheese (Président
    or other brand)
  • 1 25-ounce package Parker House-style frozen rolls
  • 1/4 cup unsalted butter, melted
  • 1 teaspoon minced fresh rosemary, plus more for garnish
  • 1/4 cup pomegranate arils (seeds) for garnish
  • Flaked Maldon or other coarse, flaky sea salt
  •  

    Preparation

    1. COVER a large baking sheet with parchment paper.

    2. USE the Camembert as a guide to mark the center of the baking sheet; temporarily place it in the middle of the sheet. Arrange the frozen dough rolls in two circles around the cheese. Leave a 1/2” space between the rolls and between the circles (the rolls will expand as they bake). Remove the cheese and refrigerate until ready to use.

    3. BRUSH the frozen rolls with melted butter. Thaw for 1 hour in a warm, draft-free area, then allow an additional 2 hours to rise until they have doubled in size. Once the dough has formed a “wreath,” par-bake it at 325°F for 7 minutes.

    4. USE a sharp knife to carefully remove the top layer of rind from the Camembert wheel. This will allow for easy dipping.

    5. REMOVE the par-baked rolls from the oven and fit the Camembert in the center (remove any wrapping). Bake an additional 8-10 minutes, or until the rolls are golden brown and the cheese is melted.

     

    rolls-wreath-dip-artofcheese-230

    Dip the rolls into the baked Camembert. Photo courtesy ArtOfCheese.com.

     

    6. USE the parchment paper to slide the wreath off of the baking sheet and onto a serving platter or board. Brush rolls with melted butter and sprinkle with flaked Maldon sea salt. Sprinkle the Camembert with minced rosemary.

    7. GARNISH the wreath by inserting small 1” long pieces of fresh rosemary and clusters of pomegranate seeds between the rolls. Serve immediately.

      

    Comments

    RECIPE: Bailey’s Irish Cream Adult Hot Chocolate

    baileys-peppermint-cream-230

    It’s not an innocent cup of hot chocolate. Photo courtesy Baileys.

     

    It’s National Hot Chocolate Day, or National Cocoa Day if you prefer (the difference between cocoa and hot chocolate). Today we’re making this adults-only version.

    The recipe comes to us from Baileys Irish Cream, using the company’s Original Irish Cream with a hint of Mint Chocolate.

  • If you only have regular Irish Cream, add a bit of peppermint extract.
  • If you have no irish creme at all, you can use 1/2 ounce of crème de cacao and 1/4 ounces of crème de menthe.
  •  
    RECIPE: BAILEY’S PEPPERMINT CREAM HOT CHOCOLATE

    Ingredients Per Serving

  • 2 ounces Baileys Original Irish Cream with a hint of Mint Chocolate
  • 4 ounces hot chocolate
  • Fresh whipped cream
  • Garnish: crushed candy cane and mint leaf
  •  
    Preparation

    1. CRUSH the candy cane with the back of a spoon. Set aside.

     
    2. POUR the hot chocolate and Baileys Original Irish Cream into a coffee mug. Stir to combine.

    3. TOP with a dollop of whipped cream. Sprinkle the crushed candy cane on top and garnish with the mint leaf.

     
      

    Comments

    FOOD FUN: Ice Cream Snowman

    Frosty, the ice cream snowman. Photo courtesy Breyers.

     

    What’s for dessert?

    This recipe was developed by Breyers, which used its chocolate chip ice cream. You can use coconut, egg nog, vanilla or any other ice cream flavor.

    Prep time is 20 minutes, freeze time is 20 minutes,

    RECIPE: ICE CREAM SNOWMEN

    Ingredients For 4 Servings

  • 3 cups ice cream, divided
  • 2 cups flaked coconut
  • Mini semi-sweet chocolate chips
  • Optional: orange or red fruit leather
  • 8 chocolate-dipped candy or pretzel sticks
  • 4 slices kiwi
  • 4 strawberry halves
  • Plus:

  • 4 extra additional candy sticks or wooden ice cream sticks
  • Preparation

    1. SCOOP the ice cream and quickly roll into 4 medium and 8 small ice cream balls.

    2. ROLL the balls in coconut, reserve any remaining coconut. Arrange the balls on a a wax paper-lined baking pan. Cover and freeze 20 minutes or until ready to serve.

    3. ASSEMBLE: Stack 1 medium and 2 small ice cream balls on each dessert plate. Insert a candy or wood stick down the center of the snowman to hold the three pieces together.

    4. USE mini chocolate chips for the eyes, nose, mouth and buttons (alternatively, cut the nose from orange or red fruit leather). Add candy sticks arms. Top each snowman with kiwi and strawberry hats. Evenly sprinkle the plates with the remaining coconut “snow.” Serve immediately.

     
      

    Comments

    FOOD FUN: Christmas Tree Pizza

    Who else but the folks at California Pizza Kitchen would create a Christmas Tree Pizza?

    For fun this weekend, how about making this recipe for Christmas Tree Pizza, decorated with your favorite “ornaments.”

    The recipe, from California Pizza Kitchen, makes 1 large pizza, 2 medium pizzas or individual pizzas
    If you’re making individual pizzas, let the people decorate their own.

    RECIPE: CHRISTMAS TREE PIZZA

    Ingredients

  • 1 pound traditional or whole wheat pizza dough
  • 1/2 cup marinara sauce
  • 6 ounces (2 cups) mozzarella cheese, grated
  • 2 cups baby spinach leaves
  • 2 cups baby arugula leaves
  • 1 cup fresh basil leaves
  • 1 cup cherry or grape tomatoes, halved
  • 3 tablespoons grated Parmesan cheese
  • Optional trimmings: sliced olive “ornaments,” anchovy “garland”
  •  

    christmas-tree-pizza-calpizzakitchen-230

    Deck the pizza with your favorite “trimmings.” Photo courtesy California Pizza Kitchen.

  • Optional garnish: carve a piece of yellow bell pepper into a star for the top of the tree
  •  

    Preparation

    1. PLACE a seasoned (or oiled) pizza stone in the middle of the oven and preheat to 450°F for at least 30 minutes.

    2. SHAPE the dough. If making more than 1 pizza, divide the dough into 2 or 4 pieces; then roll and shape each piece into a tall triangle. The pizzas will be decorated after baking, so prepare all of them at once.

    3. SPREAD the sauce over the dough to within 1 inch of the outer edge. Top with the mozzarella and bake for 5 to 10 minutes, or until the cheese is melted and bubbly. Meanwhile…

    4. COMBINE the spinach, arugula and basil leaves in a large bowl. When the pizza is cooked, place on a serving plate and allow it to cool slightly. Then top with overlapping leaves of greens, making sure that the three different types are evenly distributed.

    5. COVER the leaves with tomato halves, cut side down, add any other garnishes and sprinkle with Parmesan “snow” before serving.

      

    Comments

    FOOD FUN: Snowman Latte

    snowman-latte-caffebene-230

    Frosty the Snowman in his latte debut. Photo
    courtesy Caffebene USA.

     

    Turn your latte into a Snowman Latte with this instructions from Caffebene, the world’s second largest coffeehouse franchise.

    Laila Ghambari, Director of Coffee at Cherry Street Coffee House in Seattle—the home of American latte art. Here are her tips:

  • The micro-foam is a crucial element in creating the perfect latte art. Use a milk foaming machine that is able to produce rich, thick, long-lasting foam.
  • Use whole or 2% milk. More milk fat equals more creaminess.
  • Add air to the milk by bringing the steam wand tip to the surface of the milk (not beneath). Remember that NO air will just create hot milk and TOO MUCH air will make your milk bubbly.
  • Make sure that when you are steaming your milk that the milk is spinning. You can achieve this by tilting the pitcher, which allows for the air and milk to blend together.
  • You need to steam the milk to a smooth, creamy texture. It should look cold cream or wet paint.
  • Once the milk is steamed, swirl it around to make sure the milk and foam are incorporated, not separated.
  •  
    THE HISTORY OF LATTE ART

    Latte art was developed in Italy, enabled by the development of microfoam, created by the steam wand of a cappuccino machine, used to foam a pitcher of milk. The combination of the crema atop the cup of espresso and velvety microfoam allows patterns to be made. (Note that other types of milk steamers/foamers do not create microfoam.)

    Latte art in the United States developed in the Seattle coffee culture of the 1980s and 1990s. By 1989 the heart pattern was a signature at David Schomer’s Espresso Vivace and the rosette pattern followed, based on a photograph Schomer saw of latte art in an Italian café.

     
     

    HOW TO MAKE THE LATTE SNOWMAN

    snowman-latte-instructions-caffebenesnowman-latte-caffebene-230

    Comments

    FOOD FUN: Linky Doodles Candy Cane Garlands

    linkdoodles-holiday-peppermint-230

    Deck something with candy cane garlands. Photo courtesy Kencraft.

     

    Linky Doodles Candy Chains calls itself “The world’s only linkable candy.”

    They’re specially shaped, open link shapes made from a hard candy recipe. You simply hook the pieces together, and they make an edible Christmas garland.

    At $21.99 + $9.99 shipping for 28 pieces that make a garland of 5.5 feet, you need to make a financial commitment to create too much of a garland, but you may have a space for a small one.

    You can also use Linky Doodles for napkin rings, or adorn yourself with an edible necklace.

    Made by Kencraft, a quality candy maker, Linky Doodles are also available in Rainbow, Pink, and Blue, for year-round celebrating. All of these colors are cherry flavored.

     
    WHERE TO BUY LINKY DOODLES

  • Buy online: red, white and green peppermint Linky Doodles
  • Buy online: red and white cherry flavor Linky Doodles
  •  
    Visit LinkyDoodles.com for more information.

     
      

    Comments

    RECIPE: Popcorn Wreaths

    Food fun, task for the kids: Make Holiday Wreath Popcorn Treats. This recipe from The Popcorn Board can be made by older children.

    RECIPE: CHRISTMAS POPCORN WREATHS

    Ingredients For 8 Five-Inch Wreaths

  • 3 quarts popped popcorn
  • 4 tablespoons (1/2 stick) unsalted butter
  • 3 cups miniature marshmallows
  • 3 tablespoons (1/2 of a 3-ounce box) lime gelatin dessert mix
  • Decorations: small red candies, mini jellybeans, dried cranberries or cherries, etc., plus red fruit leather for “ribbon”
  •  

    Preparation

    1. SPRAY a large mixing bowl lightly with cooking spray and place the popcorn inside.

    2. MELT the butter in a medium saucepan over low heat. Stir in the marshmallows and gelatin dessert powder until the marshmallows are melted and mixture is smooth. Pour over the popcorn and mix well until coated.

     

    Almost too pretty to eat! Photo courtesy The Popcorn Board.

     

    3. SPRAY your hands with cooking spray and press firmly to form the popcorn into 9-inch logs. Then bend the logs to form the wreaths.

    4. PLACE the wreaths on wax paper. Press the candy decorations onto the wreaths to decorate. Add a “ribbon” cut from fruit leather.

    5. SERVE immediately or wrap individually in cellophane bags for storage and gifting. Add a ribbon tie to the bag as a decorative closure.

    6. TIP: Soak the saucepan in hot soap and water before cleaning.

      

    Comments

    PRODUCT: Honeycrisp Apples

    honeycrisp-solo-aamodtsapplefarm-230

    A glorious Honeycrisp apple. Photo courtesy A.A. Modts Apple Farm.

     

    While October is National Apple Month and September 20th is International Eat An Apple Day, today is Eat A Red Apple Day.

    Our favorite apple is the Honeycrisp, developed at the University Of Minnesota and released in 1991. Beloved for its crisp flesh, juiciness and sweet and tart notes, it has become Minnesota’s state fruit!

    They’re our favorite apple. The only fly in the ointment is that the University of Minnesota and Minnesota apple breeders developed the variety to be at its best when grown in the local soil conditions and climate.

    Thus, the Honeycrisps from Washington and elsewhere (they are widely grown around the world) are just a little less glorious.

    But we’ll take them wherever we can get them. Trader Joe’s has them in stock this week: The typically jumbo Honeycrisps as well as minis the size of Lady Apples.

     

    APPLE TIP: Apples deteriorate quickly if they’re not kept cool. Don’t keep them on a table or counter in a decorative basket. That may look nice, but your apples will Keep better in the fridge!

     
      

    Comments

    FOOD FUN: Pecan Cheese Ball “Pine Cone”

    Here’s some food fun for the holiday season—especially when you receive a gift tin of gourmet pecan halves! Not only does this cranberry cheese ball make an impression on the appetizer buffet, but it’s easy enough that you can let older children put it together as their contribution.

    The recipe is courtesy Sonia, who writes as The Healthy Foodie. She also does a version that looks like a pineapple.

    The day before, gather some pine branches to wash and dry. You don’t want the strong scent of fresh-cut pine wafting over the food.

    Then, get ready to mix:

    RECIPE: “PINE CONE” PECAN CHEESE BALL

    Ingredients

  • 8 ounces cream cheese (low fat is OK)
  • ½ cup low fat sour cream (low fat is OK)
  • Zest of one orange
  • ¼ cup dried cranberries
  • ¼ cup chopped pecans
  • ¼ cup chopped parsley
  • ¼ tsp black pepper
  • Pinch cayenne pepper
  •    

    pecan-cheese-ball-2-thehealthyfoodie-230

    A holiday cheese ball. Photo courtesy The Healthy Foodie.

  • 75-100 perfect pecan halves (to make the pine cone effect)
  • Bread or crackers
  •  

    pecan-cheese-ball-3-thehealthyfoodie-230

    Add some fresh evergreen. Photo courtesy The Healthy Foodie.

     

    Preparation

    1. WHIP the cream cheese and sour cream using an electric mixer or a stand mixer with the paddle attachment. Use medium speed until well incorporated—smooth and creamy in texture—about 2-3 minutes. Incorporate the rest of the ingredients and continue mixing on low speed until well combined, about 30-45 seconds.

    2. TURN the mixture onto a serving plate and shape into a teardrop. Cover with a plastic wrap and, ideally, refrigerate until the next day. This will allow the flavors to fully develop.

    3. WAIT until the last minute to cover with the pecans to avoid them going soft. Take the cream cheese “ball” out of the fridge about an hour before you are ready to start laying on the pecans. Pecans will stick better to cheese that is closer to room temperature.

     

    4. BEGIN to layer the pecan halves at the tip and keep shingling until you get to the top. The first rows will lay flat against the cheese but they will be more and more upright as you move towards the end. This will happen naturally. Just keep them nice and tight and use the best pecans you can find.

    5. DECORATE the serving dish with a few pine branches and serve with the crackers or bread.

      

    Comments

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