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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 Recipes

RECIPE: Mini Eggnog Cheesecakes

Here’s a cheesecake recipe developed for Christmas and New Year’s Eve: Eggnog Cheesecake! These mini cheesecakes with a gingersnap crust are from Driscolls.com.

For a clean presentation, invest in a mini cheesecake pan (with removable bottoms); or bake the cheesecakes in festive paper baking cups (also known as cupcake or muffin papers) in a standard muffin pan.

Prep time is 30 minutes, cook time is 15 to 18 minutes.

RECIPE: MINI EGGNOG GINGERBREAD CHEESECAKES

Ingredients For 12 Servings
 
Crust

  • 3/4 cup ground gingersnap cookies (about 14 cookies)
  • 2 tablespoons unsalted butter, melted
  •  
    Filling

  • 2 teaspoons vanilla extract
  • 1/4 teaspoon ground nutmeg
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt
  • 2 large eggs
  • 36 fresh raspberries (about 1 cup)
  •  

    mini-eggnog-gingerbread-cheesecake-discrolls-230

    Ho ho ho: mini eggnog gingerbread cheesecakes! Photo courtesy Driscoll’s Berries.

  • 1-1/2 packages (8 ounces each) cream cheese, at room temperature
  • 3 tablespoons sugar
  • 1 teaspoon all-purpose flour
  • 1/3 cup eggnog
  •  
    Equipment

  • 1 mini-cheesecake pan with removable bottoms ((12-cups, 1-1/2-inches by 2-inches) or a 12-cup muffin tin
  •  

    Preparation

    1. PREHEAT the oven to 325°F. Lightly spray the wells of the mini-cheesecake pan with non-stick spray. If using a muffin pan, line the cups with the paper liners.

    2. PROCESS the cookies into fine crumbs using a food processor. Combine the crumbs and butter in a small bowl. Press 1 tablespoon of the cookie mixture into each cup in the pan and pat down firmly (for the muffin tin, press the cookie mixture into the paper liners).

    3. MIX the cream cheese, sugar and flour in an electric mixer on low speed until blended, scraping down the sides of bowl. Add the eggnog, vanilla extract, nutmeg and salt and mix until blended. Add the eggs, 1 at a time, on low speed until blended.

    4. DIVIDE the batter among the cups in pan. Bake 15 to 18 minutes or 18 to 20 minutes for the muffin pan and paper liners. The edges should be set and center slightly jiggly. The cheesecakes will puff slightly above pan.

    5. COOL completely on a baking rack. Then refrigerate at least 4 hours or until chilled throughout. To serve, carefully remove cheesecakes from pan and top each with 3 raspberries.

      

    Comments

    TIP OF THE DAY: Party Picks, Fancy Toothpick Skewers

    If you like to add a flourish to your party food, consider fancy party picks.

    They not only make the food look better, but can also serve as party favors or stocking stuffers (at about $5.00 per box).

    These special party picks, found on Amazon.com, will make your hors d’oeuvre even tastier:

  • Holiday party picks, silver and gold picks with a star on top
  • Christmas party picks: assorted red, green and white with Christmas trees on top.
  • Foil party picks: fun metallic fringe in blue, green, purple and silver for New Year’s Eve.
  • Conventional frilled party picks, with cellophane frills in bright colors for Thanksgiving.
  •  
    CHRISTMAS FOODS TO SERVE ON PARTY PICKS

    Savory Picks

       

    party-picks-creativeconverting-230

    Christmas picks, Photo courtesy CreativeConverting.com.

     

    party-picks-stars-creativeconverting-amz-230

    New Year’s Eve picks, Photo courtesy CreativeConverting.com.

     
  • Caprese salad: halved cherry tomato stuffed with mozzarella and a basil leaf; optional balsamic vinaigrette dipping sauce (photo).
  • Greek salad: feta square base topped with Kalamata olive, mini cucumber and cherry or grape tomato (photo).
  • Mini meatballs: topped with pastry stars, served with mustard dip (photo).
  • Pepperoni boats: pepperoni slice wrapped around cheese, cherry tomato half and basil or parsley (photo).
  • Sausage slice: base topped with pepperjack (or other cheese), a fresh parsley leaf and a pimento-stuffed olive (photo).
  •  
    Sweet Picks

  • Santa heads: green grape base topped with banana slice, inverted strawberry and mini marshmallow (photo)
  • Star fruit and cheese skewers: cut fruits into stars with canape cutters and alternate with cheese cubes.
  •  
    See more suggestions for appetizer picks and dessert picks.

      

    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: Maille Dijon Mustard With Balsamic Vinegar Of Modena

    maille-balsamic-mustard-kaminsky-230

    Two favorite flavors together: Dijon mustard
    and balsamic vinegar. Photo by Hannah
    Kaminsky | THE NIBBLE.

     

    Often, the nicest gift you can bring to a party or dinner hosted by a foodie is something knew he or she probably hasn’t tried.

    We nominate Maille’s new Honey Dijon Mustard with Balsamic Vinegar of Modena. Together, the two classic flavors create a flavorful yet mellow blend that’s not quite as sharp as classic Dijon mustard. At 10 calories per teaspoon, it’s low in calories and high on flavor.

    We love basic Dijon mustard, but it’s that much special—similar to Edmond Fallot Gingerbread Mustard we wrote about recently.

    As you might imagine, there are countless ways you can use fine mustard to enhance almost anything on your plate.

    The product, which is a medium brown color as opposed to conventional yellow Dijon, just arrived in the U.S. Until recently, it has only been available at Maille’s European boutiques in Dijon, Paris and London.

    Get yours online at MyBrands.com for $9.89 per jar (7.9 oz/225g).

     

    SERVING SUGGESTIONS

  • As a condiment and with cheeses, cold cuts, pâtes, roasted meats and vegetables.
  • As a sandwich spread.
  • In vinaigrettes and dips.
  • In glazes and marinades.
  • In a sauce: Use it with wine to deglaze meat near the end of cooking to create a mouthwatering sauce. Here’s how.
  • As a seasoning in turkey stuffing, chicken and pork dishes, macaroni, potato salad (tuna, chicken, egg, etc.).
  •  
    You can find lots of recipes on Maille.us. Although we haven’t tried it, there’s a recipe for carrot cake that uses Dijon mustard!

     

    RECIPE: BALSAMIC MUSTARD & CRANBERRY SAUCE

    Combine the sweetness of balsamic with the balance of mustard in this new twist on homemade cranberry sauce. The cranberry sauce can be made up to five days in advance.

    Ingredients

  • 2 bags (8 ounces each) fresh or frozen cranberries
  • 1/2 cup granulated sugar
  • 1 teaspoon fine sea salt
  • 1/4 cup Maille Honey Dijon Mustard with Balsamic Vinegar of Modena
  • 1/2 cup water
  •  
    Preparation

    1. COMBINE all ingredients in a small saucepan and heat over medium-low heat to a simmer.

    2. REDUCE the heat to low and stir occasionally until the cranberries have broken down and the mixture is thick and sauce-like, about 20-25 minutes.

    3. REMOVE from the heat and cool completely before serving.

     

    cranberry-sauce-w-balsamic-mustard-maille-230

    Cranberry sauce with balsamic Dijon mustard. Photo courtesy Maille.

     

    FOOD TRIVIA

    The Romans were probably the first to experiment with the preparation of mustard as a condiment. They mixed unfermented grape juice, known as must, with ground mustard seeds (called sinapis) to make burning must, mustum ardens in Latin. Hence, the name must ard.

     
    ABOUT MAILLE

    Founded in 1747 by Antoine Maille in Dijon, France, La Maison Maille stepped into history when the refined recipes first caught the attention of King Louis XV of France, becoming his official supplier of vinegar and mustard. Soon other European Royal Courts, including those of Russia, Prussia, Austria and Hungary, followed suit and granted Maille this significant honor.

    Maille is the leading producer of premium mustard, vinegar and cornichons in France and the number one brand of imported mustard in the U.S. Maille Honey Balsamic joins the brand’s U.S. imports, which include Dijon Originale, Old-Style (À La Ancienne), Honey Dijon, Horseradish and Rich Country mustards, plus Dijonnaise and Cornichons.

      

    Comments

    RECIPE: Award Winning Walnut Cake

    walnut-cake-food52-calwalnutbd-230

    Ready for a party! Photo courtesy California
    Walnut Board.

     

    This past Spring, the California Walnut Board teamed up with Food52 to challenge its cooking community to create their best recipes with walnuts. With almost 200 entries that included everything from muhammara dip* and creamy asparagus walnut pasta to a goat cheese walnut pizza, the results were varied as well as delicious.

    The first place win went to a baker with the screen name Aliwaks, who created The Walnut Variation: A Cake. A sophisticated confection layered with meringue, whipped cream and flavored with maple syrup, vanilla and plenty of crunchy walnuts, this is a cake for a gourmet cake lover—or for a holiday party or other special occasion.

    Says Aliwaks, “Recently, I discovered The World’s Best Cake—a lovely vanilla affair with whipped cream, meringue and almonds. Ever since I made this soft, chewy, crisp, crunchy, and billowy cake, I’ve been pondering variations on the theme. This is the Walnut Variation: coffee-flavored cake, cinnamon meringue, toasted walnuts, and maple vanilla whipped cream.”

     
    While we’d never call this “health food,” the good news is that walnuts are the healthiest of nuts. Here’s the scoop.
     
    *A hot pepper dip originally from Aleppo, Syria.
     
    RECIPE: “THE WALNUT VARIATION” WALNUT CAKE

    Ingredients For 1 Cake/16 Servings

  • 1-1/2 cup heavy cream
  • 1/2 vanilla bean
  • 10-1/2 tablespoons butter, softened
  • 2/3 cups brown sugar
  • 1 1/3 cup flour
  • 1 teaspoon baking powder
  • 4 teaspoons espresso powder
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 5 egg yolks
  • 1/3 cup milk
  • 5 egg whites
  • 1 cup granulated sugar
  • 2 teaspoons cinnamon
  • 1/2 cup walnuts, chopped and toasted
  • 1 tablespoon maple syrup
  • Optional garnish: dark chocolate sauce punched up with a few dashes of walnut bitters
  •  

    Preparation

    The night before:

    1. SEPARATE the eggs and let the egg whites sit on the counter overnight, covered with a clean cloth.

    2. POUR the cream into a saucepan. Split and scrape a vanilla bean into the cream and heat until just boiling. Remove from heat and let cool. Cover and chill in the fridge overnight.

    The next day:

    3. PREHEAT the oven to 350°F. Prepare a 9 x 12-inch cake pan with buttered parchment. (Alternatively, you can prepare two 9-inch round cake pans.)

    4. CREAM the butter and brown sugar in the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with a paddle attachment, until creamy and fluffy—about 3 to 4 minutes.

     

    walnuts-bakeyourday.net-230sq

    Walnuts have more health benefits than other nuts. Photo courtesy BakeYourDay.net.

     
    5. WHISK together the flour, baking powder, espresso powder and salt. Add the mixture to the butter and sugar in 3 increments, mixing fully between additions.

    6. WHISK together the egg yolks and milk. Add to batter in 3 increments, incorporating fully each time. Scrape batter into prepared pan.

    7. WIPE down they bowl and whisk attachment with vinegar. In a clean mixing bowl, whip the egg whites until foamy. Add the sugar and cinnamon and whip to soft peaks.

    8. SPREAD the meringue over the cake batter, cover with toasted walnuts and bake 35-40 minutes, until the meringue is crackly. Let cake cool completely. Meanwhile…

    9. REMOVE the vanilla bean from the cream. Add the maple syrup and whip the cream to soft peaks.

    10. CUT the cake in half and place one half on a cake plate, meringue side up. Cover with whipped cream. Top with remaining half, meringue side up. You will end up with a 2-layer square cake from your single- layer rectangular cake. (If you’re doing this in two round cake pans, just top one with the other.) Let sit 1-2 hours.

    To go completely over-the-top, serve with a dark chocolate sauce punched up with a few dashes of walnut bitters.

      

    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

    TIP OF THE DAY: Turkey Leftovers

    You don’t have to look far for inspiration for your leftover turkey and stuffing. Butterball Turkey has an entire Pinterest gallery devoted to them.

    Beyond all the open face turkey sandwiches with gravy, triple decker sandwiches and panini are:

  • Turkey Empanadas, Enchiladas, Nachos & Quesadillas
  • Turkey & Cranberry Grilled Cheese (recipe)
  • Turkey & Cranberry Pizza (we love this recipe!)
  • Turkey Pot Pie (recipe)
  • Turkey Tetrazzini (recipe)
  •  
    But our favorite is a turkey, cranberry and stuffing wrap. Just spread cream cheese, mayo (especially chipotle mayo) or leftover dip on a tortilla, pile on the leftovers, roll and eat.

    You can do the same with lettuce wraps. Variations on a theme:

  • Add hummus to the tortilla wrap. Here’s a recipe from SheWearsManyHats.com.
  • Vary the filling in the lettuce wraps. Here’s a recipe with a Santa Fe flair, from SkinnyTaste.com.
  •    

    Rosemary-Hummus-Turkey-Cranberry-Wrap-shewearsmanyhats-230

    Spread out a wrap and pile on the turkey and fixings. Photo courtesy SheWearsManyHats.com.

     

    lettuce-wraps-skinnytaste.com-230

    Toss turkey, stuffing and cranberry sauce into a lettuce wrap. Photo courtesy SkinnyTaste.com.

     

    Here are more ideas for warps from Tom Leo, Corporate Executive Chef of Grecian Delight. He likes to give the traditional turkey sandwich a contemporary makeover by swapping sliced bread for a flat wrap.

    “A flat wrap allows you to incorporate more ingredients without the mess,” he says. “Everything from side dishes to sauces can be used to create a Thanksgiving-themed wrap.”

    Here are Chef Leo’s top ways to use Thanksgiving leftovers in a wrap:

  • The Basic Bird: Pile slices of turkey atop a white flat wrap. Add shredded lettuce and as much cranberry sauce as you like for a nod to Thursday’s feast.
  • The Traditional Turkey: This wrap is for the Thanksgiving purist. Pile sides like sausage stuffing and gravy atop the turkey.
  • The Vegetarian Wonder: Chef Leo’s favorite: roasted butternut squash topped with a shredded Brussels sprout salad and pickled root vegetables (here’s how to pickle the leftover crudités).
  • The Seasonal Spin: Add some poached pears, sugared pecans and brie cheese to your turkey wrap. Also check the appetizer leftovers: We had fresh goat cheese, pate, crudités and dip to add to the turkey.
  • The Full Bird: Top the turkey with a dollop of sweet potato casserole, strands of green beans, and a hint of cranberry, stuffing and anything else.
  •  
    The great thing about the day after Thanksgiving: leftover sandwiches!

      

    Comments

    RECPE: Ambrosia Salad For Fall & Winter

    ambrosia-salad-tangerines-melissas-230

    Ambrosia salad. Photo courtesy
    Melissas.com.

     

    In Greek mythology, the gods ate ambrosia and drank nectar, fragrant foods that were typically reserved for divine beings.

    While no descriptions of either these foods survive (the word ambrosia means delicious or fragrant and nectar indicates a delicious or invigorating drink), scholars have long believed that both ambrosia and nectar were based on honey. (Mead, popular with the ancients, is a fermented honey drink.)

    Modern ambrosia is a variation on a traditional fruit salad. It originated in the southern U.S. in the last quarter of the 19th century, when oranges became more available in markets across the country. The original recipes were simple layerings of grated coconut, sliced oranges and powdered sugar, sometimes called iced oranges.

    The recipe became popular in the early part of the twentieth century, according to FoodTimeline.org. Many variations proliferated. Today, it’s a retro recipe that is too often laden with maraschino cherries, canned pineapple and whipped topping.

    But make it with the best ingredients, and you’ve got but a fun fruit salad substitute for the colder months, when primo fresh fruit options are fewer.

     

    In addition to the coconut and orange or mandarin, ambrosia recipes typically contain pineapple, miniature marshmallows and coconut. Other ingredients can include bananas, cherries, dates, grapes, grapefruit, raisins, strawberries and pecans or walnuts.

    For a devilish modern touch, add a bit of diced jalapeño.

    The salad is typically bound with something creamy: mayonnaise, whipped cream, sour cream, yogurt, even cream cheese, cottage cheese or pudding.

    This recipe is adapted from Alton Brown’s and is so easy that you can assign it to an older child to prepare. Prep time is 30 minutes, plus two hours of chilling.

     

    RECIPE: AMBROSIA FRUIT SALAD

    This recipe is adapted from an Alton Brown version. It is best served on the day of preparation. The sugar can cause the oranges (and other fruits) to release their juices and the dish can turn to mush.

    Ingredients For 6 Servings

  • 1/2 cup heavy cream
  • 1 tablespoon sugar
  • 4 ounces sour cream
  • 6 ounces homemade mini marshmallows or store bought, approximately 3 cups
  • 1 cup clementine orange segments (approximately
    6 clementines)
  • 1 cup chopped fresh pineapple
  • 1 cup red or purple grapes
  • 1 cup freshly grated coconut
  • 1 cup toasted, chopped pecans
  • 1/2 cup drained maraschino cherries*
  •  

    valencia_orange-crate-floridajuice.com-230

    Ambrosia salad was developed as oranges became more widely available in the late 19th century. Photo courtesy FloridaJuice.com.

     
    Preparation

    1. PLACE the cream and sugar into the bowl of a stand mixer with the whisk attachment and whip until stiff peaks are formed. Add the sour cream and whisk to combine.

    2. ADD the marshmallows, orange, pineapple, coconut, pecans and cherries; stir to combine.

    3. TRANSFER to a glass serving bowl, cover and refrigerate for 2 hours before serving.
     
    *The best maraschino cherries, worth of a connoisseur, are from Tillen Farms, all natural and made with sugar instead of corn syrup.

      

    Comments

    TIP OF THE DAY: Seasonal Sangria

    Zulka-Sparkling-Apple-Cider-Sangria-Zulka-230

    Celebrate fall with Apple Cider Sangria. Photo courtesy Zulka.com.

     

    Sangria is a popular party drink, and you can moderate the amount of alcohol or use none at all.

    Here’s the version we’re serving at Thanksgiving, compliments of Zulka Sugar. Fall is apple cider season, so Instead of fruit juice, this recipe uses apple cider and sparkling apple cider.

    Cider s available in alcoholic and non alcoholic versions. In the U.S., alcoholic cider is known as hard cider. (See details below.) Find more delicious recipes at Zulka.com.

    RECIPE: SPARKLING APPLE CIDER SANGRIA

    Ingredients

  • 1/4 cup sugar
  • 2 teaspoon cinnamon
  • 2 cups apple cider
  • 1/2 cup Calvados or other apple brandy
  • 1 bottle (750 ml) white wine (Pinot Grigio or Sauvignon Blanc work best)
  • 1 bottle sparkling apple cider
  • 5-6 apples, cored and sliced thin (use red apples for better color, or a combination of red and green)
  • Garnish: Cinnamon sticks
  • Optional: ice cubes
  •  

    PREPARATION

    1. COMBINE the cinnamon and sugar in a small bowl. Pour a little of brandy in another small bowl. Dip the glass rims in the brandy and then the cinnamon sugar. Add a few apple slices to each glass. Set aside.

    2. ADD the remaining cinnamon sugar to a large pitcher. Add the apple cider and stir until the sugar is dissolved. Top with the brandy and wine and mix. Add the rest of the apples. Chill until ready to serve.

    3. ADD the sparkling cider right before serving. Garnish with an apple slice and a cinnamon stick. Serve chilled. Add ice if desired.
     
    WHAT IS CIDER

    While in the U.S. and parts of Canada, the term “apple cider” is interchangeable with apple juice, in Europe a glass of cider is not kid stuff: It’s an alcoholic drink that many prefer to beer.

     

    bottle-glass-original-230

    One of our favorite cider brands. Photo courtesy Crispin Cider.

     
    Usually made from fermented apple juice (although pears can be used—pear cider is known as perry in the U.K.), the juice ferments for eight weeks after the apples are pressed. The cider then matures or several months, is blended, filtered and carbonated.

    The result is a drink with the carbonation and alcohol of beer and the flavor of apples. As with beer, each brand has a distinct flavor profile and alcoholic content, generally from 3% ABV (alcohol by volume) or less to 8.5% or more.

    In the U.S., alcoholic cider is called hard cider, and it’s becoming more popular. Like wine, it has a relatively high concentration of antioxidants—but enjoy it for the crisp, refreshing taste!

  • Hard cider is best served chilled or over ice.
  • Cider is naturally gluten-free.
  • Cider is less filling than beer.
  • The apple flavor is all-natural (as opposed to artificially-flavored malt beverages).
  •   

    Comments

    TIP OF THE DAY: Cut Back On The Hors d’Oeuvre

    People who love to put out a good spread typically go whole-hog on the hors d’oeuvre. The problem, in advance of a big feast, is that those who have been holding back on eating in anticipation of the big meal may go overboard with the pre-meal tidbits.

    Guests may have eaten very lightly that day in anticipation of the dinner, only to be very hungry when by the time they arrive at your doorstep. They then dive into the platters of whatever you’ve put out: bruschetta, canapés, cheese, crudités, dips and spreads, paté.

    If they arrive an hour or two in advance of sitting down to dinner, by the time the main meal begins, they could be halfway stuffed. The solution:

    1. Let everyone know what time you expect to sit down at the table. Then, whether you plan a cocktail hour or multi-hour get together before serving dinner, everyone will be prepared. (If you’re the guest, call ahead and ask.)

    2. Limit what you serve to little nibbles—the kind most people won’t eat in bulk.

     

    mixed-olives-anchovies-bowl-olivesfromspain-230

    Mixed olives and caperberries with fresh parsley and pink peppercorns. Photo courtesy Foods From Spain.

     

    LIGHT NIBBLES TO SERVE

  • Olives, either by themselves or as part of an old-fashioned relish platter with gherkins, radishes, carrot and celery sticks (or the modern alternative, baby carrots and fennel sticks).
  • If you want to do something more creative, consider an olive platter with different flavors: plain olives with very distinctive flavors, such as Cerignola and Kalamata; a hot and spicy mix; olives stuffed with anchovy, blue cheese, garlic, jalapeño, etc.
  • Nuts, including spiced nuts, like Planters Pumpkin Spice Almonds; or a selection of different nuts.
  •  
    But forewarned is forearmed. You’ve slaved over that dinner, and the last thing you want to hear are guests groaning that they don’t have enough room for it.

      

    Comments

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