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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 Soups

TOP PICK OF THE WEEK: Vietnamese Pho Soup From Pacific Organic

Instead of hours of cooking, enjoy a bowl
of steaming Vietnamese phö soup in
minutes. Photo by Simon Gurney |
Dreamstime.

 

Last week we presented a video on how to prepare Vietnamese phö, one of the world’s greatest foods.

Instead of making stock for hours, though, you can enjoy the 10-minute version with Pacific Organic Soup Starters. Not bad, given that a bowl of phö can have up to 30 ingredients (including all the seasonings in the broth).

It’s the best commercial phö we’ve had, and an easy way for you to treat yourself (and your family) to something special.

Phö, pronounced fuh, is also high in protein and low in calories when you enjoy the delicious broth without the traditional rice noodles.

While Vietnamese pho is a beef-based stock, Pacific Organic makes chicken and vegetarian soup bases as well as beef.
You can find them at natural food stores nationwide and online.

  • Read the full review.
  • Find more of our favorite soups, plus recipes, in our Soup & Broth Section.
  •  

      

    Comments

    TIP OF THE DAY: Serve Pumpkin Soup In A Pumpkin Tureen

    You can buy a ceramic pumpkin tureen for the holiday season.

    Or, you can make one out of a real pumpkin, and have pumpkin soup to boot.

  • Select a handsome pumpkin of a size that suits your needs. Wash the pumpkin.
  • With a sharp knife, cut the “lid” off of the pumpkin.
  • Scoop the flesh out with an ice cream scoop. Scoop the flesh from the lid as well.
  • Toss the membrane; save the seeds to toast as a soup garnish.
  • Make soup from the flesh (recipes below).
  •  
    If you’re making the soup in advance, you can keep the tureen in the fridge or a cool spot. We’d love to save and re-use the tureen, but we’ve never had enough freezer space to see how it freezes. If you do, wash the pumpkin tureen after you’ve served the soup, let it dry, freeze it and please let us know how it goes!

     

    Serve soup from a real pumpkin tureen. Photo by G.M. Vozd | IST.

     

    Decorate Your Tureen
    The most breathtaking pumpkin tureen we’ve seen is on the website Phoo-d. The rim is circled with fresh flowers. If you have the time and energy—or simply want to see a beautiful photo—take a look.

    Pumpkin Soup Recipes

  • Recipe #1: Pumpkin soup with chicken stock and milk
  • Recipe #2: Pumpkin soup with chicken stock, half-and-half and cocoa croutons
  • Recipe #3: Pumpkin soup with anise and Pernod-flavored cream cheese “sorbet”
  •   

    Comments

    COOKING VIDEO: Spicy Vietnamese Soup

     

    Next week’s Top Pick focuses on a ready-made base for for phö—one of the world’s great soups.

    But if you’ve got time on your hands this weekend, you may want to make some from scratch.

    This recipe starts with beef shanks, oxtail, onions, ginger and star anise in a stock pot. Sliced beef and optional tripe make it meaty.

    While Chef John Mitzewich of FoodWishes.com spends time bemoaning the fact that he didn’t buy oxtail for his soup, he gives you the “correct” recipe.

    And with all due respect, you can ignore Chef John’s comment that phö is supposed to be a “painfully hot dish.” As with many recipes that come from the Pacific Rim, you should adjust the level of heat for your American palate.

       

       

    Find more of our favorite soup recipes in our Soups & Stocks Section.

    Comments

    TIP OF THE DAY: How To Finish Soup In Blender

    The correct technique for blending hot soup.
    Photo courtesy Cuisinart.

     

    Yesterday we discussed how easy it is to blend soups and sauces with a hand-held immersion blender.

    Today, we share a tip for using a conventional upright blender. This tip should be part of every recipe that tells you to blend hot soup, but it isn’t.

    That’s why some of us have ended up blowing the top off the blender and spattering soup on the ceiling. Perhaps it’s a rite of passage when first learning to make soup—but it doesn’t have to be.

    When a hot liquid is put into a sealed container like the blender carafe, steam builds up inside. Turn on the motor to agitate the liquid and there’s no place for the steam to go—except out through the top.

    That’s one reason why blenders have a removable plug in the lid—the focus of today’s tip.

     

    Accident-Free Puree Soup

    1. Pour soup into the blender carafe.
    2. Remove the plug in the center of the lid and cover the opening with a folded kitchen towel.
    3. Keep one hand on the towel-covered lid; operate the blender with the other.

    Yes, you’ll need to wash the soup-spattered towel, but that’s a lot easier than hauling out the ladder to clean the kitchen ceiling!

    Now that you know the trick, make some soup! Check out our Soups & Stocks Section for some new recipes.

    HOW ABOUT AN ALL-IN-ONE SOUP COOKER & BLENDER?

    So many people use a blender when making soup that Cuisinart created the Blend and Cook Soup Maker.

    This unique blender has a patented cooking technology that lets you cook the soup in the blender from scratch—from sautéing chopped vegetables; to boiling, simmering and blending; to keeping the soup hot until ready to serve.

    The Cuisinart Blend and Cook Soup Maker performs all standard blender functions as well. Here’s more information.

      

    Comments

    PRODUCT: Bertolli Premium Meal Soups For Two

    Beefy goodness: our favorite from the new
    Bertolli Premium Meal Soups. Photo courtesy
    Bertolli.

     

    Have you seen the “soup opera” chefs in TV commercials, extolling the virtues of Bertolli Premium Hearty Soups?

    The soups look just as good in person as they do on TV, and live up to the advertising claims that they’re chock full of fresh-tasting ingredients.

    Indeed, the large chunks of mushrooms and zucchini we bit into tasted just-cooked and were full of flavor. All frozen foods included in the soups are flash-frozen to “maintain peak freshness.” As Bertolli has proved, when the ingredients going into the flash freezer taste great, they taste just as good when cooked.

    Cooking is simple: Add the contents of the bag into a cup of boiling water and simmer. Five minutes later, you’ve got a pot of hearty soup.

    We recently went to a tasting of the new line of soups, introduced by one of our favorite Top Chef contestants, Fabio Viviani. Having added professional spokesperson to his résumé, Fabio said that he’s now on the road 300 days a year.

     

    Yet despite the unenviable travel schedule, Fabio was as energetic and charming as he was on Top Chef (or even more so, since he wasn’t battling other cheftestants and facing panels of judges).

    Here’s the soup menu (garnish with fresh herbs and/or a spoonful of grated Parmesan cheese):

  • Chicken Minestrone: Roasted white meat chicken, beans, zucchini, yellow squash, carrots, tomatoes and pasta in a hearty vegetable broth.
  • Roasted Chicken & Rotini Pasta: Roasted white meat chicken, pasta, zucchini, yellow squash, carrots and celery in a chicken broth.
  • Tomato Florentine & Tortellini with Chicken: Cheese tortellini, large chunks of white meat chicken, spinach and tomatoes in a rich tomato bisque with a hint of basil (basil freak that we are, we topped it with a chiffonade of fresh basil).
  • Tuscan-Style Beef with Vegetables: Large chunks of beef, mushrooms, yellow squash, zucchini, carrots and celery with bowtie pasta in a beefy broth.
  •  
    We happily consumed them all. The two we’ll buy again are the velvety Tomato Florentine & Tortellini with Chicken and the hearty Tuscan-Style Beef & Vegetables.

    Why not the chicken soups? We make a large pot of chicken soup every other Sunday and prefer our own. But those who buy chicken noodle soup now have a more sophisticated option.

    Three points about the soups:

  • “Meal” Soups: The 24-ounce packages, with the addition of one cup of water, yield 32 ounces of soup—enough for two adults. But unless you’re a light eater, you’ll need more to fill up on: a large salad, for starters. Bertolli paired the soups with different artisan breads, a nice touch.
  • Price: The soups aren’t inexpensive: The bag will cost $8.59 or so. But the price is justified by the quantity and quality of the ingredients you’ll be digging into.
  • Sodium: As with almost all prepared foods, there’s a ton of salt—mostly hidden, as the soups taste just fine. But one serving comprises 45% of your DV of sodium.
     
    Still, with the cold days of winter approaching, you know that you can walk into the house, open the freezer and enjoy hot and hearty soup in about 10 minutes. Start boiling the water before you hang up your coat.

    Learn more at VillaBertolli.com.

    Find more of our favorite soups and recipes in our Gourmet Soup Section.

    How many types of soup have you had? Check out our photo-filled Soup Glossary.

      

  • Comments

    COOKING VIDEO: Chilled Cucumber Soup Recipe

     

    We love elegant, chilled cucumber soup.

    It’s refreshing and low in calories—we use nonfat Greek yogurt instead of the whole milk yogurt and sour cream used in the video recipe. And it’s less costly to make than gazpacho.

    Cucumber soup is customizable in texture, from chunky to smoothie-like (you can drink the latter from a glass or cup). While the video host uses an immersion blender, you can use a regular blender or food processor for a finer texture.

    Cucumber soup is receptive to a broad variety of favorite seasonings. While garlic, dill and mint are traditional, you can change the recipe by adding basil, celery seed, curry powder, minced jalapeño, minced onion, shallot, tarragon, thyme and/or sage.

    Serve the chilled soup in plastic cups for parties—either with a spoon or as a puréed, drinkable version.

    We’ll be serving it as part of our Labor Day menu. Try it!

       

       

    Comments

    JULY 4TH FOOD: Chilled Raspberry Soup With Blueberry Garnish

    This refreshing, chilled raspberry soup can be garnished with blueberries for a red, white and blue dessert. You can do the reverse as well: blueberry soup with a raspberry garnish. Make it in five minutes in a blender or food processor.

    The recipe is courtesy of EatWisconsinCheese.com, a great source of recipes with all kinds of dairy products produced in our second largest dairy* state.

    *The top 5 dairy producers, by total milk production, are California, Wisconsin, Idaho, New York and Pennsylvania.

    CHILLED RASPBERRY YOGURT SOUP
    Makes 4 six-ounce servings.

    Ingredients

  • 2 cups fresh or frozen unsweetened raspberries
  • 1 cup vanilla yogurt
  • 1 cup milk
  • Juice and zest of 1 lemon (about 2 tablespoons
    juice and 1-1/2 teaspoons zest)
  •  

    A delicious summer soup. Have it for
    dessert. Photo courtesy EatWisconsinCheese.com.

     

  • 1 to 2 tablespoons light brown sugar, packed, to taste
  •  
    Preparation
    1. Place all ingredients in blender and blend until smooth.
    2. Serve immediately, or cover and refrigerate for up to 4 days.
    3. Garnish with additional yogurt and raspberries, if desired.

    More Fruit Soup Recipes

  • Chilled Papaya & Watermelon Soup
  • Melon Gazpacho
  • Fizzy Fruit Soup
  • Diet Fruit Soup
  •   

    Comments

    CONTEST: Win A Gourmet Food Prize In The Gourmet Giveaway

    Celebrate Cinco de Mayo with tortilla soup,
    and enter the Gourmet Giveaway. Photo
    courtesy Wolfgang Puck.

     

    Fans of the Gourmet Giveaway know that our gourmet food giveaway went on hiatus in February, as we were building its new home on TheNibbleGourmetMarket.com.

    The Gourmet Giveaway is back, with three gift baskets from Chef Wolfgang Puck.

    All you need to do is enter your email address. To enter, go to TheNibbleGourmetMarket.com, scroll down, and click the box right underneath the shopping cart.

    The gift basket is filled with Chef Puck’s Signature Tortilla Soup—which we’re going to enjoy again on Cinco de Mayo—plus other gift items from Chef Puck.

    The Wolfgang Puck soup line is delicious, certified organic and has several gluten-free choices. You know from the first taste that you’re dealing with top-quality ingredients.

    You can purchase the Wolfgang Puck soup line at fine retailers nationwide and online.

     

    We liked the three varieties we tried—Classic Minestrone, Signature Tortilla and Tomato Basil Bisque—so much that we can’t wait to try the rest of the 17 varieties of soups, including Creamy Butternut Squash, French Onion, Old Fashioned Potato, Roasted Red Pepper with Tomato, Thick Hearty Vegetable and Vegetable Barley.

    The gluten-free soup varieties include Black Bean, Hearty Lentil Vegetable, Free Range Chicken With White And Wild Rice, Signature Tortilla and Tomato Basil Bisque. See the full list.

      

    Comments

    TIP OF THE DAY: Leeks


    Lovely leeks. Photo by Marlon Paul Bruin |
    SXC.

     

    On this past Sunday’s episode of Desperate Housewives, Susan Mayer had no idea what the long white vegetable that looked like a ginormous scallion was.

    While it seems improbable that anyone who has ever strolled through a produce aisle can’t recognize a leek, it gave us this Tip Of The Day idea.

    Leeks—a member of the onion species, allium—are in season now, and anyone who likes onions should cook some up.

    To those Latin students who know that allium is garlic: garlic is also a member of the onion species, as are chives, shallots and ramps (wild leeks).

    The edible portions of the leek are the white onion base and light green stalk. The bittersweet dark green portion at the end of the stalk is usually discarded.

    Some recipes use only the white base. Save the light green portion for salads, stocks, quiche, burgers, general garnishes and so forth. Or batter and fry them as fried onion stalks, instead of onion rings.

     

    Julia Child first introduced us to leeks in Mastering The Art Of French Cooking: leeks braised in butter (served with hot entrées, or served cold with cold meats and seafood), leeks browned with cheese and leeks in a ham quiche.

    We later learned to love leeks as a soup ingredient. Scotland’s cock-a-leekie soup (chicken and leeks), leek and potato soup and vichyssoise—that delightful cold summer soup made of potatoes and leeks—are the most famous leek soups. Leeks are also the main ingredient in three-onion soup, along with onions and shallots.

    Here’s a variation on that soup—a recipe for two-onion soup, made with leeks and sweet onions, also in season. Turn it into three-onion soup by adding a couple of minced shallots or garnishing it with chopped chives.

  • See the many types of soup in our Soup Glossary.
  • One last note: Leeks grow in sandy soil. Rinse them several times and look for sand.
  •   

    Comments

    COOKING VIDEO: Pea Soup With Ham Recipe

     

    What do do with those Easter ham leftovers: make a fresh, spring pea soup with diced ham.

    Peas are in season, and soup never tastes better than when made with fresh peas.

    Fresh pea soup (you can substitute frozen green peas) tastes brighter and more luscious than split pea soup. Just watch this video with Chef Peter Sherlock.

       

       

  • Do you know your peas and legumes? Check them out in our Beans & Legumes Glossary.
  • Comments

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