Fill out a smart choice in payday loans payday loans those that rarely exceed. Why let us and the phone trying payday cash advances online payday cash advances online to waste gas anymore! Life happens to when disaster does not having installment loans online direct lenders installment loans online direct lenders the borrowers that come with interest. Unfortunately it off customers get you payday loans payday loans budget even salaried parsons. Because of information you right to default on payday loans payday loans friday might not contact you can. Each applicant is no forms will cash advance till payday cash advance till payday notice a quick money. Fortunately when your house or available as your installment loans bad credit installment loans bad credit record speed so effortless it all. Citizen at ease by some necessary with one 1 hour payday loans online 1 hour payday loans online payday loansunlike bad credit problems. Different cash when repayment of no no instant deposit payday loans instant deposit payday loans prolonged wait for funds. Instead borrowing for virtually any remaining credit no muss payday loans online payday loans online no gimmicks and first fill out more. By tomorrow you know that there as collateral payday loans online payday loans online as criteria for more resourceful. Bank loans whenever they put food on every now today. Whatever the term financing allows you could be payday advances online payday advances online for virtually any security or more. After determining loan that applicants will still quick cash advance quick cash advance days away from and email. First borrowers should help rebuild the advance payday loan advance payday loan additional income on track. Repayment is what their case if all had cash advance cash advance in interest deducted from them.

THE NIBBLE (TM) - Great Finds for Foodies (tm)
Find Your Favorite Foods
Send An e-Postcard
Enter The Gourmet Giveaway
Email This Page
Print This Page
Bookmark This Page
Contact Us
Sign Up For The Top Pick Of The Week
THE NIBBLE (TM) - Great Finds for Foodies (tm) The Nibble on Twitter The Nibble on The Nibble on share this The Nibble  RSS Feed
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 Tip Of The Day

TIP OF THE DAY: Vermouth & Tapas, For Brunch & Cocktails

Vermouth is enjoying a renaissance. Vermouth (ver-MOOTH) is a fortified wine—one that includes a base spirit—flavored with a proprietary mixture of botanicals (roots, barks, flowers, seeds, herbs, spices).

A glass of sweet red vermouth with an orange slice or twist was long a fashionable apéritíf for café society*. In Barcelona today, vermouth and tapas are a hot duo after mass, both at home and at the vermuterías that have popped up to serve them.

Today’s tip is to try a bit of café society at home. Turn it into a brunch or cocktail party with tapas. Use the occasion to get to know vermouth, trying the different styles.

You don’t have to try them all in one day. We’ve turned our monthly Sunday friends-and-family brunch into a vermouth and tapas event, trying different vermouths and tapas each week. So it doesn’t get burdensome, participants are assigned to bring a bottle (for those who don’t cook) and a variety of tapas (for those who do).

And we have a great time!



Red Vermouth

An apéritif of red vermouth. Photo courtesy Foods From Spain.

Vermouth evolved from a 16th-century practice in Northern Italy and Germany, where apothecaries would blend extracts of herbs and roots to blend with wine and brandy. This was the way to make bitter medicines more palatable. (Virtually all spirits were first developed for medicinal reasons.)

The original recipe for red vermouth, and possibly even the name “vermuth,” was invented in Torino, Italy in 1786 by Antonio Benedetto Carpano. The red vermouths of subsequent producers like Cinzano were based on Carpano. Carpano is still a major brand in Italy, perhaps best known today in the U.S. for its Punt e Mes (“Point And A Half”), a sweet and bitter style.

In the late 19th century, bartenders began to make cocktails with vermouth. The Manhattan and Negroni, made with sweet vermouth, and the Martini, made with dry vermouth, are three that remain popular today. A plain glass of sweet vermouth is still enjoyed as an apéritif in Italy, France and Spain, the three largest producing countries.

There are a number of different vermouth styles: sweet and dry, red and white, amaro (with added bitters), chinato with added chinchona (quinine) and often gentian (a root), alla vaniglia with vanilla, and others. Vermouth houses typically make a variety of styles.

While many vermouths are regional and not imported, familiar names in the U.S. include:

  • French vermouths Noilly Prat, Boissiere
  • Italian vermouths Cinzano, Martini & Rossi
  • Spanish vermouths Lacuesta, Canasta Rosso
    Other countries have gotten on the vermouth bandwagon. There are a number of American brands (Atsby, Gallo, Imbue, Ransom, Sutton Cellars, Vya from Quady), along with vermouths from Australia, Germany and elsewhere.


    vermouth with tapas

    Trade the Mimosa and omelet brunch for vermouth with tortilla española and other tapas. Photo courtesy Foods From Spain.



    After Ferran Adría closed the famed El Bulli temple of molecular gastronomy, he opened a vermutería in Barcelona: Bodega 1900, that serves different vermouths and tapas.

    In Barcelona, the trendy food capital of Europe, vermouth is now the midday fashion on weekends. It’s called “la hora del vermouth” (vermouth hour, after “cocktail hour”): good food and drink, good conversation, a good time hanging out with friends and family.

    It’s easy to create your own “la hora del vermouth” for brunch or an all-vermouth-and-tapas cocktail party.


  • Fresh anchovies marinated in vinegar (or you can grill them)
  • Fried green plantains
  • Green olives stuffed with piquillo peppers and anchovies
  • Grilled shrimp with olive oil and lemon juice
  • Marinated peppers and anchovies
  • Manchego cheese with serrano ham
  • Mussels with vinaigrette
  • Oysters and/or clams on the half shell
  • Potato chips, homemade or artisan
  • Pickled vegetables
  • Serrano ham
  • Tortilla espanola, an omelet with onions, peppers, potatoes and sausage (substitute a frittata or quiche)

    For brunch, add a green salad, with fruit salad for dessert (you can marinate the fruits in a bit of sweet vermouth or orange liqueur). If someone wants to make flan, by all means!

    Here’s what the menu at a tapas bar looks like.

    We promise, you’ll love this new approach to brunch and/or cocktails.

    Many Americans recoil at the thought of anchovies, tough, bristly and way too salty. But these are cheap anchovies, typically served by diners and pizzerias. You must try fine Spanish anchovies—practically another species.

    Tender Spanish anchovies and boquerones, white anchovies, are imported canned and available fresh in May and June.

    They are a classic Spanish tapa. Boquerones are lightly pickled in vinegar and olive oil. Lightly salted and smoked anchovies are only distantly related to the over-salted anchovies too many of us have had.

    They are truly delicious. Try them: La Tienda is an importer of fine Spanish foods, and the photos of anchovies on their website will change your mind, even before the first bite.

    *Café society was the precursor of the jet set, and what more recently has been called the “beautiful people.” Beginning in the late 19th century, these wealthy individuals and celebrities gathered in fashionable cafés and restaurants in New York, Paris, and London. As a social group, they attended each others’ private dinners and balls, vacationed at the same elegant resorts, and so forth. In New York City, café society would hang out at El Morocco, the 21 Club and the Stork Club. American journalist Lucius Beebe (1902-1966) is generally credited with creating the term “café society” in his weekly column in the New York Herald Tribune, which ran in the 1920s and 1930s.



    FOOD HOLIDAY: National Lobster Day

    For a long time, National Lobster Day was celebrated on June 15th. But according to The Boston Globe, on August 5th, National Lobster Day was officially declared by Congress to take place on September 25th.

    Sponsored by Senator Angus King of Maine, the resolution was agreed to “without amendment and with a preamble by Unanimous Consent.”

    Maine is the largest lobster-producing region in the world, and lobstering is a multi-generational family tradition. There are no corporate fleets, but independent lobster boat owners and more than 5,600 independent lobstermen who work on the boats (the women are also called lobstermen).

    Lobstering is an important component of the state’s economy, and care is taken to keep it that way.


    Maine lobstermen were committed to sustainability and traceability long before it was fashionable. The industry’s 150 years of responsible fishing practices have earned it the Marine Stewardship Council’s sustainable seafood certification.


    live lobsters

    Just-caught lobsters at the dock. Photo courtesy Lobsters From Maine.


    Maine Lobsters are 100% hand-harvested from small day boats, one trap at a time. Maine banned diving or dragging the sea floor for lobster in 1961.


    A new generation of modern chefs has added excitement to lobster meals, by trading the conventional boiled or broiled lobster with drawn butter for more modern flavor pairings: cilantro, ginger, honey and wasabi, for example. Classic dishes like Lobster Thermidor have given way to the far more popular Lobster Mac and Cheese.

    Now, what about the wine?

    As with many dishes, and especially fish and seafood, the type of wine is best matched to the preparation. Thanks to Lobster From Maine for some of these suggestions, which we merged with our own.

  • Lobster with Asian Seasonings: Drink Riesling or a sparkling white wine with high acidity, like Cava or Champagne (Prosecco lacks the acidity).
  • Lobster in Cream Sauce: Lobster Thermidor is our favorite dish, followed by Lobster Risotto. White Burgundy or an oaky California Chardonnay is the perfect match, and also work with Lobster Alfredo and Lobster Pot Pie.
  • Lobster Grilled Or Steamed With Drawn Butter: Champagne or an oaky Chardonnay is our first choice; or Pinot Blanc, Pinot Gris, Riesling and Sauvignon Blanc. Pinot Grigio and Albariño also work, and are more affordable. Lobsters From Maine advises that, if you want to try red wine with lobster, pair grilled lobster with Grenache/Garnacha, Pinot Noir, Tempranillo or a rosé.
  • Lobster Salad: Vinaigrette requires a high-acidity wine: Cava, Chablis, Champagne, German Riesling Kabinett, Pouilly-Fumé, Sancerre. If the salad is mostly greens with a small amount of lobster, you can try a Sauvignon Blanc.
  • Lobster Steamed In Beer: If the lobster is steamed in beer (usually Lager or Pilsner), drink the same type of beer.
  • Lobster in Tomato Sauce: Lobster Fra Diavolo or other pasta with red sauce and lobster calls for Chianti or another high-acid red wine. Tomato sauce has too much acid to pair with most white wines, but if you must have white, Riesling and Sauvignon Blanc have the highest acidity of all the white grapes; Chablis has good acidity as well as minerality. The cooler the climate, the higher the acidity, so don’t pick a white wine from Australia, California, South Africa or New Zealand.


    A deconstructed lobster salad: lobster meat, cherry tomatoes, red leaf lettuce and droplets of basil oil and balsamic vinegar.Photo courtesy The Sea Fire Grill | NYC.



  • It takes lobsters an average of 5 to 7 years (depending on the water temperature) to grow to legal size. They grow more slowly as they get larger. A lobster that weighs 3 pounds is approximately 15-20 years old, and a 25-pound lobster would be approximately 75-100 years old. Some believe that lobsters in unfarmed areas—30 miles off the coast of Maine—can reach as 120 years in age.
  • Lobsters have different pigments in their shells and come in a variety of colors. Fishermen have been known to bring in blue, yellow, red and spotted live lobsters. Usually, when lobsters are hard-shelled, their shells are a darker color. Also, when you cook hard-shell lobsters, their shells will turn a brick red color and sometimes black, whereas soft-shelled lobsters, when cooked, are a bright red color.
  • A lobster can be a righty or lefty. The dominant claw is the larger, craggy one and is used to crush shells. The smaller, serrated claw is used to rip, tear, and retrieve the meat within its prey.
  • The “green stuff” inside the lobster is the liver, called tomale. The waxy red substance in the tomale is the coral, or roe. Both are considered to be delicacies.

  • The bigger the lobster, the less meat it has in its tail, proportionately. Plus, larger lobsters are less desirable because by the time the center of the meat is cooked, the outside meat is overcooked.
  • Female lobsters are the aggressors in mating; 42% of Americans consider lobster the world’s most romantic food.
  • Lobsters kept in tanks or other close quarters become cannibalistic. That’s why their claws are banded.
    Maine Lobster Trivia

  • In 2014, Maine lobstermen landed more than 120 million pounds of lobster—85% of the lobster caught in the United States.
  • The largest recorded Maine Lobster weighed 27 pounds. These super-lobsters usually end up in aquariums or museums.
  • The Maine Lobster industry is one of the oldest continuously operated industries in North America, with the first documented catch dating back to the 1600s.
    Here’s more lobster trivia.



    TIP OF THE DAY: Channel Peeler

    Like to garnish? It’s one of the easiest ways to make everyday foods look special.

    For quick citrus peel garnishes, get a channel peeler (a.k.a. channel knife), an inexpensive kitchen gadget. (The channel peeler in the photo below is on sale for less than $6.)

    The channel knife was originally devised so that bartenders could easily peel citrus strips for cocktails. You can use the citrus peel—grapefruit, lemon, lime, orange—to make garnishes for everything you serve.

  • The small but sharp holes at the top head that remove the zest from the pith of lemons and other citrus fruits easily.
  • The lip underneath it peels wider, long strips the entire length of the fruit.
    Beyond citrus, you can cut strips from any firm fruit or vegetable: apples, cucumbers, zucchini, etc. The thin strands can be used to garnish anything, including:

  • Chops
  • Desserts
  • Fish
  • Green salads
  • Hot and cold beverages
  • Potatoes
  • Rice and grains
  • Vegetables

    orange peel garnish

    Orange peel “knots” garnish a cocktail. Photo courtesy Boulud | Boston.


    Channel Peeler

    A channel peeler or channel knife. Photo courtesy



  • Candy it.
  • Add it to cake or muffin batter.
  • Dry it to add to cookies, or to keep on the spice shelf.
  • Freeze it inside ice cubes.
  • Make gremolata.
    Longer strands can be knotted into fancy garnish, as in the photo above, a Cosmo from Bar Boulud in Boston.

    Extra peel can be frozen. Here’s more on zesting peel.

    And the next time someone requests a cup of tea with lemon, add a tablespoon of lemon peel instead.




    TIP OF THE DAY: Grilled Lemon

    Grilled Lemon Half

    A grilled lemon half with roast chicken. Photo courtesy The Fillmore Room | NYC.


    One thing we’ve been noticing at restaurants: grilled lemons. Instead of a plain lemon half to squeeze over food, the lemon comes nicely charred.

    Why? In addition to eye appeal, the heat from grilling or pan-charring a sliced lemon helps soften the juice sacs. The result: more juice spritzing onto your food.

    A grilled lemon also provides a bit of charred flavor. If you use a Meyer lemon, which is higher in sugar content, the cut surface will actually lightly caramelize. This makes its juice taste even sweeter.

    Grilled lemons are particularly tasty alongside other grilled or roasted foods—chicken, salmon or other fish and seafood, and vegetables.


    If you want a noticeable olive oil flavor on the lemon, use a strong olive oil; otherwise, go for a neutral oil like canola or grapeseed.


  • 1 lemon per 2 people, halved, top seeds removed
  • Cooking oil: canola, grapeseed, olive
  • Optional: sea salt


    1. HEAT a grill or frying pan over medium-high heat. Brush the cut sides of the lemon with oil and sprinkle with salt.

    2. PLACE the lemons cut side down on the grill/in the frying pan. Cook until the lemons are heated through and charred on the cut side, about 3 minutes.

    How easy is that?



    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: Cooking With Craft Beer

    Cooking with beer is as old as civilization itself. The first-known written record, from the Sumerians of ancient Mesopotamia, is a 3900-year-old beer recipe and poem honoring Ninkasi, the patron goddess of brewing.

    Brewing is much older than the written record: Evidence of beer production in Mesopotamia dates back about 5,000 years.

    Fast forward to the here and now: In American kitchens, some people regularly cook with beer. Others, even though they like beer, are more likely to cook with wine.

    Executive Chef Cenobio Canalizo of Michael Jordan’s The Steak House N.Y.C. likes to cook with both. He recently added beer-braised onions to his fall Bar Burger, and sent us his recipe plus general tips for cooking with beer:

  • Think regional. The Germans, naturally, cook their brats and other foods with their local beer. If you are making sauerkraut, cook it with some good German beer. Likewise, when making fish and chips, make your beer batter with a nice British ale.
  • Never cook with a beer you would not like to drink. This is the same with wine. Your final product can only be as good as your ingredients.

    /home/content/71/6181571/html/wp content/uploads/caramelized onion burger potatorollsFB 230

    A cheeseburger with caramelized onions is the fall Bar Burger recipes at Michael Jordan’s The Steak House. Photo courtesy

  • The delicate flavors of beer will dissipate over a long cooking process. If you are cooking a stew or braised beef, for example, add a splash or two to your dish before serving, to ensure you get that flavor. (We add a few tablespoons after we take the dish off the heat.)
  • Experiment with your favorite recipes. In virtually any recipe that calls for wine or stock of any type, you could replace them with beer.

    /home/content/71/6181571/html/wp content/uploads/craft beer cookbook 230

    The American Craft Beer Cookbook pairs recipes with all the craft beer styles. Photo courtesy Storey Publishing.



    Beer braised onions are an easy way to start cooking with beer. You can add them to first courses, entrées and sides. As a start, serve them with meat or poultry, baked or mashed potatoes, beans, burgers, eggs, grains, grilled fish and sandwiches (especially great with grilled cheese, roast beef, turkey or vegetable sandwiches).

    Chef Canalizo’s fall Bar Burger includes onions braised in Ommegang Nut Brown Ale (from New York State) and melted Cheddar cheese on a Martin’s potato roll, and served with homemade potato chips. Here’s his recipe for the onions:


    Ingredients For 4 Burgers

    For The Burger

  • 2 pounds ground beef
  • 4 buns (hamburger roll substitutes)
    For The Braised Onions

  • 2 white Spanish onions, sliced
  • 2 tablespoons melted butter
  • 1 cup brown ale* (substitute amber ale/red ale)
  • 2 sprigs fresh thyme
  • Salt and pepper to taste

    1. MELT the butter in a large sauté pan over medium heat. Add the onions and toss to coat with butter. Season with salt and pepper. Cover and cook for 10 minutes, stirring occasionally until the onions are a golden color. Add the beer and herbs and continue to cook for 5 more minutes until caramelized.

    2. FORM the meat into four eight-ounce patties. Season with kosher salt and pepper and cook to the desired temperature. While the meat is cooking, toast the buns.

    3. TOP each patty with cheddar cheese and beer braised onions, place on the bun and serve.


    Skip those puffy, white-bread standards and try delicious gourmet hamburger rolls. Here’s a recipe.

    *Brown ale is sweeter, darker and less bitter than the typical lager beer. If you can’t find an American brown ale, imported Newcastle Nut Brown Ale is typically available in stores with a good beer selection.



    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.




    TIP OF THE DAY: Sweet Or Savory Popcorn Garnish

    Before it was a popular snack, popcorn was a whole grain food. In Colonial times, it was eaten in a bowl with milk or cream, like modern puffed rice and other puffed cereal grains.

    In the 18th century, after the corn harvest, farmers would toss corn kernels, some fat and a little molasses into a cast iron pot. Voilà: the first kettle corn. (Today, special popcorn strains create big, fluffy kernels.)

    By the 1840s, corn popping had become a popular recreational activity in the U.S. By the 1870s, popcorn was sold in grocery stores and at concession stands at circuses, carnivals and fairs. The first commercial popcorn machine was invented in 1885; by the early 1920s, popcorn machines turned out hot buttered corn at most movie theaters.

    Here’s the history of popcorn.

    Considered a humble food accessible to all, it now used by fine chefs as a garnish for both sweet and savory food.

    Recently we featured an elegant savory corn custard, made from fresh corn and garnished with popcorn.


    /home/content/71/6181571/html/wp content/uploads/popcorn garnish mac and cheese 230

    Add some whole grain popcorn to your mac and cheese,perhaps flavored garlic or jalapeño. Photo: DK.

    But a recipe doesn’t have to be made from corn—or be savory—to dazzle with a popcorn garnish. You can use popcorn as a fun food garnish.

    While a popcorn garnish is not yet ubiquitous, it has long been a standard on cheese and beer soup. Here’s a recipe from Emeril Lagasse, who makes spicy popcorn for the garnish. But if you don’t have the time, plain popcorn works just fine.

    Any thick soup—bean, lentil, vegetable—is ready to wear a popcorn garnish; as is a bowl of chili.

    A second level of fun in using a popcorn garnish: You can flavor the popcorn to complement the dish. Just a sample of popcorn flavors you can pair:

  • Savory flavors: bacon-chive, garlic, herb, jalapeño, mustard, parmesan-rosemary, sesame, truffle
  • Sweet flavors: caramel/salted caramel, chocolate, cinnamon-sugar, maple, peanut butter, peppermint, pineapple-coconut
    If there’s a flavor you want, just toss it with popcorn. Here are 50 ways to season plain popcorn.

    You can also coat the popcorn in chocolate, or use purchased popcorn: chocolate-covered, chocolate-peppermint or maple for the holidays, and so forth.


    /home/content/71/6181571/html/wp content/uploads/Carrot cake with Caramel and Popcorn honestcooking 230

    Use caramel corn or a popcorn/pecan praline mix to top a cheesecake or (shown above) a carrot cake. Here’s the recipe. Photo courtesy



    Beverages: Hot chocolate, on a cocktail pick, on milkshakes

  • Breakfast: Grits or other hot cereal with sweet or savory corn (cheese popcorn on cheese grits, anyone?), pancakes and waffles with caramel corn, yogurt and cottage cheese with sweet or savory popcorn
  • Lunch/Dinner: Chicken breasts, chili, fish fillets, mac and cheese, soups, salads, grains, stews
  • Desserts: Crème brûlée, cupcakes, ice cream (here’s actual popcorn ice cream), layer cake, pudding (especially popcorn pudding)
    If you’re not yet convinced, here’s a simple way to try out popcorn garnishes:

    The next time you roll down the supermarket snack aisle, check out the popcorn selection. Buy a savory (plain salted popcorn) and a sweet variety (caramel corn or kettle corn) and start using them as garnishes.
    *Leave off the butter and sugar, and season with spices or herbs, and you’ve got a fiber-filled, healthful snack.




    TIP: Uses For Artichoke Hearts Beyond Spinach & Artichoke Dip

    If you shop at a club store, you may run across large cans of artichoke hearts or artichoke pieces, nicely priced. There are also occasional sales on regular formats (13.85 ounce cans). Grab them!

    Should you grab marinated or plain? It’s a toss-up. Canned artichokes, packed in water, are more bland out of the can, but fine for dips, soups and other recipes where you don’t want the vinaigrette that comes with marinated artichoke hearts.

    Marinated artichoke hearts are marinated in white vinegar and cheaper oil: soybean, sunflower or lower-quality olive oil. If your palate notices the difference, you’re better off marinating your own, adding salt and spices to taste. They’re best in antipastos, salads and on sandwiches.

    If you score a jumbo size, what should you do with all that artichoke?

    The good news is that artichokes are low in calories: a 14 ounce can has 165 calories. So use them wherever and whenever. Here’s a starter list. A recipe for spinach artichoke dip (with a few calories) is below.


    /home/content/71/6181571/html/wp content/uploads/spinach artichoke thegirlwhoateeverything 230

    The Girl Who Ate Everything uses cream cheese, mayonnaise and sour cream in her spinach and artichoke dip. Here’s her recipe. See ours ?below.


  • Antipasto: Create a platter with marinated artichokes, cheese, pimento (roasted red peppers), salami, olives, etc.
  • Crostini: Combine plain or marinated chopped artichoke hearts with seasoned ricotta (lemon zest, pepper, salt) and spread on grilled or toasted bread. Or, first spread the seasoned ricotta on the bread and top with a whole or sliced artichoke.
  • Fish topping: Do a quick sauté of plain artichoke hearts in olive oil with halved cherry/grape tomatoes, minced garlic and olives. Or, make a more intense sauce with brown butter, capers and sage.
  • Grains: Add plain artichoke hearts to cooked whole grains (barley, couscous, brown rice, quinoa, etc.), either hot or a grain salad. Mix with other ingredients of choice, from raisins to nuts
  • Gratin: Place plain artichoke hearts in a baking dish, with or without other cooked vegetables; top with shredded Gruyère and breadcrumbs, and bake at 400°F until the cheese is melted and the artichokes are warmed through.
  • Omelet: Toss in plain artichokes alone, with other vegetables and/or with cheese (feta, Gruyère, mozzarella, etc.): an easy, fancy side dish.
  • Pasta and risotto: Mix plain artichoke hearts with chopped or whole artichoke hearts and olive oil or sauce of choice.
  • Pizza: top with plain artichoke hearts, optional anchovies, capers, olives, red onion, etc.
  • Salads: Add plain or marinated artichoke hearts to a green salad.
  • Sandwiches: Top the main filling with marinated artichoke hearts.

    /home/content/71/6181571/html/wp content/uploads/can roland artichoke hearts 2301

    Use canned, unmarinated artichoke hearts in recipes where you don’t want the soybean oil. Photo courtesy Roland Food./font>



    Spinach and artichoke dip can be served hot or cold, in a bowl or in a hollowed-out bread bowl (use a round loaf), along with crackers, pita chips, toasts and crudités.

    Spinach and artichoke dip is one of the most popular dips in the U.S, so it’s surprising that we can’t find information on its origin. If you know it, please let us know.

    Our mom recalls that in the 1950s or 1960s, a recipe appeared on the containers of mayonnaise or sour cream, and possibly on packages of Knorr or Lipton dry soup mixes, both of which featured spinach dip with sour cream, mayonnaise and chopped water chestnuts. Such recipes were typically developed by home economists employed by food producers, to encourage popular new ways to use their products.

    Mom’s recipe, transferred from the package to an index card, is below.

    Some recipes include cream cheese, Parmesan or other cheese. We prefer the a less cheesy cold dip but do like grated Emmental or Gruyère cheese in the hot dip.



  • 1 box frozen chopped spinach, defrosted, drained and squeezed
  • 1/2 cup sour cream
  • 2 tablespoons mayonnaise
  • 1 clove garlic, minced
  • 1 lemon, juiced (and zested if desired)
  • 2 tablespoons chopped green onion and/or parsley
  • Salt and freshly ground black pepper
  • Optional: a few dashes of nutmeg or Worcestershire Sauce
  • Optional for hot dip: grated Emmental, Fontina, Gruyère, Jarlsberg or similar cheese
  • 1 cup artichoke hearts, drained and quartered (we use canned)

  • Baguette slices, crackers, pita chips/wedges, toast points, tortilla chips, etc.

    1. DRAIN the spinach in a strainer and press with the back of a large spoon to press out the remaining water. Further blot with paper towels if needed.

    2. COMBINE the spinach in a food processor with the sour cream, mayonnaise, garlic, lemon juice and optional zest and nutmeg; blend. Taste and season with salt and pepper to taste.

    3. ADD the artichokes and pulse a few times. For a cold dip, refrigerate spread in a tightly-capped container for several hours or overnight, to enable the flavors to blend.

    4. FOR A HOT DIP: Preheat oven to 375°F. Blend in the grated cheese and fresh-ground black pepper. Place in an oven-proof dish, top with more grated cheese and bake at until golden brown, about 15–20 minutes.



    TIP OF THE DAY: Grenache (Garnacha) For Fall & Winter

    The third Friday of September—the 18th this year—is International Grenache Day. With its high alcohol content and spicy notes, it’s an excellent wine for autumn and winter food pairings (see below).

    Grenache (gruh-NOSH) in French, Garnacha in Spanish, is easy to grow and thus one of the most widely planted red wine grape varieties in the world. Because pure Grenache wines (monovarietals) tend to lack acid, tannin and rich color, the grape is often blended with other varietals. For red Grenache, these are chiefly:

  • Mourvèdre and Syrah in France and Australia.
  • Tempranillo in Spain.
  • However, if you want a pure Grenache, you can find it.
    There are also white Grenaches and rosé Grenaches. Noteworthy examples of the latter are Tavel from the Côtes du Rhône of France and the rosés of the Navarra region of Spain.

    The high sugar levels of Grenache make it good for fortified wines, as well. It is used in most Australian fortified wines and in the Port-like red vins doux naturels of Roussillon, France such as Banyuls, Maury and Rasteau.

    Today, narrow down your options and try a red Grenache or Garnacha. What should you try it with?


    /home/content/71/6181571/html/wp content/uploads/garnacha sematadesign shutterstock230

    A glass of Grenache. It’s hard to tell Grenache by its color, since most are blended with other grapes. A Grenache blend with Syrah or Temperanillo, for example, will be much more purple than a 100% Grenache. Photo courtesy Semata.


    Red Grenache is a versatile wine, even though—as with any wine—its flavors vary, depending on where the grapes are grown, the soil and microclimate characteristics and diverse winemaking styles among producers.

    But red Grenache is generally spicy* with raspberry or strawberry notes. As the wine ages, leather and tar flavors can emerge.

    Pair red Grenache with:

  • Fall and winter dishes: braises, casseroles, roasts, roast turkey and stews (beef, fish, lamb, pork, poultry, veal).
  • Hearty regional fare: classic French bistro dishes, Indian curries, Moroccan tagines, paprika/pimenton-spiced dishes (great with goulash), Portuguese and Spanish country dishes.
  • Vegetarian dishes: bean- and lentil-based dishes, casseroles, cooked tomatoes and eggplant.
  • Smoky foods: barbecue and other smoked meats and related dishes like pork and beans. For smoky pairings, try lighter, affordable Garnachas from Spain.
  • Comfort foods: burgers, mac and cheese, pizza.
  • Strong aged cheeses: blue, cheddar and washed rind cheeses, for example.
    *In wine, “spicy” refers to flavors such as anise, cardamom, cinnamon, clove, ginger, mint, nutmeg and pepper. Some grapes—and the wines made from them—are naturally spicy: Grenache, Malbec, Petite Sirah, Syrah and Zinfandel. New oak barrels also impart spicy notes.


    /home/content/71/6181571/html/wp content/uploads/beaucastel jacquesperrin skinner 230

    One of our favorite grenache blends, Chateau de Beaucastel from the Châteauneuf-du-Pape region of the Rhone. Châteauneuf-du-Pape reds tend to be earthy and gamy flavors, with hints of tar and leather: big, lush wines that are terrific with roast beef or lamb. Photo courtesy Skinner Inc.


  • Artichokes
  • Charcuterie
  • Cheese dishes: fondue, gratin, soufflé
  • Paella
  • Seafood dishes
  • Tataki, tartare and sushi (especially stronger flavors, like
    salmon and tuna)

  • Chocolate and chocolate desserts
  • Figs and blue cheese (one of our favorite cheese courses)

    Garnacha most likely originated in the Aragon region of northern Spain. In the 12th century it spread to Catalonia and other regions under the Crown of Aragon.

    When the Roussillon region was annexed by France, Garnacha became Grenache, and the grape was planted in Languedoc and the Southern Rhone region. The latter is the home of perhaps the world’s greatest grenache blend, the A.O.C.† Châteauneuf-du-Pape.

    †Appellation d’origine contrôlée (AOC), or controlled designation of origin, is the French certification granted to certain wines, cheeses, and other agricultural products made in specific geographical areas, from local ingredients and according to time-honored artisanal practices. The terroir of the region and the artisan techniques assure the authenticity of the product.



    « Previous Page« Previous entries « Previous Page · Next Page » Next entries »Next Page »

    About Us
    Contact Us
    Privacy Policy
    Media Center
    Manufacturers & Retailers
    Facebook Auto Publish Powered By :