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Archive for Tip Of The Day

TIP OF THE DAY: Valentine Cake

Heart Shaped CakeMake these individual Valentine cakes with a 3-inch heart cookie cutter.   Bake your sweetie a devil’s food chocolate cake with our Valentine cake recipe from Michael Recchiuti. It uses a heart-shaped cookie cutter to cut mini-heart cakes from a sheet cake. For one large cake, heart-shaped cake pans are available at any kitchen supply store. Write a customized message on the top of your Valentine cake and decorate with seasonal candies (cinnamon red-hots, Hershey’s kisses). If you’d rather buy than bake, check our favorite heart-shaped cookies and cakes in the Gift Finder section of THE NIBBLE online magazine. Try them with some of our favorite, romantic Valentine’s Day wines and liqueurs.

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TIP OF THE DAY: Types Of Smoked Salmon

February 9th is National Bagels and Lox Day. “Lox” is an old generic term that is fading away, replaced by much more complicated choices. So how does one decide among the Irish, Danish, Nova Scotia, Norwegian, Scottish and other smoked salmon contenders? They differ in saltiness, smokiness and fishiness; the only way you’ll know is to taste. If it’s sliced-to-order, you can try a piece at the counter; but packaged salmon (which can be equally fine or better quality depending on manufacturer) is often less expensive because factory slicing is cheaper than store labor). Buy small amounts of each and compare. You don’t need bagels: Slices of salmon with a sprinkling of dill and capers, a lemon wedge and an optional garnish of crème fraîche make a lovely first course for brunch, lunch or dinner. TIP: Once you decide what you like, write it down—they sound so similar, it’s easy to forget.

– Learn about the different types of smoked salmon.

– Discover sustainable, line-caught smoked salmon from Nantucket Wild Gourmet & Smokehouse.

– See David Burke’s smoked salmon pops.

– Try a savory, smoked salmon cheesecake (for hors d’oeuvres or a first course).
  Smoked SalmonHow many types of smoked salmon can you name?

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TIP OF THE DAY: Elvis’s Favorite, Bananas & Peanut Butter

February 8th is Elvis Presley’s birthday, and Elvis’s favorite snack was a peanut butter and “nanner” sandwich—mashed bananas and PB on white toast, fried in butter. (Perhaps it never occurred to him to throw some chocolate morsels on that as well.) We prefer a slightly more gourmet version: PB Loco’s yummy Peanut Butter with Jungle Banana on toasted brioche or raisin bread. Read our review of PB Loco’s flavored peanut butters, and celebrate Elvis’s birthday by ordering a few jars. If you have like sweet PBs, don’t pass up the White Chocolate Raspberry Peanut Butter or the Sumatra Cinnamon & Raisin Peanut Butter—the best raisin PB we’ve ever had. On the savory side, Sun-Dried Tomato Peanut Butter is an exceptional experience. We use it for everything from canapés and tea sandwiches to regular roast beef, turkey, chicken or ham sandwiches; and on linguine or fettuccine as Sun-Dried Tomato Peanut Butter Sauce. Asian Curry Spice Peanut Butter is serious business. Spread some on a roast beef, chicken or duck sandwich for a Thai turn. Find more of our favorite PBs reviewed in THE NIBBLE online magazine   Cinnamon Raisin Peanut Butter - PB Loco
P.B. Loco makes 10 flavors plus the basics (creamy and crunchy). Jungle Banana and CocoBanana will help you make a quick “Elvis Sandwich.”

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TIP OF THE DAY: Cherry Bonanza

Montmorency Cherries
Dried tart (Montmorency) cherries from Chukar Cherries.
  It’s National Cherry Month. Even though fresh cherry season is in July, you can guess that National Cherry Month in February honors George Washington. Celebrate with delicious dried cherries, made from last summer’s harvest. We put them in everything from breakfast yogurt, cereal and pancakes; to luncheon salads; to sauces for meats and poultry at dinner. For snacks, make cherry caramel corn by tossing hot popcorn with sweet butter and adding dried cherries and honey-roasted pecans; then drizzle with caramel. There are more than 1,000 varieties of cherry tree. The cherry is believed to have originated around the Black and Caspian seas, which may explain why Russians prefer cherry preserves to sugar in their tea!

Learn all about cherries
Find cherry recipes in the February issue of THE NIBBLE online magazine: Caramelized Salmon With Cherry Mango Salsa, Carrots With Cherry Glaze, Cherry Chocolate Chip Cookies, Cherry Turkey Chili, Curried Cherry Chicken Salad Wraps, Pork Chops With Orange Cherry Sauce, Sweet Potatoes With Cherry Glaze

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TIP OF THE DAY: Cocoa vs. Hot Chocolate

We have addressed this topic before, but it has surfaced as the Tip Of The Day on (so we hope you enjoy it again). Yes, Virginia, there is a difference between cocoa and hot chocolate. Cocoa is made from cocoa powder and hot chocolate is made from shaved chocolate bars or other bits of whole chocolate. Hot chocolate is much richer because of the higher cocoa butter content of the solid chocolate. Both cocoa and hot chocolate can be made with either milk or water; milk, of course, makes it richer. You can’t make cocoa powder at home (unless you have a hydraulic press). However, you can make shaved chocolate. It is often marketed as “drinking chocolate,” but you can save money by shaving your own from your favorite chocolate bars—dark, milk, white or flavored. Shaving is a relative term; you can use anything from knife to a chocolate curler or grater to a pulsing food processor.   Burdick Hot Chocolate
Our favorite, from Burdick Chocolate, shows that glamour can live inside plain packaging. (Alternatively, glamorous packaging does not guarantee a great-tasting product.)
The better quality of the bar, the better quality of the hot chocolate. That’s why some of the finest brands are $25 a box (our favorite from Burdick Chocolate, shown at the left, is $14.00 for 12 ounces and $35.00 for two pounds). Read our review of more than 65 hot chocolate and cocoa brands in THE NIBBLE online magazine.

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