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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 Top Pick Of The Week

TOP PICK OF THE WEEK: Foie Gras Cubes, Bargain Foie Gras

If you’re a fan of seared foie gras: Why pay a restaurant a $20 supplement for one little piece when you can buy an entire pound for $30.99 and sear it at home in a minute?

Our Top Pick Of The Week is bargain foie gras: $30.99 a pound for the trimmings of the lobe, called foie gras cubes. The whole lobe, or for pre-sliced scallops, is almost double that.

The cubes are available from foie gras specialist D’artagnan.

While foie gras may seem exotic, cooking it couldn’t be easier. Just season with salt and pepper and place in a hot pan for a minute. The biggest task is deciding how to serve it.

In general, sweet or sweet-and-sour items pair best with the richness of seared foie gras:

  • Sauteed fruit, from apples to citrus to mango
  • Chutney, compote, jam or wine jelly
  • Sweet sauce: balsamic reduction, honey-vinegar sauce (for the simplest solution, heat tart cherry or fig jam with balsamic or sherry vinegar) or a gastrique
  •  

    Affordable foie gras you can enjoy more often. Photo courtesy Chef Scott Conant.

     

    Foie gras should be enjoyed with a sweet white wine. Sauternes is the ideal match, but a late harvest Gewürtztraminer or Riesling can be equally wonderful.

    Read the full review, and decide what you’re going to serve with your cubes.

      

    Comments

    TOP PICK OF THE WEEK: Honey Goat Cheese

    At a recent trade show, we tasted hundreds and hundreds of products. Our favorite was honey goat cheese.

    Fresh goat cheese logs and tubs of honey goat cheese spread are available in supermarkets nationwide. Producers from Coach Farms to Montchevre make it.

    While these products mix honey into the milk during the production process, you can create your own variation at home. Just drizzle honey over a conventional log of goat cheese.

    It’s simply delicious at breakfast, lunch, dinner and for dessert. It’s special for entertaining. It’s a winner.

    Read the full review to see why we’re in love with honey goat cheese, where to find it and how to serve it.
     
    MORE ABOUT GOAT CHEESE

  • Getting Your Goat: all about goat cheese; the different types of goat cheese and why goat’s milk is different.
  • THE NIBBLE’s Cheese Section: cheese terminology, a glossary of cheeses, the history of cheese, how to taste cheese and reviews of our favorite cheeses.
  •  

    You can buy goat cheese already mixed with honey, or drizzle honey over regular goat cheese. Photo by Elvira Kalviste | THE NIBBLE.

     

      

    Comments

    TOP PICK OF THE WEEK: Eat Well Enjoy Life Hummus

    Hummus made from red lentils, not
    chickpeas. Photo courtesy Eat Well Enjoy
    Life.

     

    The impressive hummus line from Eat Well Enjoy Life is like a horse of a different color: made not from chickpeas, but from black beans, white beans, red lentils, yellow lentils and edamame.

    The result: a whole new way to enjoy hummus. The flavors are exceptional, and the products themselves inspire innovation at home.

    Beyond a dip or sandwich spread, think of edamame wasabi hummus blended with mashed potatoes or deviled egg stuffing, spicy red lentil hummus atop crostini and in baked potatoes, black bean hummus in stuffed peppers, white bean hummus on veggie pizzas.

    There’s also a line of traditional chickpea-based hummus mixed with Greek yogurt. The result: a milder taste, less fat and fewer calories. The verdict: equally delicious.

    The line is cholesterol free, gluten free and certified kosher, and has won Healthy Food Awards in both the Healthy Living and Diabetes Focus categories.

    Read the full review.

     

      

    Comments

    TOP PICK OF THE WEEK: Japanese Cone Crepes

    Pick your crepes. Photo courtesy Eight Turn
    Crepe.

     

    If you get excited by the thought of crepes, take a look at Eight Turn Crepe and get out your crepe pan.

    The take-out restaurant concept, which originated in Tokyo, has just opened in New York City. The gluten-free, rice flour crepes are packed with fresh ingredients and rolled into a cone shape.

    The varieties, for breakfast, lunch, dinner and dessert, are all so exciting that we want to have every one.

    Read the full review.

    If you’re in New York City, head to 55 Spring Street in Soho. Here’s the company website.

    Be sure to have yuzulade—yuzu lemonade. (The recipe is in the review.)

    Then, hope that an Eight Turn Crepe opens near you.

     

      

    Comments

    TOP PICK OF THE WEEK: Jif Whips Peanut Butter & Chocolate Spread

    Style your own cookies with Jif Whips. Photo
    by Elvira Kalviste | THE NIBBLE.

     

    We focus on specialty foods, so rarely name a mass-marketed supermarket product as a Top Pick.

    But Jif’s new Whipped Peanut Butter & Chocolate spread is just so yummy, special and, well, welcome, that it takes this week’s top honors.

    Everyone who loves peanut butter cups should run out and buy a tub, possibly several.

    The whipped PB spread, which also includes an unsweetened Creamy Peanut Butter variety, is spreadable, dippable, mixable, pipeable, frostable and topable.

    If you don’t want to do any of those things, just dip a spoon into the tub and enjoy!

    Read the full review.

     
    FIND MORE OF OUR FAVORITE PEANUT BUTTER BRANDS.

     

      

    Comments

    TOP PICK OF THE WEEK: Mah-Ze-Dahr Bakery

    In 2002, Kee Ling Tong left a career on Wall Street to create artisan chocolates in SoHo. Kee’s Chocolates have garnered fans worldwide.

    In 2003, international investment banker Joan Coukos launched Chocolat Moderne in Chelsea.

    More recently, Umber Ahmad traded finance for flour (and plenty of chocolate) and opened Mah-Ze-Dahr, an online bakery. Her wares attracted the interest of chef and restaurateur Tom Colicchio, and they are now looking for a retail space for a joint venture.

    Until that happy day, you can buy her Chocolate Explosion Cookies, Dark Chocolate Brownies and—better yet—the Heaven In A Box Sampler—from the website.

    Read the full review and treat yourself to something delicious.

     

    Don’t want chocolate cake? Check out the brownies! Photo courtesy Mah-De-Zahr Bakery.

     

      

    Comments

    TOP PICK OF THE WEEK: Q Drinks

    Grapefruit, one of the 6 varieties of Q
    mixers. Photo courtesy Q Drinks.

     

    How demanding is your palate?

    If the answer is “pretty demanding,” move on to the next questions.

    Do you enjoy mixed drinks? Are the mixers big-brand sodas?

    Well, we all know what’s in those sodas: artificial flavors, high fructose corn syrup and other ingredients that should not be shaking hands with top-shelf spirits.

    The solution: Q Drinks, top-shelf mixers.

    The first in the series, Q Tonic Water, is a revelation if you’re used to the HFCS/artificial quinine variety. All of the mixers—including Grapefruit, Ginger, Kola, Lemon, Orange—are made with organic agave sweetener.

    All can be enjoyed as soft drinks as well: lightly sweet and elegant.

    Read the full review.

     

    As a bonus, it includes the history of carbonated beverages—an accidental scientific observation that now generates billions of dollars of sales worldwide.

    FIND MORE OF OUR FAVORITE COCKTAIL MIXERS.

      

    Comments

    TIP OF THE DAY & TOP PICK OF THE WEEK: Spoonable Caramel Sauce

    What‘s the first thing you think of when you hear the words “caramel sauce?”

    If you’re like most people, you’d say “ice cream” or “sundae.”

    But beyond an ice cream topping, caramel is a pretty universal dessert sauce.

  • Dip fresh fruit in it—a caramel fondue
  • Drizzle it over baked apples, sautéed bananas or poached pears
  • Shake it up with popcorn for delicious caramel corn
  • Use it as a topping for brownies, cheesecake, chocolate cake, crêpes, pound cake or pudding
  • Drizzle it over apple pie
  • Make caramel-swirl brownies or semifreddo
  • Add it to s’mores or spread onto shortbread for a gourmet twist
  • Eat it right from the jar
  •  
    Have other suggestions? Let us know.

     

    A classic: brownie sundae with caramel sauce. Photo courtesy Sugardaddy’s Sumptuous Sweeties.

     

    How would you use this luscious caramel,
    made in six different flavors? Photo courtesy
    Chef June Pagan | Spoonable.

     

    TOP PICK: SPOONABLE CARAMEL SAUCES

    Our Top Pick Of The Week is Spoonable Caramel, an artisan producer in Brooklyn, New York, that makes luscious, buttery caramel sauce in six flavors:

  • Brooklyn Butterscotch (an old-fashioned style made with molasses)
  • Chewy Sesame Caramel
  • Flowery Lavender Caramel
  • Peppered Orange Caramel
  • Salty Caramel
  • Spicy Chili Caramel
  •  
    They’ll be a hit at home and a memorable gift.

    Read the full review.

     
    HOW MANY DESSERT SAUCES HAVE YOU TRIED?

    Check out the different types of dessert sauces in our Dessert Sauce Glossary.

    Find more of our favorite gourmet dessert sauces.

      

    Comments

    TOP PICK OF THE WEEK: Talenti Gelato New Flavors

    Four New Pints, Seven New Pops

    Our favorite ice cream maker, Talenti Gelato, has introduced four welcome new flavors. The company has also turned seven of the most popular flavors into chocolate-covered ice cream bars.

    As with everything, they done a masterful job with:

  • Argentine Caramel Gelato, a delight for dulce de leche lovers
  • Alphonso Mango Sorbetto, a lovely expression
  • German Chocolate Gelato, an excellent interpretation of the flavors of German chocolate cake into a frozen dessert
  • Southern Butter Pecan Gelato, perhaps the most elegant butter pecan flavor we’ve tasted
  •  
    Also joining the family are chocolate-covered ice cream pops in seven of the company’s most popular gelato flavors: Black Raspberry, Caribbean Coconut, Coffee, Double Dark Chocolate, Mediterranean Mint, Sea Salt Caramel and Tahitian Vanilla.

    Read the full review.

     

    Dulce de leche gelato. Photo courtesy Brown Eyed Baker.

     

    ICE CREAM VERSUS GELATO

    Here’s the difference between ice cream and gelato, plus an Ice Cream glossary featuring all the different types of frozen desserts.

      

    Comments

    TOP PICK OF THE WEEK: Fruttare Bars

    Peaches and milk, one of four dleightful Fruttare flavors. Photo courtesy Unilever..

     

    If you’re a fan of Creamsicles, you know the unique combination of creamy ice cream and fruity sorbet.

    Creamsicles debuted in California in 1923. A mere 90 years later, there’s another creamy frozen treat that combines ice pop and milk: Fruttare bars.

    Created in Europe by Unilever, they’ve arrived in the U.S., and they deserve your attention.

    A distant cousin of the Creamsicle concept—which is a vanilla ice cream bar coated with orange sherbet—Fruttare bars are a blend of fruit juice (the base of ice pops and sherbet) and fresh milk. Chunks of fruit add texture and bursts of flavor.

    The initial flavors include:

  • Banana and Milk
  • Coconut and Milk
  • Peach and Milk
  • Strawberry and Milk
  •  
    The line also includes Fruttare Fruit and Juice Bars (no dairy), conventional frozen fruit bars in Lime, Mango, Orange and Strawberry. They are also delightful, but slightly less awesome than the fruit and milk bars.

    Fruttare bars, available at retailers nationwide, are certified kosher by KOF-K.

    Read the full review.

      

    Comments

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