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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 Uncategorized

TECHNICAL PROBLEMS TODAY

 

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TIP OF THE DAY: Avocado Recipes From Breakfast Through Dessert

How cool is Avocado Jell-O? Photo
courtesy Avocados From Mexico.

 

The popularity of guacamole suggests that most of us really like avocados.

We like them so much, we eat a half at breakfast or lunch, straight from the skin. Sometimes we’ll sprinkle on some balsamic vinegar. But just like any fruit, avocados are delicious as is.

But limiting our intake to guacamole and salads, we weren’t taking full advantage of the fruit.

So we browsed through the recipe section of AvocadosFromMexico.com and discovered scores of recipe ideas—from Avocado Jell-O to Avocado Caprese Salad.

As good as a regular Caprese salad may be—slices of tomato and mozzarella plus fresh basil—it’s even better with slices of avocado added to the recipe.

Tonight, we’re making the Layered Guacamole Dip with roasted garlic hummus, sour cream and chopped cherry tomatoes. Maybe we’ll try the Avocado Margarita with it.

There’s also an Avocado Pie!

Expand your repertoire of avocado dishes. Check out the appetizers, beverages, breakfast recipes, desserts, dips, mains, salads, sandwiches and wraps and soups.

  • Find more recipes on the Avocados From Mexico website.
  • Check out our selection of avocado recipes, which includes the health benefits of avocado and shopping tips.
  • Comments

    TIP OF THE DAY: Reinvented Veggies

    Asp_Mushroom_Salad-230

    Cold asparagus in vinaigrette with
    mushrooms and Parmesan cheese. Photo
    courtesy California Asparagus Commission.

     

    Instead of reheating leftover vegetables and serving them as “leftovers,” reinvent them as a cold salad.

    No matter what the vegetable, you can toss it with a little olive oil and some vinegar or a squeeze of lemon or lime juice. If you can combine more than one vegetable, so much the better. Variety is the spice of life!

    Speaking of spice, add any fresh herbs you may have at hand, or peruse the spice cabinet for red pepper flakes, sesame seeds and other favorites.

    Add a bit of chopped green onion or whatever else is in the fridge. If you there’s an apple or orange, chop it and add it, or garnish with nuts, raisins or other dried fruits.

    Got cheese? Sprinkle some on.

    No one will think they’re getting “leftovers.”

    Find more vegetable ideas in our Gourmet Vegetables section.

    Comments

    TIP OF THE DAY: Flavored Mustards

    Asparagus-230

    Task of the week: Find two new uses for
    mustard. Photo courtesy Anton Kozlik’s Mustards.

     

    Flavored mustards can transform a dish, adding intense notes of basil, lemon, tarragon and even Roquefort to sandwiches, potato, tuna and egg salads, vinaigrettes, dips, meats, vegetables and more.

    Think of classic Dijon as “basic vanilla” and start to expand your mustard horizons. Visit any specialty food store and cruise the mustard shelf.

    As a bonus, mustard is extremely low in calories (except for sweet mustards like honey mustard). So see how many new uses you can find for mustard: Look for one new idea each week.

    By the way, our very low calorie or low-glycemic work-around for honey mustard: Sweeten plain Dijon mustard with your favorite non-caloric sweetener or with agave nectar.

    See the many different types of mustard in our Mustard Glossary.

    Comments

    ENTERTAINING: Have A Film Party For “Food Inc.” on April 21st

    How much do we know about the food we buy at our local supermarkets and serve to our families?

    Though our food appears the same as it did to our grandparents—a tomato still looks like a tomato—it has been radically transformed, and not for the better. See for yourself in the eye-opening documentary, Food, Inc., which will be shown on PBS on Wednesday evening, April 21 (check local listings for time). The film is presented by POV, the award-winning series that features the work of today’s best independent documentary filmmakers.

    In Food Inc., producer-director Robert Kenner and investigative authors Eric Schlosser (Fast Food Nation) and Michael Pollan (The Omnivore’s Dilemma and his latest, a must-read, In Defense Of Food) lift the veil on the American food industry, revealing distressing facts about what we eat, how it’s produced, who we have become as a nation (thanks to big corporations and their lobbyists) and where we may go from here.

    Invite your family and friends over for a potluck dinner (we suggest a buffet). Then watch Food, Inc. and discuss the many issues it raises.

     

    food-inc

    Be sure to watch Food Inc. You’ll never
    look at food the same way again.

    Visit the POV website from April 22 to May 3 to get planning tips and recipes and enter for a variety of gifts.

    The film will also be streaming online in its entirety for one week after the broadcast, from April 22nd to April 29th. The Food, Inc. DVD is also on sale (just $9.99 at Amazon.com).

  • If you’re mad as hell and not going to take it anymore, get a copy of the book, Food Inc.: A Participant Guide: How Industrial Food is Making Us Sicker, Fatter, and Poorer-And What You Can Do About It.
  • Send a copy of Michael Pollan’s The Omnivore’s Dilemma For Kids to help the children in your life understand the issues and make better choices.
  • Comments

    TIP OF THE DAY: Multi-Tasking Parmigiano

    checking-quality-230

    Checking the quality of an aging wheel of
    Parmigiano-Reggiano. Photo courtesy
    Parmigiano-Reggiano.it.

     

    Parmigiano-Reggiano is more than a great cheese for pasta, pesto, risotto and Alfredo sauce.

    Shave it onto salads, eggs and sandwiches. Add it to cheese plates. Enjoy it with a glass of hearty red wine.

    It loves to be paired with apples, figs, grapes, kiwi, peaches, pears and walnuts. Italians enjoy it for dessert, drizzled with a few drops of aged balsamic vinegar. Guests love large chunks of the cheese with a variety of dipping sauces—like pesto, garlicky tomato sauce, olive tapenade, parsley sauce and fruit chutney—on individual plates, or on a communal plate of skewers.

  • Learn more about this great cheese.
  • Here’s the difference between Parmigiano-Reggiano, Asiago, Grana Padano and Pecorino Romano, the great Italian grating cheeses.
  • What’s the difference between Parmigiano-Reggiano and Parmesan?

    Anyone, anywhere can make and sell a cheese called “Parmesan.” They follow a basic recipe and are under obligation to nobody to adhere to any standards, including aging it until full flavors develop.

    Parmigiano-Reggiano, on the other hand, is D.O.P. name-protected (Denominazione d’Origine Protetta). This is a legal protection for the consumer that guarantees that you are buying an authentic Parmigiano-Reggiano, made by a trained artisan to exacting specification, produced in a specific geographical area, from milk from specific herds of animals raised in the same area, using techniques honed for centuries. Even the feed of the cows is dictated.

    All of this activity is strictly supervised by a consortium (“consorzio”) that ensures that every wheel stamped with the official seal tastes exactly as it should.

    After 12 months of aging (the minimum), each wheel is inspected and sometimes, if other tests for flaws fail, a thin probe will be inserted to draw out a small piece of the interior core (see photo). If the cheese does not pass, the exclusive pin-dot pattern on the sides is scraped off. The cheese can be sold as cheese for grating, but not as Parmigiano-Reggiano.

    Why are the words, Parmigiano-Reggiano and Parmesan, capitalized? Because they refer to the city of Parma in Italy, the center of making this great cheese.

    Comments

    TIP OF THE DAY: Rock The Rice

    kabob-230

    Rice with saffron, scallion and sausage bits.
    Photo courtesy National Pork Board.

     

    You can serve rice a different way each day of the month and never run out of ideas.

    Think of it this way: on Mondays mix a different fresh herb into the rice. On Tuesdays cook it in a different tea, or add bits of leftover meat, fish, veggies and/or green onion (think Chinese fried rice). On Wednesdays mix in a different salsa or chutney. On Thursdays try a different spice. On Fridays stir in a different dried fruit.

    On Saturdays, choose a different type of gourmet rice—arborio, California mochi, Indian basmati, black rice, Bhutanese red rice, brown long grain, Thai jasmine, japonica, kalijira, wild rice (which isn’t a botanical rice, but a seed).

    On Sundays, dress up the rice with nuts or a fruit-and-nut mix (fresh or dried fruit: raisins or dried cherries, for example).

    We love rockin’ the rice!

    You can also reward yourself every now and then with a delicious rice pudding—made from whatever rice you like!

  • See our Rice Glossary for a wealth of rice information.
  • Find rice recipes in our Rice, Beans & Grains section.
  • Comments

    TOP PICK OF THE WEEK: Bond Street Chocolate

    Do you really want an Easter basket with jelly beans, marshmallow eggs and a chocolate bunny? Or would you rather have confections from a fine chocolatier who thinks outside the basket?

    The answer may be “both”; but order early if you want to acquire these beautiful pieces of edible art from Bond Street Chocolate. They sell out!

    To make these beautiful chocolate statues of Jesus and Our Lady of Guadeloupe (as well as Buddha and Moses), Bond Street Chocolate uses the finest E. Guittard’s 72% Coucher du Soleil, a dark, rich, smooth couverture chocolate with a creamy mouth feel and hints of thyme and jasmine. With all due respect, it is chocolate to pray for.

    The chocolate is poured into handmade chocolate molds. The molded pieces are painstakingly hand-painted with edible gold leaf.

    They are beautiful to look at, and you can keep the chocolate for up to a year as an object d’art before you have to decide whether it’s art or food.

     

    guadaloupe-jesus-230

    Beautiful chocolate sculptures, embellished
    with edible gold. Photo by Katherine Pollak | THE NIBBLE.

    For those who want a box of classic chocolates, Bond Street Chocolate’s sophisticated bonbons are available in traditional shapes, but with anything but standard flavor combinations—several with fine spirits such as Bourbon, Cachaça, Rum and Tequila, as well as florals and herbs such as hibiscus, lavender and tea. Send a box to your favorite chocolate gourmet, but hurry, as they do sell out.

  • Read the full review of Bond Street Chocolate and see more beautiful chocolate.
  • Comments

    FOOD HOLIDAYS: Sign Up For The Daily Tweet

    You might not be aware that March is:

    – National Celery Month
    – National Flour Month
    – National Frozen Food Month
    – National Nutrition Month
    – National Noodle Month
    – National Peanut Month
    – National Sauce Month
    – National Caffeine Awareness Month

    In addition to the declaration of entire months as food holidays, almost every day of the year has its own food holiday—for example, today, March 1st, is National Peanut Butter Lover’s Day.

    While we used to publish all of the holidays in this blog, they’re now part of THE NIBBLE’s Tweetstream. Sign up for them at Twitter.com.

    These holidays are part of a long article on monthly food holidays that we created in 2005, and are among the most popular of the 20,000 pages on TheNibble.com. (More than a few people have begun tweeting on the same topic after seeing ours.)

     

    sxc962507_cappuccino

    It’s National Caffeine Awareness Month.
    Become more aware in our Coffee Glossary. Photo by Mac Pale | SXC.

    You can see the entire Food Holiday list (with an overview of how days become designated as particular food holidays), with a click-through to a related article or recipe. Or enjoy it Tweet by Tweet.

    Comments

    TIP OF THE DAY: Measuring Cherries

    Cooking with cherries?

  • It takes about 4 cups of tart cherries to make one 9″ pie.
  • There are about 3 cups of frozen cherries in a pound.
  • Using a cherry pie filling?

  • There are about 2 cups of filling in a 16-ounce can.
  • Try this recipe for pulled pork in a tart cherry sauce.

     

    montmorency-cherries-230

    Montmorency (tart) cherries. Photo courtesy
    Cherry Marketing Institute.

    Comments

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