THE NIBBLE BLOG: Products, Recipes & Trends In Specialty Foods
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TIP OF THE DAY: Make A Rickey, Cocktail Or Cocktail

When we were in college, we went often to the Brigham’s Ice Cream Parlor in Harvard Square for a Raspberry-Lime Rickey. The coffee shop craze that began in Seattle had not yet become a destination elsewhere. Rickeys were the Frappuccinos of the day.

To us, a Rickey was raspberry syrup mixed into club soda with a big squeeze of lime.

We had no idea that the Rickey (originally the “Joe Rickey”) was a fizzy highball, created in 1883 at Shoomaker’s bar in Washington, D.C. (the different types of fizzy water).
 
THE HISTORY OF THE RICKEY

The drink was named for “Colonel” Joe Rickey, a Democratic lobbyist from Missouri. Each morning, he went to Shoomaker’s for a Bourbon with Apollinaris sparkling water over lump ice (today’s cubes).

Cocktail history was changed one day when the bartender, said to be George A. Williamson, squeezed half a lime into the glass and tossed the squeezed lime in after it. The Rickey was born.

  • It has evolved to include simple syrup and bitters. If you want the authentic experience, tell the bartender.
  • Another variation substituted ginger ale for the fizzy water; but either way, the drink was served in a tall (highball) glass with lots of ice.
  • A decade later, the Gin Rickey became a worldwide cocktail sensation. It remains a relatively popular drink today, while Joe Rickey’s Bourbon Rickey has faded into obscurity.
  •  
    Omit the spirits altogether and you have a mocktail/soft drink that you can layer with other flavors. Omit the bitters in the cocktail and trade the simple syrup for fruit syrup, and you have the Raspberry-Lime Rickey of our youth (fondly referred to as a Razz-Lime Rickey. We had to have at least one a day).
     
    MODERNIZE YOUR RICKEY

    Create your signature Rickey: the [Your Name] Rickey instead of the Joe Rickey.

    Soft Drink Variations

  • In addition to the squeeze of lime, freeze pieces of lime to substitute for all or some of the ice.
  • Use a different fruit syrup. Blueberry Rickey? Peach Rickey?
  • Instead of fruit syrup, puréed the fruit. Fresh raspberries are better than syrup; frozen raspberries are just fine (and less expensive than fresh ones). Plus, you can use less sugar, another sweetener or no sweeter at all.
  • Garnish with a pick of matching fruit (raspberries, blueberries, cubed peaches, etc.)
  • Try flavored club soda.
  • Add bitters.
  •  
    Cocktail Variations

  • Try a different spirit. Tequila Rickey? Vodka Rickey? Flavored Vodka Rickey?
  • Play around with some of the modern flavored bitters: cardamom, grapefruit, lavender, orange, etc.
  •  
    RECIPE: THE RAZZ-LIME RICKEY: COCKTAIL

    We turned our college favorite, the Razz-Lime Rickey soft drink, into a cocktail.

    Ingredients Per Drink

  • 2/3 to3/4 cup (3 ounces) fresh or frozen raspberries (or a store-bought raspberry syrup)
  • 2 teaspoons sugar (omit if using raspberry syrup)
  • 1 ounce lime juice
  • 1/2 cup sparkling water
  • 2 ounces raspberry vodka
  • Ice
  • Garnish: fresh raspberries and/or a lime wheel or wedge
  •  

    Raspberry Lime Rickey

    Lime Rickey Recipe

    Blueberry Rickey

    Original Rickey

    [1] A Gin Rickey from from Elegant Affairs. [2] A Raspberry Lime Rickey soft drink rom CooksCountry.com. [3] A Blueberry Rickey with a blueberry cocktail pick (photo courtesy Essence Designs). [4] The original Rickey, made with bourbon (the mint must be left over from a Mint Julep (photo via Tumblr).

     
    Preparation

    1. MAKE the raspberry-lime syrup: Place the raspberries in a bowl, sprinkle the sugar on top and add the lime juice. Mash with a muddler or the back of a wooden spoon. Set aside and let the mixture marinate for 10 minutes. Strain it through a sieve to remove the seeds.

    2. FILL a glass with ice and add the syrup add the sparkling water. Stir, add the vodka and stir again.

    3. TOP OFF with sparkling water. Garnish and serve

    You can make four drinks at a time with these proportions. In a pitcher combine as above:

  • 1-1/3 cups raspberries
  • 1/2 cup lime juice
  • 3 tablespoon sugar
  • 2 cups sparkling water
  • 1 cup raspberry vodka
  •  
    Refrigerate until ready to serve. Stir again before pouring into ice-filled glasses.
     
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    *The Brigham’s chain of ice cream parlors is defunct (along with its competitor, Bailey’s). The company closed most of its locations in 2008 and sold the rights to its ice cream brand to HP Hood. The chain declared bankruptcy in 2009, but Hood still produced quarts under the Brigham’s name, sold in supermarkets in New England.

      

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    PRODUCT: Artisan Bacon Hot Dogs

    Bacon Hot Dogs

    Vermont Cure Bacon Hot Dogs

    Bacon hot dogs from Vermont Smoke & Cure, a craft producer of meat products (photos courtesy Vermont Smoke & Cure).

     

    The CEO of Vermont Smoke & Cure, Chris Bailey, created this bacon hot dog in home test kitchen. Fusing two of his favorite flavors, the craft dog blends juicy bacon flavor with classic hot dog texture.

    The dogs combine beef, pork and uncured, maple-brined bacon. They’re smoked with cob and maple wood and stuffed in a natural lamb casing. The result: a succulent snap and a sweet, mellow smoke flavor.

    Here are tips for enjoying a bacon hot dog:

  • Try it without toppings. While some people prefer toppings on their dogs, Chris suggests that you first try the bacon dogs plain, on a toasted bun. You may find them so flavorful and juicy that you can skip the toppings.
  • Combine them with eggs. Serve grilled Bacon Hot Dogs with eggs, toast and asparagus for breakfast, lunch or dinner. When asparagus is out of season, substitute broccoli, Brussels sprouts, green beans, leeks, sliced tomatoes or other veg.
  • Serve a mixed grill. Team grilled dogs with grilled chicken for dinner. Consider adding some slices of that acclaimed Vermont Smoke & Cure bacon.
  •  
    The hot dogs are $5.99-$6.99 at select Whole Foods and natural foods stores in the Northeast. Here’s a store locator.
     
    ABOUT VERMONT SMOKE & CURE

    Vermont Smoke & Cure makes bacon, ham, hot dogs, meat sticks, pepperoni and uncured summer sausage.

    The products are made from premium, vegetarian-fed meat with no added hormones or antibiotics. They are free of dairy, gluten, nuts, preservatives and sodium nitrites.

     
    For more information, visit VermontSmokeAndCure.com.

    The company sells most of its products on Amazon and its own website store, but not [yet] the hot dogs.

    We did discover this tempting bacon gift basket that contains:

  • Vermont Smoke and Cure Bacon
  • Broadbent’s Kentucky Bacon
  • North Country Smokehouse Uncured Fruitwood Bacon
  • Vosges Chocolate and Bacon Candy Bar
  • Vosges Bacon and Chocolate Pancake Mix
  • JB’s Best Bacon BBQ Sauce
  •  
    Put it on your gift list for bacon lovers.

    In the interim, find a store, buy the bacon dogs, and make people happy.

      

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    TIP OF THE DAY: Make A Frosé, A Rosé Cocktail

    We were delighted with this summer refreshment idea from Davio’s Northern Italian Steakhouse.

    The Frosé combines Davio’s house-made sorbet with rosé wine.

    It’s a refreshing winetail, a mixed drink made with wine instead of spirits (also see beertail.)

    You can turn a Frosé into dessert by adding more fruit and less wine. You also can mix different flavors of sorbet.

    Don’t use a bone-dry rosé, but have the wine store clerk guide you to something with a hint of sweetness*. It will go better with the sorbet and fruit. We used a sparkling rosé and loved it.

    Use whatever glassware you have on hand, from tumblers to wine goblets.
     
    RECIPE: DAVIO’S FROSÉ

    Ingredients Per Drink

  • Sorbet flavor of choice
  • 6 ounces rosé or sparkling rosé, chilled
  • Fresh fruit of choice, preferably chilled
  • Optional garnish: rosemary sprig, mint sprig, citrus slice, etc.
  •  
    Preparation

    1. SCOOP the sorbet into a glass, add the fruit and then top with the rosé.

    2. GARNISH and serve with a spoon and a straw.
     
    WHAT IS ROSÉ WINE?

    Also referred to as blush wine, rosé can be made as a still, semi-still or sparkling wine.

    Still rosé wines can be made from almost any red grape varietal, or from a blend of varietals. Sparkling rosé wines, including rosé Champagne, are exceptions because they also can be made with white grapes.

    The wines get their rosy color from contact with the red grape skins. Depending on the grape, terroir and winemaking techniques, the color can range from the palest pink to deep ruby red to hues of orange or violet.

     

    Rose Cocktail

    Sorbet Cocktail Recipe

    [1] For a drink, add the sorbet and fruit to the glass and top with rosé. Photo courtesy Peabody Johansen, Culinary Concoctions By Peabody. [2] For dessert, use more fruit and less rosé.

     
    Styles range from bone dry Provençal rosé to sweet White Zinfandel and other blush wines from California. Note that rosé wines are not made to age, and should be drunk at 1-3 years old.

    The exception is top-quality rosé Champagne. A 15-year-old Dom Perignon Rosé, for example, is a joy.
     
    WHAT IS TERROIR?

    The same rootstock that is grown in different locations produces different flavors; for example, depending on where it is grown, Sauvignon Blanc can have grassy or grapefruit notes—or neither.

    Terroir, pronounced tur-WAH, is a French agricultural term referring to the unique set of environmental factors in a specific habitat that affect a crop’s qualities. It includes climate, elevation, proximity to a body of water, slant of the land, soil type and amount of sun.

    These environmental characteristics gives the wine its character. Terroir is the basis of the French A.O.C. (Appellation d’Origine Contrôlée) system.
     
    ALSO SEE WINESHAKES: WINE MILKSHAKES
     
    __________________
    *We first made the drink with a sparkling rosé that was as sweet as a soft drink or sweet iced tea. It was too sweet for us.

      

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    TIP OF THE DAY: Make Fancy Lemonade

    Lemon Grove

    Lemon Tree

    Meyer Lemons

    [1] A lemon grove (photo courtesy Condé Nast Traveler.[2] Ornamental lemon trees can be grown indoors (photo courtesy BrighterBlooms.com. [3] Meyer lemons, less tart than the conventional supermarket lemon (photo courtesy GoodEggs.com).

     

    It took a while for man to turn lemons into lemonade, the quintessential American summer drink.

    THE HISTORY OF LEMONADE

    The origin of the lemon is still not certain, although food historians believe it may be Assam in northwestern India, where lemons have been cultivated for more than 2,500 years.

    It was brought to northern Burma and to China, across Persia and the Arab world to the Mediterranean.

  • Arab traders brought the lemons to the Middle East and Africa sometime after 100 C.E.
  • They are believed to have been introduced into southern Italy around 200 C.E.; and was being cultivated in Egypt and in Sumer, the southern portion of Mesopotamia, a few centuries later.
  • Citron, a different citrus, looking like a larger lemon with a very thick rind and very little pulp or juice, seems to have been known by Jews before the time of Christ. References to the round, yellow fruit grown by the Romans were to citron. The lemon does not appear to have been grown in the Middle East in pre-Islamic times.
  •  
    But for many centuries in the Middle East, lemons were not widely cultivated as food.

  • They were largely an ornamental plant in Middle Eastern gardens until about the 10th century. Arabs introduced the lemon to Spain in the 11th century, and by 1150, the lemon was widely cultivated in the Mediterranean.
  • The first clear written reference to the lemon tree dates from the early 10th century, in an Arabic work on farming.
  • Crusaders returning from Palestine brought lemons to the rest of Europe. The lemon came into full culinary use in Europe in the 15th century; the first major cultivation in Europe began in Genoa.
  • The name “lemon” first appeared around 1350–1400, and derives from the Middle English word limon. Limon is an Old French word, indicating that the lemon entered England via France. The Old French derives from the Italian limone, which dates back to the Arabic laymun or limun, from the Persian word limun.
  • Lemons came to the New World in 1493, when Christopher Columbus brought lemon seeds to Hispaniola. Spanish conquest spread the lemon throughout the New World, where it was still used mainly used as an ornamental plant, and for medicine.
  • Lemons were grown in California by 1751; and in the 1800s in Florida, they began to be used in cooking and flavoring. Commercial cultivation of lemons took hold in California and Florida in the 1800s.
  • Around 200 cultivars (distinct varieties) of lemon can be found in the U.S. alone. Some are best for lemon juice, some for lemon oil, and some are all-around. Some are more disease-resistant, some bear more fruit.
  •  
    Over the millennia, many different types of lemons evolved.

    One of the reasons it is difficult to trace lemon’s origin is adaptability to hybridization, as well as the vagueness of descriptions and awareness levels. A “round citron” reference may actually be a lemon, or vice versa.

    Depictions of citrus fruits in Roman mosaics such as found in Carthage in Tunisia, and frescoes preserved in Pompeii, may look like lemons but are not supported by any botanical or literary evidence (source).

    What we do know is that many varieties proliferated in semi-tropical climates around the world. Here’s a pictorial glossary of the different types of lemons.
     
    And the history of lemonade?

  • The earliest written evidence of lemonade comes from medieval Egypt in the writings of the Persian poet and traveler Nasir-i-Khusraw (1003-ca. 1061).
  •  

  • Records from the medieval Jewish community in Cairo (10th-13th centuries) show that bottles of lemon juice, called qatarmizat, were heavily sweetened with sugar. An 1104 reference shows a considerable trade in exporting lemon juice.
  •  
    Over the centuries, lemonade has been enhanced with fruits, herbs, spices and yes, alcohol.

    National Lemonade Day is August 20th, but why wait until then to enjoy these recipes?

    This recipe is adapted from Leanne Vogel of HealthfulPursuit.com, for Strawberry Basil Italian Lemonade.

    Italian lemonade uses mineral water; you can use whatever water you like.

    You may want to soak the basil overnight, or first thing in the morning.

     

    RECIPE: STRAWBERRY BASIL LEMOMADE

    Ingredients For 8 Servings

  • 24 organic strawberries, hulled
  • Juice from 2 lemons
  • Ultrafine sugar*, simple syrup or other sweetener to taste
  • 2 quarts mineral water
  • 48 basil leaves, washed and stems removed and divided
  • 2 cups ice cubes
  • Optional garnish:
  • Straws
  •  
    __________________
    *Ultrafine sugar dissolves more easily because the grains are much smaller. You can turn table sugar into ultrafine by pulsing it in a food processor.
     
    Preparation

    1. SOAK half of the basil in the mineral water for 6-8 hour and refrigerates.

    2. CRUSH the strawberries in a large bowl with a muddler or a potato masher, until they can be sipped through a straw. Add the lemon juice and sweetener, stir and refrigerate. When ready to serve…

    3. Add 2 spoonfuls of strawberry purée to the bottom of 8 glasses. Add 2 fresh basil leaves (not soaked) and a couple of ice cubes. Pour mineral water over the top and serve with straws.
     
    MORE EXCITING LEMOMADE RECIPES

  • Jalapeño Lemonade Recipe
  • Lavender Lemonade Recipe
  • Mint Lemonade Recipe
  • Peach Lemonade Recipe
  • Sparkling Melon Lemonade Recipe
  • Spicy Lemonade Recipe
  •  
    LEMONADE COCKTAIL RECIPES

  • Blueberry Lemonade Cocktail Recipe
  • Lemonade 485 Cocktail Recipe
  • Limoncello Lemonade Recipe
  • Tequila Lemonade Recipe
  • Saké Lemonade Recipe
  •  
    HAVE OTHER IDEAS FOR FANCY LEMONADE?

    Let us know!

     

    Strawberry Basil Lemonade

    Lavender Lemonade

    Jalapeno Lemonade

    [1] Strawberry Basil Lemonade, the recipe at left (photo courtesy HealthfulPursuit.com). [2] Lavender lemonade (recipe, photo © Edith Frincu | Dreamstime). [3] Jalapeño Lemonade (recipe, photo courtesy Melissas.com).

      

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    FOOD FUN: Fish Bowl Or Shark Tank Punch

    Fish Bowl Punch

    Gummy Sharks

    [1] Sip the punch, eat the fish (photo and recipe courtesy CocktailsDetails.com). [2] Prefer to swim with the sharks? Use shark gummies instead. Or make a statement by using four fish and one shark (photo courtesy Amazon.com).

     

    Last summer we presented Pool Party Punch, a cocktail as blue as a swimming pool.

    This year, it’s Fishbowl Punch from CocktailDetails.com, with our own variation, Shark Tank Punch.

    You can also make a non-alcoholic punch (recipe below).
     
    RECIPE: FISHBOWL PUNCH OR SHARK TANK PUNCH

    Ingredients For 64 Ounces (1/2 Gallon*)

  • 5 ounces vodka
  • 5 ounces Malibu rum
  • 3 ounces blue Curaçao
  • 6 ounces sweet-and-sour mix (make your own)
  • 16 ounces pineapple juice
  • Half-gallon goldfish bowl
  • 1/2 cup Rainbow Nerds candy or other gravel-like candy
  • Optional: fish tank plant
  • Ice cubes†
  • 16 ounces Sprite
  • 4 Swedish Fish or Gummy Sharks
  • Garnish for the bowl: lime slices
  • Garnish for each glass: a fish or a shark
  •  
    __________________
    *1/2 gallon= 64 ounces = eight 8-ounce servings = ten 6-ounce servings = or sixteen 4-ounce servings. Serving size includes ice.

    †Use large ice cubes, if possible. The larger the ice, the slower it melts, the less dilution of the drink.

    Preparation

    1. COMINE the first five ingredients in a pitcher and stir to blend. Refrigerate for several hours or overnight. When ready to serve…

    2. SPRINKLE the Nerds on the bottom of the fish bowl to create “gravel,” and anchor the optional fish tank plant.

    3. ADD ice to the bowl; then add the the chilled punch and the candy fish/sharks. Top off with lime slices.

    4. LADLE the punch into glasses and garnish with a fish. Alternatively, you can provide the ladle and glasses for self-service.
     
    NON-ALCOHOLIC VERSION

    Ingredients

  • 1 package Blue Raspberry Kool-Aid
  • 1/2 cup sugar
  • 1 quart cold water
  • 12 ounces bottled Piña Colada mix (no alcohol)
  • 1 two-liter bottle of Sprite or other lemon-lime soda, chilled
  • Garnishes per above
  •  
    Preparation

    1. PLACE the Kool-Aid powder and sugar in a large pitcher. Add half the water and whisk thoroughly to dissolve, making sure that the powder and sugar dissolve.

    2. ADD the remaining water and the Piña Colada mix. Stir and chill for several hours or overnight. When ready to serve…

    3. CONTINUE with Step 2 in the alcoholic version.

    4. ADD Sprite to fill the pitcher, stir gently and serve.
     
    PLANNING A WEDDING OR OTHER SPECIAL EVENT?

    Take a look at CocktailsDetails.com.
     
      

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    TIP OF THE DAY: Make Summer Squash Chips (Zucchini & Yellow Squash)

    Summer squash—zucchini and yellow squash—are available year-round, but are never more affordable than now.

    In addition to your other favorite summer squash recipes*, make lots of squash chips for low-calorie nibbling. They’re also great to serve with beer, cocktails and wine, and as garnishes.

    But start with a small batch. Try the chips plain and with different seasonings (cayenne? curry? garlic?). If you’re using a dehydrator or microwave, just divide the batch.

    Make your first batch at 1/8″ thick. The thinner the chips, the crisper they are.
     
    USE A DEHYDRATOR, MICROWAVE OR ACTIFRY

    If you have a dehydrator, you know what to do.

    You can also bake chips in the oven.

    We have no space for a dehydrator, but for the past five years we’ve been devoted to Mastrad’s microwave chip maker. Chips are ready in just 3-5 minutes.

    Here’s more about microwave chips, and where to get the Mastrad chip trays. We say trays, rather than tray, because they’re sold in a set of two, and we bought a second set. They’re made to stack.

    Thanks to Willow Moon of CreateMindfully.com for the recipe.

    RECIPE: SALT & VINEGAR ZUCCHINI CHIPS

    Ingredients

  • 1 large yellow squash or zucchini, washed and peeled if desired
  • 2 teaspoons olive oil
  • 2 tablespoons apple cider vinegar (omit if using another seasoning)
  • Salt to taste (regular or flavored)
  •  
    Preparation

    1. SLICE the squash to 1/8-thick, preferably with a mandoline slicer. Toss them with the olive oil, vinegar and salt, to coat thoroughly.
     
    OVEN VARIATION

    1. PREHEAT the oven to 375°F/190°C). Place the coated zucchini slices on a baking sheet. Bake until lightly browned, about 20 minutes.
     
    DEHYDRATOR VARIATION

    1. PLACE the coated squash slices on Teflon sheets on the dehydrator trays. Dehydrate at 110° for 12 hours or until crisp.

     

    Squash Chips

    Zebra Zucchini

    Mastrad Microwave Chip Maker

    [1] Yellow squash chips (photo courtesy CreateMindfully.com. [2] Just slice and season (photo of zebra squash courtesy Burpee.com). [3] The Mastrad microwave chip maker.

     
    ACTIFRY VARIATION

    1. PLACE the olive oil and sliced parsnips in the ActiFry and cook for 35 minutes, or until brown and crisp.

    Here’s more about the Actifry, which comes in basic and deluxe models.
     
    IN ADDITION TO SQUASH CHIPS, TRY THESE VEGETABLE CHIPS

  • Cabbage Chips
  • Cinnamon Apple Chips
  • Microwave Kale Chips
  • Parsnip Chips
  •  
    These recipes may specify a particular technique, but you can slice any root vegetable and use any of the techniques above. You can also use a broad spectrum of veggies (fruits, too). Our colleague Laura makes jalapeño chips (tip: look for very large jalapeños).
     
    CHECK OUT THE DIFFERENT TYPES OF SQUASH
     
    _____________________
    *Our favorite is fried zucchini, but our favorite low-calorie zucchini dish is Steamed Microwave Zucchini Parmesan. Cut slices to desired thickness and team the zucchini (or yellow squash, or mixed) to al dente; you can salt them or not. Top with pasta sauce, mozzarella and a sprinkle of oregano. To save even more calories, hold the mozzarella and sprinkle with a smaller amount of grated Parmesan cheese before serving.

      

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    TIP OF THE DAY: Piña Colada Jell-O Shots

    Jell-O Shots

    Pina Colada

    [1] You can make Piña Colada shots with rum, or with add more pineapple juice for a cocktail (photo courtesy BreadBoozeBacon.com). [2] The inspiration: a Piña Colada (photo courtesy Tommy Bahama).

     

    July 10th is National Piña Colada Day, which reminded us that we’d saved a recipe for Piña Colada Jell-O Shots.

    So today’s tip is: Return to youthful fun with Jell-O Shots. You can find recipes online for everything from Margarita to Whiskey Sour Jell-O Shots.

    We first tried another recipe but preferred this one from by Julie Kotzbach of BreadBoozeBacon.com. We also like that she made them in a pan and sliced them, instead of using paper or plastic cups.

    Note #1: Look at the pans or baking dishes you have. Julie used a 6×9″ pan. We used the 8″ square Pyrex baking dish we have.

    Note #2: While most shot recipes use Jell-O (hence the term Jell-O shots), there is none in this recipe. Unflavored gelatin is used instead.
     
    RECIPE: PIÑA COLADA JELL-O SHOTS

    Ingredients For 15 Shots

  • 1 envelope unflavored gelatin powder
  • ¼ cup cold water
  • ½ cup boiling water
  • ¼ cup sugar
  • ¼ cup pineapple juice
  • 2 tablespoons cream of coconut (Coco Lopez, Coco Reàl*, etc.)
  • ¼ cup white rum or coconut rum (the different types of rum—substitute pineapple juice for a no-alcohol recipe)
  • 15 maraschino cherries, rinsed and dried (we used Tillen Farms’ with stems and just patted them dry)
  •  
    Preparation

    1. PREPARE the maraschino cherries: Pat dry, first rinsing as needed. Set aside on a paper towel.

    2. SPRINKLE the gelatin over the cold water in a small mixing bowl. Let the powder to soak in for 2 minutes.

    3. POUR the boiling water into the bowl and whisk constantly until the gelatin is dissolved. Then add the sugar, and whisk until dissolved.

    4. ADD the pineapple juice, cream of coconut and rum. Whisk to combine. Pour into a small baking pan (you can also use paper or plastic cups or mini jello molds).

    5. REFRIGERATE for 1 hour until the gelatin has thickened. Place the cherries evenly in 3 lines across the top. Refrigerate until completely set, at least 4 more hours or overnight.

     
    6. PLATE: Dip the bottom of the pan into warm water for 10 to 15 seconds. Run a sharp knife through the gelatin, parallel to the cherry lines, creating 3 strips. Cut each strip into squares. Use a small offset spatula to lift from the pan onto a serving dish. Cover and refrigerate until ready to serve.
     
    CUTTING DOWN ON THE SUGAR

  • Coco Reàl makes a version of its cream of coconut using low-glycemic agave instead of sugar.
  • Smirnoff makes a light pineapple-coconut vodka. Drink it straight or mix it with a splash of coconut water or milk. It’s not a Jell-O Shot, but it is lower in calories. You also can experiment with your own “light” shot recipe.
  •  
    WHO INVENTED THE JELL-O SHOT?

    The American singer-songwriter Tom Lehrer wrote about Jell-O shots in the 1950s, making them as a way to consume alcohol undetected on the Army base where he was stationed (no alcohol allowed).

    Jell-O shots seem like a modern concept, but Jell-O itself (flavored, sweetened gelatin) was invented in 1897. Beginning in the 1400s, gelatin (protein produced from collagen extracted from boiled animal bones and connective tissues) had been used to make desserts—a laborious undertaking.

    In 1862, the first modern cocktail recipe book was published in the U.S.: Jerry Thomas’ Bartenders Guide.

    Jerry Thomas advised: “The strength of the punch is so artfully concealed by its admixture with the gelatine, that many persons, particularly of the softer sex, have been tempted to partake so plentifully of it as to render them somewhat unfit for waltzing or quadrilling after supper.” That sounds so much more charming than “falling-down drunk.”
     
    DON’T WANT TO MAKE JELL-O SHOTS?

    How about a Piña Colada dessert pizza?

     
      

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    TOP PICK OF THE WEEK: Lactaid Ice Cream

    July is National Ice Cream Month, a time for celebration among ice cream lovers. But not for every one of us.

    According to research studies, 30 to 50 million Americans are lactose intolerant. Some have been that way since childhood; some lose the ability to digest lactose as adults.

    Says HealthDay.com, “The condition is so common—and so natural—that some doctors don’t even like to call lactose intolerance a disorder.

    But that’s no comfort to anyone who can no longer have cheese, ice cream, milk, yogurt and even butter, including butter-rich foods such as buttercream frosting and caramels.

    Lactose intplerance cuts across ancestral lines, creating gastrointestinal problems in:

  • 70% of African Americans
  • 90% of Asian Americans
  • 53% of Mexican Americans
  • 74% of Native Americans
  • 20% of Caucasians, however…
  •  
    …people of Arab, Greek, Hispanic, Italian and Jewish ancestry have a much higher incidence than other groups.
     
    LACTOSE-FREE ICE CREAM FROM LACTAID

    Ice cream lovers: Eat all of the frozen delight you want, without incurring the distressing symptoms of lactose intolerance.

    (Second thought, eating too much could give you an ice cream headache or make your inner and outer mouth feel like Alaska in the winter.)

    Lactaid Ice Cream, made by Hood, is a delicious line. And what a choice:

    The Basics

  • Chocolate
  • Vanilla
  •  
    The Mix-Ins

  • Butter Pecan
  • Cookies & Cream
  • Mint Chocolate Chip
  •  
    The New & Glorious

  • Berry Chocolate Crumble
  • Salted Caramel Chip
  •    

    Ice Cream Lactose Intolerant

    Lactaid Ice Cream

    [1] Lactaid has delicious specialty flavors, like Berry Crumble and Salted Caramel Chip (photo courtesy NotQuiteSusie.com). [2] Chocolate and vanilla Lactaid (photo by Elvira Kalviste | THE NIBBLE).

     

    The magic is simply that the brand adds lactase, a natural enzyme that is no longer produced by the stomach of lactose-intolerant people. It’s the same ingredient as in Lactose supplement pills. It helps break down the lactose so that dairy products are easily digested.

    Lactase has no impact on taste or texture. Unless they saw the carton, no one would know the products are lactose-free.
     
    Now…

    Have an ice cream cone, a shake or a sundae!

    Make ice cream sandwiches and ice cream cake!

    Eat ice cream straight from the carton!

    But there’s more!

     

    Lactose Free Sour Cream

    Lactose Free Cream Cheese

    [1] (photo courtesy FoodForMyFamily.com). [2] Photo courtesy MyLilikoiKitchen.com).

     

    MORE LACTOSE-FREE DAIRY FOODS

    From Lactaid

    Lactaid also makes lactose-free milk (0%, 1%, 2%, whole and chocolate), low fat cottage cheese, and holiday nog.
     
    From Green Valley Organics

    Green Valley Organics adds still more lactose-free dairy options:

  • Cream cheese
  • Kefir
  • Lowfat and whole-milk yogurt
  • Sour cream
  •  
    Use the store locator on the home page to find a retailer near you.

    Might we add: No one would know all these products are lactose free.
     
    BOTH LACTAID & GREEN VALLEY PRODUCTS ARE DEE-LICIOUS.
     
    LIKE CHEESE?

    If you’re just mildly lactose intolerant, you may find that buffalo’s, goats’, and sheep’ milk cheeses are easier to digest than cow’s milk.

    If you’re substantially lactose intolerant, even cheeses with only 2% lactose can upset your stomach. The only 100% lactose-free cheese is Cheddar.

    Fortunately, it’s the most popular cheese in the U.S.

     

      

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    TIP OF THE DAY: Summer Mocktails

    In the heat* of the summer, not every cocktail fan wants alcohol; and not everyone drinks alcohol, preferring a cocktail.

    So mixologists created the most tempting mocktails we’ve seen: just like a creative cocktails served at hot spots.

    By layering complex flavors, you’ll never know the alcohol is missing. We’ve included two recipes below, created by Richard Woos for SushiSamba New York. You may utter words like “Where am I supposed to get these ingredients?”

    But use them as a guideline. Mixologists have many more ingredients to play with than we do. You can substitute, or be inspired to create something entirely different with coconut water, fruit juices, sweet herbs, etc. Think of the flavors you like and mix away!

    For those who want a bit of kick, add a shot of sochu (shochu), half the proof of vodka.

    These cocktails were created by Richard Woods for SUSHISAMBA NYC, so they have an Asian twist.
     
    RECIPE #1: SUU IZURU COCKRAIL

    Ingredients Per Drink

  • 1 ounce aloe water/juice**
  • 1.5 ounces lychee juice
  • .5 ounce yuzu juice
  • 1 ounce pineapple and tarragon simple syrup†
  • 3-4 organic rose petals (no pesticide!)
  • Crushed ice
  • Garnish: dehydrated pineapple ring, large mint sprig, organic rose bud
  •  
    Preparation

    1. COMBINE the ingredients and swizzle through crushed ice. Then swizzle in the rose petals.

    2. GARNISH and serve.

     

    Summer Mocktail

    Summer Mocktail

    [1] Aloe, lychee and yuzu are a glorious combination. [2] Yuzu and elderflower liqueur with a shiso garnish.

     
    RECIPE #2: YUSHI FIZZ

    This drink is a combination of two of our favorite flavors, yuzu and lychee, with a shiso garnish (thus the name, yu + shi). The elderflower liquer tastes very much like lychee liqueur (but better).

    Ingredients Per Drink

  • .75 ounce yuzu juice
  • 1.5 ounces shiso sugar syrup
  • 1 bar spoon†† elderflower cordial (Saint-Germain is heavenly, and also great with Champagne)
  • 2 ounces soda water (club soda)
  • Ice
  • Optional garnishes: shisho leaf (substitute basil) or lychees on a pick
  •  
    Preparation

    1. SHAKE the first three ingredients with ice in a cocktail shaker. Add the soda water and roll the shaker to blend.

    2. DOUBLE strain, garnish and serve.
     
    _____________________
    *Drinking alcohol makes you feel warmer as your blood alcohol level rises, but it does not actually raise your body temperature.

    **Aloe water is a great base for cocktails and cocktails—or for drinking straight. It’s also available in flavors, from the three major melons to strawberry and pineapple. NOTE: If you don’t like orange juice with pulp, you won’t like aloe water: It has pieces of aloe pulp.

    †Heres’s how to make simple syrup. You can infuse whatever you like in it. You can also purchase simple syrup. Sonoma Syrup Co. makes a multitude of flavors, from from ginger to lavender.

    ††A bar spoon is equivalent to a teaspoon, but has a much longer handle so it can mix ingredients in tall glasses. It’s typically stainless steel and the handle is twisted in a decorative way. Here’s a bar spoon photo.

      

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    TIP OF THE DAY: Saké Sangria

    Sake Sangria

    Organic Sake

    Shochu

    [1] Saké, shochu and lychee liqueur combine with fruit to create Saké Sangria from Kabuki restaurants (photo courtesy Flavor & The Menu). [2] Organic saké from SakéOne. [3] Sochu from an article on the best sochu brands from Gear Patrol.

     

    On weekends, we try the cocktail recipes we publish. It’s tough work, but someone has to do it.

    Last weekend’s cocktail was an amped up version of a saké-based sangria from Kabuki restaurant. Saké, Japanese rice wine, is substituted for the red or white wine in a Spanish-style sangria (here’s the history of sangria).

    But that’s not all: This recipe adds sochu, a distilled spirit like vodka, but with a much lower proof.

    We’ve never been to a Kabuki restaurant. They’re located in Southern California, Phoenix, and Las Vegas.

    But after we perused the innovative sushi on their Facebook Page, we put it on our “must go” [when in the area] list.

    Until then, we adapted a sangria recipe from Kabuki’s Master Saké Sommelier, Yuji Matsumoto.

    Matsumoto’s Saké Sangria is a long-time favorite at the restaurant. It started as a limited-time-only drink, but was such a hit that it became a mainstay on the menu.
     
    WHAT IS SAKÉ SANGRIA?

    Made with seasonal fruits, saké, shochu and lychee liqueur, the drink is light and refreshing—just right for summer.

    If you don’t want to buy sochu, use the vodka you have—especially a fruit-flavored or vanilla vodka.

    Kabuki Signature Saké Sangria (fresh fruits, sake, shochu, grapefruit & cranberry juice)

    RECIPE: KABUKI-STYLE SAKÉ SANGRIA

    This recipe is an approximation: We didn’t get the recipe from Kabuki.

    However, sangria recipes are very versatile: You can use different ingredients in different proportions.

    Want pineapple or cantaloupe? Toss it in!

    Want more juiciness? Add cranberry, grapefruit, pomegranate or whatever juice you favor.

    No lychee liqueur or elderflower liqueur like Saint-Germain (which tastes much more lychee-like than the SOHO Lychee Liqueur we tried)? Use Grand Marnier.

    Other additions/substitutions: plum wine, hibiscus syrup, starfruit, fresh lychees in season, and so on.

    Since it’s summer, we used summer fruits. In the fall and winter, we’ll switch to apples, pears and blood oranges.

    Prep time 5 minutes, infusion is 8 hours or longer. Kabuki infuses the fruits for 72 hours!

    Ingredients For 5 Cocktails

  • 1 plum, pitted and sliced
  • 1 nectarine, pitted and sliced
  • 1 pint strawberries
  • 1 bottle 750 milliliters Japanese saké
  • 1/4 cup sochu
  • 1/4 cup lychee liqueur
  • Optional: Ice cubes
  • Optional garnish: starfruit slice, orange slice, fresh blueberries, etc.
  •  
    Preparation

    1.ADD the fruit to a pitcher and top it with the liqueur, saké and shochu. Gently stir, cover and allow the fruit to marinate for 8 hours or longer. (At Kabuki the sangria is infused for 72 hours!)

    2. TASTE and adjust the sochu and liqueur as desired.

    3. GARNISH as desired and serve in a red wine glass.

    WHAT IS SOCHU?

    Sochu, also spelled shochu, is a neutral grain spirt like vodka. But at half the proof of vodka, it’s a great solution to keep a crowd sober, longer.

    Shochu has a 24% alcohol content (double the alcohol content to get the proof), compared to vodka at 40% and saké at 15%.

    If you use vodka often, we highly recommend trying it. Here’s more about sochu.

     
    WHAT IS KABUKI?

    Kabuki is a form of traditional Japanese theater that originated during the 17th century, during Japan’s the Edo Period.

    Theater troupes dressed in extravagant costumes and supernatural makeup, and acted stories of love, moral conflicts and historical events.
     
    _____________________
    *Thanks to Kabuki and Flavor & The Menu for the inspiration.

      

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