THE NIBBLE BLOG: Products, Recipes & Trends In Specialty Foods
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FOOD FUN: National Beer Holidays

Got Beer?

September 28th is Drink Beer Day (also called National Drink A Beer Day).

But beer lovers can plan an entire year of beer celebrations:

  • American Beer Day, October 27th
  • National Beer Day, April 7th
  • National Bock Beer Day, May 3rd
  • National Homebrew Day, the first Saturday in May
  • American Craft Beer Week, the third week in May
  • American Beer Month, July
  • National IPA Day, the first Thursday of August
  • International Beer Day, the first Friday of August
    There are also local beer events. Check your state!


    Hops Growing

    There would be no beer without hops, a species of flowering plant that is cultivated on trellised vines (photo courtesy The hop plant, Humulus lupulus, is a member of the Cannabaceae family, making it a botanical cousin of cannabis.




    TIP OF THE DAY: Fall Salad, Fall Cheese Course


    Pear & Endive Salad

    [1] Make a fall salad with brussels sprouts, squash, and seasonal garnishes (photo courtesy Sweetgreen). [2] Another popular fall combination: endive, pear and maple-candied walnuts (photo courtesy Barrel and Ashes).


    With each change season, change your perspective on food. Look for seasonal ingredients in everything from salad ingredients to beer styles.

    For inspiration, check the websites of salad cafes like Fresh & Co., Just Salad and Sweetgreen

    At Just Salad, the fall menu includes:

  • Autumn Caesar: romaine, grilled chicken, bartlett pears, shaved parmesan, dried cranberries and multigrain croutons.
  • Sweet Mama: baby spinach, apples, sharp cheddar, turkey bacon and honey maple walnuts.
  • Thanksgiving Salad: turkey, roasted green beans, baby spinach, roasted acorn squash, dried cranberries, almonds.
    At Sweetgreen, a fall highlight is:

  • Apples, Pears + Organic Cheddar Salad: mesclun, shredded kale, apples, pears, cheddar, pecans, basil and balsamic vinaigrette.
    Other favorite fall ingredients:

  • Beets, raw or roasted
  • Roasted sweet potato slices (slice, then roast)

    Here’s a another yummy idea from Sweetgreen: the Chicken + Brussels salad with roasted brussels sprouts, chopped romaine, mesclun, roasted chicken, sweet potatoes and cranberry vinaigrette.

    You can serve it with or without the protein, the former as a lunch salad, the latter a side salad with dinner.

    We didn’t have cranberry vinegar, so used pear balsamic vinegar—another fall touch (so is fig balsamic vinegar).

  • Your favorite greens
  • Grilled or roasted Brussels sprouts and acorn/butternut squash
  • Apple, diced (substitute grapes)
  • Grilled sliced chicken or other protein
  • Other ingredients: beets, mushrooms
  • Optional garnish(es): dried cranberries/cherries/raisins, nuts and/or seeds, shaved Parmesan, toasted nuts


    If you like balsamic vinegar, try flavored balsamics. They add sweetness without significant calories.

    Here’s a sampler of organic balsamic vinegars in fig, pear, pomegranate and raspberry; and another sampler of apple cinnamon, blood orange, mango and pomegranate balsamics (not organic).



    Turn your salad course into a cheese course with the addition of…cheese. In France, a salad with cheese is a popular follow-up to the main dish.

    This one, from the Oyster Club in Mystic, Connecticut, is perfect for fall, with a delicious balance of flavors. Bloomy-rinded cheeses can have a subtle mushroomy undertone: perfect for fall.

    Just roast the vegetables, toast the nuts, make the vinaigrette (olive oil and lime juice) and assemble the plate (see photo #3).

    Ingredients For 4 Servings

  • Bloomy rind cheese* (brie, camembert, triple-crème, some chevrès)
  • Diced roasted beets or squash
  • Artisan honey, drizzled over the beets/squash
  • Toasted hazelnuts, chopped
  • 2 cups mâche (lamb’s lettuce), mesclun or other interesting salad
  • 3 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
  • 1 tablespoon fresh-squeezed lime juice
  • Optional garnish: lime salt (purchased or made with recipe below)
    If you’re not a fan of bloomy rind cheeses, any hearty cheese is fall-appropriate: aged cheddar, blue cheeses, Comte, real Swiss cheeses, washed rind cheeses.

    Much as we love them, leave the fresh goat cheeses for spring.

    Check out the different types of cheeses in our Cheese Glossary.
    *Bloomy rind cheeses have soft, often fuzzy, edible rinds that are a result of the introduction of molds like Penicillium candidum. They are known for the white color and mushroomy flavor of the rind. The two best-known examples are Brie, Camembert and triple-crèmes. Bloomy rind cheeses are generally aged for two weeks, which produces a mild flavor and subtle aroma.

    With a triple crème, cream is added to the milk to create the richest, most buttery group of cheeses. Triple crèmes are a type of bloomy rind cheese and also are aged about two weeks. In order to qualify as a triple-créme, the cheeses must have more than 72% butterfat content, which provides the smooth texture. As with other cheeses that have short aging periods, the flavors are mild and the aromas are subtle. Examples include Brillat-Savarin, Explorateur and St. André. This group of cheeses pairs well with Champagne and other sparkling wines.

    It’s easy to make flavored sea salt at home. This recipe is from

    While you can buy lime sea salt, it lacks the fresh lime zest which adds a punch of flavor and color.

    If it seems like too much work for just a sprinkle: Lime sea salt is a terrific Margarita glass rimmer, a real step up!

  • 3 limes, zested and juiced
  • 1 cup coarse sea salt

    Fall Cheese Course


    Lime Sea Salt Recipe

    [3] A fall cheese plate (photo courtesy Oyster Club). [4] Bloomy-rind cheeses (photo courtesy Murray’s Cheese). [5] Lime sea salt (photo courtesy


    1. PREHEAT the oven to 200°F. Combine the sea salt, lime juice and zest in a small bowl Spread out on a parchment-lined baking sheet.

    2. BAKE for 15-20 minutes, until the salt looks dry but not brown. Remove from the oven and let cool.

    3. BREAK up any clumps that may have formed. Store in an airtight container.

    4. SPRINKLE a bit on the plate as a colorful element.



    TIP OF THE DAY: Savory Cooking With Grapes

    Roast Chicken With Grapes

    Asian Chicken Salad

    Red Flame Grapes

    [1] Roast chicken with grapes, recipe below (photos #1 and #3 courtesy Good Eggs). [2] Asian chicken salad with grapes, showing how a pop of color from red or purple grapes would have given the dish more eye appeal (photo courtesy California Table Grape Commission). [3]Use red grapes to add color, green grapes to pop in darker dishes, or a mix.


    Grape season is here! An easy and nutritious snack, grapes are also popular in fruit and salads.

    But how about savory dishes? Versatile grapes fit easily into everything from roast duck to risotto.

    In addition to snacking, cheese, and fruit kabobs, consider:

  • Adding to chicken (we love grapes and duck), pork, seafood (great with scallops!)
  • Crostini (try goat cheese, ricotta or a blue cheese spread* topped with grapes
  • Garnish, with just about anything
  • Grain salad, wild rice, risotto
  • Grape salsa
  • Green salad (a classic is endive, toasted walnuts and grapes in a sherry vinaigrette)
  • Omelets, especially cheese omelets
  • Sandwiches, sliced onto everything from grilled cheese to chicken salad to bagels and cream cheese

  • Pickled as a garnish, side or snack (here’s how to pickle)
  • Sides (see recipe below)
  • More ways to use grapes
    For Dessert

  • Grape sorbet or granita (add fresh basil, mint or rosemary)(recipe)
  • Grape tartlets (so easy!)
    For Cocktails

  • Frozen Grape Margarita (recipe)

    This recipe is courtesy of Good Eggs, a premium grocer in San Francisco, which says:

    This is probably the easiest centerpiece-worthy dish you’ll ever make. Without any effort on your part, you’ll fry potatoes, make a sauce, and cook chicken—all in the same pan.
    Ingredients For 2 Servings

  • 4 chicken drumsticks (substitute thighs or other parts)
  • Olive oil
  • 2 cups kalamata olives
  • 2 cups loose red grapes
  • 4 shallots, peeled and cut into quarters
  • 1 pound potatoes, peeled and sliced into ¼” thick medallions
  • 1 tablespoon fresh rosemary leaves

    1. PREHEAT the oven to 400°F. Salt and pepper each side of the chicken and set aside.

    2. ADD 2-3 tablespoons of olive oil to the bottom of a deep rectangular roasting dish; swirl it to lightly coat the bottom of the dish. Arrange the potatoes in a layer, slightly overlapping just the edges. Sprinkle the potatoes with salt.

    3. TOSS the grapes, olives, shallots and rosemary in a bowl with a few pinches of salt. Pour over the potatoes and spread the grapes into a single layer.

    4. PLACE the chicken on top of the grapes, leaving a few inches of space between each piece of chicken.

    5. BAKE for 35 to 40 minutes, stirring the grape mixture occasionally. If anything starts to brown too much, cover the dish with foil. The chicken is done when you insert a knife and the juices run clear. Eat immediately—although this one is great the next day for lunch too …
    *We use a terrific, super-thick and chunky blue cheese dressing from Kathryn’s Cottage. You can use another blue cheese dressing and mix it with regular or whipped cream cheese for the desired consistency, or make your own from scratch.



    Use this sauce with braised, pan-fried or roasted chicken, duck, fish, pork or scallops. Just deglaze the pan and add the grapes.

  • 2 tablespoons unsalted butter
  • 1 cup seedless red grapes, halved
  • 1/2 cup dry red wine
  • 1 teaspoon chopped fresh rosemary (substitute basil, oregano, tarragon, thyme, sage, savory)
  • 1/2 cup chicken broth

    1. REMOVE the cooked protein and add the grapes, wine and rosemary to the pan. Bring the mixture to a boil, scraping the skillet to incorporate the fond (the browned bits that stick to the pan). Boil until syrupy, 3 to 4 minutes.

    2. ADD the chicken broth and any juices that have drained from the meat. Boil, stirring occasionally, until reduced by about half, another 3 to 4 minutes.

    3. REDUCE the heat to low and add the butter; swirl it in the pan until melted. It’s ready to serve, over or under the meat.

    This tasty dish can be a side or topping with roasted or grilled fish, meat and poultry. Also use roasted grapes in fruit salad, as a dessert topping, or as the dessert itself, topped with a dab of mascarpone.

    You can also make an easy grape tart or tartlets.

  • 1 pound seedless red grapes, de-stemmed
  • 2 teaspoons honey
  • 1 teaspoon extra-virgin olive oil
  • 1/2 teaspoon flaky sea salt
  • 1-1/2 tablespoons rum†, regular or dark spiced
  • 1 teaspoon grated orange zest
  • Optional: mascarpone

    Grilled With With Grapes

    Grapes & Thyme

    [4] Use roasted or pickled grapes as a garnish for fish (photo courtesy California Table Grape Commission). [5] It’s easy to roast grapes. Just try not to eat them all before serving time! Photo courtesy Alexandra Cooks; here’s how she uses them on crostini).


    1. PREHEAT the oven to 475°F a rack in the center of the oven and heat.

    2. TOSS the grape clusters with the honey, the olive oil, zest and salt. Spread on a large rimmed baking sheet in a single layer and roast, turning halfway through, until they collapse and are somewhat caramelized, about 15 minutes.

    4. SERVE the roasted grapes warm for mains, warm or room temperature for desserts. , with a dollop of the sweetened mascarpone.
    †You can use another spirit that complements the protein. For dessert, consider a complementary liqueur (orange, raspberry, etc.).



    TIP OF THE DAY: Savory Pancakes

    Bacon Corn Griddle Cakes

    Carrot Pancakes

    Flavor Flours Book

    [1] Bacon and corn griddle cakes from Recipe Girl—and here’s her recipe. [2] Carrot pancakes with salted yogurt, gluten free. Here’s the recipe from Jessica Koslow at Bon Appetite (photo Michael Graydon + Nikole Herriott). [3] You don’t need to use wheat. Check out these flours (photo courtesy ).


    September 26th is National Pancake Day. Normally, we’d make our favorite: buttermilk pancakes topped with smoked salmon, crème fraîche and chopped dill.

    We’d love them with a topping caviar: We’ll have that daily when our ship comes in.

    But until then, we’re not highbrow: Another favorite is chocolate pancakes with chocolate chips, topped with bananas and sour cream.)

    Today’s tip is: Take a fresh look at pancakes.

    Cultures around the world eat pancakes, both sweet and savory. Some have them as a main dish, some enjoy them as street food.

    There are so many choices:
    From Danish aebleskiver to Russian blini and latkes in Europe, to Chinese scallion pancakes and Japanese okonomiya, filled with shredded cabbage and other choices from shrimp to vegetables.

    In Malaysia, apam balik—folded pancakes—are made with rice flour and stuffed with a sweet peanut filling.

    In Somalia, anjero is a fermented, crepe-like pan bread made from sorghum and corn flowers. It looks like a thin pancake and is topped with sugar or beef. In South Africa, pannekoeke look like tacos, folded over with a popular filling of cinnamon custard and streusel.

    The fold-over technique is also used in the cachapas of Colombia and Venezuela: corn pancakes folded over grated queso mano or mozarella, and grilled until melted.

    Click the links above for the recipes.

    Take a look at the different types of pancakes in our Pancake Glossary.


    1. SELECT a flour: buckwheat, chickpea, chestnut, coconut, corn, nut, oat, rice, sorghum, spelt, teff, wheat, whole grain, etc.

  • Explore: Here’s a terrific book on cooking and baking without wheat flour.
  • Mix the batter. Check online recipes to see if you need to alter proportions.
    2. ADD your favorite ingredients:

  • Proteins: bacon, cheese, ham, sausage (chicken, pork), roe, seafood
  • Herbs: basil, cilantro, dill, parsley, sage, thyme, etc.
  • Spices: cardamom, Chinese five spice, cinnamon/pumpkin pie spices, cumin, curry powder, garlic, ginger, pepper, etc.
  • Fruits: apples, bananas, berries, dried fruits, stone fruits, tropical fruits, etc.
  • Vegetables: cabbage, carrot, corn, onion/green onion, pumpkin, zucchini, etc.
    3. PICK your toppings:

  • Dairy: butter or compound [flavored] butter, from jalapeño to strawberry; crème fraîche, mascarpone, sour cream, yogurt
  • Sweet: honey, syrup
  • Garnish of choice: Bacon, crumbled or grated cheese, toasted nuts
    4. FRY and serve.


    We love this article from National Geographic, and recommend it as a short read on the history of pancakes.

    Archaeologists have discovered grains on 30,000-year-old grinding tools, suggesting that Stone Age man might have been eating grains mixed with water and cooked on a hot rock.

    While the result not have looked like the modern crepe, hotcake, or flapjack, the idea was the same: a flat cake, made from batter and fried.

    Ancient Greeks and Romans ate pancakes topped with honey, and a Greek reference mentions toppings of cheese and sesame as well.

    These foods were not called pancakes, but the first mention of “pancake” in an English dictionary dates to the 16th century: a cake made in a pan.

    According to the Oxford English Dictionary, “Flat as a pancake” has been a catchphrase since at least 1611.

    For the rest of the pancake’s journey to modern times, head to National Geographic.



    TIP OF THE DAY: Bake Biscuits On Sunday Mornings

    ✔ Biscuits with fresh dill: check.

    ✔ Smoked salmon with dilled cream cheese: check.

    ✔ Great brunch food: check.

    ? Homemade biscuits, warm from the oven: check?

    With all the good bread options available at retail, including refrigerated rolls biscuits, the art of the homemade-from-scratch biscuit is practiced less and less often.

    Why not make one Sunday a month Biscuit Sunday, rotating among favorites: baking powder biscuits, buttermilk biscuits, cheddar-chipotle biscuits, cream biscuits, ham biscuits, maple-bacon biscuits, rye biscuits, sausage rolls, sourdough-onion-sundried tomato biscuits, and so forth?

    You can find recipes for all of these at

    It comes to us from Vital Choice, where it was provided by Kevin Lynch of Closet Cooking. Kevin says:

    “The dilled buttermilk biscuits came together quickly and filled my place with an amazing dilly aroma while baking. The biscuits are nice and light and go perfectly with the smoked salmon, cream cheese, dill and watercress filling.”


    This recipe comes to us from Vital Choice, developed by Kevin Lynch of

    With their red-and-green accents, they also make a nice holiday biscuit.

    You can also make bite-size versions to serve with red, white or sparkling wine.

    Ingredients For 8 Biscuit Sandwiches

    For The Biscuits

  • 2 cups all-purpose flour
  • 1-1/2 teaspoons baking powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1-1/2 teaspoons sea salt
  • 1/2 cup butter, frozen and grated
  • 3 tablespoons dill (chopped)
  • 1 cup buttermilk (see substitutes below)
  • 2 tablespoons butter, melted
    For The Filling

  • 1/4 cup cream cheese, room temperature
  • 1/4 cup sour cream
  • 1 tablespoon dill, chopped
  • 1/2 teaspoon lemon zest
  • 8 dill buttermilk biscuits (cut in half, see recipe below)
  • Optional: 8 tomato slices

    Smoked Salmon Biscuits

    Fresh Dill

    Smoked Nova Scotia Salmon

    1. Forget the bagel and smoked salmon: Bake biscuits instead (photo courtesy Kevin Lynch | Vital Choice). [2] Use fresh dill (photo courtesy Paper Chef). [3] Smoked Nova Scotia salmon from Zabar’s. Here’s the difference between smoked salmon and lox.

  • 1/2 pound smoked salmon (two 4-ounce packages or one-third of a 26-ounce side)
  • 8 sprigs watercress (substitute baby arugula or baby spinach)

    Cream Biscuits

    Ham & Smoked Gouda Biscuits

    Biscuits & Marmalade

    [1] Cream biscuits (here’s the recipe from King Arthur Flour). [2] Ham & Smoked Gouda Biscuits served with maple butter (here’s the recipe from the National Pork Board). [3] Baking powder biscuits and marmalade (photo courtesy



    1. MAKE the biscuits. Preheat the oven to 425°F.

    2. MIX the flour, baking powder, baking soda and salt in a bowl. Mix in the butter and toss until coated in flour. Add the dill and just enough buttermilk to form a sticky dough.

    3. PLACE the dough on a lightly floured surface and form a disc about 1 inch thick. Cut the biscuits from the dough and place on a baking sheet. Brush the melted butter on top of the biscuits.

    4. BAKE until golden brown, about 18-20 minutes. While the biscuits bake…

    5. MAKE the filling. Mix the cream cheese, sour cream, dill and lemon zest in a bowl. When the biscuits are still warm but cool enough to work with…

    6. SPREAD the dill on both cut sides of the each biscuit. Assemble with smoked salmon, watercress and optional tomato slice in the the center.

    If you won’t use more than the cup required in this recipe, it may make sense to make your own.

    For 1 cup of buttermilk, substitute 2 tablespoons of lemon juice or vinegar plus enough milk to make 1 cup.

    But first, here’s what else you can do with leftover buttermilk:

  • Drink it; it’s like liquid plain yogurt. Or add puréed frozen fruit; or make a smoothie.
  • Tenderize meat: Add it to the marinade.
  • Make buttermilk ice cream. Yum!
  • Try it on cereal. We often put yogurt on dry cereal instead of milk. This is the same idea.
  • Use in salad dressings and sauces.
  • Cook with it: Buttermilk can be substituted for whole milk or skim milk in many recipes, from baked goods and puddings to sauces, soups and breading.

    And while you’re at it…




    Biscuits and rolls are both made from flour, fat (butter, shortening, olive oil), liquid (buttermilk, cream, milk, water) and salt (some rolls do not contain fat).

    What’s the difference?

    Biscuits are risen with chemical leavening (baking powder); rolls are risen with yeast bread.



    TOP PICK OF THE WEEK: Babeth’s Feast Frozen Gourmet Food

    If you can’t cook or want to entertain but can’t be both cook and hostess, you can still serve a feast in your own home—no assistance necessary.

    As long as you can turn on the oven, you can serve a splendid repast any meal of the day, thanks to Babeth’s Feast gourmet frozen foods.

    You can serve them the day they arrive, or put them in the freezer for future feasting


    Elisbeth, founder of Babeth’s Feast, discovered premium frozen food while living in Paris. French people shop daily for fresh ingredients to cook.

    But they also frequent frozen food specialty stores. Elegantly prepared frozen foods enable them to serve more elaborate meals, just by turning on the oven.

    To eat at home and entertain friends in style, she began to purchase frozen hors d’oeuvres by the dozen to host effortless cocktail parties. On weekends, she created elaborate brunch buffets from frozen breakfast pastries, meats, soups, quiches and desserts.

    She became a champion of the power of flash-frozen foods to provide the flavor, quality, connection and convenience that busy people need.

    To these prepared foods she added her own salad and wine, and friends never suspected the food was ready-made. These Sunday gatherings became known as “Babeth’s Feast.”

    Upon moving to New York, Elisabeth was chagrined that no elegant frozen-food store could be found. She—and the entire European expat community—really missed that easy option.

    Ordering in just couldn’t compare, and calling a caterer was cost-prohibitive.

    Wanting the ease, the spontaneity and the quality selection, Elisabeth/Babeth decided to bring a premium frozen food store to her new hometown. After careful sourcing and extensive recipe development, she opened Babeth’s Feast, a shop on the Upper East Side.

    And on the Internet.

    Whether for fancy entertaining or simpler dinners for every day, you can dine as if you had a cook. (You do: Babeth and her team.)

    A selection of 300 dishes span breakfast, brunch, lunch, cocktails and dinners.


    Babeth's Feast Brunch

    Babeth's Feast Appetizers

    Brunch with your favorite dishes, and no effort except heating. [2] Fine hors d’oeuvres with cocktails couldn’t be easier (photos courtesy Babeth’s Feast).

    The recipes range from popular crowd pleasers and kid pleasers to more sophisticated foodie fare.

    And it’s proof that you can’t tell the difference between flash-frozen foods and made-from-scratch (we challenge you, Gordon Ramsay!). They deliver flavor, quality and convenience to fine dining* at home.

    So claim full credit for yourself, or let guests in on your secret. Babeth endorses both options.
    *It doesn’t have to be “fine.” There are plenty of choices for people who prefer mac and cheese, burgers and fries.


    Babeth's Feast Dinner

    Salmon Dinner

    Did you make this rack of lamb dinner? Or this family-friendly salmon? Sure you did: You turned on the oven, didn’t you? (Photos courtesy Babeth’s Feast).



    We received the gift of an entire feast for THE NIBBLE team:

  • Hors d’oeuvre, four types warm from the oven
  • Carrot and coconut soup (so popular, it’s currently sold out)
  • Sea bass with miso sauce
  • Rack of lamb with red wine sauce
  • Desserts: chocolate soufflé and lemon tart
    For dinner alone, there are 15 meat and poultry choices, 10 fish and seafood choices, numerous sides from prepared vegetable dishes (Butternut Squash Crumble, Cauliflower Gratin), 10 different types of potatoes, 13 plain vegetables and 11 grains.

    Desserts are individual portions, from American favorites like lava cake, chocolate soufflé and lemon meringue tartlets, to French pastries like Opéra Gâteau.

    There are dairy-free, gluten-free and vegetarian options.
    Can’t decide?

    There are samplers in every category with the three best-sellers.

    You can get servings for one, for a group, and kids portions.

    NYC store: 1422 3rd Avenue between 80th and 81st Streets, Manhattan


    Phone: 1.877.968.3327

    See more food photos at


    It’a a terrific gift for birthdays, anniversaries, new baby parents, new movers, and anyone who’d enjoy fine dining at home.

    Mother’s Day, Father’s Day, Valentin’s Day, and other times when you want to spend time with people instead of the stove.

    And as a holiday gift?

    Just yesterday, as we were describing Babeth’s Feast to a friend, she said: “Give me the URL. [The adult kids] send us Omaha Steaks every year for Christmas and we’d like something else.”

    And yes, we’d like MORE!



    RECIPE: Sparkling Pear Cocktail

    La Poire Sparkling Cocktail

    America's Favorite Pear

    [1] La Poire sparkling cocktail (photo courtesy Grey Goose). [2] America’s favorite pear, the Bartlett (photo courtesy CookThink). There are also red Bartlett and d’Anjou are available in green and red varieties.


    This week we had a bottle of Angry Orchard’s Knotty Pear Cider at lunch, and it reminded us that fall is also a time for all things pear.

    For a celebration, toast or other special occasion—or weekend chillaxing—this cocktail from Grey Goose is a star. Easy to make, it combines pear and citrus with sweet Moscato. You can use other slightly sweet sparkling wine such as Asti Spumante.

    If it isn’t a special occasion, don’t go out of your way to find the perfect garnish. Or a Champagne flute.


    Ingredients For 6 Drinks

  • 6 parts Grey Goose La Poire
  • 1 part lemon juice
  • 2 teaspoons sugar
  • 1 small pear, ideally Anjou or Bartlett*, red or green
  • 1 bottle sparkling Moscato or other sparkling wine, chilled
  • Garnish options: baby orchid, crystallized ginger, sliced star fruit

    1. PEEL and core the pear and cut into 1/4-inch dice.

    2. PLACE the lemon juice, sugar, pear and Grey Goose La Poire in a bowl. Stir well to combine until the sugar is fully dissolved.

    2. DIVIDE the pear mixture into six Champagne flutes or wine glasses. Fill each chilled glass with Moscato.

    3. GARNISH and serve.
    *A juicier pear variety will accentuate the pear flavors. Here are the different types of pears.




    TIP OF THE DAY: Get Seasonal With Pumpkin-Accented Everyday Foods

    In our childhood, fall meant a choice of pumpkin pie or pumpkin pie. Today, there’s pumpkin everything.

    Walk into your favorite food store: You’ll find pumpkin-themed products in every aisle.

    Start the day with pumpkin yogurt or a bowl of pumpkin granola, toasted Thomas’ Pumpkin Spice English Muffins and bagels. Wash them down with pumpkin coffee or tea. End the day with pumpkin ice cream. And pumpkin-up everything in-between.

    And we haven’t even gotten to the baked goods, from bagels and scones to pumpkin cheesecake.

    Some contain actual pumpkin or closely-related squash; others are simply accented with pumpkin pie spices.

    Yesterday at Whole Foods, we picked up:

  • 365 Everyday Value brand Pumpkin Spice Granola with Cranberries & Apples
  • Talenti’s Pumpkin Pie Gelato (with real pieces of pie crust!)
  • Terra’s Beauregard Sweets & Fairytale Pumpkin Chips
    Yesterday we covered pumpkin beer. Here are some of our favorite products of the season. Many are limited editions, so don’t dally!


    David’s Tea Pumpkin Chai, a black spiced tea, is a customer favorite. It’s fragrant and flavorful, with notes of cardamon, cinnamon, cloves and squash pieces, and a hint of caramel.

    David’s recommends stirring in a spoonful of brown sugar and topping it with steamed milk. We drank ours straight.

    It’s also available packed in a tin for gift-giving; and herbal Spiced Pumpkin Tea. Take a sip at

    You can find Celestial Seasoning’s Sweet Harvest Pumpkin Black Tea at many supermarkets.

    You’ll find everything from caramel, maple and nutty flavors like almond and hazelnut, along with the fall spice flavors: cinnamon, gingerbread, pumpkin spice, snickerdoodle, etc.

    Looking for K-Cups? You’ll find plenty of them. We’ve been working our way through Dunkin Donuts Pumpkin Spice at a brisk pace. If you can’t find them locally, head to
    Pumpkin Juice

    Natalie’s, our favorite line of all-natural, fresh-squeezed juices, squeezes apples, pears and real pumpkin, blended with cinnamon, ginger and clove. It’s very special.

    If you can’t find it locally, contact

    Pumpkin Yogurt

    Pumpkin yogurt abounds, with a shout-out to Noosa Pumpkin Yoghurt, one of our favorites. Stonyfield Organic has Pumpkin Oh My Yog, a tri-layer whole milk yogurt: cream top, honey-infused whole milk yogurt middle, and pumpkin bottom.
    Salsa & Chips

    Mrs. Renfro’s Pumpkin Salsa is a smooth (as opposed to chunky) salsa that is delicious on anything, starting with a sauce for chicken, fish, tofu, grains, potatoes and other vegetables.

    For the classic American use—with chips—there are seasonal offerings such Food Should Taste Good’s Fall Harvest Chips, Way Better Snacks Punkin’ Cranberry (yes, that’s how they spell it) and other brands.

    We even added it to vodka for an instant Pumpkin Martini.


    Pumpkin Spice K Cups

    Mrs. Renfro's Pumpkin Salsa

    Natalie's Pumpkin Apple Juice

    Noosa Pumpkin Yogurt

    English Muffins

    [1] Pumpkin Spice coffee from Dunkin Donuts Home. [2] Mrs. Renfro’s Pumpkin Salsa. [3] Pumpkin Apple Spice Juice from Natalie’s. [4] Noosa Pumpkin Yogurt. [5] Thomas Pumpkin English Muffins.



    TIP OF THE DAY: Oktoberfest Party Beer Tasting

    Dogfish Head Punkin Ale

    Soft Pretzels Recipe

    [1] Pumpkin ales and beers can be found from late September through year-end, “while supplies last” (photo courtesy Dogfish Head Brewery. [2] Bake a batch of soft pretzels to go with the beer (photo courtesy Taste Of Home).


    We received this beer menu from Empire City Casino, in the suburbs of New York City, part of their Oktoberfest celebration:

    1. Spaten Lager
    2. Spaten Oktoberfest
    3. Goose Island Oktoberfest
    4. Franziskaner Hefe-weisse
    5. Coney Island Freaktobefest
    6. New Belgian Cranberry Pumpkin
    7. Two Roads No Limits Hefeweizen
    8. Captain Lawrence Pumpkin
    9. Victory Fest Beer
    10. BitBurger Pilsner
    11. Bells Best Brown
    12. Southern Tier PUMPKING
    13. Warsteiner Oktoberfest
    14. Badass Apple Cider
    15. Atwater Blueberry Cobbler
    16. Dogfish Head Pumpkin Patch
    They’ll be served with German-inspired foods, from brats and soft pretzels to schnitzel hoagies.

    While we don’t gamble, we do drink craft beer; and we’ve had only one beer on the list. The solution was simple:

  • Craft brews with fall themes offer many choices.
  • For cider devotees, have an “Oktoberfest” cider tasting with fall-themed ciders: Angry Orchard Crisp Apple, Hop‘n Mad Apple Ginger, Cinnful Apple; Woodchuck’s Just Like Apple Pie, and others.
  • For Halloween, focus on Halloween beers and ciders.
    While the original Oktoberfest in Munich runs for two weeks, through mid-October, you can hold a party anytime in October.

    Unlike the beers at the Munich Oktoberfest, which represent just six breweries, you can try all the craft beer you can find, along the themes of:

  • Fall beer styles: brown ale, Dunkelweizen, English pale ale, harvest ale*, Märzen/Oktoberfest beer
  • Fall flavors: cranberry ale and kriek, nutty brews, pumpkin beer and ale
  • Halloween beer: It’s all in the name and the label design: Black Death, Ichabod, The Fear, Ghost Stories, Howling Wolf, Krieky Bones, Wytchmaker, Zombie Dust, etc.
    *Harvest ale is not a defined style of beer, but a common name for different beers brewed for fall harvest celebrations and general consumption.



    1. DETERMINE THE ATTENDEES. Then determine how much beer you need. If you’re not buying all the beer yourself assign a brand to each person. The easiest way to do this is to have attendees scout out options and let you know what they’d like to contribute.

    Provide juice glasses or 4-ounce disposable cups. The idea is to taste smaller amounts of 10 beers, not to drink 10 bottles of beer.

    2. DECIDE ON THE FOOD. Brats, sauerkraut, soft pretzels (recipe) and mustard will do the trick. If anyone asks if they can bring food, German potato salad, Blaukraut (red cabbage sauerkraut) or a dessert (see #4 below). Or, they can bake soft pretzels. Here’s more about Oktoberfest food.

    3. BUFFET OR SIT-DOWN? The choice is yours. Be sure to have soft drinks, a non-alcoholic cider or punch, or other alternative to keep blood alcohol levels down.

    4. DECIDE ON DESSERT. Easy-to-make or -find desserts include the Berliner (a jelly donut sprinkled with powdered sugar), Black Forest cake, carrot cake, cheesecake here’s a no-bake pumpkin cheesecake), Gugelhupf (Bundt cake—here’s an apple streusel Bundt cake recipe), Lebkuchen (spice cookies—gingerbread is fine, along with a gingerbread dip), Linzer cookies or torte, pfeffernüsse (spice cookies with black pepper), strudel, stollen (fruitcake) and our favorite German treat, chocolate-covered marzipan.

    5. PLAY GERMAN MUSIC. See if anyone already has Oktoberfest music (there’s plenty of it on Amazon). Polka music, which originated in Bohemia (the modern Czech Republic), will also work. If you’d prefer German rock, here are the Top 10 German rock bands.

    6. BONUS: Consider a small prize for the best German folk clothing: Lederhosen or a dirndl skirt and apron.

    Some German mustard or Weisswurst†, perhaps?
    †Weisswurst is the famous Bavarian white sausage made from ground veal and pork.


    Freaktoberfest Pumpkin Ale

    Samuel Adams Cranberry Lambic

    [3] Freaktoberfest Pumpkin Ale adds a layer of flavor with espresso beans (photo courtesy Coney Island Brewing Company). [4] You can even find cranberry beer, like this lambic from Samuel Adams (photo courtesy Boston Brewing Company).




    BOOK: The Gefilte Manifesto, New Cooking For The New Year

    The Gefilte Manifesto

    Gefilte Fish Terrine

    [1] Modernize Jewish cooking with The Gefilte Manifesto. Cover photo: parchment-wrapped trout roasted with sliced onions. [2] The new gefilte fish: a two-fish terrine (photos courtesy Flatiron Books).


    Those who don’t celebrate Rosh Hashanah, the Jewish new year, can still participate in one of the sweetest treats: sliced apples with honey for dipping. It symbolizes a sweet start to the new wear.

    This year, Rosh Hashanah spans Sunday, October 2 through Tuesday, October 4*.

    If you’re guesting for Rosh Hashanah and need a host/hostess gift, we like the new cookbook from Liz Alpern and Jeffrey Yoskowitz, owners of The Gefilteria, a culinary venture that reimagines Ashkenazi Jewish cuisine.


    THE GEFILTE MANIFESTO: New Recipes for Old World Jewish Foods, combines respect for culinary tradition with modern culinary preferences.

    The authors—Brooklynites Liz Alpern and Jeffrey Yoskowitz—took more than 100 recipes “pulled deep from the kitchens of Eastern Europe and the diaspora of North America.”

    They re-thought the recipes, taking into consideration modern palates, seasonality and consumers’ desire for easy-to-follow recipes.

    The authors’ variations on time-honored favorites add modern spins to both everyday and holiday dishes. Consider:

  • Fried Sour Pickles With Garlic Aïoli
  • Kasha Varnishkes With Brussels Sprouts
  • Kimchi Stuffed Cabbage
  • Savory Blintzes
  • Smoked Whitefish Gefilte Terrine
  • Sour Dill Martinis
  • Spinach & Leek Kreplach
    You’ll see how easy it is to make home-cured corned beef and pastrami, farmer cheese and honey-sesame chews—just like Great-Great-Great Grandmother did, but with modern conveniences like electricity, food processors and refrigerators.

    Get your copy here.

    Plan B: Bring a really fine honey like Savannah Bee, and a bowl of apples.
    *In the U.S., Europe and elsewhere, the dates of Jewish holidays vary yearly. They are based on the Hebrew calendar, which is not in sync with the Gregorian-Wester-Christian calendar.



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