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A Box Of Artisan Chocolate With Your Custom Video

Espressio Chocolate Box With Personalized Video
[1] Espressio: a box of chocolates with your personalized video. Here, the Chef’s Collection (both photos © M Cacao).

Box Of Espressio Chocolate With Custom Video
[2] A box of caramels.

 

We haven’t tasted the chocolate, but we love this idea from M Cacao: the Espressio(sm) chocolate video box.

The Expressio is a custom chocolate video box. It’s the first-ever box of chocolate with your own personalized video embedded in the lid.

Just upload a personal video or images for a slideshow, and you’ve created an unforgettable (and delicious) gift! The box with your video is a keeper when the chocolate is gone.

Espressio is available in fouur chocolate assortments:

  • Chef’s Collection, a classic set of culinary treasures, from bourbon pecan praline to orange marzipan.
  • Seriously Truffles, beautiful, handcrafted truffles, including unicorn (black raspberry), royale (cassis mint), and others (your choice of 8 or 16 pieces). All are gluten-free, dairy-free, and nut free.
  • Garden Caramels, bright, robust, flavored caramels dipped in chocolate.
  • Chile Caramels, hot and spicy chocolate-covered caramels with eight different flavors of real chile.
  •  
    At this year’s official backstage GRAMMY® Gift Lounge on February 5th, presenters and performers get a chance to record their own personalized message—in a box of chocolates—just in time for Valentine’s Day.

    Head here to get your own box(es) of Expressio.
     
     
    ABOUT M CACAO CHOCOLATE 

    Developed by forward-thinking chocolatiers, M Cacao creates handcrafted chocolates and unique gifts for the culinarily curious.

    Combining classic French pastry techniques with the modern artistic approach of a robotics engineer, M Cacao celebrates the world with expertly crafted flavors and textures, turning high-quality chocolate into an experience.
     
     
    > The history of chocolate.

    > The different types of chocolate: a glossary.

     

     
     

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    Balsamic Bloody Mary & More Bloody Mary Recipes

    Counting down to Valentine’s Day, we have a series of red and pink recipes, all of which can be served year-round. We’re starting out the series with a Balsamic Bloody Mary, using Italy’s Italy’s famed “black gold”—and 16+ more Bloody Mary recipes.

    How about a Bloody Mary party for Valentine’s Day? Check out the articles and recipes below

    The Balsamic Bloody Mary is a new take on flavoring the popular drink, which is one of the Top 10 cocktails nationwide.

    The recipe is from Carandini, one of the oldest noble families in Modena. They’ve been making vinegar since 1641, and the recipe that uses its finest vinegar, Emilio Balsamic Vinegar of Modena PGI*, a premium, high-density vinegar that spikes boozy creations with bracing acidity.

    The balsamic adds a rich depth of flavor to the Bloody Mary.

    National Bloody Mary Day is January 1st.

    > Bloody Mary history.

    > There are 16+ more Bloody Mary recipes below.

    > The history and different types of balsamic vinegar.
     
     
    CARANDINI’S BALSAMIC BLOODY MARY 
     
    Ingredients Per Drink

  • ½ cup vodka
  • 1 cup tomato juice
  • 1½ tablespoon Carandini Emilio Balsamic Vinegar of Modena
  • 1 tablespoon prepared jarred horseradish
  • 1 teaspoon Tabasco
  • 1 teaspoon Worcestershire sauce
  • Juice from ½ freshly squeezed lemon
  • Dash of celery bitters
  • Dash of freshly ground black pepper
  • Optional garnish†
  •  
    Preparation

    Combine all ingredients. Stir to blend thoroughly and serve over ice.
     
     
    16+ MORE BLOODY MARY RECIPES

  • Bloody Beertail
  • Bloody Mary Bar
  • Bloody Mary Drink Bar Or Cart
  • Bloody Mary Garnishes #1
  • Bloody Mary Garnishes #2
  • Bloody Mary Ice Pops
  • Bloody Mary Oyster Shooters
  • Bloody Mary Variations: Bloody Bull, Bloody Maria, Danish Mary, Highland Mary, Russian Mary, and numerous others
  • BLT Bloody Mary
  • Deconstructed Bloody Mary
  • 2 Green Bloody Marys With Tomatillos
  • Michelada
  • Ramos House Bloody Mary
  • Red Snapper
  • Surf & Turf Bloody Mary
  • Watermelon Bloody Mary
  •  
     
    ________________
     
    *PGI stands for Protected Geographical Indication, a designation for products that are closely linked to a certain geographical area. With a PGI designation, at least one of the stages of production, processing, or preparation must take place in the specific area before the mark can be used on a product. In the case of balsamic vinegar, production must take place in or around Modena, Italy.

    †In photo #1, the Balsamic Bloody Mary uses a garnish of cherry tomatoes and sundried tomatoes. But there are so many garnish options. Check out these and these.

     

    Balsamic Bloody Mary Recipe
    [1] Balsamic Bloody Mary (photos #1 and #2 © Carandini).

    Cardini Emilio Balsamic Vinegar For Balsamic Bloody Mary
    [2] Cardandini Emilio balsamic vinegar is available nationwide and on Amazon.

    Bloody Mary Oyster Shooters
    [3] Bloody Mary oyster shooters. Here’s the recipe (photo attributed to Chowhound).

    Bacon Bloody Mary
    [4] Bacon Bloody Mary, with bacon-infused vodka, garnished with a black pepper rim, a caperberry, and a slice of bacon (photo © Bacon Bourbon USA).

     

     
     

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    Baked Taquitos & More Recipes For Meatless Monday

    Baked Vegetarian Taquitos Recipe For Meatless Monday
    [1] Vegetarian taquitos filled with black beans, brown rice, collards, corn, and pumpkin purée (photos #1 and #2 © Success Rice | Family Features).

    Success Brown Rice For Meatless Mondays
    [2] Rice is ready in just 10 minutes.

    Bush's Black Beans Canned
    [3] Black beans add protein to this vegetarian recipe (photo © Bush’s Beans).

    Libby Canned Pumpkin Puree
    [4] Pumpkin purée creates a nutritious sauce for the following (photo © Libby’s | Nestlé).

     

    Long before Taco Tuesday, there was Meatless Monday. While the latter may seem to be a 21st-century idea, it actually first appeared during World War I (when it was called Meatless Tuesday). Here’s the history of Meatless Monday.

    Almost every health, nutrition, and sustainability expert advises: Eat a primarily plant-based diet. It’s better for you and the planet.

    We at THE NIBBLE would like to observe that it’s not just about meat. Cheese and other dairy products, including animal milk and milk-based products, like yogurt, cheese, cottage cheese, and ice cream, contribute the same greenhouse gases that meat does.

    Yes, you could eat fish; in fact, substituting more seafood for meat is another important resolution.

    But if you really want to help Planet Earth, we propose changing Meatless Monday to Vegan Monday.

    Regardless of your motivation, opting for meatless or vegan meals regularly provides plenty of benefits that extend from the health of you and your loved ones to your wallet and the environment.

    Whether you’re a vegetarian, vegan, considering making some lifestyle changes or just want to give an on-trend meal prep strategy a try, going meatless can help reduce your intake of red and processed meats, decrease greenhouse gas emissions that cause climate change and save money on substitute ingredients like grains, vegetables, fruits and legumes that are often cheaper than meat.
     
     
    RECIPE: BAKED VEGETARIAN TAQUITOS 

    This recipe saves time with Success Boil-In-Bag Brown Rice (which is whole grain). Ready in just 10 minutes without measuring or the mess, boil-in-bag grains make mealtimes quick and easy.

    Success Rice is available in basmati, brown, jasmine, and white rice, plus quinoa and two white rice blends: one with peas, carrots, and red bell peppers; one with black beans, corn, and bell peppers.

    Find more meatless meal inspiration at SuccessRice.com.

    Prep time is 15 minutes, and cook time is 20 minutes.

    Check out more Meatless Monday recipes below.
     
    Ingredients For 4 Servings

    You can substitute vegan sour cream and cheese for any of the dairy products.

  • 1 bag Success Brown Rice
  • 1 cup shredded collard greens, packed (substitute kale)
  • 1/4 cup frozen corn
  • 1 cup canned black beans, drained and rinsed
  • 2/3 cup canned pumpkin purée
  • 1-1/2 tablespoons taco seasoning (store-bought or recipe in footnote)
  • 8 flour tortillas (6 inches each)
  • 1 cup Monterey Jack cheese, shredded (substitute Cheddar)
  • 2 tablespoons olive oil
  • Sour cream, for dipping
  • Salsa, for dipping
  • Guacamole, for dipping
  • Fresh cilantro, for garnish
  •  
    Preparation

    1. PREPARE the rice according to package directions; add the collard greens and corn to the water during the last 5 minutes.

    2. PREHEAT the oven to 450°F. Drain the rice and vegetables; transfer to a saucepan. Stir in the black beans, pumpkin purée, and taco seasoning.

    3. SPOON 1/3 cup of the rice mixture into the center of one tortilla; sprinkle with 2 tablespoons of Monterey Jack cheese.

    4. ROLL up tightly. Place the seam side down on a parchment paper-lined baking sheet. Repeat with the remaining tortillas, filling, and cheese.

    5. BRUSH the taquitos with olive oil; sprinkle with the remaining cheese. Bake for 10-15 minutes, or until the tortillas are crisp and the cheese is melted.

    6. GARNISH the taquitos with fresh cilantro. Serve with sour cream, salsa, and guacamole for dipping.

     
     
    MORE MEATLESS MONDAY RECIPES 

    Some cuisines have a preponderance of vegetarian and vegan dishes, owing to a high incidence of lactose intolerance in the general population. Chinese, Japanese, Korean, and Thai recipes for starters, offer tofu or another soy-based protein.

    Here are some of our favorite NIBBLE vegetarian and vegan dishes.

  • Asian Noodle Bowl With Tempeh
  • Grain Bowl: Wild Rice & Roasted Squash Salad
  • Hummus Nachos & Tacos
  • Ratatouille Shepherd’s Pie With A Polenta Top
  • Stuffed Acorn Squash
  • Veggie Sandwiches
  • Whole Roasted Cauliflower
  • ________________
     
    *Taco Seasoning Recipe: Combine 1 teaspoon black pepper, 1 tablespoon chili powder, 1/4 teaspoon dried oregano, 1/4 teaspoon garlic powder, 1-1/2 teaspoons ground cumin, 1/4 teaspoon onion powder, 1/2 teaspoon paprika, 1 teaspoon salt. Store in an airtight container.
     
     

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    Croissant History & Recipes For National Croissant Day

    January 30th is National Croissant Day. What is a croissant? Here’s the scoop.

    > Theck out the croissant recipes below.
     
     
    WHAT IS A CROISSANT?

    Meaning “crescent” and pronounced kwah-SAWN in French, this rich, buttery, crescent-shaped roll is made of puff pastry that layers yeast dough with butter—a technique known as laminating.

    Traditionally a breakfast bread served with jam and butter, two classic variations include the almond croissant, filled with frangipane (almond paste) and topped with sliced almonds, and the “chocolate croissant,” correctly called pain au chocolat, baked with a piece of dark chocolate in the center.

    In the early 1970s, croissants became sandwich substitutes as they evolved from their two traditional fillings, chocolate, and almond paste, into many savory variations, from broccoli to ham and cheese, as well as additional sweet varieties.

    There’s also the Bavarian croissant or pretzel croissant, made of a pretzel-like dough that combines bread flour and whole wheat flour with salt sprinkled on the top, like a pretzel. Some are made of puff pastry, others of a soft pretzel-type dough in a triangle wrap, like a croissant.
     
     
    THE REAL HISTORY OF CROISSANTS

    Stories of the croissant being made in the shape of the crescent of the Turkish flag, after the defeat of the Turks in the Siege of Vienna in 1683, are a perpetuated myth. Recipes for croissants do not appear in recipe books until the early 1900s, according to the Oxford Companion To Food. The earliest French reference is in 1853.

    The croissant is a descendant of the Austrian kipfel, a yeast roll usually filled with chopped walnuts, dried or candied fruit, or other filling, and shaped like a crescent.

    It arrived in Paris in 1838 or 1839 with August Zang, an Austrian military officer. He opened a bakery, Boulangerie Viennoise, and introduced Viennese techniques which would one day lead to the baguette and the croissant. The crescent-shaped kipfel was ultimately made with puff pastry by French bakers.

    You can read this history in Jim Chevallier’s book, August Zang and the French Croissant: How Viennoisserie* Came To France (Kindle edition).
     
     
     
    CROISSANT RECIPES 

  • Cinnamon Crescents (Croissants)
  • Croissant Hot Fudge Sundae
  • Raspberry And Cream Croissants
  • Ice Cream Sandwich On Croissants
  • 10 Uses For Day-Old Croissants
  •  

    Croissants & Coffee
    [1] Coffee and croissants with jam and fresh fruit (photo © The French Farm).

    Pan Of Croissants
    [2] Just out of the oven: a pan of croissants (photo © Le Marais Bakery | San Francisco).

    Pain au Chocolat a.k.a. Chocolate Croissants
    [3] Pain au chocolate, a.k.a. chocolate croissants (photo © The Bonjon Gourmet).

     
    _______________

    *Viennoiserie are buttery, flaky breakfast breads and pastries made with laminated dough, a technique of layering and folding a yeast dough to create brioche, croissants, danish, pain au chocolat and other so-called “Viennoiserie.” It is a marriage between traditional bread baking and sweet pastry baking. The technique of lamination produces many buttery layers that can be pulled apart to reveal thin leaves within. You can see the striations, or layers, of pastry when you look at the top of the Viennoiserie or when you cut into them (photo ##5). This technique is time-consuming and expensive (because of the amount of butter needed).

     
     

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    15 Delicious Gnocchi Recipes For National Gnocchi Day

    Gnocchi Gratin For National Gnocchi Day
    [1] Gnocchi gratin with leeks and chanterelle mushrooms. The recipe is below (photos #1 and #6 © Colavita Recipes).


    [2] Pumpkin soup with bacon-sage gnocchi. Here’s the recipe (photos #2, #3, #4, and #5 © DeLallo).

    Gnocchi Antipasto Salad For National Gnocchi Day
    [3] Gnocchi antipasto salad. Here’s the recipe.

    Gnocchi With Kielbasa & Cabbage For National Gnocchi Day
    [4] Gnocchi with cabbage and kielbasa. Here’s the recipe.

    Gnocchi Mac & Cheese For National Gnocchi Day
    [5] Gnocchi mac and cheese. Here’s the recipe.

    Package Of Colavita Potato Gnocchi
    [6] Look for gnocchi in your grocer’s refrigerated case.

     

    While Americans have Taco Tuesdays, the 29th of every month is National Gnocchi Day in Argentina. Here’s the origin of the holiday.

    Given how easy it is to make gnocchi (starting out with store-bought fresh or frozen versions), why not port the holiday into your home?

    There are 15 delicious recipes below, none of which use a traditional Italian red or white sauce. But first:
     
     
    WHAT ARE GNOCCHI? 

    Gnocchi (NYO-kee) are not pasta, but light and fluffy Italian dumplings. The word “gnocchi” means “dumplings” in Italian. There are two suggestions for the origin of the word:

  • Nocchio, “gnarl,” referring to a gnarl in wood.
  • Nocca, “knuckle,” referring to the knob-like appearance.
  •  
    The most commonly known in the U.S. are made from potatoes and flour, although other styles are noted below. You can find butternut squash, spinach, and sweet potato gnocchi on modern menus, and creative chefs can create myriad flavors.

    Shapes and ingredients vary by region in Italy, and some recipes even substitute semolina for potato flour.

    Gnoccbi not Italian! They’re of Middle Eastern origin (and the originals were, in fact, made from semolina dough). As the Roman Empire expanded, favorite recipes were brought home and adapted, based on local ingredients and preferences.

    Depending on where you are in Italy, you can find:

  • Gnocchi alla romana (Roman-style gnocchi), made with semolina flour and rolled out in a thick, flat dough. Circles are cut from the dough and then baked.
  • Gnocchi di ricotta (ricotta gnocchi), which uses ricotta instead of potatoes with the flour and egg mixture.
  • Gnocchi di patate (potato gnocchi), shown in the photos above; is essentially mashed potatoes with egg and flour, cut into small pillows, and boiled.
  • Gnocchi Parisienne (Parisian gnocchi), made with boiled pâte à choux (cream puff dough, which can be used in savory recipes). They are often pan-fried in butter and great tossed with fresh herbs.
  •  
    Whether covered in sauce, tossed in butter, or pan-fried, gnocchi are crowd-pleasers.

    > The history of gnocchi.

    > The history of potatoes.

    > The history of pasta.

    > What are gnudi, and how are they related to gnocchi?
     
     
    RECIPE: GNOCCHI GRATIN WITH LEEKS AND CHANTERELLE MUSHROOMS 

    This rich gnocchi recipe from Colavita is a festive side dish for everyday dinners or special occasions.

    There are 14 more recipes below.
     
    Ingredients

  • 1 package Colavita Potato Gnocchi (or substitute)
  • 1 tablespoon extra virgin olive oil
  • 2 medium leeks, cleaned and thinly sliced, white and light green parts only (about 3 cups)
  • 2 tablespoons Dijon mustard
  • 1 cup heavy cream
  • 1 tablespoon minced fresh rosemary, divided
  • 6 ounces fresh goat cheese
  • ½ pound Chanterelle mushrooms
  • ¼ cup chopped walnuts
  • ¼ cup grated parmesan cheese
  • Salt and pepper, to taste
  •  
    Preparation

    1. BRING a large pot of water to a rolling boil. Once boiling, add a handful of salt.

    2. ADD the gnocchi to the salted, boiling water. When the gnocchi float to the top of the water (about 3-4 minutes), they are finished cooking. Scoop them out of the water with a sieve or slotted spoon and place them in a colander to drain. Reserve 1 cup of the gnocchi cooking water.

    3. DRIZZLE the cooked gnocchi with olive oil so they don’t stick, and set aside.

    4. HEAT the Colavita olive oil in a large skillet over medium-high heat. Add the leeks and cook, stirring often, until softened, about 6 minutes. Season with salt and pepper.

    4. ADD the chanterelles, and cook until just softened, about 3 minutes.

    5. ADD the Dijon mustard, cream, and rosemary. Cook until the cream has reduced by half and the mixture is thick, about 5-8 minutes. Taste for seasoning and adjust as needed.

    6. ADD the cooked gnocchi to the sauce and stir to incorporate. If necessary, add some of the reserved gnocchi water, a little bit at a time. This will loosen up the sauce and make it creamy (without adding any extra cream!).

    7. REMOVE from the heat and mix in the grated parmesan cheese. Serve.
     
    14 MORE GNOCCHI RECIPES 

  • Acorn Squash Soup With Sauteed Gnocchi
  • Baked Chicken Parmesan With Gnocchi
  • Baked Eggs With Gnocchi & Pesto
  • Gnocchi Antipasto Salad
  • Gnocchi Clam Chowder With Pancetta
  • Gnocchi Mac & Cheese
  • Gnochi Potato Salad (Or Is it Pasta Salad?)
  • Gnudi With Ricotta & Spinach
  • Pumpkin Gnocchi With Sage Sauce
  • Pumpkin Soup With Bacon & Sage Gnocchi
  • Roasted Acorn Squash Soup With Gnocchi
  • Samosa Gnocchi With Quick Mango Chutney
  • Sweet Potato Gnocchi With Mascarpone Cheese
  •  

     

     
     

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