THE NIBBLE BLOG: Products, Recipes & Trends In Specialty Foods


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PRODUCT REVIEW: Great Zero Calorie Soft Drinks

Hi-Ball Energy Drink
Add some grapefruit juice for an energy spritzer.
  Do your New Year’s resolutions include losing weight? One standby is diet soda. Some people like it, some people endure it. Try these two boutique carbonated drinks: zero-calorie carbonated beverages with great flavor that we previously reviewed. If you haven’t gotten to know them yet, now’s the time. We think they represent the best of their classes. The first class is classic sodas from Boylan’s Bottleworks—Diet Black Cherry, Diet Cane Cola, Diet Creme Soda and Diet Root Beer. The sodas are made with an expensive mixture of sucralose (Splenda) and acesulfame potassium (Ace-K) and all-natural flavors, tastes better than the regular sodas of most manufacturers. Hi-Ball makes energy drinks in the form of flavored club soda with the taurine, guarana, caffeine and the rest of the energizing mix of regular energy drink—a good boost for weary dieters. A huge difference between Hi-Ball and other diet energy drinks is the sparkling, refreshing flavor—Grapefruit, Lemon Lime, Orange and Wild Berry. Read the full review, and find hundreds of other products in the Diet Nibbles section of THE NIBBLE online magazine.
 

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FOOD TIP OF THE DAY:

Today is National Champagne Day. Most people bring a bottle of Champagne as a gift to New Year’s Eve parties. Add a book about Champagne, and your gift will be remembered long after the bubbles are gone. This is one of our favorites. (Find more of our favorite books in the Books Section of THE NIBBLE online magazine.) Happy New Year from all of us at THE NIBBLE!   4000 Champagnes
No one expects to get through all 4,000, but there’s lots of educational information about Champagne itself.
 

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FOOD TIP OF THE DAY: A More Entertaining New Year

You can spend more time with friends and family in the New Year by entertaining more often and more easily. Don’t focus on a formal event that takes time to plan and costs a lot of money. Think casual, and simply set aside 2 hours a month to catch up with people you don’t see often enough, or with those you’ve met but haven’t had the chance to see again. Make it a regular event and set aside the second Friday evening or third Sunday afternoon of the month, for example. Invite four to eight people over for a mini-tasting: Try different teas, mineral waters, Spanish cheeses, single-origin chocolate bars—whatever you’d like to learn more about. The group will enjoy mixing and discovering new specialty foods; small groups are easier and less expensive to manage and guests mix more easily. THE NIBBLE is full of ideas—almost every food category section has suggestions for tastings. See the Main Nibbles index of 70 categories of yummy foods in THE NIBBLE online magazine—and decide whether to start in alphabetical order (craft beer?) or healthy, low-calorie food for your new year’s resolutions.   Green TeaInvite friends for a green tea tasting party in January and discover a favorite new green tea to pack in the antioxidants all year long. Read more about high antioxidant foods.
 

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FOOD TIP OF THE DAY: Go Nuts For Fresh Nutmeg

Whole Nutmeg

Whole nutmeg: Once you try it freshly-
grated, you’ll never go back to pre-grated.

  Just as freshly-ground pepper bears no resemblance to the bland, pre-ground powder, freshly-ground nutmeg is a vibrant spice that perks up sweet and savory dishes alike.

We use it to flavor apples and other seasonal fruits (pies, compotes, sautéed sliced fruit), to make cookies and pastries and in custards. We love it in egg dishes and vegetable purées. It’s our favorite seasoning with spinach in any form, and on pasta with broccoli rabe.

For beverages, use it in addition to (or instead of) cinnamon on hot chocolate, coffee, cappuccino, mulled cider, warm milk, cold milk, chocolate milk and of course, eggnog!

While some cooks grate the whole nutmeg against a fine plane kitchen grater, we value our skin and use a nutmeg grinder or mill—the same principle as a peppermill, but accommodating the larger nutmeg, which is the size of an unshelled hazelnut.

If you’ve had the nutmeg for several years, you can check the quality by piercing it with a needle. If the skin pierces slightly and a drop of oil flows out, the nut is still fresh. If the skin won’t pierce, it’s dried out. (See how to check your other spices for freshness.)

The nutmeg is the seed of an evergreen tree fruit. The tree, botanically known as Myristica fragrans, is indigenous to tropical southeast Asia and Australasia. Mace is the milder-tasting dried hull of the nutmeg—the part you peel off to get to the nut.

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FOOD TIP OF THE DAY: Deluxe Deviled Eggs

If you’re making deviled eggs for New Year’s Eve, serve them in flavors. Fresh dill, curry, infused tobiko roes and wasabi are popular choices.

Just divide the mashed yolks mixture after you’ve added the binder (mayo, dijon, sour cream) and salt.

But filling the eggs—even just one flavor—can be a devilish chore. Instead of struggling to spoon in the filling, do what caterers do and put it in a Ziploc-type bag. Cut off a corner of the bag and simply squeeze the filling into the egg whites.

Now that you know the easy way, here are more favorite flavors to try: bacon (“bacon and eggs”), chopped chives, chutney, crab, crumbled blue cheese, jalapeño, kalamata olives, lemon herb and smoked salmon.

 
See our recipe for these deviled eggs, topped with caviar from The Little Pearl.
 

We also have a favorite caviar deviled egg recipe. It has a cap of caviar, but you can also mix tobiko into the filling.

See our recipe for these deviled eggs, topped with caviar from The Little Pearl.
  

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