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


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TIP OF THE DAY: Heart-y Valentine Sandwiches

Peanut Butter Sandwiches
If you don’t have heart-shaped cookie cutters, use stars for your “star” Valentine.
  Each year, the Peanut Butter & Co. Sandwich Shop in the heart of New York’s Greenwich Village helps lovers celebrate Valentine’s Day with a special Sweetheart’s Snack. It includes heart-shaped PB sandwiches, milk, PB cookies, and other goodies. You can create the treat at home with a large heart-shaped cookie cutter, your favorite PB and J, and a mix tape of romantic tunes. (If you don’t have a heart, you can substitute stars or other shapes). Keep your lover guessing: Use a different flavor of peanut butter on each sandwich. If your Valentine prefer savory to sweet, use a garlic or Southwestern PB with turkey or ham, instead. Read our reviews of our favorite peanut butters: plain, crunch and flavored, and our favorite jellies, jams and preserves.
 

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RECIPES: Valentine Cocktails

If your idea of a Valentine’s Day celebration is more than Champagne—or if you’d like to warm up to that bottle of Champagne with some kissable cocktails, for your drinking pleasure we present:

The Love Potion Cocktail, made with Absolut Raspberry and cranberry juice
The Right Kiss, gin, ruby Port and maraschino liqueur
Pomegranate Martini, with vodka, Grand Marnier and pomegranate juice

Find more mixology in the Cocktails & Spirits Section of THE NIBBLE online magazine.

  Valentine Martini

Love Potion Martini, a creation from Ocean Spray.

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TODAY IN FOOD: It’s National Tortellini Day

TortelliniHeavenly Porcini Mushroom Tortelloni from Bertagni.   We don’t have to twist arms to get people to celebrate National Tortellini Day at THE NIBBLE. In fact, we’re lunching on several flavors of the wonderful tortellini from Bertagni (the topic of a prior post). Tortellini (tor-teh-LEE-nee) are small pastas stuffed with a variety of fillings, and a favorite pasta dish worldwide (wontons are cousins). They are served in soups—as in the classic dish, tortellini in brodo—or with sauce. We also serve them as hors d’oeuvres and snacks—with dipping sauces, on skewers with complementary meats, cheeses and veggies. Tortellini originated in Bologna and are accompanied by a legend: When the goddess Venus stayed in a tavern on the outskirts of the city, the innkeeper spied on her through the keyhole of her room, but could catch only a glimpse of her navel. Spellbound, he went to the kitchen and, to capture this vision, shaped fresh egg pasta into the bite-sized, navel-shaped tortellini. Larger bites, called tortelloni, are also made.
Tortellini and tortelloni are made by adding a filling to a circle of dough, then folding it in half, making a semicircle of the half and pinching the ends together to form the shape. By the way, the word for navel is not tortellini but ombelico; torte is the past participle of the verb torcere, meaning filled.

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TIP OF THE DAY: Red Caviar Hearts For Easy Valentine Hors d’Oeuvres

Take those heart-shaped cookie cutters and make heart-stopping hors d’oeuvres—or a first course—with toast, sour cream or crème fraîche and red caviar. Buy the best white bread or brioche, toast it, let the toast cool, and then cut the heart shapes. Spread with sour cream/crème fraîche, then top with one or several different red caviars: salmon caviar, tobiko, beet-colored whitefish roe (available from Tsar Nicoulai, a NIBBLE Top Pick Of The Week), lumpfish or capelin roe. Drape a chive across each heart as the “arrow.”- See the full recipe.
– See more red caviar recipes.
– Learn more about caviar in our Caviar Glossary.
– See all of the articles, recipes and product reviews in the Caviar Section of THE NIBBLE online magazine
  Red Caviar
Make red caviar into heart-shaped hors d’oeuvres. Photo courtesy of Red-Caviar.com.
 

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TODAY IN FOOD: It’s National Plum Pudding Day

Plum Pudding Hard Sauce
[1] Plum Pudding with hard sauce (photo courtesy Gary Lerner | London Lennie’s. .

Christmas Pudding Toffee Sauce
[2] Plum pudding with toffee sauce, available from MackenzieLtd.com.

 

“Who on earth would strive to create a National Plum Pudding Day in America, especially on February 12th,” we wondered. This is the boiled pudding dessert made of dried fruit that is traditionally served in the U.K. on Christmas Day (it’s also known as Christmas pudding and figgy pudding).

You can’t even get an American to eat a piece of fruit cake, let alone a dark, dried fruit and suet concoction, mixed with flour and spices (and related to mince pie, another dish not-so-beloved by Americans).

It’s largely that plum pudding is not sweet enough for the American palate, and we aren’t accustomed to desserts made with suet (beef or mutton fat).

And why would National Plum Pudding day be in the middle of February, rather than around the holidays?

In the U.K. it’s available year-round.

We really enjoy a good plum pudding (as well as a good fruitcake and a good mince pie).

  • Plum pudding can be eaten with hard sauce, custard sauce, crème anglaise, lemon cream, etc.
  • With a side of rum raisin ice cream, custard sauce and enough flaming brandy poured upon it, more Americans might warm up to it.
  •  
    Here’s a recipe to make your own plum pudding.

    Here’s more about plum pudding sauces and some plum pudding history.
     
     
    BUT WHAT ABOUT ABRAHAM LINCOLN?

    The bigger issue, vis-à-vis the scramble to name every day of the year a food holiday, would seem that we’ve forgotten that February 12th is the birthday of our 16th president, Abraham Lincoln.

     
    President Lincoln was born in 1809 in a one-room log cabin on his parents’ farm in Hardin County (now part of LaRue County), Kentucky. Might not a more appropriate holiday for February 12th be Bûche de Noel Day, honoring Honest Abe with that charming buttercream cake decorated to look like a log? Just a thought.

    Those of you from Kentucky or Illinois, where the family relocated and Abe began his political career, might think of petitioning to get something more Lincoln-appropriate in the February 12th food holiday slot. Find out how all of these holidays (known as “special observance days”) are enacted…and perhaps you’ll be inspired to petition for your own.

    National Foie Gras With Château d’Yquem Day, is our choice. Who wants to sign the petition?
     
     

    CHECK OUT WHAT’S HAPPENING ON OUR HOME PAGE, THENIBBLE.COM.

     
     

      

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