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FOOD FUN: A Bouquet For Your Poultry

Chicken, Cornish hen, duck, goose, guinea hen, partridge, pheasant, poussin, turkey, quail…

We love poultry!

Here’s an idea from Chef Daniel Humm, co-owner of Eleven Madison Park in New York City.

Chef Humm’s decoration is accessible to anyone who roasts a bird: Fill the opening of the cavity with a bouquet before bringing it to the table.

As you carve, you can garnish each plate with some herbs from an herb bouquet.

If you have an herb garden, you’re in luck: It’s easy to pick a mini bouquet and bind it with kitchen twine.

If your garden has blossoms but no herbs—and you forgot to buy herbs at the market—gather a small bouquet with leaves.

Just make sure the varieties you pick have no toxicity. Here’s a list of the 12 most toxic garden plants.

That lovely lily of the valley? Nix!

Our favorite bouquet: basil, sage, rosemary. Parsley or cilantro blend well.

Blooming chives are a home run, as are purple basil and lemon thyme—all provide a hit of color. Lavender is always lovely.

 

Duck With Flower Garnish

A duck with a floral bouquet. You can substitute herbs; in fact, it’s better for distributing stems of the bouquet as plate garnishes (photo courtesy Chef Daniel Humm).

 
By the way, Eleven Madison Park is our top restaurant recommendation for gourmets who are seeking food excitement. Just bring deep pockets.

  

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TIP OF THE DAY: Brew Iced Tea With Fruit

Iced Tea With Fruit
[1] It’s not sangria: It’s iced tea! (Photo courtesy Melissa’s.)

Iced Tea With Fruit
[2] Iced tea for dessert? (Photo courtesy The Maple Guild.)

 

It’s a scorching day today, so we’re alternating glasses of ice water with glasses of iced tea.

If you brew your own tea, you can give iced tea the “sangria treatment” by adding fresh fruit to the pitcher (photo #1).

It can be black, green, herbal or white tea.

You can add any fruits; just be sure they’ll fit in the glass when you pour the tea. A large orange slice might not, for example, but you can cut it in half.

Here are popular fruits; three varieties (more if you like) is a good mix.

  • Apple slices
  • Berries
  • Citrus slices: lemon, lime, orange
  • Fresh cherries, pitted*
  • Fresh mint sprigs
  • Lychees
  • Stone fruit slices: apricots, nectarines, peaches, plums
  • Tropical fruits: mango, papaya, pineapple
  •  
    The key to fresh fruit flavor is to infuse the fruits in the tea for several hours, preferably overnight.
     
    Preparation

    You can make the tea up to two days in advance.

    1. BREW the tea (here’s how to brew iced tea).

    If you sweeten your tea, now is the time to add the sweetener. But the fruits add sweetness, so use less sweetener. We don’t use any, but provide different sweeteners for individual tastes: agave, honey, maple syrup, superfine sugar or simple syrup.

     
    2. STRAIN the tea into a serving pitcher. While the tea is steeping…

    3. CUT the fruits. How much fruit do you need? We use 1/8 cup fruit per cup of tea. But you can turn the infusion into an infused fruit salad by packing a glass or Mason jar with fruit (photo #2), and using the tea as the “fruit juice.”

    4. ADD the fruits to the pitcher while the tea is still warm, for the best infusion. Refrigerate, covered, overnight or until you’re ready to serve.

    Consider making iced tea ice cubes for serving: They keep the tea extra-cold without diluting it.

    5. SERVE: Add ice to the glass. Scoop in some fruit. Add the iced tea. Serve with straws or iced tea spoons for eating the fruit.

    To make a non-alcoholic sangria, top off the glass with ginger ale.
     
     
    ICED TEA TIPS

  • How To Dissolve Sugar In Cold Drinks
  • How To Keep Homemade Iced Tea Clear
  • Make Ice Cubes From Iced Tea
  • The History Of Iced Tea
  • ________________

    *The fruit needs a cut surface so the flavor will infuse.

      

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    TIP OF THE DAY: Crudités On A Cutting Board

    We traditionally serve cheese on a platter; sometimes on a cutting board, especially one that looks great because we’ve never used it for cutting.

    (The rustic look, using a well-worn cutting board like the one in the photo, doesn’t look right with our fancy decor.)

    Our crudités have always been arranged on a large plate, platter or bowl.

    But when we saw this cheese and veggie arrangement from Vermont Creamery, we said: whoa! Colorful crudités look great on a cutting board.

    Today’s tip may be obvious but we’d simply never done it.

    So we dug out one of our more attractive cutting boards and shopped the market for colorful veggies.
     
    SELECT VIVID VEGGIES

    Don’t the striped chioggia beets and watermelon radishes look great next to the sugar snap peas and asparagus?

    Add some carrots and scatter a box of multi-colored cherry or grape tomatoes, and you’ve got a nutritious explosion of color—so much so that even the white radishes look colorful!

     

    Crudites Board

    Grab the cutting board and the crudités (photo courtesy Vermont Creamery).

     
    Seek and ye shall find: This week, we scored a purple cauliflower, burgundy scallions and a bag of rainbow baby carrots at a nearby healthy foods market.

    If you don’t want to make a dip, buy one. In our home, hummus is the better dip option: protein-packed, lactose-free, vegan and most importantly, popular.

    Now, all we need is a Martini with a pick of olives.

      

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    TOP PICK OF THE WEEK: Edible Arrangements Chocolate “Donuts”

    Edible Arrangements Donuts
    [1] These delectable “donuts” will fool everyone, until the first bite (photos courtesy Edible Arrangements).

    Edible Arrangements Apple Donuts
    [2] The handsome packaging requires no gift wrap—not even a bow!

    Edible Arrangements Donuts
    [3] You can buy boxes of 6, 12, or 1. But who can eat just one?

     

    When Edible Arrangements offered a sample of their new donuts, we thought they were going to be…donuts.

    Instead, they turned out to be something even better (and we say this as a donut lover) and less guilty:

    Thick slices of fresh-cut Granny Smith apple coated in top-quality semisweet chocolate that look like donuts.

    They can fool you, as they fooled us—until the first crunchy bite. What did we expect from a company known for its beautiful arrangements?

    They were launched on National Donut Day (June 1st) and are a new part of Edible’s collections.

    We urge you to get some!

    The donuts are hand dipped and hand decorated, with:

  • Different colored glazes (which are colored white chocolate).
  • Different toppings: sprinkles, coconut and caramelized hazelnut crunch.
  • You can order them online or head to your nearest Edible Arrangements store (store locator).

    They are sold nicely boxed:

  • One dozen donuts are $29.00
  • Half dozen are $19.00
  • Three single donuts in individual boxes are $12 (in-store pick-up only)
  •  
    They are:

  • A unique party snack.
  • A playful host/hostess gift.
  • A dessert for special occasions or any day.
  • A treat for your work buds.
  • A treat for yourself.
  •  
    For Father’s Day, there’s an option that includes blue plaid-decorated donuts and mustache-shaped pieces of chocolate.

    One note: Because they contain fresh-cut apples, plan to eat the donuts within a day of purchase.

    Placing them in the fridge will give you an extra day or two.

    The final word: Irresistible. Head to the website to order yours!

    Or find your nearest store.

     

      

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    PRODUCTS: Iced Tea, IPA, Perrier Peach

    This week’s featured products are a trio of beverages, from zero-calorie sparkling water to low-calorie iced teas to an exciting IPA (240 calories pee 12 ounces, and worth it).

    Here they are, in alphabetical order.
     
     
    1. BEER: BALLAST POINT SCULPIN IPA

    IPA is the hottest category in craft beer, and it’s been our favorite style—hoppy and robust—for more than a decade.

    While the classic British IPAs were our first foray, once American craft brewers started brewing with Pacific Northwest hops, we were hooked. Goodbye, Old World IPA.

    While a discussion of hops requires a long session, American craft brewers use Pacific Northwest hops, known for their fruitiness: their ability to generate flavors of apricot, grapefruit, mango, orange, peach and tropical fruits.

    We try every American IPA that comes our way. Most recently, Ballast Point, a San Diego brewery, has stolen our heart.

    The brewery began in 1996, in the back of a homebrewing supply store: a small group of San Diego home brewers who wanted to make a better beer. It is now owned by Constellation Brands, but the beers still taste like loving artisans fuss over the tiniest detail to coax exciting flavors from each ingredient.

    Ballast Point’s flagship beer, the first Sculpin IPA (sculpin is another name for the California scorpionfish, photo #2), has hints of apricot, lemon, mango and peach.

    The newest, our beloved Aloha Sculpin (photo #1), develops even more flavor by using a different strain of yeast called Brux Trois for short*. It contributes to the layers of flavor from the hops: guava, mango and pineapple (hence “Aloha,” from the tropics). It’s the first Brux Trois IPA to be distributed nationally.

    IPA lovers: Seek it out!

    Discover more at BallastPoint.com.
     
     
    2. ICED TEA: HONEST TEA

    We applaud reduced-calorie iced teas, and are fans of Honest Tea’s Just A Tad Sweet Line. An entire 16-ounce bottle is just 60 calories.

    The line is naturally flavored, USDA organic-certified, and the tea and sugar are Fair Trade.

    There are philosophical-inspirational quotes on the undersides the caps. An example from Charles Darwin: “It is not the strongest of the species that survives, nor the most intelligent, but the one that is most responsive to change.”

    We enjoyed the three newest flavors (photo #3) immensely: Lemon Grove Maple Black Tea, Mango Maté Black Tea and Moroccan Mint Green Tea. But then, we’ve enjoyed every flavor we’ve tried (there are 15+ at last count).

    Even the aroma of the empty bottles was intoxicating!

    Discover more at HonestTea.com.

     

    Ballast Point Aloha IPA
    [1] Our new favorite IPA: Aloha Sculpin from San Diego (photo courtesy Ballast Point Brewery).

    Sculpin Fish
    [2] The brand “ambassadorfish,” the sculpin (California scorpionfish, Scorpaena guttata). Watch out for the venomous fin spines (photo courtesy Ken Jones Fishing).

    Honest Tea Just A Tad Sweet
    [3] Three flavors from the Just A Tad Sweet line of Honest Tea, certified organic and Fair Trade (photo courtesy Honest Tea).

    Peach Perrier
    [4] Just peachy: new peach-flavored Perrier (photo courtesy Perrier).

     
    3: SPARKLING WATER: PEACH PERRIER

    Peach is the latest of Perrier’s flavored sparkling waters (photo #4). Its formal name is PERRIER Carbonated Mineral Water Peach Flavor, but Peach Perrier works fine for us.

    Peach joins the other Perrier flavors: Green Apple, Lemon, Lime, L’Orange, Pink Grapefruit, Strawberry and Watermelon.

    We’re going to try to assemble them all and have a Perrier tasting. It sounds great for light summertime dining, with an assortment of salads including fruit salad, of course.

    Discover more at Perrier.com.
    Three new flavors join the lineup: Lemon Grove Maple Black Tea, Mango Maté Black Tea and Moroccan Mint Green Tea.

    They join 13 other flavors, which gives us an idea…for another tasting lineup!

    ________________

    *The full name is Saccharomyces “Bruxellensis” Trois.

      

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