THE NIBBLE BLOG: Products, Recipes & Trends In Specialty Foods
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RECIPE: Star-Shaped Watermelon Caprese Salad

Watermelon Caprese
[1] Before tomato season, substitute watermelon in your Caprese (photo and recipe courtesy Skinnytaste).

Yellow Tomato Caprese Salad
[2] When tomatoes are their most delicious, try this “double tomato Caprese”: beefsteak and cherry tomatoes (photo courtesy Elegant Affairs Caterers).

Caprese Avocado Boat
[3] Another way to enjoy Caprese: in an avocado boat (here’s the recipe from Souffle Bombay).


Red, white and blue colors are not just for July 4th. Memorial Day is an equally patriotic holiday. It honors the men and women who died while serving in the U.S. military.

So don’t hesitate to serve red, white and blue-themed food and drink.

Here are more than 50 recipes, for everything from breakfast to cocktails, lunch to desserts.

Here’s an addition to the list, a recipe sent to us by Gina Homolka of Skinnytaste. She specializes in healthy, low fat, family-friendly recipes. Sign up to get email recipes at

Americans love Caprese salad, so called because the idea was brought to the U.S. by vacationers on the isle of Capri (the scoop).

Gina says: “I love the salty-sweet combination of watermelon, mozzarella, arugula and balsamic—a delicious twist on the classic Caprese which is usually made with tomatoes, mozzarella and basil (photo #1).

“I’m actually not a huge fan of tomatoes until late August when they are falling off my tomato plants, so watermelon is a great alternative.

“Cutting the watermelon with a star-shaped cookie cutter makes these perfect for Memorial day or July 4th.”

This is an easy recipe, no cooking required: four basic ingredients plus seasonings and a star-shape cookie cutter.

You can prep the salads in advance and leave them in the fridge until you’re ready to serve.

More advice from Gina: “I buy my fresh mozzarella in a local Italian deli and they even slice it for me on their slicer, which saves me time. I finish the Capreses with Modenacrem Balsamic Glaze from Delallo (I love this stuff!!).

“Buying balsamic glaze is a huge time saver. The alternative is to simmer balsamic on the stove until it reduces down.”

Ingredients For 8 Servings

  • 1/2 red seedless watermelon (1 pound), sliced 1/2 inch thick
  • 8 thin slices fresh mozzarella (1 ounce each)
  • 1 loose cup baby arugula (you can substitute basil)
  • 2 teaspoons extra virgin olive oil
  • Kosher salt*
  • Optional: fresh-cracked pepper
  • 2 tablespoon balsamic glaze (buy it or make it, plus many more uses for it)

  • 4-inch star-shaped cookie cutter

    1. CUT 16 stars from the watermelon, about 1 ounce each). Save the excess watermelon for another use.

    2. ARRANGE half of the watermelon slices on a platter. Layer with mozzarella and arugula; drizzle each with 1/4 teaspoon olive oil. Add a pinch of salt and optional pepper to each.

    3. TOP with a final star, drizzle each with balsamic glaze and serve.


    *We have a selection of flavored coarse sea salts, and used rosemary sea salt for an extra hint of flavor. You can also make flavored sea salt by mixing coarse sea salt with a dried herb of choice.



    RECIPE: Spicy Thai Cabbage Salad & The History Of Cole Slaw

    For holiday weekends or cookouts, most of us pick up cole slaw at the grocery store.

    This commercial slaw generally consists of cabbage, mayonnaise thinned with vinegar, and a few shreds of carrot for color. It may be tangy and crunchy, but it can be so much more flavorful.

    Here’s how to fix up store-bought cole slaw and other salads: chicken, egg, macaroni, potato, etc.

    Or, choose one of the nine recipes below, from Asian-accented slaws to bacon and blue cheese.

    A little “slaw” history:

    Slaw is a salad consisting primarily of shredded raw white cabbage. Its origin goes back to ancient Roman times, where the cabbage was mixed with vinegar. Mayonnaise didn’t appear until the 18th century (mayonnaise history).

    Coleslaw, also spelled cole slaw, originates from the Latin colis, cabbage.

    Cabbage was easy to grow and a mainstay of the diet of the poor (who, it should be said, represented most of the population). It also was easy to store, and had a long shelf life. No doubt, many European families dined on chopped cabbage salad.

    Enter the Dutch. “Slaw” comes from a variation of the Dutch sla; koolsalade, or cabbage salad, shortened to koolsla. Cabbage, “kool,” is pronounced “cole.”

    Dutch travelers to the New World made koolsla with local cabbage. Instead of being torn into bite-size pieces like lettuce salad, the cabbage was thinly sliced or shredded. “Sla” is short for “salade.”

    In English, “slaw” came to specify a salad of shredded vegetables. Over time, shredded cabbage slaw was joined by carrot slaw and more recently, broccoli slaw and shaved Brussels sprouts slaw.

    The term got anglicized in the 18th century as cole slaw (and sometimes, cold slaw).

    Today in the U.S., cole slaw is a shredded cabbage salad with a mayonnaise-based dressing, often with shredded carrot. It can be made with red cabbage for more pizzazz, as in today’s recipe; but few people do so.

    Some people add fruits: diced mango or pineapple, raisins, sliced grapes, etc. We didn’t use them in the recipe because of the peanut dressing; but you can easily add dried cherries, raisins or other dried fruits.

    Coleslaw can be dressed with vinaigrette or mayonnaise. Some regional American recipes use mustard.

    This recipe for Thai-accented cole slaw is adapted from Beekman 1802. Thai ingredients like peanut butter, peanuts, ginger and soy sauce add flair; and the Thai-style dressing replaces the mayonnaise.

    Prep time is 15 minutes, cook time for the dressing is 6 minutes.



  • 1 pound red cabbage, coarsely shredded (about 5 cups)
  • 2 cups coarsely chopped basil
  • 1/3 cup finely diced cubano pepper
    For The Dressing

  • 2 tablespoons sesame seeds, preferably toasted
  • 2 teaspoons sesame oil
  • 1/3 cup peanut butter
  • 5 tablespoons apple cider vinegar
  • 1 tablespoon ginger honey
  • 2 teaspoons fresh grated ginger
  • 3 tablespoon soy sauce
  • 1 teaspoon grated horseradish
  • 1/4 cup white wine
  • Optional garnish: chopped salted or honey roasted peanuts

    Spicy Thai Cabbage Salad
    [1] Red cabbage slaw with Thai accents. The recipe is below (photo courtesy Beekman 1802).

    Cole Slaw With Blue Cheese
    [2] Red, white and blue cole slaw. The blue is blue cheese (photo courtesy Eat Wisconsin Cheese).

    Spicy Thai Cole Slaw
    [3] Peanut cole slaw with granola (photo courtesy Nuts For Granola).

    Spicy Thai Cole Slaw[4] Spicy Thai cole slaw (photo courtesy A Communal Table)


    1. TOAST the sesame seeds (optional). Heat a small skillet over medium heat. Add the sesame; cook and stir for 2 minutes or until golden brown and fragrant. Immediately pour out of the hot pan to avoid over-toasting.

    2. COMBINE the cabbage and peppers in large salad bowl.

    3. COMBINE the dressing ingredients in small saucepan. Bring to a boil and immediately reduce heat to simmer. Simmer for four minutes.

    4. REMOVE from the heat and immediately toss with the cabbage-peppers mix. Once it has cooled to room temperature, add the basil and toss again. Refrigerate and serve cool or at room temperature.

  • Asian Slaw With Snow Peas & Pear
  • Bacon & Blue Cheese Cole Slaw
  • BBQ Slaw with bell and poblano peppers, corn and cilantro lime juice, chili powder, cumin
  • BLT Slaw
  • Cabbage Slaw With Lime-Cumin Vinaigrette
  • Citrus Slaw
  • Vanilla Slaw
  • Vietnamese Cabbage Slaw


    TIP OF THE DAY: Sausage & Beer Pairings

    Beer and Sausage Pairing
    [1] What’s on your Memorial Day table? How about a sausage-and-beer tasting (photo courtesy Dovetail Brewery | Chicago)?

    Sausage Roll Garnish
    [2] What’s under the toppings? Grilled sausages, to pair with beer (photo courtesy Tete | Chicago).

    Sausages On The Grill
    [3] What’s on your Memorial Day table? How about a sausage-and-beer tasting (photos courtesy Les Trois Petits Cochons)?

    Sausage Platter Les Trois Petits Cochons
    [4] What’s on your Memorial Day table? How about a sausage-and-beer tasting (photos courtesy Les Trois Petits Cochons)?

    Les Trois Petits Cochons Sausages
    [5] What’s on your Memorial Day table? How about a sausage-and-beer tasting (photos courtesy Les Trois Petits Cochons)?


    Memorial Day is the unofficial start of grilling season.

    Along with the chicken, steaks and fish on the grill, how about sausages? Better yet, how about a sausage and beer painting?

    While there are good brands across the country, we especially enjoy the sausages of Les Trois Petits Cochons (lay-TWAH peh-TEET coe-SHONE, a.k.a. The Three Little Pigs).

    Available nationwide, the brand began in our home town of New York City, so we’ve been eating them for a decade or two (along with the pate and other charcuterie).

    When we asked the brand what beers they would pair with the sausages, they were forthcoming with these recommendations. The pairings can be ported to any brand of sausage.

    Whether your sausage is chicken, lamb or pork, there’s an excellent pairing of light- or medium-bodied beer (the different types of beer).

    Lovers of heavy-body beers can substitute a doppelbock for medium-body beers.

    Andouille Sausage – Pork Sausage with Spices
    PAIRING: A medium-bodied beer such as an ale, IPA or bock beer.

    Chicken Andouille – Chicken Sausage with Spices
    PAIRING: A light-bodied beer such as a lager or a medium-bodied beer such as an ale.

    Chicken Merguez – Chicken Sausage with Harissa
    PAIRING: A medium-bodied beer such as an ale, IPA or bock beer.

    Chicken Provençale – Chicken Sausage with Spring Vegetables
    PAIRING: A medium-bodied beer such as an ale, IPA, or bock beer.

    Chicken Sausage with Spinach & Gruyere Cheese
    PAIRING: A medium-bodied beer such as an ale, IPA or bock beer.

    Merguez Sausage – Lamb Sausage with Spices
    PAIRING: A light-bodied beer such as a pilsner or a medium-bodied beer such as an ale.

    Smoked Chicken Sausage with Apples & Calvados
    PAIRING: A light-bodied beer such as a lager, pilsner or wheat beer.
    Are you hungry yet?

    We sure are!

    Instead of reheating the sausages for the plate or a roll, change the format.

    Slice them, dice them, or remove the meat from the casing; serve with:

  • Beans or lentils
  • Biscuits and sausage gravy
  • Braised cabbage or sauerkraut (choucroute garnie)
  • Breakfast scramble/casserole/strata
  • Breakfast burritos/tacos
  • Caramelized onions or leeks and bell peppers
  • Cheeseburger garnish
  • German potato salad with sausage and gherkins
  • Kabobs with grilled vegetables
  • Mashed potatoes and sausage/shepherd’s pie
  • Mixed Green Salad
  • Pasta/pizza/mac and cheese (add green peas!)
  • Pigs in blankets
  • Rice or grains (try fried rice!)
  • Savory muffins or bread pudding
  • Soup garnish (how about clam chowder “surf and turf?”)
  • Spanish-style torta/tortilla or Italian frittata
  • Stuffed peppers
  • Stuffed portabella mushrooms
  • Stuffing
  • Tapas appetizer/hors d’oeuvre

    Les Trois Petits Cochons has produced award-winning, all natural pâté and charcuterie since 1975 by crafting small, handmade batches using high-quality ingredients. One of the most awarded specialty food companies in North America, Les Trois Petits Cochons began as a small charcuterie in Greenwich Village, New York City. Today it leads the pâté and charcuterie industry, offering a complete line of artisanal pâtés, mousses, terrines, sausages, saucissons, smoked meats and other French specialties.



    TIP OF THE DAY: Turning Bland Foods Into Flavorful Foods

    Two days ago we showed how to give international flair to poke, the Hawaiian spin on sashimi salad.

    Today, our colleague Hannah Kaminsky transforms one of the blandest foods in America (via Italy): gnocchi.

    Here, she makes a fusion dish of potato gnocchi and Indian spices (photo #1), to create “samosa* gnocchi,” inspired by the spicy Indian fried potato dumplings.

    She illustrates how you can take any bland food, from noodles to tofu to chicken breasts to tilapia, and turn them into fab food with the right spices.

    “Fix up the gnocchi with a pinch of curry powder, for example” says Hannah, “and you could consider each starchy sphere as a naked samosa, stripped of its deep-fried pastry shell.”

    Hannah, who specializes in making flavorful food in under 10 minutes (see her new book in photo #3), notes that packaged gnocchi make fast work of this preparation.

    In addition to a main dish, she suggests serving them “as a brilliantly spiced side dish that could complement a wide range of proteins or simple stews.”


  • 1 package (16-17 ounces) potato gnocchi
  • 1 tablespoon coconut oil
  • 1/3 cup full-fat coconut milk
  • 2 1/2 teaspoons Madras curry Powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon garam masala
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt
  • 1 tablespoon lemon juice
  • 1 cup frozen peas, thawed
  • Optional: mango chutney, to serve (recipe below)

    1. BRING a medium pot of water to a boil and add the gnocchi, using a spatula to gently break them apart. Cook just shy of al dente, as the dumplings will continue to soften in the curry sauce. In some cases, this might amount to only 1 or 2 minutes in the water, so keep a close eye on the process and test frequently by poking the pieces with a fork. Drain and rinse with cold water to immediately stop the cooking process.

    2. MELT the coconut oil in a medium saucepan over medium-high heat, and add the par-boiled gnocchi. Spread out the gnocchi to cover the bottom of the pan as evenly as possible. Resist the urge to stir for about two minutes, allowing the gnocchi to dry and very lightly toast. Separately…

    3. WHISK together the coconut milk, both spice mixtures, and salt before pouring them into the pan. Turn down the heat to medium-low, stir thoroughly, and simmer for 1 or 2 minutes longer, until the sauce coats the gnocchi nicely. Toss in the thawed peas and serve with mango chutney on the side, if desired.

    Chutney is a spiced condiment of Indian origin (chatni is the Hindi word for strongly spiced) made of fruit or vegetables. It is typically served as an accompaniment to food, not as a spread.


    Curried Gnocchi
    [1] Fusion food: Italian gnocchi meet Indian curry (photo courtesy Hannah Kaminsky).

    Types Of Chutney
    [2] There are many recipes for chutney, both sweet and savory. You can buy them or make them (photo courtesy Indian Home Cooking). Here, cilantro and tamarind chutneys.

    Real Food Really Fast
    [3] Delicious, plant-based meals in 10 minutes? How can you resist? Get Hannah Kaminsky’s book on Amazon.

    The spice level can range from mild to hot, and the consistency from a fine relish to a preserve or conserve. Fruit chutney consists of chopped fruit, vinegar, spices and sugar cooked into a chunky sweet-tart-spicy mix. According to one explanation, it “blurs the Western distinction between preserves and pickles.”

    “There are more types of chutney on the market than there are days in the year,” says Hannah, “from creamy coconut to fiery habanero varieties. One of my favorites is made from mango. You can pick up a jar of it at most grocery stores, but you can also throw together a quick version at home.”

    This recipe makes 2 cups (3 – 4 servings).

  • 1-1/2 cups diced, frozen mango
  • 1/2 cup diced tomato
  • 1/4 cup diced yellow onion
  • 1/4 cup golden raisins
  • 2 tablespoons lemon juice
  • 1 teaspoon ground ginger
  • 1/4 teaspoon ground turmeric
  • 1/8 teaspoon ground cloves
  • 1/8 teaspoon salt

    1. PLACE the mango and all ingredients in a microwave safe dish, stir well, and heat on full power for 4 to 7 minutes. The fruit should be softened, syrupy, and well-seasoned. This chutney will keep well for up to a week if stored in an airtight container in the fridge.

    Hannah is a food photographer, recipe developer, and specialist in vegan cooking and baking. She is the author of five books, most recently, Real Food, Really Fast.

    Follow her on

    *Samosas are individual fried or baked triangles, often eaten as an appetizer or snack food. It has a savory filling, such as spiced potatoes, onions, peas and lentils, minced lamb or minced beef. They can also include macaroni/noodles and cheese. Here’s more about them.



    FOOD FUN: Make Art With Your Food, Then Eat It

    Prosciutto Dinosaur
    [1] Get some prosciutto and basil or spinach, and start working (photo courtesy Red Hong-Yi).

    Jackie Chan In Chopsticks
    [2] Jackie Chan commissioned this portrait, made from 64,000 chopsticks (photo courtesy Red Hong-Yi).


    Looking for a rainy day project, or to jump-start a new hobby? A fun get-together with friends?

    Take inspiration from the edible collages by Malaysian artist Red Hong-Yi, created on dinner plates [photo #1].

    She calls them “painting without a brush.”

    In 2012, Red Hong-Yi, was an architect designing residential towers on a computer screen. Then she decided to take a right turn, and transitioned to handmade art.

    She created massive portraits:

  • Ai Weiwei’s face from 20,000 sunflower seeds, a tribute to his porcelain Sunflower Seeds installation.
  • Jackie Chan commissioned a portrait, made from 64,000 chopsticks (photo #2).
  • Chinese filmmaker Zhang Yimou’s portrait was made with 2000 socks.
  • Aung Saan Su Kyi’s portrait was created with 2000 dyed carnations, evoking the way she ties flowers in her hair.
  • Singer Adele was created with thousands of melted tea light candles as a tribute to her song, “Set Fire to the Rain.”
    The artist then scaled down, creating art on dinner plates, the images made entirely from food.

    She has peeled cucumbers into landscapes, turned ice cream bars into ice floes topped by polar bears, created chickens from egg shells.

  • See more of her dazzling work here.
  • Check out her portfolio, here.
  • See her working on YouTube.
    Thanks to Its Gastro Obscura “covers the world’s most wondrous food and drink.”



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