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    THE NIBBLE’s Gourmet News & Views

    Trends, Products & Items Of Note In The World Of Specialty Foods

    This is the blog section of THE NIBBLE. Read all of our content on TheNibble.com,
    the online magazine about gourmet and specialty food.

Archive for March, 2008

COUPON: Save $4 On Organic Valley Products

We’re big fans of Organic Valley dairy products, and buy the milk, butter and cream cheese whenever we can. In additional to any health and environmental concerns, they just taste better than non-organic products (make your next cheesecake with organic cream cheese and see the difference). Now, you can save $1.00 on four different items by printing the coupons online at OrganicValley.com. Try the milk (whole, lowfat, fat free, soy, lactose-free and single-serve, which includes chocolate milk), butter, cottage cheese, table cheeses and cooking cheeses (15 varieties,from mozzarella and Cheddar to slices and shreds). The butter and several of the cheeses (blue, Cheddar, Colby) have racked up some impressive awards, as well. There’s a store locator on the site that tells you where to redeem your coupons.   Organic Valley Milk
Save money on organic milk, butter and cheese.
See more of our favorite dairy products—yogurt, eggs and cheese—in the Cheese, Butter & Yogurt Section of THE NIBBLE online magazine.

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TIDBITS: The Truth About Daurade

Daurade
Identity crisis? The fish is variously called daurade, d
orade, porgy, sea bream, tai, zeebrasem….
  Daurade: When you see it on a menu, doesn’t it sound elegant and exciting? Would it sound as exciting if it were called porgy or sea bream? We think not. We bring it up because a reader wrote to ask if daurade referred to the fish or the preparation. It’s a fish. In France, daurade refers to Sparus aurata, the gilthead seabream, a member of the porgy family. Daurade, also spelled dorade, is ubiquitous in France, where there are four varieties: gray, pink and marble dorade, known by their coloring, and royal dorade. The “royal” is so named because it has a gold-yellowish bump between the eyes that, with imagination, can be considered a crown. While “royal” also has the firmest flesh, the flesh of all varieties is delicate and can fall apart if filleted. Thus, monsieur le daurade is often cooked and served whole.
The Japanese black porgy is a different species (Acanthopagrus schlegelii), as is the American porgy (Lagodon rhomboides). The flesh is firmer, so you’ll find daurade fillets in America (sometimes it’s flown ove from France, sometimes it’s porgy—because daurade sounds a lot better), and tai sushi and sashimi (tai being the Japanese word for porgy). No matter what part of the Sparidae fanily it comes from, you can tell from its teeth that the daurade/porgy is a carnivore (if you don’t like the eyes staring up at you from your plate, wait until you see those choppers). Those teeth help it feast on other fish, oysters and mussels (hey, save some for us). While the flesh can be delicate, the flavor of the fish is not shy. Cook it with lemon, wine, garlic, tomatoes, rosemary—any of your favorite hearty herbs and spices work. Learn more about fish, fisch, pesce, pescado, poission, etc. in the Fish, Seafood & Caviar Section of THE NIBBLE online magazine.

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NEW PRODUCTS: Purim & Hamentashen

The story of the Jewish holiday of Purim, as told in the Bible’s Book of Esther, tells of the deliverance of the Jewish people from an annihilation plot of the Persian king Haman. Like most Jewish holidays, this one has its traditional food, hamentashen (also spelled hamantashen), which means “Haman’s pockets” in Yiddish. Hamentashen is a triangular-shaped pastry with a cookie-like dough, not particularly sweet, originally filled with a sweetened poppy seed or prune paste. Today hamentashen is made with a variety of fillings to please modern palates. You can order a gift bucket of Exceptional Hamentashen from Claire Saueroff, award-winning baker of the Exceptional Brownie (read our review), in an assortment that includes Awesome Apricot, Puckered Prune, Rockin’ Raspberry and Poppy’s Poppy (Claire recognizes that some diets preclude poppy—it’s our favorite). There are also chocolate-dipped varieties. You’ll get approximately two dozen hamentashen to enjoy with a nice cup of tea (black tea, please—find some of our favorites in the Tea Section of THE NIBBLE online magazine).   Hamantashen
You can’t steal Ben Stein’s money, but you can take a bite out of Haman’s pockets (that’s what hamentashen means).
The hamentashen are kosher, of course (OU Parve). But if you’re not kosher, not Jewish, and/or have never had a good piece of hamentashen (there are plenty of questionable pieces out there), here’s a good place to start. This year, Purim is celebrated on Friday, March 21; but you don’t have to wait until then to start nibbling on the hamentashen.
– Purchase Exceptional Hamentaschen at TheExceptionalBrownie.com.
– A half gallon in a reusable white bucket, shown, is $45.00. Gift boxes are available from $25.00.
– Read what what happened to King Haman and see him immortalized on the ceiling of the Sistine Chapel by Michelangelo.
– Find more delicious kosher products in the Kosher Nibbles section of THE NIBBLE online magazine.

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RECIPE: “Dublin Delight” St. Patrick’s Day Cocktail

St. Patrick’s Day Cocktail
Skip the green beer, have a green Grey Goose cocktail, the “Dublin Delight.”
  Don’t color the beer green at your St. Patrick’s Day party. Let the beer drinkers enjoy fine craft beer in the golden color it should be. Those who want a vodka cocktail can go green with a Dublin Delight from Grey Goose Vodka. It was specially created to abet drinkin ‘o the green by master mixologist, Nick Mautone, author of Raising the Bar (“Better Drinks, Better Entertaining”). Starting with Grey Goose Vodka’s popular Le Citron lemon-flavored vodka, the ingredients include kiwi, simple syrup, a sprig of mint, a small piece of vanilla pod and a splash of club soda.

It’s not as simple as pouring tonic water into the gin, but once you make up a pitcher, it’s smooth sailing—and you have something memorable for your guests.

– Read the full Dublin Delight recipe.

– Find more seasonal cocktails in the Cocktails Section of THE NIBBLE online magazine.

 

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TOP PICK OF THE WEEK: Lisa’s Cookie Shop

NIBBLE readers have the option to read our Top Pick Of The Week product review on TheNibble.com, or get it by email. It is emailed on Tuesday mornings at 8 a.m. By 8:37 a.m. on Tuesday, we got an email from this week’s Top Pick, Lisa’s Cookie Shop, saying that their “website was being hit like crazy” and they were “receiving a ton of online orders.” What does this mean?

1. People really like chocolate chip cookies, and Lisa’s other offering, bar cookies.
2. Photographer Claire Freierman did a very convincing job, making those cookies and bars look great on the page.
3. People are up really early reading their email, because the Top Pick has a national readership, and only about 25% live on the East Coast.

  Chocolate Chip Cookies
Lisa’s crunchy chocolate chip cookies.
The crisp, crunchy, wonderful chocolate chip cookie group includes Chocolate Chip Coconut Chocolate Chip cookies and Kitchen Sink (with cranberries and macadamia nuts). You could make meal of these cookies and never feel ill, they seem so wholesome and nutritious. We know, as we’ve done it five or six times while “researching” the review. Just the fragrance of butter, chocolate and other fine ingredients leaping out of the bag might be satisfying enough for those who feel the need for restraint. The soft, chewy Pecan Bars and Raspberry Bars are equally magnificent. The Pecan Bar is like a pecan-coconut pie-in-a-bar. And THE NIBBLE staff flipped over the moist, tender Frazzleberry Cookies—shortbread thumbprint cookies, rolled in coconut with a big well of lush raspberry jam. Everything is baked to order, so read the full review and order yours. Find more of our Top Picks Of The Week in the Top Picks Archives on THE NIBBLE online magazine.

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CONTEST: Be A Milk Rock Star

Rascal Flatts

Drink milk and rock with these guys.

  We love milk, we think it rocks. So do country rockers Rascal Flatts. Want to sing live on stage with them, in front of 30,000 screaming fans? Just go to MilkRocks.com to pick your favorite Rascal Flatts song, then upload a karaoke-style video of you (or your kids) singing it. The top 10 winners (decided by the Milk Rocks! community) will win signed Les Paul Gibson guitars plus CDs and posters signed by Rascal Flatts. Rascal Flatts themselves will choose the winner from the top three entrants, on April 15th.


Visit the Milk Rocks! website to hear the band speak about milk nutrition facts, also visible on more than 100 million milk cartons, 40,000 school lunch room posters and at Rascal Flatts concert venues.
 

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NEW PRODUCTS: Starbucks Chocolate

Chocolate lovers: New temptation has been put in your path. Starbucks has launched a new collection of artisan-style chocolates, developed with the Artisan Confections Company, a wholly owned subsidiary of The Hershey Company (the subsidiary includes Dagoba Chocolate, Joseph Schmidt Confections and Scharffen Berger Chocolate Maker). Master chocolatiers have created a portfolio of chocolates with flavors inspired by Starbucks coffees and Tazo teas. And, they are darned good. Made with high-quality cacao and other premium natural ingredients, the collection is artistic, flavorful…and extremely affordable. It includes Tazo Chai, Passion[fruit] and Citron tea-infused chocolate tasting squares; Caffè Mocha, Chai, Espresso, Caramel Macchiato and Madagascar Vanilla Bean Truffles; and Milk Chocolate Covered Caffè Verona Coffee Beans. For those who like their chocolate plain, there are dark, mocha and milk chocolate bars and tasting squares. The tea-infused tasting squares are dynamite—perfect with a cup of coffee or tea, or just a burst of fine chocolate. The Citron square is an epiphany, Passion is perfect, and the Chai is enchanting. The milk chocolate-covered coffee beans are among the best we’ve ever had, plump and robust (and let’s face it, if these two companies together can’t master a chocolate-covered coffee bean, who can?). And yes, the truffles are very good too.   Starbucks Chocolate
Look closely at the shape of these bonbons, filled with chai-flavored creme: They’re tea cups!

But the best thing is the low price: The various bags and boxes retail for $2.99 to $5.99 (individual packages) at grocery, mass retailers, club and drug stores nationwide. Alas, the chocolates are not available in Starbucks stores at this time…but I suppose we’re lucky. It would be just too easy to get a bag of chocolate with that cappuccino. Every day.

Read our full review of Starbucks Chocolates.
– Read about more of our favorite chocolates in the Chocolate Section of THE NIBBLE online magazine.
– Read our review of Dagoba Chocolate.

– Read our review of Scharffen Berger Chocolate.

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TODAY IN FOOD: It’s National Pound Cake Day

Pound Cake
Bake a pound cake today. For inspiration, here’s one from Cakes By Jane.
  A pound cake is a loaf cake made with one pound each of butter, flour, sugar and eggs (that’s about eight eggs), plus flavoring. Vanilla or lemon are the classic flavors, but quite a few variations have evolved through the years—adding sour cream, cream cheese and chocolate to the batter, as well as every flavoring under the sun. (Cakes By Jane makes twelve yummy pound cake flavors with a cream cheese batter, and we are dying to try the Key Lime.) The British pound cake is actually a fruit cake containing currants, raisins, sultanas (golden raisins) and glacé cherries. Pound cakes were the traditional wedding cakes. Since the ingredients are so simple, it’s hard to make a bad pound cake—just use the freshest eggs and butter you can find, real vanilla extract, and don’t over-bake.
Pound cakes are so easy to make—why not whip one up tonight to celebrate National Pound Cake Day? While a plain piece of pound cake is a joy, some added whipped cream, vanilla ice cream or the full monte—a pound cake hot fudge sundae—makes the occasion even more joyous. Discover other delightful cakes and recipes in the Cakes Section of THE NIBBLE online magazine.

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TIP OF THE DAY: Cupcakes Replace Birthday Cakes

Have you been to a wedding recently (or seen magazine photos) where the wedding cake has been replaced by a tiered stand of cupcakes? Makes sense, doesn’t it? Few people like the heavy fondant that wraps many wedding cakes; plus, the cakes cost a fortune, and if you’re any kind of sophisticated bride and groom, you really don’t want to stand in front of your friends feeding each other cake while some MC sings “Now the groom cuts the cake, the groom cuts the cake….” So, porting the concept to birthdays, instead of a birthday cake, consider a platter of cupcakes. Beloved by children and adults alike, they eliminate the need to cut and serve, and an assortment provides guests with a choice of flavors. You can further dazzle by serving highly-decorated cupcakes—for example, topped with chocolate medallions or marzipan animals (you can see a photo here).   Cupcakes
Cupcakes from one of San Francisco’s favorite bakeries, Miette. Visit them in the Ferry Building when you’re in town. One of America’s greatest
food halls, you can purchase great food—and cupcakes for dessert—and dine outdoors by San Francisco Bay. Wednesdays and Saturdays are farmers market days. Photo by Frankie Frankeny.
You don’t need to purchase a tiered plate, although ask around to see if you can borrow one. If not, any round platter will do. The cupcake in the center should hold the candle(s). See more of our favorite cupcakes and cakes in the Cookies, Cakes & Pastries Section of THE NIBBLE online magazine.

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NEWS: Conveyor Belt Sushi Chain Comes To U.S.

Surf Clam Sushi
Now, your surf clam can surf over to you via
conveyor belt.
  Is America about to experience conveyor-belt sushi in a big way? Known as kaiten-sushi, a branch of the largest chain, Sakae Sushi, has made the leap to America (“leap” is an appropriate analogy, since the company logo is a frog on a lily pad—although no frog sushi is served). The premiere is the launch of a goal to be, ostensibly, the first successful sushi chain in America. The company, based in Singapore, has 40 sushi restaurants there, and 20 in other countries—none of which offers the market potential of the large and sushi-hungry American public.
The high-tech restaurant should also appeal to the experiential dining desires of Americans. There’s a patented interactive menu at each table, enabling patrons to create custom orders, as well as a hot water tap to refill cups of green tea. There is three-tiered pricing—three different colored plates, priced at $1.90, $3.90 and $6.90, depending on the value of the contents. In a bit of architectural irony, the two conveyor-belt restaurant, totaling 97 feet of rolling sushi, sashimi, soups, salads, dumplings, ramen, yakitori and other bites, is located in the venerable Chrysler Building, one of the country’s most dignified architectural landmarks. It’s an easy location for anyone to get to, right across the street from Grand Central Terminal, at 42nd Street and Lexington Avenue. Taking the train into town? Drop in for some sushi before heading to your destination. The speed with which consumers can get their sushi from the conveyor belt gives new meaning to the term “fast food.”The chain was established in Singapore in 1997 with the goal of offering affordable Japanese food. In New York City, which is not known for conveyor-belt restaurants, it will certainly be the king of kaiten. The restaurant, located at 405 Lexington Avenue at 42nd Street, is open 7 days for breakfast, lunch and dinner, from 7 a.m. to midnight. A 24-hour delivery service will be offered. For more information, visit Sakae-Sushi.com or telephone 1.877.SAKAE-USA.

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