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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 July, 2008

GOURMET GIVEAWAY: Hot Dog Trivia


Man bites dog: 150 million of them on July Fourth alone!
  Like sausage? Enter this week’s Gourmet Giveaway: The lucky winner of our hot dog prize will get to enjoy two large gourmet sausages, Mild Summer Sausage and Spicy Summer Sausage, with matching mustards: Sweet ‘n’ Hot Mustard, Hickory Mustard and Hot Mustard, from Dan The Sausageman. The sausages are 20 ounces each, and can be enjoyed as snacks, on pizza, in pasta, old-style with sauerkraut or as part of a mixed grill. Retail value $30.99. This and other sausage gifts are available at DelightfulDeliveries.com. Enter the Gourmet Giveaway by answering a few fun trivia questions about hot dogs; you don’t have to answer correctly to win. Find more of our favorite gourmet sausages in the Sausages & Charcuterie Section of THE NIBBLE online magazine.
 

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TIP OF THE DAY: Ham & Goat

Instead of Swiss or Cheddar on your ham or turkey sandwich, spread an ounce of fresh goat cheese (chèvre). Add your lettuce and tomato, and for an exciting extra dimension, some chopped fresh basil. Fresh goat cheese is so moist, you may not need mustard or mayonnaise; but look to mayo rather than mustard so as not to overpower the flavors of delicate chèvre. Our favorite: Lemonaise or Lemonaise Light from The Ojai Cook—you’ll never go back to regular mayonnaise again! If you don’t like fresh chèvre, get an aged goat cheese—there are goat Cheddars, goat blues, glorious goats in almost every style of cheese, just waiting to be discovered. Click here to learn more about goat cheese on TheNibble.com.  
Gourmet goat cheese: Crottins of Chavignol, an AOC-designated goat cheese from France.
 

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PRODUCT REVIEW: Chobani Greek Yogurt


Probiotics with panache: Here, we added
fresh blueberries to Chobani’s blue-
berry yogurt (the Chobani fruit is on the
bottom).
  Chobani Greek Yogurt is a welcome newcomer to the yogurt case. More like sour cream than American-style yogurt, it will overcome resistance from some people who don’t care for the tart tanginess of traditional yogurts. And, packed with probiotic cultures, it will help those who have digestive problems. In 0%, lowfat, full fat plain yogurt, and in six 0% flavored varieties, the line is certified kosher, all natural, rBGH-free and gluten-free.

“Chobani” means shepherd in Turkish. This lovely yogurt line has been carefully shepherded by an emigré whose family makes yogurt and feta in Turkey. Using the same classic techniques to produce thick, triple-strained yogurt—known as Greek-style in the U.S.—Chobani Greek Yogurt is the thickest and most sour cream-like line of Greek-style yogurt we have found to date. People who should eat more yogurt or calcium in general, but don’t like the consistency or tanginess of most yogurts, may be very happy with Chobani.
Chobani is a very rich and ultra-creamy way to get your probiotics and protein—or simply to enjoy a delicious cup of yogurt. All-natural and low in sugar (the plain nonfat is 100 calories a serving and the fruit flavors are 140 calories), the line is made with hormone-free milk. It contains live and active cultures as well as probiotic cultures (see our Probiotics Glossary for the difference). And, at 14g of protein per 6-ounce serving, it has two times the amount of protein as traditional American yogurts. Read the full review on TheNibble.com.

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TIP OF THE DAY: Tortellini Kebabs

Tortellini and cheese kebabs are a different twist on a party favorite—and they go great with wine and beer. Cook, cool and marinate cheese and/or spinach tortellini in a vinaigrette or bottled Italian dressing. Drain and alternate on skewers with cubes of ham, salami, cheese (small mozzarella balls or perlini are perfect) and chunks of bell peppers. Then, watch them disappear! You can serve the skewers on a tray or stick them in a crusty round loaf of bread, a brick of cheese, a halved winter squash or a pumpkin. Get more hors d’oeuvres ideas on TheNibble.com.  
Make your own tortellini kebabs or buy
these frozen ones from Kabobs, a NIBBLE Top Pick.
 

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TOP PICK: SAVU Smoker Bags

Love smoked food? Now you can smoke
your own in your kitchen oven, as often
as you like. The aluminum smoking
pouch goes from oven to table and is
then disposed of—no clean-up required.
  Shame on us! We discovered SAVU Smoker Bags two years ago and have just gotten around to sharing them with you. When you discover how easy it is to cook up delicious smoked foods, you’ll either thank us or be ticked off that it’s taken so long to share the news. These simple-to-use bags will have you smoking up a storm: Meat, fish or vegetables can be smoked effortlessly in the kitchen oven or on an outdoor grill—at home or at your favorite picnic- or campgrounds.

Now every day can be a smokin’ day. Beef, chicken, duck, fish, lamb, kebabs, pork and other favorite foods smoke over natural wood chips that are layered in cleverly-designed, single-use aluminum smoker bags, made in Finland. You can even make your own hot-smoked salmon or other fish for Sunday brunch! The heavier-flavored hickory chips are intended to pair better with meats, and the lighter-flavored alder chips with fish, but the bags truly are universal. The wood creates real smoked flavor in minutes. By adding potatoes and other vegetables, you can make complete meals in one bag. Just seal, cook, open and eat. And you can serve from the bag—not only is there no oven mess, there are no extra dishes to clean.

You’ll discover what a delight it is to make low-fat, low-calorie smoked dishes (and sure, you can make ribs with all that brown sugar and molasses, too). If you’ve toyed with the idea of buying a smoker, or feel deprived because you have no space or justification for one, now an inexpensive aluminum bag can let you get smokin’. Smoke out the details in the full review.

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TIP OF THE DAY: Snazzy Spinach Salad

These basic ingredients combine magically: spinach, Granny Smith apples, walnuts (toast them for even more deliciousness) and goat cheese or blue cheese. Fig balsamic vinegar and olive oil are a perfect dressing; serve a whole fresh fig or two as a garnish. To make this salad even more of a main meal, add Serrano ham or prosciutto and some fine artisan bread. Popeye never ate so well! Find more salad recipes on TheNibble.com.  
Spinach: Dark green deliciousness.
 

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GOURMET GIVEAWAY: Ice Cream Trivia


Win a delicious streusel-topped fruit pie
to top off with your own favorite ice
cream!
 

Like ice cream? Enter this week’s Gourmet Giveaway: The lucky winner of our ice cream prize will get his or her choice of an apple, blueberry, cherry or peach crumb pie in a flaky homemade cookie pie crust, filled with fruit and topped with butter streusel crumbs. Enjoy it à la mode with your favorite ice cream. Serves 8-10. Certified kosher (dairy). Retail value $36.99. Enter the Gourmet Giveaway by answering a few fun trivia questions about ice cream; you don’t have to answer correctly to win. Find more of our favorite ice creams in the Ice Cream Section of THE NIBBLE online magazine. You’ll also enjoy the History Of Ice Cream.

 

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PRODUCT REVIEW: Charleston Favorites Tidewater Shrimp Sauce & Marinade With Stone Ground Grits

A portfolio of Charleston and lowcountry specialties aims to ensure that people everywhere can enjoy “Food For The Southern Soul.” The first two products we tried, Stone Ground Grits and Tidewater Shrimp Sauce And Marinade, made an excellent (and easy!) dinner that we can’t wait to have again…and again.

Charleston Favorites is another happy example of a businessperson from a “traditional” sector of industry who followed his love into the food business. Proprietor Jimmy Hagood began in insurance sales, and now owns a thriving catering business in Charleston, as well as a manufacturing company that sells Southern specialties throughout the United States. Delicacies such as benne wafers, peach butter, pepper jelly and, of course, barbecue sauces and rubs are just part of a line that sends a taste of the South anywhere.
 
A dinner of lowcountry shrimp and grits couldn’t be easier with Food For The Soul.

Years ago, Hagood, a barbecue hobbyist, traded in his briefcase for an apron and began a pit barbecue catering company. In his new food career, he noticed small local specialty food companies that produced terrific products, but faced challenges of survival. He began to buy them up to provide economies of scale in production and distribution. Today, his company, Specialty Food South LLC, includes brands such as Charleston Favorites that specialize in the foods of Charleston and the South Carolina lowcountry. If our first taste is an example of the entire portfolio, we can’t wait to order the rest of the line.

A charming gift box arrived containing a two-pound bag of Charleston Favorites Stone Ground Grits and an 18-ounce bottle of Tidewater Shrimp Sauce and Marinade. The grits take about 35 minutes to cook; we sautéed the shrimp in about three minutes. The results were one of the best meals we’ve had in a long time—perhaps because, as New Yorkers, we don’t get too much lowcountry cuisine. We added a large green salad, but the oohs and aahs were earned by the grits and shrimp.

Not only would we gladly cook this dinner on a regular basis; we’d send it as a gift to almost everyone, because it requires minimal cooking skills. If you can make hot cereal, you can make grits. If you can pour the contents of a bottle into a sauté pan, add peeled shrimp and stir, you can have delectable Tidewater shrimp. Read the full review on TheNibble.com.

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TIP OF THE DAY: Gourmet S’Mores

We made this incredibly delicious
S’mores with Tiny Trapeze graham

crackers and chocolate marshmallows,
and a Chocolove 77% cacao Extra
Strong Dark chocolate bar.

  Walk on the wild side and make your s’mores with exotic chocolate bars—those flavored with chile, ginger, curry, coconut, even wasabi. Check out the flavored chocolate bars from Vosges Chocolate and Chocolove (use the search box at the top of the page). Use great marshmallows too: We love the handmade marshmallows from Recchiuti and the Tiny Trapeze brand from Whole Foods (the chocolate marshmallows are even better than the vanilla variety). Click here for ideas on having a memorable s’mores party. You can read more about gourmet marshmallows in the Gourmet Candy Section of TheNibble.com.
 

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PRODUCT REVIEW: Bake ‘mmm Bagels

All natural, organic- and kosher-certified bagels with no sugar added are a real find. We protest the unnecessary sugar thrown into most bagel recipes. From your freezer to table in 12 minutes, these 200-calorie bagels are the right size and the right stuff.

If your idea of happiness is a breakfast or brunch of piping-hot bagels, your dream can come true every day. Excellent Bake ’mmm frozen boiled bagels, in standard and gourmet flavors, are shipped directly to your door. Keep them in the freezer or refrigerator, ready to pop into the oven, where they emerge hot and fragrant in just 8 to 12 minutes. Some flavors go beyond ordinary bagels: They’re gourmet breads.

 
A stack of Bake ’mmm bagels, hot from the oven.
Bake ’mmm Bagels are even patented. According to the manufacturer, their exclusive process creates a bagel with complex carbohydrates that have a lower Glycemic Index than standard bagels. While we haven’t studied the science (you can read it on their website), we have studied the nutrition panel, and kudos are due for making a good-size bagel (100g, 3-1/4-inches in diameter and one inch high) that has as few as 195 calories. We did a lab test calorie count on our local bagels a couple of years ago. With all that sugar and added bulk, the plain bagels were 600 calories—without the cream cheese.

Bake ’mmm Bagels are boiled, then frozen, so the last step in bagel-making—baking to a crisp, golden brown—takes place in your own oven or toaster. Being a bagel baker is not only tasty, it’s fun! Read the full review on TheNibble.com.

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