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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 August, 2008

NEWS: Top-Earning Celebrity Chefs


Rachael Ray’s many books, such as this
one, 365: No Repeats-A Year of
Deliciously Different Dinners
, contribute
to her astounding net worth of $18
million a year.
  In Forbes Magazine’s ranking of the top-10 celebrity chef earners, the number-one earning chef, by a long shot, has never had a restaurant or worked as a chef (although her family owned a restaurant); but she has four Food Network programs, a nationally-syndicated talk show, a magazine, a dog food line and a Dunkin’ Donuts ad—for an estimated $18 million a year. Who are the big earners?

1. Rachael Ray, $18 million.

2. Wolfgang Puck, $16 million (from 16 fine-dining brands, including Spago, Chinois, Cut and the Source; Wolfgang Puck Express at airports; Wolfgang Puck Bistros in suburbia; supermarket brands; and cutlery on the Home Shopping Network).

3. Gordon Ramsay, $7.5 million (from restaurants around the world and TV shows “Hell’s Kitchen” in the U.S. and “Ramsay’s Kitchen Nightmares” in the U.K.).

4. Nobu Matsuhisa, $5 million (from 17 Nobu sushi restaurants around the world).

5. Alain Ducasse, $5 million (from 22 restaurants worldwide).

6. Paula Deen, $4.5 million (from two Food Network shows, cookbooks, magazine and a memoir).

7. Mario Batali, $3 million (13 restaurants in New York, including Babbo and Del Posto, Los Angeles and Las Vegas).

8. Tom Colicchio, $2 million (from his restaurant empire, plus Bravo’s “Top Chef cooking” competition).

9. Bobby Flay, $1.5 million (from his restaurants, plus Food Network shows, “Throwdown!”, “Boy Meets Grill” and “The Next Food Network Star.”

10. Anthony Bourdain, $1.5 million (from his Travel Channel show, “No Reservations,” and his 2000 book, “Kitchen Confidential,” which was an instant bestseller).

As all professional chefs will tell you, the only reason to go into the business is because you have a great passion for cooking. Working as a chef, or owning a restaurant, is very hard work. But for some, there’s a very big payoff.

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RECIPES: Summer Cheese Recipes From Roth Käse

Cheese is an infinitely versatile and delicious foodstuff. Its many varieties can be used as an ingredient, an after-dinner treat—even the main focus of a meal. Every cheese complements its own range of other foods as well. Here, we present six summery recipes, developed by master chefs across the country and presented by master American cheesemakers Roth Käse, that incorporate seasonal ingredients and flourishes. Click the links below to view each recipe, and find more cheese articles and recipes in the Gourmet Cheese section of THE NIBBLE magazine.

-Caesar Salad In A GranQueso Ring

-Cashew Encrusted Butterkäse

-Smoked Gouda Veggie Club

-Spiced Walnut And Serafina Sandie

-Vintage Van Gogh With Apricot Gelée And Beer Sorbet

-Vodka Martini With Buttermilk Blue Stuffed Olives
  Spruce up your Caesar salad by serving
it in a ring of baked GranQueso cheese
crisp.
 

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PRODUCT REVIEW: Bufala Di Vermont Yogurt


A yogurt lover’s dream: thick water
buffalo yogurt from Bufala Di Vermont is
richer and sweeter than yogurt from cow,
sheep or goat milk. And it’s much easier
to digest.
  Yogurt-lovers are in for a treat, with the thick, creamy, sensual pudding-like yogurt made from water buffalo milk. People who don’t like yogurt because of its tartness or consistency will love this. It’s like dessert! And for the lactose intolerant, and those with other digestive issues, it’s probiotic and easier to digest.The original of just three water buffalo milk creameries in the U.S., the Bufala Di Vermont creamery (a new incarnation of the former Woodstock Water Buffalo Company) is nestled in the green hillsides of South Woodstock, Vermont. It is home to a 100-head herd (“the girls,” as they’re called) that yields an astonishingly rich, thick, sweet milk—the makings of a yogurt that will send you into a starry-eyed trance. You’ll never think of yogurt the same way again.

While water buffalo milk, dairy products and meat have been consumed around the world for thousands of years, perhaps the most familiar product to Americans is the delicious mozzarella di bufala, most of it imported from Italy. Water buffalo, or bufala in Italian, are a completely different species than North American “buffalo,” which are actually bison that were misnamed buffalo by the European immigrants who equated them to Asian water buffalo, an error perpetuated in song (“Home On The Range”) and by the U.S. Treasury (the Buffalo Nickel).

Aside from being two entirely different species, one significant difference between these two animals is that water buffalo is an excellent source of dairy as well as meat, while bison are known for meat only. Water buffalo produce approximately 15% of the world’s milk, primarily in Southeast Asia, South America and Italy.

While “the girls,” those dear, enormous-yet-so-gentle creatures in Vermont, may be far from their native roots in India and Southeast Asia—where buffalo milk is the milk—they’ve made themselves quite at home in Vermont (actually, they’ve adapted well to five different continents).

Bufala di Vermont, which produces only water buffalo products, focuses on yogurt as well as fresh and aged cheeses and specialty meats. All products are all-natural and free of antibiotics, growth hormones. Read the full review in THE NIBBLE magazine

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TOP PICK OF THE WEEK: Carpe Diem Botanic Water

This gentle line of “botanic waters,” a.k.a. lightly-carbonated soft drinks flavored with botanicals (fruits and herbs), is the antithesis of the energy drink made famous by Carpe Diem’s parent company, Red Bull International. Made from Alpine spring water with homeopathic plant extracts, the soft, natural sweetness comes from pear juice—there’s no added sugar. The net effect is a “spa tonic,” with only 70 calories per 16.9-ounce bottle. For those who want a real tonic, there are two teas, kombucha and ginkgo, which have functional properties (people have been drinking them for centuries to reap health benefits). But they also have double the sugar and calories. We’re more keen on the botanic waters.

Even if you don’t care for soft drinks or fizzy water, if you do like the sophisticated and different, Carpe Diem may become a new favorite refreshment. The line is popular in Europe, where it originated. Be the first on your block to give these charmers a try and introduce them to your friends and neighbors. (If you live on the same block as Courtney Cox, Mary Kate and Ashley Olsen, Gwyneth Paltrow, Brooke Shields or Renée Zellweger, it’s too late—they’re already fans.)
  Carpe Diem Botanic Water transports you
to a spa…but also pairs with your most
sophisticated dinner courses.

Read about them in the full review, as well as the origin of the phrase that begins with “carpe diem,” a Latin expression meaning “seize the day.”

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CONTEST: Yogurt Trivia Gourmet Giveaway


Today, yogurt has moved beyond a
simple dairy staple to a glamorous
topping and ingredient, as shown in this
breakfast parfait. Learn about the
different types of yogurt in our
Yogurt Glossary.
Like yogurt? Enter this week’s Gourmet Giveaway: The lucky winner of our yogurt prize will get to enjoy a selection of water buffalo milk yogurt. The winner will receive A case of 12 6-ounce containers of water buffalo yogurt from Bufala di Vermont, in three flavors: maple-raspberry, blueberry and plain. Retail value $24.99. It’s our new favorite yogurt: Read the review. Enter the Gourmet Giveaway by answering a few fun trivia questions about yogurt; you don’t have to answer correctly to win. Find articles, recipes and reviews of more yogurt in the Gourmet Yogurt Section of THE NIBBLE online magazine.

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FOOD HOLIDAY: August Is National Peach Month

Peaches originated in China. They were the first fruits to be domesticated, 4,000 years ago. Asians prefer the low-acid, sweeter, white-fleshed peaches while Europeans and North Americans have historically grown the yellow-fleshed varieties. Whichever you prefer, celebrate National Peach Month with some of these past NIBBLE selections:

No-Calorie & Low-Calorie Treats:

-AirForce NutriSoda Focus (Peach & Mango)

-Inko’s White Peach Iced Tea

-Republic of Tea Ginger Peach Black Tea

-Wild Thymes Peach Chutney

-Frontera Foods Salpica Mango Peach Salsa

Two Non-Caloric, Non-Edibles

-Bluewick Peacharine Candle

-Hella Good Peach Bath Scrub
 
In China, the peach tree is considered to
be the tree of life, and peaches are
symbols of immortality.

And Two Spreads With A Few (Well-Worth-It) Calories


-Frog Hollow Farm Peach Preserves & Pies

-San Saba Peach Pecan & Amaretto Preserves

-Cherith Valley Spicy Peach Amaretto Jelly

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NEW PRODUCT: Khaya Cookies

  The people at Khaya Cookie Company aren’t just about cute cookies; they have a social mission, too. The word “khaya” means “home” in Xhosa, the language spoken in a region of South Africa where the Khaya Cookie Company’s cookies are baked. True to “home,” they are made with ingredients from the region, like rooibos extract, grapeseed powder, and local dates and apricots. The cookie production creates jobs and trains local residents with job skills, so that they’re not just baking—they can also learn to work in the customer service or packaging departments.

Khaya’s employees come mainly from a township called Khayelitsha, where one of every four children suffers from chronic malnutrition and almost one million people live below the poverty level. Alicia Danielle Polak, the company’s founder and CEO, an investment banker in her former life, now uses her skills to help the impoverished. Every 150,000 boxes of cookies sold creates 100 jobs in South Africa.


Whether you’re entertaining guests or simply like to eat in style at home, Khaya’s tiny shortbread cookies are shaped at approximately the size of a thumbnail and are available in Orange Rooibos and Cranberry Rooibos flavors. Khaya also produces a chewy Granola Fruit Krunchi made with dates and apricots. The products are all-natural and preservative-free. At $5.75 per flavor, the attractive boxes make nice holiday stocking stuffers and teacher gifts, for a good cause. Order the cookies online at www.khayacookies.com.

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RECIPES: Cooking With Beer

You can make almost anything with beer—from bread to ice cream to some of these more obvious beer recipes, compliments of Gordon Biersch. These recipes are made Gordon Biersch Marzenwith Märzen or Märzenbier, an amber-red (auburn), smooth, mildly sweet, Vienna-style lager with a malty aroma. It originated in Bavaria where it was originally brewed in March (Mär zen) and laid down in caves before the summer heat made brewing impossible. At the end of September, any remaining kegs were consumed during the two-week Oktoberfest. While some brewers make a Märzen that is seasonal to the Oktoberfest, others, like Gordon Biersch, brew it year-round.  

Märzen is Gordon Biersch’s sweetest brew. Company co-founder Dan Gordon describes it as the “universal donor,” meaning that it goes well with just about anything. Some strongly-flavored beers can turn bitter if you cook with them, particularly if you use them to boil or braise. Weizens (wheat beers) are too light to cook with, and hoppy beers like pilsners don’t reduce too successfully.

If you can’t find Märzen, you can substitute any slightly sweet and malty lager, a darker lager or, in season, festbiers and Oktoberfest brews.

-Barbecued Märzen Ribs Recipe

-Beer Batter Onion Rings Recipe

-Märzen Barbecue Sauce Recipe

-Märzen Mustard Recipe

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PRODUCT REVIEW: Martine’s Sugar-Free Chocolate

Martine’s sugar-free almond bark
doesn’t skimp on good ingredients;
sweetened with maltitol, the only thing
it’s missing is regular sugar.
  It takes a true master of chocolate to make delicious sugar-free versions of his or her art, and who better to take on the challenge than Manhattan’s own Martine Leventer, creator of Martine’s Chocolates? We’ve already raved about her top-notch gourmet chocolate in a past review, but we are delighted to report that she makes excellent sugar-free chocolates, too, from the fine Belgian chocolate of Callebaut. They are perfect for people who have been searching for a high-quality gourmet chocolate that’s so good, it’s easy to forget that it’s sugar-free. (Please note that this is not a low-calorie product, and should be consumed by people who need to restrict their intake of sucrose. Those on restricted diets should consult with their healthcare advisors before consuming any sugar substitutes.)

Martine Leventer experiments with every one of her chocolates until she is satisfied, so we aren’t surprised that her sugar-free line meets high standards. After careful investigation, she found that maltitol was the only artificial sweetener that did not leave an aftertaste. That may be why her sugar-free chocolates leave plenty of folks fooled (including us!), in a good way. Martine’s sugar-free chocolates have the same charm as their sugared counterparts; both are made with fine Belgian Callebaut chocolate and hand-crafted with elegant molds.

Read the full review on TheNibble.com.

 

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RECIPES: White Bean Dip & Bruschetta

If you keep a can of white beans in the pantry, you can whip up a bean dip in five minutes. It’s handy to do this, because when guests drop by, you look like a kitchen magician, when all you’ve done is toss some ingredients into the food processor.

Variations: After you’ve made the basic recipe, try variations with your favorite flavors: anchovy, basil, chive, green or black olive, jalapeño, parsley, roasted red peppers, sundried tomato, etc. These flavors are easy to add with Amore Pastes. Add two tablespoons to the food processor.

Then do even more, by making bruschetta with your bean purée, or you can use Cool Beans dip, a NIBBLE Top Pick. It makes a delicious, garlicy snack, cocktail pairing or first dinner course.

-White Bean Dip Recipe

-White Bean Bruschetta Recipe

Find more articles and reviews of bean products in THE NIBBLE‘s Rice, Beans & Grains section.
 
Bean purées can scooped, spread or
spooned.
 

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