THE NIBBLE BLOG: Products, Recipes & Trends In Specialty Foods
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Archive for September, 2008

TOP PICK OF THE WEEK: Real Wasabi Snack & Cocktail Nuts


Not just any mixed nuts—these have the
sizzle of real wasabi.
We never met a Real Wasabi product we didn’t like. With its new line of wasabi-flavored cocktail nuts, the company is tied with Palette Fine Foods for top honors, with most Top Picks Of The Week (three). The majority of people who eat sushi don’t realize that the wasabi served to them typically is not real wasabi (Wasabia japonica), but a far less expensive mixture of ordinary horseradish root and mustard. And, as with the finest craft brew versus a mass-market beer, there’s a big difference in taste. You can read more about real versus imitation wasabi in our review of authentic wasabi powder (you mix it with water to create the paste, just as they do at sushi bars) from Real Wasabi.

Now about those wasabi nuts. Available in six-ounce cans in Wasabi Almonds, Wasabi Cashews, Wasabi Pistachios and Wasabi Mixed Nuts, these elegantly “warm” (not fiery hot) nuts will wow with beer, cocktails or as garnishes—chopped or whole atop goat cheese canapés or tossed into a chicken salad, for example. They have just the right touch of wasabi: enough to assert itself, but not enough to cover up the excellent quality of the nuts. The cans make colorful stocking stuffers and a welcome addition to a gift basket.

We’d like to give a shout out to Doug Lambrecht, founder of Real Wasabi, for bringing real wasabi to more Americans beyond the handful who have experienced it fresh-grated in the country’s most elite sushi bars. Now do your part: Get to know all of the Real Wasabi products. See the delicious wasabi nut varieties close up in the full review. The nuts are all-natural and certified kosher by OU.

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RECIPE: Joe’s Seafood Dover Sole Recipe

Joe’s Seafood, Prime Steak & Stone Crab: Since 1913, Joe’s Stone Crab has been a legendary dining institution in Miami. In 2000, Joe’s Seafood, Prime Steak & Stone Crab debuted in Chicago. One of the restaurant’s signature dishes is Dover Sole, which is cooked whole and filleted at tableside. Chef Gary Baca says that leaving all elements of the fish intact while cooking—head, tail and bones—intensifies its natural richness and sweetness of this mild fish. So just by adding butter, salt and pepper, you’ll have a succulent delight. He does remove the skin before cooking, which adds a crispy texture. Here’s the simple recipe, which can be prepared at home:

Ingredients:

-1 Dover sole (skinned)
-1 sprinkle salt and pepper mix
-1 dusting of all-purpose flour
-4 ounces clarified butter
-2 butter pats
-Lemon
-1 pinch of chopped parsley
-1 pat of brown butter

Preparation:

1. Season both sides of the fish with salt and pepper, and then dust lightly with all-purpose flour.
2. Ladle 2 ounces of clarified butter and 1 butter pat onto a griddle. Place sole in the butter and sauté until golden.
3. Flip the fish and sauté in an additional 2 ounces of clarified butter and 1 butter pat.
4. Finish in a 450°F oven for 6 – 8 minutes and plate the fish on a warm platter. Garnish with lemon, parsley and brown butter.

Learn more about Joe’s Seafood, Prime Steak & Stone Crab at www.icon.com/joes.

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NEWS: Polling For America’s Favorite Dessert


Take a break from the Republicans and Democrats. The Pillsbury Campaign for a Sweeter America has announced that Cake and Brownies have received the people’s nomination to run for the nation’s favorite dessert. The announcement comes after a nine-city primary campaign tour with the Pillsbury Doughboy to Asheville, NC, Baltimore, Boston, Chicato, Columbus, OH, Troy, OH, Indianapolis, Pittsbugh and Washington, DC. Voters have been won over by Cake’s ability to make every occasion a celebration, but the chocolatey irresistibility of Brownies is certainly putting up a fight. You can cast your vote in the online election at www.pillsburybaking.com/campaign. And you can read about our favorites in THE NIBBLE’s Cakes & Brownies Section.
 

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TOP PICK OF THE WEEK: Fentimans Brewed Soda

Beverages are the fastest-growing category in specialty foods; in the carbonated category, to take just one segment, sales increased almost 12% in 2007 over the prior year and the store shelves are piled high. There are some great 21st century sodas, spanning the range from sparkling juice like Fizzy Lizzy, green tea like Steaz, “adult” sodas with reduced sugar like GuS and Dry Soda, and flavored club soda energy drinks like Hiball.

One hundred years ago, your options for a soda were much more limited. You’d go to the soda fountain at the local pharmacy for a cola, ginger ale, root beer or other flavor. The counter man would pump syrup into a glass, then jerk back the tap of carbonated water (hence, the title “soda jerk”) to create your soda. Bottled beverages for take-out didn’t appear until Prohibition.

 
Fentimans is ready to show you what
soda pop tasted like in the good old
days.
But across the pond in England, Fentimans Botanically Brewed Beverages were delivered door-to-door in stone jars. These, too, evolved into individual, capped bottles; today the line, in its Victorian trappings, is available in the U.S. as well. Curiosity Cola, Dandelion & Burdock, Ginger Beer, Mandarin & Seville Orange Jigger, Shandy (real shandy, brewed with beer) and Victorian Lemonade (each bottle containing the juice of 1-1/2 lemons) add charm and great natural taste to the 21st century menu. It’s an enchanting return to yesteryear, without the need to crank up the Model T and putter down to Whitman’s Drug Store. Learn more about Shandy, Jigger and the rest of the Victorian pop crew in the full review, and why it takes seven days to brew this soda. And take a look at more of our favorite all-natural sodas in our Soft Drinks Section.

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CONTEST: Win Dagoba Chocolate

Most people are familiar with mint chocolate. But how about chocolate with lavender? Rosemary?

Dagoba Organic Chocolate wants you to “Seed The Day” and invent a new flavor of bar. The company, which popularized chocolate bar flavors that include Lavender, Lemon-Ginger, Mint, Roseberry (raspberry and rose hips) and other fruits, wants you to create the next garden-inspired chocolate bar.

Flavor submissions are being accepted through October, 31 2008. By the end of December, five winners will be randomly selected to win a year’s worth of Dagoba Organic Chocolate. Winners will get twelve bars of Dagoba Organic Chocolate each month for the twelve months in the 2009 calendar year (approximate retail value, $415). But to us, the biggest honor is that one of the flavors submitted will be selected to be turned into a Dagoba chocolate bar, which will be released in Fall 2009. Your own Dagoba chocolate bar—that’s some holiday gift to give to one’s friends and family!

You can also sign up for free seed packets of favorite herbs found in Dagoba chocolate bars (like lavender, mint and rosemary), which will be mailed out next spring in time for planting season. Log on to www.dagobaseedtheday.com.

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