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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 February, 2009

CHEESE OF THE WEEK: Kuh Heublumenkäse


Kuh Heublumenkäse from iGourmet.
This week’s cheese recommendation is from guest blogger Dana Romero, proprietor of La Fromagerie D’Acadiana in Lafayette, Louisiana.

A semi-hard cheese (or Schnittkäse), Kuh Heublumenkäse comes from Bavaria, the largest state in Germany. Bavaria contains the city of Munich, and according to GermanFoods.org, 75% of German cheeses are produced there. This cheese is made from cow’s milk, with floral and herb ingredients that include safflower, blue mallow, peony and marigold, with rosemary, oregano and a dash of unrefined rock salt.

To achieve Kuh Heublumenkäse’s strong floral character, the cheese-makers first coat the cheese wheels with herbs and flowers and then seal it with transparent wax. It’s then allowed to ripen for six months, during which time the combined essences seep into the cheese’s paste. By the time it’s ready to eat, this innovative cheese is bursting with aroma and flavor. The creamy cow’s milk balances perfectly with the herb and flower flavors. In addition, consumers buy the cheese with the coating still intact, so diners get to not only smell and taste the floral notes, but also see the colorful flowers entrenched in the wax. Consider this cheese for your next tasting party or as a hostess gift—its lovely presentation will be the highlight of the cheese plate.

So, as you wait out the arrival of spring in the bloomin’ cold, have a taste of a fresh flowering meadow. I encourage you to ask for this cheese from your local cheese monger and pair it with a Pinot Grigio. Or, for an authentic German experience, pair it with a dark German-style beer such as Gordon Biersch Dunkelweizen.

You can learn more about German cheese (and other foods) at GermanFoods.org. If you’re looking for German cheese in your local shops, keep an eye out for any names that end with the suffix käse—German for “cheese.”



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PRODUCTS: Appliances That Can Save You Money

In these penny-pinching times, these five appliances can save you money. Statistics were supplied by the Association of Home Appliance Manufacturers (aham.org).

1. Coffeemaker. Brew your morning cup at home. Resisting a three dollar cup of purchased coffee will save you nearly $1,000 per year. If your coffeemaker is old, you can upgrade…and buy great beans.

2. Freezer. In 2008, shipments of home freezers were up 5% as consumers started to realize the savings in stocking up on frozen sale items. Purchase meat, fish, poultry and costlier items you use a lot of (Haagen-Dazs, anyone?) while they’re on sale and stick them in the freezer. If you have room, buy a supplemental freezer and look for an ENERGY STAR model to save even more on energy costs.

ronco-food-dehydrator

The Ronco food dehydrator.

3. Water Filter. Use a water filtration system in your kitchen instead of buying bottled water. This practice will save you hundreds and hundreds of dollars a year, and will help the environment by reducing the number of plastic bottles that clog landfills. It will also spare you the travail of hauling water.

4. Your Favorite Foodmaker. What do you regularly spend money on that you could make at home, if you had the right appliance? If you have a daily need for cappuccino, smoothies, pizza or frozen yogurt, you might break even or be ahead of the game if you got the right appliance or gadget and fed your hunger at home.

5. Food Dehydrator. If you spend a lot of money on healthy dried fruit and veggie snacks, consider making your own with a food dehydrator. Ronco has a nice one, “as seen on TV.” If money is no object, see our Snacks Section for our favorite dried fruit and vegetable snacks.



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RECIPES: Classic & Frozen Margaritas

The frozen margarita.

There are many claims to the invention of the Margarita, but the prevailing credit goes to Margaret “Margarita” Sames, a wealthy Dallas socialite. As the story goes, the cocktail was born over the Christmas holiday in 1948. According to an interview in 1994 in the San Antonio News-Express, published in the town where Mrs. Sames had retired on the 45th anniversary of the cocktail:

Margarita and her husband, Bill, invited some friends from Dallas to visit them in Acapulco. Their cliffside hacienda was under construction, so they borrowed a home from a local friend, with luxurious grounds and a pool with a swimming bar. Sames wanted to make a refreshing drink that could be enjoyed poolside before lunch. “After all, a person can only drink so many beers or so many Bloody Marys, or screwdrivers or whatever,” she said. “I wanted to make up a new drink.”

Margarita had initially tried to invent a rum drink, inspired by her visits to Cuba, but had no success. Tequila was her favorite spirit, so she turned there. Having tasted and enjoyed the orange-based French liqueur Cointreau, she decided to combine the two. At the time, she said, there were no mixed drinks using tequila, which was served in classic style in a shot glass, with salt and a slice of lime.


Read more about the history of the margarita, and find recipes for Ms. Sames’ classic margarita, as well as the ever-popular frozen version.

Margarita Sames was 35 years old when she invented the cocktail that would become America’s favorite. No matter what your age, as long as you’re of drinking age, you too can invent an immortal cocktail. Just be sure to do a lot of blogging about it, so there won’t be any question years from now, that it started with you.



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CONTEST: Win 5 Pounds Of Top Pick Artisan Ravioli

Last year, Nuovo Pasta’s artisan ravioli was one of our Top Picks Of The Week (read the review). Now, Marx Food, which retails this amazing pasta, has a contest to win a five-pound box. All you have to do is go to the Marx Food website by noon on March 2 and leave a comment about which of the more than forty Nuovo pasta varieties you most want to try and why.

The winner will be randomly selected and announced on March 2nd, and will receive one five-pound box of the Nuovo pasta of his or her choice.

From the top: Portabella & Asiago Ravioli,
Gorgonzola & Sundried Tomato Girasole and
Roasted Vegetable Pansotti.



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RECIPES: Grilling Winners

avocado-shrimp-boats
Avocado Shrimp Boats
Want to check out 15 great grilling recipes? Consumers nationwide submitted their best to the Crisco Cooking Sprays Grilling Hall of Fame Contest. Fifteen grill masters from around the U.S. have become finalists. You can vote for the winner at http://www.grillinghalloffame.com and collect these recipes:

- Avocado Shrimp Boats
- Cardamom–Scented Tropical Fruit & Marshmallow Skewers with Apricot Sauce
- Garlicky Grilled Pizzas with Grilled Shrimp, Feta, and Sun Dried Tomatoes
- Grilled Chicken and Roasted Pepper Panini
- Grilled Greek Feast
- Grilled Mango-Citrus Chimichurri Shrimp

- Grilled Sweet Potato Salad with Jacama, Blue Cheese and Chipotle Lime Dressing
- Lani-Ono Island Chicken
- Lemon-Rosemary Shrimp Crostini
- Pineapple Ribs
- Spice-Rubbed Mahi-Mahi Walks the Plank
- Succulent Shrimp and Spinach Grilled Pizza
- Sweet And Spicy Asian Surf And Turf Skewers
- Grilled Salmon with Pineapple Salsa and Grilled Vegetables

According to The Hearth, Patio and Barbecue Association, 58 percent of grill owners use their grills year round. So, check out the recipes, download your favorites and get grilling!


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CHEESE OF THE WEEK: Menuet (Actually Related To The Dance!)

You can dance the minuet, and you can nibble on some Menuet, one of numerous small batch, farmhouse cheeses found in the countryside of Normandy, a region in the north of France that hugs the south of the English Channel  and is known for its great dairy products: fine cows grazing on fine pasture. Factoid: Normandy is actually divided between French and British sovereignty. The continental territory belongs to France, and the Channel Islands, Guernsey and Jersey, are under British rule. Both areas were part of the former the former Duchy of Normandy. If the names sound familiar, Guernsey and Jersey are known for their great milk cows, which leads us back to cheese.

Learn about this rare artisan cheese.

Menuet, the cheese, is named after minuet, the
dance. Originating in France, this Menuet is made
by Dancing Cow Cheese in Vermont.




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ENTERTAINING: Oscar Party Ideas ~ Part 2

Red Carpet Fizz.

The Academy Of Motion Picture Arts And Sciences has your Oscar Party planned for you, from cocktails to food to pre-broadcast fun. Celebrity chef Wolfgang Puck is the official chef of the Academy Awards’ official dinner. Get his recipes for a formal dinner of:

- Smoked Salmon Blinis
- Butter Lettuce Salad with Mandarin Oranges
- Slow Braised Short Ribs
- Pan-Roasted Chicken with Whole-Grain Mustard and Port
- Spring Risotto
- Molten Lava Chocolate Cake

For cocktail hour, offer guests:

- The Red Carpet Fizz
- The Ultimate Accolade
- The Golden Rush
- Plus Non-Alcoholic Beverages

And, there are party planning tips, shopping lists and games, Oscar ballots, Oscar Trivia and other games. Oscar Bingo, anyone? http://www.oscars.org/partykit


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DISCOUNT: $1.00 Coupon For Yoplait

A superfood is a natural food source that is highly concentrated with a complex supply of quality nutrients. Several fruits in this group have gotten big play over the last few years as superfruits (read an in-depth explanation of superfoods and superfruits).

Yoplait Original yogurt has just launched three new 99% fat free superfruit-flavored yogurts: Cherry Pomegranate, Blackberry Pomegranate and Blueberry Acai. To celebrate, here’s a $1.00 coupon off on any Yoplait yogurt cups: http://tinyurl.com/ad44ky.

Yoplait Superfruits Yogurt


- Yoplait is the only leading yogurt brand with calcium and vitamin D in every cup.
- Suggested Retail Price: $0.72 per 6-ounce cup.

Is there a whole lot of antioxidant benefits in a cup of superfruit yogurt? No—the major benefit comes from eating the concentrated nutrients and fiber in the fruit or its juice (where you lose most of the fiber), not in a secondary food flavored with it (think of eating an orange, versus an orange-flavored yogurt). But every little bit counts.

- Read our article on antioxidants to get a better understanding of how they work.
- Here’s a chart on the ORAC values (antioxidant values) of different foods.


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FREEBIE & NEW PRODUCT: Starbucks Instant Coffee, VIA Ready Brew

Starbucks Instant Coffee Starbucks introduces VIA Ready Brew. It’s “our amazing new way to make a truly great cup of coffee, just by adding water,” says the company promotional material. “This isn’t like instant coffee you’ve ever tasted before. This is rich, flavorful, aromatic Starbucks coffee—in an instant.”

Made with the highest-quality, ethically-sourced Arabica beans, Starbucks claims to have “found a way to microgrind them in a way that preserves all their essential oils and flavor–trust us, you won’t find anything like VIA Ready Brew anywhere else.” “We have been working on this project for more than 20 years,” Starbucks said, “and have a patent pending on the technology that delivers Starbucks coffee in an instant form.”

You don’t have to trust them on this point: You can send for a free sample and try it for yourself: http://www.starbucksstore.com/products/via/freesample.asp. The instant coffee is available in Columbian and Italian Roast. VIA will be sold online and in Starbucks stores in packs of three for $2.95 or packs of 12 for $9.95—a cup of instant Starbucks for under $1.00.


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FREEBIE: Jelly Belly Jelly Beans

Love Jelly Belly jelly beans? From today through Sunday, February 22, you can buy the “irregulars,” called Belly Flops, regularly half the price, at an even deeper discount: buy 3 bags of Belly Flops and receive 2 bags free of charge.*

Just place a minimum of 5 bags of Belly Flops in your shopping cart at JellyBelly.com and you will automatically receive an $18 discount (the cost of two bags). You can also buy a 12-count case of Belly Flops for only $50 (regular price $97.20). There’s free shipping for any order over $50**.

Belly on, dudes!


*Discount only applies to the first five Belly Flops 2 lb. bags and/or the first 12-count Belly Flops case in your shopping cart. All additional bags or cases will be charged at full price. Offers may be used together–five Belly Flops 2 lb. bags and one Belly Flops case in one order will activate both discounts simultaneously. Offer good until February 22, 2009 at 11:59pm PT, or while supplies last. No rain checks.

**Merchandise total must equal or exceed $50 for free shipping to apply. Shipping cost is added before discount is applied–ordering six or more Belly Flops 2 lb. bags during the discount period will activate the free shipping option as well as the $18 discount. Applies to UPS Standard Shipping (excludes heat-sensitive items and other items requiring expedited shipping). Offer is valid only on JellyBelly.com, and may not be valid with any other offer. Orders shipping to multiple addresses must amount to at least $50 per address to qualify for free shipping. There are no returns, refunds or exchanges on outlet product. Other restrictions may apply.


Belly Flop Sale

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