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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, 2009

PRODUCTS: Sauce/Marinades

Carolina Gourmet
Carolina Gold Classic Sauce.
When you eat a lot of chicken, you look for different preparations. Sometimes, we get tired of our own recipes, so we taste a lot of prepared marinades each year. Here, two interesting all-natural entries that include mustard, but are 180 degree polar opposites:

Sunnybay Mediterranean Marinade

This marinade is made from extra virgin olive oil, garlic, balsamic vinegar and a proprietary blend of herbs and spices. You don’t have to look hard to see the mustard seed: the jar is 3/4 chunky bits of seasoning topped off with the oil (shake jar to blend). If you like garlic and mustard seed, this elegant marinade has lots of both—neither overpowering. http://www.sunnybayinc.com.

Carolina Gold Classic Sauce


If you like French’s Mustard, here’s a sauce/marinade that looks like it and tastes like it. While you could probably fiddle around at home with French’s, apple cider vinegar, molasses, sugar and Worcestershire sauce, the Carolina Gold folk have a good thing going already. We only tasted the Classic Sauce, but there are Spicy Hot Sauce and Honey Sauce varieties, too. http://www.gourmetcarolinagold.com.

While we used them on chicken, they are versatile for just about anything.



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TRENDS: Doggie Bags On Park Avenue

Toney diners who once would have frowned on taking home leftovers are now packing up the doggie bag after putting on the Ritz. The affluent still dine out, notes David Pogrebin, manager of New York City’s historic Brasserie restaurant (we’ve been dining there since childhood). But in the thick of a recession, even those at the top are tightening their belts through a growing trend of bringing home leftovers. And of course, that duck breast is not going to the dog—if it ever did—nor is the risotto and other rich “doggie bag” contents that would be questionable additions to Fido’s bowl.

Since Elizabethan times at least, restaurants provided extra-large napkins—not only because people ate with their hands, but they used them to wrap up and take home any leftovers. Paper bags did come around in time, but in 1949, Al Meister, owner of a Chicago-based packaging company called Bagcraft Papercon, developed a coated paper bag that was grease-resistant. He is credited with inventing the “doggie bag”—and the take-out bag, for that matter. Grease-resistant soon evolved into foil-coated bags with quirky drawings of Fido, with the blaring headline, “Doggie bag.” No wonder people of good breeding didn’t want to be seen carrying them!

Doggie Bag
Snazzy doggie bag.
These days, with everyone pinching pennies, who can blame Park Avenue folks if they take the last few morsels of steak frites back to their $4 million apartments. We’re big fans of Executive Chef Luc Dimnet’s cuisine, too, and we wouldn’t leave a morsel on the plate, recession or boom. And it’s not only good for the pocketbook, it’s good for the waistline.

But the lesson here, boys and girls, is no matter how casual or fine the restaurant, no matter how large or small the amount of leftover food: You’ll be sorry you didn’t take it home. You’ve paid for it, it’s yours, and management doesn’t like to see good food thrown out. They’re flattered that you like it so much, you want to take it home.

By the way, while New Yorkers previously could not remove wine from restaurants, the State Liquor Authority informs us as of September 9, 2004, that rule was changed, enabling you to benefit financially from a “Wine Doggie Bag” as well. We quote:

“Legislation has been enacted which provides a procedure under which a restaurant licensee may permit a patron, following the patron’s consumption of a full course meal, to remove one partially consumed bottle of wine from the restaurant. The limitations, conditions, and procedures regarding a restaurant patron’s removal of one partially consumed bottle of wine from the restaurant are discussed in Bulletin No. 588. To view this bulletin click on the following link: SLA Bulletin No. 588

Salient points from the pdf:

“At the conclusion of the meal, the restaurant patron must be provided with a dated receipt which indicates both the purchase of a full course meal and the purchase of the wine. A receipt which is undated does not satisfy the requirements of the statute. A receipt which fails to indicate that the wine was purchased in connection with a full course meal is insufficient, because the statute requires that the wine be purchased in connection with a full course meal. Before a restaurant licensee may permit a partially consumed bottle of wine to leave the restaurant, the restaurant licensee or an agent of the restaurant licensee must:

• securely reseal the bottle of wine;
• place the resealed bottle in a one-time-use tamper-proof transparent bag, and
• securely seal the bag.

The one-time-use tamper-proof transparent bag must insure that the patron cannot gain access to the bottle while in transit after the bag is sealed.”

What this means is, you can’t open the bottle to drink until you get home—no drinking and driving. The bag is transparent so that you can’t hide the goods from any law official stopping you in transit. Regulations for wine will vary according to each state’s rules.



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TRENDS: Yogurt, The Latest Hot Food

Food fit for the gods: Greek Gods Grourmet
Yogurt
with probiotics.

Yogurt is “the food of the day” according to NPD Group, a Port Washington, New York-based research firm. Not only can it be consumed, straight or as an ingredient, at any time of the day, but probiotic yogurts, with added “healthful” bacteria, are growing even as the Commerce Department reports the deepest decline in consumer food spending in more than 50 years. Just count how many different brands are on the shelf of your supermarket—and every day, more are coming into the market, including those that meet special needs for the ultra-gourmet crowd and for lactose-intolerant yogurt lovers. And just to touch on the probiotic frozen yogurt category, we’ve stopped counting the number of Pinkberry and Red Mango shops that have opened across the street from each other in our city. And Yogen Früz is on the march with more of the same.

While yogurt has always been a principal ingredient in Greek, Middle Eastern and Indian restaurants, mainstream chefs have jumped onto the bandwagon, too.

– See the article in Nation’s Restaurant News.
– See reviews of our favorite yogurts and yogurt recipes.
– Learn about probiotics.



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CHEESE OF THE WEEK: Morbier Cheese From France

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

Morbier (more-bee-YAY) is one of France’s best-known cheeses. It is a semi-soft, aromatic and surprisingly mild French cow’s milk cheese, defined by the dark vein of vegetable ash streaking through its middle.

Today, the ash is purely decorative, a nod to the method by which Morbier was once produced in the small village of Morbier in eastern central France, bordering Switzerland. It has a rind that is yellowish, moist and leathery. The cheese is aged for at least 60 days and up to four months. It has an assertive scent, but a mild, sweet, buttery taste and a nutty aftertaste.

 

Morbier cheese is easily recognizable by the layer of ash in the middle. Photo courtesy MurraysCheese.com.

 

Morbier is a byproduct of Gruyère. Way back when the cheesemakers in France’s Franche-Comté region of France were concentrating on producing Gruyère de Comté, they often had leftover curds at the end of the day. However, they didn’t have enough to make a full Gruyère de Comté, so the cheesemakers would make a smaller cheese. After packing the leftover curds into a mold, they would blacken their hands by rubbing them on the exterior of the copper pot used for cooking cheese curd. The resulting ash was smeared on top of the evening curd to keep it from drying out overnight.

The next day, there would be more excess curd from the morning cheesemaking session, and that would be laid on top of the ash. The Morbiers of Jura and Doubs (départments—think counties—within the province) both benefit from an Appellation d’Origine Contrôlée (AOC) designation, although other non-AOC Morbiers exist.

Do not confuse Morbier with the American Mobay cheese, a Wisconsin semisoft cheese made of one layer of goat’s milk and one of sheep’s milk. In appearance, it is similar to Morbier, with ash separating the two layers. The taste, however, has nothing in common since the milk is not the same.

Morbier is excellent served with Gewurztraminer or Pinor Noir.

Find more of our favorite cheeses.

  

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COUPONS: Del Monte

Pear

Here’s a financial incentive to eat more fruit: $1 off on Del Monte Orchard Fresh and Citrus Select Fruit Jars, $1.25 on Citrus Bowls & Fruit Cups. At http://fruitundressed.com. While you’re there, check out the many easy-to-make recipes. Some of our favorites:

– Citrus Arugula Salad
– Flank Steak With Citrus Salad
– Honey Mustard Citrus Spinach Salad
– Mango Chicken Stir-Fry
– Mango Grilled Chicken Salad
– Pear, Blue Cheese & Walnut Salad
– Pork Tenderloin With Citrus Salsa
– Thai Shrimp & Citrus Salad


Speaking of citrus, you won’t believe how many different kinds of lime there are. Check out our Lime Glossary.

Is organic citrus better than conventionally-grown fruit? THE NIBBLE tells all:

Organic Vs. Conventional Citrus Fruit
– Dietary Help Or Media Hype: Are Organic Fruits & Vegetables Really Better?



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DISCOUNT: $1 Oatmeal at Jamba Juice

What does a buck buy you these days? A healthy cup of steel cut oatmeal at Jamba Juice, thanks to the Starbucks-Jamba Juice Oatmeal War.

Starbucks made the first move in early February, announcing an oatmeal “breakfast pairing” with a tall latte or a tall brewed coffee for $3.95 (among several breakfast pairings).

Called the Jamba Economic Boost Plan, the $1 oatmeal offer (generally priced at $2.95) is available through the end of March. Download a printable coupon for use at participating locations at OatmealForABuck.com, and enjoy the organic steel-cut oats plain (for maximum health benefits) or with the typical brown-sugar crumble and a choice of three fruit toppings.

– See why oatmeal is so good for you, and learn what is and what isn’t a whole grain, in our review of whole grain breakfast cereals.

Earthborn Steel-Cut Oats, a NIBBLE Top Pick.


10% off Fudgy PB VitaTops

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