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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, 2009

PRODUCT: Thai Kitchen Jasmine Rice



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Beautiful, fragrant grains with an exquisite
taste, Thai Hom Mali rice is worth seeking
out. Photo by Emily Chang | THE NIBBLE.

 

In these fiscally cautious times, we’ve cut back on visits to our neighborhood Thai restaurant (sorry, guys—miss you!), where we easily ran up tabs of $60 for dinner for two. Instead, we’ve been cooking with Thai Kitchen’s easy-to-use products. One item in the line that has become a mainstay in our kitchen is the lovely jasmine rice, a variety known as Hom Mali.

The name Hom Mali has been trademarked for jasmine rice that is indigenous to Thailand. As with all organic products, each region gives its own special spin to the flavor based on terroir and microclimate, and rice is no different. As with other jasmine rice, Thailand’s rice crop had previously been labeled simply as jasmine rice or its synonyms: aromatic rice, scented rice or fragrant rice.

However, Thailand developed three proprietary varieties of its indigenous jasmine rice, which is grown in the lush tropical climate of northeast Thailand. In the process of producing strains that obtain higher yields with higher resistance to diseases and insect pests, Thailand has gained international recognition for its unique jasmine rice. And now you can impress the staff at Thai restaurants, by asking, “Is this Hom Mali?”

To those who think rice is bland: There are certainly bland varieties of white rice, including the ubiquitous short-grain variety served in Chinese restaurants. But try jasmine rice—and more specifically, a box of Jasmine Rice Select Harvest from Thai Kitchen (you’ll see a “Genuine Thai Hom Mali Rice” circle on the box). The pure white, long, plump grains are wonderfully fragrant (the name “jasmine” comes from the scent, which has overtones of jasmine). The rice is wonderfully soft and moist, and so delicious that we enjoy eating it plain. We cooked it on the stovetop for 30 minutes, but you can microwave it in half the time. Rice is gluten free.

  • See the many types of rice in our Rice Glossary.
  • Try one of these delicious rice salad recipes for a lighter summer main course.
  • Comments

    DISCOUNT: Cheesecake Factory’s Cheesecake Half Price On 7/30



    The Cheesecake Factory invites you to celebrate National Cheesecake Day, July 30th. Dine in at any Cheesecake Factory and enjoy a slice of your favorite flavor of cheesecake for half price. There are 30 flavors to choose from, including low-carb options.

    July 30th is also the debut of the newest cheesecake flavor, Stefanie’s Ultimate Red Velvet Cake Cheesecake: two layers of red velvet cake and two layers of creamy cheesecake (what a country!).

    Don’t look at this as self-indulgence: It’s charity work. For every slice of Stefanie’s Ultimate Red Velvet Cake Cheesecake sold over the next 12 months, The Cheesecake Factory will donate 25 cents to Feeding America, the nation’s largest domestic hunger relief charity.

    Are you ready to help the cause?

  • Find your nearest Cheesecake Factory.
  • Make your own with our favorite cheesecake recipes.
  •  

    red-velvet-cheesecake-230

    Red Velvet Cheesecake debuts at The Cheesecake Factory on July 30th, National Cheesecake Day.

    Comments

    TIP OF THE DAY: Better Burgers



    Most cookbooks advise using ground chuck for burgers, but many top chefs use brisket. It has a better proportion of fat and a better flavor. But brisket is a tough cut, so you need to have it ground twice. With any ground meat, when shaping patties, do it lightly—squeezing them into a solid mound makes them tougher and less juicy. And don’t press down on the burger with a spatula—it presses the juice out!

    Comments

    PRODUCT: Resveratrol, The Antioxidant In Red Wine, In Capsules



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    Beware of antioxidant hype. You’d have to
    drink a gallon of red wine a day to get the
    antioxidant benefit of resveratrol.
    Fortunately, this is one antioxidant you can
    buy in capsule form. Photo courtesy of
    VitaminShoppe.com.

     

    Resveratrol is an antioxidant that has gotten a lot of press in the last few years: a polyphenol found in the skins, seeds and stems of grapes. Studies in mice have shown that it increases cellular productivity and longevity, leading to a longer and healthier life. Where can you find resveratrol? In red wine!

    Now, there are resveratrol supplements, enabling you to “enjoy all the health benefits of red wine, without the adverse effects of alcohol.” Otherwise, you would need to drink a gallon of red wine a day to show the effects observed in mice. That’s not doable for the population at large because of the cost, the calories, and, oh yes, the need to be sober and carry on with one’s life.

    ReserveAge Organics is one brand of resveratrol dietary supplement capsules. Sixty capsules, a two-month supply, have a suggested retail price of $39.99. You can find them discounted to $30.99 on Drugstore.com and $29.99 on VitaminShoppe.com (which lists the suggested retail as $35.99).

    Is it worth $360 a year for whatever “longer and healthier life” you’ll get from a daily capsule of resveratrol? You be the judge. (You can give up cholesterol, start exercising, etc. for free.) The bigger point is that, every time you read an article about the antioxidants in chocolate or whatever, remember the

    resveratrol example: a gallon of red wine a day. The press is very big on spreading the hype, without providing the essential details. You generally need to consume a lot of something to get the antioxidant benefit—more than is feasible to consume. The exception is green tea: eight cups a day should do it.

  • Read more about high-antioxidant food.
  • See which seven “Super Spices” are full of the most antioxidants.
  • Comments

    RECIPE: Lemon & Crystallized Ginger Yogurt Sorbet



    There’s nothing more refreshing on a hot summer day than a bowl of lemon sorbet—but there’s a lot of sugar in sorbet. Here’s a recipe, courtesy of Chobani Greek style yogurt (one of our favorite yogurts), that will satisfy your sweet tooth and keep you cool without all that refined sugar.

    This recipe uses lower glycemic honey as a sweetener. Yes, there’s some sugar in the crystallized ginger, but you still save on the refined sugar. If you’ve never had yogurt sorbet, we think you’ll be hooked!

  • Check out the recipe.
  • See why we love Chobani probiotic yogurt in our review.
  • What’s the difference between sorbet, ice cream and gelato? Find out in our Ice Cream & Frozen Desserts Glossary.
  • Discover more sorbet and granita recipes in our Ice Cream Section.
  •  

    iStock-lemon-sorbet-230

    Love sorbet but not all the sugar—then try
    this delicious yogurt sorbet. Photo by Liv Friis-Larsen | IST.

    Comments

    TIP OF THE DAY: Table Art



    From 18th-century to ultra-modern, sugar bowls, creamers, salt-and-pepper shakers and other accessories add personality to any table. Why not collect them and use a different one each month? They don’t have to match your dishes, they don’t take up much storage space and you can find them at yard sales. In fact, look for old-fashioned salt cellars for the newly-popular artisan salts.  Let the kids make the monthly selection, and give them the job of switching over the sugar, salt and pepper on the first day of the month.

    • Take a look at the many different kinds of artisan salt.
    • You’ll love our Tabletop Section! Find out everything you need to know for a beautiful presentation. 

    Comments

    TOP PICK OF THE WEEK: Curdelicious Fruit Curd



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    Tartlets with four different flavors of
    Curdelicious fruit curd: An easy and very
    satisfying dessert. Guests will clamor for
    more! Photo by Hannah Kaminsky | THE
    NIBBLE.

     

    Do you use fruit curd? Lemon curd is perhaps the most familiar variety, a creamy spread made with sugar, eggs and butter (in the richer recipes), flavored with lemon juice and often the zest (Curdelicious uses the oil from the peel fruit instead of the zest). Then, there are siblings lime curd and orange curd. Apart from the citrus family, you can find raspberry curd, strawberry curd, cranberry curd and others. We expect to stumble upon pomegranate curd any day now.

    Fruit curd is refreshingly tart, as opposed to more sugary jams and preserves. The butter creates a smoother and creamier texture than jam. But if you only use fruit curd as an alternative to jam on toast, scones and croissants, you’re missing out.

    Curd can be used to fill tart shells and meringues for easy, elegant desserts; and as a garnish for other desserts (pound cake, for example). You can make parfaits with curd, fill crêpes, top pancakes and waffles, make cookie sandwiches and substitute for custard. (Unlike lemon custard, for example, lemon curd contains more lemon juice and zest, which gives it a more piquant flavor as a cake filling.) There are many more uses, which we’ll explore in the full review.

    Curdelicious makes everything more delicious, with fruit curds in lemon, orange, lime and raspberry. Read the full review below, and share your favorite fruit curd recipes with us. We may add them to this article!

  • Read the full review.
  • What’s the difference between fruit curd and fruit butter, jam and preserves? See our Jam & Jelly Glossary.
  • See other Top Pick Of The Week jams and jellies.
  • Comments

    TIP OF THE DAY: Fresh-Squeezed—Almost



    So many things taste better with a squeeze of fresh lemon or lime…but you don’t always have a fresh one at hand. Plan ahead by freezing fresh wedges. When you need a squeeze, microwave a wedge for 20 seconds. The juice will taste as fresh as the day you put the citrus in the freezer. Squeeze the juice on salads or seafood, in your Margarita, anywhere. While the frozen wedge doesn’t look as pretty as fresh, the juice tastes great. Freezing wedges is also a trick for saving unused portions of lemons and limes that might otherwise deteriorate in the refrigerator.

    Comments

    GOURMET GIVEAWAY: Peeled Snacks Organic Dried Fruits



    This week’s Gourmet Giveaway is a healthy gift box of Peeled Snacks organic dried fruit and dry-roasted nuts. Peeled Snacks grab-and-go, single-serve dried fruit packs and nut packs include organic and natural options:

  • Almond-daze, natural almonds
  • Apple-2-the-core, organic dried apples
  • Apricot-a-lot, organic dried apricots
  • Banan-a-peel, organic dried bananas
  • Cashew later, organic dry-roasted cashews, lightly salted
  • Cherry-go-round, natural bing cherries
  • go-Mango-man-go, organic dried mangos
  • pine-4-Pineapple, organic dried pineapple rings

  • Peeled Snacks also makes grab-and-go bags of mixed fruit and nuts, a NIBBLE Top Pick Of The Week. Read the review.

    There’s also another Smucker’s gift basket up for grabs in this week’s Gourmet Giveaway.

     

    Peeled.go-Mango-man-go

    Peeled Snacks Mango-man-go makes delicious snacking healthy, too.

  • Enter This Week’s Gourmet Giveaway for a chance to win one or both prizes.
  • Comments

    TIP OF THE DAY: Kids’ Kabobs



    Make cheese and fruit kabobs for the kids by using thin pretzel sticks instead of toothpicks or skewers. Use an ice pick to pierce a hole in cheese cubes and fruit (melon balls, grapes, berries) and alternate cheese and fruit on the pretzel stick. Show older kids how to assemble them: It makes a fun project as well as a tempting alternative to less nutritious snacks. Serve the kabobs plain or with with a fat-free yogurt dip. Greek yogurt is less tangy and more like sour cream. You can mix chopped pretzels into it along with healthy sesame and flax seed; the dip goes with both the cheese and the sweet fruit. Of course, grown-ups can enjoy these kabobs, too.

    Comments

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