THE NIBBLE BLOG: Products, Recipes & Trends In Specialty Foods
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Archive for August, 2009

PRODUCT: Glow Gluten Free Cookies


Gluten-free cookies and milk. Photo by
Corey Lugg | THE NIBBLE.

More and more people are discovering that they have wheat allergies, if not full-blown celiac disease. Now, they can enjoy cookies so delicious that their wheat-eating friends will be grabbing for them too.

Thanks to the miracles performed at Glow Gluten Free, people on gluten-free diets can happily nibble away on Chocolate Chip, Chocolate Chocolate Chip, Gingersnap and Snickerdoodle cookies. How good are they? The label fell off the tin we were storing them in, and we didn’t realize they were the gluten-free cookies while eating them up at a visit with friends.

The all-natural cookies are also dairy-free and, of course, trans fat-free. (They do contain eggs and soy.) Share the Glow: Pass the word.

The cookies can be purchased online at



TIP OF THE DAY: Gourmet Sausages Barbecue For Labor Day

Make your Labor Day barbecue something special with a gourmet sausage bar. Instead of the same old franks, offer a selection of gourmet sausages. We did a quick tour and found a variety of tempting ones: not just pork, but bison, salmon, lamb, chicken with wild rice, chicken with feta and sundried tomato, chicken with apples, Thai and Indian chicken sausages, smoked andouille sausage and lots more. Put more excitement in those buns—and while you’re at it, buy whole grain or organic buns, along with some great mustards. Your guests will be thrilled.


TOP PICK OF THE WEEK: Stony Brook Cookie Company

If you live in the vicinity of Geneva, New York, you can pop into the Stony Brook Bakery for warm, fresh-from-the-oven cookies. The rest of us have to order them by mail—slightly less warm, but sent fresh from the oven and arriving as delicious as if you’d baked them yourself (or as grandma baked them, if you’re not a whiz in the kitchen). In fact, in these days, when most of us have more good intentions than time to enact them, Stony Brook Cookie Company is our surrogate, baking home-style cookies with finesse, packing them in cocoa-colored excelsior and dark brown tissue paper, and nestling them in a dark brown or kraft paper box. It’s just homey enough to convey to the recipient that you could have baked them yourself.

All of the ingredients are fresh as can be: butter and eggs from a local dairy co-op, flour from a local artisan mill and almonds and pecans toasted in the bakery oven. The chocolate is from Callebaut. The varieties include Super Chocolate Chunk, a classic chocolate chunk cookie; Double Chocolate Pecan, made with bittersweet chocolate and cocoa; Oatmeal Cranberry & White Chocolate, a superior oatmeal cookie; and Stony Brook Jumble, with dried cherries, chocolate chunks, almonds and coconut. Read more about these charmers in the full review. And think of whose day would be brightened with a fresh-baked cookie gift.


These times require comfort food. Photo by Hannah Kaminsky | THE NIBBLE.

One more tip: The same folks make a unique butternut squash seed oil under another umbrella, at We’ll be writing more about it, but if you’re looking for an exciting new culinary oil, this is it.



TIP OF THE DAY: Caramelized Onions

One of our favorite homemade condiments is caramelized onions. They make an ordinary sandwich a gourmet treat; they’re a plate garnish for everything from eggs and luncheon salads to dinner meats. And they’re so easy to make and keep until you need them. Cut two large onions into 1/2-inch-thick slices and sprinkle with salt and pepper. Melt 2 tablespoons of unsalted butter with 2 tablespoons olive oil in a large pan over medium heat. Add the onions and cook slowly, stirring occasionally until well caramelized, 15 to 20 minutes. Use immediately or refrigerate in an airtight container. People will love them on their Labor Day burgers.


GOURMET GIVEAWAY: Diane’s Sweet Heat Habanero Jam

Lovers of heat and sweet: This week’s Gourmet Giveaway prize comes from Diane’s Sweet Heat—and the winner will be able to have quite a jam session. A NIBBLE Top Pick Of The Week, these jams have a wonderful texture, thanks to the crisp bell peppers chopped into them; fresh fruit flavor, from ripe California fruit; and habanero heat that is just right without being searing (you feel the heat, but it doesn’t take out your taste buds). The six flavors include Blackberry, Blueberry, Mango, Peach, Raspberry and Strawberry. The experience is fruity, hot and exciting!

The winner will get six jars—one of each flavor or in whatever assortment he or she would like. The jams can be enjoyed on toast, crackers (with or without cream cheese), hors d’oeuvres, pancakes, sandwiches, as a condiment with meats—even on ice cream!

  • To enter this Gourmet Giveaway, see THE NIBBLE’s Jams & Jellies Section and click on the link at the bottom of the page to enter your email address for the Gourmet Giveaway prize drawing.
  • Check out our review of Diane’s Sweet Heat.
  • What’s the difference between habanero and all the other chiles? See our Chile Glossary.

Yes, we know these are jalapeño chiles, not
habaneros, but the stores were out of habaneros the day of the photo shoot! Photo by Corey



PRODUCT: WowBacon Microwave Bacon Cooker


Crisp bacon emerges from the microwave.
Pour off the fat at the bottom of the cup.

Here’s a “green” approach to cooking bacon—and a less messy one, too. WowBacon microwave bacon cooker cooks crisp bacon in the microwave, without the greasy, spattering stovetop mess or the need to drain the bacon on paper towels.

How’s that green?

Based on National Pork Council Data, Americans buy 500 million pounds of bacon a year to cook at home, and use 3 billion paper towels to drain it on and clean up the bacon grease. Put end to end, the towels would wrap around the world 20 times.

The NPC did not provide an estimate of how many trees were felled to make the paper towels, but you can guess that it’s more than a few. With WowBacon, the fat drips to the bottom of the cup so the bacon doesn’t lie in the grease; the bacon holder lifts up and you dispose of the fat at the bottom of the cup.

You can pick up a WowBacon unit at or on

Think ahead: It could be the solution to your holiday gift challenges.

Love bacon? Try Skillet Bacon Spread or make your own with our recipe.



TIP OF THE DAY: Double Fruit Dessert

It’s easy to create a special dessert in minutes. Sauté seasonal fruit (now, stone fruit like peaches, plums and nectarines; in the fall, apples, pears and quince) in unsalted butter until soft; then place in a shallow bowl. In a small saucepan or microwave, heat a cup of your favorite jam or jelly (not preserves), splash with a tablespoon of rum or brandy and pour over the fruit. It’s easy enough to make every day, and special enough for company. The better the jam, the better the sauce—less expensive jams are mostly sugar. You can garnish with whipped cream and/or serve with a shortbread cookie.


PRODUCT: Dasani Essence Unsweetened Flavored Water

We carry our own water bottle, filled from the tap, to save the environment from the impact of all those water bottles (1,500 are thrown away every second, according to the Earth Policy Institute). But a flavored treat we’ve been enjoying since its debut earlier this year is Dasani Essence, bottled water with flavor but no sweeteners, no preservatives, no calories.

Unsweetened flavored water beverages are growing faster than any other segment in the $11 billion U.S. bottled water and beverage category, according to Coca-Cola, makers of Dasani. The idea behind Dasani Essence is that, according to a 2007 research study, most consumers prefer lightly flavored bottled water beverages with little or no sweetener (hmm….what about the runaway success of Coca-Cola’s own VitaminWater?). The thought behind Dasani Essence was to offer the experience of a lightly flavored water that many people enjoy when they squeeze a wedge of fresh lemon or lime into their water glass.

Two of the three debut flavors are a bit more splashy than that: Black Cherry Essence and Strawberry Kiwi Essence. The Lime Essence truly is what you’d expect by squeezing some lime in your water (and if that’s what you want, check out True Lemon and True Lime, packets you can carry with you that do just that).


The hottest-growing category in water and water beverages. Photo courtesy of Dasani.

The Black Cherry Essence was our favorite, rich black cherry flavor tantamount to having an unsweetened, uncarbonated cherry soda. Perhaps our bottler was a bit more generous with the flavor, because we observed a complaint from another taster that there was hardly any cherry flavor in her bottle. Strawberry Kiwi Essence was in the middle: enjoyable, with more impact than the Lime Essence but less than the Black Cherry.

If you believe that you don’t need the sugar or artificial sweeteners in a soft drink, check out Dasani Essence.



TIP OF THE DAY: Key Lime Delights

One of the most popular desserts, Key lime pie, is also one of the easiest to make. Fresh Key limes are ideal, but if not, Key lime juice is available in most supermarkets and specialty stores. The lime is named after the Florida Keys, which is why the word is capitalized.

  • Find recipes for Key lime pie, tarts, Key lime meringue pie and crustless pots de crème (which you can serve in martini glasses for extra panache). Key lime season runs June through August, so make pie while the sun shines!
  • Check out the different types of limes in our Lime Glossary.




Not just for salads: Cucumber is a
sophisticated sip. Photo courtesy of Dry

As with a dry Martini, Dry Soda is a brand that delivers less sweetness: a 12-ounce bottle of our favorite Cucumber Soda has only 45 calories and 11 carbs. Cucumber soda, you say? It’s wonderful, just like a refreshing glass of cucumber-infused water (or in this case, cucumber sparkling water with a touch of sweetness).

You’ll feel cool as a cucumber with a glass, whether sipping or pairing with foods. Cucumber Dry Soda is a natural with gazpacho, grilled eggplant and other vegetables (and many vegetarian dishes), Mediterranean foods, salmon and tandoori. As a cocktail mixer, it marries with citrus vodka, tequila and of course, cucumber gin.

If cucumber isn’t your thing, Dry Soda’s other flavors include Juniper Berry, Kumquat, Lavender, Lemongrass, Rhubarb and Vanilla. We have other favorites among these, as well.



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