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

TIP OF THE DAY: Grilling Tips

Here’s a quick checklist: (1) Clean the grill properly. Always scrape the grill and rub it with oil to ensure that food won’t stick. (2) Pat the food dry before placing it on the grill, and don’t use a lot of oil. Food with excess moisture can cause the flames to smoke, and result in a burned taste. Smoke may look picturesque when food is cooking, but it’s not a good thing. (3) Similarly, rid meats of as much marinade as possible before placing them on the grill. (4) Don’t sprinkle fresh herbs on the cooking food—the fire will burn them. Instead, add them as an attractive garnish before serving. You can place herbs inside the cavity of a whole fish, or mix them into ground meat.

  • Want to make great barbecue? See tips from a barbecue expert.
  • Check out our roundup of the best barbecue sauces.

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    PRODUCT: Cucina Fresca Pasta Sauces & Pasta

    Along with Sauces ‘n Love, this is our favorite brand of fresh pasta and pasta sauces—refrigeration required. We like the sauces better than the sauces at our local restaurants. Retailers and restaurateurs should hasten to taste them and consider if they’re offering the best they can to their customers. We like nothing better than making a great pasta sauce…but we can’t make any this good!

    With most marinaras, alas, the main characteristic is “red”—and worse, red with sugar thrown in to provide flavor that the other ingredients aren’t good enough to generate. With Cucina Fresca, lush tomatoes are joined by flavorful onions, fresh basil, garlic and oregano. It is a much-appreciated marinara. But there’s even more excitement with our favorites, the Basil Cream Sauce and the Tomato Vodka Sauce. The Basil Cream Sauce upon the Caramelized Pear And Gorgonzola Ravioli was simply heaven.

    If your retailer isn’t carrying this line, ask!

     

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    Make restaurant-quality (or better) pasta dishes. Photo courtesy of Cucina Fresca.

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    TIP OF THE DAY: Lamb Burgers

    If you love lamb and don’t serve lamb chops often enough (too expensive and/or not enough to eat), you can find the same wonderful lamb flavor in rare-cooked ground lamb. We make lamb burgers, which are delicious and can be seasoned in so many ways. We serve them plain with lettuce, tomato and onions, just like a regular burger. But we make them Greek-style, with chopped Kalamata olives, crumbled feta and a bit of dill mixed in. Or Indian-style, with curry, turmeric and ginger (plus optional onions, raisins and almonds). How about Asian-style with scallions, a drop of sesame oil, toasted sesame seeds, with hoisin sauce and pickled ginger on the side instead of pickles and ketchup?

     

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    PRODUCT: Earth Balance PB & Almond Butter

    With the 2007 government proclamation that “trans fat is bad for you,” some people switched to smaller, natural peanut butter brands while big manufacturers reformulated their products. And some people who switched stayed there, because to the refined palate, natural peanut butter tastes better. It’s also made without preservatives, and with less (or no) sugar and salt.

    We’re big fans of Earth Balance Peanut Butter, made in creamy and crunchy varieties. The company also makes an equally delicious Almond Butter which we like even more. The products are certified OU kosher, and are gluten-free and vegan. Read more about them in the full review. You’ll also discover in detail the differences between traditional and natural PB.

    • Read reviews of more of our favorite PBs—and jams and jellies to go with them.
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    A healthy snack: PB on a flaxseed cracker from Yaya’s Raw Rah. Photo by Emily Chang | THE NIBBLE.

     

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    TIP OF THE DAY: Great On The Grill

    If you have an outdoor grill, you already know that there’s nothing better than a thick tuna or swordfish steak grilled rare over the coals. But they’re even better with a great relish or sauce. Check out the selection at your specialty foods store. We love Made In Napa Valley’s Roasted Corn with Red Bell Pepper Condiment. For meats, try the Roasted Portobella Tapenade.

  • See more of our favorite condiments.
  • Check out THE NIBBLE’s recommended Rubs, Marinades, Sauces & Glazes.
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