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Archive for September, 2009

TIP OF THE DAY: The Joy Of Soy

Want more soy in your life? Edamame (the Japanese word for green soybeans), once found only at Japanese restaurants, are now available almost everywhere, in the frozen vegetable case. (Guess what—the restaurants buy them frozen, too.) Steam them and eat them as a snack or an appetizer Japanese-style, squeezing the beans from the pod into your mouth. Season them by tossing with a bit of sea salt. Or, mix the beans into rice, mashed potatoes, soups and salads. They make attractive garnishes on hors d’oeuvres and other dishes. We love that something this tasty and fun is so good for us.

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Gourmet Giveaway: Smucker’s Gift Basket

We’ve all grown up with Smucker’s in the pantry as a quick and easy way to get our PB&J fix. Now the company is offering an opportunity for one reader to replenish his or her supply. Smucker’s is giving away one gift basket of products to one lucky NIBBLE reader, along with an invitation for all readers to enter its second-annual “Spreading Smucker’s Traditions” contest. There, one grand prize winner will win a five day, four night family trip for eight to Walt Disney World Resort. Visit THE NIBBLE’S Jams, Jellies, Preserves & Peanut Butter Section for your chance to win the gift basket and log on to Smuckers.com to learn how to win the trip to Walt Disney World.

One winner will receive a gift basket bursting with Smucker’s products. There’s something for every meal, including snacks and dessert! Have pancakes with syrup for breakfast, a PB&J sandwich for lunch, muffins for a snack, relish with meats for dinner and chocolate sauce on your ice cream for dessert. It’s fun to spend the day with Smucker’s! Enjoy the basket when the goodies are gone.

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There’s something for every meal in this Smucker’s Gift Basket. Photo by Erika Meller | THE NIBBLE.

 

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TIP OF THE DAY: Caviar Trio Appetizer

For a quick and easy first course/appetizer, serve a trio of miniature blinis or toast points, each with a different color of caviar. Put a dab of crème fraîche on each toast and top with a different caviar. Depending on your budget, try salmon, golden whitefish and a flavored whitefish caviar; or treat your guests to American sturgeon. Without the sturgeon caviar, it’s a relatively inexpensive and high wow-factor dish. The caviar blinis or toast points also make exciting or hors d’oeuvres.

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TOP PICK OF THE WEEK: Golden Star Sparkling Tea

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Golden Star is terrific gift for anyone, and
especially for those who are abstaining
from alcohol. Photo courtesy of Golden Star.

Oops—we forgot to post last week’s Top Pick, Golden Star Sparkling Tea. It’s such a wonderful product, we don’t want anyone to miss out on it.

If you’re a non-drinker, designated driver, or otherwise avoiding alcohol—but yearning for something as sophisticated and flavorful—Golden Star White Jasmine Sparkling Tea was created for you. It looks like a glass of Champagne, but has the sweetness of Sauternes. You’ll like it so much that you may not notice (or care) that it’s non-alcoholic. It’s a real find for non-drinkers and drinkers alike: Anyone who seeks something new and exciting will love it.

In addition to sipping as a cocktail, Golden Star Sparkling Tea pairs well with fish (including sushi), cheese, salads and fruit desserts.

Golden Star White Jasmine Sparkling Tea is totally different from artificially carbonated tea soft drinks, be they herbal, green tea or other. The tea is fermented like grapes in wine fermentation tanks. While management is mum on the process, they describe it as a marriage of the artisanal crafts of wine making and brewing. The result is complex, sophisticated and as worthy of your attention as a good glass of wine. And, the ingredients are organic. This sparkling tea is intoxicating—although no one will get intoxicated.

 

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TIP OF THE DAY: Bag The Baguette

Do the French eat their cheese with a crusty baguette? Some do, but true connoisseurs need only a knife and fork to enjoy their cheese. If they do reach for bread, the choice might be a walnut or walnut-currant loaf. The nut and fruit accents are better complements to the cheese than the blander white flour baguette, and there’s no crackly crust to interfere with the texture of the cheese (or to require a crumb-sweeper).

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FOOD HOLIDAY: National Mushroom Month

September is National Mushroom Month, which made us wonder: Is there a logical way to choose which types of mushrooms go best in which types of dishes?

We posed this question to the Mushroom Council and they gave us valuable mushroom pairing tips. We’ve included them in a new article along with mushroom buying tips and six delicious mushroom recipes.

One of our favorite recipes for carb counters is Portabella Eggs Benedict, which substitutes a nutritious portabella mushroom cap for the high-carb, nutritionally meager English Muffin (see it in the photo at right).

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When should you use a portabella versus a
porcini? Find out in our latest mushroom article.

 

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TIP OF THE DAY: Sprouted Centerpiece

A bunch of neglected onions that have sprouted greens can be transformed into a table centerpiece or room accent when they are placed in a rustic bowl, terra cotta dish or other pottery. Don’t toss those over-the-hill veggies just yet: Turn them into an accent piece!

 

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PRODUCT & RECIPE: Casa Herradura Tequila

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Herradura is the Spanish word for
horseshoe; hence the horseshoe motif
on the bottle.

This week we went to a tasting of Casa Herradura tequila, held at the new The Palm restaurant outpost in the Wall Street area. The spirits are outstanding: Casa Herradura, which is one of the world’s finest tequilas, is made the old fashioned way, in small batches in a pot still. The company was named “Distiller Of The Year” in 2007 by Wine Enthusiast magazine.

In addition to an outstanding Margarita made with Casa Herradura Silver (blanco), we tasted all four varieties neat. The difference in the varieties of tequila is in the aging: 45 days for Silver (used for mixed drinks), 11 months for Reposado (which means “resting,” as it’s aged or “resting” in the barrels for 11 month), 25 months for Añejo (which means old) and 49 months for Extra Añejo. While we liked them all, it’s no surprise that the Extra Añejo was the crowd favorite; but at $350.00 a bottle, we’ll be contenting ourselves with the more affordable Añejo.

If you’re headed to Guadalajara, take the “tequila train” into the country for a tour of the hacienda and your own tequila tasting with a tequila-dispensing mule (honest!).

While the entire dinner at The Palm was delicious, we were most excited to discover this easy new appetizer, made in a salt-rimmed Margarita glass:

– Tiny dice of cantaloupe
– Jumbo white lump crab meat
– Tossed in a dressing made of lime juice, orange juice, a splash of tequila and a hint of jalapeño
– Garnished with a fresh basil leaf

The basil is such a wonderful flavor counterpoint that we might top the crab cocktail with strands of shredded basil instead of a single leaf garnish.

 

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TIP OF THE DAY: Double Duty

Dishes that seem to be of limited use can multitask to serve several purposes. Soy sauce dishes, for example, can be used to serve lemon slices, individual condiments like chutney and tartar sauce, mini sides of applesauce, sour cream, and cocktail nibbles. Or use them to serve scallions, anchovies and other “optional” garnishes, as well as savory or sweet toppings (chocolate chips, nuts, coconut) to sprinkle on desserts. You can place soy sauce dishes on plates to contain runnier foods. Or use them to serve individual portions of after-dinner mints or other treats with coffee. If you think that your specialty dishes have only one purpose, think again!

 

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CONTEST: Win An OOTS Lunchbox

Image is everything—even in the schoolyard. Would you carry a 20th-century lunchbox if you could rock one of these 21st-century lunchboxes by OOTS? Not only do they look now, they’re perfectly functional, fitted with containers that keep everything in place. Even the lid of the box is shaped to keep a bottle in place, under an elastic strap.

You can enter to win an OOTS lunchbox for your kid—or keep it for yourself—by entering Applegate Farms’ Rock The Box contest. All you have to do is share your school food memories. New winners are selected each week.

All materials used are food safe and kid-friendly. The lunchbox is made from BPA-free and phthalate-free polypropylene and safety tested for lead. Both the lunch box and the containers are dishwasher safe; the containers can be microwaved.?

oots

Is that Carrie Bradshaw’s latest handbag or a
lunchbox that’s too cool for school? Photo courtesy of OOTS.

You’ve got two weeks of chances left: The contest ends September 25, 2009. Head over to ApplegateFarms.com to submit your entry. Visit MadeByOots.com to buy a lunch box.

Applegate Farms is one of our favorite producers of natural and organic meats: cold cuts, hot dogs, bacon, sausage and frozen foods like burger patties and pot pies. There are no nitrates and the hot dogs, to name just one product, have such great flavor, they’re in a totally different category from regular supermarket hot dogs. Give them a try!

 

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