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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 November, 2009

TIP OF THE DAY: Sweet Oloroso Sherry

Sherry is a fortified wine from the Jerez region of Spain. It is produced almost exclusively from the Palomino Fino grape.

There are two basic types of Sherry—Fino and Oloroso. All other styles—Amontillado, Cream, Manzanilla, Moscatel, Palo Cortado, Pedro Ximenez—are variations of these types.

From the Jerez-Xérès-Sherry region of Spain, a sweet Oloroso sherry can be the perfect dinner apéritif and multitask as the dessert wine afterwards. Oloroso is Spanish for “fragrant”; a good Oloroso will be intensely aromatic. The typical sweet, rich fig and nut flavors can complement a dessert or be savored on their own. Pair it with pecan pie; with honey, toffee or buttercrunch ice-cream; or for the cheese course, serve the sherry with blue cheese and figs. It’s a treat for the holidays or any time of year. Sherry should be served at room temperature.

  • See our favorite dessert and wine pairings.
  •  

    sherry

    Enjoy your sherry! Photo courtesy Ritzenhoff.

    Comments

    PRODUCT: Currant C Selling Final Inventory

    currant-c-group-230

    Last chance to enjoy these wonderful juices!
    Photo by Hannah Kaminsky | THE NIBBLE.

     

    It is with a heavy heart that we join Gregg Quinn, founder and president of Currant C black currant beverages, to inform you that the wonderful line of Currant C has ceased production. We reviewed it last year and adored it. The company subsequently expanded the varieties and Currant C would have been a Top Pick Of The Week in January (which is “healthy food month” at THE NIBBLE).

    The unfavorable economic environment has put the kibosh on this small company and others. Retailers are forced to pay more slowly while warehouses and trucking companies demand payment upfront. Banks aren’t lending to small companies. Combine the variables and it’s impossible for some companies to keep their doors open.

    As long as supplies last, Currant C is selling its delicious juices through its website. Six-packs are $11.94 instead of $23.94—a 50% reduction.

  • Read our review of Currant C.
  • Discover more of our favorite fruit and vegetable juices.
  • Comments

    RECIPE: Apricot Pumpkin Bread

    For Thanksgiving weekend, how about some apricot pumpkin bread, delicious for breakfast, brunch, snacks and tea sandwiches. This recipe is courtesy of B & R Farms, apricot growers who sell their delicious products at California farmers markets and to wholesalers. For more recipes, visit brfarms.com.

    APRICOT PUMPKIN BREAD
    Ingredients

    – 1 large egg
    – 1 cup sugar
    – 1 cup canned pumpkin
    – 1/2 cup salad oil (we like olive oil)
    – 1/2 cup orange juice
    – 2 cups flour
    – 1 teaspoon baking soda
    – 1/2 teaspoons each: baking powder, ground cinnamon, ground cloves, ground nutmeg, ground ginger
    – 1/2 cup chopped walnuts
    – 1 cup chopped dried apricots

     

    brfarms.com-230

    B & R Farms apricots drying in the California
    sun. Photo by Shannon Grissom, courtesy
    B & R Farms.


    Preparation
    1. Preheat oven to at 350°F.
    2. In large bowl, beat together egg, sugar, pumpkin, oil and orange juice.
    3. In another bowl, mix flour with baking soda, baking powder, cinnamon, cloves, nutmeg and ginger and add to egg mixture.
    4. Stir in nuts and dried apricots. Pour into a greased loaf pan and bake for about an hour until toothpick comes out clean.
    5. Cool 15 minutes, release from pan and serve warm with butter, cream cheese or apricot preserves. (Cream cheese and apricot preserves makes a great sandwich! Serve it with a cup of black tea; Earl Grey or Assam would be especially nice.)

  • Find pumpkin pie recipes in our Gourmet Pies & Pastry Section.
  • Find recipes for pumpkin cupcakes, banana bread and carrot cake in our Gourmet Cakes Section.
  • Comments

    TOP PICK OF THE WEEK: Java & Co. Artisan Coffee Syrups

    Cup of coffee and a coffee plunger

    Coffee: neat, pressed and hungry for a shot
    (of Java & Co. syrup, that is). Photo ©
    Elina Manninen | Fotolia.com.

     

    Millions of people in America walk into their favorite coffee emporium and order their java with a shot of syrup. Amaretto, caramel, hazelnut and vanilla are very popular, and it’s high season for egg nog, gingerbread and pumpkin (how did you think those pumpkin lattes are made)? Most coffee houses use Monin (which makes 113 flavors, not all meant for coffee) or Torani (78 flavors, ditto), and you can purchase bottles for home use. But if you’d like to give a gift of something special—small-batch, artisan-made syrups made from roasted coffee beans, including a “decaf”—Java & Co. has a good thing going.

    The infused syrups that have so captivated coffee-drinkers are essentially flavored simple syrup (sugar syrup). They have gained visibility with the renaissance of coffee houses, but have been used for many years to make Italian sodas, as breakfast syrups and dessert syrups, and in recipes from glazes to baking. They can make almost any food taste better—but sugar has a way of doing that.

    Java & Co.’s handmade and hand-bottled syrups—they’re made and shipped to order for maximum freshness—taste that much better than the mass-manufactured products from Monin and Torani. They begin with actual coffee beans, and are a delightful personal gift, corporate gift and sweet syrup for your own pantry.

  • Read the full review and discover the many ways to use flavored syrups. They can start with coffee—but end up in vinaigrettes, parfaits, cocktails and can even glaze your Thanksgiving turkey and yams.
  • Discover more of our favorite artisan honeys, sugars and syrups.
  • Comments

    TIP OF THE DAY: Truffle Juice

    Add truffle flavor to a dish with some of this brilliant juice, available at specialty food shops. Created by soaking Italian and French truffles in a brine, it’s an easy way to introduce the heady flavor of truffles to a dish.

    We use it in sauces, soups and stocks where we don’t want the added fat from our other favorite truffle-enhancement, truffle butter, another delicious and affordable solution. Truffle oil is yet another option (and great to spray on popcorn).

  • Learn all about truffles and using truffle products.
  • You must try our favorite truffle butter, from D’Artagnan,
    a NIBBLE Top Pick Of The Week.
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    Arborio Rice & Truffles

    Truffles, glorious truffles. Photo by Kelly
    Cline | IST.

    Comments

    TRENDS: Humane-Certified Meat & Poultry

    american_humane-230

    If you’re passionate about animal care, ask
    your grocer to stock these products.

     

    Ten billion farm animals are raised for food each year in the United States. You know that USDA-certified organic meat sets certain standards for animal welfare: The animals have daily access to pasture or other free-range grazing and eat organic-certified feed. If family-farm raised, they also tend to be farmed by people who care about their animals.

    But for those who are very concerned with animal welfare, there’s an even stronger certification from organizations that only focus on the topic. The certifications include American Humane Certified, Certified Humane and Animal Welfare Approved. (Whole Foods has its own “Animal Compassionate” program.)

    Their mission is to protect livestock—cattle, hogs, sheep and poultry—from inhumane treatment, both on the farm and in transit.

    These programs are voluntary and are open to livestock producers who meet the rigorous standards of raising and handling their animals. Those who are certified are permitted to use the program’s certification label on their products. The programs provide third-party, independent verification that certified producers’ care and handling of farm animals meet the science-based animal welfare standards of the certifying organization.

    The concept of certifying animal foods as being humanely raised is relatively new, and not all animal welfare scientists agree on what standards are appropriate. Thus, differences exist among the programs, most significantly, whether factory-farming systems should be approved in addition to family farms. Some programs admit family farms only.

  • Learn more about the American Humane Certified program at AmericanHumane.org.
  • Also check out Certified Humane Raised And Handled Program at CertifiedHumane.org.
  • Visit THE NIBBLE’s Gourmet Meats Section for our favorite meat and poultry products.
  • Comments

    TIP OF THE DAY: Tomato Stand-Ins

    When tomatoes are out of season—or you just don’t have any at hand—simply substitute roasted red peppers (pimientos) or marinated sundried tomatoes. Both are available in jars, and can be kept on your shelf ready for sandwiches, salads, plate garnishes, hors d’oeuvres, pastas and any need you have for flavor and color.

    Try peppadews too, a cherry pepper-sized African fruit that looks like a small, round red bell pepper and is available in mild and hot styles. They can be stuffed for hors d’oeuvres and even used as cocktail garnishes. But warning to carb counters: Their sweetness comes from added sugar.

  • See our review of Peppadew.
  • See more of our favorite veggies, plus recipes, in the Gourmet Vegetables Section of THE NIBBLE.
  •  

    jars-duo-230

    Use sundried tomatoes, roasted red peppers
    and peppadews to add flavor and color to
    sandwiches and dishes when tomato season is over. Photo courtesy Peppadew.com.

    Comments

    GOURMET GIVEAWAY: Marie Callender’s Pies & Pie Crusts

    marie_callender.jpg

    Marie Callender’s pies will take care of your
    desserts. Photos courtesy Marie Callender.

     

    What would you do if you had access to one free pie a month for an entire year? Would you host more dinner parties? Provide the dessert for the upcoming Thanksgiving dinner? Pass off a Marie Callender pie for one of your own at a potluck?

    Regardless of what the winners choose to do with their 12 Marie Callender’s pies that are the prizes in this week’s Gourmet Giveaway, they’ll be eating a lot more delicious pie!

    Take some stress off yourself this holiday season by serving Marie Callender’s pies, which are packed with flavor and enveloped in a flaky lattice crust. Or, if you prefer your own homemade fillings, save some time by using Marie Callender’s Deep Dish Pie Shells for the crust, which come in a heavy gauge baker’s pie pan for better baking.

    Whether you choose to redeem your prize as one pie a month, one every few weeks or all 12 at once for a pie-eating contest, this week’s Gourmet Giveaway prize will deliver more than 100 sweet slices.

    Four winners will each receive 12 certificates valid for one complimentary fruit pie, cream pie, pie shell or 2-pound cobbler from supermarkets nationwide. Select a complete pie or just the pie crust to make an “almost homemade” pie without having to fuss with the crust. Approximate Retail Value: $90.00.

  • To enter this Gourmet Giveaway: See THE NIBBLE’S Gourmet Pies & Pastry Section section and click on the link at the bottom of the page. Enter your email address for the prize drawing by Monday, November 23th at noon Eastern Time. Good luck!
  • Learn more about Marie Callender products at ConAgraFoods.com.
  • Comments

    TIP OF THE DAY: Brown Sugar Fix

    A pinch of brown sugar is a delightful garnish on top of yogurt, fruit salad, cereal, pancakes, sweet potatoes, ice cream and much more. But it has a tendency to lose moisture and solidify into a hard brick.

    When brown sugar gets hard, put it into a microwave-safe container and zap it for 60 seconds. The old-fashioned method, placing a slice of fresh apple into the sugar canister, still works; but it takes overnight or longer for the moisture from the apple to absorb into the sugar.

  • Learn about the different types of brown sugar—and other sugars and syrups—in our Sugar Glossary.
  • red-microwave

    A microwave zap does it every time! Kenmore microwave available at Amazon.com.

    Comments

    FOOD HOLIDAYS: Sign Up For Our Tweets

    bird-circle-230

    The “Tweety Bird” of the 21st century. Image
    via GraphicAlerts.com.

     

    Every day is a different official food holiday. We’ve compiled all the food holidays here, and keep adding to them weekly as we receive notice of new holidays. It’s a great reference article.

    If you’d like to get the daily food holidays via Twitter, along with a link to a relevant tidbit, article or recipe, sign up for Twitter.com/TheNibble.

    We post other items to Twitter that we don’t post to the blog (and vice versa), although we do post our articles to both.

    We look forward to tweeting with you!

    Comments

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