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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 March, 2010

GLOSSARY: Lemon Varieties

We couldn’t let Oranges & Lemons Day end without introducing our latest food glossary: the Lemon Glossary.

It has (almost) everything you want to know about lemons:

  • Lemon history (they originated near the foothills of the Himalayas)
  • The different types of lemons (can you name even two?)
  • Nutrition and health benefits, plus kitchen tips.

    You’ll even find our favorite recipe for homemade lemonade.

    The Lemon Glossary is one of more than 70 food glossaries developed by THE NIBBLE editors. You’ll find everything from an Antioxidant Foods Glossary and Artificial & Natural Sweeteners Glossary to a Waffle Glossary and Yogurt Glossary.

  •  

    lisbon-lemon-230

    Can you name this type of lemon? It’s one of
    the two “supermarket lemons.” There’s no
    generic “lemon” any more than there is a generic “apple.”

    HOT TIP: The most frequently read pages on TheNibble.com are the Beef Glossary, Cheese Glossary, Chocolate Glossary, Crab Glossary, Olive Oil Glossary, Pasta Glossary, Squash Glossary, Sushi Glossary, Tea Glossary and Water Glossary.

    Comments

    EASTER: Eat Your [Chocolate] Vegetables!

    veggies-2010-230s

    People will beg for these veggies!
    Photo courtesy WoodhouseChocolate.com.

     

    What does a chocolate Easter bunny eat? Chocolate carrots, of course!

    Carrots—in dark, milk and white chocolate—and chocolate asparagus are the adorable chocolate vegetables made by Woodhouse Chocolate, a NIBBLE Top Pick Of The Week.

    No children—or adults—will refuse to eat these vegetables. (And here’s a trick: Proffer the chocolate veggies as a reward for eating the real veggies—for the rest of the month.)

    The solid chocolate veggies are $6 each, with bundles of five milk or dark chocolate asparagus (tied with a ribbon) for $25.00.

    Pick your veggies at WoodhouseChocolate.com.

    Comments

    EASTER: There’s Still Time To Order These Chocolate Eggs

    Some wonderful Easter treats have just come to our attention.

    Look at these beautiful Eggs Naturel, filled chocolate eggs covered in Valrhona white chocolate, from Chocolat Moderne (a NIBBLE Top Pick Of The Week).

    The White Egg, “Peanut Pizzazz,” has a center of salted roasted peanut paste blended with dark milk chocolate and flecks of caramelized sugar.

    The Brown Egg, “Hazelnut Hystérie,” has a center of roasted hazelnut paste blended with dark milk chocolate and flecks of caramelized sugar.

    The Blue Egg, “Parlez Pistache,” is filled with our favorite pistachio paste blended with white chocolate and rice crisps.

    Be a good bunny and send these gourmet chocolate Easter eggs to someone you love. Six eggs in large coral gift box, $39.00. To order, telephone Chocolat Moderne, Monday through Friday from 10 a.m. to 6 p.m. Eastern Time, at 212.229.4797. Or visit the website.

     

    eggs-2010-230

    Creative and beautiful chocolate Easter eggs.
    Photo courtesy ChocolatModerne.com.

    The chocolatiers also make “Fauvergé Eggs” with different flavor combinations and Fabergé-like designs, as well as Greek Easter Eggs, infused with anise seed and laced with ouzo.

    Comments

    PRODUCT: Volcano Lemon & Lime Juice

    volcanic-lemon-lime-juice-230

    Italian Volcano lemon and lime squeeze
    bottles hold great juice—not from
    concentrate. Photo courtesy
    DreamFoods.com.

     

    Our Tip Of The Day (below) on juicing lemons has reminded us that we’ve never written about the only pre-juiced products we use (when we find ourselves out of fresh citrus): Volcano Lemon Burst and Lime Burst. They live in the produce drawer of our fridge.

    Unlike other juices that come in cute plastic squeeze bottles resembling lemons and limes, Volcano juices are not reconstituted juice or made from concentrate. They’re fresh-squeezed juice with a twist.

    The company developed a special compartment on top of the squeeze bottle, which contains zest and lemon oil from the peel—the part that never goes into conventional reconstituted lemon juice or concentrate. The lemon oil adds an additional zesty burst of flavor to each squeeze, as well as a fresh aroma. It’s why you’d think it was fresh-squeezed juice.

    Volcano Lemon Burst is juiced directly from organic lemon groves near the Mt. Etna volcano in Sicily—a rich agricultural area where the fabulous San Marzano tomatoes grow.

    Volcano Lime Burst is made from from exotic limes grown in Mexico and bottled fresh. It has the same compartment on the top of the bottle that squeezes zest and lime oil from lime peel.

    The only other thing we can say is: Look for it at your specialty store (or visit DreamFoods.com for more information).

    Comments

    TIP OF THE DAY: Juicy Tip

    Double the amount of juice you get from a lemon or lime with these tips:

    1. The citrus should be at room temperature.

    2. Roll it on the counter, applying firm pressure with your hand.

    3. Microwave it for 15 seconds.

    Each of these actions releases more juice from the sacs.

    Today is Oranges & Lemons Day. Check out the different types of lemons—plus the history of the lemon—in our Lemon Glossary.

    And use the search box at the top of the page to find lemon recipes, lemon tips and lemon-flavored foods.

     

    604618_lemon_splash_nico1

    Use more lemons for virtually no-calorie
    flavor and vitamin C. Photo by
    Nico | SXC.

    Comments

    NEWS: Inko’s White Bottled Tea In NYC School System

    Group of 5-230

    Five of Inko’s 11 bottled flavors.
    Photo courtesy Inko’s.

     

    For those of you with an idea for the next great bottled beverage, be forewarned:

    No matter how brilliant your idea is, there’s the marketing conundrum. It’s very, very hard to get your products on the shelf of major retailers. And you probably can’t make a living just selling to specialty stores.

    If your product doesn’t catch on in a big way (like Red Bull—which had deep pockets), your distribution will be limited. We’re chagrined that we can’t find Inko’s bottled white teas everywhere.

    When we first tried Inko’s, the first (and still the only) beverage company solely dedicated to producing all-natural, ready-to-drink white teas, we were hooked. We don’t buy many bottled beverages because of our personal pledge to limit recycling, but we make an exception for this one.

    Now there’s good news for Inko’s:

    Two of its flavors— Inko’s Blueberry and Inko’s Strawberry White Teas—are now available in the vending machines and ancillary commissaries of the New York City Public High School system. Not only will a large new audience develop, but the kids are getting a terrific-tasting, healthy beverage.

    To improve the nutritional quality of food and beverages available for sale to students at school, the New York City Department of Education has a mandate to improve the quality and nutritional value of foods and beverages that are available for students. With specific regard to beverages, the policy states:

  • Water is permitted
  • Low calorie drinks without any artificial flavors, colors, or sweeteners are permitted
  • Maximum of 25 calories per 8 oz. serving
  • No serving size limit
  • While the regular line is sold in bottles, the vending machine line is (of necessity) in 12-ounce cans created especially for the school program, along with new graphic art to appeal to a younger market. The products are sweetened with a small amount of fructose—better on the glycemic index than sucrose, table sugar.

    If you’re involved with your school system’s vending program, give Inko’s a call.

    If you’re looking for a wonderfully refreshing, low-calorie beverage, look for Inko’s at fine retailers; if you can’t find it, ask your retailer to bring it in. Or order it online at HealthyWhiteTea.com. Our personal favorites include Apricot, Blueberry, Hint o’ Mint, Honeydew and Honeysuckle—but we’d be glad for a bottle of any flavor.

  • Read our review of Inko’s Bottled White Teas.
  • Comments

    PRODUCT: Save Time, Eat Well With The “Stay Or Go” Slow Cooker

    Like many people, we live a busy life: work, get home, walk the dog and put a hot dinner on the table. We do a lot of slow cooking.

    Until recently, we didn’t know what we were missing from our Rival Crock-Pot 5-quart slow cooker. Then we were given the Hamilton Beach Ensemble Stay Or Go five-quart slow cooker.

    To say that we appreciate our Hamilton Beach slow cooker—a device originally known as a crock pot—is putting it mildly. We simply love everything about it.

    We love that we can prepare an entire meal simply by tossing a bunch of ingredients inside it (which can be done the night before). Then we turn it on and forgetting about it, until it’s time for dinner. We come home from work (or errands, or other obligations), our stomachs growling, to something hot and delicious.

    Read the full review to see all the features and discover how much easier it is to cart food somewhere else—even across town on public transportation.

     

    slow cooker-230

    Don’t worry about any spillage when the lid is
    on the Stay Or Go Slow Cooker. Photo courtesy Hamilton Beach.


    Comments

    TIP OF THE DAY: Coloring Coconut

    easter-cupcakes-nest-230

    It’s easy to color coconut to make desserts
    more fun. Photo courtesy McCormick.com.

     

    It’s easy to tint coconut for Easter cakes/cupcakes or any other holiday.

    1. Place shredded or flaked coconut in a large resealable plastic bag.

    2. Squeeze food color into the coconut: 5 to 6 drops per 1 cup of coconut.

    3. Shake until color is evenly distributed. If not using immediately, spread in a shallow pan to dry and store in an airtight container.

    You can use the coconut in other dishes as well.

    For a spring or Easter salad, toss fresh fruit (apples, bananas, mangos, pineapple) or dried fruit (blueberries, cherries, raisins, sultanas) with your greens. Halved pecans are a nice touch as well.

    Garnish by sprinkling with flaked or shaved coconut—colored or white.

  • Find more cake and cupcake ideas in our Gourmet Cakes section.
  • Comments

    PRODUCT: Naturally Nora Cake Mixes & Frosting

    Prepackaged cake mixes don’t have to be full of artificial ingredients or hydrogenated oils.

    That’s what Nora Schultz thought when she created Naturally Nora Baking Mixes—and frosting mixes, of course! The packaging is environmentally friendly as well.

    The mixes are free of artificial ingredients, colors and preservatives. Instead, the company seeks out natural ingredient suppliers to create dessert mixes that you can use to easily whip up a frosted cake, cupcakes or brownies.

    All of the products are kosher and most do not contain dairy or soy (the only exception is the Doubly Fudgy Brownies mix), although they are produced in a facility that also uses milk, soy, tree nuts and peanuts.

    You can use the mixes to make the basic cake or brownie recipe on the box, or incorporate them into other desserts, including the Wholly Coconut Cupakes Recipe from Naturally Nora herself.

    Wholly Coconut Cupcakes Recipe

     

    Use Naturally Nora to make all-natural
    desserts. Photo by Hannah Kaminsky | THE NIBBLE

    Ingredients For The Cupcakes
    – 1 box Naturally Nora Sunny Yellow Cake Mix
    – 1 cup well-stirred canned, unsweetened coconut milk (not “lite”)
    – 1/2 cup vegetable oil
    – 3 large eggs

    Ingredients For The Frosting
    – 1 box Naturally Nora Extraordinary Vanilla Frosting Mix
    – 8 tablespoons (1 stick) unsalted butter, melted
    – 3 tablespoons well-stirred canned, unsweetened coconut milk (not “lite”)
    – 3 1/2 cups sweetened flake coconut

    Preparation
    1. Heat oven to 350°F. Line two 12-cup muffin tins with paper liners.

    2. Mix cake mix, 1 cup coconut milk, oil and eggs for 1-2 minutes on medium speed with an electric mixer. Divide batter evenly among muffin cups.

    3. Bake 20-25 minutes. Cool completely.

    4. Beat frosting mix, melted butter and 3 tablespoons coconut milk with an electric mixer on medium speed 1-2 minutes until fluffy.

    5. Frost cupcakes generously with frosting. Press coconut on top of cupcakes.

    Makes 18-24 cupcakes.

  • For more information about Naturally Nora, visit NaturallyNora.com

  • Comments

    GOURMET GIVEAWAY: Martine’s Chocolates & Naturally Nora Cake Mixes

    These chocolate bunnies are just two of the
    delicious prizes in this week’s Gourmet
    Giveaway. Photo courtesy Martine’s
    Chocolates.

     

    If the Easter bunny fails to bring you a basket full of Easter joy, there are still chances to win super-premium chocolate goodies in this week’s Gourmet Giveaway. Three lucky winners will receive adorable (and luscious) artisan chocolate bunnies from Martine’s Chocolates, in their choice of dark, milk or white chocolate.

    And Martine’s is offering a freebie for all NIBBLE readers:

  • Through the end of April, you’ll receive a free 2-piece box of marzipan eggs with your first purchase over $25 (excluding shipping), or a free 2-piece box of marzipan eggs plus 2 chocolate truffles with your first purchase over $45.
  • To get your free chocolates, mention that you are a NIBBLE reader over the phone or in the comments area if you are ordering online.
  • To learn more about Martine’s Chocolates, check out our review and visit MartinesChocolates.com.

  • PRIZE #2: Naturally Nora Baking Mixes

    Need some brownies or a frosted cake in a hurry? Naturally Nora provides boxed cake and frosting mixes made with all-natural ingredients and no artificial colors, flavors or preservatives.

    One lucky NIBBLE reader will be able to make three easy frosted cakes and two pans of brownies, with a prize that includes:

  • Alot’a Dots Cake Mix and Alot’a Dots Frosting Mix
  • Cheerful Chocolate Cake Mix and Cheerful Chocolate Frosting Mix
  • Sunny Yellow Cake Mix and Extraordinary Vanilla Frosting Mix
  • Two brownie mixes: Fantastic Fudgy Brownies and Doubly Fudgy Brownies
  • Learn more about Naturally Nora at NaturallyNora.com

  • To Enter These Gourmet Giveaways: Go to the box at the bottom of our Gourmet Chocolate Section and enter your email address for the prize drawing. This contest closes on Monday, April 5th at noon, Eastern Time. Good luck!
  • Comments

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