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Archive for July, 2010

TIP OF THE DAY: Healthy Bagels

Dill is often used to garnish a plate of smoked salmon—it’s a perfect pairing. So we tried snipping fresh dill onto our bagel with cream cheese and smoked salmon.

The verdict: the more dill, the better. The pretty, fragrant herb also has a heap of health benefits. It has compounds that fight free radicals, neutralize particular types of smoke carcinogens (such as those in cigarette, charcoal grill and trash incinerator smoke) and act as an anti-bacterial. It’s also an excellent source of calcium, which prevents bone loss.

Onion lovers may prefer snipped chives as the garnish—or feel free to add both. Members of the Allium family of vegetables—including garlic and onions—have anticancer, anticlotting, hypolipidemic (lower blood cholesterol), antibacterial, antiviral and decongestant properties.

Here’s another tip: Instead of high-fat cream cheese, use low-calorie, high protein Greek-style yogurt. Triple-strained, thick and creamy, we like it just as much as cream cheese on a toasted bagel.

The Sprouted Healthy Hemp Bagel from
French Meadow Bakery, with a garnish of
fresh-snipped chives. Photography by Claire Freierman | THE NIBBLE.

Pass the bagels! Check out the whole grain, organic bagels from French Meadow Bakery, a NIBBLE Top Pick Of The Week. They deliver two servings of whole grains per bagel, are only 260 calories (regular bagels can be twice that and more)…and are delicious.

Whole-grain bagels, Greek yogurt and healthy herbs: The healthier bagel!

 

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BOOK: Everything Tastes Better With Bacon

Every bacon lover needs a copy of
Everything Tastes Better With Bacon.

When we first heard about this book, we couldn’t wait to get our hands on it: “70 Fabulous Recipes For Every Meal Of The Day,” promises the cover of the bacon cookbook, “Everything Tastes Better With Bacon.”

Any bacon lover would gladly eat every recipe in the book—and some of us might try to eat the gorgeous photographs.

Author Sara Perry focuses half the book on finer variations of the tried-and-true: bacon and lentil soup, corn and clam chowder with bacon, the BLT, green beans with pepper bacon and lemon zest, mashed potatoes with bacon, spinach and Fontina cheese (unless you’d prefer the warm potato salad with bacon and arugula). Spinach salad, a popular bed for bacon, gets updated with a curry vinaigrette.

Ms. Perry reminds us that bacon can be part of almost any dish. Breakfast biscuits are studded with bacon, figs with goat cheese are enhanced with bacon, a risotto is made with pepper bacon and marsala, polenta is topped with a bacon, corn and tomato ragout.

Surprises include a maple sundae with hazelnut-bacon candy crunch and bloody marys with beet-and-bacon bites instead of traditional munchies. How about an apple pie with a bacon crust? We can’t wait until the temperature drops a dozen degrees so we can light up the oven and bake one.

The book starts with a bacon primer: bacon types, storage, cooking tips. Any bacon lover would go hog-wild for this little cookbook. Even if you’ve made many a bacon quiche or frittata, Ms. Perry reminds you that the joy of bacon can be yours in any meal.

  • Buy the book. For $12.89 on Amazon, it makes a great gift (add some artisan bacon for even more thanks).
  • Check out bacon and the other cuts of pork in our Pork Cuts Glossary.
  • Win a bacon buffet dinner prepared by Sara Perry? We can only dream. Instead, we’ll start with the first chapter of recipes and sally forth—a much more exciting prospect than working our way through Mastering The Art Of French Cooking

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TIP OF THE DAY: Watermelon Martini

Take advantage of summer fruit by switching your cocktail choices.

Save the Bloody Marys and Cosmos for fall, and make fresh fruit drinks while the sun shines.

One of our favorite summer drinks is the Watermelon Martini. Not only is fresh watermelon delicious in a cocktail, but we love garnishing the drinks with slices of melon.

The Watermelon Wave includes orange
liqueur. Photo courtesy Gran Gala.

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PRODUCT: Caribbean Rum Cake

A black rum cake is dense with ground
raisins, prunes and cherries. Photo by
Katharine Pollak | THE NIBBLE.

There are some mediocre rum cakes out there, but we’ve been having a pretty good run tasting delicious brands.

The most recent are from Caribbean Cake Connoisseurs, owners of the enviable URL Rumcake.com. They make both traditional Caribbean black and brown rum-soaked fruit cakes as well as the pound cake flavors more familiar to Americans.

Rum was first made in the Caribbean in the 17th century, distilled from sugar cane juice or molasses. Authentic Caribbean rum cake most likely originated as a steamed pudding, brought to the Islands by English settlers in the mid-seventeenth century and modified along the way.

While Americans typically enjoy pound cake-style rum cakes flavored with banana, chocolate, vanilla and other flavors, in the Caribbean, the “original” style is a dense fruitcake in brown (brown sugar) and black (with burnt sugar).

Caribbean Cake Connoisseurs provides both styles. The brown and black cakes are available in bundts as well as sheets and layers, which are popular for weddings and other festivities. Bundt pound cakes in four flavors are available in gift tins or individual mini bundts.

 

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RECIPE: Blooming Tea Punch

We couldn’t stop drinking this fruity tea punch with tequila and vodka. It’s a refreshing way to entertain guests in the hot weather.

It’s also beautiful to look at. The tea is brewed with “blooming tea” (also called flowering tea and presentation tea). The beautiful “flowers” made of tea leaves and actual flower petals add attractive decoration to the punch.

The ice cubes in this punch are made of ginger ale and strawberries, so as they melt, they add more flavor to the punch.

Cool off with this tempting tea punch. Photo
courtesy TeaBeyond.com.

By the way, the word “punch” comes from the Sanskrit word panchan and the Persian word panj, meaning five. From ancient times, punch was made from five ingredients: tea (bitter), sugar (sweet), lemon (sour), water (weak) and arrack [spirits] (alcoholic).

 

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