THE NIBBLE BLOG: Products, Recipes & Trends In Specialty Foods
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Archive for August, 2010

TOP PICK OF THE WEEK: Liquorice (That’s Licorice Candy From Australia)

Licorice is a “healthier candy”: no cholesterol, no salt.

Most Americans have had the pleasure of a bag of red licorice. Yet we’ve learned that red, chocolate and any color licorice but black isn’t licorice. To be real licorice—and enjoy its health benefits—there must be licorice root extract, which creates black candy.

That’s only one of the discoveries in our review of Kookaburra licorice from Australia (it’s spelled liquorice in the U.K. and its former territories). Aussies simply outdo American manufacturers in making superior licorice. It has more robust flavor, a better chew and a lower, more adult level of sweetness.

In addition to the product review, you’ll follow the story of licorice, whose roots were chewed as well as made into teas as a health remedy, by the Pharoahs, the Caesars and Napoleon Bonaparte—who chewed so much licorice root for his digestive disorders that his teeth turned black!

This seriously good licorice will win many
fans. Photo by Katharine Pollak | THE NIBBLE.

There’s no worry about black teeth with modern licorice candies: only a delightful, chewy time. Kookaburra’s Allsorts, Taffy Licorice and Licorice Caramels rock our boat.

 

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PRODUCT: Kitchen Tongs = Salad Tongs

Our Orka kitchen tongs go from counter
to table. (Color availability will vary.)

Many people use salad servers—a long fork-and-spoon set—to serve salad. They’re not the simplest utensils to use neatly.

Over time, the fork and spoon have been joined together by some manufacturers to create salad tongs. (Food tongs comprise two arms that are hinged or otherwise joined together, for seizing, holding or lifting foods.)

But do you need separate salad tongs? Given the attractiveness of some kitchen tongs (made for cooking, not serving), we don’t think so. Handsome kitchen tongs like these from Orka can be used for cooking or serving.

We ditched the salad servers and use a pair of kitchen tongs at THE NIBBLE table. Specifically, we use these Orka 12-inch stainless steel tongs with silicone tips. They’re the same tongs used to flip or lift food. They take up less space and add a high-tech look to the table.

Orka also makes “salad tongs”—two separate pieces of the fork/spoon variety (which should not be called tongs, per the definition above). But for a good grip and neater serving, we prefer the kitchen tongs. Try it with your kitchen tongs.

 

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PRODUCT: Make Infused Water

If you enjoy fruit-flavored water, you can make it at home, saving money and the environment (those plastic bottles pile up in landfill forever).

Several companies make products that make it easy to create infused water.

  • Bodum’s Ceylon Tea Pitcher is an acrylic pitcher with a filter that was originally designed to brew tea. We prefer to use it to infuse water with the flavor from sliced cucumbers, grapefruit, lemons, limes, melon, oranges, whole strawberries and other fruits, plus mint leaves or other herbs. Price: $19.35 for the 50-ounce size, $25.51 for the jumbo 102-ounce size. We use it in THE NIBBLE kitchen; the slim shape and smaller size option lets us fit it into our packed refrigerator.
  • The central column in Prodyne’s Fruit Infusion Pitcher turns the fruit into a lovely attraction. The 92-ounce capacity provides plenty of infused water. Price: $23.94.
  • Jokari makes the Healthly Steps Water Infuser, a large plastic infusing ball that fits inside almost any pitcher to keep the fruit contained. Price: $6.00.

Infuse your own water with fresh fruit. This
Prodyne infusing pitcher makes fruit the
focal point.

An acrylic pitcher won’t hold up like a glass pitcher, but it’s far lighter. When filled with water, that’s a benefit for kids and others who don’t enjoy heavy lifting.

By the way, if you like sweetened infused water, just add your sweetener of choice.

 

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GOURMET GIVEAWAY: Tribe Origins Hummus

All flavors except Original have a zesty
topping that is attractive as well as flavorful.
Photo courtesy TribeHummus.com.

Love hummus? Looking for a healthy way to get your family to eat more veggies or healthier snacks? Want something other than chips to serve with wine or beer?

Serve a variety of crudités (raw vegetables) with new Tribe Origins hummus and tell them to dip away! One winner will get to taste the entire line of Tribe Origins hummus.

Following extensive consumer taste tests, Tribe created the new Tribe Origins line to be extra-creamy and smooth. The flavors include Classic, Spicy Red Pepper, Tomato & Veggie and Zesty Spice & Garlic Hummus. We loved them all.

Three of the four flavors feature a generous serving of toppings, making Tribe Origins attractive for entertaining. This vegan food is also a great source of fiber, protein and iron.

The line is certified kosher by OU.

Retail value: Approximately $20.00

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TIP OF THE DAY: Salad Ideas In Miniature

It’s easy to make salad more interesting and get everyone to eat more healthy salad.

Packaging is everything, the saying goes. Whether it’s an everyday dinner salad or a special occasion, the same ingredients that look flat on a plate or in a bowl sparkle in glass.

  • Use small cuts. Cut ingredients into smaller pieces that fit into a rocks glass. Thin-sliced vegetables not only fit into the glass better; they look elegant. Cherry and grape tomatoes can be cut in half.
  • Vary the greens. Add mystique with something different. Vary the standard iceberg and romaine lettuces with baby arugula, baby spinach, curly leaf lettuce and whatever else you can find.
  • Add an herb. In addition to a pinch of salt and some fresh-ground pepper, snip some fresh herbs into the mix. Any herb will do. If you don’t have fresh herbs, try oregano, rosemary or thyme from the pantry. (Basil and parsley, two of our fresh favorites, don’t have as much panache as some other herbs when dried.)
  • Add a surprise ingredient. Beans, beets, cheese, corn kernels, fennel, slivers of fresh or dried fruit, nut halves, olives and pickles are just a few items that add different flavors, textures and colors.

Curly leaf lettuce, radishes, kirby cucumbers
and quail eggs get a dual garnish of chives
and dill. Photo © Sarsmis | Fotolia.

  • Use a vinaigrette. Heavy dressings don’t work here. Keep the sparkle going with this simple recipe: three tablespoons of heart-healthy olive oil or avocado oil to one tablespoon of vinegar, lemon juice, lime juice or verjus taste right on fresh greens. Add a pinch of prepared or dry mustard or some hot sauce, or flavored oil or vinegar, to change it up.

 

And what if your family loves the mini salads so much they want more? Pass the salad bowl and tongs!

Find more salad recipes in our Gourmet Vegetables Section. And post your favorite salad tips.

 

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