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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 September, 2010

TOP PICK OF THE WEEK: Chocomize Custom Chocolate

We custom-designed these chocolate
bars to combine our favorite flavors.
Photo by Katharine Pollak | THE NIBBLE.

 

Chocolate lovers, your dream has come true.

If you enjoy a fine chocolate bar—but wish you could custom-design it to add more of your favorite flavors—Chocomize is ready to serve you.

We created all of the chocolate bars in the photo. First choose your chocolate—in this case, excellent Barry Callebaut bars from Belgium in dark, milk or white chocolate.

Then top it with up to 5 selections from almost 100 choices:

  • 17 types of nuts and seeds
  • 18 types of dried fruit
  • 11 sweet and savory spices
  • 24 different types of candy
  • 12 “decorations,” including flower petals, gold flakes and birthday greetings
  • 15 “other,” a group of favorites ranging from coffee beans to cereals, potato chips and pretzels, cookies and logos
  • It’s fun, it’s delicious and it’s inexpensive—your fantasy chocolate bar for less than $10. An e-gift certificate lets your friends and family design their own bars.

  • Read the full review.
  • Find more of our favorite chocolate.
  • Talk chocolate like a pro with our Chocolate Glossary.
  • Comments

    TIP OF THE DAY: Fresh Cookies

    Today’s tip is short and sweet: refreshing cookies.

    Whether homemade or store-bought, you can make your cookies taste like they’re fresh-baked by microwaving them for five seconds before serving.

    Try it: You’ll become an instant convert to this easy technique.

  • How to store cookies.
  • The history of cookies.
  • The different types of cookies: our beautiful Cookie Glossary.
  • Things to do with cookies.
  • Find more tips, recipes and reviews of our favorite cookies in our Gourmet Cookie Section.

     

    Emily’s Cookies, a NIBBLE Top Pick Of
    The Week. Photo by Corey Lugg | THE NIBBLE.

    Comments

    NEWS: Watercress, The “New” Superfood

    Watercress is good-looking, good-tasting and
    really good for you. Photo courtesy B&W
    Quality Growers.

     

    Watercress the super food is now watercress the cancer-fighter.

    A study published in The British Journal of Nutrition this week reveals experimental findings that show the consumption of a three-ounce portion of watercress reduced the presence of tumor growth in participants who had previously been treated for breast cancer.

    The study showed watercress to be as therapeutic as traditional cancer-fighting drugs with tamoxifen and herceptin; and that regular consumption of watercress has the potential to protect against cancer in general.

    Another study published in The American Journal of Clinical Nutrition in February 2007 showed that in addition to reducing DNA damage, a daily dose of watercress increased the ability of cells to resist DNA damage that may be caused by free radicals.

    The ancient Romans, Greeks and Persians recognized that watercress was a powerful natural medicine. The Greek general Xenophon made his soldiers eat watercress before going into battle, to increase their vigor and stamina. Captain James Cook circumnavigated the globe three times, his success due in part to feeding watercress to his sailors to ward off scurvy.

    Watercress has been prescribed for anemia, eczema, kidney and liver disorder, migraines and tuberculosis. It is nutritionally dense: Watercress is a better source of calcium; iron; magnesium; manganese; potassium; vitamins C, B1, B6, K, E; and zinc than apples, broccoli and tomatoes.

    We love watercress in salads, on sandwiches and as a delicious plate garnish. Head to Watercress.com for some 70 watercress recipes. You’ll find everything from burgers and pasta with watercress to Indian, Korean and Mexican dishes with watercress.

  • Try this delicious recipe for Apple, Bacon & Watercress Salad.
  • Make Wolfgang Puck’s Lobster Cobb Salad. (Watercress is one of the original ingredients in Bob Cobb’s famous salad.)
  • Make an easy Cucumber & Watercress Salad.
  • Find more of our favorite vegetables in our Gourmet Vegetables Section.
  • Comments

    GOURMET GIVEAWAY: Pirate’s Booty

    Yo ho ho! If ye missed National Talk Like A Pirate Day on September 19th, ye don’t need to punish yerself by walking the plank. Just enter this week’s Gourmet Giveaway and ye can win a treasure chest of Pirate’s Booty.

    Three lucky buccaneers don’t need to go digging for buried treasure, because two of each of the flavors of healthy, all-natural snacks will be sent right to their ships (or wherever ye be calling home).

    Shiver me timbers! With flavors including Aged White Cheddar, Barbeque, New York Pizza, Sour Cream & Onion and Veggie that be some good eatin’.

    Retail value: Approximately $15.00.

  • To Enter This Gourmet Giveaway:Go to the box at the bottom of our Gourmet Snacks Section and click to enter your email address for the prize drawing. This contest closes on Monday, September 27th at noon, Eastern Time. Good luck!
  •  

    Taste the whole line. Photo by Evan Dempsey | THE NIBBLE.

    Comments

    TIP OF THE DAY: Filling A Peppermill

    Tellicherry, the “Champagne” of black
    peppersorns.
    Photo by B.A. Van Sise | THE NIBBLE.

     

    There’s no question that freshly-ground pepper delivers exciting flavor, while pre-ground pepper tends to be flat.

    That’s because the grinding process releases aromatic and palate-pleasing qualities that begin to dry out after they’re released. The spicy heat derives largely from the piperine compound, found both in the outer fruit (the black layer) and in the seed (the white ball underneath). The outer fruit layer also contains volatile oils that give pepper its scent.

    Yet, it’s not easy filling a classic pepper grinders with those tiny peppercorns. Even with nimble fingers, peppercorns escape, sending us on a pepper chase.

    One day, we decided to use a small kitchen funnel to fill the grinder. Voilà, a solution!

    If you don’t have the right-size funnel, you can put the peppercorns into a plastic snack bag or sandwich bag and cut off a corner.

  • Learn all about pepper and the numerous different types in our Peppercorn Glossary.
  • Comments

    PRODUCT: The Best Truffle Popcorn

    Black truffles are among the costliest foods in the world. The finest can cost more than $2,500 a pound. Fortunately, you don’t need a pound to enjoy their unique musky aroma and distinctive flavor.

    Even the chips and flakes that fall off the whole truffles are costly. They‘re used to make truffle oil and truffle salt that in turn flavor other foods.

    There have been a few truffle popcorns launched in the last couple of years, some more successful than others.

    But we say “wow!” to the truffle popcorn from 479° Popcorn, a luxury producer or heirloom popcorn that is a NIBBLE Top Pick Of The Week.

    We’d previously had the company’s excellent popped Black Truffle + White Cheddar Popcorn. But truffle lovers will love the latest truffle popcorn in a pop-it-yourself (PIY) kit: regular popcorn with truffle salt and truffle oil. It’s simply marvelous, and (spoiler alert to our foodie friends) we’ve designated it as our personal holiday gift for 2010.

     

    Truffle oil, combined with truffle salt
    makes the best truffled popcorn.
    Photo by Katharine Pollak | THE NIBBLE.

    The secret to the deeper truffle flavor comes from drizzling the crunchy popcorn with premium truffle oil from La Tourangelle, another Top Pick Of The Week.

    Simply pop a batch of the beautiful popcorn kernels in heirloom strains of Dakota Black, Shaman Blue, White Diamond and Yellow Topaz. Drizzle with a few drops of black truffle oil and sprinkle with truffle-infused sea salt. Then inhale the famous aroma as you devour the popcorn.

  • The Black Truffle PIY Kit is $45.00, which may seem high, but remember the price per pound of the truffles required to make the truffle oil. You can purchase it at 479Popcorn.com.
  • Read our review of 479° Popcorn.
  • Learn all about truffles in our Truffle Glossary.
  • Comments

    TIP OF THE DAY: Saucepan Vs. Saucier

    A saucier has rounded edges, eliminating
    corners where food can burn. This saucier
    is available at Amazon.com.

     

    Here’s advice from the book, 101 Things I Learned In Culinary School, by Louis Eguaras, a former White House staff chef now a professor at the California School of Culinary Arts:

    A griddle is not a grill, a saucepan is not a saucier and a skillet is not a sauté pan. You need the right equipment to do the best job; that’s why the variations were developed.

  • Griddle vs. Grill: A griddle is a heavy, flat cooking utensil. A grill is an open web on which foods are placed to directly expose them to fire.
  • Saucepan vs. Saucier: A saucepan has straight sides and is used for basic heating and boiling. A saucier (photo at left) is rounded and bowl-shaped, ideal for the preparation of sauces, custards, risotto and creamy foods. Unlike the saucepan, there are no corners in which food can hide and burn; and the wider mouth is better for whisking.
  • Skillet vs. Sauté Pan: A skillet has low, sloped sides that help with evaporation and steam dissipation. It is used for browning and/or caramelizing, and for reducing sauces. The sloped sides make it easy to flip food and slide it out of the pan. A sauté pan has straight sides and a lid. It is used for braising and pan frying; the high sides reduce splatters and keep in the moist heat.
  • Now that you know the difference, put the equipment you need on your wish list to make cooking more efficient.

    Comments

    RECIPE: Smokey Chicken Burger

    Yesterday was all about cheeseburgers.

    But what if you don’t eat red meat and cheese, or simply want a change?

    Our solution is smokin’: a smokey chicken burger topped with smoked Gouda and smokey barbecue sauce.

    To make it even more special, a ciabatta roll replaces the burger bun.

  • Get the recipe.
  • Find more chicken recipes in our Gourmet Poultry Section.
  •  

    Don’t you want to take a bite? Photo
    courtesy Sable & Rosinfeld.

    Comments

    TIP OF THE DAY: Apple Pie Cheddar Crust Recipe

    Photo courtesy Wholesome Junk Food Cookbook.

     

    Apple pie and Cheddar cheese are a time-honored pairing.

    To make this great match even better, add 1 cup of coarsely grated Cheddar to your apple pie crust dough.

    You can still serve the pie with a wedge of Cheddar.

    And you can also wow the crowd with this Cheddar Cheese Ice Cream recipe.

  • See the history of Cheddar, cheese of kings.
  • Check out our Pie & Pastry Glossary. How many of these treats have you had?
  • Find more pie recipes in our Pie & Pastry Section.
  • Comments

    FOOD HOLIDAY: National Cheeseburger Day

    Every day we tweet on a different food holiday (sign up at Twitter.com/TheNibble).

    But some holidays, like National Cheeseburger Day, deserve more than a tweet. As one of America’s favorite foods, the cheeseburger demands that you celebrate!

  • Check out 8 gorgeous cheeseburger recipes.
  • Don’t want cheese? See our 40+ burger recipes—a different burger for every day of the month.
  • How about a spicy peanut butter burger recipe?
  • See the history of the burger. Who invented it?
  • Find out how food holidays are created, and the whole year of holidays.
  •  

    Bacon, cheese, hash browns and onion rings:
    The Farmer John Cheeseburger is for hearty
    eaters. Photo courtesy Wisconsin Milk
    Marketing Board.

    If you have a favorite cheeseburger recipe, let us know.

    Comments

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