THE NIBBLE BLOG: Products, Recipes & Trends In Specialty Foods
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Archive for January, 2011

TIP OF THE DAY: Correcting Too Much Salt

You’ve added too much salt. Now what?
Salt server available on We
use this one in THE NIBBLE test kitchen.

It’s happened to all of us: too much salt inadvertently added to a recipe, making it inedible. How can you salvage your dish?

  • With a liquid dish like soup, you can dilute it with more liquid (unsalted broth or water, for example)—essentially creating 125% of the amount of the original recipe. You can add more ingredients—or rice or noodles cooked without salt, plus herbs and nonsalt seasonings, to round out the dish.
  • A trick from our Nana: Cook some white rice without salt. Purée (use water as necessary to thin the purée) and add to the soup or stew as a salt-free thickener.
  • You can also try adjusting the recipe with cider vinegar and brown sugar. Both of these ingredients will add a complexity of seasoning, reducing the impact of the salt.
  • Similarly, a salty sauce can often be softened with the addition some cream or vinegar.
  • Since the opposite of salt is sugar, brown or white sugar (brown sugar adds more flavor), honey or agave nectar can help to diminish the saltiness in certain dishes.
  • If the dish is only moderately oversalted, toss in a peeled raw potato or two, quartered or in thick slices. Potato can help to absorb the extra salt. In the case of soup or stew, the potato can enhance the recipe. In a recipe like chili, you can remove the potato at the end of cooking, or present a new take on the dish.

Whichever technique you try (except for adding potatoes), use a bit at a time, tasting along the way.

And remember next time: the longer food cooks and reduces, the more the salt intensifies. Consider adding half the amount of salt and adjusting it at the end of cooking.

Do you have a favorite salt-minimizing technique?
Share it here!



NEWS: Eat Your Berries For Health Benefits

Medical research continues to reveal that berries, which are high in antioxidants, may have profound impact on combating disease, increasing the quality of life and providing nutrition beyond basic sustenance.

Studies reveal that berries have a significant impact against the diseases of aging, including cancer, cardiovascular disease, diabetes and age-related mental decline.

Aside from delicious flavor and few calories, there’s now another reason to eat more berries.

According to an article in the February issue of the American Journal of Clinical Nutrition, eating just one cup of strawberries or blueberries each week can reduce your risk of developing high blood pressure—a major risk factor for heart disease and stroke.

Both contain a large amount of anthocyanin, a group of red-blue plant pigments in the flavonoid family, and a powerful antioxidant. It may also help open blood vessels, which allows for smoother blood flow and lower risk for high blood pressure.

Berries and yogurt are a delicious and
very healthy breakfast, lunch or snack.
Photo courtesy

In a study of men and women that included a 14-year follow-up period, participants who consumed the highest amounts of anthocyanin from blueberries and strawberries had an 8% reduction in their risk for developing high blood pressure, compared to study participants who ate the least amount of these anthocyanin-rich berries.

While blackberries and raspberries were not part of this particular study, you can consider them similarly rich in anthocyanin.

The biennial Berry Health Benefits Symposium in June will reveal even more research.

So pick up some berries today, with this caveat: fresh berries don’t have a long shelf life. Consume them within three days, then buy more.

Or stock up on frozen berries, and sweeten them as needed with your favorite non-caloric sweetener or agave nectar.



TIP OF THE DAY: Gremolata

Season your food with a pinch of gremolata,
a mixture of herbs and other seasonings.
Photo courtesy Aunt Nellie’s. Get the soup

Italy is known for its flavorful cuisine. One of the secrets is knowing how to use fresh herbs.

Gremolata (alternate spelling gremolada) is a lively fresh-chopped condiment that commonly includes parsley and/other green herbs, lemon zest and garlic.

It’s probably most familiar to Americans as the traditional accompaniment to osso bucco, a braised veal shank dish that’s a top-seller at Italian restaurants.

But it’s a great accent to many dishes. And because it’s so flavorful, you can cut back on salt.

Whether you’re serving meat (from lamb, pork or rib roast to veal and venison), poultry, pasta, potatoes and other vegetables (we love it with sautéed string beans), salad, risotto, soup or stew, a pinch of gremolata spices up any dish. The citrus note is perfect with white fish like cod and halibut to dark fish like mackerel (in fact, it’s great with any seafood). And it’s easy to make. Just chop and mix:

  • 1 tablespoon fresh dill, minced
  • 1 tablespoon fresh parsley, minced
  • 2 cloves garlic, minced
  • 1 teaspoon grated lemon peel

You can add sea salt; but we prefer to serve salt separately so that people can use it or not.

There are many variations to a basic gremolata. Mint, other green herbs, anchovies or chopped hazelnuts can be included. If cilantro will pick up your dish, for example, make a cilantro gremolata.

The varieties are only limited by the imagination of the cook. Here are some pointers:

  • For more citrusy flavor, add lemon juice and orange zest.
  • Use grapefruit, lime or orange zest instead of the lemon zest.
  • Add or substitute mint for the parsley with lamb dishes.
  • Add grated horseradish for beef dishes.
  • Substitute capers for garlic and basil for parsley, and serve with smoked salmon.
  • Add to breadcrumbs.
  • Make a gremolata crust for fish (delish).
  • Use it in olive oil as a marinade.

Some sources say that gremolata is the Italian word for chopped or ground. We haven’t found it in the dictionary, but chalk it up to dialect.



GOURMET GIVEAWAY: Laurel Hill Tortilla Chips

Super Bowl Sunday is February 6. If you win this week’s Gourmet Giveaway prize, you will be well prepared for a football party.

Two lucky winners will each receive two bags of every flavor of Laurel Hill Tortilla Chips, including:

  • Multigrain
  • Nacho Cheese
  • Olive & Caper
  • Pumpkin Seed
  • Sea Salt & Lime

Made with all-natural ingredients, no preservatives and a selection of healthy ingredients like chia seeds, flax seeds, quinoa and pumpkin, these chips taste as good as they sound. They’re also gluten-free, kosher and vegan. With a thick texture and unusual rectangle shape, Laurel Hill tortilla chips will have you dipping away.

Open the bag of Sea Salt & Lime tortilla chips
and you’ll smell the natural lime oil flavoring. Photography by Hannah Kaminsky | THE

  • To Enter This Gourmet Giveaway: Go to the box at the bottom of our Gourmet Snacks Page and click to enter your email address for the prize drawing. Approximate Retail Value Of Each Prize: $30.00. This contest closes on Monday, January 31st at noon, Eastern Time. Good luck!



TIP OF THE DAY: Make Creamy Dressing

Make creamy salad dressing by adding a
bit of cream to basic vinaigrette. Photo
courtesy Wisconsin Milk Marketing Board.

We’re always surprised that so many folks who cook their meals buy bottled dressing for the salad. Bottled dressing is expensive, and it’s so easy to make your own.

When we ask people why they just don’t whisk together 1 tablespoon of vinegar and 4 tablespoons olive oil, one often-heard response is that the family prefers creamy dressing.

Done! Just whisk together 1/2 part cream. It that’s not creamy enough, add more cream.

And don’t forget to season your vinaigrette with a pinch of salt and pepper, for starters. For more flavors, add:

  • A pinch of dry mustard
  • A half teaspoon of Dijon mustard (or other favorite mustard)
  • Minced garlic
  • A pinch of anchovy paste, hot chile paste, olive paste, pesto or tomato paste (we use Amore brand)
  • Your favorite herbs (we like minced dill, parsley and/or oregano but experiment with anything at hand, including horseradish)
  • Your favorite spices
Add anything else that sounds good to you. We’ve been enjoying Kalamata olive vinaigrette, adding a teaspoon of puréed Kalamata olives.

Share your tips for a creamy dressing.



PRODUCT: Microwave Pasta Boat

Usually, when we see a product at retail that touts “As Seen On TV,” we rush past it. Personal experience—as well as reviews and segments produced by television journalists—show that a lot of infomercial-sold merchandise doesn’t measure up to claims.

But we had a good experience with the Microwave Pasta Boat.

Those who cook pasta know that this simple product takes a fair amount of time. It can take a stock pot full of water up to 30 minutes to boil. Hopefully, boiling water doesn’t splash as you drain the pasta into a colander.

The Microwave Pasta Boat improves on the pasta-cooking experience.

The Microwave Pasta Boat has a steamer
rack for cooking other foods.

  • The pasta is cooked in less than 20 minutes—less time than it would take a stock pot of water to boil on the stove.
  • If you’re cooking multiple dishes, it frees up a burner.
  • No water boils over onto the stove.
  • There’s a built-in strainer; no colander or other pot is needed.
  • The strainer lid makes straining a cinch.
  • The drained pasta remains in the boat, where you can toss it with sauce, olive oil, butter, etc.
  • You can also mix pasta salad and other recipes in the boat, without needing another pot or bowl.
  • For everyday meals, the pasta boat can be brought to the table for serving or passing.
  • The device doubles as a vegetable steamer.
  • You can store leftover pasta, pasta salad, vegetables, etc. in the fridge.
  • Extras include a stay-cool handle that doubles as a spaghetti measure, and a steaming rack for cooking vegetables and other foods. And it’s dishwasher safe.

The only problem is that the stated cooking times always produce overcooked pasta. Since microwave ovens differ, you’ll have to experiment to see what times work with yours. Cook the pasta for a few minutes short of the recommended time, then test a piece. You’ll soon know what works for your microwave.

Which gets back to our overall review: We like the pasta boat. It saves time and dish washing; it’s well worth the $9.59 price (on and, more importantly, the storage space.



RECIPES: Pie Cocktails

Drink Grandma’s Cherry Pie. Photo
courtesy 1800 Tequila.


Celebrate National Pie Day (January 23rd) with a pie cocktail.

You can have your pie and drink it, too.

The mixologists at 1800 Tequila have created drink versions for Caramel Apple Pie, Grandma’s Cherry Pie and Pumpkin Pie.

  • Get the recipes.
  • Find more of our favorite cocktails.
  • Comments

    TIP OF THE DAY: Bake A Pie For National Pie Day

    January 23rd is National Pie Day.

    We grew up in a pie-baking household; Mom is a great baker who loves to bake pies. She rolled out the dough, placed it in a Pyrex pie plate and added the filling. Then we got to pinch the edges. We savored the aroma of a baking pie; and counted the minutes after it was removed from the oven, when it would be cool enough to cut.

    While pie-baking seems a snap to us, a recent national survey by Crisco (which Mom loves in her pie crusts) revealed that:

    • 59% of Americans say that pie is the hardest dessert to prepare from scratch
    • Nearly two-thirds (65%) agree that making the crust is the hardest part of baking a pie from scratch
    • Only 12% say choosing a recipe is the hardest part of preparing the classic dessert

    What’s your favorite pie? Bake it today!
    Photo courtesy American Egg Board.

    O.K., then; you know what kind of pie you’d like. Whip one up today for National Pie Day. The typical pie recipe requires just 30 minutes of prep time and 30 to 40 minutes in the oven.

    • Try making this apple pie recipe from Crisco. We love how the pie crust is rimmed with little stars, cut with a cookie cutter.
    • Here’s a video that shows how easy it is to make a pie crust.

    If you have questions, call the experts at The Crisco Pie Hotline, Monday through Friday from 9:00 a.m. to 7:00 p.m. ET. The phone number is by calling 1.877.FOR PIE TIPS (877-367-7438).

    Check out the different types of pie in our beautiful Pie & Pastry Glossary.

    If you want to eliminate the potential of an overdone crust edge, get a silicon pie shield.



    RECIPES: Delicious Blood Orange Recipes

    Pepita-crusted halibut with blood orange
    sauce. Photo courtesy McCormick. Get
    the recipe.


    Hopefully our Tip Of The Day has inspired you to load up on blood oranges.

    Here are some delectable blood orange recipes:


  • Make your favorite frozen drink with blood orange juice.
  • Blood Orange-Infused Saké
  • More blood orange cocktails, including Blood Orange Mimosa and Screwdriver.

    Salads & Mains
    Add blood orange segments to salads, and reserve the juice for vinaigrettes and sauces.

  • Blood Orange Vinaigrette
  • Lamb Loin With Blood Orange Sauce
  • Pepita-Crusted Halibut With Blood Orange Jicama Chutney


  • Blood Orange Chocolate Chunk Soufflé
  • Blood Orange Dessert Spaghetti
  • Blood Orange Sauce For Cheesecake

    We absolutely love the blood orange-infused olive oil from Sonoma Farm and Stella Cadente. No matter where you use it, it adds magic.

    Robert Lambert makes a delectable blood orange syrup, easy to use in anything from tea to pound cake to sorbet; as well as a marvelous marmalade of blood oranges.

    Have a bloody good time digging in to these bloody-orange-good foods.


    TIP OF THE DAY: Blood Oranges

    Blood oranges—also called blush oranges and Maltese oranges, among other names—are in high season now. We look forward to them all year, contenting ourselves with the excellent bottled blood orange juice from Italian Volcano (organic and kosher) when we can’t squeeze our own.

    Blood oranges are believed to be a mutation of the sweet orange that occurred in Sicily, around 1850. It was brought to the U.S. by Italian immigrants and now grows in California and Florida.

    With growing popularity, blood oranges are planted in different areas of the orange belt. They are harvested from October to January in Florida, from December to March in Texas and from November to May in California. There are three types of blood oranges. You can learn more about them; then scroll to the bottom of the page for related cooking videos.

    The “blood” color comes from a red pigment and powerful antioxidant called anthocyanin.* The hue can range from red to rose to deep purple, depending on the climate where the oranges are grown. Blood oranges are also packed with high levels of carotene, dietary fiber, potassium and vitamin C.

    Some varieties of blood orange have a lovely
    blush on the rind, while others have a solid
    orange peel like conventional oranges. Photo
    courtesy, where you can order
    blood oranges for yourself or as gifts.

    *Anthocyanin neutralizes the effects of free-radical chemicals that are believed to cause cancer and other ailments (diabetes, epilepsy, heart disease, liver disease and ulcers) plus the general impact of aging. Research shows that they fight and preventing cancerous tumors and ulcers, and improve vision.

    Check out these blood orange recipes.



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