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

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 Amazon.com) and, more importantly, the storage space.

 

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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.
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    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.

     

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    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:

    Cocktails

  • 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
  •  

    Desserts

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

    BLOOD ORANGE PRODUCTS
    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.

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    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 Melissas.com, 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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