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Archive for March 3, 2011

TIP OF THE DAY: Drink More Tea

There’s an ad running on TV now that encourages people to make different beverage choices, to avoid the high amount of sugar or high fructose corn syrup in soft drinks and juice.

The ad encourages a switch to water, sparkling water and tea. While you can’t go wrong with water, tea is packed with antioxidants—specifically, catechins, which make up some 25% of the dry weight of a fresh tea leaf.

What if you don’t like unsweetened tea?

The one or two teaspoons of sugar you’d add to a cup of tea are a better choice than the 10 teaspoons of sugar in a can of Coke or apple juice, or the 8 teaspoons of sugar in a can of orange juice.*

*Sugar levels can vary in different brands of fruit juice.

But first, try some really, really good tea, purchased loose in a tea shop or bottled by a premier company. Top-quality tea is so flavorful that no sugar or milk is needed.

Huge flavor, no calories. Photo by Naheed
Choudhry | THE NIBBLE.

One of our favorite brands of bottled tea is Teas’ Tea, from Japanese brewer Ito-En. Among the Golden Oolong, Green Hoji, Green Jasmine, Green White, Lemongrass Green, Mint Green, Pure Green and Rose Green teas, you’ll find striking flavors that are irresistible (and calorie-free).

We used to drink a bottle of Green Jasmine, Lemongrass Green and Rose Green daily. In the name of green living, we subsequently bought the loose tea and started to brew our own, carrying it around in a water bottle. Now, we can’t live without it, preferring iced tea to water.

If those catechins don’t deliver us to a ripe old age, we’ll have still enjoyed great refreshment.

 

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PRODUCT: Feta & Wine

Nikos Mediterranean feta, flavored with basil,
garlic, oregano and other spices, plus tomato.
Photo by Claire Freierman | THE NIBBLE.

 

If your experience with feta cheese is limited to Greek salads or a pita pocket, branch out: There are many ways to enjoy this tangy cheese.

As we were looking at recipes* on the website of Nikos brand feta, we were inspired by the suggested wine pairings.

*Feta and Roasted Eggplant Terrine, Feta Cheese Beggars Pouches, Feta Cheese with White Bean Hummus and more.

Nikos recommends these pairings to enhance the flavor of feta:

  • Beaujolais, a light, fruity red from France
  • Boutari wines, from a Greek winery that produces more than 15 different Greek varietals
  • Chardonnay (we suggest steel-fermented rather than aged in new oak)
  • Grüner Veltliner, a crisp and complex white white wine from Austria (love it!)
  • Muscat (Moscato, Muscatel), a sweet and fruity white wine now grown around the world, that is thought to be the original grape varietal
  • Rosé, a “blush wine” made from white grapes that has a pinkish color (the word in French means “pinkish”), which is achieved from allowing the crushed grape juice to remain in contact with the skin for 2-3 days
  • Sauvignon Blanc, a white wine originally from France, now successfully planted worldwide
  • Pilsner, a fairly dry, highly-hopped, bottom-fermented lager
  • Wheat Beer, a beer brewed with a large proportion of wheat, including Hefeweizen, unfiltered wheat beer
  • White Beer (Wissbier, Witbier), an all-wheat brew
  • Ouzo, Greece’s signature, anise-flavored apéritif
  •  
    Feta is Greece’s most famous cheese: a pure white, aged curd cheese that crumbles easily. While the cheese has been made since antiquity, the name came into the Greek language in the 17th century, from the Italian word fetta, meaning slice. The name refers to slicing the cheese from the brick.

    Authentic feta is a sheep’s milk cheese, or a mixture of sheep’s and goat’s milks. Outside of the EU, where the recipe is protected by law, it can also be made of cow’s milk.

    Feta is formed into bricks and salted and cured for several months in a brine solution. The cheese is semi-hard, with a flavor that can range from mild and milky to salty with a very tangy acidity.

    Watch out: cheaper brands of feta can be inedibly salty. If you purchase a brand that turns out to be too salty, soaked the cheese in water or milk to remove some of the saltiness.

    Visit the Nikos website by April 30, 2011 for a chance to win a Mediterranean cruise.

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